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Managing the Munchies with Superfoods

Power-packed, nutrient-rich mighty-foods, with extraordinary health benefits, are emerging from around the world to satisfy your midnight cravings.

Many people consider it to be one of the cruelest twists of fate that marijuana would become legalized in Colorado and Washington during the same month that America’s quintessential snack cake--Hostess Twinkies--was discontinued.

On November 16, Hostess Brands Inc.--baker of Twinkies, as well Ding Dongs and Ho Ho’s--filed a motion in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, seeking permission to close its business and sell its assets. 

Supplies of the tasty golden sponge cakes are vanishing quick, and some people are starting to panic. One seller on eBay is auctioning off a box of Twinkies at a starting price of $200,000, and someone else is selling a single Twinkie for $5,000.

However, Hostess snack cakes may be some of the most unhealthy products to ever be marketed as “food,” and health-conscious potheads may wish to look elsewhere to satisfy their late-night urges. Twinkies are loaded with refined sugar, unhealthy fats, chemical stabilizers, preservatives, and other dangerous or indigestible ingredients. 

Of the 39 ingredients listed on the back of a Twinkie package, only 13 of them are recognizable food substances, and the cream-filled snack cakes were even considered to be a viable defense at the murder trial of  San Francisco mayor George Moscone and County Supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978.

So, without Twinkies and Ding Dongs, what is one to do when the munchies strike? Raw foods expert David Wolfe has some good suggestions, what he calls “superfoods.”

According to Wolfe, “Superfoods are vibrant, nutritionally-dense foods, that have recently become widely available, and which offer tremendous dietary and healing potential.”

Wolfe suggests munching on delicious and nutritious raw plant products, such as goji berries, hemp seeds, cacao beans, spirulina, bee products, and coconut. These “superfoods” are powerful sources of clean protein, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, essential fatty and amino acids, as well as other important nutrients.

Chinese legends associate goji berries with increased longevity. While no scientific studies have confirmed this yet, the tasty berries--often sold dried--are extremely rich in nutrients. 

Goji berries generally contain 500 times more vitamin C than oranges, more beta-carotene and other carotenoids than carrots, as well as essential vitamins, a multitude of minerals, 18 amino acids, beta-sitosterol, and polysaccharides that may help to boost the immune system. 

Cacao beans are seeds from the Theobroma cacao plant, where cocoa butter is extracted, which is the basis for making chocolate. While many people think of chocolate as candy, cacao beans in their natural, unprocessed, unadulterated state are extremely rich in nutrients and can be quite beneficial to one’s health. 

Cacao beans contain more antioxidant flavonoids than any other known food, including red wine, blueberries, and green tea--which help fight free radicals that damage or kill cells--as well as many essential minerals and healthy fats. Cacao contains “oleic acid,” a heart-healthy, monounsaturated fat (also found in olive oil) that may raise “good” cholesterol (HDL; high-density lipoprotein) levels in the body. 

Additionally, cacao beans may help to increase the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain--such as serotonin, phenylethylamines, anandamide, and endorphins--possibly promoting a happier, and more positive outlook. Many people like blending cacao beans in with fruit smoothies, or eating them on their own with drops of honey.

Hemp seeds are the only known plant product in all of nature that contain precisely the correct ratios of essential fatty acids (EFA) required by the human body. They also contain all of the essential amino acids that are necessary to maintain optimal health. 

Hemp seeds contain an omega-6 fatty acid/ omega-3 fatty acid ratio of 3:1, which, unlike any other known natural source, is ideal for the human body. EFAs are necessary for cell growth, healthy circulation, and they help to boost the immune system. 

Two tablespoons of hemp seeds contain five grams of protein, two grams of fiber, and six grams of fat (EFA). They can be eaten raw, sprouted,  ground into a meal, made into ‘hemp milk’, or used in baking.

Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that is rich in protein, carotenoids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and gamma linolenic acid (an EFA). Studies with spirulina suggest that it may help to boost the immune system, protect against allergic reactions, have antiviral effects, and anticancer properties. It’s often sold as a powdered nutritional supplement, and a scoop of it makes a great addition to fruit smoothies.

To learn more about “superfoods,”--and to discover a wealth of delicious recipes--see David Wolfe’s wonderful book Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future. (http://www.davidwolfe.com/my-new-superfoods-book/)

However, if nothing will satisfy your cravings like a beloved Twinkie, then rest assured that a new incarnation of the sugary, cream-filled sponge cakes will almost surely emerge once another snack-making company purchases the legendary Hostess icon.

If you enjoy my column, and want to learn more about psychedelic and cannabis culture, “like” my Facebook page:

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Maria Grusauskas November 21, 2012 at 10:19 AM
I like this one. Heres more about the "Twinkie Defense"--> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twinkie_defense "Contrary to common belief, White's attorneys did not argue that the Twinkies were the cause of White's actions, but that their consumption was symptomatic of his underlying depression."
David Jay Brown November 22, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Thanks, Maria!

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