A few months back I was debating a student of mine in PerformanceLifestyle training on the concept of whether or not, one diet was right for everyone. Many times a “Nutrient Rich diet” is confused for being a specific diet that everyone must follow, when it’s not.
My debate companion (as opposed to an opponent) is a very open-minded individual and stated that “we have more in common than not”, I agree with him. But I feel he has been hooked on the idea that eating Nutrient Rich is a one-diet-fit’s-all way to eat, meanwhile, nothing could be further from the truth.
I and those I collaborate with have an intention as thought leaders around this idea of eating Nutrient Rich and that is to help people eat the best quality diet possible improve their health, and live at or near their ideal weight free of disease.
Towards that end, we objectively review the literature, test, corroborate, read, and come to sound conclusions. We are heavily influenced by, but not limited too, the work and practice of Joel Fuhrman MD whom I worked for and am a protege of, The China Study (the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted, and factor in broader interests as well, such as what’s best too, for the environment…
We are open minded, we are members of the National Health Association, and frankly if there was a better way to eat, we would find it and will find it if it’s out there.
To our benefit, we are backed by the principles of Nutrient Density, and a world wide movement towards Nutrient Rich eating, which includes the development of the Nutrient Rich food coalition formed by both animal and plant food producers around an idea who’s time has come, the basic science of nutrient profiling and assessing food quality to determine the best foods to eat.
But nutritional value doesn’t always determine the way someone eats; biases, desires, unnatural influences, modern day story and marketing, convenience, addiction, detoxification, culture, tradition etc, affect what why and how we eat as well.
So Nutrient Rich is a quality standard, not a specific diet per say, like vegan or vegetarian or carnivorous etc, and especially not an “eat less” or restricted diet. It’s an intelligent mindset and approach to eating. Matter of fact the only golden rule is that you can eat whatever you want. If you break this rule, you are dieting and that mindset does not promote well being.
A Nutrient Rich diet is generally a plant “based” diet. What this means, is that your diet is at least 90% or more, derived from plant food categories – vegetables, fruits, beans, raw nuts and seed, whole grains…
You’ll see below, but simply put, these are the most Nutrient Rich foods. As part of an successful lifestyle, when people eat these foods they tend to thrive.
But still, uniquely we don’t dictate specifically how people eat, we simply inspire, educate and support people to eat better, to go from a nutrient poor diet style to a Nutrient Rich diet style that promotes health, the ability to function and perform better, and success, including natural weight loss.
Simply put, eating a Nutrient Rich diet, does not mean you don’t or can’t eat any animal products; as there are many animal foods that are rich in some nutrients and they can be eaten in small quantities without a significant health or environmental effect; but there are reasons why there is so much resistance to animal product consumption.
So we don’t promote animal product consumption as necessary for nutritional reasons, because nutritionally speaking, they are not required for healthy development and they contain substances our body does not need. – See the Food Class System for a complete understanding of the nutrient profiles of foods.
My debate companion comes from another school of thought, influenced by the Weston Price “wise or nourishing” traditions movement in our society that is the “other camp”, who believes that an animal product based diet versus a plant based diet is the healthiest diet around.
Of course, plant vs animal is the big nutritional debate. It’s one that I have tried to steer clear of as I don’t see it as clear cut as that, but if I were to take a side, it would be hands down, plant-based, which is not only about your health first and foremost, living at or near your ideal weight; it’s also healthy for the planet.
Now, having been around a while, I’ve been privy to the low-carb, high animal protein regimen for weight management for a long time, heck, I used to be a bodybuilder who lived by this mantra, but that’s not what this movement is talking about.
Weston Price devotees are promoting an animal products based diet as the healthiest diet and using the research of a dentist (Weston Price) and stated with no derogatory inflection, who states that squatted faces and straight teeth are the hall mark of healthy meat-eating people (major generalization), whereas the elongated faces of vegans and vegetarians who have bad teeth (another major generalization) are the hall mark of eating an unhealthy diet, “loaded with sugar”… as if either were a true premise for either camp.
Now before I go on, let me be clear – a Nutrient Rich diet, does not need to be vegan diet or a vegetarian diet, although a Nutrient Rich diet has more “in common” with a vegan diet than any other because the most nutrient rich foods come from plants..
As a matter of fact, all nutrients come from plants with the exception of b-12, which comes from the small insects and bacteria that are on plants as they grow.
While I am not a vegan per say, I eat a diet that’s probably 95% or more plant-based and most of the time (not all) raw, simply on the basis that I, like millions of others, like to eat the most nutrient rich foods determined by their nutrient profiles and the state in which you eat them, not guesswork or idealism and it’s convenient!
From time to time I will eat some animal products for one reason or another… but why, is another post.
