Grown in central Peru in the Andes mountains, maca has been a cultivated crop for at least 3000 years. It is a root that belongs to the radish family, and it is often referred to as "Peruvian ginseng." Maca's benefits have made it a Peruvian superfood that is now considered not only a valued ingredient but a helpful supplement and natural energy booster.

Maca for Energy and Libido Maca, energy, coffee alternative

Maca is a natural energy booster that is rich in vitamins B, C and E, and also provides zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium and amino acids. All of these give the body a natural boost, which makes it perfect for morning energy. Users have reported that within just a few days, they have felt their energy levels increase. Athletes may find their peak performance with maca's reported stamina boost, while others use it as a healthy alternative to their boring coffee routine. Speaking of boosts, it has also been used to increase the libido and endurance for both men and women. Women may also notice it promotes fertility, healthy hormonal balance and relief for menstrual or menopausal issues like cramps, pain and hot flashes. For those worried about their general health, maca can help clear acne or blemishes while also balancing mood and soothing stress. The best part is that maca is usually sold in a powder form, making it easy to add to any recipe.

Maca Recipes for a Morning Energy Boost

When you first begin using maca, keep in mind that although it is a natural energy booster, it is also an herbal supplement and should be used in smaller amounts until your body adjusts to it. Half a teaspoon of the butterscotch-scented root can easily be added to juices, smoothies, and salads, while the average daily dose is one tablespoon of the powder. See how you feel after a few days of adjusting the amounts between half and one tablespoon because just like coffee, each person's body will react to the energy and the other benefits differently. Here are some delicious maca recipes to get your new morning cooking started!

Mega Maca Hot Chocolate

What you need:

2 cups whole organic milk (recommended, you can use any milk your body agrees with)
2-3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1-2 tablespoon(s) coconut sugar or another sweetener
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons non-gelling gelatin
1 tablespoon maca powder

Directions:

1. Heat the milk on the stovetop in a small pan.
2. Mix the cacao powder and sugar in a separate bowl.
3. Whisk the powder/sugar mixture into the pan.
4. Add the vanilla.
5. Whisk in the gelatin and maca powder.
6. Pour into a mug and enjoy!

Superfood Energy Balls

What you need:

175g Medjool dates (about 10-12)
1/3 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
1/3 cup goji berries (can be replaced by cranberries or blueberries depending on your taste)
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
1 tablespoon maca powder
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon cacao powder Dash of vanilla extract (optional)
Finely shredded coconut (for rolling them in)

Directions:

1. Use a food processor to get a smooth combination of the dates, chia seeds, vanilla extract, cacao powder, maca and honey.
2. Stir the berries, cacao nibs and macadamia nuts into the mixture.
3. With clean hands, roll the mixture into balls.
4. Roll the balls in the shredded coconut and they are ready to enjoy!

Maca Truffles Maca, coffee alternative, energy

What you need:

1/2 cup maca powder

1/2 cup cacao powder

1 cup almond butter (or any nut butter)

1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 tablespoon(s)honey
Dash of vanilla
A pinch of sea salt and cayenne pepper (optional for fat burn)

Directions:

1. Combine nut butter, coconut oil, vanilla, and honey in food processor (or mix by hand).
2. In a separate bowl, mix maca, cacao powder, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne pepper.
3. Add wet ingredients to mixture (add extra seasoning to taste).
4. Roll into balls and dust with cacao powder.
5. Chill in the fridge for an hour and enjoy!

Each of these recipes is a great morning treat that will get your morning started the right and healthy way. Maca has no serious side effects but just like any other supplement, it should not be taken in large amounts.  If the effects seem too strong, cut down your intake. Also, when cooking with maca, do not boil it because the beneficial ingredients will begin to cook out of the powder and release into the steam. As mentioned before, add maca to your normal smoothies or juices for a drink on-the-run. The taste is almost like a malt or toasted oats. Maca's nutritional benefits are still being studied so make sure to share your experiences, recipes, and perceived benefits with others!

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