Pure Cocoa = Tried and True?

Cocoa is not SCD/GAPS ‘legal’. However, we are aware that a number of people are curious about this item and that several have tried it. So, while not recommending it, we would like to gather an accurate representation of its effects in those needing SCD and GAPS.

While on SCD and/or GAPS, have you completed an accurate test of pure, organic cocoa and noted your results? Please note: An accurate test would involve:

  • having been in a state of wellness for at least a week
  • the cocoa being the only new item you have added in the past week
  • the item being pure, organic cocoa (ie. not cocoa with chemicals, cocoa plus cane syrup, cocoa with milk, cocoa + flour, a chocolate bar, etc)

If so, was it fine in your (or your child’s) body or did you (or your child) react to it?

Please tell us here, so that we can provide informative results for other SCDers: [polldaddy poll=1615594]

18 thoughts on “Pure Cocoa = Tried and True?

  1. To add a comment to my vote, I had no problem at all with pure organic cocoa (tried 4-5 times, sprinkled onto banana, etc) so I wondered if Green and Black’s organic 85% dark chocolate bar would also be okay. The ingredients are just organic chocolate liquor, organic cocoa butter, organic fat-reduced cocoa powder, organic raw cane sugar, organic vanilla extract (and their website says there could be traces of milk due to a shared production line).

    I know I’m fine with vanilla, I assumed if I was fine with cocoa, I would be fine with the first three ingredients and even though cane syrup is SCD illegal, I thought if I was fine with honey (which I am) I should be fine with with cane sugar. Anyway, I took two small bites of the bar, then felt not okay. Somehow, even though I eat a lot of fat, it immediately felt “too rich”. I threw away the third bite that I’d planned on having.

    I felt kind of sick and drank lots of water. I developed a headache. In the evening I felt sort of like an old heartburn feeling I used to have, which today I’m thinking of as being an “over acid” sensation. At bedtime, I felt overstimulated (like I always used to before I started GAPS) and couldn’t sleep.

    Twenty hours later, I still feel rotten: “over acidy” and angry. I’m not sure what aspect of the bar got me, but something sure did.

  2. My family of six started the diet on Jan 1.
    On the first of July (6 months!!) four of us celebrated by trying some organic cocoa powder with coconut oil and honey.

    I’m happy to report that no one had any reaction to it.
    :o)

  3. I have tried cocoa powder a couple times since on GAPS since I love chocolate and had a hard time accepting I couldn’t eat it. But both times I had it, I had symptoms return which made me realize that I shouldn’t eat it.

    This past weekend my son went to a b-day party where the mom made GAPS friendly cupcakes only they had cocoa in them. I said he could have some because I wanted to see if he would react.

    I would say yes he reacted – he resisted his nap today and was also kicking and biting me. He is finally asleep, but compared to how he was doing before the cupcake, I would say no chocolate for us.

    thanks for the survey
    sarah

  4. To add to my vote.. the cocoa powder seems to keep me up if I eat a lot of it at night. But, I didn’t get any digestive problems or any other noticeable symptoms. If I eat a bunch of it in during the day, I’m fine. I usually mix cocoa powder with coconut oil and honey to make a ‘fudge’.

  5. We’ve been moving over to SCD from a GF CF diet for my son who has an ASD. I made chocolate from cocoa, raw coconut oil and honey. It was lovely,but my son had the biggest, most agressive melt-down that he has had for weeks, since going over to SCD.

    He has been hyper and non-compliant for the past 3 days. Only today – 4 days after the offending ingredient was ingested are we more or less back to normal again.

    I’ve made some SCD legal white chocolate with cocoa butter instead!

    • Hi Sarah,

      Early in healing, chocolate and cocoa should be avoided.

      If you are having strong cravings in the meantime, consider what nutrient chocolate offers and find another source of that. For example, chocolate cravings often indicate a need for magnesium, which can be found in many early-GAPS foods or even taken as a supplement in the form, for example, of Natural Calm.

      Once you’ve had some good healing under your belt and are doing quite well, you can test pure cocoa. It can be mixed with coconut oil or butter, plus honey, vanilla, shredded coconut, nut butter, etc, to make a lovely treat.

      All my best,
      Baden

  6. Just thought I would comment since so many are using honey and raw coconut oil. I am fine with pure cocoa and stevia but if I add coconut, coconut oil, any type of sugar etc.. I have a severe reaction. Try cocoa on it’s own or use stevia and see if that makes a difference.

  7. I didn’t vote because I’m not on GAPS or SCD I’m just gluten free…for the moment. Anyway I was wondering what constitutes a reaction to cocoa. Does the reaction symptoms vary from allergic(histamine reaction) to emotional/psychological reaction depending on the person? Does the reaction seem to be more intense after starting GAPS or SCD? I plan to go on the GAPS diet but knowing that I love chocolate and cookies (grain free of course) I’m hoping that maybe at some point I’ll be able to have a little pure cocoa. Thanks!

    • Hi glutenfreelikeme,

      Yes, your understanding about the range of reactions is correct.

      Yes, reactions can be ‘unmasked’ after starting a clean diet, thus a reaction that has always been present can seem more pronounced.

      It seems most people are indeed able to introduce pure cocoa after some healing. In the meantime, if you are craving cocoa, see if another source of magnesium alleviates that for you.

      All my best,
      Baden

  8. Ground whole cacao seems to bear no ill effect. I wouldn’t touch cocoa (powder) on GAPS, as it has been stripped of it’s whole food status. But the ground beans, properly fermented and made into a warm drink with honey is quite good. I’ve tried it 3x now.

    I would also avoid even fine chocolate with any type of sugar, as I did react strongly to that.

  9. I’m having a hard time finding clarity on the subject of raw cacao butter and if it is gaps legal as well. Does it tend to have the reaction that the powder does since it’s only the fat? Thanks!

  10. Baden, nice change to your site! I like it a lot! I am going to have to get a copy of your 2nd edition and check it out. I was wondering about the poll that you had set up. It doesn’t seem to be working. I send people here on occasion to see your post and poll about how people are handling cocoa powder. Best, Starlene

    • Starlene! Great to hear from you!!

      Thanks for the scoop on this poll being broken -I didn’t know that until you wrote. I imagine the site transition affected it. I’m working with PollDaddy to hopefully see this repaired.

      Also, Starlene, I’ve been trying to reach you since May 14th. Back then I sent a note via your blog’s contact form -I didn’t hear back from you. A few days ago I emailed you privately (at the address attached to your post here), but again have not heard back. Are we jinxed?!? I have a gift I am trying to give you lol! Please check your past week’s emails for one from me (spam folder?!?), otherwise post here again to let me know you’re not getting them and we’ll figure something out 🙂

      Lots of love,
      Baden

  11. I am on SCD and I know cocoa is illegal, but my question is referring to CACAO. It’s in raw, powder form, organic and not heated so it still has all the nutrients. It is great in smoothies. Is this Okay for SCD? There is no added anything! Plus is a great source of magnesium! please clarify 🙂

    • Hi MegH.,

      Cacao, too, is not ‘SCD-legal’. However, the thoughts presented in the post we are commenting below apply. That is, while it is not SCD-legal, after some months of healing, one may choose to test it and make their decision according to the body’s response.

      All my best,
      Baden

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