Not all Foods are Created Equal
by Zoe Spears-Takakuwa
The new accessory for Chapman students these days isn’t a Michael Kors bag, unless it carries a portable jug of kale and pitaya juice. Many students are on a health kick by reaping the benefits of certain magical fruits, veggies and seeds listed as “super-foods.”
The requirements for being deemed as an elite “super-food” are really up to interpretation. Health and women magazines, television shows and websites are plastered everywhere with 10, 20 and even 50 super-foods you need to eat in order to prevent cancer and aging, lose weight and gain energy and live a full healthy life. Everything from whole-grain products, to sardines, to acai berries are listed as super-foods.
The basic definition for a super-food is a food that is rich in nutrients, having the ability to enhance your overall health.
Rae Strum, junior public relations major, started an online food blog last January called "Intrigued with the Lean" where she posts recipes, nutrition information, workout regimes and overall wellness advice.
Her posts can be publically accessed, but they are tailored towards Chapman students who are the majority of her readers.
“For years my friends have come to me seeking advice on exercise and healthy eating,” Strum said. “My blog is all about providing others with information on enhancing their lifestyle in healthier ways, written in a way that makes the topic easy to understand.”
Strum’s typical diet includes several super-foods such as green tea, dark chocolate, flaxseeds, bananas and cinnamon.
The first thing that Stephanie Kuo and her roommate Aaron Huntsberger do when they wake up is to make themselves pitaya smoothies. Ku, a junior psychology/communications double major, lives a diet free from gluten, dairy, eggs, most meat, processed foods and sugar. Kuo and Huntsberger,a junior and strategic and corporate communications major, consider themselves eating a mostly raw diet, consisting of mostly fruits and veggies and unmanufactured, all natural produce.
Because of pitaya’s natural sweetness, it is low in sugar as well as being a good source of raw energy.
“We love to cook and make meals for ourselves,” Huntsberger said. “If you can see everything that is going into your dinner it’s less likely that there will be something unhealthy or bad for you.”
Super-foods can also make you feel super-good about yourself.
“Switching to this diet wasn’t a 360 transformation,” Kuo said. “I gradually cut out processed, gluten and dairy products because of my constant stomach and head pains. Since then, my symptoms have subsided and I feel more energized, have healthier skin and feel overall like a higher-functioning person.”
So the next time you’re hungry and want to reach for that box of Oreos or Cheetos, instead think about what you are putting into your body, and grab a banana or a container of Greek yogurt. Or when you have the late night munchies and are thinking about stopping at McDonalds for some fries, swap them for home made ones ready in three minutes without the guilt. Small differences like this can not only help change your diet, but your mood, energy level and your physical well-being as you get older.