The King of Superfruits + A Vegan Baobab Sweet Potato Spiced Curry [GF]

Move over acai, there’s a new superfood fruit coming to take over!

While there are plenty of fruits out on the market assigned with the prefix of “super” (like the popular elixirs of acai, pomegranate, goji) or some other new powder being crowned as the next best thing, in truth, baobab really is the upcoming fruit to look out for. Chances are, you probably haven’t heard of the word baobab unless you’re from Africa (or some parts of Europe). Like the Maca root, I learned about this interesting and favored fruit during my stay in South Africa. If I can remember correctly, it’s pronounced “bo-bab” – am I bo-rrect? 🙂

Skeptical foodies: Don’t start rolling your eyes yet! This is a positive food with an impressive nutritional profile you’ll want learn more about!

A prevalent fruit in Africa, this exotic fruit is packed with nutritional goodness and has the potential to enhance the nutritional value of just about any dish or beverage. Sure there is no scientific definition of what a “superfruit” or superfood should be, but the baobab fruit is one of the many foods out there that can actually help boost the nutritional quality of our diets and lifestyles.

Awesome Facts About Baobab: 

  • Low in calories, sodium and sugar yet high in heart healthy fat fiber
  • Has double the amount of antioxidants levels than acai or goji berries according to ORAC tests (it is the king of antioxidants!)
  • 6 times more the antioxidant levels of blueberries, cranberries and pomegranates
  • High in potassium
  • Gram for gram, has roughly 66% more iron than spinach and sprouted greens
  • High in Vitamin C – they say up to 6 times more than oranges!
  • Excellent source of Vitamin B, A, magnesium, phosphorous, essential fatty acids and zinc
  • Calcium rich, twice the amount as milk
  • Baobab fruit pulp contains up to 56% water soluble pectin that help with digestion and stabilizing blood sugars
  • The pulp contains both insoluble and soluble fibers that promote a healthy gut flora and aid intestinal health

So now you know the amazing nutritional profile this powerful fruit has to offer. It is truly a special fruit. And by special, I’m also referring to the fruit’s birthplace: The fascinating African Baobab Tree (adansonia) also known as the Tree of Life or The Upside Down Tree. An integral part of the African landscapes, these 200-500 year old trees have a stunning (albeit an eerie) silhouette and the striking appearance of it being uprooted and stood on end. In Africa, it is considered the Tree of Life because notably all parts of the tree are used for food, beverages and is the heart of many traditional and medicinal remedies and legends. The evolution of this tree is also extraordinary. During the rainy season, these trees can store water in their trunks which allow them to produce fruit later on in the year, when everything around them is arid and parched. We can see why it’s profoundly a symbol of life and a spiritual significant icon in the African culture.

There’s nothing quite like the power and divinity of Mother Nature.

Give it a year or even a few months when health companies and snack food manufacturers start falling over themselves to incorporate and push baobab into protein bars, smoothies and beverages. Although, from a wellness perspective, using a good quality, ethically and sustainably harvested dried baobab powder in your own meals is always the best way to go!

Baobab Food’s Baobest Baobab’s Fruit Powder is 100% pure nourishment and delightful. The powder contains absolutely no additives, fillers, preservatives, artificial flavouring or added sugars. Their unrefined fruit powder dries naturally on South African trees and then grounded into a fine powder. No freezing, heat pressing or pasteurization methods are used in order to sustain the fruit’s natural benefits. It’s suitable for a variety of different things and when used as a cooking or baking ingredient, can improve and invigorate healthy everyday recipes. You can add a few teaspoons to water, juices, smoothies and brilliant in homemade jams, fruit bars, chia pudding, baked goods…you name it. I also use it to naturally sweeten my green tea when I want the extra tangy kick!  Breakfast is most likely the easiest way to embrace the baobab goodness or you can enjoy this rich, scrumptious grain free, plant based dish while also boosting your immune system and energy at the same time.

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This is my beautiful cat: Pharaoh.

He cares about you and believes that you need some Baobest Baobab in your life! 

