Moringa goes hiking with granola bars


YouAreWhatYouEat-251x300

As the saying goes, “You are what you eat”.… I’ve been eating a lot (I mean, a lot) of Moringa, a miracle tree loaded with nutrients that grows well here in tropical Belize (my home, sweet home!)

In last week’s culinary adventures with the superfood goddess Moringa, we covered that girl in chocolate! (She had a luxury spa treatment with cacao and honey.)

This week, she was ready for some strenuous physical exercise (because goddesses like to … stay in shape)…. So, she packed up and went for a hike.

holding cashews

 

Well, here’s what really happened: I was sitting on my front porch enjoying a handful of cashews. I reminisced about all the exhilarating hikes I’ve enjoyed while living and working in Central California – aaah, the adventure, the breathtaking coastline and panoramic views….

Hiking Trail Awesome copy

I will never forget hiking Mount Shasta in Northern California. I made it to the summit…. I put my name in the book of life that’s up there for any hiker who actually makes it to Heaven. 

Shasta copy

Moringa used to go hiking by herself (on numerous occasions)….

sleeping bag

because she needed to blow off steam from dealing with the stress of being in a job that she didn’t like very much….

Making Copies copy

… But goddesses like to play with other superhumans, too. She likes to have the company of other, like-minded spirits who understand and inspire her. Who could she take with her on a hike?

As I nibbled on my cashew, I got an idea…

cashew on tip of tongue

eating cashew

I’ll make myself into a granola bar! Then I won’t be alone anymore… I’ll be surrounded by delicious, playful super foodies like myself ….

So, I donned my apron and headed straightaway to the kitchen to gather the ingredients:

Goss chocolate

First and foremost …. chocolate. But not just any old chocolate. This dark, handsome God of goodness was thrilled to join the goddess Moringa on her hiking adventure: 85% dark Goss Chocolate, handmade right here in Blue Crab Beach, Belize!

Moringa doesn’t usually use a recipe. She just wings it (ahem, she’s an angel, remember?) … That’s how she rolls… Here’s what Moringa wanted to roll into … 

ingredients all together

  • natural peanut butter (not Jiffy, folks, and here’s why)
  • organic honey (locally sourced)
  • organic oats (go with Bob’s Red Mill, baby)
  • cinnamon
  • sea salt
  • coconut oil

I first crushed the dried moringa leaves while Sammie the dog watched (I had piqued his canine curiosity).

moringa leaves

Then, I chopped the cashews and chocolate.

chocolate and cashews

… Mixed everything together with a few pinches of sea salt…

sea salt add

ingredients mixed in bowl

By now, Sammie the dog was like, Hmmmm, smells like … doggie treats!

So, I pressed the goo onto my cookie sheet (greased with coconut oil, of course) and formed it into something that looked more like a semi-appealing human treat. (Okay, you’ll just have to trust me on this one)….

block of granola

In case you’re wondering, the brown stuff sprinkled on top is organic cacao powder, because… cacao rocks my world and always will.

I let it bake on 300 degrees for about 12 minutes while I … went hiking in my mind.

Drive to Shasta 2 copy

Highlander in redwoods

(Damn, I miss that Toyota.)

Briiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnngg!

… Time to take the granola bars out of the oven!

granola bars

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… Moringa rolled into peanut buttery super food goodness: perfect for that long, strenuous hike in the mountains of my mind! (I live on the beach in the tropics now, so I kind of have no choice but to … imagine).

Sammie the dog stood by anxiously waiting to try a bite, too.

looking down at Sammie

giving granola bar to Sammie

I think Sammie the dog and his daddy really liked ’em! They were so jazzed up, they started dancing!

Dwayne dancing Sammie

If you’re anything like me (which I highly doubt), you’ll also want to have fun experimenting with your own handmade granola bars! Here are some … recipes (if you really need one). I highly recommend just winging it. You just might sprout your own angel wings and fly off to an enchanted, fairy-filled mountain yourself!

If you’re ever in California and feel like getting your butt kicked into shape, consider hiking Mount Shasta… although, I’d recommend at least 8 months of rigorous pre-hike training.

Check out this video about climbing Mount Shasta (cool music!) and be sure to watch till 6:56, where they slide down the mountain on their butts (it’s a glacier… I mean, the mountain, not their butts) — sliding down the glacier and the concomitant thrill makes this ass-kicking hike well worth it!

Enjoy, and don’t forget to take your superfood, high energy granola bars!

 

 

 

Moringa gets a spa treatment in Belize

Moringa goddess

This week I have enjoyed playing on the beach in Belize with my friend, the Goddess of superfood, the inspiration for this blog series, the miracle tree … Behold her natural beauty, ladies and gentlemen … Moringa.

Moringa gave birth to twin baby coconuts and just one day later went out dancing all night…. Moringa is such a high-vibe, earthy goddess: She’s naturally high in nutrients and minerals, so she always has plenty of energy for everything that’s good in life.

