• Aliya

Confession: I Don't Eat Chocolate

^ It's going to be a no for me.

When I was in my mid-20s, I started getting migraines. Thankfully, they weren't the painful ones, but migraines with aura that started off as a small blind spot in my vision and transformed into large curved lines of flashing lights. At the end of it all, I would be tired and sensitive to light.

Naturally, the first time I had an migraine with aura, I had no idea what was going on and thought I might be having a stroke. I was at work and tried to stay calm until my vision returned to normal. I hopped on to WebMD (which is usually the worst idea) but this time it actually made me feel a bit better. I didn't have an hour to live; I had just experienced my first aura.

From that point forward, I would have the migraines at least a couple times a month. They would come and go unpredictably and I had no idea what caused them. I eventually tried the elimination diet to nail down the culprit, and turns out it was (drumroll please) CHOCOLATE.

Listen, I was bummed. But I wasn't devastated. Other possible culprits included wine and cheese and I was too busy celebrating the fact that I could scarf down a grilled cheese with a Chardonnay chaser to mourn the loss of chocolatey goodness (and the caffeine often found in chocolate). I had never been a "chocoholic" so I sort of shrugged and moved on.

That was almost 10 years ago. And let me tell you, I miss chocolate! A sweet and sticky Snickers bar, a melt-in-your-mouth Butterfinger, chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven, and my true long lost chocolate love: warm fudgy brownies topped with vanilla ice cream.

I thought I would never be able to enjoy these treats again. But as the song goes, "I once was lost, but now I'm found." In other words, I discovered Carob.

Carob comes from a flowering evergreen tree that produces edible carob pods. These pods can be ground up to create carob powder and/or carob chips as chocolate substitutes. Carob became a popular chocolate alternative in the 70s during the natural health food movement because it has no caffeine. I'm using popular lightly, because from what I've read, a lot of people hated the taste of carob.

But it has been a game changer for me. Does it taste just like chocolate? I can't remember what chocolate tastes like! But I do know that since discovering these Carob chips and this Carob powder during quarantine, I've had all the "chocolate chip" cookies and "brownies" my heart has desired.

My carob brownie ^ Get into it!

If you're looking to cut down on your caffeine, have a dairy allergy that keeps you from eating milk chocolate, or have a chocolate intolerance like me (there are dozens of us! Dozens!) give carob a shot. Take this brownie recipe, a quality scoop of ice cream, and go to town.


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"The rose is without an explanation. She blooms, because she blooms."

- Angelus Silesius

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