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What you’ll need: 

1 large sweet potato

1 handful of chopped kale (or more!)

1/3 tbsp of organic, virgin coconut oil

Half a small red onion, diced

3 small garlic cloves, crushed and minced

1 tbsp of grated ginger

1/2 tsp of chili powder

1/2 tsp of garam masala powder

1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp of organic cinnamon

1/2 tsp of cumin powder

1/2 tsp of coriander powder or crushed coriander seeds

1/2 tsp of himalayan pink salt

1/4 tsp of turmeric

1 cup of 100% pure organic crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup of organic tomato paste

A squeeze of half a lemon

1 tbsp of Baobest Baobab powder

In a small pot, bring sweet potato to a boil and let soften for about 3-5 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat, drain and cut into desired chunks.

In a pan, melt the coconut oil and saute the onion on low heat for about 8 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and mix for about 4 minutes until fragrant and lightly brown. Add the spices (except the baobab) and stir for another minute or two.

Add the tender sweet potato chunks and chopped tomatoes and allow to cook until it thickens. Add the tomato paste and continue stirring for about 5 minutes. Finally, throw in the chopped kale, baobab powder in the mixture. Squeeze the lemon juice last. Cook for a few more minutes.

Remove from heat and serve with fresh coriander, black pepper, raw baby spinach and sprouts! Enjoy. x

Maca Fudge Bites + Maca Almond Bites [2 Vegan + Sugar Free Recipes]

So what’s the deal with maca powder, anyway?

I first heard about maca powder when I was modeling abroad in Cape Town earlier this year. While at Wellness Warehouse, a favored health chain store in South Africa, looking for some carob powder (yum!), I came across a pack of maca powder and was intrigued by it especially since I’d never heard of it back in Canada. The package read: Maca, an ancient Peruvian superfood, is a powdered root herb grown for centuries at high altitudes in the nutrient dense soil of the Andes. According to legend, Inca warriors ate Maca before going into battle to give them strength and endurance.

Wow! I had to get it now. South Americans produce some of the world’s greatest power foods, all of which I routinely eat, like chia seeds, quinoa, cacao beans, acai and now…maca was another to add to my list.

One of the lovely ladies that worked there suggested that, like spirulina and cacao, you were able to add them to smoothies and snacks for an extra punch of energy. So being the curious health cat that I am, I bought it then rushed home to further research its roots and benefits.

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As soon as I got home, I opened the bag and found it had a bitter, nutty and malty smell and taste. Kind of like cacao (?) but way earthier. Too be honest, it made me a little nauseous. 🙁 In my opinion, you need to dilute the taste of maca in order to enjoy and benefit from it! It’s not a edible flavor on its own. 

After an hour of researching, I gathered some astounding nutritional health benefits and facts:

  • Maca has gained a reputation for helping balance and manage hormones, especially in women. It helps to relieve menstrual issues like cramps, body pains, anxiety, mood swings, PMS and depression. It does not contain any hormones but rather the nutrients that it contains support  and regulate normal hormone production and due to an abundance of environmental estrogens, most people have hormones that are a bit out of whack.
  • Maca is also known for increasing stamina enhancement and energy levels. Very recommended for those with adrenal fatigue as it nourishes and reduces stress hormones.
  • Maca is naturally high in vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium, zinc, iron, and magnesium. It provides plenty of vitamin B, C and up to 20 essential fatty acids, fiber, lipids and amino acids. All which your body needs!
  • Maca is has also been suggested as “nature’s Viagra” because it’s been shown to be beneficial as a fertility enhancer and helps to improve libido and sexual functions, especially in men!
  • Maca is great for general health but it’s highly advised that pregnant women, those with liver issues or high blood pressure and persons with cancer related to hormones like testicular and ovarian, should consult a professional before adding it to the diet. There are no serious side effects, but like any new (natural) supplement, it should not be taken in large amounts.

