I have been browsing one of my favorite raw-food recipe books today, and doing a little online shopping to replenish my cupboards. It struck me as I read how many of the wonderful, magical super foods which feature so highly in the raw-food world would make really delicious names…
So, without further ado, here’s my pick of scrumptious, magical super-food names:
Agave — a syrup made from the Agave plant, a native of Central America. An excellent sugar/honey substitute, as it has a much lower glycemic index than refined sugar, and because it is sweeter, less is needed. Its name is Greek: agauos “illustrious” and
Arame — a Japanese seaweed, full of calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin A, and, of course, iodine. The kanji used to write it – 荒布 — mean “wild” and “linen.”
Avocado — one of nature’s finest; yes it contains a lot of fat, but it’s GOOD fat. Avocado was actually an old form of Spanish abogado “advocate”; representing a Spanish attempt to render the fruit’s original Aztec name: ahuacatl “testicle.”
Barleygrass – essentially a variant of Wheatgrass; I just think Barleygrass has more name potential. Much celebrated for their health-giving properties.
Cacao — raw cocoa powder, cacao butter and cacao nibs are two of the most wonderful things in the world: chocolate that’s good for you! :D. It is rich in anti-oxidants and phenylethylamine — the chemical responsible for making us feel happy (which is why so many of us love chocolate!) — not to mention all its minerals and other goodies.
Camu — alright, so the super food is camu camu, but one camu is probably enough for a name… A type of berry found in Brazil, it is rich in vitamin C, as well as numerous amino acids, iron, calcium, potassium and iron. I’ve only found it as a powder in Britain.
Chlorella — a highly nutritious algae. Its name comes from the Greek chlorus “green.”
Coconut — like avocadoes, coconuts are a source of good fat, and it is a “false economy” to cut from the diet if dieting. They are a rich source of protein and minerals, as well as essential fats. It is particularly good for veggies and vegans because it contains some important fats otherwise difficult to incorporate in the diet, such as Lauric acid. Its name derives from the Spanish and Portuguese coco “grinning face” from cocar “to grin”– a reference to the appearance of a face on a coconut’s base.
Dulse — lovely seaweed. It has been a staple food of those living on parts of the coasts of Britain and the East coast of America for thousands of years. The word comes from the Irish and Gaelic duilseag and Welsh cognate delysg.
Flax – flax seeds (also called linseed) is highly nutritious and their oil, like hemp, is a good source of essential fatty acids.
Goji — gojis are quite familiar now, having been promoted on the health food scene for some years. Its name comes from its Chinese name — gǒuqǐ “goji plant.” They were first brought to Britain in the eighteenth century, and can actually be found growing wild in some parts — these wild, naturalized gojis tend to go by the vernacular name of wolfberry. Very nutritious, they are full of vitamin C and anti-oxidants. Apparently, the Chinese say that the only side-effect of eating too many gojis is laughing too much.
Hemp — hemp seeds contain the full spectrum of amino-acids and is a rich vegan source of Omega 3 and 6. (The seeds used for eating come from a different variety to the one used for marijuana, in case you were wondering!).
Kelp — a familiar seaweed. As good as the rest!
Lucuma — a Peruvian fruit. I would so love to eat one of these fresh! Lucumas have been valued in Peru for at least 2000 years, and are highly nutritious, as well as having a distinct but delicious taste.
Maca — I swear by maca; I’d say it was the best thing since sliced bread, but I think it is far, far, far better than sliced bread! It is a powder made from the root of the maca plant, once a staple of the Incas and now being grown in large quantities by native farmers in Peru once more. It is renowned for its ability to rebalance and detoxify the system. I just wish we could get the roots whole; apparently they use maca root in Peru like potatoes. I dream of trying the maca chips with chili sauce at a roadside stall there.
Mesquite — eaten as a food for thousands of years in Central America, it is now banned for human consumption in the EU because it has been labelled an “untested novel food.” Stupid, invasive law. If you live in America, treasure it.
Mulberry — one of our favoritest favorite berries. My Small Child and I love the late summer and autumn when the old mulberry trees start groaning with their lovely, juicy berries, so dark red, they are almost black. Yum, yum, yum. They are full of vitamin C, antioxidants, and iron, as well as being a great source of cancer and diabetes fighting anthocyanins.
Nori — another Japanese seaweed, often found in sheets, which make a fantastic alternative to tortillas/pittas etc for really nutritious, healthy wraps. Most people are probably most familiar with it from sushi. The kanji for it – 海苔 — combines “sea” + “moss.”
Pollen — bee pollen (also called bee bread) is definitely the bee’s kees. It is amazingly nutritious, highly regarded for its rejuvenative and healing properties. It’s also very yummy. The bees make it by packing pollen collected from plants together, mixing it with enzymes secreted by the bees themselves and nectar. The word “pollen” orginally meant “fine flour” and “fine powder,” deriving ultimately from Latin pulvis “dust.”
Spirulina — derived from a very nutritious algae, grown in Hawaii, called Arthrospira. This is from Greek arthron “joint” + speira “anything twisted” — the latter also, obviously, the source of Spirulina.
Suma — its alternative name of Brazilian ginseng hints at how fabulous this amazing food is. Most of us sadly only have access to the powdered root of what is a vine found in the rain-forests. Highly nutritious, many of those that eat it also do so because they believe it has as nourishing and healing an effect on the soul as it does on the body. Brazilians call it para todo “for all,” referring to the fact it is used as a cure-all.