My love for chocolate began at 6 years old sitting at the kitchen table with my Grandmother Neppy. My Grandmother was a very classy, beautiful and regal woman and someone I looked up to in many ways. After lunch and dinner she would always have a little piece of chocolate to satisfy her sweet tooth. After one lunch in particular, she laid out some beautiful chocolates on a plate and sliced a fresh ripe apple. We took a bite of apple then a bite of chocolate, a bite of apple and another bite of chocolate. The mixture in my mouth was delicious. We looked at each other, smiled that smile that says it all and continued to enjoy our sweet bites of chocolate and fresh apple savoring that special moment.
Those memories of eating apples and chocolate with my Grandmother are forever implanted in my heart and mind. The love and adoration I felt for her and the sweetness of chocolate cemented those memories forever. After all, chocolate is the one food on the planet that represents love and is even good for our hearts! That is one of the reasons we give chocolate on Valentine’s day.
In January 2008 I discovered Chocolate in its natural form…..the way nature intended. Let me give you a little back ground as to how that happened …
After graduating from Texas A&M University in 1988, my career was focused on running businesses and being in the corporate world. I moved at a very fast pace, traveling extensively and then becoming one of the youngest territory managers for a photography company in Northern Ohio. In 1997, I moved to Austin TX to be closer to my family. I jumped into Technology and started a Sub Chapter S corporation as a HUB vendor selling computers to the state of Texas. Soon after I joined a fast paced technology consulting group where I helped to grow the technology sector and became one of the top 5 sales executives World Wide.
in 2005 I helped start a successful ad agency, Somnio Solutions. I was running at a fast pace; entertaining, eating out, traveling and meeting with executives to sell our technology and marketing solutions. About two years into this start-up, I took some time off. My body finally had some time to rest and relax. The adrenaline slowed and I became very ill. I remember thinking…. I will do whatever it takes to never be this sick again! That statement launched a whole new lifestyle for me.
Then, a good friend and mentor invited me to a Living Food pot luck – I had no idea what to bring so I went to Whole Foods and bought a big bag of organic lettuce and an avocado. I walked into the pot luck, only knowing my one friend, and I discovered three amazing things….
1. Everyone looked very healthy and happy and had a lot of energy.
2. The table with all the food was absolutely BEAUTIFUL and DELICIOUS and gave me energy after I ate it!
3. Most of these people were consuming huge amounts of raw chocolate in all kinds of ways…drinks, moles, desserts.
I indulged and indulged and thought I was in heaven. There was no bloating. no hangover, and no sugar crash.
Afterwards I purchased a vita mix blender, food processor and 6 books on how to make raw foods- 3 of which were chocolate books! In the next several years I received my raw food certification and I invested hours in my kitchen creating delicious raw food meals and decadent chocolate desserts. I shared this passion by teaching about living foods in and around the Austin, TX area. What I discovered is that I no longer had “guilt” about eating food. I could indulge in desserts and still feel good afterwards- no more peaking and then having an energy drain, no more weight gain and then starving. No more marathon work outs to lose the weight. No more roller coasters with the clothes in my closet and no more mood swings. One of my favorite sayings is “let food be thy medicine”. Now food gives me the precious nutrients my body requires and the energy to sustain my career, workouts and my worldly adventures. My kitchen is now my canvas and my paintbrush is my pallet which guides me to create decadent chocolate indulgences.
And so this leads me to how Chocolate Shaman got started:
I started by making these decadent delights in small batches for friends and family. Then in July 2012 I took a trip to the Amazon Jungle near Pucallpa Peru where I learned from Shamans about the indigenous plants of the Amazon. The pharmaceutical companies often send scientists to the Amazon Jungle to learn about the healing properties of plants. After learning about the molecular structure of the plants they would synthetically create them in labs to then sell them worldwide. Our Shaman explained that the Amazon Jungle was nature’s organic pharmacy. Plant’s to cure many aliments and diseases; food for nutrition, energy and vitality. Then one afternoon while in the jungle a friend said to me: Did you know there are chocolate Shaman’s? Shaman’s that use only the finest, most natural organic chocolate in the world for healing purposes? Suddenly my past and my future came together in that moment. I knew I wanted to be a chocolate shaman! My heart felt the call to find the most wholesome chocolate our great planet has to offer.
Within two days of my return to the United States I discovered a true Chocolate Shaman in Guatemala who uses Ceremonial grade cacao for chocolate ceremonies all over the world. Three weeks later, we met in person and I was so impressed with the quality and taste of his Chocolate (Cacao) that Chocolate Shaman began sourcing the majority of our Cacao from Guatemala.
I am so thankful for my Grandmother for introducing me to this fine food and for all the life experiences that have led me to share my love of chocolate in every piece of Chocolate Shaman decadent chocolates!