Here are some of my favorite foods - what I choose to eat most of the time.
I delight in the foods that help me feel the best, the ones with the most life force, concentrated energy, vitality and yumminess. Most of these would also be on the top ten aphrodisiacs list. Coincidence?
You might experiment with these on your way to finding out what makes you feel most alive. It could be that we are what we eat. As we all deserve the highest quality, I vote for fresh, raw, organic. It’s worth it to get the best possible.
There is nothing in the world like chocolate. It is luxurious, sensuous, delightful, passionate, inspirational, sexual and exciting to all senses. And it grows on trees! All chocolate comes from cacao beans - the seeds of the cacao fruit, which grows on a jungle tree. Cacao beans taste like dark chocolate, because they are dark chocolate!
Cacao beans are the dried seeds of harvested fruits from the tree, and the precursor to all chocolate produced and sold. Mass produced chocolate is made by roasting, grinding, liquefying and grinding cacao beans – ultimately combining the result with additives, preservatives, refined sugars, powdered milks….a far cry from the original cacao bean! Not surprisingly, much of the benefits of cacao are lost in the heating and processing, and much of the “bad rap” chocolate gets – addictions, cravings – are from the sugars and additives themselves.
The best way to reap all the benefits of cacao – and there are tons – is by enjoying the raw cacao bean in its purest and natural state.
Cacao beans themselves contain high levels of catechin, fiber, carbohydrates, B vitamins and anti-oxidant-like substances while calcium, phosphates, vitamins A, C and D occur in smaller quantities. They are rich in phytochemicals and pigment cells in unfermented cocoa beans contain approximately 65%-70% polyphenols and 3% anthocyanins by weight.
Cacao is the highest dietary source of magnesium – a mineral which 80% of Americans are deficient in. Magnesium decreases blood pressure and supports heart function, increases flexibility and strength, relaxes muscles and strengthens bones. Many heart problems and deficiencies in brain metabolism and brainpower are due to magnesium deficiencies. To nurture your heart and mind, eat cacao.
Raw unprocessed cacao - one of the richest natural sources of antioxidants (10%) - has twice the levels of those in red wine, and three times that in green tea. Cacao antioxidants, but not those in processed chocolate or when combined with dairy products, increase cardiovascular health, improving blood vessel dilation and lowering cholesterol, protecting your heart.
The feel-good effects from eating chocolate are due in part to high levels of phenyl ethylamine (PEA) – which elevate dopamine and nor epinephrine levels - and anandamide, a natural cannibinoid. Thus eating chocolate causes the brain to produce natural opiates, which dull pain and increase a feeling of well being, giving you a natural chocolate euphoric high.
Upon first trying REAL cacao, the flavors are both familiar and unfamiliar – richly dark and intensely complicated. After tasting the essence of chocolate in its purest form, you will discover that it becomes impossible to enjoy processed and mass-produced chocolate-flavored anything with their hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners and preservatives – all of which completely mask the flavor of cacao, destroy its nutrients and are themselves just bad for you.
For the full low down, go to Naked Chocolate
Although Spirulina has nourished people in Africa and America for centuries, scientists have rediscovered its benefits only recently. Offering an amazing array of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, these micro algae is 60% all-vegetable protein, rich in iron and the rare essential fatty acid, GLA, and a higher percentage of vitamin B-12 than liver and all other animal foods. It is an excellent source of beta-carotene and 10 other carotenoids and antioxidants and phytochemicals phycocyanin chlorophyll glycolipids and sulfolipids – thus spirulina is touted as an immune system booster. Scientific studies show remarkable health benefits in all areas of life. Quickly dried at low temperatures to create natural crystal flakes, it is perfect for smoothies, salads, guacamoles, soups and sauces, etc.
Known as “the King of Fruits”, durian absolutely must be sampled to appreciate its exquisite divinity! Durian is notorious for its oddly spiny shape and pungent smell – heavenly, to all of its converts – but those brave enough to battle through are rewarded with a creamy, custard-like pillowy fruit, reminiscent of honey, cream, vanillas, butterscotch…
Durian is native to Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. The durian tree towers as high as 40m in the jungle rainforest or in semi-orchard, and seed trees may take 8-10 years to fruit. Durian fruit is very low in cholesterol and sodium. It is also a good source of dietary fiber, thiamin, vitamin B6 and manganese, and a very good source of vitamin C.
