Faux Superfoods of the Raw World

by Bob McCauley, CNC, MH

A recent blog by Kevin Gianni stated the obvious: lots of food promoted as “superfoods” by the raw food community are actually not healthy at all. Some are healthier than their cooked food counterparts, but for the most part they are unhealthy.  The list has been obvious to me for years.  And I’m glad that raw foodists such as Gianni and his wife are catching on.  Just because someone sells a “superfood” doesn’t mean it actually is a superfood.

Here is the list: Agave, Raw Cocoa, Nama Shoyu, heavy nut dishes. What a shock!  Anyone can figure out what is healthy and what isn’t.

Agave: Natural fructose, aka sugar.  Better than refined white sugar, but we all know that in the end, sugar is sugar.  Sugar is NOT a superfood by any stretch of the imagination.  I use agave often and I use it sparingly.  It happens to be one of Nutrition By Natalie’s powerhouse foods.  Natalie seems like a nice person, but she’s a joke when it comes to health advice.

Nama Shoyu: Aka Soy Sauce, only the fermented kind.  I have absolutely nothing good to say about soy.  Soy is a disaster on a number of levels.  If you are going to eat soy, fermented soy is the best.  Nama Shoyu, soy sauce, Bragg’s Amino acids, is called for in countless raw food receipts.  Raw foodist have pushed it for years, apparently unaware that it’s not a true health food.  It’s extremely high in sodium, which causes swelling and other reactions in many people, not unlike the reaction some people have to MSG (Monosodium glutamate).  Nama Shoyu is not a superfood, let alone even a healthy food.  Use this stuff sparingly.

Raw Cocoa: David Wolfe has made claims about cacao being a superfood for years.  Both cacao and coffee contain caffeine and theobromine (food of the gods).  Both are stimulants, not unlike Klamath Lake AFA blue-green algae, although there are nutrients in both AFA and Cocoa. I don’t feel so good eating too much cocoa or chocolate.  Use them both in moderation.

Too many Nuts.  One of the problems people have with moving to a raw food diet is filling their stomachs and satisfying their appetites, which is easier to do on a cooked food diet.  Consuming too much nut fat, especially all at once is not healthy and a cashew or pine nut-based pizza crust should be consumed in small quantities.  Raw nuts, especially macadamia or pine nuts, are fattening when consumed in excess.  Nut Deserts need to be consumed in great moderation since they have so much fat and sugar.  I do speaking engagements from time to time, many of them raw food potlucks, and I have had some amazing raw deserts. Chicago Raw has the best raw desert I have ever had. Polly and Carole are incredible chefs.

Gianni mentions maca not being a superfood.  Maca is a powerful food that has herb-like qualities and almost anyone can take it.  Whether it is a superfood is another matter.  It definitely is an excellent food, although I don’t believe it is a superfood.

The flavor is not bad at all.  I believe there are two great superfoods that are inexpensive, highly nutritious, stable and easy to produce.  They are Spirulina and Chlorella. These are the two true superfoods from which all other foods follow.  If you can say raw maca is not a superfood you could say the same about Ginkgo Biloba.  The truth is that both are superfoods when consumed raw and fresh.  Each are unique to any other food on the planet.  Some raw foods are more powerful than others, garlic vs. romaine lettuce for example.  But even organic romaine lettuce can become a powerful superfood if you let it flower and consume the top of it.  That’s power.

I have to say that overall I like what Gianni’s doing.  I don’t agree with him on everything but he is trying to educate people about true health while being opened to new ideas.  That’s what I do too!

Here’s Gianni’s link: http://renegadehealth.com/blog/2011/07/07/5-raw-foods-we-dont-think-are-as-healthy-as-everyone-says/

 

