Maca Ancient Peruvian Food Medicine

Maca – aka ‘Peruvian ginseng’ or Lepidium meyenni – who should try it.

I love food that ‘does stuff’. Functional food / superfood / food as medicine – whatever you want to call it, food that can make a noticeable change when you eat it is cool. 

I especially love it when there is a ‘historical uses’ & a ‘scientific studies’ reason to give it a try, as there definitely is with maca powder.

It has been used for at least 2000 years as a fertility / libido / energy tonic in Peru where it is grown on the foothills of the Andes. The Aztecs would apparently use it to promote energy, strength & stamina for going into battle, but then consumption was prohibited after the conquering of a village – to save the women from its libido-enhancing effects! 

I became interested in Maca after working in healthfood stores & repeatedly hearing positive feedback on it. I always ask customers what they use things for & if they notice much difference etc (nosey naturopath, yep but that’s how you learn). 

Maca powder is something that many women swear by for helping them through their menopausal years (stress, energy, libido) & men love it for boosting strength, libido & athletic performance. This mostly comes down to adrenal support – super important to support adrenals (ie don’t be living on caffeine & not enough sleep if approaching menopause or wanting to stay strong & virile for the long haul!) 

So for boosting general vitality I’ve always kept maca in the pantry & I use it sometimes in smoothies, or just mixed in with yoghurt whenever I feel like an added boost (you know, on days when I have a lot of conquering or ravaging to do). And of course it’s in the ‘BallBags’ protein ball mix.

The flavour by itself can take some getting used to – it’s not unpleasant, just different – ‘earthy’.  It has a sweet almost biscuity or butterscotch-like taste that works well with cinnamon, yoghurt, protein balls, smoothies, some healthy baking etc. It is just made from a dried, powdered root vegetable – so it’s kinda starchy in texture. 

Maca is considered an ‘adaptogen’ (like the ginsengs & many other ‘energy’ boosting herbs). Adaptogens support our adrenals & help us to handle stress better (wether it be mental or physical). Most people will notice more energy when using adaptogen herbs & often libido improvements as well, because when your general energy is higher, you will have more left over for lovin!  Most of us don’t really feel like getting it on when stressed, it’s about survival – your body knows that making babies is a bad idea when you feel like you’re barely surviving! 

Who should use maca and who should avoid maca? From my experience & research, some people do really really well on maca & then it’s just not right for others. Definitely worth a try if you’re suffering from poor energy, chronic fatigue, depression, low libido, are menopausal, feeling depleted, adrenally exhausted, having trouble conceiving, not ovulating regularly etc – but if you’re all good hormonally or know that you have excess oestrogen or an outta control libido then I don’t advise using it regularly at high doses (or just bear in mind that it may have an effect so be observant)!

What dosage? 

Start small – 1 teaspoon daily, but then if all feels good, you can increase – dose can range quite a bit, apparently effective from 1.5 teaspoons up to a tablespoon or 2 daily at the higher end (that’s a very ‘earthy’ smoothie, & will be way too much for many!)  

If you have thyroid issues – be aware that maca does contain goitrogens (just like many foods including kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts etc – it is part of the same family). So don’t be going overboard on kale-loaded green smoothies with added maca if your thyroid is a problem area. Also probably not advisable with hormone sensitive cancers. 

Muscle building smoothie using Maca: 

This is a post-workout smoothie for those wanting to build muscle (that’s most of us because muscle will burn fat for you, even when you’re asleep)! This recipe serves 3-4 (or maybe 2 huge footy players) so make it for the family or pour into jars for a couple of days – or you can easily do the maths for 1 serve! 

Muscle Building Smoothie

Links to some research on Maca:

Post menopausal women, sexual dysfunction, depression / anxiety.

Male endurance / athletic performance & sexual desire. 

SSRI induced sexual dysfunction

Whats your favourite superfood ingredient?
Love to hear it what it is…
Jeanie Xx
jeanie@goodmix.com.au

Superfoods To Put In Smoothies: How to Stock your Smoothie Rack

So you’ve decided to finally get yourself healthy! High five, that’s a good decision – you even bought a blender / bullet…but what next?? What are the best superfoods to put in smoothies? Here is my smoothie must-have list!

….the smoothie rack lives next to the spice rack in any healthy kitchen!

