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Warming Spiced Fruit Drink with Special Ecuadorian Bread

Recipes from Dr. Gloria's Ecuadorian Kitchen

The "Colada Morada" is an indigenous tradition in Ecuador, specifically the Northern Andean Region where my Health Sciences/Research center is based. This holiday, on November 2nd, (Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead) is a day that honors deceased saints in this deeply religious culture. It is celebrated in families and social gathering as a tradition handed down from generation to generation and has become an Ecuadorian gastronomical delicacy, especially for us expats who now make Ecuador home.

If you walk through an Ecuadorian neighborhood from October (especially) thru the New Year holiday you'd get whiffs of spices like cinnamon, allspice, and fruit. Having been raised by a South American paternal grandmother, I equate this Ecuadorian drink to Mexican Atolé, Champurrado. Although these spiced drinks have similar spices, they are each vastly unique.

One of the many rewarding aspects about living and traveling abroad is that we get to add and enrich our own holiday festivities as we discover new traditions from our host country, as I've experienced here in Cotacachi, Ecuador, S.A.

An interesting holiday that people celebrate here in Ecuador (like Halloween in the U.S.) is Dia de los Difuntos or Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)—which is November 2nd. This celebration takes on a very reverent and spiritual focus versus our fun pumpkins, trick-or-treating and dressup kind of festivities in America. From what I'm told, the Day of the Dead here has origins from the indigenous Indians mixed with Catholic beliefs. It's their time to commemorate deceased loved ones and saints—some reflect on those they've lost, others set up altars or clean the gravesites, and others just enjoy the food traditions as there is always a food aspect to any special day, especially in Latin cultures: the Colada Morada and Guaguas de pan are special to this day.

As we explore, learn and join-in holidays or traditions from different cultures, it becomes a unique learning experience and one in which I feel blessed that I'm here to partake. Ecuadorians are deeply spiritual and traditional people who have embraced me like family, of course it helps that I speak fluent Spanish and I'm a doctor of natural health. I have lived and traveled to many areas and countries and often, local interests, and beliefs just don't interest us or align with our consciousness, so, we just move on…not so for me in Ecuador…my small city, this vast diverse country and its people have stolen my heart and soul!

Halloween, for example, for many involves witchery and other things that don't align with our family values, so we enjoy the lighter hearted festivities of Halloween like dressing up and trick-or-treating. Day of the Dead is not a custom I ever participated in until invited to a large gathering at the home of friends who are three brothers that own a transportation and tourism business (Patricio, Jorge & Milton). Besides a delicious feast that included a roasted pig in the ground, indigenous dances, traditional flute music, and a world-renown Shaman, they served the traditional and delightful Guaguas de Pan (baked in an outdoor wood oven) and Colada Morada. It was a fun time getting to know my Ecuadorian neighbors and expats (which number about 800 in a city of about 10,000 in the town proper) in our little community of Cotacachi—it also gave us all an opportunity to learn more about their traditions in our new chosen home.


  • 1 cup purple or black corn flour**
  • 14 oz. orange juice
  • 2 cups blackberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 cups cranberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 1 pineapple, peels and core + 2 cups very finely diced pineapple
  • 5–6 cinnamon sticks
  • 4–5 whole cloves
  • 4–5 all-spice berries
  • 12–14 oz panela (brown sugar)
  • A few lemon verbena leaves, fresh or dry
  • A few lemon grass leaves, fresh or dry
  • 2–4 pieces orange peel
  • 8 + 4 cups water

* In the original Ecuadorian recipe, they use a fruit known as Naranjilla. It's very tasty but ignites inflammation because it IS a member of the nightshade genre. Therefore, I've had to adapt the recipe because we know nightshades, with their inherent chemical Solanaceae, induce inflammation.

Naranjilla simply refers to "little orange" because it is round and bright-orange when fully ripe but it is NOT part of the citrus orange family.

**NOTE: If in the U.S. you can find the purple corn flour in Hispanic grocery stores, and you can also find it online at,, or

Also, I always found lemon verbena leaves at natural food markets and many ethnic markets.

If you're in Ecuador you just need to go to the mercado (indigenous farmers'market) and ask them to give you the atado de hierbas para colada morada y las especias—they should hand you a bushel of herbs and a small bag of spices for just pennies.

Alcoholic Option: Some people add rum or red wine to the mix and heat along with the finished product, just make sure it gets hot but doesn't boil once you add the alcohol.


  1. Place the pineapple skins and core, cinnamon, spices and panela or brown sugar in a large pot with 8 cups of water. Boil for about 20–25 minutes.
  2. Add the lemon verbena, lemon grass, and orange peel.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes—remove and strain.
  4. In a separate pot, add 4 cups of water with the cranberries and blackberries, boil for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool down until safe to handle, blend and strain.
  5. Mix the cup of purple corn flour with 1 cup of the spice pineapple liquid until well diluted.
  6. Add the strained berry mix, the spiced pineapple liquid and the diluted purple flour mix to a large pot.
  7. Cook over medium heat, stir constantly to keep it from sticking, bring to a boil.
  8. Add the pineapple chunks and reduce to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat, add the strawberry slices and serve warm or cold.

