Showing posts with label black foods. Show all posts
Showing posts with label black foods. Show all posts

5 magical black superfoods that will enchant you

Stunning on any plate, black foods are an ideal choice during the winter months. Chock full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and anthocyanin, these striking superfoods promote health with an interesting twist.

Think squid pasta, forbidden rice, blackberries, ebony sesame and chia seeds.

Both Ayurvedic (Indian) and Chinese medicine hail the benefits of black foods — and now science has too.

Food Fit for an Emperor

In eastern healing philosophies, black foods have long been used to encourage wellness. Black rice was so valued and rare in days past that emperors even declared it ‘forbidden’ to the common people.

Chinese medicine believes that black foods correspond with the water element and nourish the kidneys — helping the body to stay energetic and warm, and the mind harmonious. Black beans, rice and sesame are the traditional foods eaten during cold winter months.

Black Sesame

Black sesame is said to:

  • Prevent constipation
  • Improve the complexion and inhibit aging
  • Normalize blood pressure
  • Strengthen memory
  • Avert anemia
  • Maintain lustrous hair
  • Fortify the liver

Black sesame is also revered in Ayurveda. This dark seed is remarkable in fortifying the skeletal system since it’s an extraordinary source of calcium and magnesium.

Additionally, black sesame oil is used to soothe mental distress by boosting serotonin levels and calming the nerves.

Black Beans and Rice

Black beans contain cancer fighting antioxidants and anthocyanin along with butyric acid. Remember that anthocyanin destroys cancer cells and blocks the creation of blood vessels that feed tumors. High in fiber, black beans also help reduce colon cancer risk by as much as 75 percent.

Another food with abundant anthocyanin is black rice. An extract of the rice has been shown to effectively reduce breast cancer cells. It’s rich in vitamins B and E, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc as well.

Black is the New Green

Green superfoods have been all the rage for years now, and rightly so. But many are discovering a unique and alluring way to add more variety to the diet with black foods. Popular among gourmet trend setters, black foods stand apart from the crowd by adding contrast to a meal.

Squid ink pasta from Spain, locally grown blackberries and South American chia are just a few stylish foods that offer distinctive health benefits.

Squid Ink Pasta

Not well known in America, black pasta is popular in Italy and Spain. These provocative noodles are not only exquisite with their squid ink pigment, but also help to prevent cancer. Bioactive elements in the ink have been found to halt breast cancer and the growth of new tumors.


As one of the most antioxidant-rich foods, blackberries are a sweet addition to any diet. Overflowing in nutrients like vitamins C and K, folic acid, manganese, polyphenols, minerals and fiber — blackberries are an outstanding superfood. Polyphenols found in the berry make you smarter too. By reducing brain cell inflammation, these compounds enhance communication between the neurons, thereby improving memory and information processing.


Once used by the ancient Aztec’s for stamina in battle, chia seeds are a terrific superfood for modern day warriors. Full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, chia keeps energy levels up, inflammation and disease down. Omega-3 fats also foster a sharp mind.

Next time you are looking for nourishing inspiration, consider black foods. Offering a profusion of nutrient dense options, these gorgeous edibles will add drama to your plate and enliven the senses. Sexy black foods are hip and healthy — a winning combination for the discriminating palate.

Learn more:
Wake Up World

Photo Credit: FotoosVanRobin


Thrive Short-Order | Scapes with Eggs, Bacon and Artisan Salt {Paleo and Gluten-free}

We received a tangle of scapes with our CSA box last week and I decided to throw together a quick lunch utilizing this gorgeous vegetable. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this relative of garlic, you are in for a treat. Keep an eye out at your Farmer’s Market for slender, corkscrew-shaped green stalks that are topped with a white ‘Russian dome.’ Possessing a more complex flavor than standard garlic, you can use the entire stalk and bulb in any culinary creation where you would like a hint of flavor, without it being overpowering. The white bulb caramelizes beautifully, just make sure you don’t over do it since it can burn and turn bitter just as easily.

I also came across several varieties of artisan salt at our local natural market the other day—both black and pink Hawaiian, along with an applewood smoked number. I decided to use a pinch of each to lend a bit of mystery and depth to my humble fried eggs. Why not? Feel free to grind the salt. I chose not to from sheer laziness, and it worked out just fine.

This recipe comes together in a snap—the perfect compliment for busy and fun-filled summer days where the last thing in the world you want to be doing is slaving over a hot stove.