Today, Moringa wanted to do something special just for herself, because… Well, because she’s superhuman…. So, she deserves something extra special.

Moringa oleifera is a fairly large tree that is originally native to North India, although today it is grown and harvested in tropical regions all over the world, including my home, sweet home, Belize! I recently planted Moringa in my own backyard, so in a year or so, I will be able to harvest my very own Moringa!

moringa-oleifera-powder2

This miracle plant goes by a variety of names, such as drumstick tree, horseradish tree, or ben oil tree. Almost all parts of the Moringa oleifera tree are edible. Moringa leaves are rich in many important nutrients, including protein, vitamin B6, vitamin C, riboflavin and iron.

Being a U.S.-Certified/Licensed Massage Therapist, I had the privilege of offering my friend Moringa a luxurious spa treatment. I provided her with a full body wrap and facial proudly handmade with all-natural, locally sourced, cacao powder and honey — sustainably harvested by my friends Abelina and Juan on their very own cacao tree farm in southern Belize!

Here is what Moringa looked like with her organic cacao powder body wrap treatment:

1 bowl of moringa cacao

Ingredients:

  1. a handful of fresh moringa leaves
  2. organic cacao powder
  3. organic honey
  4. coconut oil

That’s it… Yes, really. That’s it. (Life really can be this simple.)

It’s worth noting, dear reader (Hey, thanks for reading!) that cacao is qualitatively different from cocoa:

Raw cacao powder is made by cold-pressing unroasted cacao beans.

cacao beans

The process keeps the living enzymes and removes the fat (cacao butter). Here is a bag of organic cacao powder from my favorite Belizean suppliers, Ixcacao in San Felipe village, southern Belize. (Thank you, Abelina and Juan, for satisfying my superfood addiction with your awesome, organic cacao powder!)

cacao powder

Cocoa powder looks the same as cacao powder, but it’s not made of the same stuff. Cocoa powder is raw cacao that’s been roasted at high temperatures, thereby denaturing the living enzymes (Ewww, you mean it’s not a raw superfood?! Hmphh.)

I consumed the entire bowlful of this sinfully delicious raw super food with sheer abandon:

2 spoonful of moringa mud bath3 after getting spoonful

… I licked the bowl clean (oooh, mmmm!)….

6 licking the bowl

… Finally, I licked my fingers….

4 finger licking

5 finger licking thinking

In case you’re wondering why I would be so amenable to voracious consumption of cacao powder, click here to learn the benefits of eating raw cacao. Basically, it’s good for you, especially when Moringa is playing along!

After eating Moringa and her cacao honey body wrap, I got an idea:

7 thinking about cacao

I’ll treat myself to a full body wrap!

cacao body wrap

Great idea! So… I gathered my materials (cacao powder, honey, and coconut oil) and mixed them together (It’s easy: You can do it yourself at home!)

cacao facial getting ready

Trust me, I’ve done this before, folks…. Here are two of my clients blissfully relaxed during a luxurious cacao powder facial treatment at our Spa and Wellness Center at Cotton Tree Lodge, a jungle lodge and adventure getaway in southern Belize:

cacao facial 3

cacao facial 1

When applied topically, cacao offers amazing skin benefits. Enriched with minerals and vitamins like Vitamin C, magnesium and omega 6 fatty acids; cacao promotes blood flow, provides hydration to the skin, and increases cellular healing to result in younger looking skin and a youthful glow (Come on, every girl out there wants all this):

  • Cacao is high in antioxidants. It blocks harmful free radicals in the body. It also protects the body against premature diseases and premature aging;
  • Cacao has good amount of vitamin C and magnesium, which helps in protecting the skin and keeping it healthy;
  • Cacao contains omega 6 fatty acids, which helps in cellular healing. It also heals wounds and scars quickly;
  • Cacao has a raw enzyme which helps in repairing the cell and its rejuvenation; and
  • With super absorbent properties, cacao protects the skin from harmful UV rays and acts as a natural sunscreen.

My client, glowing and radiant after her spa treatment, said this about her cacao honey facial:

“With traveling [from Michigan] and the change in climate [to tropical Belize], my face broke out all over my cheeks and felt very irritating. Parama gave me a cleansing facial that was made of organic cacao, honey, coconut oil, and copal essential oils. She gently massaged my face, applied the all-natural face mask, and then gave me a full-body Swedish massage while the face mask nourished and soothed my skin. After the session, my face felt so much better: It glowed and felt soft and smooth. My skin was completely cleared up by the next day.”

Well, there you have it, my Belize-bound, beach-going beauties!

If you feel so inspired, here are some videos to help you get started with your own edible cacao honey facial … (But … be forewarned: You will smell like chocolate cake, so if you have a dog or a boyfriend or a husband, they will want to eat you!)… Enjoy!