Today I’m going to school you on the most nutrient dense foods on the planet.
If you haven’t read the two articles above, I recommend reading them before you continue. It’s kind of like Madonna’s 1990 Blonde Ambition World Tour. You couldn’t truly understand the end of the show without experiencing the whole thing. So go touch those posts for the very first time and come back here when you’re done. (wink, wink)
Just to recap the past two weeks, here’s the quick and dirty.
1) Phytochemicals are part of what make up micronutrients and are only found in plants.
It’s important to eat lots of them because they are cancer fighting machines, they repair free radicals and they boost the immune system. If this country ate more phytochemicals and less processed food, we would not be in the health crisis shit storm that we are currently in.
2) Because this country consumes a-hell-of-a-lot-more processed food than fresh produce, not many people experience true hunger.
True hunger is when the brain needs more glucose and we feel it in our throat and mouth.
Appetite is when we get into the cycle of eating crap food and then eating more crap food just to make the detox symptoms of that crap food go away. Sounds kind of like a drug detox scenario, right? It’s not far off.
Junk food actually stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine controls the “pleasure – reward” center of the brain and makes us feel really damn good.
This makes processed junk food as addictive as heroin.
If you know anyone who eats fast food everyday, I guarantee it’s not just the price that motivates them to drive through. They are looking for that next dopamine hit and McDonald’s and all the other fast food restaurant will give it to them, on the cheap.
Okay – so now it should be really really clear that foods filled with phytochemicals should be of high importance to us and make up the majority of our shopping lists.
Are you with me so far?
Now let’s explore the most micronutrient dense foods on the planet and put all this information into action.
Micronutrient density is calculated according to how many micronutrients a food has per calorie.
- For example, oil (even olive oil) has 120 calories per tablespoon and zero phytochemicals.
- Kale has 33 calories per tablespoon and a ton of phytochemicals.
Clearly kale is a nutrient dense powerhouse and oil is not.
Without further ado, the oscar for the most micronutrient dense foods on the planet goes to….
Plant foods. (was that anticlimactic or what?)
It’s that stupidly simple.
Now, there are some plant foods that are more nutrient dense than others.
These are called Superfoods.
Not the beautifully prepackaged, single ingredient and branded superfoods that cost $25 for an ounce but rather the ones you can find at any farmers market or produce section.
I want to give the acronym that Dr. Fuhrman came up with to remember the superfoods.
The word is G-BOMBS and it stands for:
Specifically green cruciferous vegetables like collard greens, kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli and bok choy. But all greens are incredibly micronutrient dense and considered “super”
(and legumes / at least 1/2 cup a day)
Especially when combined with mushrooms
Even just one button mushroom a day has a ton of anti-cancer benefits, especially against breast cancer
1 cup per day
These are the superfoods that you should be eating every single day.
Now, other plant foods are super important and have lots of phytochemicals and antioxidants as well.
Here is a list of the other items that should fill up your shopping cart on the weekly.
Spinach, garlic, lettuces, celery, cucumber, cauliflower, tomato, snow peas, carrots, beets, ginger, green beans, artichokes, leeks, fennel, asparagus, sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, eggplant, avocados, and fresh fruits (especially pomegranates).
As a little somin’ somin’ special for you I made a PDF that you can download and print out. Take it to take to the grocery store with you as a reminder and try to have these ingredients take up the majority of your plate.
Here’s the deal. I don’t want you to over analyze this and think about it so much that you say fuck it and go straight to Dim Sum ( I mean go to Dim sum if you want, but after that get your ass to the store and buy some cruciferous veggies).
As a species we tend to make things a bigger deal and more complicated than they actually are.
If you make the superfoods mentioned above part of your daily routine, eat one big green salad a day with a healthy dressing and you incorporate avariety of the rest of the items from the PDF above, you will be rocking it.
Your immune system will become badass, you will drop weight, you will sleep better, you will even give yourself cancer protection.
If you take away one thing from this post, it’s the importance of eating a variety of plant foods. You don’t have to count calories or play mind games with your self to only eat a certain amount. If you eat a pant-based diet with a variety of plant food – you’re golden.
When you’re ready to test out nothing but micronutrient dense foods and see how awesome your body feels when it’s running on nothing but clean food, hop over to my programs
Here’s a nutrient dense, superfood recipe that will leave you satisfied and happy.
Whole Food Plant Based Baked Sweet Potatoes With Cashew Cauliflower Cream
Serves 2 (you will have some veggies and Cashew Cauliflower Cream leftover)
2 sweet Potatoes, slit several times with a knife (make slits on the top of the potato) and wrapped in foil.
Pre-heat oven to 400° and bake for one hour, until the potato is soft.
While the potato is baking, make the Cashew Cauliflower Cream and the veggies.
Cashew Cauliflower Cream
1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water for 10 minutes (75g)
2 cups cauliflower, cut into pieces. They don’t have to be bite-sized since they will eventually be blended (235g)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (5ml)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (3g)
1/4 cup water (59ml)
- Place the cauliflower in a pan along with 1 cup (237ml) of water and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Turn off heat, drain and set aside.
- Drain and discard the water from the cashews and place the cashews in a blender, along with the cauliflower, apple cider vinegar, sea salt and water.
- Blend for several minutes until the mixture is creamy and smooth.
Make the Veggies
1/2 cup water (120ml)
1 cup broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces (85g)
1/2 cup red onion, diced (55g)
2 cups red cabbage, sliced (110g)
2 cups mushrooms, sliced (130g)
1 teaspoon dried basil (4g)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (3g)
- Place the broccoli and 1 cup (237ml) of water in a pan and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Drain and set aside.
- Heat the 1/2 cup (120ml) of water in a skillet and saute the onions for 2 minutes.
- Add cabbage and mushrooms and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Add the broccoli, basil and salt. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
Note: If the water evaporates, just add a little more.
- Place the potatoes on a plate and evenly distribute the veggies.
- Top with Cashew Cauliflower Cream.
- You can easily make the Cashew Cauliflower Cream in advance.
- I actually recommend it so it will be nice and chilled when you’re ready to use it.
- If you have a non-stick pan, use it for this veggie recipe.
- Use the cashew cauliflower cream within 4 days.
I hope your week is filled with love, even if you’re in a “meh” place.
Remember that impermanence is as real as gravity, and whatever you are going through right now will look different soon.
Smooches and lots and lots of virtual love.
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