Saturday, March 16, 2013

All Smoothie'd Out

Hello Friends!
Most people who are familiar with Instagram, the popular Iphone app, would probably agree it is a great way to feel connected with celebrities who post pictures of their personal lives. For instance, I follow Jef Holm’s posts. He was the winner of the ABC hit show, The Bachelorette. His latest post was a photo of 7 bottles of Suja juice. Jef explains in the caption that after trying a 3 day juice cleanse, he is eager to continue with another 5 day Suja juice cleanse.  Many of his followers commented that they were also ready to give Suja juice a try (it’s obtainable at Whole Foods, when it’s not out of stock). Eric Ethans and Annie Lawless, passionate creators of Suja juice, claim that this juice is cold-pressed and packed full of nutrients. To dispel juicing myths, they assert that “a juice cleanse is not a quick fix for weeks or months of poor eating” and “it is a way to help your body detox and reset” ( It is interesting how celebrities can strongly impact everyone’s choices, especially through their endorsements. Will I try Suja now that Jef has influenced me as well as so many other fans?
Film is another medium through which society can share their opinions about health. I watched the movie Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead recently. The documentary is about an Australian, Joe Cross, who realizes that his obesity is causing physical, mental, social, and emotional stresses on his well-being. Essentially, he was on his way to involuntarily committing suicide by food. However, Joe was able to change his lifestyle. He went on a juice fast for 60 days, eating only juice smoothies made of vegetables and fruits for every meal. He lost 80 pounds and kept it off, inspiring others. Joe claims to feel better and think clearer than when he was heavy. He has also learned a lot about nutrition. Most importantly, Joe is taking lower doses of his medication, Prednisone. He has improved his health and no longer gets sores and does not suffer severely from the autoimmune disease, urticaria. This story of triumph is a warning to others, as well as motivation. It clearly illustrates the dangers of obesity, and a lot of other people like Joe make themselves ill. Now, whether I am sick from poor eating habits or for some other reason, what we have in common is that I would also like to improve my health. Juice fasts appear intimidating and I’m hesitant to try it because I know I will get hungry, but that sort of challenge will build my willpower and smart habits. After all, I’ve got to start somewhere.
Interestingly, Joe Cross’s latest tweets include the link to an article in the online magazine publication Well+Good NYC. The piece evaluates the controversy of using the new process of High Pressure Processing (HPP) that extends the shelf life of juice products. This technology is seen as a kind of “selling out” to some. This is exactly the method that Suja Juice employs. But others believe in HPP because it makes few changes to nutrient quality and allows products to be sold in chains such as Whole Foods (WellandGood). In the end, there will always be a new company bringing raw products to consumers in a neat and enticing package with or without provocative technology, ready for the masses.
It appears as if more students than I thought are getting an opportunity to try the juice trend. When I was walking through the campus cafeteria, a flyer posted on the board caught my eye (see picture). It was advertising a Shamanic Juice Fast for three days, described as “A Gateway to the Journey of Transformation”. I actually saw this before I had watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, so it did not have the same implications because juicing seemed like just another fad diet. This promotional poster emphasized the benefits of a juice fast including “cleanse, purify, detoxify” and “explore and heal your relationship to food and hunger”. Divine Service Center of San Jose hosts the program and listed different pricing options (it was cheaper for members of Modern Shamanism) and meeting dates. This advertisement seems to have genuine interests in promoting a healthy juice fast, but marketing to college students is indicative of the self-serving undercurrent. Bill Duran, self proclaimed Master Guide of Modern Shamanism, runs the Shamanic Juice Fast tour across the U.S. His company, like others struggling to survive in this economy, needs to make money. Whether he truly believe in juice fasts or not, college students such as myself are desperate to be healthy and thus easy targets. Young adults already often have self-esteem and body issues due to the pressures of society about how women should look and dress or the expected athletic abilities of a “real man”, all of which are enforced by stereotypes. Thus, students are eager to try crazy diets and take risks.
