cacao, ritual, homemade chocolate, benefits, and self-consumption
Objective: To describe the benefits of homemade chocolate consumption on human health in La Chontalpa, Tabasco, Mexico.
Design/Methodology/Approach: We interviewed 49 persons in La Chontalpa, along with 30 contacts from social networks; additionally, a participatory workshop was held with 15 persons trained in making homemade chocolate. A traditional specialist doctor who uses cacao as a medicinal base was interviewed and we were observers during cacao ceremonies. The information was analyzed using opinion analysis and the Chi-square test.
Results: Ninety-seven-point nine percent of the interviewees agreed that consuming homemade chocolate is beneficial for health, while 89.8% mentioned that consuming chocolate makes them feel good. Fifty-five percent of the consumers consider that chocolate provides them energy; 51.1% say that it helps them to control hunger and thirst; and 36.7% feel that consuming it takes away sadness and laziness. The benefits of chocolate consumption reported in the ceremonies, workshops, and interviews were that it controls depression, promotes concentration, and causes joy; it also cures diarrhea, anemia, headaches, and stomach ache.
Study Limitations/Implications: The sanitary restrictions derived from the COVID-19 pandemic limited face-to-face interviews in 2021, which were instead carried out using social networks. It is forbidden to record and take photos and videos of cacao ceremonies; therefore, we were unable to document them.
Findings/Conclusions: In La Chontalpa, Tabasco, the population consumes homemade chocolate because they believe that chocolate provides mental and physical health benefits.