Welcome to the Fuel for Fall Performance Nutrition Challenge Blog. This week will be all about micro-nutrients and super-foods. Wikipedia defines micronutrients as nutrients required by humans and other organisms throughout life in small quantities to orchestrate a range of physiological functions. We’ll be talking about how to ensure you get your micronutrients and how you can use superfoods to help get your intake up to spec. I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of the term ‘superfood’, as it implies that a single food is good for all people all the time. As with any other food, superfoods are all relative to the specific situation and should be moderated and rotated so that you get a lot of variety. However, we will be focusing on foods that have a history of making our members feel and perform better.
We’ll be looking at 3 different categories of superfoods this week.
- Gut healing foods : This will include homemade broths such as fish, chicken and beef stock, as well as fermented foods such as saukraut, kimchi, kombucha. You can read about the benefits of broth or stock and how to make it here and here. Read about fermented foods here.
- Immunity and anti-inflamatory foods : This includes foods such as shellfish and wild oily fish, as well as shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms, along with delicious flavourful herbs and foods such as garlic, ginger, and turmeric. Read about the anti inflammatory effect of turmeric here along with some other favourite anti inflammatory foods here. The rest is very easy to include in your meals. Who doesn’t like garlic, mushrooms and ginger along with some meat and veggies?
- Anti-oxidant, mineral rich foods & detoxifying super foods: this will include foods as well as seeds and powdered super foods such as green tea, raw cacao powder and cacao nibs, maca powder, chlorella & spirulina and other seaweed and sea vegetables, flax and chia seeds, as well as richly coloured leafy greens & tubers such as beets, kale, spinach, collards and chard, as well as cruciferous cabbage and broccoli, along with alkalizing citrus fruit lemon & lime and other anti-oxidant rich berries such as acai and gogi. A great way to increase your intake of these nutrient rich foods is to make a green smoothie. You can read about green smoothies here and find tons of recipes online, just google green smoothie recipe.
Your daily bonus challenge for Monday, December 1st is to make yourself a healing super drink. Your options are homemade broth, turmeric ginger tea, or a green smoothie. If you choose broth, it should be homemade. This is ridiculously easy, here’s a recipe, you might have to start early in the AM and just sick it in the crockpot. If you choose the anti inflammatory tea, you can find some good recipes here and here, or find your own online. Just remember to deduct a point for the big 3 if you use a sweetener. If you choose a green smoothie, make sure you include at least two of the following ingredients; kale, spinach, beet root or beet greens, spinach, collards, chard, cacao, maca, chlorella, spirulina, acai, gogi, lemon, ginger, cilantro, chia, or coconut oil. When first starting out, the tendency is to put in tons of fruit to cover up the taste the greens. Don’t go overboard if you are looking to lean out. I like the kale + cucumber + lemon + pear combo. There is something about the kale and pear that work really well together and the lemon and cucumber brighten up any type of greens and it keeps apple or pear from going brown. From there I usually add a fat like cococnut oil or macadamia nut butter and a powder such as chlorella or maca. You can also do egg yolks or a plain unsweetened protein powder if you know you tolerate it well, especially if you are training hard and need that extra portion of protein. If you need to chocolaty treat, you can do any type of greens with a ripe banana, almond butter and raw cacao powder or cacao nibs. It’s delicious.