It’s hard to read any food or nutrition book, magazine, or website without some reference to the latest and greatest “superfood.” Not all mentions of them are good, there is plenty of skepticism about the veracity of these powerhouse foods–the acai, the goji, the chia, the maca. Are they really all they’re cracked up to be?
Whether you cite ancient cultures that revere these new-to-us foods or the science behind them, I’m of the opinion that it never hurts to make dining choices that could improve our health and, maybe, prevent the need for as many pharmaceuticals as we take these days. (Though I’m also quick to add that I don’t think we should disregard doctor’s prescriptions for a “natural” remedy without so much as a by-your-leave; scientific research and implementation has it’s place.)
This is why I was more than happy to take a look at Julie Morris’ Superfood Kitchen and, of course, try out a few recipes in the process.
Morris, a Los Angeles’ natural foods chef, has written an informative tome on the popular superfoods of today focusing on nutrient density and a plant-based diet. She candidly shares her personal experience, and a common one at that, of getting “hooked” on coffee and energy drinks and the fall-out from depending on those substances instead of food for energy. When she realized what was really going on with her body, she set out to understand other ways of supplying the needed energy, and superfoods became her new passion.
As an omnivore, I’m more than happy to eat a meat-free meal when the meal is interesting enough. We love rice and other grains in our house but, of course, now that I’m eating Low-FODMAP, I have to be careful what plant-based food I’m consuming. And since the folks on the hunt for FODMAPs are still working through a back-log of current foods to test, superfoods aren’t always known entities. This made deciding on recipes to try a little tougher, but there’s so much good information in the book it was a happy hunt. (And, as I learn more about my body’s tolerances and the substitutions that work best for me, I look forward to trying out more of her inventive recipes.)
Something we love to do is have breakfast for dinner. We probably do this a couple times a month, so her Goldenberry Pancakes (page 57) were quote enticing. The batter was not what you usually think of as a pancake batter–it was not pourable, it was more like a quick bread or drop-biscuit consistency. That said, they cooked up very well on our griddle and the orange flavor really worked with the goldenberries.
Granted, we served them in a very non-superfood way, with eggs and bacon on the side, but hey, you do what makes you happy, right?
Another recipe we tried and absolutely loved was the Sushi Salad Bowl (page 95). This is basically sushi for people who just don’t have time or inclination to bother with rolling sushi but it is all kinds of tasty. She suggests adding some tofu or edamame for additional protein, but we’re not big fans of the former and the latter doesn’t sit well with a low-FODMAP diet, so I added a sliced, hard-boiled egg to the top of each instead. Same concept, it just worked better for us. Also, my sprouts were shot by the time I made this, so did not include them. I’m sure it would have been all the more delicious had they not gotten soggy.
At first, as I was putting this together, I was truly wondering if we were going to end up ordering take-out or making sandwiches to go with, as it wasn’t looking like very much at the beginning. But two ingredients made the difference: the avocado for creaminess and the sliced nori for texture and aroma–without those two this would have been a passable side-dish but not sushi. I will definitely be making this one again.
Another thing that might stop you from cooking a la the Superfood Kitchen way? The price. Because they are mostly imported goods, the distributors are few and the prices can sometimes be steep. I saw a bag of acai powder for over $20 in our local health foods store. Ouch! But if you go this route, you generally use very little of any given superfood in a single recipe (which keeps things in a bit more perspective). If you want to start cooking with more superfoods, supplement the easily available ones (pomegranates, quinoa, hemp and chia seeds, and green leafy vegetables) with some of the more specialty ingredients over time. When you spread out those specialty purchases, maybe a superfood kitchen isn’t quite such an improbably feat.
I was provided a copy of Superfood Kitchen for purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own.