There have been quite a few questions in regards to nutrition and how nutrition can be “calculated”, and how to find an indication that what you are consuming is nutritious. This is a great question, and one that many people have the most confusion with. In terms of nutritious sources of food there are a number of obvious choices of food that are existent and these are usually distinguishable as good foods (living foods) VS bad foods (dead foods), we found that distinguishing between the good and bad will gives us an indication of the nutrient content within food groups.
What makes a good or living food?
A good food contains a high amount of nutritional qualities these are most normally mineral dense, vitamin dense which contain good saturated fats and amino acids. Not surprisingly these are foods within the vegetable and fruit realms, we say vegetable and fruits in this order because we believe in a strong plant based diet which should be based mainly on vegetables with a smaller portion in fruit and a smaller portion of animal products. Out of the vegetable kingdom, the most mineral dense, vitamin dense, protein dense, amino and fatty acid rich foods are within the green leafy (cruciferous) vegetables and that of which Kale reigns supreme. These two superfoods are a powerhouse of everything your body needs.
Nuts and Seeds and Grains
Nuts and seeds and grains are an amazing sub-set of foods. The nutritional density within this realm is huge, and a lot of these foods are classified as being superfoods. For example the South American super seed Chia, also Amaranth and Quinoa are known to have a plethora of beneficial vitamins minerals while also containing fatty acids as well as protein.
Nuts have a higher concentration of oils containing fatty acids which are beneficial to be consumed for this purpose. Not to mention that the benefits of having a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Some nuts that you might consider incorporating into your diet are Almonds, Cashews, Wall Nuts, Brazil nuts and Macadamia Nuts – please eat them in moderation as they do contain high levels of fats and oils. In regards to grains Wild Rice, Millet and Corn are a great option to add to meals all of which are gluten free and taste amazing! These grains are also great replacements for rice and wheat products. If you are looking to lose weight or are diabetic please stay clear of grains and grains are carbohydrates and are metabolised as sugars which will drive up sugar levels.
Red meats, Poultry, and Fish
Any kind of fresh meats including fish are a great source of complete proteins, omega 3 fatty acids, and essential amino acids. However that being said, some types of meats should be consumed more regularly than the other. Each type of meat has a nutrient index and a hierarchy. Fish and poultry should be consumed more often than red meats. All meats unfortunately are acid forming in the body. To offset acidity levels after you consume any form of meat you can incorporate things like fresh vegetables and fruits into a green smoothie that can be had with your serving of meat. Please keep in mind that we do not nearly require nearly as much protein as you think unless you are a body builder. It is a good rule of thumb to eat a fruit and vegetable strong diet incorporating meats and fish based meals 3-4 times a week.
Hydrogenised Oils, Dairy, Gluten, Sugar and All other Processed Foods
We now come to another realm of foods the man made kind. Simply put these are the foods that EVERYONE has to avoid like the plague. Basically, anything that comes from fast food restaurants and absolutely anything that can be put in a box, jar or can contain almost if not all carcinogenic properties that are associated with hydrogenised oils, simple sugars and trans-fats – these simply are a no go! They are highly toxic and induce inflammation throughout the entire body, these foods are the catalyst for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), weight gain, depression and many other life threatening diseases. These foods have the lowest nutritional benefits of any foods on earth.
Gluten and dairy are acid forming in the body and are related to many adverse affects such as allergies, skin conditions and asthma, if possible it is a great idea to go gluten and dairy free. Most wheat products are empty carbohydrates they do not present any micronutrient or phytonutritional benefits. Almost all dairy products have been stripped of all their nutrients through the processes of homogenization and pasteurization. But this is not the only down sides of consuming dairy, there are numerous pesticides and herbicides that are present in dairy products which are toxic to the body and create inflammation. What about calcium I hear you say? Calcium intake from lost from the consumption of dairy can be attained through eating calcium rich vegetables such as Bok Choy, kale and broccoli, eaten or juiced regularly throughout the day can provide you with the daily intake of calcium with the added strength of minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients.
So now you have an easy way to classify bad foods and good foods, usually high calorie foods are high in processed trans-fats which is the main contributor to obesity and diabetes.
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As always, stay safe, live well, fully and in the moment – embrace life!
Photo Credit: Steve Winton