Top 10 Daily Superfoods

Top 10 Daily Superfoods by Kate Costello

These are 10 superfoods that I use in my daily food intake. This list is not exhaustive but inspiration for using superfoods you may already have at home to enhance your daily meals. Superfoods are foods or herbs that contain high amounts of nutrients like polysaccharides, antioxidants, minerals, probiotics, and anti-inflammatory fatty acids. I love Superfood Evolution’s website for information. Have some fun adding these to your breakfast, lunches, snacks or dinners!


Algae: Spirulina, chlorella, blue-green algae

Benefits: algae’s have it all – antioxidants like chlorophyll, carotenoids, b vitamins, omega fatty acids, polysaccharides, complete proteins, trace minerals and tons of other phytonutrients, algae’s gently detox the liver, blood, and lymph

How to use: Afternoon Chlorella + Lemon Elixir

  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. Chlorella Powder
  • 16oz Filtered Water

Add lemon juice, chlorella powder and water to a glass container. Use a whisk, fork, or spoon to mix the chlorella into the water. Enjoy over ice or at room temp. *Consider adding algae powders to smoothies


Cacao / Cocoa

Benefits: well-known source of antioxidants and magnesium, cacao powder comes from beans that have not been roasted and therefore retain more antioxidants called flavanols, flavanols have shown improvements in endothelial and platelet function as well as blood pressure great alternative to highly processed dutch cocoa powder

How to use: Avocado Pudding

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 small banana
  • 1/4 cup nut milk
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 pitted dates OR 3 tbsp maple syrup

Blend in a food processor and enjoy.


Chia / Hemp / Flax

Benefits: this trio is full of fiber, protein and rich sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3’s and omega-6’s

How to use: Grain-free Porridge

  • 2 tbsp each of any combination of the following:

chia seeds, hemp hearts, flax seeds, coconut
flakes, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts,
cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts

  • 1 tsp of any of the following spices (choose your favorites!):

cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger,
turmeric

  • Option to add 1 tsp of other superfood powders: cacao powder, maca powder, reishi mushroom
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup favorite nut milk
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite fresh fruit (berries or grapefruit are my favorite) OR 1 tbsp dried fruit

Add all dry ingredients to a blender and pulse until desired consistency. I prefer mine to have the look of almond meal (small chunks). Store this mix in your refrigerator. When ready to enjoy, add 1/2 cup of mix, 1 cup nut milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract to the stove top. Heat until warm. Can use more or less nut milk for your desired consistency, should look like a porridge. Enjoy with fresh or dried fruit (like goji berries). Option to add a dash of maple syrup or honey for simple sweetness.


Goji Berries

Benefits: full of carotenoids like beta carotene, zeaxanthin, lutein and lycopene, vitamin C, iron, protein, and b vitamins, important to note goji berries are part of the nightshade family

How to use: Goji berry + Ginger Tea

  • 2 tsp. of dried goji berries
  • Small thumb size piece of fresh ginger
  • Boiling water

Smash fresh ginger with flat side of your knife. Add ginger and goji berries to a mug. Fill mug with boiling water and enjoy at your desired temp.

*Consider adding goji berries to your Immune Balls or Grain-Free Porridge


Ginger

Benefits: anti-inflammatory, soothing to digestive tract, wonderful herb to warm you up, helpful for nausea and constipation

How to use: Carrot + Ginger Dressing

  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar or ACV
  • 2 large carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 thumb size knob of ginger, peeled
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Salt to taste

Add all ingredients to a blender, blend until smooth. Enjoy on salads or sautéed greens.

*Consider fresh ginger, lemon, honey, warm water for a simple tea to soothe digestion


Maca Powder

Benefits: adaptogenic root vegetable known to increase libido, increase stamina and vitality, balance hormones, and regulate immune system (if you are experience hormonal imbalances, contact your endocrinologist before using maca as therapeutic supplement), if you have thyroid issues, best to use “geletanized” maca root powder

How to use: Golden Maca Milk

  • tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1.5 cups coconut milk (or other nut milk)

Blend ingredients together and warm over stovetop.

