When ‘super foods’ make you sick

A few months ago, my partner (Andrew) 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: Andrew’s green super food powder. This particular mixed contained chlorella – a detoxing green super food that I’m allergic too. 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 super food 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 labelled 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 ‘super food’ campaigns are no different. From my perspective, promoting the use of ‘super foods’ to every one, 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 super food 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 propaganda. You should be a lot more in tune with your body’s needs then some old campaign manager after all, am I right?

Is there a super food out there that leaves you feeling a little less than ideal? Would love to hear about your experiences below!


  1. Julie Lawrence

    Absolutely! I’ve found a number of things that are meant to be good for me actually make me very (suicidally) depressed – like drinking apple cider vinegar or kombucha daily, taking zinc (for pyroluria), eating sauerkraut and other fermented foods. I’ve recently realised it might be because most of these things increase histamines (which I’m already too high in), but I’m still not entirely sure. It’s frustrating! Thanks for your article!

  2. Alyse

    Listening to our own bodies is key to great health! Thanks for your comments Julie!

  3. Kari

    I became really sick with so many food allergies and intolerances and despite having always eaten a whole foods plant based diet and going down both the alternative and conventional medicine routes myself and all the practitioners were left completely stumped as to why so many random foods gave me so much pain even in trace amounts. So 3 years into my crazy journey of an incredibly restricted diet I discovered through my own research that I had low stomach acid, I was so thrilled that I could finally begin fixing the problem. It’s been just over a year since my discovery and I’m nearly better but I still have days and weeks where certain things- like nuts- just make me feel really sick. I wholeheartedly believe in listening to your body because you are the one that knows it better than anyone else. For me when I notice the way something makes me feel I automatically want to know why and in my experience if you look hard enough and research long enough you might just find the reason behind it and you may be able to fix the issue whatever that might be.

  4. Pam Falvey

    My local Health shop recommended that I try Green superfoods. It’s taken me nearly a month to wake up to the fact that I feel worse taking this supplement. I feel like I have a really bad dose of the flu. No energy & it takes so much will power to get up in the morning. I have no strength in my muscles & feel depressed

  5. Alyse

    Hi Pam, If you’re feeling terrible on any supplement, it’s a really good idea to discontinue use and speak to a health practitioner about your condition. You should be jumping out of bed in the morning, not feeling down and lethargic xxx

  6. Alyse

    So glad to hear you’re feeling better Kari. Being able to listen to your body is incredibly powerful tool to healing don’t you think?

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Meet Alyse

I’m a qualified Nutritionist who believes an evidence-based approach to modern nutrition is severely under-rated. Patients are so often left in the dark when it comes to health-care and as a firm believer in the old saying “knowledge is power”, my ultimate goal is to provide my readers, students and patients with clear and actionable advice that ultimately helps you reach your full potential.