There are a couple foods that I eat religiously to give me super powers. Well, super powers as in energy and strength. I feel like Mario when he gets invincible powers from a starman. So what are superfoods? Superfood is really a marketing term used for describing foods that are high in nutrients to give you superior health benefits. Here are a few super duper foods that help me stay classy and fit:
KALE – Remember when Popeye eats a can of spinach he gets ginormous arms that are too big for his body. First off, you won’t get a lot of nutrients if your veggies are in a can. Raw is the way to go. Secondly, Kale can give you as much or more benefits than spinach. I eat about two servings of kale 2-3 times a week. I incorporate kale in my meals, soups, and snacks. Kale chips are delicious, so replace those bags of potato chips and Doritos with kale chips. Kids love them! I can tell you I eat a big bowl of raw kale a day before a race. No pasta for me. With kale, I feel 100 times lighter but it still gives me the stamina I need for a race. If you’re looking to build calcium Kale can give you more per calorie than milk. As for iron, it gives you more per calorie than beef. Kale is the new beef. It’s also an anti-inflammatory food that fights against inflammatory-related issues such as arthritis, asthma, and autoimmune diseases. I can rave on and on about kale, but this infographic says it all.
GOJI BERRIES – Growing up, Mama Chiang used to make me a nice bowl of soup with goji berries. Sometimes she’ll make desserts or drinks with goji berries. As a child I was told this is good for your vision and it keeps you looking young. Well, fast forward a couple years later, I found out that it does a lot more. Goji berries are packed with vitamins, protein with 18 amino acids, and antioxidants. I love sprinkling these berries over salads and oatmeal. I especially love to eat these by itself as a snack. You’ll find that it curbs your appetite, gives you energy, and keeps your mind sharp (definitely brain food).
QUINOA – I heard that this is “God’s gift to vegans” and I totally agree. Quinoa is a fantastic source of protein with 8 essential amino acids and it’s gluten-free. This is definitely the type of grain you want to incorporate in your diet. I’m slowly getting my parents to replace white rice with quinoa. It’s versatile, so you can make just about anything with quinoa. You can make stuffed red peppers, quinoa crackers, breakfast quinoa porridge, or throw quinoa into your salads. The possibilities are endless.
CHIA SEEDS – Chia Seeds are tiny black seeds that are grown from a flowering plant known as Salvia hispanica. One tablespoon of these seeds punches in a good amount of Omega-3. For vegetarians that don’t eat fish chia seeds will give you the Omega-3 oil that you need for your body. Athletes – chia seeds can hydrate your body longer and provides the protein that you need for intense workouts. Simply soak the chia seeds in water and it becomes a gel like the image below. The gel allows your body to absorb carbohydrates to slowly covert them into simple sugars, so it controls your blood sugar. They make you feel fuller because they absorb 10 times their weight of water. It doesn’t have any flavor, so I love to sprinkle these over my salads and soups. I particularly like to coat my bananas with chia seeds. There are plenty of dessert recipes that incorporate chia seeds such as pudding or baked goods.
HEMP – There are three types of hemp that I like – hemp milk, hemp seeds, and hemp oil. It works just like Chia Seeds providing you plenty of protein with essential amino acids, calcium, and Omega-3. It curbs your appetite, it prevents inflammation, and it’s good for your skin. It has a nutty taste, so I love sprinkling hemp seeds in fruit such as bananas and kiwis. They are good in breakfast bars and oatmeal. I found blending hemp milk with smoothies help me recover faster after intense workouts. Instead of using too much olive oil I use hemp oil for cooking and salads.
KOMBUCHA – When I was younger, I found these odd-looking jars in the basement. From time to time, my grandpa would drink these for breakfast. I thought it was one of his strange Chinese medicinal drinks. I found out it was Kombucha. Kombucha is a fermentation of a sweetened tea with cultures such as good bacteria and yeast. This is actually known to detoxify your body, increase your immunity, alkaline your PH, and increase your metabolism. It’s full of probiotics to help you with digestion. Vegans – since you’re not getting probiotics from yogurt you can sure get it from Kombucha. I love the Synergy Drinks. My favorite flavors are Strawberry Serenity and Multi-Green. This is a great replacement for soda and coffee. I have soda once in a blue moon, but if you are a heavy soda drinker this is 100 times better for you. As for coffee, it gives you the pick-me-upper you need in the morning. Amazingly this also curbs my appetite, so I tend to have a swig of this closer to 4 pm when I get hungry.
These items are found in Whole Foods, your local organic market, and Amazon. Try it out! I hope you feel the super duper benefits I do with these superfoods.
Hey Shelly! Love the post. I have never tried Goji berries. Do you have any recipes that you can share to make desserts and drinks using Goji Berries? Thanks!
Of course! I’ll send some dessert recipes over. I generally like to put these little guys in my sweentened ice tea, soups, oatmeal, and salads. I love eating it by itself. It reminds me of raisins.
I am running my first half marathon in two weeks and I read somewhere that I should detox and eat healthy for the next two weeks. Can you please write a post on what foods/drinks help me detox and stay healthy and energized for the race? Thank you!
Hi Jae. I generally don’t recommend going on any rigorous cleanse or detox (e.g. cutting wheat) prior to a race. Through my experience, if you’re body is used to certain foods that keep you strong during your training then you’re body will be re-adjusting by the time of your race. Look at it as – you get a new pair of running shoes, but you need to break them in after a couple weeks. This is the same concept. What I do recommend is cutting refined sugars and grains, processed foods, sodas, caffeine, and alcohol. I consider that as a healthy detox. Healthy foods to add before your race are kale and dark greens, beans, quinoa, bananas, almonds, salmon (if you eat fish), and sweet potato. Avoid having a heavy pasta dinner the day before the race. You want to have that 2 days before your race but with whole wheat pasta, so you have time to digest. Having pasta can make you feel heavy during your race if you have it the day before. Hope this helps! I will definitely go in detail about this in a future blog post.
Awesome, thanks Shelly!!