Every other weekend, I review a cookbook in an attempt to lend some guidance in a field that has become overrun. These days everyone is writing cookbooks and it’s incredibly upsetting to buy a dud and have it sit on your shelf for years – staring at you, mocking your poor judgment.
Do you want to have The Best Day Ever? Who doesn’t right? If I could, I would love to have the best day ever – every day! David Wolfe in his new book, “Superfoods,” claims that just by eating a few of what he calls Superfoods we can all get healthier and happier. Repeatedly, he says that these foods will help you have The Best Day Ever.
Let me start by airing my biases. I really dislike fad diets (this book isn’t that). I really really dislike expensive fad food (this book is kind of that). I TRIPLE-really dislike people that eat algae and pretend that it tastes good (this book is really that).
With those things in mind, I was 99% certain that I was not only going to hate this book, but almost certainly think the author was a complete Wanker.
Let’s dive in though and find out if my biases have any merit.
David “Avocado” Wolfe.
Avocado is apparently his nickname. Ok. So it turns out that I might be wrong about the author being a Wanker. I mean that, literally, I might be wrong. I might be right also. It’s hard to tell. Let’s break it down.
Non-wanker traits: The author is incredibly smart. He has various degrees in many different fields from many different very prestigious universities. This is important because the book is filled with a good amount of scientific info and I wouldn’t trust it at all if the author isn’t who he is. The author also is all about getting people to eat healthier which I definitely support.
Wanker traits: Have you ever met an annoyingly happy person? I don’t mean just your normal happy person. I think I’m pretty happy. I must say though that “Avocado” seems like he might be too happy for me. Case in point.
Also, I get the impression that he might be the kind of person who would tell me that the beer I’m drinking is slowly poisoning my body with tons of oxides and beernoids. That may be true. But let a guy have a beer.
OK. But regardless of whether or not I would be BFF with the author, let’s dive into the book and see what all this superfood business is about.
What is a Superfood?
According to Avocado:
A superfood “has a dozen or more unique properties, not just one or two. For example, the goji berry is a source of complete protein, immune-stimulating polysaccharides, liver-cleansing betaine, anti-aging sesquiterpenes, antioxidants, over twenty trace minerals, and much, much more.
Whoa. Ok. I get the first part of that definition. It seems like superfoods are complex things that happen to be able to perform multiple roles for humans. That sounds pretty awesome. That said, I’m not sure I understand much of what he says about the goji berry. Those things all sound positive though I guess.
The bulk of this book is devoted to ten of these superfoods that David believes can seriously alter your life, mood, and health. Some of these ten are more commonplace (coconut) than others (Marine phytoplankton). I won’t go into specifics on all ten of these bad boys, but you can conveniently find almost all of them at David’s online food supply company: sunfood.com. Some might argue that it makes perfect sense that he would say these foods are super because he is trying to sell them.
I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he is selling them because he believes in them. He also only mentions a few times in the book that he supplies some of the foods on the list. Mostly he leaves the buying decision up to you. I get the impression he is sincere in his preachings.
The Goji Berry.
One of the more interesting superfoods, for me, was the Goji Berry. I found it interesting because A) I’ve heard of it before, B) There is a ton of interesting myths (or truths!) about its powers, and C) that it’s actually tasty!
David does an incredible job of describing the different varieties of all of the superfoods, and the Goji Berry is no exception. He lists all the common forms and different ways you can find it and eat it. It was actually pretty educational.
As far as the stories go, I found them very entertaining whether or not they are true. I really liked the story of Li Qing Yuen who was said to have lived for 252 years! She ate Goji Berries daily and popularized their claims to longevity. True or not, it’s a cool story.
As for the reasons why these berries are classified as a superfood, David gives a bunch. They are all very scientific and honestly, I don’t know enough to say whether or not they are justifiable. Here is a quick excerpt as to why the Goji Berry is, for example, a great immune booster:
“There appear to be three major components of the goji berry that improve the immune system: the goji berry polysaccharides (lycium barbarum polysaccharides, or LBPs), beta-carotene, and the mineral germanium…”
There is a lot bundled into that statement. Do those items actually boost the immune system? And do goji berries actually contain significant amounts of all those things? David will tell you that yes and I have no reason to not believe him!
There are recipes in this book that contain all of these foods. Quite a few recipes actually. This is great because I would have no idea where to start with most of these ingredients. I’m pretty sure that David practices a raw diet which means he doesn’t cook anything. Also, none of the recipes have meat or any dairy in them. So you are looking at uncooked, Vegan recipes here.
That said, some of them don’t seem that bad! There are a ton of good sounding smoothies and granolas. But there are also some recipes that don’t sound quite so great. Like Warm Blue-Green Algae Elixir.
I’ve poked some fun at David in this post, but in reality, I support what he is trying to do. It would be SO much better for everyone to be on his end of the spectrum than the opposite. I just happen to believe that there is a happy medium.
Here are some serious things that I think are true about this book:
1) Even if 5% of the things that David claims about these foods are true, it’s worth trying to incorporate some of them into your diet.
2) David seems like an alright guy. Hopefully if he reads this (yea right) he has a good sense of humor.
3) You don’t have to go all out! Honestly, I’m going to give some of the stuff in the book a shot and I’ll report on it. If you are looking for some healthy, different things to incorporate into your diet this wouldn’t be a bad place to start.
SO is this book right for you? I can’t really answer that. You have to have a pretty open mind to get past some of his claims, but I have no evidence that anything he says is false. At the end of the day, David convinced me to give some of these things a shot and I’ll let all of you know how it goes.