(Disclosure note: Sari Foods provided products in exchange for an honest review and compensation for original recipe development.)
Type “define superfood” into Google, and you get this straightforward answer:
a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.
Although the label seems to get slapped on whatever food is the darling of the mainstream media at the moment, some foods actually deserve their “super” reputations. Sari Foods has captured several of them in their unique product line.
Sari Foods declares their philosophy to be “to bring you the essence of food.” All of their products are 100 percent whole-food-based and contain no artificial or synthetic ingredients. Unlike many supposed “superfood” concoctions and supplements, the nutrients in Sari Foods’ products are highly bioavailable and easily assimilated by your body. Scientific food babble aside, what this actually means is that these products can have real benefits for your health. (Plus, they taste awesome. But I’ll get to that in a minute.)
Here’s a run-down of what Sari Foods has to offer:
What’s a plant-based diet without a little “cheese” sauce once and a while? And, let’s face it, healthy cheese is largely an oxymoron, even in the world of vegan cheese. With nutritional yeast, though, that dream becomes a reality. Two tablespoons of the nootch from Sari foods provides:
- 8g protein
- 4g dietary fiber
- Multiple B vitamins
and more, but these are the most notable. This combination is what qualifies it as a superfood. You get a blast of antioxidants, energy and thyroid support, an immune boost and a way to make a grilled cheese sandwich that definitively counts as healthy.
When you open the bag, you’re greeted by small, pale yellow flakes that lack the vibrancy of other nutritional yeasts but make up for it with an amazingly clean flavor. I’m not exaggerating when I say that you can taste the difference so much that I blew through my sample bag and have already ordered three more. It’s smooth, delicious and just right for everything from cheese sauce to savory oats to salad dressings.
Acerola Cherry Powder
I’m sure I’m not the only one who reaches for a bottle of vitamin C supplements after being exposed to illness. Unfortunately, most of those pills have little, if any, beneficial effects due to the fact that the vitamin C is in an isolated, unnatural form. The vitamin C powder from Sari Foods, on the other hand, is made from acerola cherries, which happen to be the single best food source of vitamin C!
Each teaspoon of this organic powder contains 500mg of vitamin C, the equivalent of about 260g of actual acerola cherries.(1) Since it’s actually a whole food powder and not an extracted nutrient, it contains the full complex of the vitamin C family, including the naturally occurring bioflavanoids that enhance its effects. In addition to boosting immunity, vitamin C is also supports healthy collagen production, aids in detoxification and acts as a protective antioxidant.(2)
The unassuming tan powder has a tart cherry flavor, but does contain some organic maltodextrin, a fact that I’m not terribly thrilled about since I try to avoid added sweeteners.
However, it does provide just a touch of extra sweetness that makes for a pretty delicious addition to your favorite beverage. Update & correction! The maltodextrin is used to help create the fine texture of the cherry powder, not to sweeten, and is used in small amounts. (Therefore, it’s still worlds better than commercial water flavorings like Crystal Light, which contains not only non-organic maltodextrin but also aspartame and artificial colors.)
I like to mix the acerola powder with the diluted apple cider vinegar drink I have every morning, but it would also be tasty just in water or blended into a smoothie. You can even sprinkle it in your oatmeal!
If concerns over spirulina contamination have led you to avoid this beneficial green superfood, I recommend trying the one from Sari Foods. Harvested from freshwater lakes, this spirulina powder is organic and contains (per tablespoon):
- 7g protein
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin K
- A balance of omega 3, 6 and 9 fats, including GLA
- Multiple B vitamins
- High levels of chlorophyll
I do want to note that the package lists B12 as one of the B complex vitamins found in spirulina, and while this is technically correct, scientific evidence seems to show that the forms of B12 found in this and other foods aren’t usable by the human body. The rest of the nutrients, however, do everything from help fix calcium in your bones to combat inflammation. GLA in particular is hard to get from other sources, appearing mainly in things like borage and evening primrose oils. Overall, there may be more than 100 nutrients working together in spirulina!(3)
Contrary to popular belief, spirulina isn’t actually algae. It’s a cyanobacteria, a type of bacterium that derives its energy from the sun, hence the chlorophyll content. Interestingly enough, the chlorophyll molecule bears a striking resemblance to the heme part of human hemoglobin and works to stimulate the production of red blood cells.(1) Its antioxidant properties provide strong protection from DNA damage,(3) and it may even hang around in your body after you eat it, contributing to the regeneration of CoQ10 when combined with sunlight.(4) So in a way, you can derive some energy from the sun!
Like the nutritional yeast, Sari Foods’ spirulina has a very clean flavor that mirrors its deep blue-green color. This is another good one for adding to smoothies, although I prefer to mix it in with my chopped salads to add a little something to the taste. Believe it or not, the whole salad tastes pretty amazing when combined with a citrus-based dressing and garnished with sauerkraut.
- Made from actual food, not extracts or synthetic nutrients
- Vibrant packaging in generous sizes (1lb. for spirulina, 8oz. for nutritional yeast, 6oz. for the acerola cherry powder)
- Clean, fresh taste with no strange overtones, undertones or aftertastes
The only thing I didn’t like is that the reseal strips on the tops of the bags don’t seem to work very well. I folded the bags down and secured them with rubber bands to get around that problem. And I can’t really count that as a “con” since it has no bearing on the quality of the products themselves!
Sari Foods gets two thumbs up in my book–their products do indeed deserve the “superfood” title! If you want to try them out for yourself, they’re having a new customer promotion with the code “WELCOME25” at the moment.
Bring on the Recipe!
Of course, I can’t babble on about how much I love a product without using it in a recipe! I’ve incorporated both the spirulina and the acerola cherry powder into these Chocolate Superfood Truffle Balls, plus I added some nuts, seeds and dark cocoa powder for an even bigger “super” boost. The result is a nutrient-packed healthy snack with a nutty, light chocolate flavor.
- 1½ cup medjool dates, pitted
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ¼ cup raw walnuts, chopped
- ¼ cup raw pecans, chopped
- ¼ cup nut or seed butter of choice
- 2Tbsp dark cocoa powder or raw cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp Sari Foods spirulina
- 1 Tbsp Sari Foods acerola cherry powder
- Place the dates and nuts in the bowl of a food processor and process until crumbly.
- Add the oats and nut butter, and process again until well combined.
- Add the cocoa powder, spirulina and acerola cherry powder. Process again until everything is mixed well.
- Test the “dough” to see if it holds together when pinched. If not, add more dates, two at a time, until the dough can be shaped without falling apart.
- Roll the dough into balls to form truffles. Place the truffles on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.