I’m not a big breakfast aficionado. I know, I know; most important meal of the day, breakfast skippers eat more junk during the day, blah blah blah. My stomach can be increasing its protests, knocking on my ribcage to get my attention, and I still suggest that it wait until Noon. Why is this? I don’t have any idea. When I start writing in the mornings and, especially if its going well, I forget to eat, drink water, shower…I don’t know the reasons for my skipping breakfast but, with health as my goal, I have to change my bad, breakfast ways. Smoothies have come to my rescue. Sometimes I’ll make them from scratch but I also use Amazing Grass Amazing Meal Replacement. I’ve tried the chocolate fusion, vanilla chai, cafe mocha, and pomegranate/mango. I have yet to find one I dislike. The Amazing Meal is filling on its own but I like thick smoothies so I beef (ha! going to have to find a vegan synonym for this because I don’t ‘beef’ anything!) up mine with a frozen banana and a TSP of Maca Powder. What is Maca, you ask? Ah. It’s wonder-powder.
Let me begin my devotional to Maca by admitting that, the first time I tried it, I disliked it. I purchased a chocolate bar containing both Maca and the promise that Maca added a malted taste to chocolate. Expecting a vegan replacement for the malted milk balls I used to eat, I bought the chocolate. With the first bite, I resolved never to buy another one. I can’t put my finger (or tastebuds) on just why I disliked it, other than to say the taste was funky. As someone who spends way too much quality time with her thesaurus, I hate to settle for funky but funky it tasted. And then one day, because I’m a believer in second chances and I was looking for additives to thicken my smoothies AND I found some at a heavily reduced price, I purchased Maca powder. Maybe I was wrong, I thought. Maybe it really is tasty. What I did not like in the chocolate, I found delightful in smoothies. And, the addition made a suitably viscous smoothie.
So, why is Maca called a ‘Superfood’? It’s a root from the radish family and has been a vegetable crop in Peru for 3000 years and is touted as having numerous health benefits, including being high in B vitamins and Iron and increasing energy. Maca is recommended for sufferers of anemia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome but any positive effect is anecdotal. There is no scientific evidence that Maca has any health benefit at all. However, there is no scientific evidence that says it doesn’t. I’m willing to give 3000 years of agriculture a try: responsibly, of course. There are warnings about over-consumption of Maca, but I think over-consumption of anything is a problem. There is also a warning that people dealing with endometriosis should avoid Maca because it could have an estrogenic effect and exacerbate symptoms.
I don’t find that it does. I feel energized when I have my Maca-mixed smoothies in the morning and, as I need to be carried through a full day of writing and my job, I need all the energy and clarity of mind I can get. But, is it the Maca or the greens in the Amazing Meal? It’s hard to say. I have not experienced a worsening of my symptoms or any fat gain (quite the opposite, in fact, but I think that has more to do with cutting back on salt, caffeine, oil, and sugar rather than the addition of Maca). Considering the pros and cons as well as the adage ‘all things in moderation’, I only use a TSP of Maca two to three times a week. Perhaps the health benefits are merely anecdotal but I feel able to breeze through my day when I add Maca and I like the taste in my smoothies. I can get used to malted-butterscotch-chocolate tasting breakfasts.