When Superfoods Make You Sick

Apr 5, 2018 | Nutrition



Alyse CoCliff – Nutritionist

A few months ago, my husband whipped me up a smoothie from a new recipe book that not only looked delicious, it also tasted delicious and it meant I could power through my morning meetings… winning, right? 

About an hour later, I started to feel sick. As the day moved on, I got progressively worse.

Being the health nerd that I am, I started to question why I was feeling so under the weather. After much deliberation, the only way I could explain it was it had come from something I ate. I headed into the kitchen to get a glass of water and it was there that I saw the culprit still sitting on the kitchen bench: a green superfood powder. This particular mixed contained Chlorella – a detoxing green superfood that I’m allergic to. It also contained high levels of Spirulina, another ‘super food’ that I also can’t tolerate in high doses. What followed were 6 hours on the bathroom floor and the inability to eat anything for the next few days.

Winning? Not so much.

Relationship? Tested 

When I started to feel somewhat normal again, we went to a friends place for a social catch-up. We spoke about ‘the smoothie ordeal’; we had a few laughs and as a result, we started on the superfood topic. One of the boys mentioned cacao and how his partner’s recipe testing had left him a little worse for wear. In amongst laughs, he labeled cacao an “oesophagus clogger” and he proceeded to tell us how it made him feel sick, HOWEVER he was slowly getting used to it. I stared back at him in disbelief.

“If it’s making you feel sick, you have to stop!”

“But isn’t it good for you?” he replied

Marketing has had an incredible influence over both our unhealthy and healthy habits. We are told to do this, do that, buy this and skip that, and in my opinion, some of the ‘superfood’ campaigns are no different. From my perspective, promoting the use of ‘superfoods’ to everyone, is a blanket approach to wellbeing; and whilst they may have some incredible healing benefits for one person, for others they just don’t agree with our make-up… and that’s 100% OK.

So, where does that leave us?

For all those slurping on a superfood smoothie right now, knowing it doesn’t leave you feeling 100%, stop. If a ‘super food’ makes you want to gag, skip it. Honestly I can’t be the only person out there that thinks Maca powder tastes like feet? You know you want to admit it  

REAL food is there to be enjoyed and if your basic principles are correct (no processed foods, lots of organic vegetables, good sources of proteins, fruits, organic unpasteurized oils, nuts and seeds), the need for these “super foods” will diminish.

Learn to trust your body and forget the marketing hype.

You should be a lot more in tune with your body’s needs than some old campaign manager, am I right?


Alyse CoCliff – Nutritionist

A few months ago, my husband whipped me up a smoothie from a new recipe book that not only looked delicious, it also tasted delicious and it meant I could power through my morning meetings… winning, right? 

About an hour later, I started to feel sick. As the day moved on, I got progressively worse.

Being the health nerd that I am, I started to question why I was feeling so under the weather. After much deliberation, the only way I could explain it was it had come from something I ate. I headed into the kitchen to get a glass of water and it was there that I saw the culprit still sitting on the kitchen bench: a green superfood powder. This particular mixed contained Chlorella – a detoxing green superfood that I’m allergic to. It also contained high levels of Spirulina, another ‘super food’ that I also can’t tolerate in high doses. What followed were 6 hours on the bathroom floor and the inability to eat anything for the next few days.

Winning? Not so much.

Relationship? Tested 

When I started to feel somewhat normal again, we went to a friends place for a social catch-up. We spoke about ‘the smoothie ordeal’; we had a few laughs and as a result, we started on the superfood topic. One of the boys mentioned cacao and how his partner’s recipe testing had left him a little worse for wear. In amongst laughs, he labeled cacao an “oesophagus clogger” and he proceeded to tell us how it made him feel sick, HOWEVER he was slowly getting used to it. I stared back at him in disbelief.

“If it’s making you feel sick, you have to stop!”

“But isn’t it good for you?” he replied

Marketing has had an incredible influence over both our unhealthy and healthy habits. We are told to do this, do that, buy this and skip that, and in my opinion, some of the ‘superfood’ campaigns are no different. From my perspective, promoting the use of ‘superfoods’ to everyone, is a blanket approach to wellbeing; and whilst they may have some incredible healing benefits for one person, for others they just don’t agree with our make-up… and that’s 100% OK.

So, where does that leave us?

For all those slurping on a superfood smoothie right now, knowing it doesn’t leave you feeling 100%, stop. If a ‘super food’ makes you want to gag, skip it. Honestly I can’t be the only person out there that thinks Maca powder tastes like feet? You know you want to admit it  

REAL food is there to be enjoyed and if your basic principles are correct (no processed foods, lots of organic vegetables, good sources of proteins, fruits, organic unpasteurized oils, nuts and seeds), the need for these “super foods” will diminish.

Learn to trust your body and forget the marketing hype.

You should be a lot more in tune with your body’s needs than some old campaign manager, am I right?


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