For most of the last 15 years, I have been developing and playing with my “ultimate” superfood formula. I was designing it for personal use. It was nothing that I ever intended to sell to the public since the formula I had in mind was too expensive (particularly since most of the companies I designed formulas for had high price to cost multiples that would have demanded a retail price of $169-$189 per canister). Basically, the versions of this superfood formula that I bought or designed and produced limited runs for were for my personal use. The idea was to find a product that would serve as the cornerstone of my own and Kristen's health and nutrition program. In the last couple of years, however, three things have changed.
- I now have an outlet for my formulas that sells direct to the public (Baseline Nutritionals®), so that I can offer the formula at a price much closer to its actual cost, which means it can now be affordable for anyone – anyone, that is, who wants the best that money can buy.
- I now have manufacturers and ingredient suppliers that I work with and provide significant amounts of business to each month, who are therefore more than happy to grant me price concessions even on smaller runs of a product. This helps keep the price down on a “specialized” superfood formula, which is likely to appeal only to a very limited niche market.
- Taste has never been that big a deal to me when it comes to health and nutrition. (Anyone who has tasted my blood cleansing formulas can tell you that.) If something works and provides the health benefits I'm looking for, I don't really care what it tastes like. For me, taste is a secondary issue. But in the real world, most people don't feel the same way. In the real world, taste and smell matter. The problem is that when you mix a number of superfood ingredients together, their tastes don't necessarily mix (think pickles and chocolate ice cream). Camu camu, for example, is very bitter. Aloe is very astringent. Rice protein has a chalky texture. Ground flax is gritty. Etc. Etc. Fortunately, after 15 years of playing with the formula, the current version actually tastes great, mixes beautifully, and has a great color -- all with no concessions to the actual efficacy of the final formula. (A special thanks to my friend, David Sandoval of Organic by Nature, for helping get this aspect of the formula to come out right.)
The bottom line is that the people at Baseline Nutritionals® convinced me that the formula I had developed for myself should be made available to the public at large.
It's Not a Replacement for a Multivitamin
If you search under “superfood” on the internet, you will come up with many “hits.”
- Some sites will tell you that their superfood is a replacement for a multivitamin pill. That's not what I was after. I wasn't looking for something to replace a daily multivitamin. The simple fact is that most people who are interested in health already take some form of daily multivitamin. So the idea that you need to pack your superfood with mega doses of vitamin isolates so that it has mega doses of every vitamin and mineral under the sun was, to me, a meaningless exercise. And as for those formulas that try and do it without pumping their formula up with isolates and just use natural ingredients, the numbers just aren't there. It's virtually impossible to get the numbers of many vitamins (such as vitamin C) and minerals (such as calcium) up to “significant” levels without using some isolates. But the bottom line on this issue is: why duplicate a vitamin pill?
- Some sites tell you that a product consisting entirely of one ingredient such as bee pollen or spirulina or soluble rice bran or Tahitian noni are superfoods. The problem is that no matter how great one ingredient is, it can't possibly give you everything you need. It may have some of everything like bee pollen and spirulina, but there are some key phytochemicals that are only found at meaningful levels in certain types of food. For example, spirulina is a great source of chlorophyll, but it contains almost no ellagitanins. For those, you have to turn to berries or pomegranates. In the end, if you want a true superfood, you have to blend ingredients.
- Some sites will tell you that everything you need is contained in green foods and a few vegetables. Not true. Again, no ellagitanins. No omega-3 fatty acids. No monosaccharides and polysaccharides. The bottom line is that you have no choice; you must blend superfoods across “families” of ingredients.
And then you will find some sites that promote formulas that use massive amounts of dairy proteins and/or soy proteins based on the idea that a superfood is one that provides mega quantities of protein to build muscle and organs. And yes, protein is vital if the superfood is to serve as a true long-term meal replacement. But there are far better ways to go than using proteins that most people are allergic to and have a hard time digesting. (Just think of all the gas you've had if you've ever used a soy protein supplement.)
The bottom line on this whole issue is that nobody was doing what I wanted. To get what I wanted, I had to build it myself.
What I Wanted In A Superfood
So, exactly what have I been designing over the last 15 years? What is it that I was trying to accomplish in my superfood?
Well first of all, I absolutely backed away from the two things most people do, and that I mentioned above.
- I did indeed want the formula to have a good complement of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, but I wasn't worried about the 100% of all your daily needs thing. My formula is designed to be only one of several meals you eat during the day, and it was assumed that you would continue to take whatever multivitamin you were already taking. That would allow me to focus on the things that were more important to me – and that weren't being provided by your other meals or supplements.
- And second, I did indeed want the formula to contain enough protein so that you could truly live on it. But I wasn't designing the formula for bodybuilders, and I absolutely didn't want people to suffer from severe gas or allergies.
- In addition, I also wanted it to provide significant soluble and insoluble fiber to help keep your intestinal tract clean and reduce blood pressure and the incidence of heart disease and colon cancer.
- And I knew that omega-3 fatty acids were essential. As I mentioned in Lessons from the Miracle Doctors and many of my newsletters, I consider the high consumption of plastic fats and the imbalance in the diet of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids to be the single biggest causative factor in most of the ill health we are now seeing in the industrialized world. It was imperative that this formula help correct that imbalance.
- As for carbohydrates, they are essential for good health, and yet short chain carbs and sugars probably qualify as the second biggest causative factor of ill health. On the other hand, ultra-long chain carbohydrates may be one of the single best foods you can consume to optimize your health. The formula had to contain a significant amount of ULCs.
- And then there are the phytochemicals. This, to me, was the most important aspect of any superfood formula that I would develop. All of the things I mentioned above are merely the base of the formula, the infrastructure on which its true value is built. It's the individual miracle phytochemicals that most people don't get at all in their diet – or maybe get one or two of. The purpose of my formula was to work as an optimized carrier for meaningful doses of the most powerful healing phytochemicals we know today. I'm talking about ellagitannins, muccopolysaccharides, xeronine, and xanthones, and acemannan, and astaxanthin – quite literally several hundred antioxidants inherent in the high powered ingredients themselves. It is in these phytochemicals that the primary value of this formula can be found. And it was imperative to me that every one of these ingredients be included in “true” amounts – no pixie dust allowed.
There is a phrase used in the formulation trade, “pixie dust,” that refers to the practice of using such tiny amounts of an ingredient in a formula that the ingredient adds nothing to the value of the formula except for the fact that you can list it on the label. You see evidence of this when you look at a label and see things like carrot powder or broccoli powder at 5 and 10 mg each. What possible value is there in 5 or 10 thousandths of a gram of dried broccoli? Or you'll see CoQ10 at 10 mg, when it takes 100 mg to make a difference. The bottom line is that I have never used, and never will use, pixie dust in any formula that carries my name on the label. Do it once and all your credibility is gone. Also, as I have mentioned before, all formulas that carry my name are really designed primarily for my personal use, and for the use of my wife, Kristen. Why cheat myself.
That's why I proudly list the precise amount of every ingredient in the formula.
And let's talk briefly about ingredient sourcing. Over the last 15 years, I have developed some of the greatest raw, organic, and wildcrafted ingredient sources in the world. This, as much as anything, accounts for the reputation my formulas have in the marketplace. But when designing the superfood formula, there were requirements above and beyond just basic quality. I had to deal with issues such as taste and shelf life. To get exactly what I needed, I had to hunt down, what in some cases, was the only source in the world of the exact ingredient I needed. And in those cases, I have listed that specific source since I consider it so fundamental to the formula.
Putting the Pieces in Place
As I mentioned above, what made it all come together is that I finally was able to get a formula that not only provided all of the health benefits I was looking for, but also offered great taste, smell, color, texture, and mixability – and that was easily digested. A rare combination that took 15 years to achieve.
In the next issue, we'll actually look at the individual ingredients in detail -- what they are, and exactly what they do.
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