Focus on (Super)Foods

The more years I do this work, the more I depend on food, rather than pills, to help people achieve health and fitness. After all, supplements are only a guess at what nutrients in foods might be helpful. Research has shown time and again that isolating nutrients in a pill rarely has the same benefit as eating them with all the complementary and synergistic partners that occur naturally in food.

You’ve probably heard the notion that multi-vitamins are a good “insurance policy” and everyone should take them. I don’t think so. Synthesizing all those vitamins and minerals into one tiny pill means your body is not likely to recognize or utilize any of them. Mostly you end up with a more expensive toilet flush.

Instead, invest in some of these delicious and nutrition-packed superfoods. These are all foods I have been using myself for a while, and have stocked some, but I have been recommend them so frequently to clients that I decided to make them all available in my office.

Raw Organic Cacao
Cacao is the source of everything chocolate, but there’s a big nutritional difference between raw organic cacao and a typical candy bar. If you want chocolate that’s healthy, this is what you want. It is mineral-rich and has more antioxidants than green tea, blueberries or red wine. I use it almost every day in my Healthy Hot Cocoa.

Here’s another of my favorite cacao recipes:

Chocolate Dipping Sauce: Blend 1/3 cup raw cacao powder with 1/4 cup melted coconut oil. Add maple syrup, or stevia (for no blood sugar impact) to taste. Adjust ingredients if necessary to desired consistency. This make a very simple topping for ice cream (hardens instantly), or for dipping strawberries or nuts.

Pomagranate Powder Pomegranates might just be my favorite fruit: outrageous ruby color, juicy and messy to eat, demanding that you slow down and relish the ritual, a perfect combination of tart and sweet.  But, alas, they are only available a few months a year.  When they’re out of season, I rely on pomegranate powder.  I add it to my shakes, my tea, baked goodies, and sometimes my green juice. Why? Because, apart from being delicious, research suggests it may be protective of breast health, cardiovascular health, and anti-microbial.

Traditionally used to increase strength and energy, Maca is gaining a reputation – backed by research – for increasing libido, balancing hormones, and increasing fertility in both men and women. Add maca powder to your protein shake, add a little into your cocoa (they pair well), or mix into baking.

Despite the hype, acai is not a weight loss solution, but it is incredibly rich in phytonutrients. Used traditionally both as medicine and as an energy food, it has antioxidants, healthy fats and fiber. Add to yogurt or cereal, or mix it in smoothies. You can even add it to your tea.

Chia Seeds
Chia is a Mayan word for strength. These versatile seeds have been a favorite of mine for years. They pack more protein, Omega 3, calcium, iron and fiber per spoonful than just about any other food, and chia’s nutrients are easily digested and absorbed. Chia can be mixed with drinks or sprinkled on food. You can also make a nutritious “pudding” with chia.

Wheat Grass
You don’t have to grow your own or buy expensive “shots” of this cleansing, alkalinizing, energizing green drink. Try freeze-dried powder, in plain water, or mixed in drinks, dressings or sauces (think pesto). By the way, wheat grass is gluten-free. Wheat Grass is a nutritional powerhouse, energizing, cleansing and very healthful.

Coconut Products
Coconut comes from the same family as acai and dates. Don’t avoid it because of its fat: it’s healthy fat that can help boost metabolism, is good for the nervous system (including your brain) and and may be protective of the thyroid. It is a source of monolaurin (yeah, they sell that in pills) which is potent immune support. Coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils for cooking, more stable than olive oil, and works well as a butter replacement in baking and on foods. Try it on popcorn, toast, or veggies.

Coming soon: my favorite macaroon recipes!

Dandy Blend
I LOVE Dandy Blend! Over the years, several clients asked me to check it for them, and it always tested so well, but I never tried it myself until a friend gave me some. It’s soooo delicious! Developed as a healthy coffee substitute, Dandy Blend is a powder made from the roots of dandelion, chicory and beets combined with roasted barley and rye. (Don’t worry: I wouldn’t offer it – or drink it – if it weren’t guaranteed gluten-free.) It’s great hot or cold and can be used like coffee in recipes from lattes to ice cream. I have single serving packs as well as larger packages.

So, because I didn’t want to keep all this fun nutritious stuff to myself any more, I have it available in my office now.  Everything is organic, and the best quality I could find.  I believe you will find it a easy, tasty way to take your nutrition to the next level.

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