Image Courtesy: Björn Söderqvist
What? You didn’t know we were in the midst of a formal debate regarding the super-ness of some so-called super foods? Well, when other internet publications suggest that we eat spinach every single day of our lives, I’ve got to put my foot down.
I love spinach. But, every day? Come on people – isn’t there a better way?
It’s no secret to me that food is the best medicine. I’ve spent the last year healing from an awful condition that can be aggravated or alleviated by what I choose to eat. And, spinach has its place on my plate. It’s a very roomy place with space for home-made apple cider vinegar dressing (but, that’s a story for another time). Popeye grew muscles every time he opened a can of this stuff cause it’s got calcium, magnesium, Vitamin C and K and a series of nutrients that puts lettuce to shame. But is it super? I’d have to say no.
What is Super Food?
Wikipedia, my internet Bible, defines “super food” as a term without a definite definition. Only that the food must contain more than basic nutrition. Basic nutrition? Wiki goes on to explain that “super food” may be processed, genetically modified or fresh.
I’ve come to learn that the term “super food” is loosely used as a marketing scheme to get us to buy more stuff – not to make us healthier.
Some foods and herbs command the respect and honor of the title “super” because of their completeness and the amount of nutrition packed into each bite. And, other so-called supers, like milk, yogurt and turkey breast top off my Danger List. Yeah, some of these super foods are not only un-super, but they can potentially harm us.
The Super Food Bandwagon
Recently, everyone from O Magazine, to Web M.D. to internet bloggers has felt the need to add their 2 cents to the world-wide super-food repertoire. So, if you pull rank in society, and your favorite veggie isn’t on the list – speak up, we’re hungry for more.
Otherwise, read closely… if you’re serious about your health and want to get the most bang out of each super bite, you’ve come to the right place. Here, I list the most powerful foods that have positively impacted my own healing process. But, I’m not alone. Many people infected with Cancers, autoimmune disorders, neurological and digestive problems have called upon these super foods for amazing results.
Drum Roll Please. . .
The Algae Family
Topping my Super Food list is the algae family, including blue-green algae spirulina and chlorella. Earning my super seal of approval means it packs in more concentrated nutrition per gram than any other food, herb or grain. These aquatic plants will not only nourish you, but help your body detoxify poisons. Companies like E3 Live boast the benefits of their unique algae strain, grown only in southern Oregon. I’ve witnessed great recoveries from acne, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, using E3Live.
So, would you like to eat a huge spinach salad at every single lunch for the rest of your life? Or, simply swallow a few natural spirulina pills and be done with most of your body’s daily requirements?
Algae is important to human survival and evolution because it grew before we showed up, and provided oxygen for us to develop. Whether one modern brand is better than the other is not the question. Considering human uniqueness, one type may work better for you than it does for me. What’s important is that this ancient food is now being studied and made widely available in the purest of forms – yet, I’m hard-pressed to find it on my Google search for super foods. Since adding an algae supplement to my diet, I have experienced heightened energy and mental clarity as well as improved skin and vision.
All Hail the Fermenteds…
Young Coconut Kefir
Number two on my list is a revamped version of the coconut, Young Coconut Kefir (fermented young coconut water). The coconut’s natural superiority is also derived from ancient examples. Once used in tribal ceremonies, this fruit contains nearly all of the nutrients we need to survive. In their ripe or young state, coconuts are green and yield mineral rich water and a jell-like meat that’s abundant in healthy fats and proteins. And that’s why the coconut is super. However, young coconut kefir multiplies the nutritional level by removing the sugars, adding beneficial bacteria and making the drink more bio available.
It is especially important to moderate even your natural sugar intake during times of stress, fatigue or illness. Hmmm, that pretty much covers every American day! Even natural sugars feed the unfriendly bacteria and yeast in our guts. With a bit of planning, you can affordably prepare this amazing drink at home. Besides adding to your beneficial bacteria and providing you with a myriad of nutrients, YCK boosts serotonin – it makes you happier, naturally. Read more about the benefits and how to make it.
