Giving Superfoods a Chance: How to Change Your Healthy Living Game
If I had a nickel for every smoothie I've ever made and ravenously consumed, I'd probably be rich.
Yeah, I drink a lot of smoothies.
Look, I was never really a "smoothie person." In high school, I skipped breakfast altogether in order to catch the 7:45am bus, and when university rolled around, waking up and having my s**t together in time to make my 8am classes boded no differently for my lackluster breakfast game. It was fine to forget about the importance of nutritious meals when you spent almost every day trying to stay awake in lectures, guzzling coffee like a Hummer guzzles gas and attempting to finish papers on time. Forget breakfast, lunch or dinner; I lived for cheap lattes and the intermittent snack of cafeteria wraps between classes, projects, and parties.
But suddenly, things changed. I grew the hell up and realized there was this whole new craze surrounding healthy living. We're talking yoga, morning runs, juice cleanses, antioxidants, hemp hearts, green smoothies, and superfoods. Out of nowhere, I saw Instagram account after Instagram account dedicated to healthy eating, kale-laden smoothies and cacao nib cookies I hadn't even known existed.
So I hopped on the bandwagon and began making smoothies. I sipped nervously on green juice cleanses; tried to blend kale into banana and berry-filled blenders; attempted to fall head over heels for quinoa bowls and practically broke my back paying too much money for chia seeds, blueberry powder and other antioxidant-rich foods known as "superfoods." It hit me one morning after a long, sweaty run that I actually loathed my morning and lunch routine of cramming spoon after spoon of random superfoods into a vomit-looking mixture of leaves and fruit. Thinking - hoping? - there was a better way of getting nutrients, minerals, and other good stuff into my body, I did my research and was just about to give up on finding a simpler alternative when I bumped into a shelf of Smile Natural Foods Wholefood Blend containers at my local wellness store. It was like a light had shone down from heaven as the display case went toppling over and, 20 minutes later, I was on my way home with a bag full of superfood blends.
Allow me to explain! There's this pretty awesome brand of whole food blends called Smile Natural Foods WholeFood Blends (how fitting) by Kii Naturals. The 7oz containers of whole foods incorporate a plethora of superfoods into one mix that you can add to smoothies, desserts, oatmeals, bowls...you name it, you can probably add these blends to it. The reason I'm so hyped up about this stuff is because simply put, it has changed my healthy eating game. Instead of having to add spoon full and spoon full of superfoods in my smoothies each morning, I now have only to reach for one container of my whole food blends, with two tablespoons doing the trick. I've even begun baking healthy snacks with the blends, and it is altering the way I look at superfoods.
Being a low maintenance gal in general, the convenience of these blends has made getting up and making breakfast far easier. You can add these blends to pancakes or oatmeal; smoothies or smoothie bowls; whatever you like to eat for breakfast, you can sprinkle a tablespoon or two of these blends into it, and you're good to go. They also seem to make my smoothies more filling, which is a bonus when you work full-time, go to school full-time or have a busy day ahead and aren't sure when you'll be able to grab a bite to eat.
The best part, though, is one I have yet to mention: they're vegan. Not only are they vegan, however: they're Non-GMO certified, USDA Organic Certified, Kosher Certified, and contain no added sugars, sulfites, artificial flavors or colors. The blends come packaged in containers just small enough to fit in most cupboards or drawers and are lightweight enough to keep in your bag, your desk at work or take with you on your travels.
The brand states that each blend is crafted to include flaxseeds, chia seeds, and hemp hearts, in addition to fourteen other superfoods, with minerals like zinc, iron, and magnesium. Each serving has up to 5g of protein and 6g of fibre, with Omega3 fatty acids. The process, according to the brand, for milling the superfoods included in each blend is a PureMill process, which protects and preserves the foods' nutrients. The blends come in four different flavors: Fig + Cacao, Goji Berry, Coconut, and Cranberry. As for the taste: each one is pretty damn delicious. My preferred flavour for smoothies is the Fig + Cacao, but each one is subtly sweet and tasty in its own right.
Where I'm located, each 7oz container costs $15.99, and I use about 1tbsp in my smoothie or oatmeal each morning. I've also taken to adding it to my soy yogurt, any vegan baking I do, and sometimes, my salads. My favorite for salads is the Goji Berry blend, but I imagine the Cranberry blend would be yummy on a salad, as well.
I've explained why these specific superfood blends are so awesome, but I should probably discuss briefly why the addition of superfoods can help change your healthy living game.
What are Superfoods?
Put simply, superfoods are whole foods rich in micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, which can help improve our health when eaten in conjunction with a healthy diet and a balanced lifestyle. No, eating superfoods whilst subsisting on a diet of fast food items won't help to change your health, but whole food blends made with superfoods can be beneficial for those looking to improve their health by eating properly and well. Superfoods help heal the body thanks to their potent compounds, which can do a myriad of things from strengthening our immune system to improving our heart health.
Where can I get Superfoods from?
Superfoods (aka whole foods) can be found in vegetables and fruit (like kale, a pretty infamous superfood), in red wine (yasss), nuts/legumes/seeds, in salmon, and even in cocoa. However, you can also source superfoods in powdered form, such as green superfood powder or through whole food blends like the ones discussed in this post.
Why should I eat them?
Aside from the fact that vegetables, fruit, and other whole foods contain essential nutrients, eating superfoods may also positively alter the way you view your diet and eating habits. If you're looking to improve your health, change your eating habits or rethink your daily diet, adding superfoods to healthier meals (such as salads, smoothies, etc) can give you an added boost of nutrition and, with blends or powders, are a more convenient way for many to get minerals and vitamins into their everyday diet.
Are blends or powders worth the price?
The answer to this could vary depending on your budget and accessibility to whole foods, however, where superfoods are readily available to me, the price of a Smile Natural Foods Wholefood Blend ($15.99) is more cost effective than most green powders and superfoods I could purchase from stores individually. That is, of course, based on my own experience of buying whole foods and budgeting for them, but if you're looking for convenience, a blend or powder might work well for you. Some blends and powders can range from $20-$60, and up.
Can I give up whole foods, then?
No! Or, at least, I wouldn't, personally. A blend or powder shouldn't substitute healthy eating, nor should it be an excuse to cut whole foods like vegetables, fruit, legumes, etc. from your diet. It's important to keep in mind that superfood blends and powders aren't meal replacements, nor should they be treated as a cure-all for eating vegetables. Eating well with a balanced diet is still key, regardless of whether you use superfoods or not.
Whether or not you already eat well or live a balanced lifestyle, superfoods could help change up your healthy living game and might give you that extra boost to your step you've been looking for.
~ All photography in this post courtesy of yours truly (me)