At the request of some genuinely interested folks, I have recently been posting pictures of all of my meals. There has been some suggestion that I may eat some “weird” foods which is kind of funny to me because in my mind at least it’s food whereas much of what comprises the Standard American Diet isn’t even real food. So “weird” is relative! Right?
But I get it. I also would have thought some of my current food choices odd two years ago.
Namely, the “weird” foods in question are bone broth & fermented foods. I’ll speak a little to each of them, but what they have in common is that they are considered “Super Foods”. While not necessarily a technical term, in the nutrition community it means a food that is packed with more micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, & beneficial constituents such as enzymes) than is typically offered by other whole foods.
Each Super Food is important for different reasons.
Bone broth, in addition to being dense in vitamins & minerals, offers collagen & gelatin, largely absent from the modern diet, and assists in healing of the gut. And the collagen thing, as a (gracefully) aging woman my wished-for desires from collagen are *under* my skin. So it kind of stands to reason that collagen from the inside just might be more effective than collagen applies from the outside (topically). I don’t know this for sure. But intellectually & anecdotally (& for the sake of a minor interest in vanity!), I’m happy to bathe my belly in the stuff and let it do what it will.
Fermented foods is a topic that seems to be gaining traction lately even outside my sometimes lonely but growing food world! Many people associate “fermentation” with “spoiled”. Not good. Not good fermentation is what happens when the wrong microbes grow.
Intentional (good) fermentation (which is always what I am referring to) is what happens when the right (protective) microbes grow. Initially (back before refrigeration) the purpose of fermentation was a means of preservation. In short, fermentation is the conversion of starches and sugars in foods by microbes (certain bacteria & yeasts) to self-preserving lactic acid. In this process, much of the micronutrient value is enhanced and probiotics are formed. If you’ve not at least heard of probiotics, there’s very little chance you’re reading this blog! So, I won’t go into detail except to say that the emerging science about the balance of bacteria in our guts and the impact it has on our health is changing the field of health in every way possible. The impact does not start nor stop at digestion. It includes everything from immunity to mental health. It’s THAT far reaching. Could you simply take a probiotic instead of eating/drinking fermented foods/beverages? You could. But I don’t. Because I would miss out on all of the other benefits of the whole foods.
Some of the fermented foods I regularly consume are kefir (fermented milk), sauerkraut (fermented cabbage – not cooked or pasteurized which kills that bacteria and destroys many of the enzymes), and kombucha (fermented sweet tea). I make all of these at home and most of them on a perpetual basis.
So the question becomes is consuming Super Foods essential for vibrant health? I personally experienced profound healing simply by eliminating grains and sugar. Before I even knew what a Super Food was.
So why would I eat Super Foods if I already experienced healing? I had profound healing but I cannot claim to have had complete healing. It took me years & years to erode my health to the level I had. It would be unreasonable to expect that my body would be healed in only a small fraction of the time I spent destroying it. Food is slow medicine.
I believe that the addition of Super Foods aids my personal healing. I feel noticeably better when I consume them regularly. But I also believe that simply adding in Super Foods without removing other offending foods and non-foods is likely not adequate. Of course, this depends on your current state of health and health goals and I would never discourage someone from adding Super Foods into their diet (unless there is some reason that they are contraindicated). I just would not want to set an unrealistic expectation that a daily glass of kefir is going to take you from a 2 or 3 on the health scale to a 9 or 10 without making any other changes.
So, while I am a cheerleader for Super Foods, I think they only serve as a Super Food under the right conditions. Under certain conditions, they may just be food. Whole food. But not a Super Food.
If I had to order the importance of actions to take to begin to restore your health, I will always look to eliminate offending foods before adding in healing foods. No point in bringing your water bucket to your five-alarm gut fire.
Other Super Foods are organ meats. At least I don’t eat liver. Yet.
As for these foods being “weird”, ask your Great Grandma what she thinks about that…….