Here’s the superfoods to put on your ‘smoothie shopping list’ & how to use them – so you can be the smoothie king or queen, with all the good stuff ready to  go, at your fingertips!

Put these on your shopping list asap!

1. Raw cacao powder – to give you a wake-up buzz, keep you relaxed but energised & alert (& young looking!)  Perfect for those times you need a bit of a kick, but not quite as much as a coffee. Cacao is full of magnesium to keep you calm & relaxed (it’s a super common deficiency, you probably need more), & also special plant chemicals to protect your heart & blood vessels, as well as making you feel alert & happy. AND…it makes a banana smoothie taste like chocolate. Combines well with berries, banana, maca, nuts, seeds, protein powders, coconut or greek yoghurt…a must have.

2.Turmeric – to soothe your inflammation, support your liver & keep you young inside & out. Add fresh chunks to all your green smoothies.

3. Chia seeds – to feed your gut bugs fibre, supply you with omegas, plant protein, stabilise blood sugars & keep you feeling  full. Chia has a neutral flavour, gelatinous thickening properties & should always be soaked prior to using (keep a mug of chia ‘jelly’  in the fridge for up to a week for use in your smoothies).

blueberry smoothie | the best superfoods to put in smoothies | goodMix superfoods

4. Pea protein – plant-based support for healthy immunity, strong muscles, blood sugar balance, beautiful skin hair & nails, & keeping you full & satisfied. Tatses a little ‘earthy’, but combines well with any maca, cacao, green or berry smoothie. Get used to it gradually & after a while you won’t mind it.  

5. Whey protein concentrate – same benefits as pea protein, just tastes more smooth & milky – gives your smoothies a creamy feel. Goes great with banana, berry, nuts, coconut, yoghurt, coffee smoothies…anything you want to make creamy & more filling.

6. Matcha – full of anti-oxidants, another one to keep you alert & energised, but calm at the same time. Perfect in a green smoothie – a little bitter, so get used to it slowly.

7. Flaxseeds – add in for smooth, supple skin (good fats) & to keep you full & regular. Like chia, flax are best soaked prior to using as they will digest much better & be gentler on your tummy. Keep them pre-soaked up to 3 days in the fridge, & add anytime you need good fats & fibre in your smoothie to keep you nourished & full.

8. Maca – used traditionally by warriors (& today by body-builders, athletes, average blokes & menopausal ladies) to make them strong, fast & …well, horny. Goes well with any cacao, banana, vanilla, coconut type combos.  

9. Coconut yoghurt – creamy, coconutty, dairy free deliciousness with good bugs for your tummy. Add anytime you want dairy-free creaminess. Combines amazingly well with any banana, cacao, coffee, mango, passionfruit, pineapple etc…so many flavour combos! (We highly recommend our friends at Pure n Free.  

10. Kefir – dairy or coconut / water kefir adds good bugs to any smoothie, any flavour. Just don’t overdo it as the tart / sour flavour can ruin taste if too strong.

11. Kombucha – more good bugs! Amazing added to green smoothies or anytime you want a bit of sweet, bubbly lightness.

12. Ginger – warms you from the inside! Ginger is a digestive tonic, great to settle nausea, gas & bloating & improve circulation. Awesome in green smoothies, or if you like a kick in your berry, pineapple or cacao flavours.

13. Berries – so vibrant & full of antioxidants. Use fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, boysenberries, mulberries…or dried goji berries, inca berries, macqui berries. Awesome fruit as they are high in fibre & lower in sugars, making them some of the best superfoods to put in smoothies!

14. Greens – kale, spinach, parsley, mint, lettuce, cucumber, celery stalks & tops, mixed greens…just about anything green can be added (in small amounts to start with) to ‘salad smoothies’! Use a fruit to sweeten / make palatable – my faves to carry the greens are pineapple, banana, pear, & apple.

15. Avocado – good fats & dairy free creaminess! Great in any smoothie to make it more filling & nourishing.

16. Nuts / nut butters – peanut, almond, cashew, brazil, walnut…any nuts. Best to soak overnight / activate before blending.

17. Cinnamon – blood sugar support to stop your cravings & keep your energy stable. A must have in any banana smoothie, great with berries, or any vanilla / creamy /  coconutty smoothies.

