I've read Alicia's book and she mentions that herbs and spices "should be used in moderation' that "spices like cayenne and curries are powerful and have a strong effect on the body". I can completely see that with spices like cayenne and curries but I'm unsure about how that relates to herbs like bay leaves, thyme, oregano, basil, lemongrass, etc. These are natural growing foods that are either eaten fresh or dried; meaning they haven't been processed. The only thing I can think why they might not be a superhero item is because like nightshade veggies, they are too high in alkaloids. Is this true? Please explain...
Also, I'm currently living in London and completely agree with Alicia's stance on not flying food in. However, that's a daily practice here as the space is limited. But! there are some market stalls that do provide basics but this doesn't include some items listed under Superhero foods like Kabocha squash but they do have spaghetti, delicata, and turks turban squash in abundance. Can I substitute with any of these to get the same numminess and health benefits?
I feel that when Alicia says moderation, she really means moderation, so don't feel that you have to cut out the use of herbs in your cooking. And the superhero diet is definitely a combo of local food and super food that you can't get at your local farmer's market, like umeboshi plums. So don't feel too restricted!
Christina - I share your confusion about herbs. I admit I eat a lot of green herbs because I can grow them and I really enjoy growing them. For example, I make different pestos out of every green herb you can imagine (basil, sage, parsley, arugula, cilantro, watercress) - all with different nuts, seeds, and other ingredients (I actually collect vegan pesto recipes). Also, like any leafy greens, many of these herbs are high in calcium, antioxidants, etc. But I sometimes eat them in "main dish" quantities - as if they were any other leafy vegetable: like a whole salad made of different herbs as you might see in a Thai restaurant.
So far I have not overdosed on herbs or experienced noticeable bad results from eating large amounts of green herbs. I imagine that blending them into my pestos, etc, is much like juicing them so should be healthy. That being said, you might want to look into the medicinal aspect of any foods you consume in large quantities, just to make certain that they wouldn't interfere with any health conditions you may have. (For example, people taking certain medications have been advised to avoid large quantities of citrus which might diminish the effect of those medications - but for the rest of us, citrus would be fine.)