The first time we tried Yes Cacao we did a double take on the label because it's that good. Justin Polgar has created a wild crafted raw chocolate bar that is infused with an excellence of herbs. YES, Yes and Yes is his word of choice which is pressed throughout the entire bar. We got a chance to talk to the creator to learn more about the inspiration, composition and direction of Yes Cacao.
1. Yes is a powerful word. What does the yes in Yes Cacao suggest to you?
It is powerful! I love the word, it has been a great teacher for me. “Yes” turns doors into doorways, “Come in” it says. It’s an invitation into a field of energy, just like cacao. So for myself, claiming my YES is a continual affirmation of choice and permission, and of being a solution.
When we created the brand Yes Cacao, we intentionally corralled the energy of YES. We were curious what might happen when we use “Yes” as a vehicle to return chocolate to its sacred origins. So far, soooooo good.
2. Where do you draw inspiration for your recipes?
Inspiration is so naturally available when we “turn our worry into wonder”. I’ve used mantra most of my life to sew consciousness to my experiences. Mantras are like persistent reminders to find true relevance in the moment. When I was in my early 20’s, I used a specific mantra, “Observe. Balance. Evolve.” Whenever I realized the wind was touching my skin, or that I was blinking, or caught myself smiling without knowing it, I would whisper “Observe. Balance. Evolve.” It’s from this state of “mantra mind” that I draw inspiration for recipes and creative projects.
Specifically for Yes Cacao, each of the recipes speak to a cultural need.
More than ever, at the pace of social and digital culture, people are hungry for healthy functional energy. The recipes are a way to address balance, and to evolve between breaths.
3. We love the herbs you use to elevate our mind and body, how do you formalize your recipes and what makes them unique to other botanical chocolates?
“Botanical Chocolate” is a term I came up with to create a new genre of chocolate. It’s not just raw, and wild-harvested, and organic, and the slew of other certification call-outs. Botanical Chocolate belongs to a category of “food as holistic medicine”, where every ingredient matters. Because chocolate is a vasodilator (meaning it expands your blood vessels), whatever we put in chocolate gets absorbed super efficiently. To formalize Yes Cacao’s alchemy, each ingredient must deliver a potent purpose, and work synergistically within the whole; and that “whole” has to taste and feel delicious.
Real Botanical Chocolate tastes different every time. Taste is a two-way conversation: I bring my palate and the food brings its terroir. The closer to source and soil we get, the more we find out how brilliantly diverse we are. I eat Dirty Chocolate everyday, and every time “I Make a Wish and Take a Bite”, I’m a little bit different, and those botanicals are unique to their seasonal harvest. It’s a presence practice.
I’m excited to see more Botanical Chocolate companies popping up around the world, teamwork makes the dream work! Establishing a new genre is going to take a handful of us being well resourced, and uniquely inspired.
4. You have mentioned that each of your bars provides a different type of energy. What is your favorite chocolate bar you have created and why? What is the most popular?
Our most popular bar is definitely the Karma Mellowl, it’s a golden chocolate bar. The flavor is super novel, like a combination of butterscotch, graham cracker, and pumpkin spice. Functionally it’s our Brain Food bar, and it’s intended to increase the flow of blood and oxygen to the parts of the brain that network short-term, associative memory. We call it, “The Brain Tickler” in the kitchen.
I get asked which is my favorite all the time, and I love each of our bars for different reasons. My preferences gravitate to characteristics, more so than characters. So it’s not a specific bar that’s my favorite, it’s that the cacao is wild harvested, and the shilajit in the Dirty chocolate gives me crazy endurance, and the turmeric in both the Karma Mellowl and the Gaba Baba are cold water extracted. My favorite characteristic in any food is its bioavailability.
5. Cacao contains endless benefits, but is still associated to many as a dessert. How would you describe cacao to someone who only sees it as such?
We all know people who dismiss the possibility of food as medicine. Even with all the scientific research, most people are set in their mind that chocolate is a guilty pleasure. I encounter this with potential customers on the regular, and my favorite response has been the following:
Cacao has been a sacred and ritual food for over 2000 years, and then a “sweet treat” for the last 200 years, and for the last 30 years it’s just been a junk food. How do we go from something that is a sacred ritual food, to a junk food?!
Sometimes people need to see it to believe it, so I tell them I eat 130 pounds of chocolate a year (about 8 oz. daily), and they say, “How are you not fat?” And I say, “Chocolate is actually, really good for you, it’s just usually paired with poisonous refined, plantation sugar, and that is what’s giving chocolate a bad rap.”
6. What is your favorite super food and herb and how do you feel a difference when taking it?
Next to cacao, Sun Dried Cane Sugar is currently my favorite superfood.
