1. Nutritional Yeast
It is not: Dandruff.
WTF is it, then? Flaky pieces of cheese flavor that are packed with vitamins.
Uses: Add to popcorn, macaroni, mashed potatoes, and more. Some people add it to dog and baby food, but you can decide how you feel about that.
Health Benefits: Contains B12, a vitamin pretty much only found in animal protein. Vegetarians
It is not: Nuclear waste.
WTF is it, then? The pigment that makes plants green.
Uses: If you can get over the mental hurdle of “blackish water,” chlorophyll water doesn’t taste that bad. Lots of juice cleanses suggest it as part of their program, but you don’t have to be on a liquid-only diet to imbibe.
Health Benefits: Chlorophyll has a structure very much like your blood’s hemoglobin, which means your body looooves it. It also cures bad breath and contains shit tons of iron, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin K.
Cost: $7-$15, depending on jar size.
It is not: A Pokémon.
WTF is it, then? A vegetable that tastes kind of like broccoli stems. Yes, I know that’s the worst part of broccoli.
Uses: Can be eaten raw by slicing and adding to a salad, or roasted and added to Indian cuisine. The leaves can be cooked as a substitute for kale, but getting any modern American to swap out their kale is an uphill battle.
Health Benefits: Heavy in vitamin C and potassium.
Cost: Local produce prices, but shouldn’t run you too much.
It is not: Whatever you think it is.
WTF is it, then? A drinkable yogurt that has a sour/tart taste.
Uses: Drink it as is, or use it in smoothies and salad dressings as a yogurt substitute. It also contains tryptophans, which can help you relax (or possibly, make you sleepy).
Health Benefits: Probiotics and calcium.
Cost: Around $3/bottle.
5. Hemp Milk
It is not: Liquid weed.
WTF is it, then? Another milk substitute that just happens to be made from the same plant as marijuana.
Uses: A creamier, nuttier, richer dairy replacement. Come for the allusions to Mary J, stay for the actual good taste.
Health Benefits: Contains 10 amino acids, which means it’s a great protein source for vegetarians.
Cost: $3-$5, or make your own.
It is not: An astroturf houseplant.
WTF is it, then? Grass from the wheat plant. Makes sense.
Uses: Wheatgrass usually comes in a juice or powder. Pop culture tends to reference the shot variety, and that’s probably because juiced wheatgrass tastes like ass. Drink it with some beets or apple juice to lessen the blow, or freeze the juice in ice cubes to add health all to your beverages.
Health Benefits: Improves digestion, tons of enzymes, etc. You know it’s good for you because it’s the most stereotypical health food ever. Trust that there’s a reason for this.
Cost:$15-$20 for a jug, $40+ for a kit to grow your own.
It is not: A symptom of a colon problem.
WTF is it, then? A paste made from sesame seeds.
Health Benefits: Lots of vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, and B15. And all those Bs make an A+, amirite?!? (Sorry.)
It is not: Blended organs.
WTF is it, then? Pickled and fermented cabbage, spiced to perfection (hopefully). Also the national dish of Korea. People who like kimchi seem to become obsessed fairly quickly, so be careful.
Uses: Great on its own as a side dish, added to macrobiotic salads, and even scrambled with eggs.
Health Benefits: Pretty much every ingredient in kimchi will make you stronger, faster, and better looking. Plus, it’s low-cal and loaded with the same healthy bacteria you’ll find in yogurt.
Cost: $8-$40, depending on how fancy you is.
It is not: Birdseed.
WTF is it, then? Okay, maybe it is birdseed. But people can eat it, too.
Uses: Use how you would any grain. Eat it with veggies, make it into latke-like things,
Health Benefits: Gluten-free grain that can help prevent type 2 diabetes. Say what you will about birds—they know their cuisine.
Cost: $2-$4/bag. As you’d expect birdseed to cost.
10. Coconut Oil
It is not: Eye cream.
WTF is it, then? Oil of coconut (duh) and TWIST—it actually can be used as eye cream. It also comes in solid form but turns clear when you heat it, and this tends to trip people out.
Uses: Cooking, baking, SPF 4 sunscreen, wrinkle reducer, chapstick, in a vapor rub, deep hair conditioner, frizz reducer…I could go on, but don’t want to make you feel bad about your accomplishments.
Health Benefits: Can lower cholesterol and promote weight loss. Has been thought to lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Cost: Around $8.
It is not: Wet dirt.
WTF is it, then? Salty yeast paste.
Uses: New Zealanders call it ‘black gold’ and put it on everything, from toast to cereal to shrimp. It also works as a bug repellant for mosquitos.
Health Benefits: Tons of vitamin B3, which studies say may be essential to fighting off some serious viruses. It can also promote liver health, but be careful—eating too much can reverse that effect.
Cost: $5-$10, or $8ish if you want the squeeze-top bottle (trust me—you do).
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