Category Archives: Super foods

Under the Microscope – Maca.

Under the Microscope - Maca.

Superfood Maca is native to the mountains of Peru and is cultivated as high as 4300 meters above sea level. It has been used for over 3500 years and legend claims that during the peak of the Incan empire, the warriors consumed maca before going into battle to ensure super strength and stamina.  On return from battle however, Incan soldiers were prohibited from using maca in order to protect the women from their insatiable sexual desires. Maca is renowned for providing strength, endurance and enhanced libido.

So what is maca?

A member of the cruciferous  tribe  such as kale and cabbage, maca is abundant in potassium, magnesium, calcium, sulfur, iron, sodium and phosphorous and also contains trace minerals which includes iodine, zinc, selenium, bismuth, copper, magnese, tin and silicon. It is also rich in vitamins B1, B2, C and E.

Maca has the ability to stabilise and balance the body’s glandular – hormonal system, nervous system, cardiovascular system and musculature. This makes it great for managing hormones, stress, thyroid and your mood in general.
According to David Wolfe, maca is great if you suffer from:
Anaemia
Chronic fatigue
Depression
Infertility and sterility
Lack of libido
Malnutrition
Menopausal symptoms
Menstrual discomfort and disorders
Poor memory
Stomach cancer
Stress tension
Tuberculosis

How to use it and where to get it?

Seeing as maca is a superfood it can be used in greater quantities than other medicinal herbs.  It has also found to be safe to use long term. You can purchase it online or at most health food stores in dried, raw, organic food. Look for the real deal and only buying from the root, not other parts of the plant.

Use a tablespoon in smoothies, juices, nut milks, tea or coffee, or add to your raw chocolate treats.

Here’s a recipe to get you started:

Blend 2 frozen bananas

2 fresh bananas

3 medjool dates

200mls of filtered water (or your favourite nut milk)

1 heaped teaspoon of maca root powder

Sprinkle with cacao nibs.

David Woolfe also claims that maca has a special relationship with cacao so use them together regularly to experience the culinary sensation 🙂

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Reference: Woolfe, D. (2009). Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future.  

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Nutrient dense

The easiest way to the get the good stuff into my kids is via smoothies.  Nut milks are a great way of balancing out the fruit and keeping their tummies full.  Chia seeds will give them fibre, protein, omega 3 EFA’s, calcium, iron and magnesium.  I have recently discovered the goodness of camu powder.  It is a Peruvian super food which is rich in vitamin C and amino acids.  You purchase it and many other super foods at http://www.iherb.com?rcode=ZNZ931.

Just be sure to make enough for yourself

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Smoothie Bowl

Smoothie Bowl

Move over green smoothies, smoothie bowls are the new black. You’ll need your blender, large bowl, spoon and…

1 tablespoon of Maqui Berry Powder
1 handful of organic baby spinach
1 cup of raspberries
3 frozen bananas
Some water or coconut water for desired consistency
Blend well and top it off with hemp seeds, cacao nibs and raspberries.

We use maqui berry powder in our smoothies often. Whilst you may of seen goji berries or acai berry powder used in many recipes, maqui berries are less known.

Maqui berries grow wild in Chile and Argentina and are one of the richest sources of antioxidants in the berry family. They are a beautiful vibrant purple colour, which comes from a pigment called anthocyanin.

Research indicates that consuming anthocyanin rich foods may protect against high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and have anti-cancer properties.

 

 

Green Smoothie – Protein Packed

Green Smoothie - Protein Packed

I finally purchased some Sun Warrior protein powder. I’ve never really been into protein powders but I needed the vanilla flavour for a chocolate recipe that I am making. In the past most of the powders I had used were soy based and left a really strong after taste.
Sun Warrior is raw whole grain brown rice protein powder. It is gluten free, soya free, dairy free and 80% protein.
The vanilla flavour is really lovely and makes for a filling smoothie.

For this smoothie:

Blend
1 scoop of protein powder
At least 1 cup of water
Baby spinach
1 tablespoon of grounded chia seeds
Bananas (frozen or unfrozen and as many as you care for)
1 probiotic capsule  (I used Truflora).

It helps to blend the water, protein powder and spinach until smooth and then slowly add the rest.

Don’t forget to share with any little people in the house. Kids love green smoothies and the sooner you can make them a regular part of their lives, the better 🙂

 

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Blueberry Smoothie

Blueberry Smoothie

200 mls of almond milk
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
1 teaspoon of acai berry powder
1 teaspoon of maca powder
1 handful of baby spinach
1 cup of frozen blueberries
1-2 bananas

Optional
1 teaspoon of sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon of pumpkin seeds

Blend well and decorate with a few almonds and a sprinkle of cacao nibs.

Chocolate Bomb

Chocolate Bomb

*1/2 avocado
*2 ripe bananas
*2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder
*1 teaspoon of maca powder (optional)
*1 tablespoon of coconut palm sugar
*1/4 cup of brazil nut milk (you could also use cashew or almond etc)

Blend well, serve and sprinkle with cacao nibs.
If you wanted more of a summer desert use frozen bananas.

Chocolate Fudge

Chocolate Fudge

1 cup date paste*
1 cup cacao powder
1⁄2 cup coconut butter
3⁄4 cup cacao butter, melted
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons hemp seed
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

*To make date paste, blend 1 cup soft dates (such as medjool) with 3⁄4 cup water.
Thoroughly combine all ingredients in a food processor. Remove from the food processor and transfer mixture to a square pan.
Sprinkle with the hemp seed.
Leave in the fridge to set for a few hours.

This recipe comes from my mentor The Raw Chef – Russell James. It is divine and tastes somewhat like solid mousse. It can definitely be tweaked but I wanted to start with the basic recipe.