I was invited to cook for my first retreat by a good friend of mine and the first thing I made was these healthy vegan sweet potato brownies. The sweet potato and banana make them soft but also fudgy. Also don’t worry, there is plenty of chocolaty goodness in there. Everyone at the retreat loved them. One person even wanted me to make them a birthday cake after indulging in these babies. Just goes to say these are delicious and packed with good whole foods that make a classic brownie much more healthy and easier to digest because of the natural sweetness of the sweet potato and banana.
Admittedly, brownies are one of my favorite treats to make. I always try to use the best possible cacao powder and infuse them with herbs full of magic like rose and blue lotus. The best cacao powder I have found is from Anima Mundi. When you use the best available cacao and herbs a brownie or any chocolate treat can be transformative. Cacao has been used for its magical qualities for thousands of years.
My Background + Perspective On Food
The retreat was a great chance for me to test my cooking skills. I have no background as a professional chef but I have always loved to cook. Most of my life has revolved around food. Which I know we can all say. But I grew up with parents that love to cook. Not a lot of people can say that. I have found it is rare among families who grew up eating a standard American diet. A lot of American families survive on the convenience of fast food and have had no education on the value of real wholesome food. Growing up on a mind maze of fad diets with no real direction on what is healthy. That is until I found Traditional Chinese Medicine food therapy.
I first learned the value of good food by working at a grocery store for many years. Observing what people bought and how that affected their appearance and quality of mind. That experience has forever changed me. Leading me to study the many issues of our food system while simultaneously trying to heal myself through food and plants. By studying herbalism I was able to build a relationship with plants and food. Then have further deepened my relationship through the stud of nature and the ancient wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the 5 elements.
5 Element Recipes
The 5 elements are a way of thinking that has helped me see the patterns between to my health and the cycles of nature . Each individual plant has certain qualities that are healing for certain times of year and for certain organ systems. Then there is an organ system that we focus on harmonizing through out the 5 seasons. The exploration of this world is never ending. Full of teachings that make me feel more aligned to nature and myself. Through out this blog I explore these concepts and share my perspective on them through food, herbalism and more. Hoping I spark an interest in some one else who needs this information.
Health Benefits of Sweet Potato According to TCM
Brownies according to Chinese Medicine might be a funny concept but it is just the way I think about food. It is hard to let go of those American staples but that doesn’t mean they can’t be changed up and thought about in a more healthy way. These brownies are a sweet indulgence but every ingredient is medicine. The Earth element within the sweet potato is grounding and nurturing. The qualities of rose are uplifting and calming. Offering a sweet indulgence made with wholesome ingredients that you don’t have to worry about putting into your body. And it is easy to alter if you have specific dietary restrictions.
Naturally sweet foods are most important when trying to nourish the body and help it recover. The sweetness in foods means they are loaded with carbohydrates and essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Sweet is associated with the Earth element, the late summer and spleen. The energetics is slightly warming, harmonizing and moistening. Helping strengthen weak digestion function.
Multigrain, bone both and root vegetables are the ideal foods that satisfy the body’s need for sweet. Processed sugar and fruits should be consumed in moderation because they can quickly cause excess dampness, metabolic issues, obesity, skin problems and spleen imbalances.
The sweet flavor in these sweet potato bowls nourishes the spleen and pancreas. Moving qi though this area. Giving us more energy and vitality. Removing toxins from the body building yin fluids and functions within the kidneys. Working to heal and relieve dry and inflamed conditions.
Benefits of Cacao
Cacao is considered a nutrient rich superfood packed full of antioxidants, iron, magnesium, and calcium. Traditionally used as medicine for the heart and the brain. It is considered a sacred plant for many indigenous tribes to this day. At one time it was also used as money by the Mayan civilization because it was such a highly valued plant.
It is an incredible mood booster, as you may know, helping lift the veil of dark depression. It can be used as a mild anti-depressant and it can help regulate hormones. Traditionally it was used as a multivitamin because of all the incredible compounds it holds.
A few health benefits of cacao are its ability to absorb free radicals that are caused by toxins and pollution in our environment. It is the highest plant-based source of iron. Helps supplement magnesium, which is one of the most deficient minerals in the western world food system. Which is important for heart health and helps turns glucose into energy that enables your brain to focus with laser-sharp clarity. It also contains more calcium than cow’s milk.
Cacao is different than cocoa powder. The dutch processing that makes cocoa powder removes all of the most valuable nutrients out of the cacao plant. So if you are seeking all of the special properties and effects ait is important to source raw cacao from a trusted grower that values the processing and keeps the nutrients intact. Like with this organic heirloom cacao powder from Anima Mundi.
Vegan Sweet Potato Brownies
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 3 small bananas
- 1/2 cup of nut milk
- 3 tbsps of coconut oil
- 2 tbsps of rose honey
- 5 tbsps of flax meal 5 tbsps of rose tea or water
- 1/2 cup of chocolate chips melted
- 3 cups of rice flour
- 1 cup of unfiltered sugar
- 3/4 cup of cacao
- 2 tbsps of cinnamon
- 4 tsp of baking powder
- First prepare the rose tea and let sit.
- Boil the sweet potatoes until soft.
- Prepare dry ingredients in a bowl.
- Make the flax eggs with rose tea.
- Add wet ingredients to a food processor.
- Combine dry with wet.
- Line a baking dish with parchment paper bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or longer depending on thickness of brownies. Top with rose petals.