After a successful 25-year career in marketing, College of Medicine member Sandy Purewal, 50, (pictured) founded self-care platform Superfied earlier this year. The concept – empowering people to take better care of their own health via better food – was sparked after a personal health issue and the deaths from cancer of two close relatives. Here, the father-of-two, who lives in Berkshire, explains more…
What is Superfied and how did you come to create it?
Superfied is a self-care platform that uses personalised food recommendations to help people feel their absolute best. We do that by creating a digital ‘safe space’ where we apply modern nutrition and forgotten wisdom to identify someone’s best everyday foods.
Because we’re all different, we create a personal food list and appropriate recipes for a user’s changing mental and physical needs through a monthly subscription service. It’s all totally dynamic because what works for someone one week may not serve them well all the time.
Superfied was borne out of the idea that health is a human right and we should know how to be self-sufficient in staying well.
Tell us about your journey with health and self-care
It was after my own health concern some years ago that I started to think about Superfied. I developed an allergic reaction to sunshine while on holiday; my GP prescribed steroids pills for future holidays but I found myself having to take them just to sit in the British sun. I had private healthcare but still drew a blank on the cause.
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Out of desperation I tried Ayurveda; I had resisted for a while believing it to be ‘woo-woo’. When it worked within three months and cleared my hayfever along with it, I wanted to know how and why! I saw that diet was a critical success factor and all the foods I liked to eat were making my situation worse.
While I was investigating the medicinal properties of everyday foods, two of my brothers-in-law were diagnosed – and died – from stage four cancer. Both had started to adopt a healthier lifestyle but it was too late. This turned a passion project into a mission for accessible, preventative health which is now Superfied.
SANDY’S TOP TIPS FOR BETTER HEALTH
- Be smart – the more processed our food, the more damage to our well-being
- Think of food as nourishment not calories – a healthy mind and body result in a healthy weight
- Eat everything in moderation – diversity of natural foods is our best insurance policy
- Eat less – whatever you can fit in your two cupped hands for every meal is enough
- Eat local, seasonal food if possible – it’s good for our gut, pocket, local community and planet
- Treat exercise like food – be savvy; if you drive a Mini like a Ferrari, you’ll damage the engine!
- Try less pills and more nature because it has the answers – enjoy it, respect it and synchronise with it
- Good digestion of food improves our gut health; good digestion of thoughts improves our mental health; mindfulness helps both
- Do something positive for your mind, body and spirit – it takes all three to thrive!
- Look at your well-being holistically; prioritise the cause over the symptoms
- DOWNLOAD TIPS FOR HEALTHY EATING HERE
Have you seen any really great examples of how social prescribing has helped to change lives/communities?
I love the The Long Table project in Stroud. Tom Herbert leads an initiative to drive well-being through the power of food and community; locally-grown/produced meals are available to everyone in the neighbourhood – and eaten together – irrespective of status and their financial background.
The Long Table has created an ecosystem that delivers well-being on a number of levels, not just through food. I find it massively inspiring that we can create real change by abiding to values that I hold dear – humanity, humility and honesty.
How can we improve mental and physical health for the masses – including using the NHS – to help benefit long term prospects for everyone?
I think the College of Medicine’s philosophy is crucial to achieving this – to redefine medicine beyond pills and procedures. The NHS is brilliant so if we can arm it with the best of conventional medicine and complementary medicine, we can make a real difference.
For me, the key is to empower people to better self-care through tools and techniques that prevent illness arising. That’s why I joined the College of Medicine; food, nature and social prescriptions have got to be a part of the solution.