All grains contain peptides that mimic morphine or endogenous opioid substances. This is where I deal with my latest loaf craving. Get your bread-based exorphin fix here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Maca-Enhanced Sex Bread

Maca Enhanced Sex Bread

I had fun writing about the last maca root sourdough bread I made so I thought I would make another.  The taste of a maca loaf is quite different from what you'd expect.  I'll call it interesting.  You wouldn't get the same result from, say, a loaf made with turnip flour.  It boggles my mind that a root can give you this kind of taste in a bread.  I have read somewhere that the raw root smells a bit like butterscotch. The scent of the maca flour is distinct.  I cannot liken it to anything else.

The claims made for the root make it worth trying more than once.  The increased sex drive would seem to be a bonus.   Not that I can offer anything but anecdotal evidence, of course.  But others can offer more scientific evidence:

Why we eat
A short time ago (in a blog about bread made with coconut flour, in the sidebar rant about functional foods) I asked the question, "why do we eat?"

It turns out that this is not such a stupid question.  Karissa Reiter, for example, asked a similar question and wrote a short 2011 Ph.D. thesis at Texas State University San Marcos entitled "Eating on Purpose: creating recipes from the scientific effects of food on the mind and body," in which maca root plays a small supportive part.  She gives recipes for maca brownies and smoothies, trying to get the maca root to the 2.5-3.5g/day required to feel the various effects.  The effects are: increased sexual desire, increased sexual satisfaction, improved mood, better quality of life, etc.

Maca Loaves

How do you measure Quality of Life?
As a palliative care nurse, I often hear my coworkers speak of patients who are dying, and whether or not they enjoy "quality of life."  Quite often this phrase is used to justify whether medical treatment of underlying disease is the correct approach or not: if there is no hope that the underlying disease process can be prevented, stopped, or reversed, and if attempts to do so result in worsening the quality of life, then we have to question whether it is ethical to do so -- even if there is a chance of increasing the quantity of life.

But how does one measure quality of life?  When you look up maca root on the Internet, you run into a number of studies that use a particular scale, which has become a typical measure of subjective satisfaction, and a way to quantify quality of life.  From what I have been able to determine, the SAT-P Satisfaction Profile questionnaire was developed by Callegari and Majani from Montescano Italy; it is difficult to find on the Internet, but apparently it can be purchased here.

The questionnaire/scale was introduced in the 1999 International Journal of Mental Health (Majani GCAPA. A New Instrument in Quality-of-Life Assessment The Satisfaction Profile(SAT-P). International Journal of MentalHealth. 1999;28(3):77-82and in the 1999 Quality of Life Newsletter.  It seems simple enough to use.  You give a subjective rating, from 0 (extremely dissatisfied) to 100 (extremely satisfied) on various "items" of your life (there is supposed to be 32, but the newsletter only gives a list of 31, in 5 different "factors" -- see below).  The data received can be graphed on a radar for the items, and a histogram for the factors.  The radar view is kind of cool.

Although the scale is a good one, it does not "weight" the "items" according to a person's subjective preferences, nor does it deliver all "factors" that a person values.  For example, some people might value their work more, and their spare time less, skewing the two factors where these items appear.  Maybe some people don't even value sex.  And the scale seems particularly deficient in its measure of spirituality.

The SAT-P is not the only Quality of Life scale in use.  Another, to provide just one more example, is the SQLP, introduced by Dazord, A. et. al. (1998). "Quality of Life Assessment in Psychiatry: The Subjective Quality of Life Profile (SQLP) - First Results of a New Instrument." Community Mental Health Journal 34(5). pp. 525-535.  This scale queries 36 items, organized around 4 "life domains" -- functional life, social life, material life and spiritual life.  In addition to rating the "degree of satisfaction" of these items, the items are weighted according to "importance attributed" to the reported satisfaction, as well as "degree of anticipated change."

 Results of the Baking
I liked this bread.  Don't know if I could eat it everyday, though.

I understand that you have to eat 1.5-3g of maca a day for at least 12 days to perceive a difference in your libido.  This is a novelty bread, and as interesting as it is to eat, I doubt that I could eat it continuously enough to get any perceived increase in "sexual desire".   

Future Maca Loaves
I imagine the 'functional food' marketers making bread like this and selling it widely.  Then, a few years down the road, we might see warning labels on every loaf:
WARNING: The surgeon general has determined that increasing one's libido without having some outlet for that desire may lead to increased frustration and episodes of road rage; while sex with partners may result in children or disease.  Practice safe sex.

Notes to Myself
  • There are supposed to be 32 items in the SAT-P scale, but the newsletter where I found this described only gives 31, as follows:
    • I Psychological functioning
      • Mood 
      • Mental efficiency 
      • Emotional stability 
      • Self-confidence 
      • Problem solving ability 
      • Psychological autonomy 
      • Self-control 
      • Social image 
      • Couple relationship 
      • Family role 
    • II Physical functioning 
      • Resistance to physical fatigue 
      • Physical wellbeing 
      • Physical appearance 
      • Physical mobility 
      • Level of physical activity 
      • Frequency of sexual intercourse 
      • Quality of sexual intercourse 
      • Resistance to stress 
    • III Work 
      • Type of work 
      • Organization of work 
      • Professional role 
      • Work productivity 
      • Financial situation 
    • IV Sleep/eating/leisure 
      • Amount of sleep 
      • Quality of sleep 
      • Quality of food 
      • Eating behaviour 
      • Amount of spare time 
    • V Social functioning 
      • Relationship with other members of your family 
      • Relationship with your friends 
      • Relationship with your colleagues
  • I continue to look for a copy of the SAT-P scale, and I may include a link to it in the future if I can find it.  
  • There is a PREVIEW of the book, in Italian, on the Internet, which contains among other things, this table of items in its complete form (but not the complete test).  Because the .pdf file is copy protected, one cannot easily cut and paste the Italian into English to see what the authors are saying, but you can go to the link via Google Translate.  From a careful comparison of the table in the preview with the above list, the last item that seems to be missing falls under function IV Sleep/eating/leisure:  
      • Leisure activity
  • Bread Satisfaction Scale
    You could build a similar subjective scale for a homemade bread: a subjective rating, from 0 to 100, rating your satisfaction with the bread in various aspects.  Just off the top of my head, I would ask for factors regarding taste, perceived healthfulness, keeping ability, crumb density, crumb organoleptic quality, crust, ability to cohort with spreads and fixings, and presentation.  These factors could be weighted in terms of personal preference: for example, you may not value the crust as much as the crumb, etc.

    Perhaps I will think of this a bit more to see what I can come up with.

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