*Consider adding 1 tsp maca powder to anything you bake like pancakes, muffins, cookies, cakes OR smoothies, avocado pudding, chia seed pudding or grain-free prridge


Reishi Mushrooms

Benefits: adaptogen called “the great protector”, helps support and balance physical, immunological and mental stress, active ingredients are polysaccharides that modulate the immune system, has been used for over 2000 years!

How to use:

Add 1/2 tsp to morning coffee or hot tea

Add 1/2-1 tsp to your daily smoothie, avocado pudding, chia seed pudding

Add to anything you bake – pancakes, muffins, cookies, cakes


Seaweeds

Benefits: contain high amounts of minerals, like iodine, and polysaccharides like immune supportive beta-glucans, improve digestibility of grains and beans, many varieties including agar agar, kelp, nori, dulse, Irish moss, and bladderwrack

How to use:

Add kelp flakes to eggs, salad dressings, avocado toast, popcorn
Cook grains and beans with small square of kombu to improve their digestibility

Feel like a mermaid and add seaweed to your bath water for gentle detoxification


Turmeric

Benefits: active compounds are potent anti-inflammatory molecules called curcuminoids, turmeric also has antioxidants, and antibacterial/viral/fungal properties, wonderful for aches and pains, digestive discomfort, absorption of curcuminoids is enhanced by fat and black pepper, has been used for over 4000 years!

How to use:

You can slip turmeric (ground or fresh) into just about any recipe … sprinkle on roasted veggies and eggs, stir fry’s, add to salad dressings, add to the skillet when you are making ground meats or vegetable hashes.


Fermented Foods

Benefits: fermented foods contain naturally occurring probiotics, these foods/beverages nourish the microbiome, encourage healthy diversity of bacteria, and feed resident bacteria in the GI tract, balance of healthy bacteria strengthens the immune system

How to use:

Add sauerkraut or kimchi to any dish! Just a dollop will do!

Try kombucha over ice, topped off with seltzer for a refreshing afternoon beverage.


Written by: Kate Costello

References:

All photos are my own or from www.upsplash.com

Goji Berries, A Tonic Herb and Superfruit Variety. Superfood Evolution. https://www.superfoodevolution.com/goji-berries.html

Heiss, Christian MD*; Schroeter, Hagen PhD†; Balzer, Jan MD‡; Kleinbongard, Petra PhD‡; Matern, Simone BS‡; Sies, Helmut MD, PhD§; Kelm, Malte MD‡ (2006). Endothelial Function, Nitric Oxide, and Cocoa Flavanols, Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology: June 2006 – Volume 47 – Issue – p S128-S135

Ma, Z. F., Zhang, H., Teh, S. S., Wang, C. W., Zhang, Y., Hayford, F., Wang, L., Ma, T., Dong, Z., Zhang, Y., & Zhu, Y. (2019). Goji Berries as a Potential Natural Antioxidant Medicine: An Insight into Their Molecular Mechanisms of Action. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 2019, 2437397. https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/2437397

Reishi Mushroom Benefits, A Shen Tonic and Immune Modulator. Superfood Evolution. https://www.superfoodevolution.com/reishi-mushroom.html

Seaweed Nutrition, The Oceans Superfood. Superfood Evolution. https://www.superfoodevolution.com/seaweed.html

Top 4 Benefits of Ginger Root, The Universal Super Spice. Superfood Evolution. https://www.superfoodevolution.com/benefits-of-ginger.html

What is Maca Root and Why is it a Superfood? Superfood Evolution. https://www.superfoodevolution.com/maca-root.html

Homemade Herb Infused Vinegars

Herb infused vinegars are a great substitute for store bought salad dressings and adding the health benefits of herbs into our diet. Vinegar also readily absorbs minerals from our mineral-rich herbs, making them a good food-based choice for getting our vitamins and minerals during the pandemic.