Sometimes we forget the basics in the health food world. Sugarcane is scientifically classified as an Officinarum, meaning it has medicinal and/or therapeutic benefit. If grown in accordance with natural law, and minimally processed, sugar can be an amazing superfood.
The Sun Dried Cane Sugar we use is grown in its natural eco-density (not in overcrowded plantations), hand pressed, and dried in the sun (instead of boiled to evaporate water content). It’s unrefined, which means the molasses, minerals, and nutrient language of the ecosystem are still present. I have shared this sugar with diabetics, sugar sensitive people, and children, without any noticeable glycemic disturbance. It makes me feel calmly energized. I feel the gentle lift in mood, and a grounded clarity.
7. What does your typical day look like?
Zoë and I moved to Santa Cruz in December, and thankfully Mercury going retrograde was a perfect pattern reset. Most days look like:
- Sunrise - Wakey wakey
- 20 min. of oil pulling while moving bodies/stretching/5 tibetans
- “Slippery Fish” drink - fresh aloe + lemon blended + bubbly water
- Drink tea, casual gong fu style
- Take the last pot of tea as the base for a breakfast elixir
- tea + cacao paste + sprouted almond butter + date or banana + maca + he shu wu + squirts of the tinctures that pull on my attention + hemp seeds + pumpkin seed oil + cinnamon - blend and drink hot. And eat a Dirty Chocolate Bar.
- Dance in our furniture-free living room. This is like a nonverbal meeting that gets us tuned into each other’s energy.
- Drink water.
- If we’re driving together somewhere, we sing in car. If I’m solo then it’s phone calls or audiobook/podcasts.
- If it’s an office day, I’m deep in the computer… and eating chocolate.
- Drink water.
- Lunch early afternoon, and I like to give myself time to get creative in the kitchen. Yesterday I mixed dill and sauerkraut into yogurt, chopped super thin cucumbers, and got dippy with carrots and bell peppers and mochi. Throughout the day I eat handfuls of spinach.
- Back to the office with Karma Mellowl
- Afternoon tea
- Walk the neighborhood trails or coastline for sunset
- Light exercise: pull up bar, slant board, squats, balance
- Drink Water.
- Make dinner - soups and broths hit the spot during winter, squashes too, but occasionally I like hippie-dusted popcorn (chlorella, spirulina, oregano, thyme, herbs etc.)
- If I can really be done with work, the evenings become art projects, watching a show, reading, or bathing outside under the stars, with a Gaba Baba by my side.
- I like to be in bed before midnight, but sometimes I get inspired to work on something til 4am… I listen to my Yes.
8. What do you do to keep your mind and body grounded?
Dirty Chocolate and muscle testing. Consistency is key with these two. My astrological chart has 6 planets in air signs, so keeping my mind and body grounded is a continual practice.
9. Tell us about the affirmations you practice?
Affirmation is my practice, I say YES a lot! I hold a variety of spiritual disciplines. For the past 7 years, I have washed my hands every morning with a traditional prayer, asking that my hands be instruments of peace and prosperity and good deeds.
10. What are your favorite products and or supplements in your holistic medicine cabinet?
So many! We’re so blessed to live in an age of accessibility. There are a few medicine cabinets in the house, fridge included! Here’s a short list off the top of my mind: Lotus Blooming Herbs Shilajit, He Shou Wu from Sun Potion, reishi and chaga mushrooms in tincture and powder form, Raw Cane Superjuice Alkalizer, anything from Living Teas, Elemental Wizdom enzymes, Ascended Health super gum healing oil, Jambo Superfoods sprays, and Al-qemi spagyrics, and the Naked Creamy sprouted almond butter from Philosopher’s Stoneground.
11. What is your vision for Yes cacao?
Our vision is to introduce a new genre of chocolate into mainstream awareness, return the ritual to a sacred food, and of course expand consciousness through YES.
12. Happiness is….
Watching a child close their eyes and squish their nose and forehead into a wishing face… those kinds of wishes are the easiest to grant.
Justin Frank Polgar, Minister of Chocolate...is an an alchemical chocolate technologist! Focusing his chocolate innovation toward education in the holistic health and wellness category, Justin really loves chocolate. Making chocolate with Willy Wonka style, he is an inspirational cheerleader for everyone to find their YES.
When he is taking a moment away from his educational art project Yes Life Foods, you will find Justin chanting “YES!”, dancing like a wild child, concocting in the kitchen, getting praisey with Zoë, drinking tea, adventuring to foreign lands, and engaging plant medicine of the old pharmacopoeias. Learn more at yescacao.com and connect with Yes Cacao on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. and email firstname.lastname@example.org