My journey with maca began with Pinterest.
Really, it did.
Back a few years ago, I was a pinning fool. I mean, I was pinning more than any other form of social media. Pinterest was where I stored all of my dreams & vision boards. I had so many boards. For example, I had boards for fall fashions; spring fashions; country music lyrics; projects to do with children; diy home projects; job tips; dream home ideas; things you can make with pallets; sports teams; and even accessories to name just a few.
Well, wait, we didn't cover recipes. So.many.recipes. Especially recipes with this new food I began seeing about, maca. Maca brownies, Maca cake, Maca pancakes, Maca muffins, Maca smoothies......I mean I was fascinated by this thing called Maca. I always said one day I'd try this ancient food......
But, life happened. A unexpected break up occurred and I just gave up dreaming. Dreaming of all kinds. I chucked my plans; left my Pinterest boards to the side; and, began living life with no plan. While I appeared happy in some areas of my life, looking ahead with a hopeful eye to the future was very much abandoned. Insecurity began to creep in....or shall I say, I allowed my insecurities to take come front & center. I compared myself to everyone who was married & had kids. I focused on what I didn't have: a mate or children. I felt totally rejected; incapable of holding down a relationship/having a mate; and, being unworthy for life success in general. Geez, that paints quite a bleak future doesn't it?
Well, yes it was bleak. I felt there was nowhere for me to go. This negative attitude helped propel me right towards my chronic fatigue diagnosis. Yes, my body had been fighting the Epstein Barr virus (EBV) for many years prior to my diagnosis; but, my mindset (I believe) was the gasoline to the EBV match. Having spent the entire year of 2016 beginning my treatment protocol (my treatment is still ongoing just in case you were curious), my eyes were opened to how uncomfortable I'd become dreaming/envisioning my future. And how negative my mindset wore my spirit & my body down.
As I've gained some strength, clarity, and time around my illness, my outlook has changed. How it's changed you may ask?
Well, I started pinning again. I consider that a victory on the way to finding my dreaming again. I went back onto that platform, deleted most of my boards, and started over again.
But, the biggest victory? Why, cooking of course! Actually, it's the return to embrace the things I'd denied myself out of a need for self punishment; specifically my waffle making skills. And in releasing the need for self punishment, I have allowed myself to embrace the kitchen, plant based recipes, new ingredients, and my health.
Enter the maca connection.
What is maca you may ask?
Its an adaptogenic superfood which is super rich in minerals, protein, fiber, and antioxidants. An adaptogen is an herb/root which helps the body adapt to everyday stressors. And we all need assistance adapting to stress, right? I do anyway.....
Maca is a member of the cruciferous veggie family (think broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage). It's also a root found in the Andes Mountains region of South America. The people indigenous to this region have been using maca for many many years, either ground up as a powder or as a root itself.
What does maca do?
Maca is first and foremost an energy root, which is believed to boost energy and mood levels for both men and women. There are three types of maca--black, red, and yellow. Black maca is typically used in men and is believed to help increase testosterone and sperm levels. Women have used maca believing it helps to control estrogen levels, especially in women experiencing PMS/menopause/PCOS. It can also boost libido for both sexes and reduce levels of depression & anxiety.
Labelling maca a superfood means it has higher amounts of nutrients than all of the members of its veggie family. It's super high in amino acids (over 20!), essential fatty acids (over 8!), calcium (has more calcium than a glass of milk), magnesium, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, and manganese just to list a few minerals.
Maca is also high in glutathione and SOD, otherwise known as superoxide dismutase. SOD is an enzyme which sweeps out free radicals/toxins/other yucky stuff out of the cells. Glutathione is also an free radical destroyer and helps to clear out toxins/heavy metals/yuck stuff. So, these make maca super fun and super nutritious for men & women.
I will say; however, those with high blood pressure; women who are pregnant/nursing; and people taking hormone related drugs for major illnesses (think breast & prostate cancers) should NOT take maca without consulting a doctor.
Always start gradually. Most people start out supplementing with 1 tbsp a day, and possibly increasing to 2 or 3 tbsp a day.
I started (and have continued to stay) at 1 tsp of maca. That's the amount my body likes. It varies for everyone :)
Back to this recipe at hand......I used 2 tbsp maca powder, along with all the traditional spices which make pumpkin pie so darn pumpkin-y (cinnamon, cloves, & nutmeg). Don't forget the canned pumpkin!
I also used homemade Brazil nut meal & vanilla bean ghee to top them, and homemade Brazil nut milk in the batter. Of course you can use any nut milk you'd prefer (I've also made these with almond and coconut milks). Make it work for you. I truly believe that.
If you've made it down here, thanks for reading! I appreciate your love and support. Please check me out on Pinterest and if you make this recipe in your own kitchen, tag me #whiskingoutsidethebox so we can celebrate all things maca. Also if you have any maca recipes to send me, send those pins my way (I'm @whiskoutsidebox on Pinterest)
adapted from Nutritionist in the Kitch