Wholesome ingredients are essential to the flavor and quality of your food. Indeed, the nutritional value of your meat, eggs, milk, vegetables and fruit actually changes depending on many factors. For instance, eggs from pasture-raised hens contain more Omega-3 fatty acids than do eggs from industrial farms. Meat from grass-fed ruminants also contain more Omega-3 fatty acids than the meat from their grain-fed counterparts. Some studies indicate that fruits and vegetables that are organically and locally grown are higher in nutrients and bioflavonoids than chemically-treated fruits and vegetables that have been trucked in from a long distance.
If you don’t believe the nutritional benefits of properly raised animal foods and properly grown fruits and vegetables, you must consider the environmental cost of not choosing these foods. Feed lots pollute our waters. Pesticides contaminate our bodies, our soil and our water. They also cause cancer. Food trucked in from a long distance uses up valuable fossil fuels, contributing to poor air quality and possibly global warming.
You and your family deserve wholesome food, and you need the max nutrition available from the foods that you do choose. So choose responsibly. After all, it’s your duty.
So use this guide when choosing your ingredients.
- Grains should be whole or close to whole.
- Choose oat groats or steel cut oats, wheat berries, whole buckwheat, brown rice and quinoa etc.
- If you choose flour, choose whole meal flour.
- Grains should be organically grown.
- Grains should be locally grown if possible.
- If you don’t care for the heavy taste of whole wheat in your pastries and light breads, try using whole white wheat made white spring berries which tends to have a lighter flavor and texture.
- Grains contain anti-nutrients like phytates, so to maximize the bioavailability of their vitamins and minerals you must soak, sour or sprout all the grains and flours you use.
- There’s a whole world beyond wheat and rice, so take advantage of unusual varieties like quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, millet, rye and other varieties.
- Legumes should be bought dried and in bulk as this will save you money.
- Cans from canned beans may leach heavy metals or bisphenol-A (a plastic) into your food.
- Legumes should be organically grown.
- Legumes should be locally grown if possible.
- Legumes, like grains, contain antinutrients called phytates so they must also be soaked, sprouted or fermented prior to cooking.
- Protein and iron from legumes is more bioavailable when cooked with meat, so add a little to your pot to maximize your nutrients.
- Enjoy a wide variety of legumes: there’s several kinds of lentils and there’s a huge variety of beans.
- If you eat soy, only choose organically grown soy. Most soy is genetically modified and heavily sprayed. So, if you purchase a conventional soy product chances are that you are purchasing a genetically modified crop. Organic standards preclude the inclusion of genetically modified organisms.
- Purchase local organic soy if available.
- If you eat soy, do not use it as a mainstay of your diet as large quantities of soy have been linked to autoimmune diseases like thyroid disease. Stick with condiment-sized portions.
- Soy is extremely high in phytates and other anti-nutrients, so if you choose to eat it you must only eat fermented versions of soy like tempeh or miso.
- For what it’s worth, most tofus available in the grocery store are not fermented and should therefore be avoided.
- You should also avoid soy-based pseudofoods like soy milk, soy cheese, TVP, soy burgers and soy sausages. They are not real food.
- Vegetables should be organically or sustainably grown.
- Vegetables should be grown locally and you should always choose a locally grown vegetable over a vegetable that has traveled a long distance.
- Choose fresh vegetables first, frozen vegetables second and canned vegetables dead last.
- Eat plenty of vegetables in their raw form. The enzymes are good for you and the nutrients are usually higher.
- Of course, there’s an exception to every rule: eat cooked vegetables too as some nutrients are more bioavailable from cooked foods (i.e. lycopene in tomatoes).
- Don’t settle for paltry 1/2 cup servings and don’t settle for only 3-5 servings. Some studies indicate that you need at least 7-11 servings of fruits and vegetables to enjoy a reduction in your risk for cancer.
- Fruits should be organically or sustainably grown.
- Fruits should be grown locally and you should always choose a locally grown vegetable over a fruit that has traveled a long distance.
- Choose fresh fruit first, frozen fruit second and canned fruit dead last.
- Eat plenty of fruits in their raw form. The enzymes are good for you and the nutrients are usually higher.
- Don’t settle for paltry 1/2 cup servings and don’t settle for only 2-3 servings. Some studies indicate that you need at least 7-11 servings of fruits and vegetables to enjoy a reduction in your risk for cancer.
- Purchase eggs from pastured hens raised by local farmers. That means the hens were given free access to roam the land eating sprouts, weeds, grubs, worms and bugs. Not only do the hens enjoy a more natural life, but their eggs are higher in nutrients than their industrially raised sisters.
- Don’t get caught up in terms like â€œvegetarian fed.â€ Hens are not natural vegetarians. They, like us, are omnivores who ought to eat bugs, worms and other creatures for health.
- If you absolutely cannot find pastured eggs (try your hardest!), choose Omega-3 eggs. These hens have at least been given flax meal to eat which increases the Omega-3 content of their eggs.
- Don’t worry about cooking your eggs to death, a little runny yolk is good as it contains enzymes that are good for you.
- Go raw. Choose raw milk, raw cream, raw butter and raw cheese where available. Raw dairy offers many benefits over pasteurized dairy including intact enzymes, beneficial bacteria and vitamins not found naturally in pasteurized milk.
- Choose your raw dairy products from a locally run family dairy, where you can ensure that cows are grass-fed, well-cared for and that they are milked under proper and clean conditions.
- If you cannot find raw dairy, choose vat-pasteurized and non-homogenized milk.
- Eat raw cheese. In the US, raw milk cheeses must be aged for at least 60 days prior to being allowed to be sold, but these cheeses are becoming increasingly available.
- Choose meat that has been raised locally and sustainably.
- Beef, bison and lamb should be grass-fed and grass-finished.
- If you cannot find grass-finished meat, grass-fed/grain-finished meat is a good substitute.
- Eat wild game if you have access to it.
- Choose pastured pork and poultry. These animals are natural omnivores and should no subsist on vegetarian, grain and soy-based diets. Rather, they should be given free access to the outdoors.
- Don’t eschew the fat. Fat of properly raised animals contains more essential fatty acids than their industrial counterparts. You may render the fat of these animals and use it in pastries or for frying.
- Save the bones from your meals to make rich bone broth.
- Choose only wild-caught fish. It may be more expensive, but it is better for you.
- Oily fish, such as salmon, contain essential fatty acids that are vital to your health so eat these fish often.
- Make fish roe a part of your diet. It is high in nutrients and traditional societies often went to great length to secure this essential food for their young couples, pregnant and nursing mothers.
- Choose organic cold-pressed oils like Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Palm Kernel Oil.
- Limit or entirely avoid using modern-day vegetable oils like soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil etc. These are often processed at such high temperatures that they turn rancid before they even land on your table. They are also too high in omega-6 fatty acids to be included as a mainstay of your diet.
- Don’t worry about saturated fat and cholesterol. These are essential nutrients and your diet should include plenty of both as long as they’re from good sources.
- Saturated fat is also aids your body in metabolizing fat soluble vitamins like vitamin D.
- Eat plenty of butter from grass-fed cows. Butter contains CLA, which has been shown to fight cancer.
- Avoid margarine and transfatty acids. They have no place in your diet at all.
- Do not eat iodized salt or â€œsea saltâ€ which is often so processed that its natural minerals have been lost to processing.
- Choose instead to eat unprocessed sea salt like Celtic Sea Salt or Real Salt which contain other essential minerals not found in table salt.
- Your salt should not be white which indicates over-processing. Instead, eat salt that contains flecks of other colors which indicates its mineral content.