At the bottom of the food chain are mass produced, processed food items that live on a supermarket shelf in plastic wrappers, boxes, and cans. They do not have enough nutritional value to deserve the title of food.
Increasingly, worldwide populations are turning away from farm fresh produce and subsisting on packaged food, resulting in an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and related illnesses. This is largely impacted by the lack of true nutrition.
With a rising middle class here in Bali, processed foods purchased from Western-style stores are becoming a status symbol and inexpensive sugary snacks sold in every small warung are an easy new treat to mollify children. With this shift in the Balian diet comes a rapid increase in the same health problems found in developed countries, as well as the inescapable disruption of the Balinese ecosystem because of the plastic waste.
On the other end of the spectrum from processed foods, yet also sold in packaged form, are products designated as superfoods. These items have achieved rock star status as a result of the manufacturers’ claims of preventing or curing diseases as well as reversing the aging process.
Superfoods are endowed with multiple combinations of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and are considered especially beneficial for health and wellbeing. It would be easy to see the superfood title as a marketing technique, especially when much of the information about it comes from distributors. Yet, many of what seem to be newfangled superfoods have been cherished for centuries as medicinals, food staples, and sacred ceremonial ingredients.
At one time, food and spirituality intertwined for indigenous people across the globe. Superfoods quinoa and maca root were sacred for the Incas, cacao was precious to the Mayans, chia was revered by the Aztecs, acai was a sacrament for the Amazonian tribes, and spirulina (a blue-green algae) was holy in Africa. Chinese medicine has utilized goji berries for more than 5,000 years. These superfoods may appear to be new discoveries by gourmet foodies and health food advocates, but are rediscoveries of ancient wisdom.
Superfoods are increasingly available worldwide and are making their way to Bali at specialized locations, bearing the price tag and carbon footprint of imported goods from afar. Though these exotic superfoods may be nutritionally worthy of their hype, the earth conscious choice is to favor a variety grown right where you are.
Humble, local, and less flamboyant than imported superfood products, our most familiar, affordable and commonly available produce offers a powerhouse of antioxidants, fiber, minerals, and vitamins to super-fuel your brain and body. Nearly every brightly colored, organic fruit, vegetable, herb, and spice fits into the realm of superfood, each with a plethora of well-documented beneficial nutrients.
Are your veggies looking more glamorous to you by now? Load up on fresh and tasty preventative medicine in the form of super foods from your local organic farmer.
Seven superfood standouts:
Chia, Flax, and Sesame
These seeds pack a punch of Omega-3s, antioxidants, and protein that will give you and your metabolism an energy boost. Sesame is our local super seed.
Acai, Goji, and Mulberry
This trio is loaded with antioxidants, helping counter the effect of pollution on our cells. Local mulberries are available seasonally in Bali.
Delivers the greatest concentration of antioxidants is raw cacao powder, grown abundantly in Bali and Java.
10 Local Plant Food Superstars
All 10 of these common superfoods excel in aiding digestion, cleansing toxins, strengthening the immune system, helping regulate metabolism, and enhancing your brain and body.
Dark Leafy Greens: Spinach, Kale, Chard, Collards, Parsley, Bayam, Kangkung
Sea vegetables (kelp, nori, hijiki)
Alliums: Onions, Shallots, Leeks, Garlic
Here are 3 recipes to start incorporating these amazing superfoods into your diet.
1. Mucho Choco Superfood Energy Bars
2. Sun dried tomato superfood vinaigrette
3. Apple fennel super green salad with orang passion fruit dressing.
For more info on Bali’s best spots for the modern yogi STAY | SPA | PLAY | EAT | SHOP | YOGA – Download our ULTIMATE BALI GUIDE for free.