Thursday, March 31, 2011


Happy Thursday!!!

               Hope everyone's week is going well! I rode my bike into work yesterday. It was great except for the terrential downpour which meant a lot of water sprayed my way from trucks and semi's. I was wearing rain gear but I wore runners and they were absolutely soaked by the end of the trip. I was walking around the office in socks for the rest of the day. Thank goodness I had no meetings:) The trip home was good as well. I got an extra good workout in as I was biking against the wind:) If I could bike through yesterday's weather, I think I can handle anything else!!  I'm planning on riding in tomorrow and then next week I will begin my first 5-day stint.

For today's post I thought I would compare carob and cacao as I've always wondered what's healthier,what's tastier, what is a better bang for your buck etc. So, here we go!!

Raw Carob VS. Raw Cacao

Carob is actually a member of the legume family and it grows in mediterranean areas.This 50 foot tree favors dry conditions which fungus and pests detest so very little chemicals need to be applied (score!) It produces no fruit for the first 15 years will continue produce well into it's senior tree years. Carob's pod are edible, the seeds are not. Each pod produces around 15 seeds which are processed to make locust bean gum. The pods are dried and ground into what we know as carob powder.

Cacao trees are native to the Americas yet today they are limited to a geographical zone 20 degrees north and south of the equator. 70% of the world's cacao crop is grown in West Africa . Cacao pods are filled with 30-50 large seeds that are mainly white in color. The seeds and pulp are placed on grates to "sweat" for a couple of days. The dried seeds can be shipped out as is or ground into a powder at the country of origin. To make 1lb of chocolate 300 to 600 beans are processed.

A Carob tree. Take a look at those pods!!

Cacao Tree with "food of the gods" hanging from it.
Nutritionally speaking...

  • free of caffeine and other stimulants (theobromine) that are found in cacao
  • Low in fat
  • High in calcium (3x chocolate), magnesium, phosphorus, potassium
  • Contains iron, manganese, barium, copper, and nickel
  • Naturally Sweet
  • Contains over 300 compounds including protein, fat, carbs, fibre,copper magnesium, iron, and zinc
  • Contains antioxidants ( OREC scores it at 95,500, blueberrie are at 2,400)
  • Strong stimulant
  • Contains oxalic acid that may inhibit calcium uptake
  • It can be addictive

Carob has been described as having a taste like chocolate with coffee accents or like the flavor of a tootsie roll. I find it has a malty type a good way. Raw cacao is not naturally sweet so you have to add it to something that already has some sweetness in it...unless you like bitter things:). It adds a deep, rich flavor to anything you add it to.

Bang for your Buck
I am basing my prices on Amazon's site so they might be different where you live. A 16 ounce bag of raw carob will run you around $13. Since you don't need to use a lot of it to give you your recipes that chocolate flavor with natural sweetness, this bag should last you awhile. A 16 ounce bag of raw cacao will cost you around $17.00. Depending on how much you love chocolate, you may be okay with this bag for awhile or you may need to buy the two pack.

My take

***FYI this whole article is based on the raw, powdered version of cacao and carob, not the chocolate chip or bar form which can be processed with a lot of junk.***

 There has been a lot of back and forth lately about cacao and if you should be eating it or not. It is a stimulant so if caffeine really effects you or your adrenals aren't functioning at top notch, it's probably best that you go with carob. I LOVE using raw cacao powder and making my own superfood chocolates or chocolate peanut butter cups. I haven't tried using carob for these desserts but I'm sure it would work great and with less added sugar to boot. I add in a little raw carob or raw cacao to my overnight oats, breakfast cookies, or smoothies. All in all, I think carob is the better way to go as you still get that chocolate taste, it's lower in fat, is high in calcium, but without the stimulants or the need to add in extra sweetener.

What are your thoughts? Carob or cacao?


Heathy and Philip have actually created a dessert book called Raw Food Carob Desserts. I think I'm going to pick this one up especially with those two authors!!

Ricki has some AMAZING recipes that use carob including Chai Carob Latte, Carob-Coconut Sweeties, and Carob and Date Pancakes. She also has a lot of cocoa/cacao recipes too!

The twins made socca carob bread  that I'll be sure to try as I have about 5lbs of chickpea flour in my pantry that is calling my name:)

Check out carob and cacao on foodgawker

And from yours truly:) Breakfast chocolate protein pudding, banana almond butter chocolates

Tomorrow...oats and all it's many form!! Have a great rest of your day:)


Nelly said...

i'm not a fan of smells and tastes funny to me...i've tried...i've really tried to love it...

check your email...sent you a surprise...

Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun said...

Not big on carob, but cacao is always good! You are dedicated with your riding! I don't know if I could handle in the rain.

HiHoRosie said...

I'm not much of a carob fan either but do love cacao! :) Thanks for all this info though - it's great!

kelli said...

i was forever riding my bike as a kid and teen... i don't ride nearly enough now. very cool you can ride to work.

nice carob/cacao comparison. i've only tried carob chips once when i accidentally bought them instead of cacao and didn't care for them, though i've enjoyed desserts at potlucks with carob. i'm not a huge chocolate person anyway, only once in awhile i like it.