After extensive research, I’ve come to learn that humans have somehow survived for hundreds of thousands of years on foods that can’t be found in a cereal box, haven’t been genetically altered, and contain ample saturated fats. Not only that, but it seems that certain populations around the world have managed to actually thrive, experiencing robust health with virtually no disease to speak of. Who knew?
Is my sarcasm glaring enough?
In all seriousness, through the work of famous nutrition researchers and explorers like Dr. Weston A. Price (Nutrition and Physical Degeneration) and Vilhjalamur Stefansson (famous Artic explorer), in the pursuit of the “perfect” human diet, found societies around the globe, untouched by Western civilization, who experienced perfect health. Price observed that while no culture ate the same foods, or even the same ratios of macronutrients (Inuit of the Arctic ate up to 90% animal meat and fat), there were some common denominators that he believed were the “X factors” as to why each civilization was virtually disease-free.
Today, through the work of numerous nutrition and health experts, like Mary Enig, Sally Fallon, Ray Pete, Dr. Cate Shanahan and many others, we have identified these “X-factor” foods. Behold the Top 5 Super foods that you’re probably not eating, but should be:
You know those little cartilaginous pieces at the end of chicken bones? The one’s that sound disgustingly crunchy when people chew on them? These bones and cartilage actually contain amino acids called Glycosaminoglycans; collagen like material that when consumed, as in a slow cooked bone broth, helps provide necessary nutrients for joint health. The collagen like proteins are similar to what we would get in popular Glucosamine supplements, but much better in the quantity and bioavailability of the types of collagen. These are necessary nutrients that we can’t get in eating only animal flesh and therefore should get from utilizing the bones for soups and stews. As it turns out, homemade chicken soup really is good for you, especially the soup that has been made by boiling the chicken carcass, neck and even feet.
When we first started giving my daughter solid foods, I used to sauté chicken liver and then mix it with apple sauce and try feed it to her. Some days she’d take it down, most she wouldn’t touch the stuff. I think most people won’t touch it, but when cooked the right way (I have yet to learn this) it can be delicious, and more importantly, extremely nutritious. In many cultures throughout the world, organ meats like the liver, heart, eyeballs, brain, kidneys, etc. are delicacies. This is because they are extremely rich in vitamins and minerals that we lack in today’s calorically dense and nutritionally void diet. These Superfoods are amazing for providing nutrients like Vitamin A and long chain Omega-3 fatty acids that children especially are unable to obtain from processed and fortified foods. In fact, as nutrition expert, Dr. Cate Shanahan (Deep Nutrition) says, “Like cures like”. Meaning, our bodies made out of ingredients that we eat, and certain organs contain vitamins and minerals essential to those said organs. In other words, for better eyesight (Vitamin A), you’d better start eating some cow eyeballs.
Humans figured out pretty early on that fermentation was a way of rendering inedible or dangerous foods edible and even somewhat nutritious. Ever heard of natto (fermented soy), kimchi (fermented cabbage), or soy sauce? What about kefir or yogurt? What about sauerkraut or kombucha? Yep, all fermented foods from different regions of the world that have been consumed for thousands of years. In a nutshell, fermentation is a way of making foods easier to digest along with adding beneficial probiotics (healthy bacteria) for better gut health. I imagine that this was the best way for our ancestors to mitigate the effects of harmful bacteria on the gut from questionable food and sanitation way back when. For us present day humans, it’s not that we’re adding anything new, but simply helping restore that beneficial bacteria that we lose from poor quality food, stress, antibiotics, etc. You’re best bet is to find some good quality sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha or low sugar greek style yogurt (if you can handle dairy) in addition to a probiotic supplement to keep your gut healthy and your immune system strong.
Milk in the grocery store is not a fresh food. It has been pasteurized and homogenized and often contains thickeners and additives in addition to being fortified with synthetic vitamins. Raw milk is the only food on the planet that was created by nature for the exact purpose of nourishment. Why mess with that? Raw milk contains healthy and living fats that have not been destroyed by processing. Additionally, even those that are “lactose intolerant” can enjoy raw milk as it is often easily digested, and is extremely beneficial for improving gut health in most people. Raw milk is full of vitamins, minerals and most importantly fat that we need for healthy hormone production and brain function.
Coconut oil has been called the “healthiest dietary oil on earth”. If you’re not using coconut oil for your daily cooking and body care needs, you’re missing out on one of nature’s most amazing health products. That’s right, you can actually put it on your skin as a moisturizer. How cool is that? Once mistakenly thought to be bad because of its saturated fat content, coconut oil is now known to contain a unique form of saturated fat that actually helps prevent heart disease, stroke, and hardening of the arteries. The saturated fat in coconut oil is unlike the fat found in meat or other vegetables fats. It is identical to a special group of fats found in human breast milk, which have been shown to improve digestion, strengthen the immune system, and protect against bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. These fats derived from coconut oil, are now routinely used in hospital IV formulations and commercial baby formulas. They’re also used in sports drinks to boost energy and enhance athletic performance.
Real World Application
It’s one thing to know about these secret superfoods, but another to be able to utilize them in today’s busy lifestyle. Therefore, I though it pertinent to give you several ways to put these into effect, as the associated health benefits are too important to neglect:
Bone Broth/Organ Meats Recipe Book
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon:
This is a fantastic book for learning healthy traditional recipes along with why these superfoods are so very good for you. My favorite is the chicken stock on page 124. Make sure to get the paperback as opposed to the kindle edition. It is a must have resource for any kitchen.
Ordering Bone Broth
Where to find Fermented Vegetables/Drinks
Whole Foods Market: They typically have great selections of raw, fermented sauerkraut, kimchi and a variety of flavors of kombucha.
Prepare Fermented Veggies Yourself
Where to Find Raw Milk
Where to Buy Coconut Oil
Now that you are armed with the tools to start implementing these Top 5 Secret Superfoods, you are one step closer to becoming healthier, leaner, and helping minimize the risk of disease. While it may not be realistic for many of you to start eating these foods daily, I encourage you to at least try and add one of the aforementioned foods into your everyday diet. These superfoods truly are the secret to optimal health and vitality.