By Devon Chappell —
Well, ladies and gentlemen, enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, farmers, friends, and other fine folk! Spring has arrived, evolved, and seems to be turning into another glorious sunshine-filled summer. Some of us will have been preparing for this by trying to recover our “beach bods,” while others of us have kept eating clean to battle the winter blues. And then there are those of us who have hibernated from the chilly winter winds, chowing down on comfort foods to keep warm. However you spent the colder months, it’s time to get ready for the splendid days of summer.
The cliché, “you are what you eat,” couldn’t be more apt. Whether your state of mind, your physical body, or your enjoyment of life, every aspect of our lives is informed by what we ingest. Have you spent the last few seasons worrying about your health, vitality, or beauty, or longing for the perceived better days of the past? Are you feeling the effects of an over-worked body or are you feeling like you’re “getting old”?
If you’re looking for a little sip from one fountain of youth, there’s a special little bush-grown berry found close enough to home that you can easily get your hands on it without the help of Indiana Jones. This divine little life-enhancer goes by the official name goji berry. Other common names are wolfberry, desert thorn, matrimony vine, or boxthorn. This raisin-sized berry is tough. While it grows superbly in the tropics and harsh dry deserts, the goji berry will withstand freezing temperatures in places such as Nova Scotia and British Columbia.
The goji has ovate (egg-shaped) leaves and a sometimes thorny-stemmed bush, and grows up to around six feet tall with a diameter of three feet. The goji berry family contains an estimated 85 native species throughout Asia and 15 species in Central and North America. These may have migrated from Asia either by boat or the Bering Land Bridge. Exceptionally similar, all species have earned their way to the top of the superfood chain with their plethora of health-giving properties and histories. As well as being an adaptogen, goji berries have anti-aging properties, and have been known to increase longevity, enhance stamina, improve strength, and increase sexual energy. It’s no wonder these little berries whose colour can range from pale yellow and dark, sun-fire orange to deep red have been cherished for around 5,000 years.
With the sun getting stronger, many of us turn exclusively to a bottle of sunscreen to protect ourselves externally from the UV rays of summer sunshine. But before you automatically slather your body’s largest organ with the contents of a bottle labelled with a full page of unpronounceable ingredients, think about the number of toxins that are going to be absorbed through your pores. Using sunscreen sparingly, covering up with light clothing and a hat, along with protecting your body from the inside can keep you healthier and your body cleaner. What you consume can strengthen you from the inside out. Being a great source of antioxidants, goji berries can go a long way towards providing the body with the nourishment needed to protect against DNA damage caused by free radicals and exposure to toxins and radiation.
Any recipe can be played with, doubled, or personalized. That’s one of the great things about adding superfoods to your diet—they add an exciting new dimension to food and the many inventive ways to use them are yours to discover. Goji berries are so versatile as an addition to favourite shakes and foods, you’ll find adding them easily becomes automatic. Once you begin to use them, you’ll love them not only for their flavour, but especially for their marvelous benefits. You’ll be so healthy it will become hard not to laugh happily just because you feel so good! I find that a handful is a reasonable daily intake.
Simple and delightful to use as an additive or to just have around for a quick smile.
- Handful of goji berries
- 3 cups water (spring water is best)
Let berries soak for 2 to 4 hours. Give them a stir now and again. Strain. Now add this water to whatever you can conjure up.
High in antioxidants for the protection of your skin, this beverage will leave you with a radiant complexion.
- 2 Tbsp Goji berries
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1tsp ginger root, grated (frozen works well)
- 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
- raw honey for sweetness (optional)
Let berries soak in water for an hour or until soft. Add berries, water, lemon, and ginger to a blender and mix. Pour over ice into a glass with lemon wedge. Breathe: you are alive!
Smoothies are fantastic! They are the perfect combination of everything good with just a quick whip of the blades. Refresh yourself any time of the day, morning or night, breakfast or dinner. Remember to keep forever creative; choices are yours to make in life. Here’s a creation that I made to keep my mind flowing while writing this article.
- 3 cups gojiwater (see above), plus the soaked berries
- 400 ml organic coconut milk
- 1/4 cup aloe vera juice
- 2 organic bananas, frozen
- 1 mango
- 1 cup blueberries, frozen
- shaved ginger root to taste, frozen
- 1/2 cup cacao nibs
- 1/4 cup Maca root powder
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
Toss, place, smash, add, bless (or whatever you’d like) all ingredients into a blender, pulse, and watch the magic. Pour into your favourite glass, and high five, bud! That’s delicious! Store extra in fridge or freezer (if there is any).
Quick and Slick Sorbet
For a fun and fantastic dessert, try this superb sorbet. I recommend buying fresh fruit in season, then chopping it into desired-sized chunks to freeze for future use in smoothies and such.
- 1/4 cup raw walnuts
- 1 cup gojiwater (see above)
- 1 cup frozen mango
- 2 frozen bananas
- 3/4 cup pineapple
- 3/4 cup goji berries
Blend walnuts together with gojiwater until smooth. Add fruit and blend until silky-thick. Love each perfect, cool, summery spoonful.
And while you’re enjoying these goji greats, remember:
Benefits from goji berries include:
- Longevity and healthy hormones
- Enhanced libido and sexual function
- Improved vision
- Healthier immune system
- Brain and neurological health support
- Cardiovascular health support
- Keeps all vital organs healthy
Have a great summer!
Devon Chappell is something of an impressionist with therapeutic hands. He holds a focus on what is real when it comes to food. He has a personal interest in nutrition and art and when he is in his element, Devon brings nature to the kitchen.