October 1, 2016

Superfoods: Are They Really the Answer?

fat utah jogger

It’s that time of year again, when the gunky air makes us feel crappy. But I’ve found something that’s making me feel better. It’s not an air-transplant, but something I can control, and maybe you’d like to try it as well.

Just a little background. I have a natural tendency for seasonal depression and cyclical weight gain. I run, I bike, I hike, I walk. I rarely sit for longer than an hour at a time. I’m a very active person.

Yet, I fit into the growing category of Americans who are overweight. Why? Because I eat whatever I want, especially this time of year. I love Crown Burgers. I love Lucky 13 burgers. I love beer. They make me feel good.

I’m just a guy who can’t say no. The other day I ate a club sandwich with a salad. But I saw an item on the menu that sounded so tantalizing: deep fried hush puppies with Cincinnati dipping sauce. Yes. My problem is I never say no, especially when the weather bums me out.

At age 37, I’m losing the metabolic race. My love of good food and the caloric intake of said food has surpassed my ability to work off those calories through exercise. Every year around this time I get a little heavier. I’m 206 pounds now!

“Am I fat?” I ask my wife. “Do you really want me to answer that question?” I can easily run five miles. I ran a half marathon last spring. Last fall I biked through France for twelve days. I point out my athleticism to somehow diminish the significance of my growing beer belly, but somehow I can’t talk it into leaving me. It’s a fact: I’m overweight and I need to lose the pounds. This is the first time I’ve written about myself and my diet, but since this is the season for New Year’s resolutions, here goes.

I started my New Year’s resolution early so I could write of my progress and my strategy. I began Friday December 13th. My wife came home after reading about a 100-year-old man who runs marathons and claims he has found the magic superfood formula: spirulina, green tea extract and broccoli shakes. I’ll explain why I will endure the suffering of making these shakes my breakfast for the next two months.

I first heard about spirulina from Pib’s Exchange owner Phil Snow. It’s one of these “superfoods,” made from green algae. He told me how it has made his digestion completely regular and he feels great. Phil makes his own granola using a food dehydrator and puts spirulina on top of it like sugar.

I tried this and failed. Spirulina tastes like powdered chalk. It’s awful. I tried mixing it with orange juice. It completely ruins a perfectly good glass of OJ. But mix it with green tea extract, pineapple, papaya berries and broccoli? The shake looks like liquified green carpet. It already tastes pretty bad, but not awful. I’m hungry and it makes me full. I can report that after having this shake for breakfast and then lunch, then a 600 calorie dinner, I felt great all day. I have had one of those nagging colds which, due to the inversion, seems never to resolve. And I felt so much better after giving my body a huge dose of three superfoods.

For the last three weeks I have felt sort of bloated; my digestion has been irregular. I smoked cigarettes during Thanksgiving and consumed a lot of wine and smoothievodka. I think that the vodka probably killed a lot of the good bacteria in my stomach because even eating salads I was not digesting food well. But the first morning after my superfood experiment—ta da! An amazing digestive experience.

I no longer feel bloated. I feel like my cold is in retreat. I feel great! And it’s 12 degrees outside with zero percent chance of seeing the blue sky today.

Take the superfood shake challenge with me. Every morning drink the shake for breakfast. Change up the supplemental berries and juices, but always have the three superfoods—spirulina, green tea extract and broccoli. I’ll track my progress and I would like to hear about how it’s working for you as well.