A supercharged nutritional lifestyle has three main aspects of radiant health empowerment, and each step builds on the next:
Step 1: Diet
The foundation for what we eat on a daily, meal-by-meal basis. Ideally, whole plant foods will comprise 90 percent or more of calories consumed every day. (Optimal: mostly plant based, “nutrient dense”, vibrant, colorful, fermented vegetables, utilizing various herbs and spices, etc.)
Step 2: Insurance Policy
Once diet is established, the next step is to fill in the nutritional gaps that are missing from our diets due to various uncontrollable factors (e.g. demineralization of the soil, factory farming, poor climate conditions, sub-optimal growing conditions, etc.). Even a varied and completely plant-based diet in today’s commercial farming and mass producing world will be deficient in some, if not many, critical nutrients needed for health. Many people take a multi-vitamin and/or multiple supplements every day as a way to fill in the gaps, but as research shows it is significantly better to get our nutrients from whole food sources as much as possible (1). Superfoods are specific foods that have higher levels of various essential nutrients compared to any other foods.
Some examples of superfoods include (2):
- Raw cacao: one of the highest sources of antioxidants (although cooked/processed chocolate is devoid of most of its nutrients), highest source of many various minerals: zinc, iron, magnesium (only food known to reverse magnesium deficiency).
- Hemp seeds: high in essential fatty acids omega-6 and omega-3, high protein source great for children, athletes, and to help with aging (33 percent digestible protein), high in other various minerals and vitamins.
- Chia seeds: one of the highest and safest sources of ALA long chain omega-3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatory- critical for brain, nerve, and eye development), high in protein, high in fiber.
- Brazil nuts: 1 brazil nut per day gives 100 percent of daily selenium: a mineral critical for metabolism and cellular functioning.
- Maca: amazing adaptogenic food that has been a staple in Peruvian Andes diets for thousands of years. High source of quality protein (seven essential amino acids), high in fiber, increases libido, balances stress hormones, and increases strength and endurance.
- Goji berries: revered in Chinese medicine for over five thousand years as one of the greatest strength giving foods. Contains eighteen amino acids (eight essential), high in antioxidants, contains high levels of up to twenty-one other essential trace minerals.
- Sea Vegetables: dulse, kelp, nori, bladderwrack, chlorella, etc. Provide numerous trace minerals and are the highest healthy source of iodine. Help balance the body’s elimination of toxic heavy metals, production of healthy hormones, nourishes the thyroid, and regulates immunity.
- Medicinal mushrooms: reishi, chaga, cordyceps, lion’s mane, turkey tail, etc. High in polysaccharides that help build a healthy immune system. Perhaps the most powerful immunomodulator (optimally balancing the immune system) foods on the planet.
- Algae-based DHA/EPA Oil: long chain omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and critical for brain, eye, nerve development. They are not typically found in our regular diet and must be supplemented. Animal-based marine sources (e.g. salmon, fish oil, krill, cod liver, etc.) are higher up on the food chain and are therefore often contaminated with heavy metals and pollutants, which is why choosing a vegan algae-based omega-3 supplement is best.
Step 3: Tonic Herbalism
Tonic herbalism is the last step and is centered around the top herbs available to us from around the world. Various healing traditions from around the world (e.g. Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, Amazonian shamanistic medicine, etc.) have intuitively utilized specific herbs for their amazing capacity to heal and build radiant health.
As Ron Teeguarden outlines in his book, The Ancient Wisdom of Chinese Tonic Herbs, the greatness of Chinese tonic herbalism lies in its “adaptogenic” quality; that is, the ability to enhance the body-mind’s capacity to adapt optimally and accurately to changes in the environment. This adaptability allows us to lead a much richer, broader, more adventurous life. Another aspect of the greatness of tonic herbalism lies in its ability to harmonize the physical energies within the body and to harmonize the physical and psychic energies of a human being so as to increase optimum functioning (p. 14) (3).
The ideal plan is for you to research the various herbs from around the world for whatever attributes you find appealing (e.g. longevity, stress management, healthy hormones, libido, fertility, immune health, etc.) and pick the top one to two tonic herbs in those categories that resonate with you. A tonic herb is one that is gentle on the body but has the capacity to build up powerful positive benefits over time. Therefore, you need to take them on a daily basis in order for them to work. As Ron Teeguarden often says, the number one thing to remember with tonic herbalism is the word compliance. You have to take the herbs regularly in order for them to work for you.
Each of these three aspects of Supercharged Nutrition works synergistically and potentiates the effects of each other when in balance. Nevertheless, trying to achieve steps two or three without attending to step one likely will not achieve as many positive results. Diet is the foundation for what we eat, but in order to not just build good health but radiant health, it is important to devise a strategy for yourself that not only builds a solid foundation but also fills in all of the gaps.
- Campbell, T.C. and T.M. Campbell II, The China Study: Revised and Expanded Edition: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term Health. 2016: BenBella Books, Inc.
- Wolfe, D., Superfoods: the food and medicine of the future. 2010: North Atlantic Books.
- Teeguarden, R., Radiant health: the ancient wisdom of the Chinese tonic herbs. 1998: Grand Central Publishing.