What is Nutrient Dense Food?
All this talk on social media about consuming nutrient dense food, having a meal that is nutrient dense, etc. but what does it mean?!
Consuming a nutrient dense, whole food diet is the foundation of the Nutritional Therapy Foundations.
Nutrient dense, whole food provides the fuel and raw ingredients the body requires to maintain health.
Food is not just about calories in, calories out.
We need to start thinking about food as fuel to our bodies as gas is to a car.
Without the proper fuel our bodies start slowing down and even though we may be slamming down the gas peddles the body just keeps puttering by.
What it means?
A nutrient dense, whole food diet means:
- Consuming food as close to its original state as possible
- Eating a diverse range of food
- Eating locally and seasonally
- Choosing organic over conventional produce
- Choosing grass fed, pasture raised animal products fed a natural diet vs corn and soy-fed
- Choosing wild-caught seafood over farm-raised
- Soaking and sprouting grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes
Basically it is eating as close to nature as mother nature created with avoiding toxic chemicals man-made has created to create Frankenstein produce that bugs won’t even eat.
We are reducing the toxic burden / load and upping nutrient levels of amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, and more.
A nutrient dense, whole food diet is required for optimal health.
Processed foods, like twinkies, donuts, pasta, etc. devour nutrient stores you may have and cause your body to work harder to achieve the balance it strives to always maintain.
Mostly because they are made with refined flours and sugars.
Refined means they have been stripped of beneficial nutrients so it is missing vitamins and minerals which are extremely important for your health.
Most minerals and vitamins must be consumed, your body does not make them.
And arguably, minerals and vitamins are the absolute foundation of our body and how it keeps working to keep our body functioning.
Food is not just about protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
Food companies try, really poorly, to fix what they have done by adding back in (fortifying) certain vitamins and nutrients.
But first these nutrients are synthetic, the poorest form available of the nutrient, that your body most likely doesn’t recognize, and needs to convert into an usable form by using already precious reserves of vitamins, minerals, and energy.
Second, they don’t add everything back in and nature isn’t dumb, it pairs things together nicely so that co-factors exist as minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and more all work synergistically together.
My favorite example being OJ or non-fat milk with vitamin D.
Vitamin D is fat-soluble meaning it needs to be consumed with fat to be utilized by the body.
How to start consuming a nutrient dense, whole food diet?
Overwhelmed at the thought of less processed food and more meats, veggies, fruits, legumes, and grains?
Start somewhere, don’t overhaul everything at once!
Start with one meal.
I recommend breakfast 😉 as it would hit multiple benefits but anyone, on any day will be beneficial.
A super simple way to hit this all for breakfast – an omelet.
What veggies do you like? Sauté those up or if you like them fresh add them fresh.
Don’t like omelets (I’m kinda with you there), do deconstructed!
Cook your eggs how you like them as well as the veggies you could have added to the side.
Lunch can be a big ass salad – grilled chicken, lettuce, and all the veggies you like fresh (like tomatoes or cucumber)and/or roasted (like butternut squash, parsnips, beets) with a homemade dressing (lemon juice, chopped garlic, and olive oil or dijon, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil).
Already shopping primarily the perimeter of the grocery store?
Try hitting your local farmers’ market and aim to cook one meal that is locally sourced from in-season produce.
Try a veggie you’ve never had before.
Most of us probably eat the same 10 vegetables over and over.
Expand and try something new.
Variety will keep you interested but also provides a bigger array of nutrients in varying amounts.
Level up your legumes and grains
In an ideal world as I said earlier nuts, seeds, grains and legumes should be soaked, sprouted, and/or naturally leavened.
Are you soaking your rice before cooking?
Do you naturally leaven your flour before baking a cake?
Do you soak and sprout your nuts before consuming?
I would say this is last priority in the transition of a nutrient dense, whole food diet because it requires planning ahead and can be realy overwhelming when you are just trying to figure out how to cook more.
Don’t do this step unless you’ve conquered the first 2.
If you are here, message me for resources.
Need more guidance or feel like you have this down but you are still struggling with your goals?
Schedule a free Connection Call and tell me about it and I can tell you more about my 16-week program designed to help you with working towards your goals with tailored recommendations specific to you.