These bite-sized energy balls are the perfect pre-workout snack or even an evening snack to give you a little energy boost (without reaching for the sugary foods and snacks) to get things done in the evening, prep dinner, play with the kids, or do whatever you do before bed! If you deal with significant low energy or low libido, these alone may not be the solution and there may need to be some deeper work that needs to be done to figure out and address the root cause.
As you will notice, there isn’t a lot of sweetness in the ingredient list and there may be a slight bitterness because of the maca and ashwagandha herbs. The beauty of these ingredient ratios is that you get more of the coconut and peanut butter taste (BONUS for those coconut and peanut butter lovers)!
ASHWAGANDHA AND MACA
Maca and ashwagandha are herbs known as ‘adaptogens’ which support the adrenal axis (the hormonal axis involved in the stress response and producing cortisol, DHEA, some testosterone, estrogen and progesterone). During times of stress, the adrenal axis can produce more cortisol at the expense of reducing the other hormones and after menopause, the adrenals really become the main site for testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen production in females. Well-functioning adrenal glands is so important!
Both Maca and Ashwagandha have been shown to help boost libido and increase testosterone. Maca can be used in perimenopausal and menopausal women for increasing estrogen and may help with hot flashes and mood balance. Sometimes, I am cautious though with prescribing maca to women with PCOS who have high androgens/testosterone for its ability to possibly increase testosterone further. Ashwagandha’s effect on boosting testosterone is weaker (in females) but is great for lowering cortisol and supporting the thyroid (in particular, the conversion from T4 to T3 which is the active thyroid hormone).
Ground flax contains lignins which are phytoestrogens. This means they can help downregulate or upregulate estrogenic activity when there’s too much or too little estrogen production in the body respectively. This can be great for premenstrual symptoms, help with the follicular phase, and may even help menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. Did you know that too much estrogen in both men and women can decrease libido? A reason for working with your naturopathic doctor to test your estrogen and if necessary, downregulate estrogenic activity.
Lastly, raw cacao powder – rich in magnesium (no wonder we crave chocolate before our period ladies or when we are feeling sad), calcium, and iron.
Magnesium is needed for almost all body processes and is a key mineral depleted when we are stressed. Low magnesium can result in leg cramps, constipation, anxiety, sleep issues and mood imbalances as it helps make serotonin.
Low iron can lower your energy, make you feel fatigued and the result is low sexual desire!
LIBIDO BOOSTING "COOKIE DOUGH" BITES
INGREDIENTS (MAKES 6 BALLS):
- 1 tbsp New Chapter Fermented Maca powder (maca, schisandra, cardamom)
- 1 tbsp Organic Traditions ashwagandha powder
- 1 tbsp ground flax
- 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 2 tbsp drippy natural peanut butter
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp coconut flour
- Vital Proteins Matcha Collagen Powder
- Cyto-Matrix Greens Matrix Powder
- Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
- Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. The coconut flour is super absorbent and will absorb a lot of the liquid turning the mixture into a soft dough.
- Roll into bite-sized balls. If it is too soft, you can place it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes so it firms up a bit.
- Roll into bite sized balls.
- If they become too soft or oily from the heat of your hands, place them back in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm them up a little before rolling them in the toppings.
- Roll in some Vital Proteins Matcha Collagen powder (for some slight caffeine and l-theanine properties) or Cyto-Matrix Greens Matrix Powder (blend for liver detox support, antioxidants, and fibre) or unsweetened shredded coconut.
Place the balls in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up. Store in the fridge for 5-7 days.
*Please note that there is a difference between consuming these nutrients and herbs as foods and supplements. Adding 1 tsp or so to your smoothies, shakes, and power balls is great to up the health profile of your food however before you venture out to your local health store and purchase these nutrient and herbal supplements, please speak with your naturopathic doctor or other healthcare provider to make sure that it is right for you.
Doses in supplements are much higher and can interact with other medications and may not be right for you. Further, because maca, flax and ashwagandha are modulating hormones that can have a domino effect on other hormones, it is important to check in with your healthcare provider to ensure exactly which hormones should be balanced. Blood and more comprehensive urine hormone testing options are available through your naturopathic doctor. Medical doctors can order blood tests for hormones.