Moringa

I absolutely fell in love with smoothies while on the raw food diet. Apart from giving me a burst of energy in the morning, I found it really quick and convenient to have for breakfast as opposed to a typical breakfast which, in my case, was either bread and omelet or kosai (bean cakes) and koko aka akamu (a pudding like drink made from corn or millet).

Now, though I like me some smoothies, I’m however not a green juice person which I attribute to my past smoothie misadventure with bitterleaf (Vernonia amygdalina). Most people can’t stand the bitter taste in soups let alone in fresh smoothies so leave it to me to juice the leaves without attempting to first wash out some of it’s bitterness (dunno what I was thinking!). Let me just tell you that when you take that first sip, your taste buds will take a while to recover from the unpleasantness of it! If you’ve ever had fresh, unprocessed aloe vera juice straight from the leaves you’ll have an idea what I’m talking about but even that doesn’t quite compare to this.

You can therefore understand why after this experience, I was averse to green smoothies even though, I know, not all taste like the bitterleaf (I’m still recovering from the trauma). So, with my misadventure on green smoothies, I decided to stick to a more pleasant, sweeter alternative of carrot smoothie. And my taste buds and skin loved it! After a couple of days on this smoothie breakfast, I could literally feel my body crave for more and my cells sigh with contentment each time I had a glass (I’m really not making this up and NO, I’m not CRAZY!).

Apart from it’s great taste, a couple of days on it and this stuff had my skin looking clearer and more youthful that before. I had found the perfect combo, a great tasting smoothie that gives youthful skin.

fresh moringa leaves

So a couple of  months ago, I stumbled upon an article about the wonder plant called Moringa and its numerous health benefits. I was pleasantly surprised as I’ve had this tree in my backyard for years and even though we use it in local dishes, I never really knew it had so many health benefits. So as I’m reading this article, a light bulb suddenly goes off in my head and gets me thinking… how about trying another green smoothie using moringa leaves this time? I would add some bananas for a little sweetness and see how it goes.

Fast forward to 5 days later, I have to tell you, I’d turned into a green juice junkie so yeah it WORKED! I did add about 2, 3 leaves of the bitterleaf (and I know what you’re thinking but I refuse to let it conquer me!) and I have to say this is my current favorite smoothie! I still have the carrot smoothie occasionally but most days, it’s Moringa. I added the bitterleaf because of it’s liver cleansing properties and other health benefits and I didn’t taste any bitterness. Perhaps because the moringa leaves was the main ingredient.

So, what do we really know about this wonder plant packed with numerous  benefits?

The plant moringa, works great in beautifying the skin reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Moringa, also known as Zogale in Northern Nigeria, is a remarkable source of nutrition with an amazing balance of minerals, amino acids and antioxidants, it promotes wellness and gives energy. Moringa can grow in any kind of soil and has been known to improve the quality of soil where it is planted. It is found across Nigeria from the North to South. This great plant is recommended in famine stricken countries to help combat malnutrition. It is referred to as the most nutrient rich plant on earth and this is because its leaves and pods contain over 90 nutrients and 46 antioxidants and the bark, seeds and leaves all have uses . It has the unique ability to bind itself to toxins in our bodies helping us eliminate them.

I remember growing up as a child, I would watch my grandmother as she made kwado, a local vegetarian salad made from moringa leaves and spiced up with powdered kuli kuli (peanut chips). At the time, I thought kwado was… well…. local and archaic. I just couldn’t wrap my head around having peanuts in salad (where’s the salad cream and french dressing?!). Each time she offered me a bite, I would decline, wrinkling my nose. Now decades later, I have a new found respect and appreciation for Kwado especially because of the great moringa plant. Infact, I can eat kwado all week long! If only my grandmother could see me now… The old timers were definitely on to something.

If you’re not having moringa yet it’s time to have a rethink! Perhaps these few facts will inspire you:

Moringa contains:

2 times more Protein than Yogurt

3 times  more Potassium than Bananas
4 times  more Calcium than Milk
4 times  more Vitamin A than Carrots
7 times more Vitamin C than Oranges

Here are three easy ways to incorporate Moringa into your diet:

Moringa Drink

My Moringa Smoothie:

Ingredients:

A bowl of moringa leaves (leaves only no stems included)

1 Banana

1/2 a piece of ginger (optional)

2-3 leaves of the bitterleaf (optional)

1/2  lime (optional)

1 glass of water

How to: mix moringa, bitterleaf and ginger in a blender, add water and blend till smooth. Slice the banana and add to the mixture. Add the juice of half a lime and blend all together till completely smooth. There you have it, your tasty, yummy moringa smoothie.

Moringa Tea

Moringa Tea

Moringa Leaves

Hot water

1/4 teaspoon of ginger sliced or grated (optional)

lime or lemon juice (optional)

Honey for sweetness (optional)

How to: Combine moringa leaves and ginger in a cup and add freshly boiled water. Allow to steep for about 3 mins. Strain out the leaf and add your juice of lime or lemon. Sweeten with honey and you’re good to go.

Moringa Powder

Dried Moringa Leaves

Ingredients:

Moringa Leaves (dried)

How to: Pick out the leaves from the stem, place leaves on a tray or mat and leave out to dry in your kitchen or a clean room (moringa should not be dried outside in direct sunlight). The leaves will dry up over the next couple of days (number of days depends on your weather). Once it is completely dried up and develops a crunchy feel to it, put the dried leaves in a grinder and grind into powder form and you’re done! Your moringa powder is ready to use. You can sprinkle the powder on your already prepared meals for added nutrition. We sometimes mix the dried moringa with spices such as cloves, dried ginger and salt to make a spice mix called yaji and sprinkle this on our food once it’s served. If making moringa powder is too much work for you, you can buy already ground moringa powder online and in select stores around you. If you live in Abuja, you can check Sahad Stores in Area 11 for moringa seeds and powder. Leave a comment below if you would like me to share moringa salad recipes with you.

I would love to hear how you use moringa so please share with us!

there is happiness in health and beauty in happiness -LailaBeautie

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