Plants with super powers
THE TERM ‘super food’ has become a popular catch-phrase in food and health talk and of course the perennial cynics will make the expected sweeping statements that this is merely a marketing ploy to increase prices and sales.
It does however, beg the question whether some plants do confer superior health benefits above that of others. So what are super foods exactly?
We could call them super-nutrient, dense food and herbs that are loaded with phenomenal amounts of anti-oxidants, (free radical scavengers) vitamins, minerals, fibre and other valuable phyto-nutrients that are usually not realistically attainable in the context of a normal diet.
The herbalist would refer to these magnificent plants as alteratives and adaptagens; these terms describe categories of plants that adroitly ‘adapt’, responding according to the unique needs to ‘alter’ the state of the individual human.
A dynamic fix
In fact super foods uphold the old maxim: “Let our food be our medicine.”
Interestingly, when one selects and partakes of such premium foods on a regular basis, the body/mind complex adjusts; balancing out previous disparities and starts to intuitively make more salubrious dietary choices, whereby junk food is just not a viable option.
A well-chosen and concentrated plant food, (especially if the appropriate minimal processing has left it raw and alive) delivers a relatively quick and dynamic ‘fix’, because it is replete with active constituents that have already been naturally chelated within the plant itself.
This means they are more accessible as organic building blocks for the body to assimilate easily and utilise in its ongoing balancing act for homeostasis.
Certain combinations of potent plant foods and herbs are exceptionally energising and rejuvenating and promote healing and transformative processes on all levels.
Beyond vitamins and minerals
Beyond vitamins and minerals, super foods can heal because apart from their essential nutrients, they contain very potent and unique compounds such as sulforaphanes and healthy anti-inflammatory agents that protect our immune system, stop renegade cells from reproducing and even kill harmful bacteria in our guts.
A too common diet overloaded with sugar, low-grade saturated fats, white processed carbs and artificial preservatives and colourings fosters not only weight gain and depression, but also, more ominously, a steady level of inflammation throughout the body.
Chronic disease can be triggered from persistent low level inflammation which is considered, along with stress, to be one of the root causes of every modern disease.
The normal inflammatory response is helpful but when it happens in a steady low-level state, it can attack tissues and cause havoc with organs and blood vessels, and impede brain function.
Super foods have the natural ability to neutralise inflammation and in some cases, reverse existing cell damage with their massive boost of antioxidant, immune protection.
Super foods suit all diet types
Today the dizzying array of diet types such as gluten-free, raw, low GI, macrobiotic, Mediterranean, paleo, vegan, blood type etc, etc, imposes many restrictions on what people can eat and enjoy. Consciously chosen plant super foods will integrate seamlessly within these strict limitations and broaden their nutrient reach.
Another very good reason to integrate super foods into our diet is that they are low in calories, while making us feel full without the unwanted sugar and fats compared to highly processed stuff.
We often resort to supplements in tablet form, which are not always digestible and too often end up down the toilet with the rest of our bodily waste.
Super foods, however, are real unprocessed plants that are already botanically packaged for the perfect delivery of multiple healing compounds into our digestive systems without overtaxing the liver.
Our body easily extracts and assimilates the plant phyto-chemicals nutrients directly, because the human digestive system has had thousands of years adapting to them.
Furthermore, even supposed herb supplements are synthetic or have undergone extreme processing and are reconstituted chemically with isolated actives that only vaguely resemble, in nutrient profile, the original plant from which they are derived.
An ingrained tendency
“Are all plant foods created equal?” we might ask, when we sense that all living organisms are born of the Divine.
We could justifiably argue that every plant in its raw, unadulterated and natural form has something of value to offer human beings as food, medicine or cosmetics.
The concept of the ”super food” is not some newfangled fad; the quest to find something particularly delicious, healthy and of intense nutritional value has helped shape human history.
Something exotically appealing, that has travelled from afar perhaps, and breaks up the monotony of the everyday common staples that grow indigenously in human dwelling places and provides the bulk food of different regional diets.
For millennium, peoples of the world have sought after the ‘difficult to acquire’, the promise of something extra special that will make them feel better.
The early bio-prospecting quests sent travellers across uncharted oceans to acquire plants and their foods stuffs to appease this human desire for the ‘next new thing’.
Many of the plants that we take for granted no doubt have had their moment in the limelight, their super food heyday, peaking in popularity at some time or another.
Don't disparage the staples
Labelling some foods as ‘super’ may give the impression that other natural foods in our diets that are cheap and readily available are not as healthy when, in reality, these foods often provide the bulk of our nutrients.
For example carrots, apples and cabbage, are packed with health-promoting nutrients such as beta-carotene, fibre, and the flavonoid quercetin.20. This means we can easily consume them in large enough quantities and on a regular basis to get the most from their nutrient content.
We are not talking about replacement with super foods here; upping our daily intake of a variety of fruits and vegetables will always go a long way towards generally improving our well-being.