Photo by Katrin Hauf on Unsplash

All you need is a glass jar and vinegar, preferable apple cider vinegar, and some kitchen herbs or herbs from the store or your garden.  Using dried herbs will preserve the vinegar for longer.  Fill your jar ¼ way with herbs, cover with vinegar, and place a piece of parchment paper between the lid before screwing on so your lid doesn’t rust. Shake once a day and allow to sit for at least 1-2 weeks. Strain and use as a salad dressing with avocado or olive oil! You can also take a few tablespoons per day in a small amount of water or add to soda water with lemon for a nice refreshing drink.

Mineral-rich herbs: stinging nettles, red clover, alfalfa, chickweed, oatstraw, dandelion leaf (bitter)

Kitchen herbs, foods, and spices: thyme, basil, oregano, garlic, onion, rosemary, turmeric, sage, caraway, fennel

Herbal Vinegar Recipe

  • 2 cups vinegar (apple cider or distilled)
  • ½ cup dried herbs (use ¼ cup flavorful spices and herbs and ¼ cup mineral rich herbs)

Immune Balls Recipe

Check out our new infographic for my immune balls.  Make your own immune balls using this formula. One daily provides a good dose of medicinal mushrooms approx ⅓  tsp of medicinal mushroom powder.

Download my other immune recipes below!

Wildcrafting Chickweed & Nettles

Wildcrafting weeds is a creative way to procure fresh greens. We have some stinging nettles in our backyard. Pictured here, I am adding some to cooked red lentil dahl in lieu of spinach. It grows as a weed very commonly. You can steam, puree or sautee fresh stinging nettles. Cooking and pureeing eliminates the sting! I am used to handling with bare hands, but best to use gloves so you avoid getting stung. Nettles are the most nutrient-dense leafy green you can eat!! Here is a video how to identify stinging nettles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ASTvp1pgLg

We also harvested some chickweed (Stellaria media) on a neighborhood walk and made a salad with it. Here is a video on how to identify chickweed in your neighborhood or yard. It is nice in quiche, frittata, fresh or sauteed with other greens.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHjgodRFpyg

Breakfast Bowls 4 Different Ways

Vegan Mex-style Bowl

Ingredients – Sweet potato rounds or toasts, scrambled tofu, salsa, sliced avocado and power or super greens

Dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, grain-free, egg-free

You can purchase sweet potato toasts or make your own by slicing rounds or ovals, lay on parchment covered cookie tray, drizzle with olive oil and salt and bake at 400 degrees for 20 min on each side.  Learn how to make scrambled tofu here with nutritional yeast and turmeric.  Assemble the bowl with the toasts, tofu, avocado, salsa, wilted or raw greens.

Fish Lover’s Yucca Waffle Bowl

Ingredients – Everything Swapple, smoked salmon, tomato, power greens, red onion, cucumber, and Kite Hill vegan cream cheese.

Dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, grain-free, pescetarian

You gotta love Swapples the waffle made with yucca root.  This is the highest carb of the four bowls in this post.  Yucca waffles contain no grain but still do have a good bit of carb. This is a great root vegetable alternative to grains for resistant starch. Some swapples are sweetened some are not so read the ingredient label for sugar.  The one pictured is the everything waffle and has no added sugars.  Heat the waffle as directed and top with smoked salmon, tomato, power greens, red onion, cucumber, and Kite Hill vegan cream cheese

Calling all Cruciferous Bowl

Ingredients – Frozen organic cauliflower rice, super or power greens, Hillary’s vegetarian sausage, fried egg, and sun-dried tomato olive oil.

Dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, phytonutrient rich, low-glycemic

Frozen cauliflower rice is my favorite vegetable for the breakfast bowl.  It is so versatile and available at most grocery stores.  I get it from Costco since I use so much each month.  You can go vegan or paleo. This bowl has Hillary’s vegan sausage which is a nice soy-free clean vegan sausage. I fry the egg while heating the vegan sausage on the stovetop.  Microwave ¾ cup rice in a bowl for 2 minutes and for the last 30 seconds wilt the power greens.  Add all together in a bowl with sundried tomatoes and olive oil.  Voila.

