Nutrient Dense Foods

So you want to start eating healthier. You may have even decided to try to get the meat out of your diet. But where do you go from here? There are a lot of foods that you can choose that aren’t laden with fat, but not all are healthy. As an example, just think of all the low-fat or no-fat chips and snacks available. I think most would agree that these are not the healthiest food choices we could make, although they may not contain any meat or dairy. Your best bet is to stick with fruits and vegetables, preferably raw if possible. Obviously, you can’t eat some vegetables raw, but you’d also be surprised at the variety of raw veggies that make a great topping for a salad. What you want to concentrate on are “nutrient dense” vegetables and fruits. In Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book, “Eat to Live”, he lists the nutrient density of the most common fruits, vegetables, meats and condiments. Needless to say, the green vegetables, including the lettuces, kale, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, and zucchini are at the top of the list with a score of 99-100. Not surprisingly, sugars and oils are at the bottom of the list, with a score of 0 or 1. But perhaps you’ve taken to eating pasta, potatoes, rice, oats, and barley (hopefully, all whole grain). These are certainly better for you than fried foods, dairy and meat, but they only score a mediocre 22 out of 100. Meat, fish, eggs and dairy score even lower, between 3 and 15. So when making your food choices, you want to eat as many as possible from the most nutrient dense foods that you can. By doing this, you can also build some Margin into your diet, leaving some “wiggle room” for a few of your favorite foods that don’t score so well. And if most of the foods near the top of the list aren’t on your “hit” parade, start with those that are. It still amazes my family how our taste buds have changed given the opportunity to “re-train” them to enjoy good-tasting healthier foods. Bon appetite!

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1 Blanche September 23, 2010 at 8:09 am

Whole foods are best. Grains are fine for some people and not others. Grain fed beef should be avoided. Being mostly vegetarian means to me lots of green vegetables, juices, and some fruit. However, I see very healthy people in both ends of the spectrum. From paleo to the raw food way many people are doing fine.It is a problem when any way of eating is taken to the extreme.

Look to the nutritional density of the food. Here on these pages you got it right. Grain fed beef packs on not only pounds, but all sort of problems. I would just be happy if everyone would just watch the source of their food, and the nutrients.

People of past generations have had long healthy lives with eating what was available. The difference is that what is available and abundant are manufactured “foods.” We are not designed for this type of eating. However, the companies that market and manufacture these products are doing well.

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