The beauty of super foods and plants is that they will augment, enhance and improve this already wholesome, foundational plant diet; they simply up the ante on the measure of prudence, responsibility and diligence that we pointedly exert for our health.
The prized morsels
So what about this seemingly elitist group of superstar plants that apparently provides us with that exclusive breed of sustenance known as the ‘super’ food? People have an innate tendency to high-grade food; that is, pick out the best and richest morsels to feed themselves and their young. We are hard-wired for this special selection behaviour to optimise our survival.
The higher efficacy and vibrational nature of certain plants became obvious through empirical experience, some even becoming stuff of botanical legends.
Today these are the ones often earmarked as super foods, as they have the lofty lineage of being sacred to ancient cultures.
They are the cherished few set aside for their potency and extraordinary powers to elevate human experience from that of prosaic drudgery to something better.
It would seem that certain plants are just blessed by the Goddess with more than their fair share of plant actives; the nutrient goodies whose extra values contribute so heartily to human vigour and well-being. Some specialist plants were prized currency and concentrated enough for a small amount to be carried to ensure survival on arduous journeys, while others helped propel the human towards spiritual experience.
The ancient plant experts
We cannot ignore the fact that the ancient plant experts - shamans and healers alike - hand-picked these specialities for the particular welfare of the tribe, be it Mayan, Incan, American Indian or the earliest yogis for their immortal soma elixir.
These stand-out plants such as the cocoa bean, maca, ashwaganda, ginseng . . . the list is inexhaustible . . . were considered ‘foods of the Gods’ for good reason; and were offered in sacrifice to appease them.
Plants were chosen because they were the most treasured and revered by humans for use as offerings.
Maybe this is why we are still willing to pay that little bit extra for the real authentic raw deal, wonder foods and herbs from wonder plants in nature.
If we do add up the real costs in sourcing high-grade, organic, biodynamic and pesticide-free plant foods, they are usually reflective of true costs - especially if we factor in all the labour-intensive extra time involved in not only the growing with sustainable methods, but also the specialised process of keeping the vital force in plants intact after harvest.
Activating the seeds and nuts, for example, means awakening them to their full nutritional potential for human assimilation, by leeching them of enzyme inhibitors, dehydrating them over days, mindfully sustaining a temperature to not exceed that of ‘raw’ status - a lot of conscious thought, choices and effort goes into the whole operation.
Less wholesome food choices will more often than not lead to a breakdown in bodily health which makes those cheaper options actually more costly over time if we factor in all the consequential remedial measures required to restore well being.
A little goes a long way
These plant concentrates from Nature are definitely worthwhile when we realise how only ‘a little’ will serve us so efficaciously; less is certainly more.
They sustain us more effectively by replenishing our dwindling energy sources and can fill the empty spaces that concern us for their paucity and deficiency in our everyday diet.
We can continue the custom of honouring certain precociously helpful plant foods and medicines that beautifully embody so many desirable properties and abundance in nutrients.
We still maintain the hierarchical language that upholds them as the ‘aristocratic’ super foods with good reason; the proof is in the eating them and experiencing their worth for ourselves.
To witness first-hand, positive shifts in physiology and mind-state, reminds us of their original Divine blessing that is their unique sacred signature.
Something to feed our spirit
Maybe we are inherently hungry for something to feed our Spirit.
This is a call to follow our highest intuition, listening to what our animal bodies require for optimal function and our minds, to recalibrate our original spiritual equanimity.
Don’t worry about becoming an addictive ‘health tragic’, next time you reach for that perfect snack to fill the gap created by your desires, just let it be one that aligns you with our Divine nature, ‘super’ or otherwise.
Recognise the place from whence the secret longing for that piece of cacao-maca choccy is coming, does it meet the highest ideals of our inner voice, who knows exactly what is good for us right now?
Whatever we decide to call them, be that super, wonder or ‘uber’ foods and herbs; if we perceive of them as Divine and imbibe them with focussed intention to transform our well being, then the soul’s silent plea for real sustenance will be answered.
Raw, Organic Goodies Out Now
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Wholefood Spheres: Luminous Lucuma, Magic Mesquite, Numinous Natives, Omniscient Orange Choc, Primal Passion;
Chocolate: Celestial, Miraculous Cranberry, Cosmic Coconut Goji, Glorious Goldenberry, Mystical Maca Chai.
Only at tinderbox.com.au or in our Balingup store
Tinderbox is very happy to present yet another calendar year of stirring, mystical images to captivate you every time that you consult the traditional timeline. We hope they momentarily whisk you away to a timeless, magical space that is not bound by the same linear rules that govern our working lives. Hopefully each image will give you a small taste of something grand and primordial, where the holiness of nature is a vital spiritual truth and the earth, plants, waters and animals are embodiments of the Divine. Order your 2017 Tinderbox calendar here until 1 January, 2017 or until sold out.