This is Your Body on Super Foods


Attributed to Ben Marcus – story/photographs by Armin Zogbaum June 2014

Want extreme vitality, boundless energy, and a solution to pretty much all of your bodily woes? A new wave of health foods—ancient so-called superfoods—is being hailed as the answer. What the hell is this stuff? Should you eat it? How do you eat it? We asked Ben Marcus to spend six weeks on a superfood diet. That was three months ago, and he’s still guzzling the goji-berry Kool-Aid.

This is not a story about the fountain of youth. At the time of this writing, no such thing exists. But a whisper campaign is mounting about what might be the next best thing: the fountain of not feeling like shit all the time. The fountain of ungodly energy, a disease-proof body, and drop-dead radiance.

This is the promise, anyway, of superfoods, those nutrient-rich seeds, roots, and berries sold at a premium in dime-bag sizes at your local Whole Foods. These new foods (newly marketed, at least, since they’re ancient staples in their countries of origin) are purportedly among the healthiest edibles in the world. Dr. Oz, medical guru and early adopter of cutting-edge nutrition, hypes them regularly, saying that “superfoods can rev your metabolism, whittle your waist, and leave you looking and feeling better than ever.”

At first I was dubious. And derisive. And dismissive. If slightly covetous. For me, the power of food—the processed, wretched kind—has usually made me look like hell, snuffing out whatever glow I had. I eat to carpet bomb disappointment and anxiety, if only temporarily, and with disastrous results to my health. My cookbook, should I ever write it, would be called Eat to Forget.

This approach has had its…limitations, so lately I’ve reversed course and now plan to bury my face in superfoods at every meal for six weeks. If whole, unprocessed foods give us that certain glow, then superfoods should damn well amp up that wattage. I’m shooting for a vitality that will blind, and possibly even arouse, those who look upon me.

So far, though, midway through week two, the only person likely to be aroused by me is my sweet wife, and she is merely annoyed. This superfood experiment has not been good to her. If my skin is glowing, she hasn’t noticed. She’s too pissed off that I’ve turned our kitchen into a meth lab. Every morning, seeking to camouflage superfoods in our meals because of how rank they can taste, I run an industrial blender that’s louder than a high-pitched rodent alarm, nearly giving nosebleeds to our kids. They flee the kitchen at the sound of “Dad’s machine.”

This is molecular gastronomy without the gastronomy. And my wife’s favorite foods—the olives, cheese, ice cream, crackers, and other crap we used to happily eat before we learned there was something far more potent and nutritious and magical out there—are now buried under the ultra-expensive superfood swag I’ve let into the house. Our fridge and cupboards are clogged with pouches of seaweed dust, pulverized roots, and fruit powders: maca, lucuma, maqui, wakame flakes. This stuff is expensive, but the dosages are microscopic, measured sometimes by the quarter teaspoon. A three-ounce pouch of maqui powder, at $23, will probably last as long as a pair of my underwear and not taste much better.

Read the rest of this story at: GQ Magazine: This is Your Body on Super Foods


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