Google+ Authentic Parenting: 10 Super Foods and How To Use Them

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

10 Super Foods and How To Use Them

Nature has a way of putting the best things for us humble humans in the natural foods it creates. Generally speaking, weeds, nuts, seeds and berries are the most nutrient dense foods one can find, so it's only smart to add them to our daily regimen.

  1. Dandelion: this common weed can be eaten from flower to root, it's lovely in salads or herbal pesto, you can make coffee from it's roots. You can easily harvest it yourself. Use it raw in salads and soups or dry and store for later. 
  2. Nettle: again a lovely nutritious weed that just grows in our gardens for free. Nettle is the most complete source of nutrients for man.
  3. Chia seeds are a good souce of omega-3 fatty acids, it's high in energy and lowers blood sugar levels. Get a couple of recipes here.
  4. Sesame seeds have one of the highest oil content of any seed, its oil has the highest antioxidant value of any oil.
  5. Spirulina is a saltwater algae. Rosemary Gladstar lists it as one of the supplements women should be taking every day. It looks and tastes very green, so it might take some getting used to. Spirulina is a complete protein and is a serious nutrient bomb. It's also a powerful antioxidant.
  6. Maca is a root, used as a vegetable and a medicinal herb. It is very beneficial for the central nervous system. It is shown to tighten libido and improve semen quality, among other things.
  7. Turmeric: This is truly a little miracle, traditionally used in curry mixes, turmeric on its own gives a nice yellow color to your dishes. It is fat soluble, so mix it in oil for optimal absorption. Turmeric is a cure for inflammation, The more turmeric is researched, the more we find results of its virtues.
  8. Green tea: Green tea is a great antioxidant, it slows early aging symptoms and even inhibits the growth of cancer. It's also shown to lower cholesterol.
  9. Goji berries or wolf berries have been long known in chinese herbal medicine. They are these long wrinkled berries that taste more savory than sweet. The berry's high nutrient value and antioxidant qualities have made it come to Western attention in recent years.
  10. Honey is an amazing food. It has so many health benefits and is a natural medicine on its own, among other things, it relieves throat ache and it heals burn wounds. If you just consider how honey is made, you realize it can't be other than magical.
Buying remarks
To me, the nicest way to use super foods is to use them as foods, instead of supplements, because it can get quite tedious to take a whole set of pills at every meal. Moreover, the quality of your super food is often a lot better in it's original form then when you get it in pills.
It's also a good idea to buy organic, and from a reliable source. You wouldn't want your superfood to be a super poison, would you!
Another good tip is to buy in bulk, as you will be consuming them on a daily basis for the whole family, this will also cut the tab a little.

How to use
Now you've spent some money on these lovely nutritional bombs (or you spent he afternoon harvesting them in your back yard), best use them too!

Here are a couple of ideas on integrating super foods into your diet on a daily basis. It will take some experimenting and some getting used too, but try a couple of these ideas and find out what works for you:

  • Adding your superfood to a smoothy: oils and powders can easily be added to delicious smoothies. You don't need much to create a lovely smoothy: a banana and a cup of coconut oil can do the trick, but there are lots and lots of flavors and textures to experiment with. Start out with a little bit of your superfood, because some (like spirulina or chlorella) have a very overpowering flavor. It's also a good idea to use same colored fruits when you're using brightly colored additives. Remember, the eye eats too!
  • Food sprinkle: lots of dry herbs and small seeds can be added into a herb sprinkle bottle. Much nicer to have this on the table then the traditional salt and pepper. And have a pot of your mixture  close to your cooker too, so you can ameliorate your omelets and stir-fries. Right now, I have a sprinkler with chia seeds, sesame seeds, nettle, dandelion leaf, thyme, turmeric and oregano sitting on my table. Again, experiment with the flavors until you find something you like.
  • Olive oil with a boost: powdered and dry leafy herbs can easily be added to olive oil. This is another great mix to have on your table, it can act as a ready made dressing for any salad, or a quick flavory bread spread.
  • Pesto: Use your green herbs and powders to boost your pesto. Never made pesto before? It's very simple, check out this slide for lots of inspiration!
  • Making pesto is so easy and delicious, and it's so nutritious. Image: PhylB
  • Broth: adding roots, herbs and seeds to your broth will give you a magnificently healing broth.



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