“Get Your Sexy On” Maca Cacao Smoothie!

P1020618I must confess. I do sing that Justin Timberlake refrain after drinking one of those. Please, don’t judge it. It’s not me. It’s the maca. I swear! The maca! The magical, wonderful, sexy maca!

I don’t generally dig breakfast unless I haven’t eaten the night before. And raw cacao is too powerful for me in the morning so bear that in mind if you are a light eater in the morning. I made this on a day I had a serious hunger.

What’s in it?

  • maca powder
  • raw cacao powder
  • pumpkin seed milk
  • ba jiao (Japanese banana)

What is maca powder and how does it help you get your sexy on?

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Maca is a root vegetable, cultivated at high altitudes in Peru and Andean Bolivia. The root resembles a turnip and is known to increase vitality, energy and yes, libido.Maca is cultivated at altitudes high enough that there is no need for pesticides since very little else can survive up there. Farmers use potatoes to act as natural deterrents for root pests so maca is a very clean food. It is rich in calcium, potassium and contains essential trace elements iron, iodine, copper, manganese and zinc as well as fatty acids. Maca’s reported beneficial effects for sexual function could be due to its high concentration of proteins and vital nutrients. (Wiki)

Called an Incan Superfood can be a turn-off to the cynics out there (understandably – there is so much crap in the market out there) and indeed when I compulsively grabbed two bags whilst on holiday recently, I had no idea what maca was about, except for what a dear friend had previously mentioned, so I wanted to find out.

I included a teaspoon in my green drinks (spinach), my orange drinks (carrots) and my red drinks (beets) and found different experiences with all. First of all, I found that if I had one “heaped” teaspoon of maca, my belly became unsettled and I got diarrhea and nausea.It has to be one “level” teaspoon. Also, if I have it with sweeter drinks like carrots and beets, the taste is too overwhelming. Maca has  a sweet taste already, but it also has a subtle after taste which is not easy to palate. So, always level your teaspoon. Of course, it’s not the same for everyone. It does work really well for the more savoury green drinks I have. Also, if I include lots of squeezed lemon in my orange drinks, then it works well too.

After having every day for about a week, I started to feel a higher than normal level of sexual arousal. And it is constant and alive with me. It’s a great feeling. It doesn’t only relate to want to having sex, it also relates to a great feeling of self awareness and life awareness. I feel more sensitive to my surroundings, more energetic, a lot more focused (my friend who told me about maca also reported feeling the same focus). Since I started using it, there were days when I didn’t have my drinks or days when I was on my period and didn’t take it as is suggested. So I could feel the difference in my energy and sexual arousal.

It’s a great addition to your daily nutrition and I highly recommend it. Please note that you should not have maca while on your period. Also note that you should read up about iodine in maca and how it affects goiters. Finally, note that while it increased my sexual vitality, it may not necessarily have the same effect on everyone.

In this smoothie, we also have raw cacao. Another super food of note, please read all about it in my Raw Chocolate post.

P1020614Recipe:

1. Pumpkin seed milk: soak a cup of pumpkin seeds for about 6 hours then blend with 3 cups of water until liquid. Pour into a nut milk bag and squeeze the milk into a jar. Dehydrate the pulp to make your own pumpkin seed flour or combine the pulp with other ingredients to make cookies.

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This is the pulp after blending.

You should get a thick, white milk like this

You should get a thick, white milk like this

2. Rinse out your blender, then throw in

  • two ba jiao
  • all the pumpkin seed milk
  • a few heaped table spoons of cacao (to your preference)
  • two level teaspoons of maca (this makes two large drinks)

Blend on high speed for a few minutes, the pour out into smoothie cups and enjoy. I slice my ba jiao and freeze them in ziplock bags to make a quick, easy, icy addition to my smoothies.

This is a powerful drink. Proceed with caution 😉

To buy Maca:

http://www.navitasnaturals.com

http://www.vitacost.com

Seaweed as Nature’s Own Beauty Product

P1030195I’ve been very lucky to have two close friends who make their own, chemical and preservative-free skin food ranges that feel like absolute bliss to the skin. Using their products for about a year now has inspired a new sense of responsibility and awareness about what I put on my skin and in my hair.

Everyday on the internet, you get the fear-factor version of all the atrocities surrounding make-up production, the morbid lists of chemical ingredients and some award-winning evidence photography of some poor woman whose eyelids have fallen off because she used a moisturizer from a known and recognized manufacturer, perhaps someone you’ve been using for years, so I will spare you the theatrics.

