There are many different ways of eating that lead to good health results. Weston Price did research on the traditional diets of healthy indigenous and non-industrialized groups of people and he found a wide variety of diets. For example the fat content in some healthy diets was more than double of other healthy diets.
Even though there are many ways to eat healthy, there are 2 keys to healthy eating I want to highlight. I believe every healthy diet should be low in toxins and high in nutrients. This may seem obvious, but it can be difficult to achieve in the modern world.
Eat a Low Toxin Diet
Eating a low toxicity diet is a fairly common concept. It’s the principle behind the push to buy organic foods. It is important to avoid toxins in our diets when we can. However, man-made toxins aren’t the only toxins to avoid. Toxins that occur naturally in plant foods are also something we need to be careful to avoid.
Many cultures ate plants as a part of a healthy diet. These traditional healthy cultures were aware of the dangers of plant toxins and had special ways of preparing plant foods to remove and reduce naturally occurring toxins.
For example, traditional sourdough bread likely resulted in much less toxins from grain. Katherine Czapp explains in this article. “The traditional sourdough process reliably neutralizes the anti-nutrients in the cereal grains as the flour is kept moist and acidic for many hours (or days). Ongoing research in cereal microbiology is investigating some preliminary evidence that the traditional sourdough method may also sever the bonds of the “toxic” peptides in wheat gluten responsible for the celiac reaction and neutralize them as well.”
Eat Nutrient Dense Foods
The second key to healthy eating that is as important or more important than the first, is to eat nutrient dense foods. In addition to avoiding harmful compounds, We should eat foods that contain plenty of compounds our bodies need for health. Nutrient density was one of the commonalities of healthy traditional diets that Weston Price found in his work.
None of us lives a toxin free life, so our bodies must be equipped to deal with and remove toxins. One of the big benefits of a diet rich in nutrition, is that it helps our body access the raw materials to deal with the toxins in our food and environment.
Eating a nutrient dense diet is something that our culture has largely forgotten. We’ve focused on organic and other fancy food labels like cage-free or antibiotic-free. It’s great to avoid the bad, but let’s make sure we also eat food that contains plenty of good nutrition.
It can be difficult to find nutrient dense food. Often the organic versions of foods we find in the grocery store are similar in nutrient content to the non-organic ones. Despite the reduction in chemicals, the production of most organic food is nearly identical to that of non-organic foods and results in food that lacks nutrient density.
How to Improve Your Diet
The basis of your healthy diet, should be prioritizing nutrient dense food.
If you can find food that contains a high level of nutrition, your body will have what it needs to do all the amazing things it does! Your body will also be able to more easily eliminate toxins from your environment and the food you eat. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to find nutrient dense food in the supermarket.
It’s important to find a local farmer you trust so you can learn how they raise nutrient dense food. I would recommend going to Local Harvest or Eat Wild and looking for farmers near you. Feel free to ask these farmer’s questions about how they are producing nutrient dense food, till you find one you trust.
Secondly, know about the toxins in your food and work to reduce and eliminate them.
Learn which plant foods have naturally occurring toxins and avoid them or learn how to prepare them to reduce the toxins. Learn to make sourdough bread or how to Lacto-Ferment vegetables.
Talk to your farmer again and ask them how they reduce the toxins in the food they produce. Ask them if they feed their animals with organic or chemical-free feed. Ask about what chemical herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers they use (if any) in their production practices.
I would recommend prioritizing the purchasing of chemical-free or certified organic food in the following way. First meats and animal products, then grains, then vegetables and fruits. We often think of vegetables and fruits when we consider buying organic. However, it is more important to focus on meat and animal products because toxins bioaccumulate higher up the food chain making animal products an important place to start when purchasing chemical-free. Secondly, grains are important to consider purchase organic as the conventional model of producing grains is highly dependent on the use of many toxins. After all, many of our modern grains, like corn and soy, are designed specifically so herbicides can be sprayed on them without killing them. The reasons I would focus on vegetables and fruits last is because many vegetables and fruits and grown without the use of herbicides and pesticides and they also do not bioaccumulate toxins like animals do. It’s best to learn which vegetables and fruits are most problematic and prioritize those when purchasing chemical-free or organic. Checkout the dirty dozen list here.
I hope this article was helpful as you make decisions about purchasing the healthiest food for you and your family. Remember to prioritize nutrient dense food by learning to know your farmer’s practices. Don’t forget about avoiding plant toxins in addition to chemical toxins. These two principles should serve you well. Stay Healthy!