Any kid whose mum frequents or works in a health food store knows about carob. Not always with fondness…. Disparagingly referred to as ‘fake chocolate’, carob is made from the bean of the locust tree; they are extracted from their pods, roasted and ground into a powder. This is then combined with other ingredients to make carob bars or can be used to make drinks and syrups.
The fact that carob is caffeine free benefits little people who get wound up by chocolate and it affects their sleep or behaviour – sometimes grown ups also.
Recently, carob is receiving positive press again, as part of the auto-immune diet protocol. Less likely to cause inflammatory reactions, carob can be used to allow followers of the diet to enjoy a treat made from carob. As carob does not contain oxalates, which can cause joint and digestive pain, or tyramine, which can trigger headaches, it is well tolerated by sensitive tummies. The fibre is high in polyphenols and gallic acid, which provide anti-oxidant properties. As it is naturally sweet (due to prebiotic fibre), carob is as versatile as chocolate in baking and confectionary.
Carob contains pectin, which is helpful for diarrhoea, binding toxins and waste products for safe excretion. It is alkaline and helps to reduce hyperacidity of the stomach.
The only caution would be for people very sensitive to legumes, as the tree is part of the Fabaceae family. Also, combining carob with a whole lot of sugar still makes it full of sugar… so check the labels for other ingredients.
At Easter-time, carob bunnies and carob eggs are available and made from high quality, organic, Australian grown carob. As a veteran of a mum who went to health food shops, I am rediscovering carob as a gentle, healing alternative to the big bang of cacao. You bet my son will get some this Easter…