I was further delighted to see another advertisement for the university’s Wellness Center Program right next to the juice fast ad. The ad encouraged students to join the Health and Wellness Group run by the Cowell Health Center. Fortunately, Santa Clara offers many resources for students looking to improve their health. For example, I could join Peer Health Educators and be able to teach and educate other students on wellbeing. In outdoorsy Northern California, health and fitness is a priority for many. If I am not on top of my game in the health department, someone else will be a constant reminder that I need to improve my ways when they jog by in bright athletic gear or enthusiastically mention that their simple juice fast is absolutely “replenishing”. Everyone seems to have some sort of opinion about the right foods. Whether the source is an experienced field expert such as Gillian McKeith, an inspirational story like Joe Cross’s transformation, an entrepreneur like Bill Duran, or a generic health center, they will all share their knowledge without hesitation. Some of those sources truly care about its clients, but some have hidden motivations. I will be cautious of which information I accept. The most important thing is that I make my own decisions because I am taking control of my own body.
I enjoy hearing about other people’s inspiring transformations. As I walked to a Santa Clara student event across campus last week, a friend of a friend started sharing his recent experience along the way. He had been on a juice cleanse for 5 days so far, and he indicated that he felt decent from the detox. Juice cleansing seems to be pretty ubiquitous for the crowd of young people. Odwalla is the most prominent maker of superfood smoothies available at all grocery stores. Their green-friendly packaging and marketing style draws customers to its peculiar taste. My photo shows the multitude of super-smoothies of different brands available in the Safeway across the street: Odwalla, Evolution Fresh (Starbucks), Naked, Bolthouse Farms, Kevita, Pom, Zola, Zico, and GTS Kombacha to name a few. In a few of these bottles in the refrigerated section, I noticed cloudy bits swirling around in the bottom of the smoothies. The bottles were labeled with a warning that live cultures might cause pulp to condense in the bottle. This disgusted me, but I guess others can deal with it. Anyway, I purchased an Odwalla superfood smoothie (there are many flavors available) from Benson cafeteria. Supposedly, there is half a peach, two strawberries, one-tenth of a banana, one-fifth of a mango, spirulina, and apple juice in this concoction. Ever since 5th grade when I had a bad experience with Jamba Juice smoothies (stomach flu memories really stay with you), I have avoided all juice purees. My best friend worked at Emerald City Smoothies last summer, so she was frustrated when I never came to visit her at work and try her samples. Even so, Odwalla smoothies are made more from vegetables than fruits, so that does not help me get over my aversion (who likes carrot beet ginger anyways?). Yet, I attempted to drink all of the Odwalla juice. However, over the course of a day, I could not force myself to drink any more, but I finished more than half of it. It did not taste as bad as I thought it would, but the consistency was not appealing to me. I did not feel energized or full because I simply did not enjoy the Odwalla juice. Is there any hope for a juice cleanse for me? I don’t think so. I will have to search for some other outlet to continue my health craze. I’d love some advice from you all about how to enjoy the ever-popular smoothie.
Works Cited
"Still Fresh? A Shelf-life-extending Technology Creates a Rift in the Juice World."Well+Good NYC. Well+Good LLC, 26 Feb. 2013. Web. 08 Mar. 2013
"Suja's Organic Juices Will Keep You Balanced and Hydrated to Thrive." Suja Juice. Suja Juice, n.d. Web. 08 Mar. 2013.

Superfood or Super-Faux?

Hello Friends,
The experience present in everyone’s lives is the choice between Big Food and Smart Food products. Big Food is deemed the conglomerates that produce cheap processed non-nutritious items for bulk consumption with profit in mind. On the other hand, Smart Food is considered to be the class of superfoods that boost immunity and protect the body’s condition. Most people either avoid food regimens and eat carelessly or choose the wrong type of diet. With a bit of scrutiny and research, I have managed to find out which foods are healthiest for my body. Now, I am aware. It is another big step to actually eat Smart Food. It is important to me that I put in the effort to receive my body’s maximum potential; it is all give and take in the mind and body relationship. After reading material from Dr. Gillian McKeith, as I discussed in the previous blog post, I understand that not everything I read is credible. With a surplus of information that may or may not be accurate, it is challenging to make the correct choice. In fact, I have a confession.