The Omnivore’s Pesto Bowl

Ingredients – Frozen organic cauliflower rice, Trader Joe’s vegan pesto, power or super greens, Applegate farms chicken sausage, fried egg

Keto-friendly, paleo, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, low-glycemic

Another version of the cauliflower rice bowl that is low net carb and keto friendly.  Heat the sausage and egg stovetop. Microwave ¾ cup rice in a bowl for 2 minutes and for the last 30 seconds wilt the power greens.  Add all together in a bowl with pesto.  In this image I used TJ’s vegan pesto with kale and basil, yummy!  Other options include olive tapenade, artichoke pesto, cilantro pesto, etc.

Hungry Planet Visits Catonsville

Rebecca Snow, MS, CNS, LDN

One week this summer, while unpacking groceries, I got the wild idea of photographing the whole kit and caboodle.  I wanted to see what a week full of groceries looked like for us.  Now granted we had some frozen fish and peas we were planning to eat and there were numerous staples in the cupboard as well, i.e. vinegar, olive oil, spices etc.  But still this lot of food probably provided us with 80% of our nourishment for that week.

My inspiration…If you have never seen or read the book the Hungry Planet, it is worth a view.  Peter Menzel traveled the world documenting what people eat.  A great piece of work and eye opening to say the least.  

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Some products worth highlighting…

  • Bada Bean Bada Boom are the best tasting roasted bean snack on the market IMO.  Nice protein and fiber content
  • Siete makes fabulous corn free tortilla chips
  • Nutpods are one of the best dairyfree creamers available without sugar added, very creamy!
  • Califia’s barista oat milk is much lower sugar than some earlier varieties on the market.
  • Power greens are my favorite easy vegetable. Throw a handful in any dish you are reheating.
  • Cauliflower gnocchi from Trader Joe’s.  Let me say… WOW. 
  • Sardines. Don’t be scared!  These make an easy meal/snack. They are high protein, low mercury and good source of Omega 3’s 
  • Frozen organic berries are so much more affordable than fresh. Great for smoothies and cooked breakfast cereals.
  • Bob’s red mill all purpose baking flour – the primary flours are beans which make this GF flour more nutrient dense than the average rice based GF flour.
  • Sea snax or Trader Joe’s version – great iodine source, crunchy snack that is low calorie
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Soup Season Is That You!?

Kate Costello, MS, CNS, LDN

Have you noticed the cool, crisp morning air? The light starting to fade earlier and earlier each night? There are even some extra leaves on the ground! In case you haven’t noticed Mother Nature’s shifts, you have certainly seen our big box influencers (Starbucks, Target) starting their fall campaigns … pumpkin and Halloween e v e r y t h i n g!

The subtle changes of this time of year, remind me a new norm is taking root. The season of harvesting, gratitude, preparation, brilliant colors, and extra layers is here. Some of our favorite fall foods like root vegetables, squashes, and dark-leafy greens have entered our farmers markets. If anyone had a summer like mine (long-weekend travels, dinners with friends, and even a surprise engagement!) this more easeful seasonal reminder to slow down, gather, and warm up is welcomed with open arms.

Time to dust off your stock pots, crock pots, or InstaPots!

Below are our 3 favorite soups and broths to warm us up on these coming brisk days:

Rebecca Katz Magic Mineral Broth – https://www.rebeccakatz.com/magic-mineral-broth

InstaPot Bone Broth – https://therealfoodrds.com/how-to-make-instant-pot-bone-broth/

Kobocha squash soup – https://iheartumami.com/turmeric-ginger-kabocha-squash-soup/

So long sweet summer, until next year <3

“Are you Salvage Worthy?”

