Can’t or Don’t Want to Eat Chocolate? No Problem, Try This… : Exclusive Renegade Health Article

Monday Feb 6 | BY |
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cacao-chocolate-flowers
These pretty flowers will turn into cacao pods!

Many of you know my public struggles with chocolate…

I ended up eating a large amount over an extended period of time and started to get rashes, adrenal fatigue and muscle cramping.

My magnesium levels were at an all time low — so low that my muscles would cramp when I did the smallest amount of exercise.

This in itself was curious since chocolate is a well documented source of magnesium.

Anyway, I truly wanted chocolate to work for me as a health food, but it didn’t.

So I stopped eating it regularly.

(I do eat an occasional piece about every 1-2 months, but with the knowledge that I may end up not sleeping well for 48 hours so so.)

One of the most popular replacements for chocolate in the health food world is carob powder (raw or roasted.) Since I like the taste of chocolate so much, I kind of made it a mission to try all different kinds of carob to see if anything tasted the same. It didn’t. The biggest problem to me was that the powder just didn’t seem to be as flavorful and useful as it was advertised.

It seemed like the fool’s gold of the health food store.

Fast forward to our last trip to Peru…

We were in a small supplement / health food shop in Lima called Madre Natura. You never would find it if you didn’t know where it was — tucked into a building that looks more like a school house than a bakery, cafe and natural goods store.

Among the shelves of toasted quinoa, Peruvian herbs, fresh yogurt and whole grain bread was a collection of jarred liquids.

I recognized the yacon and miel (honey), but another, dark syrup caught my eye. The label read Algarrobina — which I still can’t pronounce (LOL!) — and since it was next to the honey and yacon (and I was sure it wasn’t bacon grease), I assumed it was sweet and purchased a jar to try when we got back to the hotel.

Two weeks passed and I had forgotten that I even purchased it.

A snack before we left…

I was digging into our bags in Cusco as we were about to go on a trip to Tres Cruces to watch the sunrise and participate in a despacho ceremony. I found the jar in a plastic bag in my backpack.

Not caring so much about it anymore, I attempted to give it to our Q’ero friend Sebastian as a gift since I was sure he’d know what to do with it and would appreciate it more than I had already done — left it in my bag to be forgotten.

Sebastian was walking out of the house at the time and I called to him to wait a moment. I gave him the jar and he looked at it. He doesn’t read, so the label meant nothing to him. But he knew exactly what it was.

“Algarrobina!” He shouted and smiled.

“Eso es para ti, es un regalo.” I said. (This is for you, it’s a gift.)

He quickly said, “No! Es rico.” (It tastes really good!)

These were how our conversations tended to go. My broken anglo-Spanish matching his very broken Quechua-Spanish allowed us to have no more than 3rd grade type conversations.

I got that it tasted good, but he didn’t understand that I didn’t care so much about it, but my curiosity was piqued again.

“Ok, ok… como comes?” (How do you eat it?)

“Ahh….” he said and came back up the stairs quickly.

He clearly liked whatever was in he jar and it appeared that any time spent not eating it was wasted by his hurry.

sebastian-shaman-peru-andes
Sometimes when communication breaks down, it’s just best to hug.

My Sweet and Gooey Goodness!

There was a ripe banana on the counter and he quickly undressed it, opened up the jar and dipped the end right in. The dark, molasses-y syrup formed a thin string like melted cheese as he pulled it out. With one hand he swiped beneath the now coated banana to scoop up the string and with the other he shoved the whole banana in his mouth (Peruvian bananas are much smaller than their hybridized American counterparts.)

He licked the syrup off of his other hand.

With smile, he handed me an unpeeled banana and gestured that I try the same thing. He did the same to Annmarie. I wasn’t as graceful on the clean up and the syrup drizzled all over my hand, shirt and counter, but when I put the banana in my mouth to eat it, I was blown away by the taste. Annmarie was too.

It was so unique. Sweet, but not overwhelming. Dark and complex with notes of coffee, molasses and chocolate. It was unlike anything else I’ve ever tasted before and I wanted to know exactly what it was.

I asked him.

He said, with his usually guff enthusiasm, “Algarrobina!”

I knew I wouldn’t get any deeper. My control of the Spanish language had stymied me.

I then just smiled and we finished the bananas and nearly half of the syrup before we headed off on our trip.