It’s true, I was doing well on my path to healthiness, and then I went to the Cellar market; I should really stay out of there because it’s encouraging bad habits. Browsing through the frozen section, I recognized my favorite brand of “healthy” frozen chicken, Quorn. At home, I might have ventured to declare my favorite meal was Quorn cranberry goat-cheese chicken nuggets. Even reminiscing of the hot chicken slab oozing with melted goat cheese and dipped in sauce makes my mouth water. After my childhood, anything served with ketchup is tasty to me. Honestly, before this week I had no idea this wasn’t real meat. In the Cellar, I was pulled by the nuggets’ mysterious magical food powers toward it in the back of the store. As soon as I laid eyes on the packaging, it seemed to be emanating a halo (or perhaps that was just the glow from the freezer lights). The inspection of the box revealed that the Quorn brand creates “meatless and soy free” products. Hmm, I was not aware that Quorn was a vegetarian brand for meat substitutes. No wonder they label it “Chik’n”. I guess common sense is not so evident to me when my mother was the one buying my groceries. She bought and I ate: oops. Anyway, the brand website draws viewers by marketing to the food-lover, weight watcher, healthy eater, vegetarian, and environmentalist. On the page that describes why Quorn is a suitable brand, the company starts the explanation with “Super food…or Superfood?” and ends the speech with, “No wonder some people are calling Quorn ‘a wonder food’!” (Quorn). The brand tells the audience that in addition to being yummy food, it is also in the nutritious “superfood” class as well. So Quorn creates nutritious food products for vegetarians, right? But I thought I was supposed to avoid all frozen meals because they are exactly that, “products” manufactured unnaturally. What is in the Quorn Chik’n nuggets that I bought? According to the package, the meat alternative is made mostly of mycoprotein, a “naturally occurring” form of protein that is “produced using a fermentation process”. Isn’t chemical conversion unnatural? The process is changing the chemical structure of food molecules, similar to food products with GMOs. In 2009, Kristen Seymour, a passionate fitness blogger for “ThatsFit” health section from HuffPost Healthy Living, wrote about how Quorn was facing a class action lawsuit (Seymour). Studies showed that subjects who ate Quorn products faced adverse reactions 10% of the time, compared to 5% for everyday reactions to fish and common food allergies. The significant issue was mislabeling because the package does not indicate any warning for allergic reactions. Since mycoprotein is similar to a fungus, the food was making people violently sick. If the meat substitute is a superfood, then in theory it should be making people feel better, not worse.  To address the issue, Quorn admits, “Unfortunately, all protein foods can cause illness in some people”. Seymour also reports that the Center for Science in the Public Interest has launched, and there are thousands of responses. If a company is involved with any sort of lawsuit or recall, I start to question the credibility of their product. Idealistically, I would not want to support this food that could do harm to my own health. Realistically, the power of hunger is stronger than my convictions about the food system. That is the real problem, applicable to almost everyone, in today’s society. There is no other recent information available online about the result of the lawsuit, and it is unlikely Quorn altered its product for the better. Perhaps Quorn misleadingly used an appearance makeover to quiet its critics by changing the packaging and marketing. Indeed, the Quorn controversy is a recipe for consumer frustration.
To return to the meal, I proceeded to make a snack. This was my first time trying the chicken nuggets. I heated 5 pieces in the microwave on paper towels, per the directions (see picture of box), for a couple minutes. After letting them cool, I noticed heavy grease stains soaking through the thick layers of paper towels. That was a bit disconcerting, but I was hungry and they looked so delicious (I’m working on my willpower). I didn’t have a clean plate handy, so I just squeezed a drop of ketchup on each nugget and ate it. They were decent, but they didn’t taste fresh. The nuggets did not taste how I expected them to. They were chewier and oily. I was not biased because it was before I had researched mycoprotein. I was expecting them to taste like McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets. I distinctly remember the taste of those because the fast food version felt soaked in sodium and injected with the x factor of processed food chemicals, the one that makes you crave more of it yet it never satisfies the taste. This is why I was longing for salty nuggets laden with that inexplicable flavor, reminding me of childhood car rides filled with fast food. A few months ago, my weekly social dorm activity was a Thanksgiving meal. The staff provided the food, including mashed potatoes, corn, and what I was delighted to see most of all, chicken nuggets. I blame the staff for reminding me of what I was missing out on. If I hadn’t eaten it then, I would not have remembered the processed yet addicting taste.  All right, it’s my own fault for lack of self-discipline. Perhaps, this act of eating Quorn chicken nuggets (identified as a superfood) is truly a success worthy of sharing; I certainly avoided eating meat and did increase my intake of cultivated protein. But I’m thinking it is more of a confession to ignorance.
