the pod that loves your gut

Posted on: June 5th 2019

Summer sun, something’s begun
But, oh, oh, these summer nights

My heart’s all a flutter with the thought of the summer lovin’ to come.

Can I tell you more?!

No, I’m not about to reveal the details of my love life. (Sorry!) I just love summer. Period. And much of my summer love is all about my gut.

After years of learning to tune into the rhythms of the season, I’ve determined that the whole year feels better when I bring extra devotion and attention to my small, but all-important, intestines during the dog days of summer.

As we enter a new season, I want you to join me and do the same!

This is an open invitation to all. And I’ve made it easy for you…

Over the next few months I’m going to introduce (or re-introduce) you to some surprising ingredients that you can incorporate into your daily routine that will be like delivering roses or, yes, “chocolates” to your gut, sending a message of love and healing in a package of flavor.

Today’s summer lovin’ ingredient?

Carob.

The reason you may have scrunched your nose when reading the word carob is because carob is often billed as “the other chocolate”. And, it’s not.

Let’s be real. Nothing tastes like chocolate!

But nothing tastes like carob either. And that’s a good thing! (Good for you and for your gut.)

Carob powder comes from carob pods. (These are the pods that love your gut!)

It’s a good source of calcium and contains a host of other vitamins and minerals. I love to mix it into coconut yogurt with maca and stevia, raw honey or your sweetener of choice, sprinkle it with walnuts and I’m a happy summer camper.

But what does carob have to do with gut health?

Believe it or not, carob has been used as a remedy for digestive distress (especially diarrhea) throughout history.

The tannins, a dietary compound found in plants, are likely what makes carob effective in treating diarrhea and other digestive issues. Unlike most plants, the tannins in carob don’t dissolve in water and can help prevent harmful bacterial growth in the intestines. (Are you in love yet?)

And the natural healthy sugars in carob act as binding agent and can help bulk stool treating those symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and acid reflux.

For digestive support, consider adding 1.5 to 15 grams per day (that’s roughly 1 to 3 Tbsp.) As with any new therapy, if you’re considering including carob to help address any gut signs or symptoms, ‘start low and go slow’.

I recommend starting with 1/2 tsp and tuning in to see how your body responds before going head over heels.

And if you’re not experiencing those symptoms, no need to hold back. Go for flavor and gut goodness.

One last gut-loving perk of carob… fiber!

Just one tablespoon of carob powder contains 10% of your recommended daily fiber. I’m guessing I don’t have to tell you what fiber means for your digestion, but I might come back with a little more in that arena later this month, just to remind you how important it is to work toward bypassing those daily recommendations.

FIVE EASY WAYS TO ADD CAROB TO YOUR DAILY ROUTINE!

1— Slip some carob powder into your smoothies, nut milks, shakes, desserts, or baked goods.

2— Swap carob one-for-one in any recipe calling for cocoa powder. Carob is a bit sweeter than cocoa, so you may want to reduce any sweeteners in the recipe by just a bit (and know the flavor will be different). You can also just sub half the cacao and still retain some of the chocolate taste.

3— Consider the flavor combination with other superfoods like cinnamon, maca, and lucuma. (Did you catch my yogurt combo above? It’s seriously delish!)

4— Add one tablespoon carob powder to any baked good to get a dark “pumpernickel” color and flavor, with benefits.

5— Make one of my old loves, “mounds candy bar” bites, recipe below!

“mounds candy bar” bites

makes 15 – 20 bite sized candies

"Mounds Candy Bar" Bites

    ingredients:

    • 1/2 cup coconut oil
    • 1/8 cup almond butter (or other nut or seed butter, cashew is nice)
    • 6-8 drops liquid stevia
    • 1 Tbsp yacon syrup, coconut syrup or raw honey
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup toasted carob powder
    • 1/8 cup hemp seeds or finely chopped nuts of choice
    • 1/2 cup large unsweetened coconut flakes (with more for topping)
    • 1/8 tsp sea salt (with more for topping)

    preparation:

    Melt the coconut oil by placing the glass jar in a small pot of water over the stove top, at a medium to low heat. (Do not do this with a plastic container, and do not stick your plastic or glass container in the microwave, as you only want to just liquify, not boil, the oil.) Alternately, scoop out some solid oil and heat in a small pan.

    Mix all ingredients, including melted coconut oil in a medium bowl.

    Line a mini-muffin tray with paper liners. Spoon approximately 1 Tbsp of the mixture into each liner.

    Sprinkle the tops with a bit more of the coconut and sea salt (just a touch!) reserved for topping.

    Chill in freezer for at least 15 minutes before eating.

    Candies can be stored and kept in freezer until ready to eat.

    Kitchen Notes:

    Be sure to read ingredient lists when you purchase carob; the carob chips and candies often contain added sugars or unhealthy fats. Stick to getting your carob fix with homemade treats like these Nakayama household favorites.

    Carob powder should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark location. It can get clumpy and hard if not stored properly. If it does, try to sift it or go ahead and get some fresh carob.

    Here’s to summer lovin’ and sensational summer treats that your gut (and tastebuds!) will love.