‘Superfood’ or Snake Oil?
I’m introducing maca root into my morning superfood smoothies, beginning with a half teaspoon a day for a week. I’ll slowly increase to about a tablespoon a day. With winter coming, morning smoothies will include more cacao powder, PBFit, and coconut oil and butter, and maca root’s nutty taste will work nicely.
I’m slowly introducing maca root into my morning superfood smoothies. Also called Peruvian ginseng, maca is an ancient adaptogenic herb that reportedly naturally balances hormones (by lowering cortisone levels), helps the body deal with different stressors, and boosts energy and sex drive. All great things.
I’m beginning with a half teaspoon a day for a week. I’ll slowly increase to about a tablespoon a day. With winter coming, morning smoothies will include more cacao powder, PBFit, and coconut oil and butter, and maca root’s nutty taste will work nicely.
I’m wary of the hugely popular label ‘superfoods’. It’s the word-of-the-moment in the whole foods movement. It’s a growing part of the economy: a lot of people are making a lot of money from ‘superfoods’.
If you’re smart, anytime something becomes a trend, check it thoroughly before you try it. My approach is to do search into its processing methods and any reports of allergic reactions, illnesses, or deaths. Is it ethically sourced? What’s the vitamin/mineral content after processing? Is it safe for dogs? (You never know if they’ll get into something or I’ll drop some on the floor.) What’s the cost? Can I get the same benefits for less money?
There’s superfood, and there’s snake oil. My dad used to say that there’s a sucker born every minute, and two to take him. This applies in earnest to the health/superfood movement, to veganism, vegetarianism, yoga, fair trade products, organics, spiritualism, and everything else that has become popular and generally accepted.
Wherever there’s money being made, keep your eyes and ears open. My approach is to do the research, and then if it seems to make some sense, try it for myself. If I don’t see positive effects, it’s not the food for me.
So we’ll see about the popular superfood called maca. So far, it hasn’t caused any digestive woes, and that’s the first hurdle. I was into Alaska- and Maine-sourced chaga in a big way for a long time, but eventually, it was causing tummy problems, and I stopped drinking it. I do miss it a lot, but when my tummy speaks, I listen.
I’ve also been incorporating pink dragon fruit into morning smoothies, mainly because I love anything tropical in flavor, and it offers decent amounts of vitamins A and C. It’s also way pink. But dragon fruit, too, is being touted as the latest miracle superfood. In my humble opinion, it’s not. It’s always better to eat fruit over candy, meat, dairy, or oil, but it’s not ‘superfood’. It’s just good food.
I’ve definitely been duped into buying snake oil. I think it’s inevitable when you’re curious and live with a restrictive lifestyle (although there’s nothing at all about veganism that feels restrictive). So I don’t get angry or berate myself when I’ve bought into a superfood trend that turns out to be flawed.
Right now, the morning smoothie usually includes coconut water, a little agave, banana, mango, spirulina, powdered greens, a scoop of protein/greens powder, and maca. Seven of those eight elements are proven good for my body: the maca remains to be seen.
I’ve just seen two great documentaries. ‘Fed Up’ is a look at the corporate food industry’s success in duping us into believing a lot of things about food and health that are not only not true, but are in fact lies that are killing us in the name of corporate profit. The film examines childhood obesity, which has become utterly rampant. It looks at the fallacies of calorie restriction, extreme diets, and supermarket ‘health’ foods. I really recommend this one.
The other film is ‘Holy Hell’, a look at a longtime spiritual cult once based in California called ‘Buddhafield’. It’s a not-unfamiliar story that follows the cult from inception to its breakdown after its guru was exposed as a pathological narcissist who preached simplicity and celibacy but who was living extravagantly and having a lot of sex with a lot of his male ‘disciples’.
I liked the film, and as sad a story as it is, there’s redemption at the end of it. I might get into this in another post here, but I too was a member of such a spiritual cult, for a long time – no less than 10 years. There was no sexual abuse involved in my experience with the cult, but it had its novel beliefs and practices.
And in the course of time, our leader’s actions were brought to light, an uproar ensued, and the group dissolved. In many ways, though, I had some of the most interesting experiences of my life, I learned many things, and met the most amazing, curious, intelligent, vulnerable, beautiful people - many of whom are my friends today. All radiant souls who, like me, were just looking for something to light the way.
Live in peace.