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  1. 1,575 of 1,606 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars
    Maca should not be eaten raw., January 30, 2012
    By 

    This review is from: Navitas Naturals Organic Raw Maca Powder, 1 Pound Pouches (Grocery)
    Maca powder = maca flour. I have cooked with maca flour ten years, as a baking and cooking ingredient/flavoring. In Peru, maca flour, or “harina de maca” is a relatively cheap regional culinary flour. Raw Reform is a great specimen of this culinary flour; ideal for cooking, an excellent nutty flavor, it’s bitterness subsiding with heat. A decade ago I could buy ‘harina de maca’ for $8/kg (and in Peru, it’s a mere $2-4/kg) – now I see this same inexpensive Peruvian cooking flour sold as a “raw superfood” at an inflated price. It’s very odd to have witnessed this metamorphosis.

    The reason I gave this ONE star is simple – this company (among several others) suggests that you to eat this flour raw. Like other cruciferous roots, maca can be particularly difficult to digest when raw. Not only is it fiber-dense, it contains lots of goitrogenic compounds (a term which means ‘thyroid-interfering,’ not “goiter causing”) – that’s why the raw root and it’s flour is so bitter – it’s no wonder people have digestive issues and occasional hormonal (thyroid) complaints with raw maca. The one time I ate it raw, I experienced the stomachache too. Maca is dense in fiber and thyroid inhibiting/goitrogenic compounds (glucosinolates and isothyocyanates), both of which are lessened greatly or deactivated by heat. Among the people who grow it, maca is not considered healthy unless cooked. It is therefore a great paradox that the “raw food” crowd has gotten hold of this vegetable that has always been, and by all accounts always should be cooked. This supplement is being backed by people whose basic food philosophy avoids the plant’s very identity in human use. It would be like eating turnip flour, raw (except maca can even more bitter than this, in fact most of the lepidiums are). Back into antiquity, maca has had to be cooked in order to be gentle on digestion, on metabolism, and it has been cooked traditionally for this purpose.

    I have used the raw maca flour in cooking since 2002 where I first read about it in Chris Kilham’s book “Tales from the Medicine Trail” and began following an interest in this ancient food. I do use raw maca flour for cooking, baking, in pancakes, confections, etc. Where you can get it inexpensively, it is excellent for such uses. For therapeutic effects and everyday drink mix usage, presently I employ a ‘black gelatinized’ maca – it seems to be the strongest type energetically and for sexual effects, and ‘black root’ is my personal preference. ‘Gelatinized’ means that it’s soluble fibers have been neutralized (broken down), and it’s goitrogens denatured – it is a little more concentrated over the powder / flour. Naturally, it is less bitter than any uncooked flour product. The gelatinized processing was developed specifically to address the digestion/goitrogen issue inherent with the root. That’s the process’ entire purpose – that’s why it even exists. Several different companies employ a starch gelatinization processing method for maca.

    The trend in “health food” circles says to eat maca raw, in order to glean the mood, stamina, and sexual benefits which Andean people have known for thousands of years. These merchants never mention how the plant has always been prepared – cooked – perhaps the most crucial aspect of it’s identity. Why argue from antiquity about all the health benefits, while ignoring the food’s ethnobotany? It’s a mix of mistaken understanding, and because there’s profit in re-selling a highly marked up culinary flour. I see $20.00 – $25.00 a pound slapped on maca flour in health food stores — on a product which can be found $2-4 a kilogram in Peru ($1.36 – $1.81/lb!). This is precisely why some regional foods / surpluses suddenly become “superfoods.” In maca’s case there is a genuine positive effect being felt… so, like the mood boost one feels with coffee, maca is an easy sell.

    Pay a price of $20/lb only for the gelatinized product, which has actually been processed for immediate consumption. Do not pay this for a re-packed culinary flour.

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  2. 790 of 831 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars
    What Nobody Tells You About RAW Maca…, May 6, 2010
    By 
    Healthy Habits (California) –

    This review is from: Navitas Naturals Organic Raw Maca Powder, 1 Pound Pouches (Grocery)
    I have never written a review before but I always consult Amazon.com reviews before buying a product so thought I would give back at least once. I bought this product BEFORE I thoroughly researched it due to lifelong problems related to a hormonal imbalance and was soooo excited I just bought what I thought would be good; raw and organic. I took this product for 3 days until I broke out in hives. I only took 1/2 tsp day one and 1/4 tsp days 2 and 3. I got the hives day 2 but was hoping they were not related to the Maca (they were). So…. I researched more and there is one very informative forum I found on google (hard to find and not sure if I’m allowed to refer it or not but here it is but FINISH reading to the bottom or you will not try this product ever): […]. There are a bunch of websites and some scientific reviews, but long story short, it appears that Maca MUST be eaten pre-cooked (gelatinized) to obtain therapeutic benefits and to alleviate potential problems related to digestion (when eaten raw) and possible toxicity (raw) the way the native Puruvians have done for thousands of years to the present (cooked). There are studies that show ingesting raw Maca is worse than not adding it to the diet at all. Based on what I’ve read you need to start SLOWLY with the dosage and adjust it according to your body’s needs, then take a break from it occasionally or it appears to lose potency. If improper dosages are taken it exacerbates the imbalance/symptoms. There are (reportedly) many benefits of Maca on the entire Endocrine system and I still have high hopes so ordered from another company who doesn’t sell raw Maca due to the reasons above. I believe Navitas also has a gelatinized version of the Maca but I bought one with DIM to prevent the overproduction of bad estrogen which can cause cancer in people with a family history. Hope this helps!

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  3. 99 of 122 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars
    Made me VERY sick, August 29, 2010
    By 

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Navitas Naturals Organic Raw Maca Powder, 1 Pound Pouches (Grocery)
    I have used other brands of Maca with no problem. This one made me very, very sick to my stomach with pain and nausea. It took me a few weeks to isolate what was making me sick – had a full gastro work-up and everything – that’s how sick I was! Today, after being healthy again for 2 months I tried 1/2 tsp of maca to test and am sick and nauseous.

    I know many people take maca with no problems. I only post this so those who get sick will hopefully not struggle as long as I did to figure out what is causing it.

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