Blogpost: Superfoods or Real Foods?

In search of the magic potion leading to ultimate health and wellness? Listen to a 40 minute youtube video leading to the sale of a special supplement. Scientific studies have shown…. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Or, the nutrients are always higher if the substance is not readily available.

Let’s start with Spirulina. Dark green powders made from pond scum or easily produced and harvested blue green-algae. Touted as a “miracle from the sea”. It grows in salty water in subtropical climates. It is rich in protein as well as minerals and antioxidants. The original intent of spirulina was to be harvested in mass quantities and used as a food supplement to feed the growing post World War II population explosion and fend off malnutrition. It turns out that it was not as easy and cheap to mass harvest as was thought, as well as having a poor taste. It was replaced with mono crop farming of corn, wheat, and soy using the excess nitrogen left from bomb making. The spirulina growers sold the patent to the space program to make dried food. They didn’t like the taste either, and sold the product to the vitamin industry. A superfood supplement was born at a very high price. Chorella is a green algae that is grown in fresh waters. The commercial source is mainly from Taiwan and Japan. It is a little higher in fat and carbohydrates than spirulina, but a rich source of protein as well.

So if you want to impress your friends by drinking a green pond scum appearing food, these are your go to powders. They will not be impressive Instagram entree presentations or wow your dinner guests. I do not believe they will convince anyone to go plant based. Nor, will they counter act the metabolic waste residues of eating a junk food diet. Isn’t it amazing that your friends and family will turn their noses up to a kale salad but quickly turn up at the gym boasting their newest spirulina containing smoothie?

Why oh why do we have to make things so complicated? Your local produce department has all the “superfoods” you will ever need. As a matter of fact, 1 cup of green cabbage has 1.5 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber!! At a price of $2.00 per head or 0.68 cents/pound, green cabbage is a clear winner as an economical superfood. The problem is that is can be grown virtually anywhere and is readily available. You can make dozens of delicious recipes that are beautiful and tasty. But it is common and cheap. Wait, you could buy Napa cabbage instead. It is from China but grows well in the US, and is a little fancier with a similar nutritional profile. It is a little milder in taste and is also great in many recipes. It will set you back almost $1.00 more a head, but it is still a small price to pay for a superfood.

So it seems to be easier to sell the concept of superfoods instead of plant foods. Superfoods are cool, but plants are for weaklings. Wait, aren’t the superfoods plant foods? We will pay a lot of money for superfoods in a powder, but do not want to be associated with superfoods that are readily available in the produce aisle. Perhaps there should be a disclaimer on the superfoods. Taking this powder as part of a junk food diet will result in the same lifestyle diseases from metabolic excesses as if not taken at all. In other words, you can’t paint over rust. It keeps coming through.

So on this week of Thanksgiving, I suggest you stick to the produce aisle. Buy a cart full of colorful vegetables and fruit. Make a glorious nutrient dense table of beautiful real food that will nourish your body, fill your senses, and add years to your healthy lifespan. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Jaimela J Dulaney, MD and remember, Our Heart Beets Plant Strong!

  1. Reply

    Dear Dr Dulaney,
    I really appreciated this post. I appreciated what you said about Cabbage. I recently learned that the “beautiful”Purple Cabbage is a “real” superfood too. Just thought I would add this to your beautiful blog post. So Timely for Thanksgiving Week.

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