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What are Superfoods? – The Healing Meals from My Dietician [Cure Metabolic Syndrome]

“Nutrition and savvy lifestyle are the current smart”-Anonymous

What-Are-Superfoods- The-Healing-Meals

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).

The India-Foods-to-Stay-Away-From

                                                       The India-Foods-To-Stay-Away-From

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

Exercise:

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.

Superfood-Quantities

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.”

Paracelsus

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.

Conclusion

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.

 

Anusuya Choudhury

15 Comments

  1. Just wanted to share my personal experience with gyming- It may sound unhealthy, but in my personal experience, exercising prior to taking any kind of food makes me lose more fat percentage. And can guava help in constipation as I taking of oily Indian food, makes constipation a daily routine

    • Dear Ivy,
      Thank you for reading the article and sharing your valuable personal experience. Exercising prior to consuming food helps lose body fat. I have experienced that as well.
      As per Guava, it contains good content of fiber and should help your bowel.
      I would recommend you banish oily Indian style of food. Drinking Amla juice 2teaspoon in the morning in empty stomach helps digestion. If you have time please read the blog post on this website 19 Choicest Superfoods and Amla is one of them.
      Would you mind telling what was the actual weight you lost and over how long?

  2. Thia is extremely informative.
    A lot of people in India suffer from dietary issues. They are unaware of the consequences. The bad food habits have overpowered the healthy needs and have passed on from generation to generation. This article is examplary for those people.
    Thank You.

    • Hello Sam,
      Nice to see you around and thank you for your intelligent analysis of the situation and lack of awareness in India. You can help people sharing this article and by word of mouth. Helping one person can make a difference. If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

  3. Dear Mausi,

    It’s extremely crucial for a nation like India to understand the vicious effects of their dietry plans.This article plants in the brain of millions of people the need to remain healthy and exercise.The bad food habits currently, transferred from generation to generation needs to be eliminated and replaced with better and healthier food habits. This article is examplary.

  4. Very informative. Can fibromyalgia be treated with any daily inclusion of super food into diet?

    • Dear Kabi,
      I am glad that you found this article informative.
      There is no specified food for the sufferer of FM. However, Research notes that a vegetarian diet low in fat and protein but rich in mineral, vitamin C, fiber and anti-oxidants tend to help FM.
      Thank you for your time reading the article.

  5. Anusuya, thank you for sharing this information about your story and the diet that the nutritionist recommended.  I did not expect to see you mentioning an improvement in eye sight in addition to the other benefits.   

    Since my eye sight has been getting worse, this gives me even more incentive to improve the types of foods that I am eating.    I did not realize that lentils were so healthy also.  I’ve had a bag of lentils for two months but have not taken time to cook them.   

    I think I will prepare them for dinner tonight.     You have motivated me to work harder at eating better quality food.   I also need to do a better job of drinking more water.    

    Thank you!

    • Hi Sondra,

      Thank you for reading the article. About eyesight, neither did I expect to get a 20/20 vision back. I believe it happened because I optimized my severely deficient vitamin-D level with diet and Vit-D supplements. I still carry that 20/20 vision for the last several years. I say it is diet and sun exposure along with regular Vit-D supplement.

      When I researching for my blog, I discovered one research article from the National Institute of Health (NIH), which had mentioned numerous benefits of lentils. Initially, I was vegetarian and lentils were the major source of protein. I use them almost every single day and know how to cook them to taste really good. Lentils are soups for my dinner and along with fresh veggies, I make a typical southeastern Indian dish with ginger, butter, and cumin seeds. 

      Drinking 6-8 glasses water seems small but it is big for maintaining good health. I start my morning with 3-4 glasses of water, the first glass being the lemon water. That easily makes up the slot. It is easy to forget water but we have to make sure.

      If you have any comments or recommendation. please do not hesitate to drop a line.

  6. What are the Superfoods is a question I have asked myself more than once. There are so many items that the experts will tell you that fall into that category, but different experts have different lists. Which ones are really superfoods and which ones are items that the person is pushing for their own personal reasons?

