Original Article Appeared in The Times
Here we are, only just past the ides of January, and already 2020 wellness trends are mounting up. Forget matcha, kombucha and kimchi, this year it’s going to be all about cauliflower flour, scoffing insects and “blended burgers” comprising beef and pea protein. “Whatever!” I cry, for I am already engaged in the year’s most edgy nutritional vogue: broc shotting — as in broccoli shots, a movement all the rage among the super-fit down under.
The BROC ON shot has been brought to the UK by Victoria Health, its founders having discovered the habit in Hong Kong and having instantly felt the benefit. One of them, Gill Sinclair, says: “This is huge, this is powerful, the research and development is awesome. I hereby declare this to be the year of the broccoli shot. The key ingredient is sulforaphane (SFN), dubbed the ‘miracle molecule’. There have been over 1,700 studies indicating the benefits of SFN, which include heart health, brain health, cell mutation and liver function.
“SFN can be obtained from cruciferous vegetables, but does not exist in any meaningful quantities within them. Ounce for ounce, Broc On’s sprouts are between 50 and 100 times more potent than the vegetables themselves. Its broccoli, kale and daikon plants are grown ‘hydroganically’ in biomass chambers, harvested at three to four days, air-dried, milled into a fine powder, then packaged on the same day.”
This kind of stuff does not come cheap, at £75 for 30 powder capsules, which you add to water. However, since its launch on January 7, stocks have already had to be replenished. Broc On is dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, soya-free — ah, if only it were taste-free. For, alas, the shots are . . . challenging: dank, frankly vegetal, more than a touch shudder-inducing. Think liquidised roasted broccoli with a hint of sprouts left over from Christmas, only Christmas 2017. I am attempting to knock one back as I type, only — ugh — even for a vegetarian of 30-plus years, it’s difficult not to feel queasy. Still, no pain, no gain. I must stop trying to erase the taste with chocolate.
Naysayers may counter that one could simply eat one’s greens. However, as the pharmacist Shabir Daya, Sinclair’s co-founder, explains: “Broc On is not trying to replace your cruciferous vegetable intake. One shot is equivalent to eating 1.5kg of broccoli. Most people would not be able to eat this daily, even if they wanted to. So Broc On provides nutrients and enzymes, but this is not its aim. Its goal is to provide the super-powerful antioxidant that not only protects the body, but actually enhances the body’s own production of glutathione, an antioxidant that the body uses to neutralise damaging free radicals and prevent oxidative damage, which ages all our glands and the body as a whole.”
I am taking this to translate as: “Broccoli shots are the purveyor of eternal youth. Take them and you will never age. Instead, you will gleam with a twentysomething luminescence.” Come join me in my quest for a greeny glow of health.