Speaking with Vanessa: 12 Bold Questions


1. What do you most hope people come to KNOW after eating GNOSIS?

I want people to realize that you can eat healthy and enjoy it, that looking for healthy options can be rewarding! I hope that Gnosis Chocolate is an example, leading people to many more healthy foods and helping them realize that eating this way is not a sacrifice.

Gnosis Chocolate is also an example that a company can earn its place on the shelf. We are not about sales. We are here to benefit the public, the environment, farmers, and other companies that are growing sustainably. We’re showing that a business can grow without advertising. All of our growth has been through word of mouth. Rather than marketing, we put our dollars towards eco-friendly practices (see our labels and packaging). Any company—established or new—can do the same as we do.

2. How do you relax?

I always feel relaxed. Whenever I’m ‘stressed’ it’s over something I’m excited about, I love what I do! But, I love to travel, go to the beach (twice this summer). When I’m alone in my apartment, I like to clean with incense going and have music playing (it’s been Michael Jackson for the last month!). And I dance around. Also, hanging out with the people I love.

3. What is your favorite eatery in the city?

Pure Food and Wine. I get the Squash Blossoms and the Butter Lettuce Caesar Salad with cacao vinaigrette… Sarma kicks ass!

4. Vice?

I eat cooked chocolate! But only if it’s made with high intentions or if the owner of the company inspires me. Recently I’ve been enjoying chocolate made by my friend at the Grenada Chocolate Company.

5. What do you do for exercise?

Belly dance! I practice in my apartment with my brown shimmy skirt (chocolate-colored!) and I take class down the street.

6. Favorite movie.

Baraka. I also love the DVD of shorts from the Enlightened Film Festival

7. Favorite Fruit: Cacao pulp and tomatoes in Italy.

    Favorite Veggie: Artichokes the way my Mama makes them and kale.

    Herb: Basil

8. Best book?

Sacred Commerce (written by the owners of San Francisco’s Café Gratitude)

9. Best story from someone's first taste of Gnosis

My two favorite stories are in the guestbook!

One chocophile risked losing her integrity all in the name of Gnosis, “I lied to student services at IIN to get a second sample of chocolate”

Another wrote:

“There's only two people to blame for my dilemma, and I'm certainly not going to take the heat for it. It's your fault I pace in front of my mailbox, salivating, waiting a mere two or three days before my order arrives. It's beyond my control how I plunge into the eco-friendly packaging first thing after dinner and sink my teeth into a block of SuperChoc that transports me to another realm. I cannot be held responsible for my actions once I get a taste of each and every flavor from the Sampler package I ordered: all that dancing, singing and twirling in ecstasy. And that's just my tastebuds!
So, you see, as soon as I place an order, it is out of my control. I don't know why you've done it, but I hope you're happy with yourself..............I KNOW I SURE AM!!!! Woohoo. Thanks for awesome chocolate!”

10. You always seem perfectly confident, how do you deal with setbacks (minor disasters), and criticism?

I’m just doing what I really believe in. I listen to my intuition with everything. Every decision is intuition, not experience. Even though I do not have my own business team, confidence comes from listening to my gut. I’m not trying to just SELL. I am just making healthy chocolate for people.

11. How much chocolate do you eat daily and have you ever felt like giving your palate a couple days’ off from the potent treat?

Recently I’ve been eating less chocolate. I can tell that my palate has become refined to the bean. I savor it more. I’m now eating the equivalent of 1-3 chocolate bars per day. About two times a month, if I’m doing a demo or we’re having an event, I’ll eat about four bars in a day. I don’t believe I’ve ever taken a day off of eating chocolate. It’s been a daily occurrence for the last two years.


And there you have it. This is a tough job, but someone has to do it!



For your Inspiration: Matt Monarch and Angela Stokes Monarch

This past Friday night, July 31 Gnosis Chocolate brought in two dynamic raw food speakers to share their knowledge and experiences with the community. Matt Monarch and his recent bride, Angela Stokes Monarch spoke before an intimate crowd at Bonobo’s in Manhattan before a laid back chocolate party at The Suffolk.

As Matt spoke, he emphasized a couple of major points. First, is the importance of colonics; vital no matter what kind of diet you follow, but especially for raw foodists. For raw foodists, he suggested getting a colonic once per month, and for people who follow a healthy whole food diet, getting a colonic four times per year.
He also mentioned a thought-provoking environmental fact when illustrating what happens to our bodies as we detoxify them with healthy raw foods: If we stopped polluting the planet today entirely (no car exhaust, no cigarettes, factories, etc), it would take 30 years for the planet to completely detoxify and return to its complete natural health. We humans would be detoxifying our “urbanized selves” along with it.
Matt mentioned that once he started to eat raw foods, he never again ate cooked foods. For someone thinking about eating a 100% raw food diet, it's important to listen to your body and perhaps get into raw foods more gradually. You don't want to go from the Standard American Diet into 100% raw, because this will likely be too much detoxification for your body to handle at once. While Matt went raw and never looked back, Angela went raw more gradually, over a period of a couple of years.

Angela’s personal journey into the raw food lifestyle is an inspiring one. Her 160 pound weight loss was featured on CNN and she is the author of five books, most recently Raw Emotions. Along with Matt, she does a daily Web TV show, and on her blog she chronicles everything she eats each day to inspire and teach others about eating raw. There is a wealth of information on her website, Raw Reform, but in case you become distracted I must clue you in to her absolute top read (which inspired her to start her current new journey): the book series Anastasia. It is about a woman in Siberia who is living now, 100% wild. See Angela's newsletter for more about this fascinating woman.

Keep exploring and learning, you healthy chocophiles!