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Forget the Pyramid, Follow the Rainbow!

Updated: May 16

By now, most of us know the best way to eat is not to follow the Standard American Diet, better known as the SAD diet. A diet of highly processed foods (like snack items) and artificial ingredients that are particularly high in carbohydrates. A diet that better serves your body and all its functions would be higher in unprocessed/fresh veggies, containing a variety of colors (remember to eat the rainbow!), and as local as possible to ensure freshness and increased nutrient content. What's better than enjoying fresh food from your backyard, like the ones at the Market at Woodside Farms?

 

In fact, many of the food items you can find in the Market at Woodside and the produce growing in our fields could be considered superfoods

 

What exactly is a “superfood?" 

The term "superfood" is often used to describe exceptionally nutrient-dense naturally occurring foods that have a particularly high concentration of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds. It seems that the term “superfoods” came about around the same time everyday food items began to dwindle in nutritional content. Now, it’s more common for our food to lack nutritional benefits. Thus, this term that has been used to distinguish between natural health-giving foods and filler “junk” foods has picked up popularity. Simply put, these superfoods are typically known for their potential to promote overall health and well-being and reduce the risk of certain diseases.

 

Superfoods often contain higher levels of nutrients such as vitamins (like vitamin C, vitamin A, and various B vitamins), minerals (such as iron, calcium, and magnesium), antioxidants (like polyphenols and flavonoids), and phytochemicals (plant compounds with potential health benefits). They may also be rich in fiber, healthy fats, and/or protein.

 

Some common examples of foods often labeled as superfoods can be found here at Woodside Farms. They include berries (such as blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries), leafy greens (like kale and spinach), and certain spices and herbs (such as garlic).

 

Kale: This leafy green star of any farm stand is packed with a multitude of vitamins including A, C, and K, as well as calcium, fiber, and antioxidants. It's well known for its anti-inflammatory properties and potential to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and risk of developing Type II Diabetes. It’s also extremely versatile. You can toss it into salads of course, but it’s also delicious on top of a crunchy pizza, or baked into kale chips!

 

Spinach: There’s a reason Popeye ate his spinach to get big and strong. Spinach is rich in iron, vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate and antioxidants. It's extremely beneficial for eye and bone health. 

 

Berries: Berries are chockfull of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, which have been linked to numerous health benefits, including improved brain function and reduced risk of chronic diseases.

 

Sweet potatoes: Rich in color and rich in vitamins, sweet potatoes are filled with vitamins A and C, fiber, and antioxidants. Sweet potatoes are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties, their ability to support gut health, and their potential to protect against cancers. 

 

Broccoli: Broccoli is extremely well known for providing cancer-fighting antioxidants that work to lower oxidative stress, protect mitochondrial function, and fight off toxins. Broccoli is also extremely high in vitamins K, A, and C, dietary fiber, and plant-based protein. 

 

Superfood-Focused Recipes: 



 

  1. Superfood Lentil Salad from Real Simple Magazine 

Ingredients

  • 2 large zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks (3 cups)

  • ⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

  • ⅓ cup golden raisins

  • ¼ teaspoons crushed red pepper

  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, divided

  • 1 cup dried French green lentils, rinsed

  • 1 clove garlic, smashed

  • 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced, white and green parts separated

  • ½ cup unsalted roasted sunflower seeds, plus more for serving

  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • Microgreens or sprouts, for serving

 

Instructions:

  • Preheat the broiler with the rack in the upper third. Stir zucchini, 2 tablespoons oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper on a rimmed baking sheet; spread into an even layer. Broil until charred in spots and softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add raisins, crushed red pepper, and 2 tablespoons vinegar; stir to combine. Set aside.

  • Bring 2 cups water, lentils, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until lentils are just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well; discard garlic. Let cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl with zucchini.

  • Place white and light green scallion slices, sunflower seeds, mustard, and remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper in a food processor. Pulse until a coarse paste forms. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the remaining ⅓ cup oil. Pulse until incorporated, 2 to 3 pulses.

  • Stir vinaigrette into lentil mixture with sliced dark green scallion tops. Top with microgreens and sunflower seeds.

 

Fermenting fresh whole foods (some of what we would now consider “superfoods”) has been around for centuries. Our ancient ancestors used fermentation to prolong certain foods' freshness well beyond their typical seasons. As a bonus, fermentation also helps boost the health benefits of many of these food items. This process can support overall health by:

 

  • improving digestion and cognitive function

  • boosting immunity

  • helping treat irritable bowel disease

  • providing minerals that build bone density

  • helping fight allergies

  • killing harmful yeast and microbes

 

Making fermented superfoods even more super!

 

Fermented Superfood Recipe: 



 

2.               Kimchi Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head Napa cabbage or purple cabbage

  • ¼ cup Himalayan or Celtic sea salt

  • ½ cup water

  • 6 finely chopped garlic cloves

  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons seafood flavor like fish sauce (or use more water to make this a vegan kimchi)

  • 1 to 5 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like it)

  • 8 ounces Korean radish or daikon radish, peeled and cut finely

  • 4 scallions, trimmed and cut finely

Instructions:

  • Slice the cabbage lengthwise into quarters and remove the cores. Then slice into fine strips.

  • Add your salt to the cabbage in a large bowl. Use your hands to massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to become soft and give off water. This might take several minutes.

  • Let the cabbage stand for 1 to 2 hours, then rinse it under water for several minutes. Combine the garlic, ginger, coconut sugar, and fish sauce (or water) in a small bowl. Mix to form a smooth paste, then add it to the bowl with cabbage.

  • Add the chopped radish, scallions, and seasoning paste. Then massage all the ingredients together using your hands until they are coated. Pack the mixture into a large glass jar and press down on it until the brine rises to cover the vegetables.

  • Make sure to leave at least 1–2 inches of space and air at the top of the jar (important for fermentation). Tightly close the lid and keep the jar standing at room temperature for 1 to 5 days.

  • Check your homemade kimchi once a day, pressing down on the vegetables if need be to keep them submerged under the liquid brine. Taste it after several days to see how if it has become sour enough to your liking. If not, let it continue for several more days before storing in the refrigerator sealed for up to 3 months.

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