Here’s How to Make Them Extraordinary
We’ve all heard of super foods. You know the ones, rich kale and leafy green spinach, deep blue blueberries, bright green broccoli…
But, some of those may not be so super for you after all. You see, anytime a food is prepared for you before you buy it, it means that nutrients and vitamins are taken out, and usually a few preservatives are added back in.
I know, I know. We don’t all have time to grind coriander or cut tomatoes ourselves.
And you don’t want your fingers stained yellow for the next week, because you just HAVE to use whole turmeric root instead of the powdered spice.
But here’s why you should…
Why the extra effort to cook from "scratch"?
We want to “cook authentically” or as close to scratch as we can because we want to infuse it with our hopes for health and strength when we feed our family.
It’s our need to make someone who is sick, all better.
To fuel someone who has a huge mental test, with super brain foods.
To prepare someone who has a grueling physical task with foods for strength and endurance.
Each day we want their bodies and brains to be strong by feeding them and ourselves the best that we possibly can.
The time and energy invested in obtaining the best foods, and then putting that love into our families’ bodies through the work of your hands is a way to take back what has been taken from us through much of industrial marketing and food processing.
I think of it as cooking…consciously.
Food glorious food…
I love it. Seriously…
I love the rainbow of colors that it comes in.
I love how it smells, when you chop or crush, or peel it.
I love that it is so beneficial to every part of our bodies.
I love to cook, and I LOVE to eat, and I love it even more when it’s with friends and loved ones.
Don’t you think there’s something magical about the fact real food has superpowers, specific to our bodies’ needs?
Your food pharmacy
That's exactly how I see real food. From the time I can remember, I've always been taught about the properties of the food I'm eating (thank you mom), and it's always in my head when I go to feed myself or someone else...
I'm always thinking "How can this food nourish and benefit the body it's going into?"
Food isn’t just fuel… it’s information for the cells in your body to perform at their best (or worst).
Are your eyes a little blurry lately?
Grab a big bowl of watermelon, or something with tomatoes for their lycopene content.
Uh oh.. starting to notice your scalp more than your hair? Need to sleep a little deeper?
Sprinkle some pumpkin seeds or kidney beans on your next salad for their zinc content.
Need to keep your bodies inflammatory reactions down and prevent premature aging?
Treat yourselves to salmon for its high omega 3 profile.
I could go on all day, that’s how many amazing properties real food has, but I’m not going to…
Instead, I want to talk about making some of these already super foods…ultra…MEGA-super!
- build a better brain with breakfast
- lengthen your lifeline with lunch
- destroy inflammation with dinner
Don’t get me wrong, super foods are already wonderful for you, but why not make them even better for our bodies…
Why not bring out the best of the best in our food?
It’s called food synergy…
The idea that something so beneficial, can be even more so, simply by pairing it with the right partner? It's too cool.
Make the Top 5 Super Foods For Your Brain Extra Powerful
Omega-3 Fatty acids are one of the most important nutrients for your brain, so we’re going concentrate our efforts there.
What exactly is an Omega-3 Fatty Acid?
Unlike most other fats, omega-3 fats are considered "essential," meaning you must get them from your diet because your body can't create them.
The 3 main omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
ALA comes from vegetable oils, like flaxseed oil, canola and soybean oils.
EPA and DHA are found in seafood, including fatty fish like salmon, and tuna. Shellfish like mussels oysters, and crab also have EPA and DHA.
Why do we need Omega 3's?
Because if you’re going without them for a long time, or aren’t getting enough, you leave yourself open to disease, and premature aging.
Your body will undergo inflammatory responses and will not be able to function.
It’s been deprived of what it needs...the basic building blocks… and they are a big-BIG deal.
Omega 3 Foods for thought
What are the 5 standouts when it comes to foods high in Omega 3 brain boosters?
OK, I know what you’re thinking …Salmon has to be the first food she’s talking about right?
Let me show you why…
Salmon has 4,767 milligrams of Omegas in 1 tablespoon of salmon oil but look at this little guy…The overlooked Pacific Mackerel.
6,982 milligrams of Omegas in 1 cup cooked!
OK, so it’s not as sexy as salmon with it’s beautiful color, and it’s YUM factor but that’s because it hasn't been given the credit it deserves.
So, what is this super foods side kick?
A glass of wine. Yep, crazy but completely true.
Please understand that we are not advocating drinking a bottle of wine every time you have fish, but the research clearly shows that a glass of it with fish boosts the protective power of Omega 3s.
If you don't want to drink it, you could try it in a marinade or dressing.
It's also interesting to note that the Mediterranean diet (considered one of the healthiest in the world) incorporates both of these regularly.
Super Food #2
Walnuts are incredibly good for the brain.
Walnuts are a standout when it comes to omega 3’s though. One ounce of walnuts contains 2542 mgs of omega 3!
