So what’s the deal with maca powder, anyway?
I first heard about maca powder when I was modeling abroad in Cape Town earlier this year. While at Wellness Warehouse, a favored health chain store in South Africa, looking for some carob powder (yum!), I came across a pack of maca powder and was intrigued by it especially since I’d never heard of it back in Canada. The package read: Maca, an ancient Peruvian superfood, is a powdered root herb grown for centuries at high altitudes in the nutrient dense soil of the Andes. According to legend, Inca warriors ate Maca before going into battle to give them strength and endurance.
Wow! I had to get it now. South Americans produce some of the world’s greatest power foods, all of which I routinely eat, like chia seeds, quinoa, cacao beans, acai and now…maca was another to add to my list.
One of the lovely ladies that worked there suggested that, like spirulina and cacao, you were able to add them to smoothies and snacks for an extra punch of energy. So being the curious health cat that I am, I bought it then rushed home to further research its roots and benefits.
As soon as I got home, I opened the bag and found it had a bitter, nutty and malty smell and taste. Kind of like cacao (?) but way earthier. Too be honest, it made me a little nauseous. 🙁 In my opinion, you need to dilute the taste of maca in order to enjoy and benefit from it! It’s not a edible flavor on its own.
After an hour of researching, I gathered some astounding nutritional health benefits and facts:
- Maca has gained a reputation for helping balance and manage hormones, especially in women. It helps to relieve menstrual issues like cramps, body pains, anxiety, mood swings, PMS and depression. It does not contain any hormones but rather the nutrients that it contains support and regulate normal hormone production and due to an abundance of environmental estrogens, most people have hormones that are a bit out of whack.
- Maca is also known for increasing stamina enhancement and energy levels. Very recommended for those with adrenal fatigue as it nourishes and reduces stress hormones.
- Maca is naturally high in vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium, zinc, iron, and magnesium. It provides plenty of vitamin B, C and up to 20 essential fatty acids, fiber, lipids and amino acids. All which your body needs!
- Maca is has also been suggested as “nature’s Viagra” because it’s been shown to be beneficial as a fertility enhancer and helps to improve libido and sexual functions, especially in men!
- Maca is great for general health but it’s highly advised that pregnant women, those with liver issues or high blood pressure and persons with cancer related to hormones like testicular and ovarian, should consult a professional before adding it to the diet. There are no serious side effects, but like any new (natural) supplement, it should not be taken in large amounts.
When you first start using maca, it’s best to begin by taking smaller amounts and building up to an average daily dose. 1/2 a teaspoon was a good place to start for me. I ‘snuck’ it in my garden green smoothie and could barely taste it. Some nights, I’d have it in a warm matcha green tea for an extra boost. After a week or so, I gradually increased my daily amount to 1 tablespoon and anymore than that, just made my smoothies bitter. Like I mentioned earlier, not a fan of the taste but worth it in order to reap the benefits! Maybe I should look into finding maca capsules to avoid the taste? It does taste odd but it gets tolerable…hopefully!
Maca is also enjoyable and easy to incorporate in healthy raw energy goods! And because I care for you, I made two snack options using maca powder so you’re able to choose how you want to enjoy this Peruvian power root. Both recipes are easy to make and don’t require the use of the oven so that you’re able to acquire the full benefits of the maca powder. Of course, I have to mention that these healthy goodies are gluten/wheat free, grain free, sugar free, preservative free and vegan! They’re both filled with rich healthy fats (the good ones!) that will keep you satisfied and energized after just eating a few and you won’t feel the need to overindulge.
Stay healthy, my friends! x
Raw Maca Fudge
1 cup of organic virgin coconut oil, melted
3-4 tbsp of raw cacao or unsweetened carob powder
1 tsp of vanilla bean flavoring or vanilla extract (non alcohol)
1 tsp of raw organic Maca powder
1 tsp of organic chia seeds
Sweetener: packet of stevia or stevia drops (adjust to sweet tooth)
Optional: 1/3 cup of unsweetened desiccated coconut
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Make sure the coconut oil is melted before combining. Line small baking sheet or container with parchment paper and pour mixture into the dish. Add additional cacao or carob powder over the top for sprinkling; this is optional! Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour or until nicely solid. Slice then serve. Store in the fridge until eating and use within 5-7 days.
They kinda remind me of Timbits. Only much healthier of course! 😉
TIP: Ever wanted to know what to do with your leftover almond pulp after making homemade almond milk? It’s pretty much almond flour except it’s not as finely grounded like almond flour products. But for these balls, you don’t need ’em to be.
