The USDA, My Plate (formerly known as the Food Pyramid), and many other mainstream sources of health commonly direct consumers to consume more fruits and vegetables every day. It’s true – fruits and vegetables are important, but what’s not widely understood is the importance of animal foods and other healthy fats for sources of important nutrients in our diets.
Fats and cholesterol from animal-sourced foods contribute to a larger body of critical nutrients that are essential not only for foundations of health (growth and development of infants and children), but continued health maintenance throughout life.
These nutrients – fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2, essential fatty acids DHA and EPA in the form of Omega 3s, CLA, and a wide array of minerals, are found in these foods. Here’s my list of some of the most nutritious foods you can eat:
1. Fermented Cod Liver Oil
Great source of Vitamins A & D, CoQ10, and Omega 3s. It’s a fact that most of us are deficient in Vitamin D, and as a result our health suffers as we acquire degenerative disease and debilitating ailments. As a historical comparison, traditional people all over the world consumed diets that were 10 times higher in Vitamin D than people living in the modern world.
As well, cod liver oil contains Vitamin A – paramount in helping the body avoid many diseases and illnesses – it protects against oxidation in our cells, prevents childhood asthma, prevents kidney stones, helps to regulate the amount of fat tissue in the body, keeps blood sugar level, and protects the liver from becoming fatty and diseased.
Because it is not a synthetically produced substance, it is difficult to quantify the precise number of nutrients in a food like cod liver oil. Natural foods don’t come with nutrition labels – those have been created by the food industry. According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, “High-vitamin fermented cod liver oil is sold as a food so does not contain vitamin levels on the label. However, after numerous tests, the approximate values of A and D have been ascertained at 1900 IU vitamin A per mL and 390 IU vitamin D per mL. Thus 1 teaspoon of high-vitamin fermented cod liver oil contains 9500 IU vitamin A and 1950 IU vitamin D, a ratio of about 5:1.”
Unlike many other cod liver oils on the market, fermented fish liver oils are extracted without using any heat and use a natural fermentation process called lacto-fermentation. This is what makes the fermented variety nutritionally superior to run-of-the-mill cod liver oil. Without a doubt, fermented cod liver oil is a superfood, and one that can deliver real nutrition to the body, even to those with compromised digestion and immune systems.
For more information on the numerous health benefits of this fantastic health food, visit Chris Masterjohn’s web site, Cholesterol and Health.
2. Coconut oil
This delicious and nutritious oil can be eaten raw or cooked, and is one of the most stable fats available. According to Dr. Mary Enig, PhD, nutritionist and biochemist, “approximately 50% of the fatty acids in coconut fat are lauric acid.” This acid is a medium-chain fatty acid which the body converts to monolaurin during digestion. Monolaurin is the antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozal monoglyceride used by the body to eliminate lipid-coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, influenza, a variety of pathogenic bacteria such as heliobacter pylori and giardia lamblia.
Coconut oil is easily digested and converted into energy in the body, and as healthy saturated fats are some of the best sources of energy, coconut oil is a great source. Another 7% of coconut oil fat is comprised of capric acid, which stimulates anti-microbial activity in the body.
Because this oil is so stable, it can be used in cooking and heating foods. It is great for baking, cooking meats, vegetables, stir frys, popcorn, and many other meals.
3. Bone Broths
Bone broths are easy to make and highly nutritious because foundational elements for health are captured in the nutrient-rich bones from animals and birds in these preparations. It is difficult to calculate the precise amounts and types of minerals in bone broth, but is dependent upon cooking methods used, amount of water used, and the mineral content of the bones (again, conventional versus organic and pasture-raised would be significant).
Some minerals found in home-made broth include the following: zinc, calcium, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. Home-made broths from bones pack a nutrient punch, inexpensive to make, are delicious, and versatile. Uses range from being the foundation to soups, gravies, casseroles, sauces, marinades, and are great for cooking with rice, noodles and vegetables.
Broths also contain important amino acids and gelatin. They are a natural and economical source of protein. Some of the health disorders thought to be improved by consumption of bone broths are chronic and degenerative joint and bone disorders such as osteoporosis and arthritis. It is also important in maintenance of fingernails and hair growth. Because it is a liquid, it is highly digestible as well as being a versatile food.
Here is our recipe for home-made chicken stock.
4. Raw milk
Milk from pastured, healthy cows free of antibiotics and hormones, pesticides, and other chemicals is a life-bringing substance. It is a complete and properly balanced food containing proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, all-in-one.
According to Raw Milk Facts, amino acids behave as building blocks for protein. “Depending on who you ask, we need 20-22 of them for this task. Eight of them are considered essential, in that we have to get them from our food. The remaining 12-14 we can make from the first eight via complex metabolic pathways in our cells.
