I have to be totally honest with you guys.
Early last year, and probably for a little bit before then, I fell into a trap. A big, bad marketing trap. And I didn’t even realise it.
Some of you may have seen the light and escaped from the trap, like I have. But I know many of you are probably still in the trap, and I want to help you out.
This post is your saving grace, and my rope to you – I’m sending it down into this trap you’re in, and I want to pull you out. Come join me. It’s rainbows and sunshine and cheaper grocery bills over here. And butter.
Sound good? Read on.
(I promise, I’m not as crazy as I sound right now.)
I’m talking all about superfoods. The scam I never, EVER expected to be a scam. Until I realised it was.
The key to cracking this code isn’t science. It isn’t voodoo magic. It’s just common sense and a healthy dollop of local love and sustainability.
I’m not here to deny that inca berries are wonderful things, with that ever so tantalising tango between sour and sweet… I could get lost in a jar of incaberries.
I’m also not here to say that there isn’t something magical about the juicy pop of goji berries soaked in ginger beer (try it!).
Or something so surprisingly delicious about a sprinkle of bee pollen on top of a smoothie in the morning.
I love these superfoods, I really do. But I hate the label, the price tag, the ridiculous travel miles that come with ‘superfoods’ and the fact that all of a sudden, we think we really ought to import these delights from all around the world because they are necessary for human existence, for sustaining a long and healthy life, for everything we could ever hope to achieve. Too much? I don’t know. People go a little crazy over superfoods, haven’t you noticed?
You see, there are so many amazing superfoods in our own backyards – literally (if you grow your own) and figuratively (if you don’t).
Because, dare I say it, all real foods are superfoods.
Take grass-fed butter, for example. Let’s ignore all the other awesome things about butter for now, and focus just on the vitamins. Good quality grass-fed butter has quite the amazing nutritional profile. Vitamin K2 is found in pretty durn good quantities in butter, as are vitamins A, E & D. You know what all these vitamins have in common? They’re all fat-soluble. They assimilate much better if accompanied by some fat. Even K1, the kind of Vitamin K present in vegetables, assimilates better with fat. So far, seems like butter is the perfect little package of fat + fat-soluble vitamins.
But wait, there’s more…
Recent research is showing that Vitamin K2 may prevent cancer, among other benefits. A study on the efficacy of vitamin K2 in postop Hepatocellular Carcinoma patients (HCC – the most common type of liver cancer) showed significant reductions in tumour recurrence rates at the 2 & 3 year marks AND a significant improvement in overall survival at the 1, 2 & 3 year marks. It’s not the only study to come to this kind of cancer-crushing-conclusion, but it’s considered to be early days for this kind of research yet. Still, this shows huge promise. And in my books? Absolutely qualifies butter as a superfood.
I could analyse a whole bunch of foods for their nutritional profiles, but I don’t want to bore you. Butter is a really good, fun and delicious example because it’s not one that would leap to most people’s minds when they hear the word ‘superfood’.
But basically, what I’m saying is – all real foods have different (and awesome) nutritional profiles. Pretty much all (real) foods have benefits. They’re all super in some way.
And we don’t need to import them from Peru.
And this is where the common sense comes in. People have lived all over the world. For a loooong time. But these foods touted to us as ‘superfoods’… well, they don’t live all over the world.
Foods-marketed-as-superfoods are not essential. Yummy, yes, but not essential.
They’re foods with great nutritional profiles that, for some reason, get plucked out of a crowd of other foods with great nutritional profiles, and marketed in a way that makes you believe you need them. You will get cancer without them. You will die ten years earlier and your gravestone will read “I should have eaten more acai” without them.
I bought into this. I bought every kind of superfood under the sun (okay, not all of them, but almost!). I still have jars of acai powder, maca powder, mesquite powder, and bags of bee pollen and more that I just can’t get through. Some of my published recipes even call for and tout the benefits of these superfoods!
But the difference between these ‘superfoods’ and other, more ordinary, superfoods? It’s all in the marketing. Their exotic and elusive nature. They get sold to us, in every meaning of the word. They get packaged in plastic pouches with labels that scream how much better they are than all those other boring foods that you could find in any old neighbourhood and on that dirty local shelf over there. They are from exciting and far away places, they have sustained great warriors and jungle tribes, and they are SUPER. They are just now gracing us lowly un-super people with their presence, so we can stop eating our local un-super foods and realise the glory and good health that we have been missing out on for… well, basically forever, right? They get shipped half way around the world and plonked on the shelves at just about every store in the nation, where their labels taunt our Australian-grown un-superfoods, and then they have a ridiculous price tag slapped on them.
And we buy them, thinking they will save us. Salvation by Spirulina.
…When we could have bought a stick of butter for a lot less.
I got caught in this same trap a few years ago – I wouldn’t lump bee pollen or spirulina in the scam, but the others I totally understand. If you can’t get it relatively locally and the price tag is out of this world – it probably isn’t worth it. I consider my herbs to be my super foods, and most of those I can grow readily.
I agree, far greater emphasis should be placed on herbs that what currently is! 🙂
Luis Franco says
Each c0rner on the earth has its own superfoods, adapted to the needs of its living creatures. There is no need of importing them from exótic countries..