HJ: What is food but nourishment? If we expand the definition of superfood to those things that offer us super-nourishment, the concept takes on new meaning. And while vitamins and minerals are important — essential — there are other things that nourish us in ways that food just can’t and are equally important. While the 5 things listed below are not superfoods in a literal sense that they are not food, they are equally, if not even more important to overall mind body spirit health, happiness and wellbeing. Furthermore, there are many documented cases of people going 100’s of days without food or very little at most… sometimes even longer. And were not talking about just laying in bed here either, but living robust, full lives. In these situations, they relied only on the 5 ‘super food’, super nourishing substances below. These, after all, are required to even make the existence of food possible — so essential doesn’t even capture their true necessity — perhaps foundational is a better description…
Five Unexpected Super-Foods
By Marc David | Psychology of Eating
I love the concept called “Super-Foods.” How could anyone possibly argue with this innovative nutritional identifier? Who wouldn’t want to eat such an awesome sounding grocery item? This term was coined relatively recently to bring some respect and superhero sexiness to foods like goji berries, chia seeds, raw cacao, coconut oil, acai berries, maca, and more. In many ways, the wisdom of honoring an edible as a super food is due to its intense nutrient density, and its potential health giving or health protective effects. It’s also a brilliant nutritional strategy to introduce some relatively new foods into our culture’s food chain. Dietary variety gives us humans a clear and proven evolutionary advantage.
Back in the day, meaning the 1960s and 70s, most of the super foods then were a lot less glamorous – oat bran, lecithin, sea salt, brewers yeast, dolomite (a powdered rock), margarine, and granola. How times and tastes have changed. What fascinates me is how the concept of a super food has evolved, how so many of the super foods of yesteryear were actually a bit dumb, and how the use of super foods takes on a different meaning and flavor with each decade. Will we completely run out of super food choices once we have exhausted the genetic variety of life-forms on planet Earth? And if so, then what? Maybe we’ll be so healthy that we won’t need any more. We’ll all just be eating high anti-oxidant, nutrient dense raw delicious dark chocolate, and smiling our way into immortality.
But I’m not so sure.
Which is why, in the interest of finding an inexhaustible supply of super foods, I have come up with this humble list of 5 unexpected super foods that in my opinion, keep on giving. I believe these super foods are superior, here to stay, proven, and suitable for pretty much every metabolic type, every blood type, and even most taste buds. And in the interest of full disclosure, I do not have a business interest in any of these super foods, so you can be assured of my nutritional and scientific impartiality. Here’s my list.
Super Food #1 – Oxygen
Vitamin O is arguably the most necessary and kick-ass super food in the solar system. No oxygen, no life. Now that’s a valuable nutrient. In fact, food + oxygen = calorie burning, so not only does oxygen figure into just about every chemical reaction in the human organism, it’s the key nutrient – really – that helps keep you trim and melts away gobs of fat. This super food is here to stay. And honestly, most of us can use more. Many of you have heard of hyperbaric oxygen chambers. Previously, these machines have been used for certain medical emergencies and a handful of disease conditions only. But lately, many researchers and clinicians are using this expensive apparatus to help create optimum health, longevity, brainpower, and more. But you don’t need a machine to up your oxygen game. Key sources that are free include deep breathing, the relaxation response (stimulates deep breathing), exercise (increase oxygen uptake and utilization), nature (we generally find higher oxygen content in non-urban environments), buildings with windows that open, yoga, and prolonged sex, to name just a few. Oxygen is a super food you cannot argue with. Go ahead, try.
Super Food #2 – Water
Water has made a great comeback as of late, but it’s still vastly underrated. In terms of drinking water, we have yet to scratch the surface of water’s true healing potential. There are technologies out there that increase the oxygen saturation of water, the bond angle of hydrogen and oxygen, the polarity of the H20 molecule, and more. Victor Schauberger a genius on the magnitude of Einstein who is largely overlooked by history, made profound discoveries on the healing properties of water that are still little known, yet epic in possibilities. But there’s more to water than consuming it. Water has profound healing properties when we immerse ourselves in it. I’m talking about a pristine river or lake, an unpolluted ocean, a waterfall, or a hot spring. Science has yet to quantify the literal healing properties of such water, yet civilizations around the globe since ancient times have intuitively understood the power of water in this way. Just ask some of the smartest water experts in the world today– surfer dudes. Water is also a powerful healer when we alternate between immersing ourselves in hot, then very cold water for a number of times. It’s an ancient strategy that is poised for a comeback. Some super foods you eat, and some you can dive into.
