This was originally posted to canadianfoodiegirl.com on January 8, 2015.
In the Renegade Health newsletter that landed my inbox on Sunday, Kevin Gianni had a really good answer to the question, “Is Maca Really a Superfood?”. This was in response to a question asked by a woman who had insomnia at night after taking small amounts of maca in the morning.
The response built into a broader answer about “superfoods”, whether they’re really necessary and whether they’re “super” for everyone. To highlight a few statements from the response:
If you can’t sleep, the food isn’t for you.
Simply put, if you are taking a food for whatever your illness, disease or longevity and it’s keeping you up, the long term damage of lost sleep is more than likely going to outweigh any supposed (or real) benefits of the food.
So if maca or any other food like cacao, sugar, honey, herbal teas, coffee, alcohol or anything else is keeping you up, cut it out of your diet.
Sounds obvious, but I think that people tend to get so caught up in the marketing and hype, and the expectation of what’s “good for us” that we don’t stop to think about whether it’s really good for us, the individual, not collective “us”. Each body is unique.
Plenty of cultures have lived healthy lives without many of these superfoods before we were able to ship them all over the globe.
Just because someone says maca is great, doesn’t mean it’s great for you.
He compares superfoods to recreational drugs:
It’s almost like these foods – at times – are being used to stimulate the body just enough to simulate a drug type high.
I’ve seen people drink cup after cup of superfood elixirs at parties and events and frankly, they look like they’re smoked a big old joint or ripped a few lines of blow.
Gianni warns that when taking superfoods therapeutically, you should separate the “healing culture” from the “superfood culture”. I interpret this as “healing vs. hype” or “healing” vs. “perceived health promotion”.
Bottom line: Listen to your body, don’t waste your money on “superfoods” just because experts provide a general statement that they’re good for you. Don’t jump on bandwagons or join cults that promise eternal life.
[bctt tweet=”No one person or food can promise that you’ll live a long, disease-free life ” via=”no”]
I am SO guilty of superfood hoarding. The current assortment of superfoods in my pantry includes goji berries, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, brazil nuts (high in selenium), quinoa, slippery elm bark powder (see WebMD, Julie Daniluk), dried golden berries, raw cacao nibs, raw cacao powder, vanilla bean powder and Organic Traditions Macaccino- a blend of organic cacao powder, organic black maca, organic coconut palm sugar and organic vanilla powder. Then there are the other nuts and seeds and assorted samples of greens powders and protein powders (I’m currently out of both with the intention of buying more). – And this list is compiled from memory so it might be incomplete.