No Bake Maca Almond Pulp Balls
1 cup of homemade almond pulp (or almond meal/flour)
1 tbsp of raw organic Maca powder
1/4 cup of unsweetened carob powder or raw cacao (you can add a tsp or so more if you want it a little more chocolate-y!)
1 tsp of vanilla flavoring or vanilla bean pod extract
2 tsp of homemade unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tbsp of organic pure almond butter (peanut butter or sunflower seed butter works too)
2 tbsp of organic virgin coconut oil (coconut butter works too or more almond butter!)
1 tbsp of vegan protein powder (hemp or sprouted brown rice)
Stevia packets or stevia drops to sweeten
1/2 cup of shredded coconut and/or hemp hearts for coating
Combine all of the ingredients a large bowl, expect for the shredded coconut and hemp hearts. Mix well. Use your hands to mold into little balls. Cover in coconut and/or hemp hearts. Refrigerate until firm. Pop balls and enjoy!
South African waves.
There’s no place like it.
Life’s better on the beach.
My soul is most happiest when my toes are touching the ocean and when my skin is against the warm white sand. Cape Town, South Africa has one of the most beautiful beaches that are so pure and unspoiled. I was lucky to have a lot of beach time during my days off. Most beaches were quite accessible – some of the best ones were about 5-10 minutes away within reach.
It’s important to have moments with mother nature in any way possible. Whether it’s going for a long stroll, hiking, canoeing, swimming, picnics at the park and of course my favourite, hitting the beach. Having these moments allows us to come to our breaths by letting go and marinating ourselves in our inner peace and happiness. Not only do we inhale fresh oxygen, we soak up one of mother nature’s powerful nutrients: Vitamin D.
During my time in the magical Cape Town, South Africa, I had the privilege of exploring many different gems that the country had to offer. As a solo female traveling, there was so much recommended for me to do, it was overwhelming (and exciting!) Two and a half months was definitely not enough for me! There is a reason why The New York Times dubbed it as the #1 destination of the 52 Places To Go in 2014.
I still gush over at how amazing this country truly is but here are some of my favourite adventures that I recommend you do:
– Table Mountain: A view that even Cape Tonians never get tired of. It is one of the 7 New Natural Wonders of Nature and a significant landmark of Cape Town. My recommendation is that you HIKE IT! This can take between 1 hr-4 hrs depending on your speed. It is worth it and great exercise. My friend and I did it and was shocked to meet so many people that did it regularly. One of the most epic and breath taking views of the city. There is also a cable car that brings you up but it’s filled with many tourists and their humongous Nikon cameras.
– Lions Head: Another epic view and hike! This mountain is situated between Table Mountain and Signal Hill. There is nothing that brings you up to the top (or down), but the hike is a fun one! It’s smaller than Table Mountain but the trail is much more challenging. The windy and unpredictable weather in Cape Town can have an impact on your hike, so make sure you try to go earlier in the morning or later in the evening.
– Paragliding: On my last day, I decided to do this! For only 1000R (which is equivalent to $100 CDN), you can gently para-glide over the beautiful city for 15 minutes with a licensed flyer. What a great way to end my trip!
– Boulders Beach in Simonstown: Me + cute penguins on a beach. Need I say more? Oh, and you can also swim with them if you want….;)
– Bo-Kaap: Also called the Malay Quarter, this multicultural neighbourhood is known for its beautiful cobblestone walkways, bright, colourful homes and history.
– Galileo Open Air Cinema (Kirstenbosch Gardens): This was definitely better than a drive in movie! Perfect for a lovely evening out under the twinkling stars watching a classic film snuggled under a blanket in the most perfect city.
– Moyo (Stellenbosch): One of my favourite restaurants outside of the city! Moyo is an African experience of its own kind! The cultural buffet was served in a giant hut which we brought up to our own private tree house and while we happily dined, a live band performed classical African music like the Xhosa song. And if that wasn’t magical enough, our server also come by and gave us traditional tribal face painting to set the mood.
– Noordhoek Community Market: Cape Town definitely knows how to throw a good food market. Every Thursday, locals get their grub and bubbly on at this aesthetically beautiful market at the Noordhoek Vineyard. Now you won’t find greasy street vendor hotdogs and burgers here! You can find the most delicious homemade and organic dishes like spanish paellas, wood oven pizzas, fresh soups and salads, cheese spreads, fine chocolate and my favourite: SexyFood vegan burgers with roasted butternut squash, quinoa and sprouts. Unlike Toronto’s crowded, hipster markets, most of Cape Town’s will won over your heart with their stylish and contemporary food and absolutely gorgeous sceneries! I am drooling already…..
Article Posted on Modellist-ID.