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!