Note: I am not a raw foodist so to speak, or any other but we support such perspectives as they all have value, including the perspective that some people want to consume and consume more animal products than others. You can eat what ever you want.
We I and my team are most concerned with is promoting, all things considered, the best definition for eating Nutrient Rich, and then let people make decisions for what they will eat, who they will follow, what they want their regimens and ways of life to be. At the end of the day, we don’t dictate that. It’s your lifestyle and you are responsible for it.
So, recently, I went to a Weston Price Foundation-based presentation, by a promoter of a diet “the Liberation Diet“, inspired by the Weston Price “wise traditions” philosophy that my debate opponent was defending; defending as a “nutrient dense” diet. Note: I realize that this particular diet promoter, may or may not be extreme and of course, he is not Weston Price and may have his own skews.
What I discovered was one of the most porous arguments I have ever heard. Aside from the fact that they were selling nutrient rich supplements, Mangosteen and other mineral drinks along side the nutrient poor diet they were promoting, I have never been presented with a more un-appealing diet in my life.
Mind you, I happen to like many animal foods, but this just didn’t seem right; even as a layman this might seem a little off base.
Let me know what you think.
– 80% fat
– butter, as much as you want to eat
– pig fat,
– pickled foods
– organ meets, particularly liver,
– raw milk
– small amounts of vegetables and
– even smaller amounts (at the top of the pyramid) of seasonal fruits. “according to the Liberation diet, they have to much sugar).
– No refined food, other than process bread, home made.
The argument was that these foods are high in vitamin A, D and “activator x) vitamin K. Just 3 of the 4 vitamins and minerals (only two of the roughly 10 categories of nutrients) and that’s where the argument stood. These foods are rich in some nutrients, even more than was accentuated, but still animal products are nutrient poor foods as a whole for 3 reasons:
1) The quality of the nutrients and their effects (i.e animal protein) are cancer promoting – ref The China Study…
2) These foods are missing whole categories of nutrients, in particular phytochemicals, hence the need for supplementation.
3) These foods contain substances our body doesn’t need from dietary sources – saturated fat, cholesterol etc..
This gentleman, who is the owner of www.VisionaryTrainers.com and a registered dietitian, had some really good things to say and was very respectable – the whole story about how Crisco was inspired by the creation of Edison’s light bulb because there was no longer a need to rely on candles (made from lard) for light, which gave way to hydrogenation and the creation of trans fat as “a healthier fat” when compared to animal fat (stated at that time), which of course inspired the refined rood revolution and increased hard attacks… is not in debate.
I know long sentence.
But to think that the rise in heart attacks, diabetes and obesity… is only about eating too much trans fat, is just short sighted.
What knocked me off my chair was this; the argument was, there were no heart attacks before 1901 and people were eating the “wise tradition” of meats and butter etc (see dietary recommendations above), before heart attacks began to rise; so therefore in short, we should not only return to eating those foods, but they should be 80-90% of our diet.
The more the better!
Does anyone else think this is crazy?
Well, I think it is crazy, the nutrient profiles of foods say it’s crazy, years of reflection after Robert Atkins died of his own diet say it’s crazy, objective science says it’s crazy, even marketing says it’s crazy!
When’s the last time you saw an advertisement promoting “nutrients” that had “liver” as a promotional photo??
I am reading more from those who promote high fat diets to become even more versed in this, and to be able to articulate why some people who eat these diets may see health improvements, but there are just too many arguments against such a diet that do not support it’s sensibility. Nonetheless, I will learn more as I eat Nutrient Rich clean foods.
As I listened to this presentation, I was surrounded by the same group of people I remember seeing at Atkins events years ago (I used to attend for insight into that trend)… overweight people who are being misled by other overweight people who have good intentions but seemingly need to open their minds and understand more than weight management and observational science, and the nutrient poor model of nutrition.
A Nutrient Rich Diet, is a predominantly plant based diet. You can take it as far as you want and become a vegan, but you don’t have too. That’s entirely up to you.
Once you understand the nutritional qualities of foods and the practical influences on living healthy in todays day and age, factor in good science, and use your common sense, most people arrive at eating a diet that is at least 90% plant based or more.
When you focus on eating better, not less, you enter into the realm of not only having a healthier body, but a healthier mindset that’s good for you and the planet (another post). You also learn how to lose weight the Nutrient Rich way.
So be very careful about the story you buy into. This article does not provide sufficient data for you to know 100% or not it’s truth, so, I would suggest you begin reading this site, and other sites such as www.diseaseproof.com and like me, get educated on both sides of fence, that way you can come to your own conclusion.
At nutrientrich.com we are more interested in debate and seeking best practices, than dictating how a person individually eats. Part of the fun is the learning and discovery process. But in the end we are for defining and eating the most Nutrient Rich diets possible, the results of such a diet are usually great!
~ John Allen Mollenhauer