    This is why I was happy to read the title of your article and dig into the content that you have worked on for us all. You are an expert as well, so perhaps you can clarify the term and also describe which foods are really the Superfoods for us all. That would be extremely helpful.

    It seems that rather than a certain number of items it is more dependent on what kinds of nutrients that the food may contain. Your switch to more wholesome food choices in your diet did the trick for you and improved your health in some ways that were measurable and marked. 

    I have made note of the attributes that superfoods should contain, which is the starting point, and I do have a list of items that I consider to fall into that category now that I consume on a regular basis. Add to that the other tips that you have mentioned (i.e. exercise and etc.) and I think I am on the right track. 

    Congratulations on the relief from metabolic health issues that you have experienced from your switch to superfoods, and this inspires me to make the same kind of move with my diet to see this kind of improvement as well. I have no doubt that I will work.

    • Hi Dave,

      The following blog on my website is about 19 choicest superfoods which are nutrient heavy and having extraordinary medicinal benefits. I would recommend you to read that blog.

      I have not monetized my website and currently providing information which can benefit people. If one person gets some benefit, I will be happy. I have no other purpose but helping people. You will not see any links to buy this or that.

      Research is ongoing to use nutrition as therapy for mankind. I changed my diet and it changed my life. It is satisfying to think.

      I hope my superfood blog will help you. Please do not hesitate to drop me any questions you may have.

  7. Interesting read this was for me. I like the term super food as used to qualify it by you. Firstly, just like you it was when I got diagnosed of an illness that I really got serious with my diet plan. Interestingly, ever since then I have been a healthy eater. I eat valanced diet and I feed rather low on carb related meals as it’s rampant with all these fast foods. Eating healthy is indeed super and a sure way to naturally heal up. Thanks for sharing this your experience with us

    • Hi Dear,

      Thank you for reading the article. 

      I also changed my diet to a healthier version with much better health benefits. Occasionally slip out from the diet but have gotten back quickly to my healthy menu.

      Research is trying to find nutrition therapy now for ailments which is a good trend.

  8. This article was of interest to me as I live in an area of Montreal where there is much Indian Commerce.  I try to pick healthy dishes when I go to an Indian Restaurant.  So far I have mostly ordered mango shakes, tandoori chicken, spinach and cheese and nan bread.  I’m not sure how healthy all of that is.  I do like samosas on occasion but I did not realize they were bad health wise.  Your guidance helps clear up the cloud on what is good or bad to eat In Indian food for those of us who are not actually of Indian descent. 

    • Hi Dear,

      I have been in Vancouver, Canada for Indian foods and buying snacks and vegetables. I go for the buffet lunch and fill my stomach with all the Currys-oily and spicy and they really smell good too. I used to eat oily fried snacks a lot. I end with 3-4 kinds of sweets at the end. Mango lassi, if you are talking about them, they are full of sugar. Samosas-  are made up of refined white flour, filled with potatoes, fried. It is unhealthy.

      To make it worse, I buy freshly fired snacks out of refined rice flour and chickpea flour. I can’t just imagine, I was driving out from Seattle to enjoy these! I was vegetarian so no oven cooked chicken that most people enjoy. By the way, this is a healthy option.

      What can you eat healthy at an Indian place?

      1. Start with Yogurt Lassi with no sugar( a good probiotic).
      2. Lentil soups
      3. Salads and fresh fruits with mint and coriander chutneys

      4. Sauteed Veggies

      5. Grilled fish or chicken
      6. Roasted eggplants with less oily option. 

      6. Okra with less spice  (any vegetable like cauliflower, spinach, etc). A popular  Tika paneer is a good option along with Paneer Bhoorji.

      No sweets but may like Indian cardamon and Ginger tea.

      Sorry for the long list.  But I felt good writing about them. Because I have evited wrong foods 90-5 from my diet.

      Thank you for time to read the article.

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