As the season of Lent proceeds, it is fitting that I gave up meat for this meal, albeit unknowingly. However, I prefer to return to my omnivorous diet. I’ve been eating blueberries every day. They are my favorite superfood since I love fruit. “Berries are among the fruits highest in antioxidant content,” reports the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). The AICR established a Foods That Fight Cancer bulletin, claiming that as well as having vitamins C and K and manganese, blueberries possess phytochemicals that block cancer development. Antioxidants “attract and neutralize highly reactive molecules called free radicals that could otherwise damage body cells in ways that initiate cancer development,” writes Karen Collins, nutrition advisor to AICR, in her article for NBC News (Collins). Mixing berries with dark colored vegetables creates a nourishing smoothie, but I’ve yet to try any green smoothie. I was sick for exactly 6 days, and my cold ceased right before Parents Weekend. My mom and dad visited and took me out to dinner to enjoy a nice meal at a Vietnamese and Thai food restaurants. Although I am not feeling ill now and my health level is at a 9 (the best it has been in a while), I still continue to be mildly congested. I’m not sure if this will ever go away because there is always someone sick on campus, so I’m likely to always be in contact with other people’s germs.
In the end, the Quorn brand is an international corporation feeding the masses, a contributor to Big Food. Is a product made by a Big Food company still a credible superfood if it has beneficial properties? That is up to you to decide. In my opinion, Big Food can never manufacture Smart Food because artificial food products cannot be considered the highest tier of nutritious superfoods, which must be 100% natural. Oh, and as I write this, #health is a trending topic on twitter. If you don’t know what that means, it means a lot of people online across the world are talking about the nation’s health. Maybe the world is realizing the severity of the issue. Get online, comment on twitter or my blog, and tell me what your opinions are about #health.

Works Cited
"American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR): AICR's Foods That Fight Cancer." AICR's Foods That Fight Cancer. American Institute for Cancer Research, 20 Feb. 2013. Web. 03 Mar. 2013.
Collins, Karen. "Berries: Cancer-fighting Super Foods?" NBC News Diet and Nutrition. NBC News, 8 Sept. 2006. Web. 03 Mar. 2013.
Seymour, Kristen. "Quorn Meat Substitute Faces Lawsuit." That's Fit. HuffPost Healthy Living, 18 Sept. 2009. Web. 03 Mar. 2013.
"Quorn Products." Quorn Website. Marlow Foods Ltd, n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2013.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Hey, I found this article from MindBodyGreen (Julie Morris's website, author of Superfood Smoothies) titled 5 Simple Steps to Boost Your Immune System. I thought it was interesting. It's another way to prevent the common cold 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Nutritionist's Take on the Food World: A Text Review of Gillian McKeith's Bestseller

Hi Friends,
            Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food” (Goodreads Quotes). Based on that nugget of wisdom, this ancient Greek philosopher thinks I should choose natural foods to be the cure for my ailments, and those natural foods will be nourishment enough. I’m rather certain that Hippocrates wasn’t intending for me to be enjoying Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream to ease my sore throat. Oh yes, the symptoms are back: enlarged lymph nodes, a perpetual cough to rid the tickle in my throat, and mouth breathing because my nose is stuffed. I’m prepared for round 2 of the common cold this month. Emergen-C packets, dried apricots, DayQuil, and three boxes of tissues are cluttering my room.  This would be classified as health level 5. Anyway, the general consensus is that natural unprocessed food is usually what improves the body’s health. However, with so many opinions about which health foods are the best, I researched the published material of Gillian McKeith.
            Based in the U.K., Gillian is considered an expert by the Soil Association, a charity in the U.K. that promotes organic certification, in the nutrition field. Her website emphasizes that she wrote Dr. Gillian McKeith’s Living Food For Health: 12 Natural Superfoods to Transform Your Health in 2004, along with dozens of other publications about food advice such as You Are What You Eat. In addition, the site reports she has cohosted numerous television shows including Healthline Across America, and she runs her own clinic in London. Receiving a Masters degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Gillian continued to study at the American College of Holistic Nutrition. She herself suffered from ill health and decided to make a personal change through her diet. The result is her wealth of information she would like to pass on to her clients to improve their lives.
