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Get super-fit on superfoods this summer



Whistler is not a great place for all us flabby folks.

This point is driven (bicycled?) home especially hard this week, as the 2,500 or so racers competing in this weekend's Ironman Canada arrive in the resort in all of their skinny, spandexed glory.

But if you're anything like me (and God help you if you are), then you're probably not about to dust off the ole' Speedo and spontaneously sign up for a triathlon just because a bunch of athletic robots with three-per-cent body fat came to town and made you feel out of shape. Fortunately there are other ways you can get on track with improving your health without actually getting on a track, and enriching your diet with superfoods is as good a place as any to start.

Superfood has become something of a buzzword in the health food community, and, while these vitamin and mineral-rich fruits, vegetables and proteins have obviously been around for eons, it's only in the last few years that people have become fully aware of the many benefits they contain.

"Superfood has really come to a head now as far as people starting to understand it," said Angela Perzow, owner of Olive's Community Market in Function Junction, where you can find six shelves stocked with various superfood products. "People are talking about it more and it's not so much an anomaly anymore. It's not just healthy people that eat superfoods, it's become mainstream."

Classifying something as a superfood can be a tricky process as the term, coined by marketers, is fairly loosely defined as any food considered beneficial to your health that may also help with certain medical conditions. Popular superfoods include blueberries, the maca plant, goji berries and the cyanobacteria, spirulina. But nutritionist Nicolette Richer, who also co-owns live juice and organic bar The Green Moustache in the village, said the much-hyped food trend is helping start a conversation about what constitutes a balanced, healthy and complex diet.

"Even though 'superfood' is a buzzword, it still gets people thinking more about the mineral, vitamin and antioxidant content in foods and all those building blocks of our body," she said.

The rise in popularity of so-called superfoods is also leading to less focus on isolating certain nutrients in diets, Richer said, through things like fortified protein powders, which clearly don't have the same range of benefits as unprocessed foods.

"A lot of people when they go to a health food store will just want protein," she said. "But our body is made up of complex building blocks, which are proteins, amino acids, fats, starches and carbohydrates, and the superfoods provide all of those, which is nice, versus trying to isolate a particular mineral, nutrient or element that you want, which your body doesn't recognize as well."

But, before you switch over to an all-chia-seed diet, Richer said it's important that people remember that superfoods shouldn't be the sole focus of your meal plan.

"At the end of the day if you don't have a good, complex healthy diet made up of whole foods, then eating those superfoods alone aren't going to do anything for you," she explained.

The Green Moustache and Olive's sell a range of products containing superfoods — both sell delicious, reinvigorating smoothies — so next year you won't be so embarrassed by all those damn "Ironmen" in town.


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