There are so many diets out there these days; Paleo, Whole 30, Keto, Atkins, Intermittent Fasting, Liquid (terrible idea)…the list goes on and on and on. What I don’t understand, is why people go on these diets when they don’t have to, and why people believe that a diet is the epitome of living a healthy life. The goal of a diet is to ELIMINATE, and no one enjoys that. This is why I’d like to talk about ADDING superfoods to your daily diet. To set perspective, the reason diets “work” is because it creates a calorie deficit- THAT’S IT. There is no magic! But by adding superfoods, they have the same effect because they don’t take much to leave you feeling satisfied/not starved, and they have so many essentials that your body needs to function. The only difference is that you can still eat stuff you want (in moderation of course), and that it truly is healthy. In the long run, you will be healthier due to the benefits, and not feel deprived of all the goods leading to healthy habits rather than quick fixes. Through my FND journey, I have been put on many supplements, informed about what foods do what for my body and brain, and have learned why each mineral (zinc, magnesium, etc) is important, and how they serve my body. All of these superfoods have these minerals that I am taking in capsule form! Why take a bunch of supplements everyday, or settle for feeling less than great, when you can incorporate these superfoods into your recipes and feel super all the time?
“Superfoods are the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. We use superfoods to fill our snacks with nutrients your body needs like vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber.”-Health Warrior
I recently became sponsored by Health Warrior Superfoods, which means I get the privilege to promote, give away samples, and be provided with their great products that I have been using for about a year now! Their products are all made out of superfoods, which make them a great option for everyone, and are a good place to start if you are wanting to give superfoods a try. In this post, I’m going to talk about what superfoods Health Warrior use, and why you should start to incorporate the lucky 13 into your diet.
Nope, not chia pets. Just like other healthy trend words like vegan, Kombucha, acai bowls etc; you may have heard chia, chia seeds, or chia pudding thrown around a bit. This isn’t just because it looks good on Instagram, or makes you sound like you are a health nut. Chia seeds are so good for you! They provide more Omega-3s than salmon, more protein than an egg, more calcium than milk, and more fiber than flax. Talk about hitting two birds (or four) with one stone! Chia seeds are a great option for those who are vegan, because they still provide enough nutrients to keep them going strong. A lot of people struggle with how to incorporate them into their diet because eating them straight out of the bag doesn’t work real well. Health Warrior’s most popular (and first) product is their chia bars that come in so many different flavors. I have tried every single one of them, and I love them all (definitely a toss up between chocolate chip cookie dough and coconut). They make for a great snack, on the go breakfast, pre workout, or even dessert. The bars may be small, but that is because these chia seeds seriously fill you up, it doesn’t take much. Once the seeds get into your stomach, they expand, which creates that satisfied feeling. If you are looking to try some of these bars, Health Warrior gives you the option to select up to six of their flavors to try as a part of their sample box! (Can also be found at Target). That is how I got hooked.
I have been taking turmeric supplements for my FND, but really, turmeric should be in everyone’s diet. This yellow-orange powder is famous for its anti-inflammatory properties, has been proven to combat chronic diseases, has preventative powers, but also stains everything it comes into contact with (dorm room dresser, floor, and many shirts in my experience). I have taken it in both liquid, and capsule form, but the fact that it is included in Health Warrior products already is a huge benefit for those who don’t take additional supplements or want to stain everything you care about. You may think that you don’t need turmeric because you aren’t inflamed at all, but I bet that you are wrong. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there, and I bet you will feel so much better after adding this in your diet. I know I feel so much better after making my inflamed insides calm down.
As good as cinnamon is for you, that doesn’t mean you can go to Cinnabon everyday (although I wish that is what it meant). Anything remotely healthy is often associated with tasting terrible, but this is here to prove that thought wrong! Cinnamon has been used in a medicinal sense around the world for hundreds of years because of its anti-inflammatory effects, and high antioxidant levels. Some common ways to add cinnamon to your diet are in teas, homemade granola, energy bites, and added to foods in small doses. My favorite is sprinkling it on my popcorn, it just intensifies my popcorn addiction. Some of you may remember videos of the “Cinnamon Challenge”….please don’t do that, as that has absolutely no benefits.
4. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkins seeds aren’t just good at Halloween, they should be consumed at all times of the year! Why? They are the second most protein-dense plant seed on the planet, and they work to repair and build muscle (because that is what protein does). They are also so good for you because they are packed with magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and iron. To further explain, phosphorus is needed to filter out your kidneys, and to help you move your muscles…I guess that sounds important, right? Zinc on the other hand is needed for literally everything! I have noticed a huge difference in my energy levels, and even how I feel in general, by adding more zinc to my life. This is why pumpkin seeds are Health Warrior’s number one ingredient in their protein bars! I’ve seen a lot of posts on social media asking where vegetarians and vegans get their protein. THIS is where.
You may have heard this one before, but the more you hear something, the more it is validated. Do oats have a lot of protein? No. But what they do have is fiber. Oats are a superfood because it doesn’t take a lot of them to keep you full- that’s because they have all that fiber! Protein is so hyped up, but fiber is just as important because it is basically nutrition’s cleaning crew. (My dad can tell you that eating one too many Fiber One bars is a one way ticket to the nearest bathroom). It keeps you feeling full, gives you more energy due to the complex carbs, and also supports your immune system! For those who totally ignore oats because they don’t have much protein (just add protein powder or protein filled toppings), or “too many carbs,” fiber actually cancels out carbs. Say that a bowl of oatmeal is 20 carbs, but has six grams of fiber. Your bowl of oatmeal has 14 carbs, which is about the same as a bowl of fruit, and most don’t eliminate fruit because of “too many carbs” since fruit is considered healthy! So are oats!
6. Cacao Powder
You may be wondering why this one is on here, as it is mostly associated with being in desserts that are kind of the opposite of super. Cacao powder isn’t good just because it gives your brownies existence, it is loaded with antioxidants, magnesium, iron, and calcium. At this point, some of you may be wondering why the heck you need magnesium and iron anyways. Magnesium is important for maintaining bone health, relieves anxiety, and helps to aid in sleep. I am on a magnesium supplement powder that I take before bed, and wouldn’t be on it if it weren’t important! Iron is crucial for the blood, as it helps to make oxygen carrying red blood cells. I remember seeing cacao powder when I was little and when my mom wasn’t looking, I ate a big scoop of it out of the container, not realizing how bad of a move that was- bitter! That being said, there are a ton of healthy sweet treats out there such as protein energy bites, oat based cookies, and others that incorporate it in the recipe! Overall, I basically am telling you to eat more things that call for chocolatey goodness 🙂
7. Yellow Peas
Most of the time, people overlook peas because their backstory isn’t anything exciting like the fact that Cacao was considered a food of the Gods by the Incas. But also peas=gross to a lot of the population. Those who are vegetarian or vegan have a little bit more knowledge on the matter because pea protein is a very common source of protein in their world. Yellow peas also have vitamin K (helps anchor calcium in the bones). That’s right, these little buggers have protein, and aren’t only on your plate to annoy you. Most things that you read that say “plant based protein” mean that it is this pea protein. Health Warrior uses this kind of protein in their protein powder, as well as the protein mug muffins. I’ve been so thankful for this protein source because of all of my allergy restrictions in the past, and even though it is made from peas, that doesn’t mean it is a less effective source. So, as your parents would say, eat your peas!
8. Wildflower Honey
Hey honey! Honey is on this list because it is a great source of antioxidants, and is a immune system booster. I’ve said antioxidants a lot, for those who aren’t antioxidant experts, they are good for your heart, and prevent infections, and some forms of cancer. That isn’t the only reason honey is on this list though. Because of its natural sweetness, it can be used instead of sugar to add a little sweet to your desserts, or tea. One of the most useful things you can do for yourself is try to find healthier alternatives to ingredients used in your dishes. Honey is very versatile, and can be used in so many things, which is why it is in all of Health Warrior’s products, making their products very low in sugar, but still give them their sweet. Do you typically find that you feel better/have more energy when you eat healthier? It isn’t a coincidence. Food is fuel!
9. Dark Chocolate
Yes, chocolate is on this list. No, dark chocolate Milky Ways don’t count. Dark chocolate is made from the seeds of the cacao tree (superfood!) Normal diets will tell you that all chocolate is off limits, but I am here to tell you that you should be adding dark chocolate to your diet (in moderation of course). Did you know that chocolate has a good amount of insoluble fiber? It will leave you feeling satisfied. How about antioxidants? But wait! There is more. Dark chocolate contains more iron, magnesium, copper manganese, potassium, phosphorus and zinc, than any of the other superfood! It is actually recommended to finish your day with a small square of at least 75% cacao dark chocolate because of the magnesium it contains to help you sleep, and calm you down. Chocolate is good for the soul, but also your body.
