Maca: A true "Superfood" of the Andes

Maca root has been growing in the Andean mountains of Peru and Bolivia for centuries; once upon a time it was used in exchange for money to pay taxes, and as a trade for other goods (such as corn, rice, quinoa and papaya). It is also said that Incas ate large doses of it before entering battle…apparently that’s part of what made them crazed, unstoppable warriors.

These days, maca is marketed as a natural stimulant, touted by health food companies as a true “Superfood” of the Andes. Many Peruvians of all ages eat maca powder as often as 3 times daily in various ways, such as mixed into yogurt, baked into breads or cakes, or blended into smoothies. It is commonly known that maca helps to awaken the mind, thereby increasing physical energy and mental focus.

People disappointed by the recent discovery that soy products inhibit endocrine function (otherwise known as the body’s proper balance and exchange of hormones) will be happy to hear that maca supports the endocrine system. In fact, maca actively aids the body in regulating hormones and, in turn, helps to maintain emotional balance.

I was first introduced to maca when my friend Christina made “energy balls” using maca and a variety of other ingredients, rolled it into balls around 1″ in diameter. She invited me to try one, but warned me not to eat too many for they were extremely potent. I ate 3 because they tasted so good, and that night I couldn’t sleep until the wee hours of the morning…

Recently I asked her for the recipe, in case you are curious to try this for yourself (Maca Magic brand powder runs around $20 a jar at your local health food store, and lasts a few months if used every day):

recipe by Christina Wienhold

almond butter is the base of it all…..(peanut butter is too flavorful)
coconut butter is a plus….because of its richness and sweetness..
cocoa powder
or carob powder if you like the taste of it

1/2 a cup of almond butter will make a whole plate of little balls….the idea is that you get a little taste…because as you know, they are very potent…especially if made with cocoa powder only….

and let creativity flow within the recipe…
add goji berries
maca powder
chili flakes
black pepper
dried fruit
cut up walnuts
orange peel

you want the consistency when all ingredients are mixed up to be more on the dry side…because when you roll them in the palm of your hands the oils will liquify through your warmth and it is easy to form balls…vs if the consistency is too wet you can’t roll them…

Maca also tastes great in smoothies.

Learn more about maca root and its naturally occuring phytochemicals here: