You know when you find yourself at the grocery store and all of a sudden you're ravenous, and can't remember what you were supposed to buy? (Carrots? Bananas? Who knows). The next thing you know, everything sounds good. Like twig tea. And sacha inchi powder. Wait, sacha inchi powder? Yup. I didn't even care (much) about the price; I had to buy it. This week I realized a fave company discontinued my favorite non-Maiah-made treat: cocoa-kissed sacha inchi seeds, and I briefly mourned the loss, as it was the first and only time I have seen anything involving sacha inchi seeds until I saw the actual seed powder for sale at the Eugene Natural Grocers.
What is sacha inchi, you ask? Well, it has been deemed the "Incan peanut", though it is blessedly peanut-free for those of us with peanut sensitivities (though it has a mildly nutty taste). In fact, it is a seed, and a protein-packed one at that. It also contains omega fatty acids which is especially vital for those of us following a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.
As with bananas and turkey, sacha inchi seeds do contain tryptophan which has rumored to boost serotonin levels which has then been linked to reducing appetite (thereby resulting in weight loss), but alas, tryptophan in food does not cross the blood-brain barrier (1). Pure tryptophan does, but that's not exactly commonplace to get your hands on some pure tryptophan--sorry Thanksgiving enthusiasts who think you're getting tons of tryptophan form your turkey; you're not. You're probably just happy and sleepy from overeating, family time and possible numerous glasses of wine. BUT good news my fellow runners, dancers, power-walkers and yogis: exercise does increase tryptophan in the body. So, when you're powered with the plant-based protein, essential amino acids and healthy fats, vitamins and minerals of sacha inchi seeds, you're on your way to increased serotonin, possible weight loss and an overall sense of well-being.
Add more properties like reducing inflammation and therefore helping joint health, and you have a winning little seed. You know how at first nobody knew what a goji berry was (ah, the mockery for my ultra dense and rich raw cacao goji berry wedding cake) and next thing you know, everybody and their mother was raving about goji berries as the best superfood? Well, my unscientific prediction is that the sacha inchi is the next goji berry. Time will tell but remember, Running Girl claimed that first ;)
Anyways, back to the whole reason you're probably here. Along with my "essentials" at the store, I picked up some cookies and cream coconut ice cream. I was going to have some for dessert, but then decided to resist the temptation, hid it from my family in the back of the freezer (OK, I licked the top layer first; I am human, after all. Plus Colin and Keegan, if you're reading this, your sister's germs are all over that, so best let it be), and set about creating a healthier, protein packed and satisfying dessert. And that is how my Cookies n' Cream Cookie Dough recipe was born. Inspired by ice cream, fortified with sacha inchi, and lusciously creamy and nutritious. And did I mention it's vegan, nut-free, soy-free and corn-free? Enjoy!
Cookies n' Cream Cookie Dough
1 can organic garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons vegan vanilla protein powder
1.5 tablespoons sacha inchi seed powder; I used Superfoods by MRM
1 tablespoon sunflower seed butter
2 teaspoons maple syrup or agave (optional if you need extra sweetness)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup shredded zucchini (optional, but you won't taste it so might as well add veggies!)
2-3 tablespoons water as needed
dash of sea salt
1 to 2 chopped up Chocolate Zucchini Brownies (this links to my recent gluten-free vegan brownie recipe but feel free to use your favorite though I highly recommend mine, naturally)
1. Food-process or blend all ingredients together, adding a little water at a time until the desired consistency is reached. (The water content of your zucchini may vary this).
2. Stir in the chopped up brownie by hand and serve! Store extra in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
*I was not endorsed or promoted in any way by MRM or any sacha inchi company :) (though I would love to be a spokeslady for sacha inchi, clearly).
1. Young, Simon N. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2007 Nov; 32(6): 394–399: How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs.