Green goddess Candice Kumai has the right idea when it comes to superfoods and super beauty. The former model, wellness author, TV host, and top chef knows that natural beauty is at the root of all great style, and that it starts with how you treat your insides. According to Candice:
“Beautiful women don’t diet – beautiful women learn to cook.”
With three gorgeous cookbooks already lining her shelves – Pretty Delicious, Cook Yourself Sexy, and Clean Green Drinks – Candice is now conquering a fourth: Clean Green Eats: 100+ Clean-Eating Recipes to Improve Your Whole Life.
The clean eating tome is a collection of simple recipes that make eating effortless – many inspired by her mother’s Japanese cooking. She’s all about whole foods, nutrient-dense ingredients, and demystifying healthy alternatives that might seem intimidating upon first glance. Here are five of those alternative superfoods she considers miracle boosters, making any meal a beautifying one…
These all-natural miracle boosters are like nature’s supplements. I love adding these super boosters to my dressings, smoothies, juices and cooked and baked goods. They effortlessly add a boost of flavor, health benefits and nutrients. Add them to your diet wherever you can, and reap all of the natural, healthy rewards.
BEE POLLEN: Considered a natural “multivitamin” and used by natural health advocates, bee pollen contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, enzymes and more! Who knew? Pick up a bottle at your local health food store and try sprinkling a teaspoon or so into your smoothies or on top of granola and yogurt. It has a mildly sweet, honey-like taste. Be sure to keep your bottle in the fridge and be mindful of individuals who may have allergies to bees. More on bee pollen here.
BRAGG LIQUID AMINOS: Amino acids are the building blocks of our cells. They are the link between our food and our bodily tissues. If your body is lacking in amino acids, it can affect your physical and mental health. I love using Bragg Liquid Aminos (which tastes just like soy sauce) to finish off my cooking with an earthy and deep flavor. I also use it as a flavor booster to finish my grains, salads, lean protein, fish, stir-fries, bowls, pastas, soups, marinades, dressings and just about anything that you need to season. Don’t have Bragg Liquid Aminos on hand? Try some of these real foods that contain natural amino acids: peanuts, sesame seeds, white fish, quinoa, plant proteins, eggs, Greek or Icelandic yogurt and organic tofu!
CAROB POWDER: Carob powder is similar to cocoa powder in flavor and texture. Derived from carob pods, carob powder is low in calories and can be substituted for cocoa in desserts and smoothies for a boost of calcium, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, potassium and magnesium. Even better for the plant-based folks out there, carob is vegan and caffeine-free.
GREEN TEA/MATCHA POWDER: The first clue that green tea is good for us: It’s green. Rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, packed with vitamins C and E, green tea is a miracle elixir. I love my matcha, traditionally, as a hot tea (it helps me to relax while meditating!), in my tea cakes, in pancakes, crepes, smoothies, and even sprinkled on fish – or try it on chocolate! Look for quality Japanese brands when it comes to green tea and matcha powder. Don’t skimp… you deserve it!
PLANT-BASED PROBIOTICS: Probiotics are “friendly bacteria” that help your body maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria. Your gut bacteria, or microbiome, is involved with everything from regulating body weight to digestive health to immunity, clear skin, and even mood – so it’s essential to keep it in balance.
Probiotics work by helping the body to rebuild the “beneficial flora” that are often depleted due to the effects of diet, medication, stress and more. Fermented foods like miso and pickles are natural probiotics, and even some kefir nutmilks have probiotic powers. Fermented foods, in particular, are filled with good-for-you bacteria. Miso soup (made of fermented soybean paste) contains more than 160 healthy bacteria strains. Kombucha, yogurt, spirulina and fermented vegetables are other good options.
Supplements work great in a pinch (see our TCM picks here), but in general, it’s best to get your probiotics naturally. Whole foods are easy for your body to digest and the nutrients are easily absorbed by your body.