Methylxanthine Free

Caffeine, as well as theobromine, paraxanthine and theophylline, are part of the methylxanthine family and can be labeled as psychoactive stimulants. These substances in varying amounts and complexes are found in coffee, tea, chocolate, cola, yerba mate and guarana. 

According to the book Body Restoration by Drs Lebowitz & Kapadia: “Caffeine is the most consumed, socially-acceptable stimulant in the world.  Approximately 90% of adults in the world consume caffeine in their daily diet.  More than 150 million people in the US drink coffee on a regular basis, averaging 2 cups per day. While my mother could have coffee after dinner and fall asleep at bed time I stayed awake till the early hours if coffee entered my system after 1 PM.

In the ‘70s I was introduced to Cafix and Pero, a coffee substitute made mainly from roasted barley & chicory. I have also had roasted soybeans made into a nice warm beverage. Today there is Teechino which comes in several flavors and is made like an espresso drink. All the above are very good coffee substitutes.

A very good tea substitute (besides your herbal teas) is Rooibus (also Rooibos) or Red Leaf Tea which is naturally caffeine free. A company called Imperial Organic makes a delicious 100% organic cinnamon rooibus chai blend. I brew it double strength and make it into a latte or frozen blender drink flavored with liquid stevia* (see below)

Chocolate is also in the methylxanthines family and I have known women who tell me they will ‘kill’ for chocolate during certain times of the month. Some have also told me of the splitting headaches after eating a chocolate bar.

For a chocolate substitute you have a very old and healthy alternative called carob. In its natural state, carob is classified as a fruit, growing in long slender pods, 4-10 inches on an evergreen tree.  It was first brought to the US from the Mediterranean in 1854 in the form of 8,000 plants which were distributed mainly in the southern states.  Each tree averages about 100 pounds of fruit in its 12th year.

The entire pod except for the seed can be chewed like any other dried fruit or ground into a powder like cocoa that can then be made into syrup or used as flour.  The Pod is given to horses in Greece as we would give a sugar cube.

Carob is a well balanced food, rich in Vit. A, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and minerals: potassium, sodium magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, calcium and iron.

Compared to cocoa which has 295 cal/100 grams, carob has only 177 cal/gr. There is also less than 1% fat while cocoa has 23.7%. Another plus is that carob is high in fiber at 7% (close to that of wheat bran).

While chocolate has two stimulants, caffeine and theobromine, carob has neither.  Researchers have also found a relationship between chocolate and migraines which they suspect is caused by phenylethylamine in chocolate which effects blood vessels at the base of the skull that cause pain for those who are sensitive to it.

Experiments have shown that chocolate and cocoa prevent calcium assimilation and due to its oxalic acid it can deplete calcium as well. One more plug for carob is that it is naturally sweet whereas the cocoa bean is bitter and requires large amounts of sugar which draw on our body’s vitamin B reserves. Beware: there are good tasting carob candies which are loaded with sugar and fat. Check out our healthy carob recipes.

To substitute carob for chocolate:
3 T carob powder + 2 T liquid for each chocolate square

To substitute carob for cocoa powder:
Equal amounts carob powder to cocoa powder

To make a syrup try:
2 c water
2 c softened dates
1/2 c carob powder

Soften dates by simmering or soaking overnight in the water till soft then blending with the carob powder till smooth adding an additional 1 c water to blender.
Use as a dessert topping or blend 3-5 T per cup of milk for a hot or cold beverage.

All recipes are free of Methylxanthines.

* Liquid Flavored Stevia by either Sweet Leaf or NOW