Superfoods to the Rescue

In his book, “This is How: Help for the Self” Augusten Burroughs introduces a powerful idea in his chapter “How to be Fat.”  To paraphrase he states that when you allow yourself to eat whatever you want without judgment, eventually that triple-decker chocolate cake, the bag of Funyuns, or whatever your guilty pleasure food may be loses its “street cred.” In other words, by allowing yourself to have the sinful snacks whenever you want it stops being a treat and becomes of the emotional equivalent as any other food you consume. This logically makes a lot of sense to me.

I think this goes hand in hand with the economic principal of scarcity. In economics the price of an item increases or decreases based on its availability. The less of something there is the more valuable it becomes. When we tell ourselves certain foods are off limits for some reason or another it makes them intellectually seem scarce and all that more valuable when we do obtain them. Here’s another simple way of thinking about this…

I think of our bodies as sort of like toddlers who have just been told they absolutely cannot have that toy they have been coveting off the Cartoon Network commercials when we prohibit ourselves from eating certain things. Once the word “no” has been uttered, our bodies try harder than ever to get what they want. They cause cravings and basically “throw a tantrum” until we give in and let it have that Snickers Bar. Then while our body (cravings) might be happy, we emotionally feel guilty for lacking the willpower to stick with no. It sucks believe me, I have been there many a times.

And while some of you are probably thinking by now that giving in to our bodies cravings over time will probably make it doughy and unhealthy, just as giving in to a toddler will make them spoiled and privileged, but I wonder what would happen if we didn’t give that piece of pie any value at all. Burroughs wonders the same thing and proposes that you would probably eat a lot of it at first because it would be a novel thing to do, but eventually after the fourth or fifth time it would become any normal every day food and the deep cravings for the “naughty” foods would diminish.

If you read my previous post then you will already know how I feel about dieting. I just hate that word. Just hearing it makes me cringe a little inside. I think a lot of it has to do with control- “You’re telling me what I can and can’t eat? I don’t think so!” Also I am notoriously bad at sticking to, well, anything really if I am being honest (I’m working on it).

So this month in honor of health month I am throwing away conventional dieting and allowing myself to eat whatever I want. With that being said I am trying to throw in a “superfood” in every meal.  To be clear a superfood is “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.” Before the start of the month I did some research on superfoods and compiled a list of foods that dietitians and doctors recommend for their various health properties (if you are interested in the articles themselves I will link them below). All in all I ended up with 114 items ranked based on their number of mentions across articles (1, 2, and 3 stars). Using this list I have been trying to eat meals with one or more of these ingredients. For example, the other night Mike and I had steak, collard greens, and plantains. We then got Jenni’s ice cream afterwards, which was ok because the beef and collard greens from dinner were superfoods, and I chose an ice cream heavy with almonds which is also a superfood. Did the ice cream have more calories than a carrot stick? Yup. Was it a hell of a lot more enjoyable to eat? Without a doubt, yes!

This method may not work for other people and that’s ok. Personally, I have already noticed myself trying to make healthier choices just trying to include one superfood into each meal and it’s been less than a week. I may not lose a bunch of weight eating like this, but I don’t think I am going to gain a bunch either. To me it’s all about balance and having nutritious foods alongside foods I love but may not pack the same caloric punch.

What are these magical superfoods you may ask? That’s a good question and honestly some of the answers may surprise you. Without further adieu, here is my list of Mary Anne approved superfoods!

3 Stars

  1. Walnuts
  2. Quinoa
  3. Spinach
  4. Salmon
  5. Avacados

 

2 Stars

  1. Mushrooms
  2. Peanut butter
  3. Almonds
  4. Blueberries
  5. Eggs
  6. Sweet potatoes
  7. Oranges
  8. Broccoli
  9. Lemons
  10. Garlic
  11. Potatoes
  12. Pomegranates
  13. Kale
  14. Sardines
  15. Rolled oats
  16. Lentils
  17. Kefir

 

1 Star

  1. Chicken breast
  2. Edamame
  3. Dark chocolate
  4. Beans
  5. Bananas
  6. Raspberries
  7. Tomatoes
  8. Cauliflower
  9. Onions
  10. Chia seeds
  11. Flax seed
  12. Greek yogurt
  13. Olive oil
  14. Red wine
  15. Popcorn
  16. Grassfed beef
  17. Tofu
  18. Oysters
  19. Apples
  20. Pumpkins
  21. Figs
  22. Coffee
  23. Pistachios

 

Honorable Mentions

  1. Almond butter
  2. Grapefruit
  3. Tangerines
  4. Eggplant
  5. Swiss chard
  6. Broccoli sprouts
  7. Fennel
  8. Beets
  9. Collard greens
  10. Winter squash
  11. Tuna
  12. Anchovies
  13. Poultry (including dark meat)
  14. Whole wheat bread
  15. Hemp seeds
  16. Kamut
  17. Faro
  18. Coconut oil
  19. Cumin
  20. Turmeric
  21. Cinnamon
  22. Rooibos tea
  23. Harissa
  24. Goat cheese
  25. Coconut
  26. Ghee
  27. Canned salmon
  28. Spirulina
  29. Dandelion greens
  30. Nutritional yeast
  31. Mango
  32. Strawberries
  33. Blackberries
  34. Artichokes
  35. Sauerkraut
  36. Spaghetti squash
  37. Wild caught cod
  38. Rhubarb
  39. Beet greens
  40. Endive
  41. Snap peas
  42. Corn
  43. Kimchi
  44. Olives
  45. Kohlrabi
  46. Pork tenderloin
  47. Kombucha
  48. Buckwheat
  49. Ginger root
  50. Tahini
  51. Basil
  52. Asparagus
  53. Spelt
  54. Sunflower seeds
  55. Parsley
  56. Chili seeds
  57. Mint
  58. Carrots
  59. Amaranth
  60. Organic milk
  61. Red peppers
  62. Asian pears
  63. Lychee
  64. Guava
  65. Brussel sprouts
  66. Bulgar
  67. Tea
  68. Brown rice
  69. Kiwi

 

Reference Articles

Time: The 50 Healthiest Foods of All Time (With Recipes)

Time: The 50 (New) Healthiest Foods of All Time (With Recipes)

The 30 Healthiest Foods

The 10 Healthiest Foods on the Planet

7 of the Healthiest Foods You Should be Eating but Aren’t

 

 

 

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