Are Superfoods the Right Choice for You?
A Master Herbalist’s Perspective on Nutraceuticals
If you have read any of my previous articles you know one thing for sure; I am a big believer in the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
I go into much greater detail about why the whole is greater than the parts in my book The ZNF Mind and Body Restorative Program.
As a Master Herbalist and someone who has worked in the nutraceutical industry for a long time, there are times when I struggle between isolated nutraceuticals vs. whole herbs and superfoods.
In the end, I always go back to my core values: herbs and superfoods.
Nutraceuticals are fractions of the whole superfood. They are isolated parts of what you find in superfoods. There is no denying, that nutraceuticals have their place and work very well in specific situations. The real question is whether using nutraceuticals over the long term is the solution or
Do whole nourishing foods (which include herbs and superfoods) win the race?
While I believe the first line of defense should whole foods, I have often found that with everything in life there is a middle ground and this is more often than not where the answer is found.
Using My Nutrition Protocol as an Example
As the main topic for this article, I wanted to show you how I bring balance to a nutraceutical brain protocol, based on my brain scan results (July 2017) from the Amen clinic in New York City.
The protocol below is based on clinical studies for their effectiveness at nourishing the brain.
My Amen Clinic Brain Nutraceutical Protocol:
- Fish oil - 3 grams, 2 times daily (1)
- Pharma Gaba - 300
mgs, 3 times daily (2)
- Sun theanine - 300
mgs, 3 times daily (3)
- Neuromag - 2 caps 3 times daily (4)
Brain and Body Boost - 2 caps 2 times daily (Ingredients and total
- Acetyl l-carnitine - 666
- Ginkgo biloba - 80
- Vinpocetine- 10
- Huperzine A 100 mcg (8), (9)
- Phosphatidylserine 100
Focus and Energy is their adaptogen formula which includes the herbs below. I like to use my adaptogens individually so I can get the specific amounts and effects I am looking for. Here is my personal program of the adaptogens listed below:
- Rhodiola- 300
mgsMorning & Afternoon (15) (Full spectrum standardized extract) Capsule
- Eleuthero- 1000
mgsMorning (16) (Full spectrum standardized extract) Tincture
- Holy Basil- 500
mgsAfternoon (17) (Combo standardized isolated and full spectrum extract) Capsule
- Ashwagandha- 1600-2400
mgsbefore bed (18) (Full spectrum extract) Capsule
My functional foods and food grade herbs
My own mushroom blend
- Cordyceps 3000
mgs(21) (Extract powder)
- Lion’s mane 1000
mgs(22) (Extract powder)
My own berry blend- (All ingredients in equal parts) 2 tablespoons daily
My own prebiotic mix 2 tablespoon daily - All ingredients in equal parts
1.) Not far off the beaten path:
Sometimes you need to look outside of the box, but you don’t need to look too far to see ways that may compliment your belief system. While nutraceuticals are not the ideal answer compared to herbs and superfoods, they are still more natural, less toxic, and a better choice over pharmaceuticals. Nutraceuticals in some ways stand alone because they can give you the best of both worlds. They provide a targeted approach (like a pharmaceutical) and at the same time bring a level of balance in order to support the body in healing itself. I think a big reason why so many people gravitate towards nutraceuticals is
When you look at herbs you need to see the big picture in order to understand them. If you only see things as a reductionist, you will never truly get it. Reductionists look at individual components and how they affect specific functions, or rather, aspects of function. This point of view ignores how the whole system has come to
2.) Can you make the parts into the whole?
The simple answer is no. But you can do specific things in order to make the effects of what you are doing more balanced. A while back I did an article called “Gateway Herbs” which discussed the best herbs and what forms to use them in to see optimal results for beginners. I specifically discussed the idea of combining whole herbs with full spectrum standardized or isolated standardized herbs which would not only allow for faster results but would bring balance to the end results. The principles in that article can be used to explain this exact situation when trying to find balance in a nutraceutical program.
There is no reason why whole nourishing superfoods could not be added to a nutraceutical program in order to bring balance, extra nourishment and support to help with a positive outcome.
The top foods on this list would include food grade herbs and functional foods like:
Cacao, Maca, freeze-dried super berry powders (acai, maqui, blueberry, acerola ), adaptogens (
Once again, the objective is to support, balance and boost
I am sure you must be wondering why I didn’t add any brain tonics like bacopa,
One specific change I made to this program was to break down their adaptogen product called Focus and
3.) It all begins with food:
This is a message that I will preach until my last breath on earth.
I think there is no greater lesson to be learned if your goal is achieving optimal health then using your food as medicine. If you are not nourishing your body with real whole foods, anything else you do will only produce minor results.
When I speak of real wholesome and nourishing foods, herbs and superfoods are a big part of this list.
Real wholesome nourishing food should always be the foundation for all healing programs. Remember, you should never build on top of a weak foundation. You build a strong constitution through your daily nourishing rituals!
About Michael Stuchiner
Michael Stuchiner is an experienced Master Herbalist, the Head of Education for Z Natural Foods, a teacher
As an “in-the-trenches” herbalist, Mike has done more than 85 speaking engagements, consulted with clients ranging from young to elderly, worked with athletes in virtually all sports and with clients who have “dis-ease” states of a wide variety. Mike also mentors student Master Herbalists and will continue to teach the next generation to grow a deeper wisdom of the human body through appropriate herbal remedies.
ZNF Mind and Body Restorative Program (Instant Download)
If you are new to the world of herbal
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