When you first start using maca, it’s best to begin by taking smaller amounts and building up to an average daily dose. 1/2 a teaspoon was a good place to start for me. I ‘snuck’ it in my garden green smoothie and could barely taste it. Some nights, I’d have it in a warm matcha green tea for an extra boost. After a week or so, I gradually increased my daily amount to 1 tablespoon and anymore than that, just made my smoothies bitter. Like I mentioned earlier, not a fan of the taste but worth it in order to reap the benefits! Maybe I should look into finding maca capsules to avoid the taste? It does taste odd but it gets tolerable…hopefully!

Maca is also enjoyable and easy to incorporate in healthy raw energy goods! And because I care for you, I made two snack options using maca powder so you’re able to choose how you want to enjoy this Peruvian power root. Both recipes are easy to make and don’t require the use of the oven so that you’re able to acquire the full benefits of the maca powder. Of course, I have to mention that these healthy goodies are gluten/wheat free, grain free, sugar free, preservative free and vegan! They’re both filled with rich healthy fats (the good ones!) that will keep you satisfied and energized after just eating a few and you won’t feel the need to overindulge.

Stay healthy, my friends! x

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Raw Maca Fudge

1 cup of organic virgin coconut oil, melted

3-4 tbsp of raw cacao or unsweetened carob powder

1 tsp of vanilla bean flavoring or vanilla extract (non alcohol)

1 tsp of raw organic Maca powder

1 tsp of organic chia seeds

Sweetener: packet of stevia or stevia drops (adjust to sweet tooth)

Optional: 1/3 cup of unsweetened desiccated coconut

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Make sure the coconut oil is melted before combining. Line small baking sheet or container with parchment paper and pour mixture into the dish. Add additional cacao or carob powder over the top for sprinkling; this is optional! Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour or until nicely solid. Slice then serve. Store in the fridge until eating and use within 5-7 days.

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They kinda remind me of Timbits. Only much healthier of course! 😉 

TIP: Ever wanted to know what to do with your leftover almond pulp after making homemade almond milk? It’s pretty much almond flour except it’s not as finely grounded like almond flour products. But for these balls, you don’t need ’em to be.

No Bake Maca Almond Pulp Balls 

1 cup of homemade almond pulp (or almond meal/flour)

1 tbsp of raw organic Maca powder

1/4 cup of unsweetened carob powder or raw cacao (you can add a tsp or so more if you want it a little more chocolate-y!)

1 tsp of vanilla flavoring or vanilla bean pod extract

2 tsp of homemade unsweetened vanilla almond milk

2 tbsp of organic pure almond butter (peanut butter or sunflower seed butter works too)

2 tbsp of organic virgin coconut oil (coconut butter works too or more almond butter!)

1 tbsp of vegan protein powder (hemp or sprouted brown rice)

Stevia packets or stevia drops to sweeten

1/2 cup of shredded coconut and/or hemp hearts for coating

Combine all of the ingredients a large bowl, expect for the shredded coconut and hemp hearts. Mix well. Use your hands to mold into little balls. Cover in coconut and/or hemp hearts. Refrigerate until firm. Pop balls and enjoy!

#THISISSOUTHAFRICA 

Life’s better on the beach. 

My soul is most happiest when my toes are touching the ocean and when my skin is against the warm white sand. Cape Town, South Africa has one of the most beautiful beaches that are so pure and unspoiled. I was lucky to have a lot of beach time during my days off. Most beaches were quite accessible – some of the best ones were about 5-10 minutes away within reach.

It’s important to have moments with mother nature in any way possible. Whether it’s going for a long stroll, hiking, canoeing, swimming, picnics at the park and of course my favourite, hitting the beach. Having these moments allows us to come to our breaths by letting go and marinating ourselves in our inner peace and happiness. Not only do we inhale fresh oxygen, we soak up one of mother nature’s powerful nutrients: Vitamin D.

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BTS of Lalimalu

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Behind the scenes of my shoot for Lalimalu Jewelry.

Lisa Marie Schneider x Dylan Culhane x Laura Elizabeth Parkes

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