Later on in the week, I searched in Google for the term “algarrobina.” I discovered it was — surprisingly — the syrup of the carob pod. The exact same powder that I felt was pedestrian in flavor, apparently turns into an exquisite, thick sweetener — gourmet-like.

The carob tree grows in Peru as well as in the Mediterranean and there it’s quite popular as a sweetener for deserts and drinks (hot, cold and alcoholic.)

Not so much in the U.S.

It’s processed somewhat similar to maple syrup, without the excessive boiling. The pods are ground down into powder, added to water, then boiled until thick — only about 3 hours or so.

Many of the uses are simple, just like as if it were chocolate syrup or any other sweetener. You could add it to smoothies, drizzle it over yogurt or breakfast cereals or chia, dip your favorite fruit into it or use it in baking or dehydrating.

But aside from the great taste and the many uses, what surprised me most was that I’d never heard of carob syrup before. Why, after all these years, hadn’t I see it in the health food stores?

It was a sweetener that was a great source of b vitamins, lower glycemic than others like honey, a good source of minerals and also had many folk remedies that were worth noting — these included assistance for sore throat, stomach ache and digestion.

I sent some emails to a few colleagues who had been in the natural health world for longer than I and even they had no idea it existed.

I was shocked, but excited.

This did NOT almost get me arrested.

I wanted everyone to know about this new sweetener I had “discovered.”

Unlike my muña exploits, I contacted my connection stateside who had brought in sacha inchi for us. He was sure he could get this special syrup — which he also told me he loved and didn’t know why no one in the U.S. was talking about it.

After some brief back and forth, we finally were able to find high quality, organic carob syrup. I was thrilled, it would be my chocolate away from chocolate. My fix when I wanted to sleep.

Now you can try carob syrup as well…

Like I said, this syrup is rich in vitamins and minerals and has such a unique taste that you have to give it a try.

We recently had a friend over and Annmarie offered her some on gluten free bread. When she told her first taste, she looked at us a little funny. The flavor was so different to her that she didn’t know what to think about it.

On the second, third and all other bites she was much more confident that she really liked it — in fact, she wanted to buy a bottle on the spot!

I think you may have the same reaction.

We’ve only brought in a small batch because we wanted to make sure it was the quality that was promised and it’s somewhat difficult to find if you’re looking for organic. It’s also farmed by people who are paid a fair wage, so that makes it more expensive — which I’m totally willing to support.

Anyway, I would love for you to experience this little taste of Peru if you’re willing. I’d actually love to have you over at our house to try it with me, but I’m afraid we’d have to schedule 110,000 visits over the next 20 years to make that happen! LOL!

If you’re interested in trying this unique syrup sweetener now, here’s where you can go…

Click here to get Carob Syrup or Muña or both!

It’s on special for a short period of time and you can save when you get more than one bottle — of if you want to try Peruvian muña as well.

Oh yeah, carob is an aphrodisiac as well… so spilling a little on your hand or elsewhere is totally appropriate and somewhat encouraged. 😉

Live Awesome!
Kev

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

37 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

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  1. Rita says:

    how can carob syrup, which i love the idea of, be rich in enzymes, minerals and other nutrients if it’s boiled for three hours?

  2. LA says:

    I wish I could have either chocolate or carob. Carob upsets my GI for days and gives me flatulence & bloating, whether I buy raw or roasted. No can do for me. I liked the taste. It didn’t taste like chocolate, but was a good alternative for me who couldn’t have any chocolate.

  3. Lester says:

    Why eat chocolate when you can brush with it? An extract of cocoa now sold in Theodent toothpaste is being touted as non-toxic and more effective than fluoride. Studies have not yet been published.

    {http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-skeptic-flouride-free-toothpaste-20120206,0,2520409.story}

    {http://teethsense.blogspot.com/2011/11/dentists-losing-public-trust-10-ways-to.html}

  4. LynnCS says:

    Kevin…Thanks for the great story and congrats for finding something you and I’m sure many will enjoy. You make it sound yummy even tho I’m not much of a chocolate lover. The combo of coffee/chocolate, and molasses does sound kind of appealing. As you say it is healthful, so that is a plus. Hmmm!

    Love the story. Your friend sounds so cute! Nice.