Cultured or fermented vegetables earn the third super spot. Culturing is done by adding strains of beneficial bacteria and enzymes to your beloved spinach, kale and any healthy veggie that you love. Culture starters can be purchased or simply shared between online communities. Consuming cultured vegetables not only affords you the nutrients of those foods, but also aids in the digestion of everything else on your plate. In fact, if you are a meat eater – cultured veggies will assist in turning harmful animal by-products into essential amino acids. That’s a lot of bang per bite.
Cultured beets have been a key player in my own recovery. After consuming them for a week, my yellowed skin began to normalize. What further amazes me, is that my three year old, who also suffers from candidiasis – has no more problems with swollen gut. He eats about two cups of raw cultured beets daily, and we are noticing an awesome developmental transformation as well. As his gut heals, he learns to communicate at a higher level.
You may need to acquire a taste for these healing foods, especially if your body is toxic. But, the good news is that more nutrition per spoonful means fewer spoonfuls of veggies required. If you’re like me though, you’ll feel the results and your body will crave more.
Kombuchea Tea is named next on my list because I find it to be an excellent supplement and so readily available. It’s fermented, like most of my other faves, so drinking it aids in digestion and provides you with the maximum nourishment per sip. What I also love about this tea is that it comes in a variety of flavors/nutrition possibilities.
This food is super because we are busy, and we can buy it at any natural grocer. I’m partial to the swamp-water-colored variety, which contains my beloved algae. If I’m going to drink wine, I always have a bottle of Kombucha first – no more hangovers or headaches. If you know you’re going to have a piece of cheesecake or some other delectable demon, try having a bottle of Kombucha tea beforehand, and notice that you won’t get bloated or sick after you eat.
Some Really Great Foods
I’ve got to hand it to the folks at O Magazine for mentioning foods like the acai berry, buckwheat, nutritional grasses, garlic, hot peppers and sprouts. All of these foods have healing properties and mega nutrition. I would caution you, though, to the amount of natural sugar, acidity and your own body’s ability to digest these foods.
Oats : Proceed with Caution
Oats quite often make the super food list. But, because of the haphazard way in which we often farm in this country, oats may be mixed with wheat crops and may contain harmful gluten protein.
Beware of super food lists
So many super food lists mention culprits like skim milk, yogurt and turkey. Know that when you consume pasteurized/homogenized milk products, you are introducing histamines into your system. Pasteurization kills active enzymes. Most of the protein and good fats are removed from skim milk, so you are left with a mess to digest. This goes for any food product derived from pasteurized milk, as well.
Furthermore, when consuming animal protein at all, we need to consider everything from the animal’s diet, to how it was slaughtered, chemical additives, quality of the grasses and soils, harmful by-products as well as what we combine with the meat on our plates. Milk and meat come from animals, right? Isn’t this a little too much to consider before you even put the fork to your mouth – to label these guys “super”?
If you do well with milk and want to get the optimum nutrition from it – consume organic, grass fed raw milk.
Don’t even get me started on the turkey. Just do some research on how poultry is raised in this country!
I grew up in an Italian family where we worshipped tomatoes! They grew in our garden and we ate them in some form, every day. Many super food lists say that tomatoes have got it going on. And, I wish I could agree. Unfortunately, many people suffer from food sensitivities triggered by this acidic fruit/vegetable/berry. Some even claim that cooked tomatoes are in fact toxic.
Always consider your own body’s unique health requirements before subscribing to anyone else’s list of super foods. And, understand that the foods on this list were carefully considered because of their ability to be easily assimilated into most of our diets. If you have a Candida related illness, all four of the foods will be helpful. But your body may not accept them all at once. Any time you make serious diet changes, you must give yourself time to adapt.
Let me know how these new foods work for you, or if you have any of your own supers to share. Buon Appetito!!
- Guide to Super Foods [Westin A Price]
- Super Foods to the Rescue [Web MD]
- How to Help Your Body Recover If You Drink Too Much Alcohol or are a Recovering Alcoholic [Body Ecology]
- Another Health Scam?[Dr. Weil]
Gina Laverde is a Chicago-based writer and researcher whose expertise in natural health stems from her experiences with Body Ecology Diet, Blood Type Diet and homeopathic remedies. Gina believes that we’re in the midst of a serious world health crisis, and that the key to survival lies within our guts.