18. Coconut water – add as an electrolyte replacement, perfect for post-workout smoothies or green-smoothie hangover cures!

19. Banana – sweet creaminess. Use frozen chunks or fresh, in any cacao, green, berry, vanilla, nutty or tropical smoothies.

20. Natural greek yoghurt – good bugs in a creamy, protein-rich dairy base. Works well in any creamy smoothie.

21. Vanilla essence – enhances the flavour of so many smoothies. Use it in banana, cacao, berry, coconutty or nutty smoothies.

22. Blend11 – it covers so many bases nutritionally & goes well in any type of smoothie…use it for broad spectrum nutrition, protein, good fats & prebiotic fibre to keep you full & satisfied! When it comes to superfoods to put in smoothies, Blend11 covers all bases as it contains a mix of so many on this list!

23. PondWater – goes into all my green smoothies to make them…greener! An easy way to increase your chlorophyll, especially when the fridge / garden is bare or you are travelling. Aloe vera & greens for energy, gut health, immunity, skin & liver support.

So there you have it! That’s my pick of the best superfoods to put in smoothies! I would love you to share with me your favourite smoothie recipe – you never know if it makes the cut I may send you some free product!

Click to share you recipe 

Jeanie X

A Day In The Life of a goodMix Patchy…

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3.30am – 4.30am

Alarm goes off – Rise & Shine!

You’re up before the sun, bleary-eyed & packing the esky with your cold tasters (prepared the night before) & coconut yoghurt, loading it into the car (where your market kit is already packed from the day before. The early commute at least has no traffic – you grab some ice on the way & the petrol station guy knows you from the time before, & the time before.

4.15am-5:00am

Arrive at markets.

You drive in, unload everything from the vehicle in the almost dark & start the set up process. Gazebo, tables, cloths, stock, signs…getting everything into place & looking pretty…in approx 40mins, you have yourself a fully functional, temporary ‘shop’ with sampling station. Dawn is breaking – phew. It’s coffee time!!

5.30am

The earliest shoppers are starting to wander in, empty trolleys dragging behind them. You walk back to your stall, sipping your locally roasted coffee, chatting to your fellow stallholders along the way & maybe grabbing breakfast & a few bits n pieces as you go, before the rush hits.

It’s slow for another half hour or so –  just a few regulars…these shoppers know what they want & they stock up & get out quickly – you’re lucky if you’re on their list.

6.15am

The early crowd is upon you, you greet the familiar faces, catch up on their week & exchange goods for cash.

7:00am-12:00pm

It builds from here until the sun is high above you, your till is overflowing with notes, & your tables & esky are almost empty. That’s on a good day. A bad day might mean – your till looks exactly the same as when you arrived, your tent is soaked, some of your stock is ruined, your shoes, socks & even your undies are soggy…but you’re still having a laugh with your neighbours, you’ve got your weekly fresh groceries (cheaper & fresher than you could buy anywhere else), & you are thankful that you can at least pack your bags at the end of the day & bring your stock back to sell at the next market. Some aren’t so lucky – the fresh produce has to go. You feel sorry for the farmers & buy heaps. Smoothies, pesto, guacamole, freeze things, cook things…give some away…can’t miss the rainy day specials!

12:00pm

Pack up time!

Organise the fresh purchases, pack them away carefully into your half empty stock boxes, cold things into the esky & start dismantling the temporary shop, loading the vehicle with everything, much less neatly than it was before – in your rush to get home. You get home, & the day is not done yet – the stock goes away, counted & ready for next market, the groceries into the fridge, the till counted & recorded. You did ok…a days work done, made a profit, got your shopping done, stocked the fridge…& it’s still only lunchtime.

1:00pm

…finally, relax – time to have a rest!

Or clean the house, take the kids to footy, do the mowing, catch up with a mate, lie in the sun, go for a swim…the day is only half done! You feel kinda like a zombie…but you can catch up on sleep later!

 

Does this sound like you? The market gig is definitely not for everyone, you need to be just a teensy bit crazy – & pretty tough to do it long term. We have some patchies who’ve been doing it for more than 3 years now, rain hail or shine – but we also have some ‘gaps in the market’…so get in contact if you think you might like to fill one for a little while…or maybe even a long while!

Happy to have a chat anytime – see more info at the link below.

MORE INFO HERE