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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Let Nature Be Your Physician: With these easy, gluten-free recipes you can create a snack full of vitamins and minerals, according to SW Herb's Madalyn Johnson

Jul 01, 2012 08:03AM ● By By Madalyn Johnson

Hippocrates, the ancient Greek father of medicine, has been attributed with a few pithy quotes that have withstood the test of time. “Let medicine be your food and food be your medicine. Nature itself is the best physician. If you are not your own doctor, you are a fool.”

The challenge is how to make something nutritious, healthy (healing) and quick, all at the same time. So, instead of reinventing the wheel, just add to it. Many people know about the magical benefits of garlic, onions, turmeric, ginger and peppers, but are there more? It is possible to take an ordinary recipe and create something chock full of vitamins, minerals and all sorts of goodies our bodies can use to keep us healthy and happy?

Make a simple and yummy macaroon. Who doesn’t like coconut, and isn’t it in the health news these days? Simply add one ingredient and turn these little morsels into an energy-packed snack. Maca (lepidium meyenii) is the additional magic ingredient. It has a rich history of increasing stamina, boosting energy, enhancing sexual enjoyment, regulating hormones, stabilizing blood pressure and harmonizing the body’s overall function.

Maca is a tuberous, perennial plant that grows high in the Andean Mountains at altitudes of between 11,000 and 14,000 feet. Its roots are dried, stored and made into powder, which is how we use it today.

Maca enhances Italian meatballs, cookies, breads, muffins, pancakes, oatmeal and piecrust. It doesn’t change the flavor much and can easily be incorporated into family favorites. It is also a Dr. Oz favorite, and he uses it in his Longevity smoothie. Here are a couple of recipes, and they are gluten-free, as well.




14 oz sweetened shredded coconut

14 oz sweetened condensed milk

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 extra-large egg whites, room temperature

3-4 Tbsp powdered Maca

Pinch sea salt or Himalayan salt


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine the coconut, condensed milk, maca and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer until they make medium-firm peaks.

Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.

Drop a filled teaspoon of batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve.


Gluten-Free Lemon Bars

Crust ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar

2 cups almond meal or any gluten-free flour blend

½ tsp xanthan gum

2-3 Tbsp maca powder

Pinch sea salt or Himalayan salt

Filling ingredients:

7 large eggs, room temperature

2½ cups organic granulated sugar

2 Tbsp grated lemon zest (4-6 organic lemons, wash well before zesting)

1 cup freshly squeezed organic lemon juice

1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour blend

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a nine-by-13 inch baking dish with butter-flavored cooking spray.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar with mixer until light and fluffy.

Combine the flour, maca and salt and slowly add to the butter/sugar mixture while the mixer is on low. Mix just until combined.

Dump the dough into the prepared pan, and with gluten-free flour dusted hands, press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Leave the oven on.

While the crust is baking, prepare the filling: Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and gluten-free flour. Pour over the pre-baked crust and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool at room temperature.

Using a sifter or strainer, dust the top of the bars (while slightly warm) with confectioners’ sugar. Cut into squares and serve.

Madalyn Johnson is co-owner, with herbalist Kathleen Gould, RH (AHG), of SW Herb & Gathering Place, 148 N. Center St., in Mesa. Contact her at 480-694-9931 or

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