What you put into your body is so crucial in how your body functions. As my idol Laird Hamilton says, “Potato chips in, Potato chips out.” So true. If you aren’t convinced, pay attention to how your body feels after a Big Mac versus after a nutrient-packed meal like a smoothie. Enough said.
I look back at when I was a college athlete and so unaware of my nutrition. My focus was to be stronger, leaner, and a better, more aggressive soccer/volleyball player. I know now that just because something fills your stomach, or doesn’t make you fat, or satisfies a craving, doesn’t mean that it is ultimately fueling and feeding your body. What you eat in the here and now might go into your body and is out of your mind, but your body is dealing with the repercussions of that food for a long time. Knowing that, it’s hard not to pay more attention to what I put into my mouth.
-Kombucha: a culture of yeast and bacteria that’s mixed with black tea and sugar and fermented. Sounds nasty, but it is suprisingly effervescent, tart, refreshing, low-calorie, and high in nutrients. It energizes and detoxifies your body all while curbing your appetite. Another great thing about Kombucha is that it’s all natural with zero preservatives and is becoming increasingly popular, so you can probably find it at your local health food store.
-Hemp Milk (hemp is also sold as powder or seeds): this is a superior alternative to milk. Hemp has the most potent source and highest content of essential fatty acids (omega 3 & 6) of any plant. It is rich in calcium, amino acids, B vitamins and fibers. Hemp milk is better for you than soy milk and it’s not full of bovine growth hormone or pasteurized like cow’s milk. This is also sold at most health food stores, such as Whole Foods.
-Papaya: this delicious fruit contains papain, an enzyme that helps digest proteins and acts as a natural anti-inflammatory in your system. It is also rich in antioxidants (vitamins that repair cell damage), including vitamin C and folic acid.
-Pineapple: this yummy fruit also contains a powerful digestive enzyme called bromelain, which helps heal bruising and contusions. Pineapple is loaded with antioxidants and a trace mineral called manganese, which is crucial in building bone and connective tissue. This goes for both pineapple and papayas; the riper the fruit, the more nutrients it contains.
-Spinach- when I think of spinach, I think of Popeye (strong, muscular, brawny). This actually makes sense– the idea is not purely cartoon. The trace minerals found in spinach help the development and growth of muscles. Protein is not the only thing needed within your body to get stronger. I add spinach to smoothies and I’ve found that the fruit in my smoothies masks the greeny taste, making it yummy and nutritious.
-Eggs (free range and local eggs): when I think eggs, I think Rocky Balboa. There was a reason he drank those eggs in a glass before his morning run. Eggs are the ultimate protein and for me, fulfill a craving for a filling, salty meal when I couple it with salsa.
-Berries: raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries are chock full of antioxidants and are also excellent to add to smoothies or bowls of fruit in the morning to add sweet and tangy flavor. It’s great to buy all kinds of berries (fresh & frozen) so you can make a quick snack anytime.
-Seaweed (commonly found as spirulina tablets or powder): seaweeds contain minerals and elements you won’t get anywhere else, straight from the source.
-Espresso: a shot of espresso has less caffeine than drip coffee while containing more antioxidants. Espresso is also less acidic, so it won’t upset your stomach.
-Coconut Oil: coconut oil has a higher tolerance for heat (it won’t denature as quickly as other oils will), thus is a better choice for cooking than olive oil. I personally love the flavor it adds to a meal, also.
My prior knowledge has been supplemented since reading Laird Hamilton’s book “Force of Nature: Mind, Body, Soul, and of course, Surfing.” Laird is a legendary big wave surfer, fitness and nutrition genius, and has been called “the best athlete in the world.” Knowing more about superfoods has helped me in making better decisions when shopping. Alot of the subsequent information echoes the information in his book.
On the “Products I Love” portion of this site, I’ve included a more elaborate section of photos of food items I love and are worth every penny. Here are some highlights from those: