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Butter with knife and bowl

If you are like most people, you are confused about all the conflicting nutritional advice out there. Low fat? Atkins? Paleo? Raw food? I have a degree in nutrition and it makes ME confused! When I was in undergraduate school I ran across a book called Nutrition and Physical Degenerationby Weston Price. His advice couldn’t be more different than what my professors were telling me, but it rang true.

Much of the information below is taken from Super Nutrition for Babies: The Right Way to Feed Your Baby for Optimal Healthby Katherine Erlich, M.D. and Kelly Genzlinger, C.N.C., C.M.T.A. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Though it focuses on the nutritional needs of babies and toddlers, many of the principles the authors advocate are applicable to older children and adults as well. Other recommended books include Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats and The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care by Sally Fallon.

CRAP foods

Removes body’s nutrients

Examples of CRAP foods include:

  • Foods that contain white flour (crackers, pretzels, bagels, pasta, cereal, pastries, etc.)
  • Foods that contain white sugar
  • Refined salt
  • Non-organic, low-fat or skim pasturized dairy products
  • Foods that contain additives, colorings, preservatives, MSG, GMO, and/or artificial sweeteners
  • Vegetable oils: canola, corn, soy, margarine
  • Fast food
  • Most school lunches
  • Juice and soda
  • Most soy products (including soy formula)

The Standard American Diet (SAD) is made composed entirely of CRAP foods and, unless you make a deliberate effort to avoid them, CRAP foods will make up the bulk of your diet. It is this widespread reliance on CRAP foods that is at the root of the explosion of serious chronic health problems among adults and children today. CRAP foods are inexpensive, readily available, and easy to store and prepare. CRAP foods contribute to the toxic burden that your body must carry and, rather than contributing nutrients, many CRAP foods actually deplete your body of vitamins and minerals and contribute to chronic disease. For most people it is not possible to avoid CRAP foods completely, but it should be your goal to avoid them as much as possible.

OKAY foods

Knockoffs of real food
Adequate but not optimal
Yield subpar health

Examples of OKAY foods include:

  • All-natural and organic meat from grain-fed animals
  • Unsoaked/unsprouted whole grains and legumes
  • Grocery store eggs
  • Non-organic fruit and vegetables
  • Unsoaked/unsprouted nuts, seeds, and nutbutters
  • Farm-raised fish and seafood
  • Whole-foods sweeteners (raw honey, Rapadura)
  • Fresh juices with vegetables and fruit
  • Fermented, non-GMO soy foods (miso, natto, tempeh)
  • Organic, pasteurized, full-fat dairy products
  • Dried fruits
  • Organic, nitrite-free lunch meats

Although they are not ideal, OKAY foods are far superior to CRAP foods. Most local grocery stores now carry OKAY alternatives to CRAP foods, making them convenient options if you plan ahead a little bit. OKAY foods can form part of a healthy diet, as long as you also include PURE and POWER foods.

PURE foods

Pasture based
Rich in nutrients

Examples of PURE foods include:

  • Organic, local, seasonal fruit and vegetables
  • Vat pasteurized, non-homogenized, organic, grassfed dairy products
  • Grass-fed meat, poultry, and pork
  • Sea vegetables
  • Wild-caught fish and seafood
  • Soaked or sprouted nuts and seeds
  • Organic and free-range eggs from chickens fed an omega-3 enriched diet
  • Sprouted or soaked whole grains and legumes
  • Unrefined, cold-pressed olive oil and tropical fats (such as coconut and palm oil)

PURE foods contribute serious nutrition and can support cognitive, neurological, immune, and physical development in children and maintenance in adults. In a perfect world, your diet would consist only of PURE and POWER foods, but this is not a realistic goal for most busy families today. Try, however, to rely as much as possible on PURE foods in preparing meals and snacks for your family.

POWER foods

Optimal nutrition
Wisdom of the ancients

  • Raw, whole-fat, grass-fed dairy
  • Organic, farm-fresh, pasture-raised eggs
  • Liver and other organ meats from pastured, organically-raised animals
  • Lactofermented drinks (kombucha and kefir)
  • Probiotic-rich foods (raw dairy, yogurt, kefir, saurkraut, kimchi, and other lactofermented foods)
  • Pature-raised animal fats such as raw butter and non-hydrogenated lard
  • Oily, whole seafood (such as sardines)
  • Mineral-rich bone-based soup stock
  • Fish roe
  • Bone marrow
  • Celtic sea salt or Himalayan sea salt
  • Cod liver oil and high-vitamin butter oil

POWER foods offer super-nutrition. They are digestible, immune-boosting, and extraordinarily nutrient-dense. As a result they can protect and even regenerate health. In his studies of indigenous people groups all over the world, Dr. Weston Price found that POWER foods were honored as sacred foods. Try to include as many POWER foods as possible in your diet and especially emphasize POWER foods during illness, recovery from surgery, during phases of rapid growth in children, and during pregnancy and lactation.