Superfoods. Let’s talk about what they are and what makes them super. A few months ago I had never even heard of matcha, maca, reishi, and cacao (not to be confused with cocoa). After some research, I decided to give them a go. These superfoods are now a part of my daily diet and I truly believe they are helping me in more ways than one.
If you follow me on social media, you may know that I’m obsessed with matcha (and all things pink, obviously). Matcha is a type of green tea that comes in powdered form. It is one of the few teas that contain the whole leaf and therefore it has more antioxidant properties than traditional green tea. In fact, one cup of matcha is equivalent to 10 cups of brewed green tea!! We hear this buzz word a lot. Antioxidant. We know antioxidants are good for us. But why? Antioxidants are naturally occurring chemical compounds that prevent aging and chronic disease. The more you have, the better your body is equipped to fight disease and aging. A study at Tufts University found that matcha possesses twenty times more antioxidant properties than pomegranates or blueberries! Matcha is also believed to promote weight loss, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, detoxify the body, enhance mood, reduce stress, increase energy, keep blood sugar in check, and stimulate the immune system. It’s rich in fiber, chlorophyll, and vitamins. I try not to drink too much coffee to avoid acid reflux, so a matcha latte has been a great alternative. Not to mention, it tastes amazing! Last weekend we visited this adorable matcha tea room, Holy Matcha, located in San Diego. This was hubby’s first time sneaking sips from my tea and at the end he was definitely saying “Holy Matcha!”
Now we take away a couple letters from MATCHA and get MACA. However, they aren’t related. Maca comes to us from the Andes Mountains in central Peru. It’s a relative of the radish and its root is used to make medicine. It contains fatty and amino acids which have been shown to improve memory, balance hormones, enhance energy, and boost the immune system. I buy Maca at Whole Foods or Sprouts (any health food store should carry it) and add it to my smoothies. I love the taste (an earthy flavor, similar to a nut) and seriously feel like it gives me more energy immediately. I also use the MyMatcha stick from Cocokind Organic Skincare on my face. I could write an entire blog post on this nontoxic skincare that I’m obsessing over… in fact I will soon, but let’s get back to superfoods.
Reishi is known as the “mushroom of immortality,” and the “King of Herbs.” It’s a medicinal mushroom that has been used to help fight fatigue, reduce stress, enhance the immune system, lower high blood pressure and cholesterol. I’m OBSESSED with the Reishi chocolate drinks made by both REBBL and Health-Ade. I don’t cook with the mushroom (or at least haven’t yet), but I do seek it out in these elixir drinks and Kombucha.
CACAO (and cocoa)
Where my chocolate lovers at? For the longest time I thought cacao was cocoa misspelled. I thought they were the same thing. Turns out, they’re not! Cacao (another superfood) comes from a bean and is the purest and raw form of chocolate that you can have. It’s not processed like the chocolate you’re probably used to eating. It’s full of antioxidants and nutrients. When baking or in smoothies, I use cacao. I use cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips. These are simply cacao beans that have been chopped into small pieces. Now cocoa is similar to cacao but undergoes a higher temperature of heat during processing. As a result, it doesn’t contain all of the antioxidant properties that cacao has, but it is still good for you. Just make sure you get the plain cocoa powder, not mixes which often contain mounds of sugar. Another coffee alternative I’ve found that tastes just like hot chocolate is the Four Sigmatic brand. I’m obsessed with their mushroom cacao mixes. They come in convenient little packets and you better believe they find their way to my purse just in time for traveling! (This was our recent trip to Yosemite where I had my Four Sigmatic friend in tow)
Health-Ade has done an amazing job at combining two of these – Reishi and Cacao – into a very flavorful Kombucha that I’m currently sipping on as I type this post. Do yourself a favor and pop on over to Whole Foods and try it. I shop at Whole Foods only for my superfoods. Otherwise I’d be in massive debt! Trader Joe’s and Sprouts offer everything else I need.
I’m including this protein ball recipe I experimented with earlier in the week. I used REBBL spiced chai super herb elixir that contains Ashwagandha (another superfood I’ll address in a later post). It’s fun to use REBBL in smoothies or baked goods. I try not to drink the entire thing in one sitting because the sugar content is higher than I’d like. This was my first time trying the Chai and it made for yummy protein balls!
Chai spiced protein balls
In a food processor blend all ingredients:
- 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
- 1/2 cup organic shredded coconut
- 2 tbsp soaked almonds
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 1/2 cup REBBL chai
Roll into balls and store in freezer or fridge! Add some cacao nibs if you so desire!
Food for thought: The week 5 module was all about superfoods and adding them into your diet. This is the idea that people are going to start being well and feeling well, rather than fixing disease. Consider one superfood you might want to try adding to your diet. Let me know which one you choose!
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