Have a feeling that stress and fatigue may be an issue today!  I have the perfect treat for you — no need to dive head first into the leftover Halloween candy.  Satisfy your sweet cravings utilizing targeted nutrients to address the body’s stress mechanisms.

And it tastes like COOKIE DOUGH!  Cookie dough, friends!

This recipe contains two of my favorite superfood ingredients:  MACA and RAW CACAO!

Maca, a root vegetable, with medicinal qualities, is native to the high Andes of Bolivia and Peru.  It has been grown and cultivated for nearly 2,600 years.  Grown in an altitude of 9,000 to 14,000 feet above sea level, maca is the highest altitude crop on earth.   A highly nutritious food, it is abundant in amino acids, phytonutrients, fiber, healthy fatty acids, vitamins and minerals!  It has the ability to increase energy and stamina (through nourishment rather than stimulation) and support neurotransmitter production.  Known as an adaptogen, maca curtails the effects of stress by aiding the regeneration of the adrenal glands and helping to lower cortisol levels.  It responds to different bodies’ needs individually to assist in normalizing hormonal imbalances   It also has been shown to be beneficial for all sorts of hormonal problems, such as PMS, menopause and libido.  Add 1 tsp to your smoothies, healthy hot cocoa or teas.  Or use in nutrient-dense treats and energy bars.

Cacao is the most natural, unprocessed, unadulterated state from which chocolate is made.  It is the original raw material that is not processed.  Rich in nutrients and beneficial to health, it can be found as beans, nibs or powder.  (Cocoa is an invention made by a German chemist — a processed low-fat powder — while chocolate is the end product that can be made from both cacao and cocoa.

Raw cacao is one of the world’s most nutrient-rich and complex foods, containing more than 1,200 active compounds and a whopping 10% of its weight is antioxidants — taking it to a whole different level compared to other sources.  It is also an excellent source of magnesium (one of the most deficient minerals in the majority of Americans – up to 80% are chronically deficient).  Magnesium helps to balance brain chemistry, build strong bones and is associated with creating more happiness and relaxation in the body — that euphoric feeling we experience when eating quality chocolate!

Cacao nibs can be added to trail mixes, tossed in salads instead of croutons, added to savory sauces for a kick of flavor, ground into healthy smoothies, eaten right out of the bag, on top of sprouted toast with nut butter, in pancakes or other baked goods or ground up with high quality coffee and brewed.  Try adding to oatmeal for a church with a few chopped dates and a drizzle of raw honey or use as a substitute for chocolate chips in a cookie or bar recipes — no added sweetener!  Cacao powder can be used in a wide variety of healthy recipes, added to oatmeal, cereals, smoothies, pancakes, yogurts, etc.

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Stress-Busting Cookie Dough Balls
Containing protein, magnesium and the stress-fighting benefits of maca, this treat is easy to make, tastes decadent and refuels both body and mind!
  1. Blend the cashews, maca, protein powder, maple syrup and vanilla in a blender or food processor until combined and consistency of cookie dough. Form into 12 balls and roll into the cacao nibs or chips. Refrigerate or freeze. Feel the stress ease away as you savor! To save time, you can press the mixture into a parchment-lined pan and top with cacao nibs/chips, freeze and cut into bars.
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