Sunday, October 20, 2019

Posted at: Jun 8, 2019, 12:36 AM; last updated: Jun 8, 2019, 12:36 AM (IST)GIRLS@GUPSHUP

Superfood surfeit

Superfood surfeit
Illustration: Sandeep Joshi

Aradhika Sharma

My friend Sangeeta, who had moved to Sweden after marriage, got in touch with me after 18 years, saying that she was visiting India and wanted to meet up. We decided to touch base in a popular café. She had been a plump, ‘healthy’ type all through college, so I barely recognised the muscled, toned and fabulous-looking woman who came forward to greet me. As we settled down to catch up, I ordered a cold coffee with ice cream. She opted for fresh lime in water. Without salt and sugar. Insipid stuff, I told myself.

“You’ve turned into a lean, mean, fighting machine, Sangeeta. How did you do it?” I asked.

“Simple,” she responded breezily, “I stopped loading my body with toxic foodstuff and opted for healthier nutrition habits.”

“Really? Can I do it too,” I asked immediately imagining myself in a clingy size 8 dress. 

“Of course,” she said. “Look, basically, there are three principles you must follow while choosing your food: 1. It should contain antioxidants; 2. It should fight free radicals; and 3. It should include minerals like magnesium, zinc, manganese, selenium and chromium.”

“I thought only cars had chromium and batteries had selenium,” I said.

“Well, broccoli and seafood have them too!” she laughed.


“Yup! The bottomline is that you must stop poisoning your body and switch to superfoods!”


“No chips, cheese or namkeens. No milk or paneer. No flour or rice. No fried stuff. No mangoes or grapes. No oil, butter, aerated drinks, tea or coffee. No sweets or salt.”

I was aghast. “That’s my staple food you’re listing out. What will I eat?”

“Arre! You’ll get to love superfood. Eat quinoa, kale, oats, beans, tomatoes, blueberries, seeds, garlic. Drink green tea, wheatgrass juice and seaweed and Spirulina. These are anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory foods that fight diseases.” 

“Can I have beer?”

“No beer,” she said firmly.

As she got up to leave, she patted my chubby cheek and said: “Don’t worry. I’ll mail you a diet. You’ll soon be a younger, healthier person. Superfoods will ensure a super you!”

To me antioxidants sounded like something that were used to prevent rust while free radicals reminded me of unconfined, trigger-happy terrorists. But getting into that size 8 dress was worth an attempt. So, I started my sojourns with superfoods with lunch that comprised of quinoa, tomatoes and apple cider vinegar.  I discovered that while quinoa maybe fibre- and protein-rich, it’s the most tasteless grain in the world. I ate unsalted tomatoes to fight those pesky free radicals and completed the ‘meal’ with apple cider vinegar (almost gagged!).

For dinner, I had zoodles (noodled zucchini) sprinkled with garlic for medicinal properties. The dish ensured I stayed awake all night, feeling  hungry and overwhelmed with the garlic smell from my own mouth.

All night I dreamed about mutton curry with pulao and fondly recollected the sausage spaghetti alfredo and mangoes with ice-cream that I had the day before... In the morning, I told myself that after a superfood diet yesterday, I’ll take a long walk to the fridge today!


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