  5. deb says:

    I actually think it tastes more like molasses, so I use it as a replacement for that since molasses is not sold here (Peru). And I still treat myself to some of the wonderful organic peruvian cacao now and them as well!

  6. I’m sure it is great tasting .but what can you tell me about water kefier and kombucha tea’s

  7. Velda says:

    Cute story. I can’t wait to get mine and try it. I love dark chocolate, but know that it is not the healthiest thing in the world – it is very difficult to find true organic, raw chocolate. I ordered the combination muna and carob syrup a couple of days ago. It has already shipped, but I am anxiously awaiting for it to arrive. Actually, I like the taste of carob, but it is definitely not chocolate. Thanks, Kevin. I’m glad you got around to tasting the carob syrup 🙂

  8. Constance Gravestock says:

    A few years ago I discovered carob molasses in a Persian store. Many times when I returned to purchase more, they were out of stock. The occasional times I did purchase it, I always bought extra to share with friends. Yes, it is truly an amazing, wonderful treat!

  9. Lindsay says:

    Thank you for this, very useful! I have similar problems involving chocolate, and have never been too satisfied with the other forms of carob, but I will give this a try. (:

  10. Lucie says:

    Dear Kevin,
    I have carob syrup in my closet and I bought it here in Montréal, Québec, Canada. From the store: Adonis on Sauvé st.
    The company that makes it is: Alwadi. It comes from Libanon. It is really delicious, made from pure caroub. They call it: Carob molasses. 60 calories in 1 tbsp. Mix it with tahini for a delicious spread.

  11. Bethwyn says:

    I unable to get the site to order for me the carob syrup. Help please.

  12. Denise Wallace says:

    Carob is not new to the planet. I discovered it back in 1973 as alternative to the overly processed chocolate that was only available at that time.IE hershey and the rest. Now I eat only raw cacao it’s full of magnesium and other antioxidants and minerals. Processed chocolate has nothing it it Kev that’s why you got sick nothing but processed garbage. Eat the real thing. Hershey doesn’t compare to the real thing

  13. Alona says:

    One can make very tastey “health” chocolate at home very easily. The taste is similar to dark chocolate. It has 3 ingredients: organic natural cocoa powder, organic cold pressed coconut oil and raw honey. Amounts are not exact and one can experiment: about 6 full Tbs oil; about 11 Tbs cocoa; about 2 Tbs honey.
    Melt the oil (cold pressed natural coconut oil hardens in cold weather) on a very low heat for a minute or two, then mix cocoa powder until smooth texture. Mix in the honey until smooth. Cool a bit and form shapes or leave as one chunk and place in fridge until firm. Varieties: add ground almonds, orange zest…
    Enjoy, Alona

  14. Feride says:

    We use it in Turkey also. The traditional way to use any of the syrups here is to mix them with some tahini and use it as spreads. Mulberry syrup is considered highly medicinal, also juniper syrup. I always found carob syrup to be a little too strong for my taste buds until I did a raw cashew cookie with it!! It’s pure magic. Try it…
    1/2 cup cashew flour to 1/4 cup carob syrup and a little bit of salt. Mix it in the food processor. Gotta keep it in the freezer which adds a chewy consistency to the sensational taste.
    Love..

  15. Catherine says:

    Oh yes, I will try that chocolate recipe. Thank you Alona!

    Thanks Kevin for the carob syrup article, very interesting.

  16. Chandrika Purohit says:

    I really need your help and guidance. I am having fullness and burning sensation in the left side of my brain. I have seen a neurologist and after running an MRI – he could not find anything. However, he did just three conventional therapies like

    1…..take drugs
    2…..go for nerve block injections.
    3…..have scalp surgery.
    I have refused all three options.

    Do you know anything about these symptoms? Do you know anyone who is a hoslitic neurologist and who can help me?The burning sensation and the fullness feeling is so very uncomfortable that is hard to concentrate on day to day activities of life. Please help me and guide me.

  17. Adrienne Anderson says:

    I hear ya on the carob kev~!

  18. Hello Chandrika,

    I am so sorry about all that discomfort and worry, and well done for taking the initative to ask for help here.

    My suggestion is to have a Clairvoyant take a look at you – that is someone who can see your body, and more, psychically. Often they can see the root cause and then you have the opportunity to heal that. There can be many different causes, sometimes simple and sometimes not so simple.

