Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Recipe for Happiness – Not a Carob in the World

Carob is actually a legume often times used as a substitute for chocolate. Carob is naturally sweeter than chocolate, but not as flavorful. However, it has many attributes that make it a good alternative to using cocoa.

For one, it does not contain caffeine and two, it is sweeter so less sugar is needed in recipes when using carob.  In addition to not having the negative effects of chocolate, carob is very nutritious. Carob contains as much Vitamin B1 as asparagus or strawberries; as much niacin as lima beans, lentils, or peas; and more Vitamin A than eggplant, asparagus, and beets. It also contains Vitamin B2, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and the trace minerals iron, manganese, chromium, copper, and nickel. It contains approximately 8 percent protein and is a good source of fiber. Compared to chocolate, carob is three times richer in calcium, has one third less calories and seventeen times less fat. I’m starting to like this stuff!

Carob is an alkaline food. The Ph or chemistry of your body, for ideal health should be 80% alkaline and 20% acidic. Foods influence the chemistry of your body. Carob is also low in fat, helps to stabilize blood sugar, good for teeth and gums and free from stimulants such as caffeine.

Carob has a long history dating back over 5000 years. It still plays an important part in Jewish tradition and is used widely throughout Europe and the Middle East. The Spaniards carried carob to Mexico and South America and the British took carob to South Africa, India and Australia. Carob was introduced into the United States in the 1800s with California becoming the area of the country that grows carob. However, the crop has not been very successful. Most of the carob we consume comes from the Mediterranean.

The seeds themselves have a long history. The seed looks very much like a large watermelon seed. There are about eight seeds to a pod. The gum they contain was used and is still used today by the Egyptians for binding their mummies.

The Italians use the seed to make rosary beads. In Israel they have an annual Carob Festival. This seed was also used as a weight measure for gold and gems because seeds are very even in weight.

The word carat, which is still used today to measure gold and diamonds, comes from the Arabic name for the carob seeds because of their uniformity in weight.

 Today, we also use carob in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and for food thickening.

Big carats make some girls happy. But the carob that is fat free, high in nutrients and a third less calories than chocolate makes all girls real happy!
Doctor Lynn

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