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The Myth of SuperFoods

Superfoods

 

Everything is relative. That phrase couldn’t be more true when it comes to “Superfoods.”

In my new parody, Yours in Wellness, Krystal Heeling, Letters from the Wellness Industry, I write about wellness being a luxury brand and how Superfoods is often a buzzword to sell a shake, diet, detox, supplement, etc. While it’s certainly true that some foods are more nutrient-dense than others, for some people on our planet, any food or any drop of water is super. Americans often don’t appreciate how good we have it. But even in America, people have reduced access to healthier foods. For some, getting locally-grown or organic food at affordable prices or having time to cook something relatively healthy is considered super-duper. The amount of people who live in food swamps, areas where there’s a paucity of healthy, organic food but an abundance of  low-nutrient foods with lots of preservatives, is large. Too large. The amount of people who live in food deserts, areas that lack locally grown, healthy, organic foods, is alarmingly big as well. Usually there’s a lack of green space in food deserts and food swamps, meaning that there’s not a lot of places to exercise. In addition, a lot of these people have to commute to work and don’t have time to cook low calorie, healthy meals, let alone stock up on pricy Superfoods.  I mean, what a combination for long-term chronic health conditions, right? It’s too bad we don’t aggressively tackle these issues ( some refer to them as the social determinants of health) before the chronic health conditions start. I bet we’d be able to significantly cut down on our health costs, but, well… inertia or something.

At the same time, our first-world ways have led to major health issues that would make our hunter-gatherer ancestors cringe.

I often consider the irony of  the Wellness industry growing out of a need to address the chronic health conditions that come with being a rich, industrialized nation. For example, our marriage between sitting & technology, for work or pleasure, has contributed to our obesity epidemic, Type 2 Diabetes, sleep disturbances , chronic back pain, eye issues, and high blood pressure  in both adults and kids. When I was growing up, obesity in kids was rare. Now it’s commonplace.  And much like dominos, one or two health issues often lead to more. A plethora of mental health issues are linked to social media, too much sitting, poor sleep and not enough exercise. For example, depression. That’s something I’ve struggled with off and on, and I know that the best thing I can do for myself when I find myself slipping into a depressive mode, is go for a run or a walk in the woods, completely tech-free. After all, we evolved with trees and grass and animals, so don’t think for a second that your nervous system doesn’t know and remind you of that! Nature is the healing rhythm that can reset your nerves. “Go into Nature, it heals.”

Food delivery services & industrialization has allowed us to pack our refrigerators & shelves with endless choices, superfoods or not, always at our fingertips. At the end of the day, weight gain is still a battle between energy input vs energy output. As much as we complicate that basic fact, it’s still the truth.  If you eat too many superfoods, you’ll still get fat.

There are tons of wellness products on the market, and people with money can buy them, even if many, though not all,  are just placebos. For that reason, I often think the “brand” of wellness is reductive. It’s reduced to a bunch of products, capsules, ingredients or digital Apps, when perhaps the most ideal brand of wellness is much more simple, minimalist and getting back to the basic principles of moderation and movement. Sure, there is a time and place for all the “stuff” and the Superfoods, but don’t let it cloud the bigger picture. Being simple is pretty super.   😉

 

To read more about my take on “Superfoods” and this idea that wellness is a luxury brand, I invite you to read or listen to my short parody, Yours in Wellness, Krystal Heeling. It’s available on Amazon, and the audiobook is available at several other places. If you google “Yours in Wellness, Krystal Heeling” and audiobook, you’ll find it.

 

Also, hope you guys consider subscribing or checking out my health podcast, Causes or Cures. I’ve been fortunate to have some great researchers and top doctors come on and discuss trending health topics. I just posted a series of podcasts on popular commercial supplements and natural health products. Specifically, I did a podcast on CBD products, Spirulina and Chlorella and the most popular supplements for male infertility and erectile dysfunction disorder. Check them out! And if you guys ever have a topic you want me to discuss, write me. I love suggestions.

Someone recently wrote me and asked me who sponsors my podcast. Oh Lord, no one. It’s a side project, and while I research each topic and guest thoroughly before doing each episode, it’s not high-tech, and I don’t have any sponsors or anything like that. I do it myself from my living room in New York City and call each guest via Skype or Zoom. This means that I can assure you that I am not being paid by anyone to say or do anything that would influence you one way or the other. It’s a truly organic, down-to-earth podcast. What I can promise you is that the guests are legitimate experts and the conversations are thorough, scientific and worth listening to. That said, I want to thank all of my current listeners! I’ve received some really great messages about how much you enjoy the podcast and are learning a lot, and that makes me feel good, because that’s my only goal for it. You can check out Causes or Cures here. 

Other blogs to check out:

Bacteria on our Cell Phones: Melting Pots of the Microbial World

The Social Brain Hypothesis for Depression: Lots of Social Media, but Lots of Loneliness 

 

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