    Most Clairvoyants will work over the phone, and actually I tend to prefer this sometimes – not so much personal interference.

    So here are a few names for you, and if you ask around or google you will find more I am sure. I recommend trying several if you can afford it so you can cross reference – just as in the medical world.
    I healed from breast cancer without chemo or radiation (after some surgery) and can’t thank my clairvoyants enough. I was given invaluable insight and support. Then I even wrote a book on it all so people would know that they had more choices! I am happy to share this with you now.

    Siobhan Cunningham 415 756 3360

    Margo Mariana http://www.margomariana.com

    Cheryl Bourget 480 518 3660

    I wish you amazing success!

    Many blessings

    Heather

  19. QC says:

    Well, at one point I couldn’t eat any cacao, even with a small bite I would not be able to fall asleep. But because I love the taste of chocolate, I tried carob. But for some reason, carob causes me to have constipation. Then about a year later, I tried cacao again. I was and am ok with it.

  20. Adrienne Baksa says:

    Or… you can take organic raw carob powder and mix it with a bit of excellent quality maple syrup and there you have carob syrup. Delicious. (Or even agave, although I know you’ve given that up.)

  21. Ellen says:

    Carob just does not sit well with me. It really bothers my stomach. I eat a three small pieces of 74% dark chocolate, even though it does have sugar.

  22. Ashley says:

    Another way to make chocolates like Alona mentioned, is to use real pure maple syrup instead of honey. The end result won’t taste like maple syrup anymore, but it enhances the chocolate flavor and lends an extra depth to the overall flavor.

  23. Nils says:

    I just thinking of making it at home. Maybe you can get the traditional oringinal recipe?

    What i wanna know with mun~a and th sirup. When does marketing cross the line to biopiracy. i just talked to a brazil woman here. Hope you let this coment stand.

    He mother is a natural pharmacist in brazil.

    So my question what about biopiracy? and fairtrade and so on. How do you ensure for yourslf to be good in some ways Kevin.

  24. Ela Harrison says:

    I have the same issues as you with chocolate, plus it negatively affects my brain chemistry.

    I’m happy you discovered carob syrup but surprised that no one in the health movement had ever heard of it. It’s a Middle Eastern staple, and most Middle Eastern/Persian/Asian markets carry it. Glad to hear it has some healthful properties too–I assumed it was just boiled down, and still suspect some of that. Carob itself, of course is highly nutritious…

  25. Shannon says:

    Hi Kevin!

    I am totally with you as far as the cocoa sensitivity. I thank you so much for your posts because those helped me pinpoint what was going on! I am sleeping soooo much better now.

    My question for you is this: for someone like myself who has been fighting candida for the past few years and who doesn’t eat honey or other natural sweeteners (stevia is my go-to), what is the sugar context of this carob syrup? What is the glycemic index? I want to know if this will cause a candida flare up if I eat it, or if it will be an okay thing for me to do. Thanks!

  26. basia says:

    Chandrika Purohit
    sorry to hear about you suffering i had a similar incident/ saw a good cardiologist & did some blood work, have the test FactorV5 done, expensive but it can clear out matters, but do go see a good acupunturist, I did & he cleared up all my tension around my brain/head,help flow the body’s energy/ you could be also your suffering from Candidia,yeast infection, i have this plus sticky blood syndrome,
    hope this helps, hang in there, everything has an explanation!!
    hang in there!!!
    make sure you stay off all sugars

  27. Ricardo Blasco says:

    Kevin,

    You say that…..”the carob tree grows in Peru as well as in the Mediterranean” . But I know that in Peru only grows the false carob tree ( botanical genus Prosopis). The true carob tree is of the genus Ceratonia (I grow this last in Spain). Both trees and their fruits are very differents . The problem is that in Spain the true carob tree is called “algarrobo” and that in South America
    the false carob tree also is called “algarrobo”.

  28. D says:

    Chandrika,

    Praying for you! If you want to try an easy detox, I recommend Sonne’s number 7 which involves benonite clay.

  29. Maurice Horn says:

    Chandrika Purohit
    Try tapping on your meridian points, both hands, using your finger tips, simultaneously on the top of your head, both fighting spirit points or the temples, both cheek bones, in front of both ears, one at a time, third eye point, point between the nose and upper lip, point below the lower lip, breast bone, and under each arm, once a day or as often as possible. It takes only a couple of minutes to do this. Look in the mirror into your own eyes and speak your own name to yourself, beloved, beloved, beloved Chandrika, tell yourself in a loving way that you love yourself. You are a self healing being and you are wise to write a post.