            However, there is a significant controversy surrounding the truth in Gillian’s claims. Her company and brand has been attacked for marketing schemes that promote health products with no scientific evidence. She also has been criticized for using the title M.D. when she is not formally a doctor. Ben Goldacre, creator of the website Bad Science, uncovers McKeith’s writing (along with that of other questionable scientists) as gibberish imitating scientific fact. Moreover, Gillian’s website ( seems to be a tacky infomercial-style money sucking scheme to draw viewers into “Gillian’s Super Club”, a poorly marketed fist reaching into clients’ pockets while disguised as the concerned gentle caress of a doctor.
            Despite the backlash, the profit numbers don’t lie. Her website, the only official source of information available to the public, insists “over 3 million copies have been sold” (McKeith). This bestseller, Living Food For Health, was published during the upswing of the natural health food craze in the early 2000s. During this time, there was sufficient evidence that many people were suffering the repercussions of obesity. As an experienced nutritionist, she had hundreds of clients coming to her because they wanted to improve their health in general, they desired to be in peak performance shape, or they were already diagnosed with a medical condition. This is one of her earliest works, so it was under fire for quite some time after that. Some of her following books are responses to the accusations of false reporting and scams.
To assess the bigger picture, this is a self-help guide for readers who are interested in Gillian’s method of improving health, while also offering the “inside” knowledge she gives her clients. The text directly speaks to readers who feel they are also frequently suffering from the common cold, or some other malady. Fans of Gillian, strict dieters, nutrition junkies, or people desperate for health advice will probably read this book. She is not a doctor, and there is a warning from the publisher that Basic Health Publications Inc. does not endorse any of the author’s methods and they should not replace a physician’s care. The author places readers into three categories and offers a basic quiz to determine if the reader is one of the many who can benefit from her following instruction. In this way, she convinces almost any tentative reader that he or she should indeed continue to read the rest of the material.
            To elaborate, I read the introduction of Living Foods For Health: 12 Natural Superfoods to Transform Your Health. I wanted to get a basic understanding of what a world famous nutritionist might write about. Although this first chapter is just an overview, she manages to provide scientific background on why human bodies’ health levels are affected by the diet. Her major claims include the spleen being the most important organ because if mistreated, a damaged spleen causes excessive mucus production. She also emphasizes that “living foods” have a higher “bioavailable nutrient value” and are thus superfoods because they improve metabolism and absorption rates (13). These include the list of The Sacred 12, which are her twelve precious superfoods that she swears will improve one’s lifestyle.
On the other hand, I was shocked to read that she encourages the use of the alternative form of superfoods as “living food powder”. Powders and other supplements found at drugstores are usually enhanced with artificial chemicals, so wouldn’t that be unnatural? Surprisingly, these “living food powders” are created in perfect health balance and harmony of digestion. I’m skeptical when she writes, “Once we understand these energy fields, we can better manipulate and balance our foods for medicinal purposes with great therapeutic impact” (16). I was not aware that the hot or cold “delicate internal balance” of food matters. At least she provides evidence by citing Dr. Anthony Cichoke and Dr. Gonzales, demonstrating a rhetorical form of ethos. In addition, she discloses that she had over 900 patients waiting to see her, so she can no longer see patients. This implies that her medical practice is successful. She provides the numbers and statistics for her customers who have improved their health, but is it really due to her method? It seems as if adding organic foods and removing all processed gunk would improve anyone’s wellness.
            I am not entirely convinced by “Dr.” Gillian McKeith. Reading her introduction, I felt as if she was patronizing to a non-health guru. True, she is the expert in this relationship, but her tone is condescending, not to mention she unnecessarily repeats material in the introduction itself. Perhaps if I continued to read the rest of the book, I would find her information more helpful. However, after this little promo, I am not enticed to keep reading. The opposing argument is that this “Living Food Program” is not any more significant than adding more greens to one’s diet. She does nothing to refute this, yet. Should someone who isn’t willing to make drastic life changes, like most people, bother to read this? Gillian advocates that clients eat only the twelve listed foods for a given period of time. Although she directly addresses the reader and sympathizes with his/her ailments through her own story of suffering, her ethos is corrupted by the wealth of information available online: about herself and alternative research. She has no credibility and is often called a “quack” in the scientific world because her evidence is considered outrageous and false. There are also reported issues with her responses to other scientists’ allegations about her work. She frequently resorted to legal battles and misleading statements (Goldacre), suggesting that she has something to hide: her secretly flawed “studies”. She has no formal education, so why should people listen to her and not a real doctor?
