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If you love chocolate but it doesn’t love you, I have a special introduction to make that I think you’ll like! Introducing carob, a magical alternative to chocolate and safe for all ages. Carob is a legume, that grows on the Ceratonia siliqua or carob tree. These pods contain a sweet, edible pulp, that we know as carob. In its raw state it has a texture that is soft and sticky, similar to that of toffee. Many people in the west buy it in powder form, or in the form of a chocolate like substitute, like carob chips. Be careful when selecting carob chips sold in stores because they can often contain unfavorable oils, added sugar or soy, just as chocolate chips contain unfavorable additives as well.

Carob is rich in antioxidants, which help to defend your body from free radical damage. You can think of antioxidants as cell protectors, and free radicals as substances that come in and cause damage on a cellular level. A diet rich in antioxidants has numerous health benefits, and disease protective effects.

Carob is a good source of fibre, which can help to promote proper elimination. Carob also has binding qualities once it has reached the colon, and has the ability to draw water to itself. This is useful in cases of diarrhea. Carob has a mildly sweet, caramel/chocolate flavor. It is really quite tasty! I will warn you, you may be disappointed if you are expecting it to taste exactly like chocolate, because it does not. It is more earthy than chocolate, but still very good.

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Carob is different from chocolate, in that it contains no caffeine, and no theobromine. The caffeine and theobromine content of chocolate is what gives it its controversial status in the health and wellness worlds. It has been reported the theobromine is a neurotoxin. We also know that too much caffeine can be hard on the adrenal glands, and can negatively affect those who are especially sensitive to it, even though there are small amounts in cacao, some people prefer to avoid it all together. If you feel that you are sensitive to chocolate for any reason, carob may well be the substitute for you! Carob also has ⅓ the calories and about half the amount of fat of chocolate.

 5 Ways to Use Carob Here:

1. In your smoothies! 1 tsp.  – 1 tbsp. is enough to add a nice flavor to a creamy smoothie. It pairs wonderfully with frozen bananas and mint leaves for a mock “chocolate mint shake”. You can also try this Mint Carob Soft Protein Ice Kreme or for a rare treat, this Dairy Free Peanut Butter & Carob Smoothie.

2. Mix some ground carob powder into vanilla almond milk with ice!

3. Use carob raw brownie recipes that call for cocoa or cacao.

4. In chia seed porridge with almond milk and fresh sliced banana.

5. Carob is often used in energy balls or squares, with a base of dates, nuts and seeds!

You can find raw carob at most health food stores (it’s best in raw form vs. the roasted kind). If for some reason it’s not available in your area, you can purchase it online here.

This article was republished with permission from youngandraw.com

Image Sources:

http://allaboutcarob.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Carob_honey.jpg

https://cookbookcooks.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/img_5024.jpg

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