The traveler Linschott writes of durian: "It is of such an excellent taste that it surpasses in flavor all the other fruits of the world" (1599). Doctor Paladanus says: "This fruit is of a hot and humid nature. To those not used to it, it seems at first to smell like rotten onions, but immediately they have tasted it, they prefer it to all other foods. The natives give it honorable titles, exalt it, and make verses about it." (17th century).
Bee pollen is the pollen produced by flowers that honeybees gather and bring back to the hive. Bees collect millions of these individual microscopic grains, combining them with nectar to form small pellets.
Considered by nutritionists to be one of the most complete foods found in nature and a rich source of high-quality protein, bee pollen contains all the essential amino acids including cystine, lysine, histidine, arginine, aspartic acid, threonine, glutamine, proline, glycine, alanine, valine, methionine, isoleucine, leucine, tyrosine, phenylalanine, and tryptophan. Bee pollen contains vitamins A, C, and E, and is extraordinarily rich in most of the B vitamins, including folic acid (folate). Some of the minerals included in bee pollen include: barium, boron, calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc. Bee pollen contains over 5,000 enzymes and the phytonutrients (such as co-enzymes, bioflavonoids, phytosterols, and carotenoids) number in the thousands.
Consumption of bee pollen has many purported benefits including increase of energy and stamina, increase of muscle growth and definition, building of the immune system, antioxidant activity, enhancement of sexuality and smoothing wrinkles. ??
Royal jelly is the mixture of flower nectars, sugars, proteins, vitamins and secretions produced by the worker bees solely to feed and maintain the queen bee.
This nutrient-rich mixture contains vitamins A, B-complex, C, D, and E -- with a high concentration of B-complex: B-1, B-2, B-3, B-4 (pantothenic acid), B-6, B-12, biotin, folic acid, and inositol. It is the richest single source of pantothenic acid, known especially for its ability to reduce stress levels, and is the only natural source of pure acetylcholine. Gelatin, a predecessor of collagen – a powerful anti-aging element for the body and skin, is also found in royal jelly.
Royal jelly contains calcium, chromium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, silicon, sulphur, and zinc, in addition to 18 amino acids -- eight of which are essential.
It is used for a variety of ailments, from skin and hair treatments, to psychological disorders, to heart disease. Studies imply a role for royal jelly in more effective wound healing; enhanced immune function; and significant lowering of blood cholesterol levels.
Raw virgin coconut oil is pressed from mature wild coconuts naturally, unlike mass produced and hydrogenated RBD (“refined, bleached, and deodorized”) coconut oil.
Although coconut oil is known for its high proportion of saturated fats, research has shown that not all saturated fats are alike and coconut oil is unique in its structural make-up. Coconut oil contains healthy saturated fats, and importantly it lacks the hydrogenated and trans-fatty acids known to stimulate high serum cholesterol levels - so virgin coconut oil does NOT increase cholesterol.
Coconut oil is rich in saturated medium chain triglycerides, over half of which are made up of lauric acid, the most important essential fatty acid in building and maintaining the body’s immune system. These medium-chain saturated fatty acids in coconut oil have powerful anti-microbial, anti-fungal and antiprotozoal properties, and apart from coconut oil, the only other source of lauric acid found in such high concentrations is in mother’s milk.
Medium chain fatty acids help increase metabolism and are more easily digested than fats found in other oils because they are processed directly in the liver and immediately converted into energy. Less strain on the liver, pancreas and digestive system means that coconut oil provides our body with a wonderful, quick source of energy.?
The cholesterol-lowering properties of coconut oil are a direct result of its ability to stimulate thyroid function. In the presence of adequate thyroid hormone, cholesterol (specifically LDL-cholesterol) is converted by enzymatic process to the vitally necessary anti-aging hormones, pregnenolone, progesterone and DHEA. These substances are required to help prevent heart disease, senility, obesity, cancer and other diseases associated with aging and chronic degeneration.
Components of coconut oil have been found to have remarkable physiological effects, as antihistamines, antiinfectives/antiseptics, promoters of immunity, glucocorticoid antagonist and nontoxic anticancer agents. Other informal studies have linked diets rich in coconut oil with increased metabolic rates, lean body mass and weight loss. It can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and help prevent osteoporosis. Coconut oil is the best dietary fat source for individuals with candida, hormone imbalances, hypoglycemia, and/or a weakened liver.
