“Nutrition and savvy lifestyle are the current smart”-Anonymous
What Are Superfoods-The Healing Meals From My Dietician
What are superfoods (1)? To be honest with you, until recently I did not hear or know about them. However, I was always curious about healthy meals and nutrition but was not successful (2). Growing up in rural India, I had no idea about healthy nutrition let alone the superfoods and what actually they are.
I was eating loads of white-rice. My curries were oily. The snacks were fried and greasy made out of finely processed flour, white rice, and chickpea flour. The deserts were loaded with sugar and I loved them. I exercised very little. Diet does have a consequence (3) (4).
Are You Disease Free? Meet With Your Doctor
Your day-to-day of functioning well does not guarantee of a disease-free body. This is the fact that I was not aware of. Like most of us, I was not even doing my regular yearly checkup until I was diagnosed with a pre-diabetes condition and high cholesterol level in a company health fair. I became really nervous about my health conditions and visited a nearby hospital. My physician confirmed diabetes, higher cholesterol and detected a very low level of Vitamin-D (4 ng/ mL) in my blood serum as well. Besides giving me some medicines, she recommended me to meet a dietitian. So I did.
Result of Meeting with the Dietitian
During my meeting with the dietitian, she advised me about a diet to follow along with a small booklet to read. This is the first time I had a formal education about diet from an expert. I was happy and carefully listening to every word coming out of her mouth. I clearly remember, she never told me what are the superfoods about? She never even uttered the word “superfood” in the course of our one-hour meeting.
The Diet Recommendation From the Dietitian
I made her aware of my diet and the lifestyle that I was used to for years. She explained to me about the consequences of these kinds of diet. Then she recommended me a diet plan and lifestyle explaining about the health benefits. But as you will read through her recommendations, she prescribed all the nutrient dense food in my diet plan.
The planned food was providing enough healthy carbohydrates, protein, anti-oxidants, and pre/probiotics, vitamins, and trace minerals to my body healing me from the inside. I was not overeating either under eating, because I was eating the right amount prescribed by the dietitian. Olive oil (recommended 15 g/ day) replaced corn oil from cooking.
Here is a rundown of a typical daily diet from the dietitian and it is just a sample.
Breakfast: 40 g of oatmeal (rich in fiber, protein and a source of healthy minerals) cooked with fresh or frozen blueberries (powerful anti-oxidant, fiber-rich and low in carbohydrate) and almond milk, 1 teaspoon of chia seeds (good amount of protein, fiber, prebiotic that feeds the gut bacteria and propels the healthy bacteria (5).
Another breakfast option was 1 egg, 1 piece of sprouted brown bread and ~30 g of avocado. Avoiding sweet berries and fruits as topping in your breakfast cereals or snacks was her advice as well. Another breakfast option was 1 egg, 1 piece of sprouted brown bread and ~30 g of avocado. Avoiding sweet berries and fruits as topping in your breakfast cereals or snacks was her advice as well.
Mid-day snack: Small apple or guava, 2 tablespoons of cottage cheese
Lunch: Wild-caught grilled salmon (6) (3.5 to 4 Oz) twice a week, a fist-size portion of rice, with sautéed vegetables and leafy-green salad to fill me up. Various kinds of lentils (~50 g) replaced the fish the rest of week with varieties of lentils. Other delicious meals could be prepared with lentils. Healthy food does have to taste good too. Brown rice was replaced with Quinoa on occasion.
Mid Afternoon Snack: 2 teaspoons of peanut butter or almond butter (7) with vegetables like carrot, broccoli and cauliflower, fruits, nuts and canned sardines (a couple of them) always was a treat which contains Vitamin-D3 (8) along with my salmon lunch. It keeps me filled until dinner.
Dinner: Mixed green Salad, lentil soup, sprouted whole grain brown bread. Desert could be the nutritious chia-pudding.
What is The Best Place to Buy Your Produce?
Living across a PCC family store at Bothell, WA was giving me an edge. They sell fresh organic produce. They procure all kinds of organic herbs and spices from across the world. It is on the expensive side but there is a good reason for that. Health is always more important.
I was a vegetarian but started eating salmon and sardines recognizing their benefits. These omega-3 fatty acids (9) superfoods benefited my health in up-lifting Vitamin-D deficiency and provided me with low calorie, protein along with vitamins and minerals to nourish my nutrient deprived health.
