People living here in LA grab onto food fads (not just fashion fads) at lightning speed. Seriously folks, it seems that every week there's a new healthy "must try" spot or product popping up in my little Santa Monica world.
In Texas, my peeps didn't talk about cleanses, juicing, gluten-free or vegan diets or the Vitamix blender. I honestly had to do some homework and learn what all this talk was about upon moving here. And just when I thought I had a grasp on it - the new rage of "bowls" and "superfoods" popped up. Time to do homework again...
Below is the scoop on bee pollen, hemp seeds and chia seeds: the superfoods (as they are called) which are appearing on menus at health food cafes, smoothie joints and juice bars. These vegetarian superfoods are being offered as healthy “extras” to add a nutritional boost to whatever your little heart desires. They are especially popular with people on a plant based diet and when you read the info below, you’ll see why.
Pollen is the seed of male flowers and it's collected by young bees as their main food supply. By weight, bee pollen is richer in proteins and amino acids than any animal source out there which is probably why we’ve been hearing a lot of hype about it. Here’s the deal: it contains 22 amino acids which is more than that in beef, eggs or cheese of equal weight. Amazing!
It’s also loaded with all kinds of vitamins including b-complex and folic acid. The other cool thing I learned about bee pollen is that it’s been used as an effective treatment for seasonal allergies and supposedly helps boost energy and vitality. An easy way to add it into your diet is to sprinkle it on a bowl of yogurt, oatmeal or fruit or you can even add it to your morning smoothies.
I never dreamed that hemp seeds would be considered a superfood but guess what...they are. They are offered as an addition to any juice or item on the menu at one of my favorite spots on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica called Beaming. And mind you, I'm not a full-on health nut but I love their smoothies and bowls. Hemp seeds are an amazing source of protein, fiber and healthy fats in the form of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc. Like bee pollen, they make a healthy and beautiful addition to any smoothie bowl or yogurt parfait. You should try it the next time you make a smoothie.
And last but not least, we have chia seeds. You're probably asking yourself what's the big deal with this superfood? Well, these little seeds happen to be the second highest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids right behind flax seeds. The difference is that they don’t need to be ground up like flax to be good for you. They're incredibly high in fiber and loaded with many cool antioxidants, too. Chia seeds are flavorless so they can easily be added to any dish. A fun way to enjoy them is by using them to create a sweet treat like chia seed pudding because they turn any liquid into gelatin.
The next time you're at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's or your neighborhood smoothie joint, check to see if they have these superfoods and add one of them to your next bowl of yogurt or your smoothie and think of it as your healthy "plus one". And you know what I say: bring it on.
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