            So, this could have been the golden book of answers to my questions about my mysterious illnesses. Should I start incorporating the Sacred 12 (listed below)? I would agree with eating more natural foods. But it is not completely possible for me to start adding “wild blue-green algae” into my everyday diet. In fact, I probably won’t like it. I decided to review Gillian’s book because she is the most talked about nutritionist in the U.K, often making headlines. Perhaps the U.S. is not so lenient. It’s true that I am researching the affects of superfoods, but the more I discover about them, the more I am starting to believe that it doesn’t matter specifically which superfoods I eat. People have known for centuries that as long as one eats vegetables with nutritional value, he or she will receive health benefits. All in all, this insight into McKeith’s writing is useful for my project because I recognize the abundance of nutritional literature, and I cannot be so gullible to believe in all of it.
            Do you think you would read her book? Have you read anything similar? Have you even heard of Gillian McKeith? Let me know. Don’t forget: wash your hands, cover your cough, and stay away from germy people.

The Sacred Twelve:

1. Sprouted millet
2. Sprouted quinoa
3. Alfalfa
4. Aloe vera
5. Green barley grass
6. Flax seeds
7. Parsley
8. Dulse
9. Nori
10. Stevia
11. Sunflower
12. Wild blue-green algae

Works Cited

Goldacre, Ben. "What's Wrong with Gillian McKeith." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 02 Nov. 2007. Web. 21 Feb. 2013.
"Healthy Eating | Weight Loss | Health Profiling." Gillian McKeith. McKeith Research Ltd 2011, n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2013.
"Hippocrates Quotes." Goodreads. 2013 Goodreads Inc., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2013.
McKeith, Gillian. Dr. Gillian McKeith's Living Foods For Health: 12 Natural Superfoods To Transform Your Health. London: Basic Health Publications, 2004. Print.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Superfood Challenge

Dear Friends,
Finally, the cold is gone! I’m (relatively) free from burning chest pain and a hacking cough. I started chronicling my journey to recovery at the end of the duration of this cold, so an instantaneous revival of health was not strictly due to the addition of superfoods to my diet. The illness had run its course. Then again, my choice of meals may have had a greater effect than I thought.
Last week, I asked a few friends if they would join me on this health detox. I realized that their diets are already quite different than mine, and none of them seem to be currently suffering from a cold. One of my friends is on a weight loss diet before her big formal dance coming up, one obsessively takes vitamin supplements, another is going gluten free to practice for Lent, and my roommate already eats vegetarian. (I'm beginning to wonder: is this the new normal?) So, I continued the adventure independently.
As I began the first days of incorporating a super-meal (quite opposite to a McDonalds happy meal) into each day, I realized I needed to shop for ingredients. The Cellar market at Santa Clara offers many organic and natural food options. I picked up snacks there, including a Bobo’s Coconut Bar, chocolate coconut Luna Bar, and a mini pack of HALLS Defense. I admit, I may have purchased a few other unhealthy snacks like Poptarts and Oreos, but they did not resurface in the meal plan for this week. On the other hand, Safeway proved to be a maze of health products signaling advanced nutritional supplements. I stocked up on all types of berries: blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. However, the acai berry was nowhere to be found in any form. Perhaps I should search in a supplemental store like GNC. Dr. Perricone, Oprah’s nutrition expert, believes the acai and goji berries retain certain properties beyond antioxidants that help to combat viruses and sometimes even shed extra weight. I find myself making the mistake of preserving my berries for too long and then, unfortunately, they spoil. With lists on lists of superfoods out there from plenty of nutritional experts, it is difficult to ascertain which is superior. Most lists include these foods for their enhancing nutritional properties: oats, salmon, blueberries (and strawberries), broccoli, spinach, pumpkin, grapefruit, nuts, green tea, quinoa, kiwi, buckwheat, yogurt, soy, black beans, and kale (SELF Magazine). My goal was to integrate three of these items into a meal for three different days.

