Quinoa is the KeenWow Super Food!

While relatively new to the United States, quinoa has been cultivated in South America for over 5,000 years. The Incas considered it a sacred food and referred to it as the “mother seed.”

For the longest time I would say to myself “key-no-a” every time I saw the word ‘quinoa’. I knew it was wrong but I could never remember how to say the darn word since the spelling was a little funky. Since I have started eating it and using it as a base for lots of yummy recipes, I don’t have that problem.

Now, I just think ‘keenwow’ and I say it correctly without hesitation. It almost makes me feel like a part of some special group of veggies that have used it so much they don’t have to think about it anymore. Yeah me!

If you are not already aware of them, there are many reasons to think of Quinoa as KeenWow:

  • It contains more high quality protein than any other seed/grain
  • It is a complete, stand-alone protein; it provides all the essential amino acids in a balanced pattern
  • It contains no wheat or gluten
  • It is light, tasty and easy to digest
  • It is a nutrient powerhouse
  • It is quick and easy to prepare
  • It is low on the glycemic index and full of fiber

This video from Clean and Delicious with Dani Spies shows more reasons to love quinoa and also shows you how to buy and prepare it:

So don’t be afraid to pick some up off of the shelf at your local grocers just because you aren’t sure how to pronounce it or prepare it. That’s what this whole wannabe vegan thing is about right? Trying new things!

Do you have a great quinoa recipe? Please share below, on Facebook or on Twitter.

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Where can I get the good stuff? Maca that is.

Now that we know the basics and benefits of Maca, I’m sure you’re wondering where you can get the good stuff – right?!

Searching the web, I found a lot of products that contained Maca in a combination product (fertility enhancer) and as a food ingredient (energy bar). I think that staying closer to the source is best when you are choosing products to put into your body, especially if you are trying something new and want to eliminate variables when evaluating your reaction.

So, I recommend buying Maca in these forms: (in order of preference):

  • whole and chunks (if you are in South America)
  • powder
  • capsules
  • extract

It is best to buy Maca that is from the Junin Plateau (best altitude, soil type and micro-climate), raw, organic, non-irradiated and non-GMO. If you don’t happen to be hanging out in South America at the moment, powder is my top choice since it usually goes through the least amount of processing (of course, that depends on who you buy it from). But if you don’t like the taste – which is a bit malty – or want a specific dose, the capsules and extracts may be a better option for you.

Here are my top picks:

Navitas Naturals Organic Raw Maca Powder
(certified organic, kosher, vegan, and raw)

Navitas Naturals Organic Raw Maca Powder Capsules
(certified organic, kosher, vegan, gluten-free, and raw)

Herb Pharm Maca (Pharma Maca®)
(certified organic, non-fumigated, non-irradiated)
Contains certified organic grain alcohol and distilled water.

Start with a small daily dose and work your way up after you see how your body reacts. Be sure to take at least one day off each week to let your body adjust.

Which Maca products do you prefer? I would love to hear your comments on the blog, on facebook or on twitter.

Can Maca Really Do All That!?!

As I learned more about my rascally root friend; Maca, I was astounded by the many benefits it offers.

Regulates and Balances the Systems of the Body

Maca is an adaptogen. This means that it helps the body adapt to stress and changing situations. It works with the your natural rhythms to help rebuild  immune systems, re-mineralize bodies and increase energy and endurance.

It also helps balance your hormones. It can decrease the symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings. Depression and PMS can also be alleviated along with thyroid and fibromyalgia issues.

Improved Sexual Response and Fertility

Maca has been used as an aphrodisiac for many years because of its ability to increase sex drive, sexual arousal and physical performance during sex. It can also relieve other low libido effects in women like decreased vaginal lubrication and ability to have an orgasm.

It helps with fertility as well since it increases sperm count, motility and volume in men and positively affects ovarian function in women. It also decreases anxiety and stress which can sometimes be a factor with infertility.

Increases Energy Levels and Mental Clarity

Maca can increase energy and improve both stamina and endurance. Unlike caffeine, Maca is a healthy choice for increasing energy because it is not a stimulant. It obtains its benefits from vitamins and minerals, which is especially beneficial for individuals who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome.

Many people who use Maca also report increased mental clarity.

In my next post, I will give you some recommendations on Maca products.

Resources:
What is an adaptogen? on WiseGEEK
Maca on Rain Tree
Maca Uses on Ph Pure

What do you think about Maca? Have you tried it? I would love to hear your comments on the blog, on facebook or on twitter.

Is that a turnip!? Nope. It’s Maca!

I absolutely LOVE root vegetables and was thrilled to learn that there is a root vegetable that is considered by others to be a superfood! So, I did a bit of digging (pun intended!) to find out more about this super root rascal called Maca.

According to people who track this stuff, Maca was cultivated throughout the Andean highlands by the Pumpush, Yaro and Incas since 1200 B.C. because of its ability to increase fertility, fortitude and energy. Even the Spaniards, who normally didn’t partake in native foods, used Maca in order for themselves and their livestock to remain fertile and productive in the harsh conditions of the Andes.

It is grown in the pristine but harsh areas of Peru and Bolivia; 13,000+ feet above sea level. It is a strong, resilient plant that works hard to survive and acquire the nutrients it needs to thrive. Maybe that’s why I love the roots – they’re hard workers!

The growth, size and proportions are similar to turnips, as shown in the picture. The green, fragrant tops are short. The seeds have no dormancy since their native habitat is harsh year-round. They can be gold/cream, red, purple, blue, black or green in color. Cream colored are the most widely grown because of their sweetness and size.

Maca is packed full of goodness:

  • 19 essential amino acids
  • 20 free fatty acids
  • Vitamins A, B1, B2, C, and D
  • 8 minerals
  • sterols

If you’re impressed so far, just wait! In my next post, I will discuss the amazing health benefits of Maca Root.

Resources
History of Maca on MedicinePlants.com
Benefits of the Maca Root on Natural News
Maca Root on Wikipedia
Maca Root on MacaRoot.com

What do you know about Maca? Do you dis/like it? I would love to hear your comments on the blog, on facebook or on twitter.