a lack of guidance given
Maca is new to me. I'm actually a bit annoyed about my experience of buying and using this product. I have now almost consumed the entire container. However, I have since learned that maca can either be bought as raw maca or gelatinized (somewhat cooked) maca. However, there was no mention at the time I purchased this product as it which it was. Nothing on the label. I think this is very poor. I had to contact Health Post to find out. I now know this is RAW maca.
Firstly, I found the taste to be horrible - a bit like you'd imagine lit matches soaked in water would taste like. However, that may not be the fault of the product - just how maca sometimes tastes. Although I have read a more unpleasant taste may indicate lower quality. Initially taking the product I had no problem, but after a bit I realized it was unsettling my stomach causing a slight pain. I also seem to increasingly be experiencing semi-diarrhea. Eventually I worked out it was the maca after reading about how it is now uncommon for RAW maca to cause stomach pain/upset. I have experimented with varied doses to see if that made a difference, which it may have.
I have been reading up on the issue of whether or not it's considered okay to consume raw maca or not. The GENERAL opinion is that maca should NOT be consumed RAW for different reasons. The general advice and thought seems to be that gelatinized (somewhat cooked) maca, only, should be consumed. Raw maca shouldn't be consumed without cooking because it is hard to digest (thus can cause stomach pain and upset, and thus may also not be digested well any way), it is prone to a certain type of mold which is toxic (heat kills the mold evidently) and gelatinized maca contains over 4 times the zinc, iron, and calcium content of raw maca powder. That said, finding clear information on how to cook raw maca (that is raw, not gelatinized) is something I've found tricky to find on the net - believe it or not. There is a lot of writing on it, but it often isn't clear. I presume from what I've read that cooking raw maca yourself does kill any mold and does make it properly digestible - removing digestive side effects. Evidently maca is more commonly sold raw because the gelatinization process bumps up the price quite a bit.
What annoys me is that this product doesn't even state that it is raw maca. There is no mention that it needs to be cooked in order for it to be generally considered safe and digestible. This information should be on the label. As it is packaged as a supplement rather than a food, one would assume that it can be taken as is unless instructions advises otherwise. I also think considering the confusion that seems to exist around the maca issue, it would be practical for Healthpost to provide a pop-information page explaining these issues around the safe and healthy consumption of maca products.