  30. “Oh yeah, carob is an aphrodisiac as well… so spilling a little on your hand or elsewhere is totally appropriate and somewhat encouraged.”

    My friend, you crack me up.

    I’m really excited to try some of this with you sometime (preferably in Peru).

    Jonathan
    http://www.MusicOfMassage.com

  31. Mike Maybury says:

    I live in the UK, where we have many ethnic shops.
    I have used date syrup and grape syrup, purchased from them.
    Recently I have bought from Asda supermarket a mixture of maple syrup and carob syrup.
    All of the above seem to have, from their colour, many minerals etc. I use them as better sweeteners, which add some of the goodness of the fruits concerned, as well as being delicious.
    They are much tastier than cane molassee ( the blackstrap kind is extremely bitter) which may also be rich in minerals, and certainly they are much sweeter.

  32. Jodie says:

    Hi Kevin,
    A really great raw chocolate recipe. My kids love it and even my husband who usually prefers “real” chocolate.

    RAW CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
    Blend the following together in a food processor.

    100 gr almond meal
    50 gr coconut flour
    pinch sea salt
    100 gr raw cacoa powder
    50 gr cacoa butter (or normal butter I’ve found ok)
    150 g sultanas or raisins
    30 g desicated coconut
    150 g Extra virgin coconut oil
    2 tbsp 100% pure maple syrup.

    Press into a tray and slice into small squares. Refrigerate till set.
    SOOOOOO good!!!

  33. MaryE Stifflemire says:

    I am happy to find a carob syrup. I knew there must have been one available but didn’t know where to look. I had to stop eating chocolate back in the ’80’s because I don’t tolerate caffeine and also because it usually is made with milk and I am allergic to dairy. Thank You for finding this.

    MaryE Stifflemire

  34. David says:

    Alona, sounds yummy! go to try making it, try other fruits, Blackberry, maybe?

  35. Gina says:

    Hi Kevin, I totally hear you on chocolate. I’ve tried lots of brands of organic dark chocolate. I want to enjoy the taste and I want it to be fine on my digestive system but neither is the case. I really don’t like it much but wind up overeating it anyway and it always gives me a heavy feeling and sometimes a headache. Thank you for bringing to our attention this option of Carob Syrup. I will order it to check it out. If it works for me, I’ll order it for a Hiking & Wellbeing Event I’m hosting this fall in NJ. Hey, join us Kevin if you are able 🙂 http://alignwellbeing.com/special-event-an-extraordinary-day-of-wellbeing

    Chandrika, I would start with trying EFT aka as Tapping to see if it relieves your symptoms. Are you familiar with it? It’s a very simple technique you can do yourself. You will find a lot online and the 2012 World Summit begins tomorrow I believe. Google it.

    Kevin, my favorite thing you said in your article was
    “Sometimes when communication breaks down, it’s just best to hug.” You are profound. It addition to language barrier issues, it works miraculously with spouses and children too :)!
    Peace, Love and Light, Gina

  36. Chocolate…??? How about RAW chocolate which is extremely healthy.
    Here is a receipe from our catalogue…
    Kreamy Chocolate Banana Smoothie
    Our suggested products from our catalogue…
    –Cacao Nibs
    –TOCO a special meal replacement containing all 22 amino acids plus many other raw ingredients.
    –Coconut Oil
    –Hemp Oil
    –Pristine Sea Salt
    Ingredients:
    2 cups pure water
    1/2 cup Raw Cacao
    1 tbsp alcohol free vanilla
    2 tbsp Hemp oil
    2 tbsp Coconut oil
    1/2 cup TOCO
    6-10 fresh or frozen bananas
    Blend in blender and enjoy.

    Request our colorful 96 page catalogue and mor details: 250-220-1262 or LeadingEdgeHealth@shaw.ca

    PS.. Candida over-growth is very easy to clear up with our patented probiotics and Health Program.

  37. EXCELLENT WRITINGS. WHERE ELSE CAN I FIND MAGNESIUM NATURALLY FOR THE SHORTAGE IN OUR BODIES.?

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