I am so confused. I try to eat right 80 percent of the time, but in preparing my breakfast the other day, I looked at the nutritional value of all my ingredients, and I was kind of shocked. If I make oatmeal in the morning, I sprinkle it with linseed, sunflower and almond meal and some unsweetened coconut chips. But both of these additions are calorie bombs! Peanut butter, chia seeds, olive oil, avocado – all the stuff I thought was good for me is also pretty energy dense. Now I’m wondering if the payoff is worth it. Should I be swapping out my LSA and coconut chips for fresh fruit if I want to watch my caloric intake? How much is too much of a good thing?
Finally… someone has asked me the question that I answer every single day with my clients. And if you ask any of my clients who ask me this same question they will tell you how heated I can get talking about this.
Now this opinion is mine, and is based on my experience and my readings, so know that I am not a dietician or nutritionist. However, most of my colleagues who are, agree with me on this. Don’t blame the superfoods for this caloric mishap, blame marketing and media because if you used the term superfood 10 or 15 years ago (or less even) people would have thought you were talking about the latest superhero character. Yes, superfoods are really, really good for you but why are you trying to eat all of them? At the same time? You don’t sit down and eat every single vegetable in one sitting do you? Or put all of your condiments in your fridge on one sandwich?
This isn’t your fault but rather the fault of what is being thrown at you in every advertising campaign you come across. Someone hears that something is good for you then they try and make their million from it and then everywhere you turn and everyone you talk to is telling you about the new super food craze that you must join. Before you know it your morning oatmeal barely fits into your bowl and you spend the rest of the day on the toilet as your stomach tries to eliminate all of what you just ate (I know I am not the only one who has experienced this).
Acai berries, blueberries, kale, chia, flax, salmon, avocados, almonds, sunflower seeds (and the list goes on and on) are all very nutrient rich foods with a high caloric value, but that’s what you get with nutrients. The benefit of these calories is that they actually fuel your body, unlike the donut sitting in your work’s staff room. But do you need to eat all of them?
No. Which should answer your question about eating more fruit. Yes, you should swap some of these foods for others, like fruit and vegetables and water and grains and proteins. Everything in moderation, right? Have some chia seeds and sunflower seeds in your oatmeal in the morning with a few pieces of coconut chips for flavour, then almonds for a mid-morning snack. Dinner is may be a piece of salmon and some steamed spinach, or a really yummy piece of homemade pizza. Have your morning coffee still (and no, it doesn’t have to be the bullet proof coffee…does anyone really like that stuff?) and have a glass, or two, of wine after a stressful day at work. Food should taste good, bottom line, and even healthy foods should be consumed in moderation.
Sometimes I think about what my Grandpa would say about all of this – the superfood and organic food craze. He lived to 94 years of age and drank a can of Coke every single day. But his life was balanced. He gardened, he read, he ate in moderation and for taste. If it didn’t taste good he wouldn’t eat it. I feel like we are all looking for that magic answer or quick fix to make everything better and right now we are being told that answer is superfoods. But it is not that easy. There are so many more things that go into making you healthy. I hate to break it to you but avocado toast won’t fix everything.