Pumpkin and Black Rice Tamale with Superfood Cilantro Sauce

Just in time for All Hallows' Eve, festive black and orange tamales. Both pumpkin and black rice are known in Chinese medicine as being particularly helpful for the autumn and winter months. Pumpkin is grounding and rich while black rice nourishes the kidney's. Learn more about all the amazing health benefits of pumpkin here.

An Auspicious Spring Roll

As we launch into this most promising year of the Water Dragon, I thought a festive spring roll recipe was in order. Bright and cheerful with plenty of health enhancing perks. Since we are not quite out of the woods yet with winter, the Chinese New Year is a perfect opportunity to bring more brightness into our days.

The spring rolls are filled with plenty of antioxidant rich vegetables, edible flowers, sprouted tofu, and accompanied by a zesty plum dipping sauce. Plums have an interesting history in Chinese lore. Lao-Tse, the famous Chinese philosopher, was believed to have been born under a plum tree. It is generally agreed upon in China that plums symbolize good fortune. Just what we need to bring in the new year.

Black sesame also shimmies onto the stage providing a nice bit of contrast. In ancient China, it was believed that sesame seeds were the symbol of immortality and a food of the gods. It is no wonder as sesame seeds have enormous health benefits. Black sesame seeds are rich in nutrients such as the E and B group vitamins, minerals like zinc, calcium, magnesium, and especially iron. These tiny seeds also provide lignan fiber, protein, and good fats.

The following recipe is a loose adaptation of "It's Spring! Rolls" which includes nutritional information about edible flowers. I usually tend to shy away from using tofu as I think soy is overused, hard to digest, and can lead to allergies. Having said that, Wildwood now has a line of sprouted tofu which is much more bioavailable and easier on the digestive system. If you would like to skip the baking step for the tofu, Wildwood also offers a line of naturally seasoned products.

Wishing all a colorful, prosperous, and magical New Year!

An Auspicious Spring Roll

Yield: Joyful light lunch for two

*As always, organic ingredients are best for flavor, nutrition, and health.

Marinated Tofu
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup sesame oil
3 tablespoons agave nectar
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 package Wildwood brand extra-firm sprouted tofu

Spring Rolls
1 cup shredded carrots
2 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves, stems removed
A handful of edible flowers in a variety of colors
8 large rice paper spring roll wrappers
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

To prepare tofu:
Preheat oven to 350ºF. While oven is warming, whisk vinegar, sesame oil, agave, garlic, soy sauce, and cayenne in a small baking dish. Set aside. Slice tofu into 3 equal thin slabs. Transfer to baking dish and let marinate for a few minutes on each side. Bake with marinade, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven. Once tofu is cool enough to handle, slice into 1/4 x 2-inch pieces. Transfer to prep mat.

To wrap spring rolls:
Divide ingredients into eight equal portions on a large cutting board or mat. Rinse a single rice paper wrapper with warm water and lay flat on work area. Take one portion of flowers and arrange in the center on the wrapper, leaving 2-inches of space on each side. Follow with carrots, tofu, and spinach leaves. Fold both ends of the wrapper towards center until snug. Next, fold top side of the wrapper inward while tightly rolling into a uniform roll, ending with seam on the bottom, flowers on top. Sprinkle lightly with black sesame seeds. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Good Fortune Plum Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup dried plums, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon raw manuka honey
1/4 cup warm water
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
pinch of Celtic or Himalayan sea salt
1 teaspoon chipolte red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

Drain soaked plums and remove pits. In a blender or small food processor, pulse plums, vinegar, honey, water, garlic and salt until smooth. If mixture is too thick, add an additional tablespoon or two of warm water. Transfer to a small bowl and mix in red pepper flakes and sesame oil. Divide mixture between two dipping sauce bowls and serve with four spring rolls each. Enjoy throughly with a delightful friend.

"To win a man's heart, she must first learn how to cook a good pot of soup."
-Cantonese Proverb

A Healthful Season of Harmony and Light

The winter solstice is almost upon us. I love this time of year. In the past, I was lucky enough to live in a very seasonal place, complete with snow at about this time. There is nothing quite like a brisk day, clear skies and white everywhere. We embrace the winter solstice as a time of quiet harmony, nourishing food, gratefulness, and candlelight. I thought it might be enjoyable to share the history of this festival along with a bit of contemporary inspiration for a delightfully healthy feast and celebration.

The winter solstice provides an opportunity to nurture connection and well-being through gatherings with family and friends. Winter solstice falls on or around the 21 of December in the Northern Hemisphere and represents perseverance, new beginnings, and the return of light-filled days. Traditional festivals of the winter solstice focus on the cycles of nature, specifically the rebirth of the sun god who symbolizes warmth, light, and sustenance of life.