Quinoa may deliver a complete protein—all of the amino acids you require—in a compact package, but rice and beans together actually do better. And like goji berries, blueberries and strawberries are packed with phytochemicals. The only problem is that lacking an exotic back story, food marketers can’t wring as exorbitant a markup from these staples: The domestic blueberry, for example, is periodically (and justifiably) marketed as a superfood, and in 2012, products featuring blueberries as a primary ingredient saw their sales nearly quadruple. But they only raked in $3.5 million—less than 2 percent of açaí-based product sales.
Tom Philpott, "Are Quinoa, Chia Seeds, and other ‘Superfoods’ a Scam?" (from Mother Jones)
Also worth highlighting is this section:
“Worse than superfoods’ origin myths, though, are their effects on the people in their native regions. In 2009, at the height of the açaí berry hype, Bloomberg News reported that the fruit’s wholesale price had jumped 60-fold since the early 2000s, pricing the Amazonian villagers who rely on it out of the market. In the Andes, where quinoa has been cultivated since the time of the Incas, price spikes have turned a one-time staple into a luxury, and quinoa monocrops are crowding out the more sustainable traditional methods.” (emphasis mine)
So not only are the markets for “superfoods” putting the foods out of reach of the people who relied on them as a dietary staple, but there are foods easily accessible to us that deliver all the nutrition at a fraction of the cost, both to our grocery bill and to the social/environmental toll.
I watched a really great tv show on this as well. I cannot remember what it was called but it basically said most of the research surrounding “superfoods” was dodgy.
This Just In
I did a thing and about a month and a half ago started going vegetarian paleo during the week (mon-fri) and only eating meat on the weekends. After about a month and a half, *without changing my exercise in any way* I have lost 11 pounds and feel pretty dang good. :D Here’s hoping it keeps going and doesn’t stall out. XP
This is amazing. XDD
In a couple weeks we are heading to Vermont for a family get-together, and I can’t wait to go blueberry picking! Usually it’s so hot that I can’t manage to bake a pie, so instead I love throwing the fresh berries in salads. Click on over to my Better Homes and Gardens post for the full recipe and more photos. Cheers to outdoor summer meals!