It’s eating a diet that is rich in nutrients but does not contain food stuffs that we know cause disease.
I remember years ago, I was talking with my friend Kevin Gianni, from Renegade Health who pointed out the difference between a whole foods diet (which is both plan and animal) in the public definition and a nutrient rich diet.
Albeit, whenever the subject of whole foods comes up, you rarely see a chicken leg on the cover, the reality of things is that many people see meat as a whole food. Similar to plants, anything that is grown and in some people’s definition “born” is a whole food.
I don’t get too caught up in that battle of concepts, after all in some cases, there isn’t that much of a difference between a plant based nutrient rich diet, and a paleo diet, other than the fact that they eat more animal protein than we do, and have a different definition of what a healthy fat is. Of course there are other differences but those are the big two, and that’s why we titled Nutrient Rich as the next level in healthy eating.
That conversation with Kevin clearly made the distinction for me, that the nutrient rich or nutrient dense foods approach was a big step up from heating a traditional hunter gatherer diet, free of nutrient barren or junk foods, which many people see as a healthy diet. Clearly it is a healthier diet than the western diet that is over 50% refined foods, and if you didn’t eat junk you would be far healthier than the rest of the population.
But what distinguishes a Nutrient Rich diet from any other diet type, (many of which we can thrive on as an omnivorous species for various periods of time) is that when we are eating a nutrient rich diet we focus on eating those foods that provide all the nutrients we need to succeed, and minimize those foods that contain substances our body does not need, along with the obvious of minimizing junk (man made food) if you eat it at all.
We define whole foods as those foods that meet that definition and are not missing whole nutrient categories or contain substances that our bodies do not need.
That’s why Nutrient Rich.com besides, being the next level in healthy eating, is also the home of The 90% or More Plant Based Diet Solution.
When you consider that it’s very difficult to take nutrients out of the context of food and food out of the context of lifestyle to get a real look at what promotes health, performance and living at or near your ideal weight, what we focus on is eating a diet that we know promotes health and minimize things in our diet that do not promote health or will hinder our ability to function and perform well.
As Michael Pollan describes in his book In Defense of Food, (an I paraphrase) “nutritionism” is the art of taking the focus off the whole food and analyzing individual nutrients and their affect on health and disease.
Even if an animal food where a whole food, analyzing animal fat on disease without looking at all the other factors present in that food source, does little to determine if that food or that nutrient is healthy or not. There are many factors that have to be considered, including the influence of animal protein on human growth and development, before a food is considered a nutrient rich food. (by the way, animal fat nor it’s protein is health promoting).
So, when we talk about the next level in healthy eating, the questions on your mind should focus on understanding:
- Nutrient density,
- Nutrient quality,
- Does this food contain what I don’t need from dietary sources
- Environment impact
- Role food in promoting performance
- Human additions to that food (steroids, hormones etc)
- Eco System
- Aging and longevity
- Production and transportation costs and their impact
- Anatomical compatibility
- Bio diversity
- Natural Taste…