Monday, February 21, 2011

Everyday Superfood

Ahh superfoods, how I love thee. Loaded with anti-oxidants, enriched with magnesium, and typically low on the glycemic-index, super-whole-foods save the day, everyday. Well, they certainly save me by giving me natural strength superpowers. "Superfood" is a term used to describe foods with high phytonutrient content that may confer health befits.

From turmeric to camu camu powder, the range of super foods seems to be growing exponentially. Sometimes it's tempting to believe every health tip we're told, but unless you read dissect the ingredients and nutritional facts, you could be consuming more sodium than fiber. The majority of superfood claims are supported by scientific studies, while others fall short and fall off the radar. If you're in search of some trustworthy resources I recommend reading The China Study, The Thrive Diet, Crazy Sexy Diet, and following blogs Joyous Health and Choosing Raw.

Although challenging, if I absolutely had to pick my top five favourite superfoods I'd choose
  • Chia seeds
  • Cacao (Cacao is loaded with anti-oxidants and it's extremely high in magnesium, which is the most important mineral for a healthy functioning heart. It's also low in sugar and high in potassium, making it a great alternative to a banana.)
  • Super greens (a combination varying of wheatgrass, spirulina, barely grass, spinach, and sometimes parsley) 
  • Blueberries (fresh or frozen, I love em!)
  • Turmeric 
  • Cinnamon, goji berries, raw almonds, kale, mesquite meal, maca powder
Okay, I realize I didn't pick five :/ Oops!

Like I said, the array of superfoods is growing...or rather, our knowledge, research, and dedication to natural health and wellbeing may be growing. Still, while the selection of superpowers may seem daunting, I'll share a small piece of advice - evaluate what may be missing from your diet, do a little reading from a reputable source, and hit up your local health foods or grocery store. Better still, consult with a naturopathic doctor, or certified nutritionist. 

Once you have your hands on some delightful berries, cacao powder, or Sunwarrior protein, the fun really begins. 
Upon moving to Australia I was SO excited to explore new brands and befriend everyone at my local health store, Evelyn Faye Nutrition. I was like a kid in a candy store, expect the candy is good for you.

Four easy ways to incorporate superfoods into your diet:
Smoothies
Almost every morning, I drink a smoothie for breakfast. I feel so invigorated after a superfoods smoothie, especially when it's green ;) Sometimes I'll make my smoothie extra thick and eat it from a bowl, with a little banana on top, just like a pudding. And as long as I include some protein, it keeps me satisfied until lunch. The best thing about smoothies is that they're interchangeable. No blueberries on hand? No worries, sub in half a banana and almond butter for a protein boost. From green monsters to cacao and cinnamon, the combinations are endless.

Energy bars & puddings
Mmm energy bites, bars, n' pudding. I've shared my breakfast pudding recipe below ;)

Salad toppers
Sprinkle some chia seeds, slivered raw almonds, and or puffed quinoa on top of your salad. Don't forget to include some dark greens ;) For more yummy salad topper ideas check out Angie's recipe 

Baking substitutions 
To avoid refined sugars try using banana, applesauce, dried fruits, dates, or agave as a natural source of sweetness.

Bold, berry, and slightly green breakfast pudding
  • 1.5 cup mixed berries (I used a combo of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries - frozen fruit is great for this)
  • 1/2 banana (reserve a few slices to top your pudding with)
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds 
  • 1/2 tsp camu camu powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp protein (I use, and love, sunwarrior)
  • 1 heaping tbsp natural soy yogurt
  • 1 tsp wheatgrass and barely powder (spirulina or any other greens is great too)
  • 1 tsp cacao powder 
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • cinnamon, as much as you like!
  • 6-10 goji berries (to top your pudding with)
  • 2-3 ice cubes
Blend everything expect chia seeds, goji berries, and a few slices from your 1/2 banana. Once blended, pour into a bowl and stir in the chia seeds. At first it will appear too liquidly, but stir every minute or so, for 10 minutes, and it will plump up! Top with your goji berries, banana slices, and enjoy! I've moved on from oatmeal to smoothies/puddings and am never looking back..at least, for a while.


Here is one of my favourite post-workout smoothie recipes as well,

Protein power superfood smoothie
  • 1 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1 tbsp sunwarrior protein
  • 1 tsp mesquite powder
  • 2 tsp cacao powder
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla bean, with the seeds removed (note: if using a high power blender, you can leave the seeds in)
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • ice (optional)
Blend and enjoy!

Dates can easily be substituted for sweetener of your choice i.e. agave, stevia, or honey; however, if you're watching your sugar intake then omit the dates all together. 

Note: I've said "superfood" in this post 13 times :P ...and now I'm hungry for dinner!

Have a great day/night xo

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4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the recipe!!! Love it

    btw, bird nest is made up of about 58% soluable proteins...the highest amoung all food and even synetic protein powders

    it greatly increase tissue regeneration

    sources taken from the internet
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird_nest_soup
    hongkong-bird-nest.50webs.com/index_e.htm
    http://www.euyansang.com/

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  2. we seem to have traded places! i went from smoothies to oatmeal and feel the same way, atleast for now ;)

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  3. @Jane, I've heard of bird nest, but have yet to try it. If my memory serves me correctly, it's widely used in chinese medicine and yes, tissue regeneration! Interesting! I'll have to look into further, thanks Jane!

    @Nadine, haha you..oatmeal?! Amazing. Recipe swaps? ;) xo

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  4. thanks for the recipe! im new to this healthier eating... and thanks also and write up on spelt quinoa (i drive past it on my way to work)

    I am going to stock up on quinoa, cacao, goji berries, ground flaxseed, protein powder and chia seeds!!

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