Super Foods | What are they? | How do they nourish us? | What are the super foods we can grow here in our gardens NOW!
What are Superfoods?
I understand Superfood or sacred food to be those things in our diets that make a really big difference to your health, potentially the difference between life and death in traditional societies, and even today. According to the research done by Weston Price in the 1920’s and 30’s, traditional cultures and societies all had their sacred foods,. The foods most highly regarded by indigenous people worldwide were those foods containing high levels of Vitamin A. The Irish stored butter in the bogs for survival in hard times, the NZ Maori, along with many other traditional societies, regarded fish heads, fish livers, fish oils and fish roe as sacred food.
I regard Weston A Price’s highly readable book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration one of the most important books ever written and I think everybody should read it. It is one of only two books we recommend on our website as we believe it describe the Laws of Nature and principles and patterns that life is based on. I believe if you follow these principles you will have a far better chance of getting things right.
How Do They Nourish Us?
After Vitamin A in importance came the foods that contained high levels of available minerals, in particular calcium. This could include bone broths, dried,roasted and ground fish bones as well as herbs and weeds containing high levels of calcium too.
Having done a little study in the field of biological agriculture and a basic knowledge about the needs of a healthy cell, I understand that because of the way the natural world works and the patterns in nature where nothing is in isolation, if you have ensured you are getting optimal levels of Vitamin A and calcium you will more than likely be getting all the other fat soluble vitamins and minerals that you need to maintain your health and the integrity of your DNA. The reason the fat soluble vitamins and minerals come first, is that without them in that order our bodies are not able to utilize and process other nutrients effectively although even then it is determined also by your gut health.
Next and also “super” important are all of those foods that contain high levels of phytonutrients which many are now becoming known as “super foods”. You may be familiar with the likes of Goji berries, Peruvian Golden Berries or Maca root and it feels like the list gets bigger every week. It seems obvious to me now that all of these so called “super foods” were simply wild plants. They are wild plants that have not been taken over by industrial agriculture or specifically bred to make money for shareholders of big companies which inevitably means we lose the nutrition they once offered.
There is an inevitable inverse relationship between nutrition and production in all of our food plants which means we lose the nutrition !!!! There is a huge amount of evidence demonstrating that almost all of the food in the supermarkets contains very little nutrition as sadly it has been bred out of it. You can actually use your own refractometer to test the nutrient density in your plants easily yourself. For those of you that are interested in how to do this click here for more information.
For over 20,000 generations we have co evolved with and are adapted to the heritage vegetables that our ancestors brought to this land 150 years ago but I believe that you simply can not adapt fast enough to be able to survive on the nutritionless food in the supermarkets today.
If you go back to our wild plants you will find that all of them have amazing nutritional properties, they are all still strong in energy and have their own particular healing qualities. The original wild food crops are even higher in phytonutrients than these heritage food plants. My heritage fruit trees are more nutritious than supermarket fruit and my heritage vegetable seeds grow far more nutritious vegetables than modern vegetables, however even they are a long way from the crops that they were originally bred from.
Your first steps towards ensuring that you are fully nourishing yourself are:
- Follow the principles of the indigenous peoples in your diet choices by making sure that you have the fat soluble vitamins and minerals way up there on your priority list. Amongst other things see our cookbook Change of Heart for a great description of the principle indigenous people based their diets on, and 100’s of recipes showing you how to cook and prepare nutrient dense food.
- Eat fruit and vegetables that contain far higher levels of nutrition than those the industrial world offers you. We now have enough information to be able to choose our fruits and vegetables carefully to ensure that you can also have a range of these super-foods in your gardens.
- Eat foods grown in healthy soil! The quality and levels of phytonutrients in your food is not only dependant on the genetics that food was grown from, it is also connected (believe it or not!) to the health of the soil. The levels of phytonutrients are connected to both the level and the ratios of available minerals in the soil.
There are a lot of these food plants that are super high in phytonutrients that you can easily grow in NZ in your ordinary home gardens. “Superfoods” do not need to be the preserve of the health industry and whoever owns that these days.
WE CAN DO IT!!!!!
What are the super foods we can grow here in our gardens NOW?
Right now in your vegetable and perennial vegetable gardens you can plant Globe Artichokes that are reputed to be one of the most nutritious vegetable known particularly the Purple de Jesi artichoke which has even higher levels of phytonutrients due to the purple colouring. You can plant collards or Dalmatian cabbage as we call it due to the fact that it came to this land with the Dalmatian Gumdiggers. These cabbages are reported to have high levels of phytonutrients such as di-indolyl-methane and sulforaphane which are reported to have anticancer properties. Then there is Gobo (or Burdock) with both its root and its leaf being used to nourish and treat a variety of conditions and is also high in minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. You can plant Black currants with their beautiful dark berries bursting with antioxidant rich anthocyanins and the original peaches, particularly the old White fleshed peaches, that contain a powerhouse of antioxidants, notably phenols, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), carotenoid (orange pigments) and anthocyanin (red pigments). Also there are the Urenika potatoes that actually contain around 1000 times more antioxidants than shop potatoes. You can choose Elderberries, often referred to as “natures medicine chest, that contain just the right phytonutrients to heal winter chest ailments and protect you against physical stress and much more.
Believe it or not we can even plant the “super trendy” Peruvian Golden Berries which unbelievably are what some of us may know as Cape Gooseberries!! They contain an abundance of polyphenols and carotenoids and are better eaten dried.
My choice is to make the choice to eat nutrient dense food at every meal straight from my garden and not wait until I have enough money to buy something from South America or anywhere else for that matter. I grow only heritage vegetables and fruit trees and I’m learning to grow many of the old traditional forest garden support species which have edible berries and fruit we have not even thought were edible until recently. They are among the original wild berries our ancestors ate for their fruit!
I’m also committed to learning to grow nutrient dense food via the soil health. My bible has been Nourishment Home Grown available to you through our bookshop. For the home gardeners among you who do not want so much science to digest I have actually translated it for you in the Koanga How To Grow Nutrient Dense Food booklet.
After learning all of that over the past 30 years or so we also now have the new science of epigenetics which shows us that the environment determines genetic expression, and that there are parts of our food that communicates with our junk DNA, which in turn determines how our DNA expresses the vitamins, minerals and high quality fats and oils. It is the quality and the levels of these things in our food that determine the quality of the communication which in turn determines that strength of the tags that get placed on our DNA which determines your health today and the health of several generations to come.
ALL OF YOUR FOOD NEEDS TO BE SUPERFOOD!!!! NOW