Healthy Food Choices
Making healthier food choices is a goal of today’s consumer. They want more bang for their buck to make grocery dollars count towards better nutrition for their families.
But consumers are continually bombarded with bargains and sales in highly processed carbohydrate rich foods.
This type of carbohydrate “puts the body in a fat-storing mode, which causes weight gain and obesity…heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other degenerative conditions” (Campbell-McBride).
Better choices include locally sourced unprocessed whole fruits, vegetables, and grains.
Sprouts are locally sourced baby vegetables grown at home and allow easy access to nutrient dense foods.
Empty Calorie Food Versus Nutrient Dense Food
What is a nutrient dense food? Nutrient dense foods are the opposite of empty calorie foods, that is, food and drink with high sugar, fat, or alcohol content but little else of nutritional value. Included are:
- White sugar/white flour baked goods (cake, cookies, donuts, biscuits, pasta)
- Sugar drinks (soda, energy drinks, fruit cocktails, sports drinks)
- Candy (chocolate and hard candies)
- Processed meats (bacon, sausage, hot dogs, deli meats)
- Full fat foods (butter, shortening, ice cream)
- Processed oils (soy and canola)
- Commercial condiments (ketchup and BBQ sauce)
- Fast Food
How Nutrient Dense Food Heals the Body
The calories in nutrient dense food go towards giving your body what it needs to function. “The Power of healing is within you. All you need to do is give your body what it needs. You can restore your own health by what you do, by how you choose to live” (Wahls). Healthy fats, good carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and minerals are at the core of nutrient density.
Why is nutrient dense food important? One reason is to have a strong immune system which leads to a resilient body able to take on a variety of attackers. “The immune system is a complex network including cells, tissues, bone marrow, antibodies, the spleen, the thymus and the lymphatic system” (DiChiara). Our immune systems are never turned off – they work together as a team around the clock to protect our bodies from external and internal threatening elements.
How to Have a Healthy Immune System
To have healthy and strong immune systems we need to have healthy and strong gut bacteria. These are the real key to good health because they breakdown food and allow it to release the necessary nutrients. That is how our bodies access the nutrients in food by utilizing healthy gut microbes. “Quality food nourishes the diversity of the body’s inner ecosystem by feeding gut microbes” (DiChiara). Without them the digestion process is purely mechanical – chewing up food and passing it through the alimentary canal. With a healthy gut the microbes change the food into its elemental parts and allow the vitamins and minerals necessary for life to be absorbed.
When we ignore our immune system and fail to feed our gut microbes our bodies fall into disease. “Processed carbohydrates feed pathogenic microbes in the gut, damaging your gut flora and making your immune system ineffective” (Campbell-McBride). Eating a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables plus whole grains increases the diversity of bacteria because “a low genetic diversity of intestinal bacteria translates into a tendency to gain weight…causes higher inflammation and greater insulin resistance” (DiChiara). Home grown sprouts can increase the diversity of the types of food eaten which leads to a greater influx of good gut bacteria.
Home Grown Sprouts
Access to nutrient-dense foods is important. Sprouting at home is a simple and inexpensive process. It needs only a jar, fresh water, and some seeds. A few minutes a day for rinsing beans and grains and they can be eaten in about two days. A fresh leafy green salad is available in about 5 to 7 days.
To keep healthy, we need to supply our bodies with quality food for access to vitamins, minerals, fat, carbohydrates, and water. Mature vegetables we purchase in grocery stores have travelled hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles. They are selected for their ability to withstand the journey from farms far away. You can create your own farm on your own kitchen counter and the journey is a few feet to your table.
Affordable Nutritious Food
Make your grocery dollars count for more. A pound of seeds like broccoli, alfalfa, clover, or radish yields about 6 to 7 pounds of fresh sprouts. A pound of beans or grains like green pea, lentils, or wheat yields about 2 pounds of mature sprouts. All sprouts contain the good carbs our bodies need to function well without overburdening it. They are a locally sourced nutrient dense food and can increase the biodiversity of gut microbes. Happy and healthy gut microbes increase our body’s resilience against incoming threatening elements. Put each consumed calorie to work in your body. Give them a job to do and let the nutrient dense calories go to work for you.
Dr. Campbell-McBride, Natasha. There is Nothing in the World More Powerful in its Effect on Human Health, Than Food! Northeast Organic Farming Association - The Natural Farmer, 21 Sept. 2020, thenaturalfarmer.org.
DiChiara, Kathleen. Starving for Information: The Importance of a Nutrient-Rich Diet. Northeast Organic Farming Association - The Natural Farmer, 21 Sept. 2020, thenaturalfarmer.org.
Wahls, Terry/ Adamson Eve. The Wahls Protocol: a Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles. Penguin Group USA, 2014.