By Molly Patrick
Sep 9, 2014,
Today I’m going to school you on the most nutrient dense superfoods on the planet.
If you haven’t read the two articles above, I recommend reading them before you continue. It’s kind of like Madonna’s 1990 Blonde Ambition World Tour. You couldn’t truly understand the end of the show without experiencing the whole thing. So go touch those posts for the very first time and come back here when you’re done (wink, wink).
Just to recap what I covered for the past two weeks, here’s the quick and dirty:
1) Phytochemicals are part of what make up micronutrients and are only found in plants.
It’s important to eat lots of them because they’re cancer fighting machines, they repair free radicals and they boost the immune system. If everyone in this country ate more phytochemicals and less processed food, we would not be in the health crisis shit storm that we’re currently in.
2) Because this country consumes a-hell-of-a-lot-more processed food than fresh produce, not many people experience true hunger.
True hunger happens when the brain needs more glucose to run on and we feel it in our throat and mouth.
Appetite is when we get into the cycle of eating crap food and then eating more crap food just to make the detox symptoms of that crap food go away. Sounds kind of like a drug detox scenario, right? It’s actually not far off.
Junk food actually stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine controls the “pleasure – reward” center of the brain and makes us feel really damn good.
This makes processed junk food as addictive as heroin.
If you know anyone who eats fast food everyday, I guarantee it’s not just the price that motivates them to drive through. They are looking for that next dopamine hit and McDonald’s and all the other fast food restaurants will give it to them, and on the cheap.
Okay – so now it should be super clear that foods filled with phytochemicals should be of high importance to us and make up the majority of our shopping lists.
Are you with me so far?
Now let’s explore the most micronutrient dense foods on the planet and put all this information into action.
Micronutrient density is calculated according to how many micronutrients a food has per calorie.
- For example, oil (even olive oil) has 120 calories per tablespoon and zero phytochemicals.
- Kale has 33 calories per tablespoon and a ton of phytochemicals.
Clearly kale is a nutrient dense powerhouse and oil is not.
So without further ado, the Oscar for the most micronutrient dense foods on the planet goes to….
Was that anticlimactic or what?
It’s that stupidly simple.
Now, there are some plant foods that are more nutrient dense than others.
These are called Superfoods.
Not the beautifully prepackaged, single ingredient and branded superfoods that cost $25 for an ounce , but rather the ones that you can find at any farmers market or produce section.
I want to give the acronym that Dr. Fuhrman came up with to remember the Superfoods.
The word is G-BOMBS and it stands for:
Greens Specifically green cruciferous vegetables like collard greens, kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli and bok choy. But all greens are incredibly micronutrient dense and considered “super”.
Beans and legumes. At least 1/2 a cup a day
Onions especially when combined with mushrooms
Mushrooms Even just one button mushroom a day has a ton of anti-cancer benefits, especially against breast cancer.
Berries 1 cup per day
Seeds and nuts.
These are the Superfoods that you should be eating every single day.
Now, other plant foods are super important and have lots of phytochemicals and antioxidants as well.
Here’s a list of the other items that should fill up your shopping cart on the weekly.
Spinach, garlic, lettuces, celery, cucumber, cauliflower, tomato, snow peas, carrots, beets, ginger, green beans, artichokes, leeks, fennel, asparagus, sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, eggplant, avocados, and all kinds of fresh fruits (especially pomegranates).
Here’s the deal. I don’t want you to over analyze this and think about it so much that you say fuck it and go straight to Dim Sum (I mean go to Dim sum if you want, but after that get your ass to the store and buy some cruciferous veggies).
As a species, we tend to make things a bigger deal and more complicated than they actually are.
If you make the Superfoods mentioned above part of your daily diet, eat one big green salad a day with a healthy dressing and you incorporate a variety of the rest of the items from the PDF above, you’ll be rocking it!
Your immune system will become badass, you’ll drop weight if needed, you’ll sleep better and you’ll have a ton of energy.
If you take away just one thing from this post, it’s the importance of eating a variety of plant foods. You don’t have to count calories or play mind games with yourself to only eat a certain amount. If you eat a pant-based diet with a variety of plant food – you’re golden.
When you’re ready to test out nothing but micronutrient dense foods and see how awesome your body feels when it’s running on nothing but clean food, check out my weekly Plant Fueled Meal Plans, where all you have to do is follow along!
Here’s a nutrient dense Superfood recipe that will leave you satisfied and happy.
2 Sweet Potatoes
For the Cashew Cauliflower Cream
- 1/2 cup cashews 75g, soaked in water for 10 minutes
- 2 cups cauliflower 235g, cut into pieces. They don’t have to be bite-sized since they will eventually be blended
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 5ml
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 3g
- 1/4 cup water 59ml
For the Veggies
- 1/2 cup water 120ml
- 1 cup broccoli 85g, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 cup red onion 55g, diced
- 2 cups red cabbage 110g, sliced
- 2 cups mushrooms 130g, sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried basil 4g
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 3g
Bake the Potatoes
- Slit the sweet potatoes several times with a knife (make slits on the top of the potato) and wrap in foil.
- Pre-heat oven to 400° and bake for one hour, until the potato is soft.
- While the potato is baking, make the Cashew Cauliflower Cream and the veggies.
Make the Cashew Cauliflower Cream
- Place the cauliflower in a pan along with 1 cup (237ml) of water and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Turn off heat, drain and set aside.
- Drain and discard the water from the cashews and place the cashews in a blender, along with the cauliflower, apple cider vinegar, sea salt and water.
- Blend for several minutes until the mixture is creamy and smooth.
Make the Veggies
- Place the broccoli and 1 cup (237ml) of water in a pan and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Drain and set aside.
- Heat the 1/2 cup (120ml) of water in a skillet and saute the onions for 2 minutes.
- Add cabbage and mushrooms and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Add the broccoli, basil and salt. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
- Note: If the water evaporates, just add a little more.
Assemble it all
- Place the potatoes on a plate and evenly distribute the veggies.
- Top with Cashew Cauliflower Cream.
- Serves 2 (you will have some veggies and Cashew Cauliflower Cream leftover)
- You can easily make the Cashew Cauliflower Cream in advance. I actually recommend it so it will be nice and chilled when you’re ready to use it. If you have a non-stick pan, use it for this veggie recipe.
- Use the cashew cauliflower cream within 4 days.
I hope that your week is filled with love, even if you’re in a “meh” place. Remember that impermanence is as real as gravity and whatever you are going through right now will look different soon.
Smooches and lots and lots of virtual love.