"Synergy is the bonus that is achieved when things work together harmoniously"-Mark Twain
So here I am… it’s 7 pm in the kitchen and I’m cooking an entire meal from scratch.
Not just heating it up…oh no, I’m making eggplant baingan bharta, urad dal tadka, and delicately scented coconut-garlic jasmine rice…did I mention it's 7 pm?
I roasted the eggplant earlier, and I have the black dal (split black gram-lentils) soaking for an hour.
As I saute the cumin seeds and let them pop in the avocado oil, and dry roast the whole coriander seeds to grind with my morter and pestle, I start to wonder why..
Why I am not using pre-ground coriander?
Why am I chopping all of the tomatoes instead of using canned?
Why are my fingers going to be stained yellow for the next week, because I just HAVE to use whole turmeric root instead of the powdered spice?
Why aren’t I using the pre peeled garlic to save time-because I’ve got like 10 cloves to peel right now?
Why am I slicing and de-seeding my 3 different chili pepper types instead of getting one of the cans of “chopped green chili’s”? (ewww that should be self explanatory)
My eyes are tired, and I could definitely put in another hour at work (I can always put in another hour at work)
I look at our daughter, who’s busy doing some crazy slime experiment on Youtube and I know exactly why I’m doing it.
I’m doing it because I want to know what's going into her body and mine.
From preparing the whole food, to serving it on the plate. I want absolute control over it...(and world domination...I'm just kidding...or am I? muahahaha)
I think that 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.
We literally “will it” into our loved ones food
Each day we want their bodies and brains to be strong by feeding them 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, especially in the states.
I think of it as cooking…consciously.
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 am… a food freak.
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 that real food has superpowers, specific to our bodies needs?
How cool is that?
To me it’s like a giant colorful lab experiment... and nothing excites me like an experiment (I guess our child takes after me with with her slime experiments).
My grandfather once walked into the bathroom where my sister and I had poured anything in the cabinet below the sink, that bubbled or fizzed into the toilet, along with my grandmothers dentures....We were stirring those around with the end of the plunger.
...true story...In our defense, we were still young enough to believe that Tinkerbells magic fairy dust could make us fly if we jumped off the balcony.
For the longest time after that I thought “JUDAS PRIEST” yelled at the top of your lungs was a swear word…(in my grandfathers mind I think it was)...
I digress...back to the wonders of food.
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?"
Are your eyes not so laser sharp lately?
Grab a big bowl of watermelon, or something with tomatoes for their lycopene content.
Uh oh..starting to notice your scalp more then 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 it’s 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!
We all know that every legitimate super hero HAS to have a certifiable side kick, am I right?
"Gentlemen...We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better, stronger, faster."
We can do the same with our super foods. Well, probably not faster, but you get the idea. You can:
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… I love the sound of that word…
noun syn·er·gy \ ˈsi-nər-jē \
WEbsters defines synergy or synergism as:
1:SYNERGISM; broadly :combined action or operation
2:a mutually advantageous conjunction or compatibility of distinct participants or elements
The idea that something so beneficial, can be even more so, simply by pairing it with the right partner? It's too cool.
For this article, lets look at 5 Super Foods for the brain, and see if we can’t make them even better.
We’re going to concentrate on the foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids…
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 oyters, and crab also have EPA and DHA.
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...it's basic building blocks…they are a big-BIG deal.
Are all Omega 3’s created equal?
The quick answer to that is no, especially when it comes to supplements.
Let’s be clear here, you should be getting many of your Omega 3’s from the multitude of food sources available but unless you’re able to eat the ones high in Omega 3s all the time, it is imperative that you have a good, clean, potent DHA supplement as well.
Check out Alpha Omega DHA, it’s is a superior Omega-3 formula.
So 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!!! What?
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? It's "Boy Wonder" you ask? Simple...
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 Mediterranian diet (considered one of the healthiest in the world) incorporates both of these regularly.
OK so onto the next Brain Boosting Duo!
Super food number two...
Notice anything interesting about this picture? There is a theory floating around that some foods resemble the parts of the body that they are beneficial for...hmmm.
In this case, it certainly seems correct, because they are incredibly good for the brain. Not sure about the theory , but I think it's really fun to wonder about don't you? Look up beets and the heart...that's all I'm sayin' 🙂
I am a nut fiend, truly. I have a palm full of crunchy nuts or seeds, daily. I absolutely love them.
Walnuts are a standout when it comes to omega 3’s though.Just one little ounce of walnuts contain 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...
That'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.
Next Super Match Made in Heaven?
I know you thought that I was just going to pass over salmon because it's so well known for it's 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 it's Super Side kick?
drum roll please...
1 cup of asparagus contains 67% of your daily folate requirement.
Folate (found naturally in large quantities of 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...
Onto our fourth super team...
Not just any eggs though...pastured.
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 according to this study says 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,Dand E.
What's is the perfect partner to our super egg?
When I say that I adore avocados, I really mean I ADORE them. I've been eating them for as long as I can remember.
I've had them sweet (remember they're technically a fruit) ... the best white chocolate fudge I've ever had was made with avocado instead of butter,
I've had them spicy, lemony, peppery, in smoothies and sorbet. yummmmm. In our house we eat them at least twice a week.
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. 🙂
Onto our fifth dynamic duo
Our first omega superstar is ....drum roll...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.
We actually make an overnight non dairy refrigerator "tapioca" with natural ingredients and a little maple syrup. Our daughter loves it.
So 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. Its so easy.
We use all kinds of textures. Puffed millet and brown rice, oats, raw nuts, chia and flax seeds, some good fat like coconut oil,a touch of real maple syrup and honey. It's as easy as mixing together, spreading it on a lined baking sheet and ...baking. You now have homemade-super omega 3 granola.
So 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.