A client recently told me the story of going to see a practitioner who said to her, “I don’t know if I can help you yet.  First I have to see if you are salvage worthy.” 

I was floored.  Shocked.  I thought I had heard it all. 
A patient goes to see a practitioner for healing and comes home with more trauma. 

Navigating today’s medical world can be so challenging at times.  Particularly when you are ill but your symptoms don’t fit into a box. There is no easy label or easy solution for your cluster of symptoms. 
Sometimes there is bias or judgement around body weight, age, sex.
I see this story from two lenses.  

One, as practitioner.  We must remember that our words carry power to heal or to hurt.  The decision about whether or not a patient can heal or not is not ours to make.

Two, As a patient myself.  It is important to remember to advocate for ourselves.  To not give away our power to make decisions for ourselves.  We each are the experts about our own internal experience and history.  

We can choose who we see for medical care.  When talking to a medical provider, it is important to voice concerns, to pay attention to our inner dialogue and to have courage to say what we need to say.  
When it comes to healing, there is always something we can do. 

One thing I have learned in my life and my practice, no matter how small the act, if it moves us toward positive change then it matters.
A small action can have a large reaction.  We can support the MIND with hobbies, sleep, intellectual stimulation and positive social interactions.  We can support the SPIRIT with prayer, meditation and time in nature.  We can support the BODY with water, healthy food, movement and sleep. 

We are all salvage worthy.  We matter.  We are all worth time and effort from ourselves and from our health care professionals.  Small or large, any change towards health is a good place to start.  

Salads Made Easy

I love eating salads in summer.  So many fresh ingredients!!  Here is a picture of our “salad bar” at home.  On Sunday I prepare all the ingredients, hard boil the eggs, chop the veggies, etc..  Then at night when we are making lunches for the next day we pull them all out to make our salad.  

Lettuce – go green! The darker the better

Raw veggie toppers – grated beet, carrot, sliced radish, bell peppers, scallions, cucumbers, avocado, celery

Something sweet – berries, dried fruit, avocado, brown rice, quinoa, chopped tomato, roasted beets, sweet potato

Fun crunchy or salty toppers – roasted garbanzo beans, coconut chips, croutons, nuts/seeds, olives, cocoa nibs

Protein – baked tofu, beans, hard boiled egg, light canned tuna/sardine/salmon, grilled chicken

Favorite store bought dressings – Braggs vinaigrette, Primal Kitchen all flavors

Make your own vegan ranch dressing.

5 Free Wellness Behaviors

I realized the other day that so many of the things that keep me healthy are free.  There are things that I love that are not free (acupuncture, massage) but there are so many free tools too.  Self-care does not need to cost a lot of money.  

  1. Walk.  In the last few months, I have been aiming to hit 10,000 steps every day.  Before I set this goal, even though I worked out 3-5 times a week I could easily be at 3,000 steps on a work day without exercise.   I realized that even with physical activity I was sedentary 2 days a week.  This goal has really motivated me to get moving.  My husband and I now go for walks at night instead of TV or time on computer.  Whenever I go somewhere I ask myself if I can walk not drive.
  2. Meditate.  I love the Insight Timer app with free meditations.  I noticed benefits the first day I started doing 5-10 minute guided meditations.  It is such a small time investment.
  3. Sleep and more sleep. This is a daily goal of mine.  I don’t always achieve it with work-life balance. Life is full!  However I feel so much better when I get 8 hours. My outloook is better, I crave less carby stuff, and I just feel better overall.
  4. Cook.  You all know I love to cook.  Well actually, I love to eat.  So cooking ensures I get to eat healthy, yummy food every day.  It costs less than eating out and I get more steps towards my daily goal.
  5. Make time for people.  For me this could be a hug, a listening ear, making lunch dates, calling a friend, date night with my husband, etc.  This meta-analysis of 148 studies clearly established that one’s social relationships (social networks and support one gleans from their social network) are an independent risk factor for all cause mortality. In this review, social stress was more impactful than smoking, inactivity and alcohol on health!