I don’t normally like to wrag on something that’s aim is to get people to eat better or live more healthily, but I can’t hold back anymore. WTF is up with labelling everything a “superfood”?
I’m calling the health food industry out on this one. Generally they come from far away with some weird name you’ve never heard of, and you’re told that without this super food you will waste away starved of the nutrients your body needs. They come with a hefty price tag and promises of a new life.
Some foods are created more equal than others, yes. It is true that acai berries are packed full of antioxidants, but so are all berries. Just because something is new or trendy does not make it superior to the foods we have long enjoyed.
While “super foods” like hemp seeds or goji berries are extremely nutritious, they don’t always live up to their cost. They could possibly be even less super than a local or frozen food as they may be less fresh if they are exotic, processed, or have added ingredients.
Anyone is free to use the term superfood. There’s no definition for a superfood or criteria it has to meet. There’s also no standards or monitoring. The term superfood doesn’t mean very much at all.
Our grandparents have been eating super foods for centuries, but unfortunately as food can’t be patented no one stands to really make money off it. As such, all these foods get pushed to the back burner to make way for all the exciting new products that retailers can charge an arm and a leg for to all us unsuspecting consumers.
I’m not anti market by any means, I am though, opposed to people wasting their money on gimmicks.
Let’s not forget Whole Foods and their $5 asparagus water.
Health food does not need to be expensive
- Can’t afford kale? You’ll be just as well off with spinach.
- Acai berries not locally available? Try organic blueberries.
- You’re out of raw chocolate? Grab a block of 80% cocoa chocolate bar and have a cup of chamomile tea to help get over it.
- Lemons can be ridiculously expensive at certain times of the year. Apple Cider Vinegar is an effective substitute in recipes and as an internal alkaliser. This tip works both ways too – ACV can be hard to track down!
- Your local health food market is out of kombucha or kefir? Make your own. Or just get some organic yoghurt.
- Co-yo (coconut yoghurt) is outrageously expensive. Think about it, a can of organic coconut milk is about $3 plus a probiotic capsule – cost for 400ml is around $4 + labour. Why is 700ml being sold for $30?! Make your own! Try my easy recipe.
- I know hemp seeds pack a nutritional punch, but a tin of salmon is a quarter of the price and will give you all the protein and omega-3 you ever wanted.
The message here is when opting for value, go with the foods that are most wholesome and unaltered like nuts, wild salmon and organic blueberries.
Think nutrients, not brands.
My simple guide to help you navigate through the supermarket
- If it’s food (like a real, nature-grown food) it’s super.
- If it’s all natural and got a tonne of different nutrients it’s great. Add it to your trolley.
- If it’s all natural and only got a few types of nutrients it’s also great.
- If the first ingredient is sugar, leave it be
- If it’s got ingredients made in a lab it’s not super. It’s not even food.
- If it doesn’t specify what’s inside it but it’s made in a factory, cool, you’ve got toilet paper. *If it’s not toilet paper you may still also want to flush it away anyway.
Good food should be accessible to everyone. Don’t get caught up in the hype that you need some super expensive food to be healthy. Think sensibly, shop savvy and make healthful replacements.