My aversion to sushi is inconsistent with my affinity for seafood. An adventurous friend encouraged me to try to the Bistro’s lunch specialty. On Monday, I ate the lion king sushi roll from the Benson cafeteria. Its main ingredients were salmon layered on a rice roll, oozing with avocado (not my favorite) and crab meat, and drowning in spicy mayonnaise and teriyaki sauce. I was surprised by its unusual flavor, declaring that it tastes “like nothing”. After the food digested hours later, I didn’t feel any better. I was still congested and heavily coughing, my health level at a solid 6. I continued to have the same sushi roll the next week!
Tuesdays are my traditional weekly lunch date to eat and converse with my best friend from high school, Caitlin. I usually get the Bronco Salad from Fresco, but instead I opted for my own salad concoction from the salad bar. The main ingredient was spinach leaves and a heaping pile of quinoa. My salad also featured dried cranberries, egg whites, broccoli, carrots, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. I had tried quinoa before and knew that it was tasteless to me. As I was finishing the creation, I was majorly disappointed when I spilled vinegar on my leather boots, so I grabbed a napkin to blotch it up quickly. Why do I have such bad karma if I’m trying to eat healthily? At the end of our lunch, Caitlin offered me half of her RiceKrispy treat, but I hesitated. She had been fiercely coughing since we sat down, and I was afraid of catching her germs when I was already trying to get over mine. She insisted that I was already sick, and I caved because I can’t resist dessert. 
After the quinoa salad, I felt full for the rest of the day. However, before dinnertime, I found myself snacking on oranges. This whole grain protein did improve my health level to a 4, and I felt like I had more energy--enough to attend a kickboxing fitness class. Since I’m such a picky eater, it’s lucky when I find something I enjoy such as quinoa that also has so many benefits. On Wednesday, I attended an early morning class. I needed sustenance to keep me awake. Take note, readers: At an early hour before the sun is up, be careful not to accidentally microwave oatmeal without water and burn the oats, wasting precious time and resources. Don’t worry, the crisis was averted when I made a new bowl and added blackberries. I was able to enjoy my steaming Quaker Oats brown sugar oatmeal, and pangs of hunger didn’t even start until hours later, compared to immediately after class when I eat cereal. One beloved nutritionist for stars such as Hilary Swank and Naomi Campbell, Oz Garcia, encourages breakfast as the most important meal, and he recommends adding a special dietary superfood to increase chances of eating healthier throughout the day (Time). It appears I was following Oz’s directions already. By the end of three days, my health level improved a considerable amount, and I felt that the food’s natural proteins provided more energy than I would have had without those additions.
Oatmeal with Berries
All in all, my week of superfoods has left me “unsick”. Unlike medicinal supplements, superfoods are often taken to prevent illness in the first place. In the worst part of the sickness, I took Emergen-C three times a day, which is a dietary supplement that replenishes electrolytes, not approved by the FDA. Patricia Karney, executive director of non-profit organization EarthSave, reinforces the idea that it is easier for our bodies to digest unprocessed foods because machines haven’t altered them, expending less energy. EarthSave, based in California, offers an education program to underserved individuals about changing health habits and sticking to a plant-based diet (Earthsave). While I followed a similar meal plan, my health seemed to be improving after these couple of days. Is it a coincidence? I do not believe so. We will see if I stay healthy when I continue to eat superfoods, and see which ones have a larger impact. So far, the superfoods made me feel generally better. But I can’t ignore other factors like time spent exercising, lowered stress levels on weeks without exams, and a more exciting social calendar that could have lifted my spirits. All in all, I am happy that I am feeling better no matter the reason.
I’m going to resume my superfood experiences next week. Have you been as lucky as I was to recover from illness quickly? What have you heard is the best superfood out there? I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Works Cited:
Danziger, Lucy S. The Drop 10 Diet Cookbook: More than 100 Tasty, Easy Superfood Recipes That Effortlessly Peel off Pounds. N.p.: Ballantine, n.d. Print.
"EarthSave - Food Intervention Programs to Achieve Health Independence." EarthSave - Food Intervention Programs to Achieve Health Independence. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2013.
Sifferlin, Alexandra. "What's the Healthiest Breakfast? Here's What the Experts Say." Time: Healthland. Time Inc., 13 Apr. 2012. Web.