This week I continue to expand on the daily health habits that make the foundation of vibrant health and abundant energy. Last week we took a deeper look at how to get enough sleep. This week, let's look more closely at what it means to eat nutrient dense foods.
I am asked frequently "What should I eat"? There is so much confusion, conflicting research and contradictory advice around what constitutes a healthy diet. Here, based on a couple of decades of my own voracious reading on the subject, as well as my own personal self-experimentation and helping hundreds and hundreds of people feel better by choosing nutrient dense foods, are the foods that I believe create the foundation of a healthy nutrition habit:
Healthy fats: Avocados, butter from pastured cows, cream, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (never cook with it!), coconut in its many forms - milk, oil, flakes, and whole -,lard, tallow, and duck fat (the last three from pastured animals only) are great choices. .
Bone broth: This is an abundant source of many nutrients, collagen, amino acids and minerals that enhance digestion and the health of the digestive tract, and support liver health and detoxification. The nutrients in bone broth also help skin stay youthful and supple, and joints to stay strong and healthy. Beef and chicken are both excellent choices for bone broth. Read more about the healing properties of bone broth HERE.
Eggs from pastured chickens: Eggs are one of the most perfect foods. Getting eggs from chickens allowed to truly roam around outside, scratching in the dirt and eating insects and worms, is crucial. Don’t be fooled by the claims of “cage-free” or “free-range” on egg cartons. These are mostly meaningless marketing terms.
Raw, grass-fed milk: Raw milk produced by cows grazing on fields that have not been sprayed by toxic pesticides is an incredibly good source of fat-soluble vitamins A and D. When cows are fed commercial feed, shut in small stalls and deprived of sunlight, these vitamins are diminished. Because pasteurization destroys enzymes, denatures proteins, and lowers the vitamin content of the milk, raw milk is a truly nutrient-dense food. Pasteurized milk (even organic) is best avoided.
Meat from grass-fed cows, chickens, goats, lamb, pigs, ducks etc...: Meat from pastured animals is higher in CLA, Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids, and Vitamin E. It also does not contain antibiotics or artificial hormones, which are endocrine disruptors in our bodies. Plus, it’s far better for the environment.
Wild-Caught fish, such as salmon and tuna: Wild-caught, not farmed, fish, particularly salmon, is high in Vitamin D, Omega 3 EFAs, and an important antioxidant called astaxanthin, as well as a source of healthy fats.
Fermented vegetables: Sauerkraut and kimchi are traditional foods that provide ample amounts of vitamins, enzymes, and probiotics. All of these are important factors in healthy digestion which is crucial for overall health and wellbeing. Read more about the many benefits of fermented vegetables HERE.
Organic fruits and vegetables: “But I can’t afford to eat organic!”(Read my post about why organic food is so important HERE.) The first step here is to ask “Why is cheap food so cheap?” rather than complaining about the cost of food that is actually good for you and the environment. The best way to stay healthy is to avoid the toxins in the first place, and numerous studies have shown that organic fruits and vegetables are significantly lower in such toxins. That said, here is a list of fruits and veggies that are less-highly pesticide and herbicide laden that are okay to buy non-organic versions of. And here is a list of fruits and veggies that are worth paying the extra money to get organic to avoid the heavy load of environmental toxins. Buying local when possible is an added bonus because it helps to support local farmers and usually provides fresher, seasonal, and therefore more nutrient-rich, food.
Grains that have been traditionally prepared. Heritage grains (emmer farro, Einkorn, Spelt and kamut are good choices) that are soaked, fermented and/or sprouted are good choices.
Cheese made from pastured milk: Cheese, from cow's or goat milk, is a good source of healthy fats, calcium, and importantly, Vitamins D and K.
So there you have it. A list of foods that should make up the vast majority of your food choices day-to-day. If you focus on these foods you will find that your cravings for sugary, salty, highly-refined, denatured and stripped foods naturally start to go away. Give your body the building blocks for vibrant health and abundant energy and it won't need, or even really want, the edible food-like substances that strip you of your health and well-being. Enjoy!