Instead I’ll talk about Irish moss. Irish moss is a red seaweed that grows along the rocky parts of the Atlantic coastline of Europe and North America (wiki). Colours range from light yellows to dark purples. In the picture above, we have the reddish variety. Irish moss. This kind of seaweed is commonly consumed in Taiwan as part of a salad.

In raw food cuisine, Irish moss is used as a thickening agent. Indeed in most mainstream food production as well. It contains a polysaccharide called “carageenan”. Carageenan is extracted from Irish moss and used as a soldifier/ thickening agent in canned foods, it’s used in ice cream, it’s used in most shelf-stored desserts and it’s also used in toothpaste. I’m sure the list is longer but this is just what I remember from what I read.

Recently, Irish moss and more especially, carageenan have come under fire from academics who claim that it is a cancer-causing agent and has been linked to diabetes and heart conditions. Although I can link lots of those research papers here, I’m not going to. My point is not to cause distress. Also, there is always the question one should ask when reading a research paper: Who is funding this research? Asking myself this question when trying to understand the soy bean debacle has brought some clarity on the matter and now I know that non-GMO soy from outside the US is a healthy food source.

I chose not to work with Irish moss because I don’t like how it works as a thickening agent in raw food. But, I do use it as a hair conditioner and a face mask. It’s got a lot of good stuff in it: vitamins, amino acids, iodine, calcium, potassium, protein, sulphur and zinc. It’s a great de-tangler, moistens the skin and hair and adds a gorgeous shine and sleekness. I have used it a few times and will now make it the sole conditioner I use on my hair and face.

It’s easy to get in Taiwan. I found mine at the Cotton Lands organic store.

P1030194How to do this:

1. Take about 1/2 a cup of Irish moss and soak in a large bowl of water for 12 hours. It will expand in size, so be sure to use enough water and a big enough bowl.

2. Rinse it out under running water then pop it into your blender and add just enough water to create a thick paste.

3. Spoon it into a container and let it set it in the fridge for a few hours. It is now ready to use.

It is said that it lasts for up to ten days in the fridge and indefinitely in the freezer. I have long hair so half a cup gets used quickly as a conditioner and face mask. However, I also have some frozen in ice cube trays in the freezer.

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This is what the blended and chilled paste should look like.

I wash my hair with a solution of bicarbonate of soda and water and after rinsing, I lightly press the water out with a towel then apply the Irish moss as a conditioner. I leave it in for about 20 minutes, doing a face mask (it tightens and lubricates the skin) at the same time, then rinse it out.

I blow dry my hair downwards so that it stays sleek and after drying, I dip my finger tips in the smallest amount of olive oil and rub them through the ends of my hair. It really helps to tame humidity-abused hair. It also feels so good to know that everything that I put on is natural and nourishing.

Give it a bash. Let me know how it feels.

 

 

 

Stay Calm and Balance Heat with Bitterness :-)

“Bitter taste is a powerful detoxifying agent, and has antibiotic, anti-parasitic ans antiseptic qualities. It is also helpful in reducing weight, water retention, skin rashes, fever, burning sensations and nausea.”

                            (Eat. Taste. Heal.)

During this really hot summer, bear in mind how to balance the accumulated heat in your body. Don’t aggravate it by eating “hot” foods like mango, guava or litchi. Cool it down by reaching for bitter, drier foods like kale, spinach, bitter melon, green cabbage, zucchini, eggplant, tumeric, fenugreek, coffee and olives (examples referenced from Eat. Taste. Heal.) Bitter food stimulate the appetite while keep you feeling lighter and more energized than heavy hot foods.

If you find yourself steaming up and feeling heavy and lethargic, try this simple salad to stimulate you and keep you energized.

Bitter Gourd and Pomegranate Salad

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The flavour is bitter but balanced with sweet, tart dried pomegranates and sesame, lemon dressing.

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Step1: Wash the gourd then slice in half, lengthways. Use a teaspoon to scrape out the white flesh and seeds. Rinse once more, then pat dry.

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Next, finely slice the gourd like in the picture.

Wash your salad greens. I chose to use these bitter purple leaves in addition to my bitter gourd. I guess my body needed it:-)

Wash your salad greens. I chose to use these bitter purple leaves in addition to my bitter gourd. I guess my body needed it:-)

Rinse and dry greens then add the sliced gourd to it.

Rinse and dry greens then add the sliced gourd to it.

P1030183  P1030181P1030184The dressing is simple. Freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and a few gratings of Himalayan rock salt.

Finally, add some dried pomegranate or any small, sweet, tart fruit of your choice to off-set the bitterness of the salad.

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This is an internal air conditioner salad 🙂 Try it, it’s great!