Day Of The Dead Bread Dolls Guaguas de Pan Recipe

Day of the Dead Bread Dolls


  • 1/2 cup sugar or Lakanto natural sweetener
  • 1/2 cup butter (I prefer the salted one for this recipe)
  • 1/2 tsp. fine natural sea salt
  • 1 cup sour cream (you can use regular plain yogurt, NOT the low fat or no fat version)
  • 4 tsp. dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4–4 1/2 c. all-purpose flour (you can use full-bodied gluten-free flour)
  • Egg yolk for brushing top of pastry to encourage browning


  1. In a small sauce pan over low medium heat place sour cream (or yogurt), sugar, butter and salt until butter dissolves. In a large bowl dissolve yeast and warm water. Let it stand for 5 minutes. If it doesn't bubble you most likely need some new yeast that is active.
  2. Pour warm sour cream mixture (make sure it's not hot), eggs, vanilla, cinnamon in with the yeast mixture and stir. Slowly add in the flour. Cover dough tightly for at least 5 hours. NOTE: I've done this for as short as 30 minutes and it was still delicious but the longer it rises the more it expands in the baking process.
  3. Flour your surface where you will be rolling the dough. Divide dough into 4 equally sized balls. Work with each ball and knead one at a time. For the Guaguas de pan you need to make the head and the body separate and then join them. First make small balls for the head and then double the size of that for the body. Flatten the balls and fill them with chocolate morsels, caramel or jelly. The caramel can get messy so if you put too much filling it will ooze out and you won't be able to close them quite right.
  4. Once they are closed-up and rolled you can start shaping the balls. To attach the head to the body you will need to lay the head over the part of the upper body and work it in. You can wet the tip of your fingers to work it back in.
  5. Brush them with egg yolk. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 15–20 minutes. Once they've cool down you can decorate them—if you decorate them while warm the icing will not stay on. Here is my favorite, love that mustac...

NOTE: This is such a healthy fun option for children instead of all the sugary candy at Halloween. Yes, this is still a bread and contains sugar (unless you use Lakanto natural sweetener) but it's a healthier option and a great idea for an interactive party.

Health Benefits of Main Ingredients

Since many of the listed ingredients are common and I've written extensively about their health benefits, I'm only listing those that are most unique to this recipe.

Purple Corn: Not many super foods are found in lower altitudes and purple corn is no exception. Purple corn contains a variety of phytonutrients (plant nutrients) including massive amounts of phenolics and anthocyanins, which contain the highest antioxidant activity according to recent research.

Anthocyanins are a type of complex flavonoid that produces blue, purple or red colors. They are anti-inflammatory and encourage connective tissue regeneration. In addition, antioxidants keep us looking young, protect us from disease, promote healthy blood flow, and reduce cholesterol.

In research studies, it appears anthocyanins may stabilize and protect capillaries and blood vessels from free-radical damage, and they have shown to promote collagen formation (which is great for skin) and improve circulation.

Purple Corn has a higher antioxidant capacity than blueberries, making it one of the most exciting new super foods of our time. And speaking of exciting, there is an ancient Hopi prophecy that says when purple corn comes to the West, that is a sign that great changes are happening on the planet.

Purple Corn Studies and Benefits
Studies show that a diet rich in polyphenolic compounds is associated with reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. Recent research in both animals and humans have shown that increasing polyphenol intake can:

  • Protect against atherosclerosis
  • Lowers blood pressure,
  • Reduces blood clots
  • Elevates antioxidant capacity of the blood

A study by Tsuda et al in 2003 revealed the effects of purple corn on obesity and diabetes. Two groups consumed a diet rich in fats for 12 weeks, but one of the groups also received purple corn pigments. The group consuming the purple corn DID Not:

  • gain weight;
  • suffer hypertrophy in the adiposities of the fat tissues;
  • show hyperglycemia (low blood sugar), hyperinsulinemia (too much insulin in the blood, which is the beginning of diabetes), or hyperleptinemia (increased serum leptin levels, which is another marker for diabetes).

In comparison, the group that didn't receive the extract and ate only a fat rich diet, showed an increase in all areas, thus showing the incredible benefits for fighting obesity and diabetes.

A Japanese study at Nagoya University showed that the pigment in purple corn impedes the development of cancer in the colon. Since colon cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer, adding some purple corn to the diet seems to me to be a great insurance from nature.

Buen Provecho, Enjoy, and don't be confined to the traditional "box" for celebrating holidays—venture out and take a visionary trip to Ecuador with me as your guide.

Gloria Gilbere, DAHom, PhD

Dr. Gloria Gilbère (CDP, DA Hom, ND, PhD, DSC, EcoErgonomist, Wholistic Rejuvenist, Certified HTMA Practitioner) is Founder/CEO of the Institute for Wholistic Rejuvenation – after 22 years of owning/operating two health clinics in Idaho she relocated her Health Sciences/Research/Cooking Institute division to Cotacachi, Ecuador, S.A.

Her worldwide consulting via phone and Skype continues as does the Institute for Wholistic Rejuvenation in Idaho. Visit her website at or call (888.352.8175) to schedule a consultation or register for her post-graduate courses.

NEWS FLASH: Ready to learn more about simple recipes that can give you what I call the Anti-Inflammation Advantage? Download your free 40+ page cookbook The Anti-Inflammation Recipe Sampler at