Super Food #3 – Sun
When did the sun become our enemy? How did science and industry convince us to constantly protect ourselves from it, and lather ours skin with strange unnatural chemicals with fancy protection names that are way more caustic and carcinogenic to the body than the sun could ever be? (Yes, it’s true, the synthetic sun blocking agents are toxic.) The sun is the original super food. Without the sun – well, I won’t even go into it. Human beings are essentially biological transformation machines of the sun’s energy. The whole of our physiology is designed to track the sun’s movement and adjust to its’ timetable. We call this feature of the body “circadian rhythms.” You’ve heard about all the compelling, well-documented research on the profound therapeutic and protective effects of Vitamin D. The long list of metabolic and mental diseases that it offsets include cancer, heart disease, arthritis, depression, bone health, immunity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and many more. Well, forget about the word “Vitamin D” and simply substitute the real super food – the sun. No sun, no vitamin D. There’s only a teeny weeny amount of vitamin D that any human could ever obtain through diet. Vitamin D, which is really a hormone-like chemical, is a direct result of the sun interacting with our epidermal biochemistry. You don’t “need vitamin D”. You need the sun that produces it for you. Science has reduced the sun to a supplement, which is like saying you don’t really need food, you only need a collection of about 50 or so key powdered nutrients to support life. Try living on that mixture and email me what happens. (Actually, don’t waste your time. Government scientists tried this during the space program and it flopped. Astronauts became terribly ill.) The bottom line: enjoy nature’s truest super food. Sun bathe, stop fearing the sun, of course be responsible, soak up some rays, and produce vitamin D for free.
Super Food #4 – Touch
Are you getting enough of this super food? Have there ever been times when you did get regular, extra helpings of touch? How did it feel? Was it as good for you as it was for me? The healing properties of touch are well documented when it comes to various forms of massage, soft tissue work, spinal manipulation (Chiropractic care), laying on of hands, Shiatsu, Hakomi Therapy, Rolfing and so much more. Science has concluded that a lack of touch will measurably limit the nervous system development of infants. Touch literally is food. Healing or pleasurable touch indeed elicits the sensation of pleasure not only in the touch-er, but also in the touch-ee. This pleasure catalyzes a relaxation response, which generates the optimum state of digestion, assimilation, and day-in day-out calorie burning. This means it moves you towards optimum nutritional status and ideal weight. Tell me a supplement or food that does all that, and feels really really good. Many of us get touched, but it’s not the high quality, organic, non-toxic kind. When was the last time you received touch that was non-grabby, non-needy, freely and lovingly given, and just for you? And when was the last time you offered this super food to another in that spirit?
Super Food #5 – Spirituality
I’ll admit it. This is my favorite super food. I like it so much that I will even do something I find very silly – I’ll quote myself – “Spirituality is the new Super Food.” I said this yesterday when I was in Whole Foods and wanted to buy chocolate covered goji berries but didn’t because it seemed too expensive. So, I got all spiritual on myself, and it worked. I felt better. Spirituality is the antidote to our sometimes- religious obsession with food and weight. We can be so enamored with nutrition, longevity, and optimum eating that we forget to enjoy life, celebrate what we have, and love what is. We can get so caught up in cleansing, going 100% raw, perfectly vegan, or have fat free abs, that we lose sight of who we really are and what we’re doing on planet earth in the first place. We need a bigger picture. What good is a healthy body if we suck at relationships, if we don’t contribute to humanity, if we avoid maturing emotionally, and if we forget to continuously update our spiritual software? Spirituality is the new Superfood. You can quote me on that.
Ok. I know what you’re thinking – “He should have included super foods like love, and play, and sex, and communication and travel and…” Well, you’re right. But my Internet marketing experts tell me I need to write very short blogs and articles, and this one is considered too long for most attention spans. Maybe “attention span” should be a super food.
Marc David M.A. is the founder, director, and primary instructor for the Institute. A visionary leader and teacher in Nutritional Psychology, Marc is the author of two classic and acclaimed bestselling books: The Slow Down Diet: Eating for Pleasure, Energy, and Weight Loss | Nourishing Wisdom: A Mind-Body Approach to Nutrition and Well Being