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For The Sweeth-Toothed, Athletic Nerd

Monday, June 11, 2012

As if a nerd and an athlete had put their heads together to figure out what to make for dessert...
The brainstorming started when I got some Ginkgo Biloba. It's got a very strong aroma and I would never want to take it straight as a spoonful of powder, how boring! Well, what better way to "serve" it up than hidden in brownies? Not the classic way but when do I ever follow traditions??? The resulted "Super Brownies" earned their name based on the superfoods that would satisfy both, someone who eats them for brain power or someone who needs a before- or after-workout boost. Why is that? Ginkgo is famous for being a brain-booster (among other things, see below), cacao also increases blood flow to the brain, almonds and coconut oil provide healthy fats, good for both the brain and the active body. Coconut oil’s energy is very easily absorbed and dates (along with honey) provide instant energy when needed. Almonds are a commonly known brain-food and don't fall short in improving your performance either when you're training for the Olympics. And hemp protein along with spirulina...do I even need to go there? Both full of essential amino acids (spirulina being 100% complete), they are absolute superfoods that also provide you with perfect building blocks for protein.

Ginkgo Biloba*
Famous for its abilities to improve brain function (and that's pretty much all I knew about it, until now), the leaf extract is used for treating a myriad of other conditions as well. It may help improve your peripheral blood circulation and blood circulation to the brain, help treat Alzheimer's and senility, Raynaud's disease, weak eyes caused by poor circulation, or in general, conditions that may benefit from improved blood flow or better circulation.

Possible Side Effects
Dermatitis, irritability, restlessness, diarrhea and vomiting but supposedly, they’re rare.

Super Brownies
(Makes 8 bars)
12 dates (I used Medjools, unsoaked)
1 cup almonds (I sprouted and dehydrated mine before using) 
1/4 cup cacao powder
1 tsp coconut oil
3 tbsp hemp protein powder
1/4 tsp Ginkgo Biloba (always start with just a little bit when using a new-to-you herb)
1/2 tsp spirulina
optional: honey (not vegan), cayenne pepper, pinch of salt, vanilla, cinnamon (as a topping)

1. In a food processor, take several minutes to grind the almonds very fine. You can't overdo it so if almond butter starts building up on the edges, even better. Scrape the walls every now and then to achieve an even consistency.

2. Add the dates and process further into a crumbly, dough-like, even mixture.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients, process, taste test, and add whatever else you think it may need to satisfy your taste buds. The final mixture should stick together when pinched in between fingers.
4. Grab a flat-bottomed dish (I use a square glass dish usually), line it with plastic wrap if you like, and press the mixture into it as firmly as possible. Refrigerate for a couple of hours for firmer brownies.

Serve it à la carte topped with tons of cinnamon (my way) or topped with a scoop of ice cream. Take a slice or two to work or school for an afternoon pick-me-up. Take some with you to eat before hitting the gym or when leaving the gym starved. Ahh, so much pleasure for just a few minutes of work. It's almost unfair. We have it too good, don't we? Have a brownielicious, smart, energized day!  

The Way of Herbs, by Michael Tierra

Featured in Funky Raw, UK's raw food magazine

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