For over 2000 years, Noni (morinda citrifolia) has been celebrated for its many beneficial properties. The early Polynesians used Noni as a general tonic, finding it particularly beneficial for imbalances of the immune, respiratory, digestive, and intestinal systems. Noni is also helpful for the central nervous system and an aid for injured muscles, bones, and tissue. Currently, scientists are studying potential for treating hypertension, cancer, high blood pressure, and counteracting the aging process.
The early Polynesians regarded this fruit as a necessity in their daily lives. It is still revered today, not just for its healing properties, but also as a natural energy booster.
Maca is a perennial that grows over 13,000ft above sea level in the high Andean plateaus of Peru. Its tuberous roots resemble those of its relative the radish. To Andean Indians, maca is a highly valuable commodity – an ancient Peruvian Superfood. The sweet, spicy dried root is considered a delicacy.
Maca is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and iron, and contains trace minerals, including zinc, iodine, copper, selenium, bismuth, manganese and silica, as well as B vitamins. It also contains four alkaloids scientifically shown to nourish the endocrine glands, including the reproductive system of men and women. Researchers consider plant sterols, isothiocyanates, and glucosinolates to be maca's active constituents and these sterols have been shown to reduce cholesterol.
Maca's history as a powerful strength and stamina enhancer and libido-fertility herb stretches back well over five hundred years. Maca is a powerful adaptogen, which means it has the ability to balance and stabilize the body's systems. Adaptogens also boost immunity and harmonize the body's overall vitality. Rather than addressing a specific symptom, adaptogens are used to improve the overall adaptability of the whole system. Maca can raise low blood pressure AND lower high blood pressure.
During the height of the Incan Empire, legend has it that Incan warriors would consume maca before entering into battle to increase strength. But after conquering a city the Incan soldiers were prohibited from maca, to protect the conquered women from their powerful sexual impulses. Thus from as far back as five hundred years ago, maca's reputation for enhancing strength, libido and fertility was already well established in Peru. Peruvians claim that in addition to these effects, maca also improves memory, combats anemia, and fights depression.
The root, which tastes like butterscotch when it's roasted like a potato, can also be prepared into jam, broth, puddings, and juices, and contains five times more protein than a potato, four times more fiber, and less fat. It contains linoleic and oleic oils (two types of essential fatty acids) and essential amino acids.
Goji berries, sometimes called Wolfberries or Lycium, are perhaps the most nutritionally rich fruit on the planet. Goji berries contain 18 distinct amino acids and all 8 essential amino acids (such as isoleucine and tryptophan). Goji berries contain up to 21 trace minerals (the main ones being zinc, iron, copper, calcium, germanium, selenium, and phosphorus).
Goji berries are the richest source of carotenoids, including beta-carotene (more than carrots), of all known foods or plants on earth! They contain 500 times the amount of vitamin C by weight than oranges making them second only to camu camu berries as the richest vitamin C source on earth. Goji berries also contain vitamins B1, B2, B6, and vitamin E.
Mature fruits contain beta-sisterol (an anti-inflammatory agent), linoleic acid (a fatty acid), sesquiterpenoids (cyperone, solavetivone), tetraterpenoids (zeaxanthin, physalin), and betaine.
Goji berries contain polysaccharides which fortify the immune system. A polysaccharide found in this fruit has been found to be a powerful secretagogue (a substance that stimulates the secretion of rejuvenative human growth hormone by the pituitary gland).
Goji berries have been traditionally regarded as a longevity, strength-building, and sexual potency food of the highest order. The famed Li Qing Yuen, who apparently lived to the age of 252 years (1678-1930), consumed Goji berries daily. The life of Li Qing Yuen is the most well-documented case of extreme longevity known.
Goji berries grow in protected valleys in million year old soil in wild and cultivated areas. The deep red, dried fruit is about the same size as a raisin, and tastes like a cross between a cranberry and a cherry. A good daily intake of Goji berries is 10-30 grams (a small handful). Goji berries may be used as snacks or mixed with recipes or smoothies like other dried fruits.