I tried to accommodate organic and fresh food in my diet. Besides, the PCC family store cooks fresh and healthy organic dishes every day for every meal. I buy them occasionally because it is quite expensive for me.
Wholefood market and local markets in the sale of fresh organic produce. Locating places to shop from can add to health benefits.
Cooking at home with organic produce and eating at PCC fish have heaven and hell difference in eating at Indian restaurants, which I was used to. Besides, I used to love them but had to stay with them.
Per my dietitian, I swapped my diet and followed it holistically until now which is 4 and half years of living with the healthy meals. I have slipped at times but have come back quickly to foods which are good for health.
The Smart Life Style
My pre-workout snack was mostly microwaved sweet potato and a cup of green tea. Sometimes I go on an empty stomach or with a cup of green tea.
I worked out 3-4 h/ week in the gym with different machines. In summer months I walk 2-3 miles/ per day for 4-5 days in a week.
Occasionally, I do yoga.
From no exercise, I moved to 3-4 hours of exercise in a week.
I drink 6-8 glasses of water every day. That was of no problem.
Say “No” to Unhealthy Food: Added sugar or any kind of artificial sweeteners was “no” and dairy was restricted to low-fat cottage cheese. I had to banish many of favorite sweets and fried snacks. These types of meals can be deadly changing your body physiology and getting you closer to type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The only time, I was allowed to eat my favorite sweets or my loving fried stuff when I just can’t resist the urge.
Green tea (2-3 cups) along with my meal was healthy and gives me heavenly pleasure.
My Health Status Before and After
Staying on this diet plan for 41/2 years this was my change in health.
- A1C changed from 10.7 to 6.8. With the healthy meals, I used 2X 500 mg of Metformin as prescribed by the dietitian. Without the metformin for 6 months, the A1C elevated to 8 but still was less than 10.8. This result clearly shows the benefit of the superfoods
- Body weight reduced steadily from ~183 lb. to 148 in the first two years and staying around this number for the last several years
- My eyesight got better and I no longer have to use glasses for driving
- My cholesterol and lipid level became all good (I was and am still on 10 mg/ once daily of Atorvastatin).
- My Vitamin-D levels were up. From Severe Vit-D deficiency, it went to normal per my doctor (10) (11).
- I got used to these kinds of foods over time and they are now my daily diet.
Surprisingly, neither the doctor nor the dietitian uttered the word superfood. But the diet I was on was a “super duper diet” that healed my metabolic syndrome.
The Superfood Meals-When and How much
It was nice of the dietitian to attach the amount with the food. Now I know eating a whole healthy avocado increases the body weight. Variety of superfood in right amounts on your plate is the key. Yes, there is always dose, too much good can be bad. Have you heard the adage?
“All things are poisons, for there is nothing without poisonous qualities. It is only the dose which makes a thing poison.”
Why are Superfoods Good for You?
Are superfoods good for you? The resounding answer is Yes. Because
1. They are nutrient dense with protein, vitamins, minerals-all in one, the body needs to keep running healthy.
2. They are mostly plant-based and low in calorie and have added benefits of losing weight without any dieting but with super diet.
3. Most of them are a rich source of phytonutrients. They fight off free radicals to protect your DNA damage. Free radicals can be created inside the body from metabolic processes occurring inside or from outside from environmental pollution, smoke, UV rays from the sun.
4. The colored foods can act as a free radical sink. They are rich in fiber which is good for gut health. Recent research relates Gut health to several body symptoms.
5. The low GI carbs, protein and fibers take longer to digest. So you eat less. That leads to natural weight loss from your body.
6. Vitamins are essential nutrients. The human body either does not produce enough of them or does not produce at all. Lots of our body functions depend on the availability of vitamins. They work in concert with other systems of your body. Your immunity, wound healing, support normal growth and development. Certain vitamins carry oxygen from lungs throughout your body. Vitamins help absorb body nutrients.
Healthy meals consisting of nutrient dense ingredients along with healthy lifestyle healed my metabolic syndrome
My blood sugar, A1C, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, eyesight and Vitamin-D blood serum level are doing well.
Taking off the medication for diabetes for 6 months still kept the A1C no lower compared to original signaling the healing benefits from the diet only. Staying closer to the portion size is the key to natural weight reduction.
My changed lifestyle accommodates regular exercise, and mindful eating along with the doctor recommended medication.
It is worth saying the nutrients rich superfoods work as wonders for providing you with health benefits.