They are amazing on their own. You can just grab a handful and run out the door…but that’s no fun...they can be made even better with...
hat's right, your salad just got a whole lot healthier.
Even though baby spinach can do amazing things on its own thanks to its vitamin K content, those benefits are no match for what happens when walnuts enter the scene.
The omega-3 fatty acids in the nuts boost the vitamin’s absorption, which means boosting cell growth, blood circulation, and bone strength.
If you aren’t adding walnuts to your salads already, go nuts and sprinkle a handful over your bowl next time around for a brain building meal.
Super Food #3
I know you thought that I was just going to pass over salmon because it's so well known for its omega 3's, but c'mon...it's salmon!
You can't write about omega 3's in the diet without salmon being in the mix.
The best source of omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA is fish. Different types have different amounts of omega 3's. The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings a week of fish.
One 3-ounce serving of salmon provides close to 2 g total DHA/EPA omega-3 fatty acids and it's full of B12.
So, what is its Super Side kick?
1 cup of asparagus contains 67% of your daily folate requirement.
Folate (found naturally in asparagus) and B12 (in animal products like salmon) help produce new cells.
They also join forces to break down homocysteine, an amino acid that, at high levels, is linked to Alzheimer's disease.
Too much folate and too little B12 may have a negative effect on your mental agility so in this case, teamwork is key. It's pure synergy...
Super Food #4
Not just any eggs though… free range.
Chickens are omnivores. They are not vegetarians or any offshoot of that. When they are free to run around and eat grass, bugs, and greens, they lay a healthier egg.
No egg produced in a large commercial egg factory/operation can compare nutritionally to a farmed egg.
The bottom line is that according to many studies, they say that hens who have room to roam and eat their natural diet product a superior egg.
Besides being an omega 3 power house, eggs are full of amino acids, quality protein and fat soluble vitamins A, D and E.
What's is the perfect partner to our super egg?
Avocados are an incredibly nutrient dense food. 1/3 of a regular size avocado has 80 calories and around 20 vitamins and minerals.
It's the only fruit that contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, and it acts as a nutrient booster by increasing the absorption of fat soluble vitamins like the ones in ...you guessed it, EGGS!
One of my favorite breakfasts after a run is a good quality brown rice cake slathered with creamy avocado, and an egg on top, sprinkled with dukkah, which is a nutty aromatic spice mix, or tajin, which is a lemony chili spice. It ticks all the right boxes.
Super Food #5
Drum roll, please...chia seeds!
So lowly, so humble, so tiny, but sometimes good things come in small packages.
In just one tablespoon of these tiny round seeds, there is 2,457 milligrams of omega 3. That's 61 percent of your daily value.
There are so many ways to use these. They can be put into tons of foods.
You can keep them crunchy or hydrated. When they are hydrated, they are similar to a tapioca bead with a little crunch.
What is the next sidekick to these little balls of goodness?
...more seeds of course...flax seeds!!!
There are 1,597 milligrams of omega 3's in 1 tablespoon of flax seeds. That's a powerhouse.
When using flax seeds, the body absorbs them best when they're ground as opposed to whole.
Just like chia seeds they can be used in so many things. Think "sprinkle".
Sprinkle on hot cereals, smoothies, salads, and so much more. My favorite way to use them is homemade granola, and if that sounds difficult, it's not. It’s so easy. See the recipe below.
There you go! You can play around with all of these combinations in so many ways. You have free reign...Go create some brain boosting recipes and make the most out of them.
Super Food Recipes
Breakfast: The definition of the word is to break the ‘fast’ you’ve been on for 8 hours or more while you’ve slept.
That’s the perfect reason to start your day with this really powerful brain boosting recipe.
Super Power Omega 3 Granola
Super Power Omega 3 Granola
3 cups of whole oats
½ cup puffed brown rice
½ cup puffed millet
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
3 tbsp. Chia seeds
3 tbsp. Ground flax seeds
1 c. walnut halves
½ cup raw almonds
¼ c. pumpkin seeds
1 cup. dried fruit like cranberries for their anti-oxidents or chopped dates
½ tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pure vanilla
¼ tsp. Kosher salt (optional but it does bring the flavors out)
¼ cup grade A Maple Syrup or honey
4 TBSP. Walnut or coconut oil (if using coconut oil make sure that it is warmed enough to be liquid)
1Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper of foil.
2Combine the oats, puffed rice, millet, chia seeds, flax meal, nuts, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the dried fruit
3Stir in the dried fruit
4Stir in the honey, coconut oil and vanilla-quickly so that it gets everything coated.
5Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper and bake at 300F for 30 minutes, stirring halfway.
6Toss, sprinkle with the shredded coconut and bake another 5 minutes.
7Remove from oven, and let cool, occasionally stirring.