Simple Strategy for Eating More Super Foods
9/12/13 — Article from Marci’s Table on Chron.com — “Do you want to super-food that?”
Maybe that sounds a little lame. Okay fine it is lame. But it’s become the essence of the way I cook, and it’s having positive effects on my energy level, peace of mind, and health as a whole!
Here’s the deal. Instead of stressing over everything I shouldn’t be consuming (wine, cheese, brownies, wine…), I am reorienting my focus to what I can add in. Clearly I don’t mean Ruffles and Rocky Road. I also don’t mean low fat muffins and protein bars. It’s all about fruits and veggies.
This pesto recipe (below) is a prime example. I didn’t strip it of indulgence (hello oil and Parmesan), but I added in baby kale and spinach to increase the variety of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. This kind of inclusive cooking can be playful and creative, and it’s really worthwhile.
In 3 Steps to Incredible Health, Dr. Joel Fuhrman says “Without a wide variety and sufficient amount of phytochemicals from unprocessed plant foods, cells age more rapidly and do not retain their innate ability to remove and detoxify waste products and toxic compounds.”
In other words eating a broad range of fruits and veggies slows aging and enables the body to fight off sickness. It’s obvious stuff, but still I’m often more preoccupied with how I can use less sugar than a recipe requires, or cut calories in a favorite dish. My approach has traditionally been more complicated and manic than just adding veggies.
Michael Murry, Joseph Pizzorno and Lara Pizzorno talk about the importance of this simple strategy in The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. They say “Fruits and vegetables are so important in the battle against cancer that some experts have said—and we agree—that cancer is a result of a “maladaptation” over time to a reduced level of intake of fruits and vegetables” (18). They convincingly describe how fresh foods are capable of healing the body in truly remarkable ways.
Here are a few cool examples.
- Grapefruit has been shown to lower out-of-whack red blood cell levels (but it interestingly does not impact then if the ratio is already in a normal range).
- Dark cherries and turmeric have the same anti-inflammatory benefits as ibuprofen, but without the toxic side effects!
- Studies have shown that as spinach consumption goes up, breast cancer incidence go down.
- Celery has been linked with lowering blood pressure. One man who ate four stalks a day for a week lowered his reading from 158 over 96 (dangerous!) to 118 over 82 (perfectly healthy).
Every fresh food seems to work its own miracle (or multiple miracles), and I can only imagine everything we don’t know! So on that note, I don’t discriminate when it comes to certain fruits or vegetables being “super.” I say they’re all special. And you are too!
Baby Kale, Spinach & Basil Pesto
- 3 cup fresh basil
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1 cup baby kale
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp. pine nuts
- 7 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Stir in more olive oil as necessary. Use the pesto on pastas, pizzas, sandwiches and more.