About Bob McCauley

Bob McCauley, ND (Robert F., Jr.) was raised in Lansing, Michigan and attended Michigan State University (BA, 1980 in Journalism). He is a naturopathic doctor, Master Herbalist and a Certified Nutritional Consultant. He has traveled extensively, both domestically and abroad, visiting over 32 countries. He published Confessions of a Body Builder: Rejuvenating the Body with Spirulina, Chlorella, Raw Foods and Ionized Water (2000), Achieving Great Health (2005), The Miraculous Properties of Ionized Water, (2006) which is the only book on the market that exclusively addresses Ionized Water, Twelve (Fiction, 2007) and Honoring the Temple of God (2008). He considers himself a Naturalist, meaning he pursues health in the most natural way possible. He studies and promotes nature as the only way to true health. From 2002-2004 he hosted the radio program Achieving Great Health, which was heard by thousands of people each day. His guests included some of the most well-known and respected names in the natural health world. With the help of his father, Dr. Robert F. McCauley, Sr. (Doctorate in Environmental Engineering, MIT, 1953) they started Spartan Water Company in 1992, which sold vended water machines in supermarkets. Robert Jr. founded Spartan Enterprises, Inc. in 1993. He is a Certified Water Technician with the State of Michigan. He is also a Type II Public Water Supply Specialist and has the certifications of S-5 and D-5. The McCauley family has a long history in the water industry. Bob's father pioneered environmental issues regarding ground water and drinking water quality. He received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1953 for his thesis on removing radioactive strontium from water. He earned his doctorate in Environmental Engineering in less than 2 years, one of the shortest doctoral studies in the history of MIT. He taught civil, sanitary and environmental engineering at Michigan State University for 18 years before retiring to run Wolverine Engineers & Surveyors of Mason, Michigan, for 17 years. His reputation throughout Michigan as a water quality expert was legendary. Bob worked for his father's company for 12 years learning the water business, which dealt primarily with municipalities, including water quality and sanitary sewer issues. After apprenticing with his father, Bob moved on to the bottled water business. He established greater Michigan's biggest selling bottled water: Michigan Mineral – Premium Natural Water. He was introduced to Ionized Water in 1995 and has done more to promote Ionized Water than anyone else in the industry. Bob often lectures and offers seminars on his Seven Component Natural Health Protocol . Bob is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and a Certified Master Herbalist. He is also a 3rd Degree Black Belt and Certified Instructor of Songahm Taekwondo (American Taekwondo Association).
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3 Responses to Faux Superfoods of the Raw World

  1. The S.E.E.D. says:

    WHAT to eat i not something i spend that much time talking about at all. There’s simply SO much to eating well that has little to nothing to do with what you eat.
    There’s WHEN to eat, there’s WITH WHAT, there’s pH and probiotics and detoxing…
    Eating well/diet is about so much more than what we eat and it’s actually part of the mainstream ignorant paradigm to talk about what to eat, more than anything else.

    Frankly, i believe it’s about people’s misguided attempt to build bridges to the mainstream that causes the talk about so-called superfoods. It’s BECAUSE of the insane mainstream paradigm that some foods even APPEAR ‘super’ compared to others at all! I.E. it’s because mainstream tactics have caused mainstream soils to become so depleted that we’re looking to foods grown in jungles,, like cocoa, Brazil nuts, acai, noni,, for a solution.

    Sweet potatoes, string beans, or tomatoes have loads of nutritional value WHEN GROWN IN HEALTHY SOIL; but because the mainstream is all about pillaging soil and creating deserts everywhere, we’re frantically trying to find foods that still have some content. This is neither a good solution for people personally nor for communities/countries as a whole.

    But even if we get to growing properly healthy and nutritional foods, there’s all these other aspects of eating that are just as, or even more, important. Talk about superfoods is telling of where you’re coming from: the mainstream.

    The Tarahumara indians live mainly off of corn: corn and corn beer. Sometimes they eat chia seeds. These people run marathons daily, supermarathons every week. When scientists came and fed them supplements, they got ill just like westerners.
    Superfoods? The whole concept is western hype.

    The body doesn’t even digest food; your gut flora does. That’s the message of the Tarahumara indians and David Jubb who claims to have lived as breathairian for 11 years and still hardly eats anything. Foods are meant to feed the soil that is what your gut flora live off of and produce elements that can be assimilated through the gut wall. Jubb says a healthy gut contains 80,000 species of bacteria but unhealthy people commonly have as few as 1000. If you feed these 1000 species so-called superfoods, they’ll accomplish but a fraction of what 80,000 species will do EVEN IF YOU DON’T EAT. Jubb says a healthy gut produces 27 grams of protein daily, even without eating!

    Quality food is worth talking about. “Superfoods” are just part of mainstream ignorance and perspective, but even the best foods wouldn’t seem so super if we were focusing on quality rather than plugging holes and the health bandage strategy.

  2. I wouldn’t agree with cacao being a “faux superfood” as it does have some pretty impressive nutritional content. Of course, it is a stimulant so some people ought to stay away from it. No food ought to be consumed excessively. However, with all foods, it’s all about context and moderation. Some foods with great nutrients and minerals content are detrimental for people with various health conditions while it may work wonders for the rest. It is always better to take the traditional approach to food: eat a balanced diet ( your grains, fruits and vegetables). Chances are, many of these foods make it to the superfoods category.

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