This may be the only thing on the list that you can just straight up eat. (I guess you could eat cacao powder like I did, all power to you). I was first surprised to see this one on the list, but then I made the correlation to why my mom had me drink cherry juice after gymnastics practices. Cherries are amazing anti-inflammatories because of all the Vitamin E they contain. Did you know that fruits with red skin contain more antioxidants? Well you do now! Red fruits contain more flavonoids, which contain antioxidants like lycopene, which reduces heart disease, and infections. If I don’t say so myself, cherries are pretty red, hence all the antioxidants. This also goes for apples with red skin, and grapes (the purple grapes are actually red for those who didn’t know that yet). A (red) apple a day keeps the doctor away is real, people! In addition to all the Vitamin E, they also contain melatonin, which is a natural sleep aid. This is also why cherries are on the list for before bedtime snacks. Better sleep leads to better body regeneration so you are ready to eat more superfoods the next day 🙂
I learned this Thanksgiving that apparently there is more than one way to say almond, and it’s based on where you live. So all you Northern California/Montana/North Dakota/South Dakota folks out there, and my cousin Sam; it is al-mond, not am-end! Whether you say it the right or wrong way, they still have the same great health benefits. As I mentioned before, all great foods must be consumed in moderation, and while they pack so many nutrients into a small quantity, they also pack many calories into a small quantity. This is no reason to avoid them, because you need them! One serving may not seem like a lot (usually 24 nuts), and may be hard to believe that they will fill you up, but because of all they contain, they really do serve as a satiating snack. Almonds are a powerhouse in the nut family because of the healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, protein, Vitamin E, and antioxidants. Aka, almonds help to fight aging, aid in heart health, satisfy hunger, and help to control blood sugar.
I have learned that people either like coconut, or they don’t. There is no in between. For those who would rather eat a bar of soap than some coconut because they kind of taste the same, just hear me out and I may change your mind. Coconut is versatile, and all the benefits are received in whatever way you consume it (coconut water, dried coconut, at Chino Latino, raw coconut,..not sure if Almond Joys count). Like I mentioned before, one of my favorite products from Health Warrior is the Coconut Chia Bar. This is because it tastes good, but also because it energizes me before a workout due to all that coconut does for you. Here is why they are so good; they have a high amount of ascorbic acid (good for developing connective tissue), B vitamins, and proteins. I’m currently on a B vitamin supplement to help give me more energy during the day, and would gladly incorporate more coconut into my diet if it meant not having to swallow that horse pill. It also is a good source of natural energy because of the high amount of electrolytes, and hydrating properties! Maybe we should all be carrying coconuts around the gym instead of Gatorade.
You didn’t think I was going to leave out the hardest to pronounce, but most common/ trendy/ “basic white girl” superfood did you? You’ve seen it on Instagram, all the trendy restaurants, mod cookbooks, and in stores..but what actually is quinoa (keen-wah), and why is it worshipped by health gurus? This “grain” is not actually a grain. What we are eating, is the seed of the plant. It may have seemed to become popular just recently, but this crop has been cultivated by ancient Americans for hundreds of years. The reason it is so good is because compared to other grains, this “grain” has a higher amount of protein, antioxidants, and essential minerals. This is why quinoa is becoming more of a common substitute for rice in meals. Don’t let the reason that you can’t say the word at a restaurant be the reason you are missing out on these benefits! KEEN-WAH.
Hopefully by reading this, you have learned several things. The first, is what superfoods actually are, and why you should consume them. Second, why vitamins and minerals such as phosphorus, Vitamin B, Vitamin K, antioxidants, zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, fiber, fats, and protein are important for your body. We hear those words so much, but did you really know what they did for you? Third, I hope you learned about a new brand that you can try out, and while I am in no way cut out to be a salesperson, I wouldn’t promote something that I didn’t believe in! Lastly, I hope by now you know that I truly am a credible source when it comes to nutrition, and what is good for you! I’m not just a 20 year old college student telling you to eat your veggies. With all my FND experiences, allergies, and my own health journey, I have learned so much about what does what for what. As confusing as that sounds, it can be! I can tell you what foods are good/bad for what parts of your body such as that dairy is a natural inflammatory of the brain. I can tell you why you need to eat fats to lose fat. I can tell you what vitamins and foods help certain neurotransmitters, and other brain functions. I can tell you what apple has the most nutrients (Pink Lady), and lots of other weird but helpful food facts. Doing research helps, but living and experiencing it yourself teaches you so much more!
You are what you eat, so be super!