quantum health & wellness blog
quantum health & wellness blog
Last week I was catching up with a friend who I haven’t seen or heard from in a while and she told me something alarming. She said “Vani – I haven’t changed my diet, or my exercise routine, but I’ve gained 15 pounds in the last 2 months! I gained it all because of stress!” She’s currently working on a big project and was worried about her sudden weight gain. When she went to the doctor, the doctor checked her cortisol levels. She found out, “they were through the roof!” Did you know cortisol levels can increase from elevated stress and cause sudden weight gain? Fat accumulates near the stomach because the cells in the stomach are more sensitive to cortisol, and very effective at storing energy. I don’t know about you – but knowing that fact alone makes me want to drop everything and check into the spa. Hearing her story was a huge wake up call to myself, I’m a workaholic and if I don’t watch it, the balance in my life can totally take a free fall. Her story also got me motivated to share a superfood ingredient that can help your body handle stress better and reduce cortisol levels (and help you in the nooky department too, which I know also reduces stress!).
Benefits of Maca Superfood
Superfoods are nutrient dense foods that pack a powerful punch when it comes to antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals. Basically SUPERFOOD = SUPERMAN! . . . or WOMAN! Eating superfoods has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic disease and prolong life. Way up high in the Peruvian Andes grows the prized superfood called Maca. It’s the highest altitude crop on earth. With a growing altitude of 13,000 feet, this plant is not for your home garden (unless your garden happens to be on the top of the Andes). Over its 3,000 year cultivation maca has earned itself a pretty long list of benefits, some of which include . . . get ready . . .
In an extensive study of the maca plant, Dr. Gustavo F Gonzales found that maca can enhance the ability for an individual to “adapt” to a stressful environment by “improving homeostasis” in the body. This can positively effect energy, endurance and oxygen in the blood (which makes maca a great cure for altitude sickness . . . it’s no coincidence that it is grown in high altitudes). Maca can also affect the happy chemicals in your body that control libido, balance the endocrine system, adrenals, hormones, thyroid, and one’s mood! That is a lot for just one scoop of powder a day. Throughout its history, the consumption of maca has been used by Peruvian natives for having strong effects on fertility and energy in both humans and animals. It is said that during the Incan empire, warriors were give maca to give them strength and stamina in battle but were then denied maca when they returned home in order to protect the women from their strong sexual desires. Whoa. This stuff is like nature’s Viagra. Check out this article where my friend Dr. Mercola lists maca as one of the top natural supplemental ways to enhance sexual function.
Dried maca contains 59% carbohydrates, 8.5% fiber, and slightly more than 10.2% protein. The protein in maca contains seven essential amino acids. Maca is also rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and iron. Add to that the vitamins B1, B2, and C and you can easily understand what makes this a superfood! Some researchers even argue that Maca’s ability to treat a disorder like depression comes simply from the fact that the food is so nutritionally dense and that people become happier because they are getting the nutrients they need! So, the good news is ever since the reemergence of maca in the 1980 access to this powerfully medicinal food is becoming easier and easier. And now, thanks to the beautiful world wide web you can have maca show up at your door, which is way easier than hiking up the Andes, let me tell you!
How To Use The Maca Powder
Maca is a member of the cruciferous family which includes brocolli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips and radishes. Maca is grown for its root which resembles that of a radish. Maca root can grow in a variety of different colours and can be consumed in several different ways, of which the most popular is dried and ground into a powder, maca powder. Maca powder is definitely the easiest way to add maca to your diet. I love throwing 1 tbsp in morning smoothies for extra energy, in homemade hot chocolate (recipe below) and in desserts like brownies or anything with chocolate! It goes really really well with chocolate – yum! Did I say chocolate? When I was in Peru recently, Maca caramels were everywhere, I’d love to try to make those at home one day. You can also check out more recipes and the subtle differences between red, black and cream maca from my partner The Maca Team here.
Food Babe's Maca Hot Chocolate
Prep time 5 mins, Cook time 5 mins, Total time 10 mins Serves: 2
Notes ***Please use all organic ingredients if possible***
Organic Maca Powders
The Maca Team is a small family owned operation and supplies maca straight from small Peruvian organic co-op farmers. I feel really good about supporting and partnering with a company that offers the highest quality organic maca straight from the source. I hope you take time to look into this amazing superfood and see what it can do for you. Please share this with your family and friends that might be in the need of a little stress reduction or a boost in the nooky department. I would love to hear your stories about how maca is affecting you (well . . . most of your stories . . . haha!)
Peace, Love, and Maca,
Organic, raw Maca is available at Quantum Vitamins.
Spirulina is a powerhouse of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It detoxifies, boosts immune function, energizes, increases libido, aids in weight loss by improving your metabolism, and is scientifically proven to aid in fighting cancer and any viral illnesses.
What spirulina does for your body:
Smoothie Recipe (one serving)
1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup of spinach or Kale
1/3 of a cup of water/almond milk/coconut water
1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
1 teaspoon of protein powder of your choice
1 teaspoon of spirulina
Optional: 2 medjool dates (this sweetens it)
Simply place everything together in the blender, peel the banana and pit the dates first though! Then blend for a minute or so until smooth. You may want to add more water/almond milk/coconut water if you like it runnier. Then sip, love and enjoy!
By Michelle Pascal, Registered Holistic Nutritionist
A delicious superfood breakfast that tastes great!
Kefir provides you with enzymes and friendly bacteria that naturally increase your immune system. It’s a cultured beverage that is rich with enzymes and living friendly bacteria. You can purchase it at most grocery stores and I recommend Saugreens brand.
Kefir is also easy to make and a Kefir Starter Kit by Wilderness Family is available at Quantum Vitamins. The other option is Kefir grains, often hard to find, but usually available for free if you can find someone who produces their own.
Goji berries are high in Vitamin C, which supports the immune system. They also contain Vitamins A and E, which promote skin health, and Vitamins B1, B2 and B6 which increase metabolism.
Cacao nibs are a good source of potassium, chromium, copper, calcium, zinc and magnesium.
Maca is an adaptogen, known for its ability to increase energy, build physical strength, improve mood, reduce anxiety and heighten libido. It is rich in essential minerals, EFAs, amino acids and polysaccharides Maca root helps rebuild weak immune systems, re-mineralize poorly nourished bodies and increase energy and endurance.
Medium chain triglycerides are very healthy fat, which bypasses the normal process of digestion and fat breakdown. Instead it gets absorbed directly into your liver where it is metabolized providing instant and sustained energy for your body. MCT oil can help in losing weight and in maintaining your optimal weight by boosting your metabolism and helping to optimize the production of thyroid hormones.
1/2 cup Kefir
2 tbsp. Goji Berries
1 tbsp. Cacao Nibs
1 tbsp. Maca
1 tbsp. Coconut or Red Palm Oil
1 small organic Banana (optional)
1. Soak Goji berries for 1/2 hour (can be soaked overnight).
2. Add the rest of ingredients.
3. Stir and enjoy.
By Michelle Pascal, Registered Holistic Nutritionist
Michelle, owner of Quantum Vitamins, is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) and chef who lives in beautiful Whistler, British Columbia. >>More