Raw cow’s milk has all 8 essential amino acids in varying amounts, depending on stage of lactation. About 80% of the proteins in milk are caseins- reasonably heat stable and, for most, easy to digest. The remaining 20% or so are classed as whey proteins, many of which have important physiological effects (bioactivity). Also easy to digest, but very heat-sensitive, these include key enzymes (specialized proteins) and enzyme inhibitors, immunoglobulins (antibodies), metal-binding proteins, vitamin binding proteins and several growth factors.”
Raw milk also contains healthy bacteria or probiotics. These important bacteria build the foundations of our intestinal and digestive tract, and also our immune systems. Healthy bacteria found in raw milk can help maintain good immune and digestive system balance.
The role of saturated fats, found in milk, is also essential to health. Saturated fats are critical in constructing cell membranes, hormones, and providing the capacity for energy storage and padding for delicate organs, and they provide a mechanism for digestion of important fat-soluble vitamins (many of which are found in vegetables and other foods). The body cannot recognize nor utilize damaged fats from pasteurized milk, and those substances add to the toxic load, rather than serve as a mechanism for health.
“All fats cause our stomach lining to secrete a hormone (cholecystokinin or CCK) which, aside from boosting production and secretion of digestive enzymes, let’s us know we’ve eaten enough. With that trigger removed, non-fat dairy products and other fat-free foods can potentially help contribute to over-eating (Raw Milk Facts).” Because of this neither skim, 1, nor 2 percent impart benefits for health such as the unadulterated fragile proteins, digestive enzymes, and probiotics found in raw milk.
If you or someone you know is “allergic” to dairy or has lactose intolerance, the reason might be due to consumption of pasteurized milk and milk products. Heating the milk during pasteurization denatures the healthful elements present in raw milk, and renders those substances difficult, if not impossible for the body to digest and assimilate into the bloodstream.
5. Organ Meats
Beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, geese, duck, goat, bison and other game meats. All of these foods are excellent sources of high-quality protein and Vitamins A & D as well as a myriad of other significant nutrients. If you are looking to really boost your intake of nutrients in meals, this is one of the most effective ways to do so.
Many people find the idea of organ meats unappealing, but these foods were eaten by traditional people all over the world for thousands and thousands of years. It used to be customary to use most, if not all parts of the animal for nourishment and other purposes – tools and implements, clothing, cosmetics, medicines, and many other uses. Many of our ancestors would have considered it wasteful if not downright disrespectful to discard unused animal parts. The Native Americans regarded the whole body of the animal as a sacred and blessed gift of their everyday lives.
As well as eaten in plain sight fried up with onions and garlic, organ meats can be cleverly disguised in many dishes – casseroles, soups, stir frys, or minced and put in ground beef dishes with delicious sauces and marinades. The possibilities are endless.
Liver contains: folate, zinc, Thiamine, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Niacin (Vitamin B3), CoQ10 (important for cardiovascular function), iron, and copper. Contrary to popular belief, the liver organ does not store toxins. Those that the liver filters are actually passed on to the cells. Additionally, any unhealthy side-effects of eating liver are normally attributed to the consumption of factory-farmed, or obese meats – replete with chemicals and toxins you don’t want in your body.
Heart and kidney are also very beneficial organs, from healthy animals on pasture, and contain the following nutrients: folate, selenium, thiamin, zinc, phosphorus, CoQ10 and various B vitamins. Beef heart contains amino acids which are believed to boost metabolism and compounds that improve the production of collagen and elastin in our skin.
6. Butter and cheese
Another health food category containing saturated fat, butter and cheese from cows on pasture contains Vitamin K2, also calcium, and the most easily absorbed form of Vitamin A (important for adrenal and thyroid function). It is also a great source of Vitamins D (essential to the absorption of calcium) and E, anti-oxidants, selenium, lecithin, conjugated linoleic acid (potent anti-cancer agent, immune booster, and muscle maintenance), and lauric acid (essential in antifungal prevention). Vitamin K2 is necessary to properly synthesize Vitamins A & D. These nutrients protect against tooth decay, heart disease, and optimal brain functionality.
Butter and cheese contain short and medium-chain fatty acids, and like coconut oil, also include small amounts of lauric acid. Rich in antioxidants from beta carotene (Vitamin A), Vitamin E, and selenium, butter and cheese are truly some of the finest health foods available. Vitamin A is another valuable nutrient found in these prized dairy foods. When cows graze on living grass – rich in vitamins E, A, and beta-carotene – they receive better supplementation than those consuming stored hay or other conventional dairy feed. Grass-Fed Traditions says, “The naturally golden color of grass-fed butter is a clear indication of its superior nutritional value.” Just look at the butter you are eating, and if it looks golden in color, there’s a good chance it’s from a cow grazing on green pastures.
As with many other foods from animals on pasture, butter and cheese that comes from cows eating grass are head and shoulders above conventionally-produced dairy products. For many years, medical communities have campaigned against butter and promoted unhealthy artificial polyunsaturated fats like canola oil, vegetable shortening, cottonseed oil, and soybean oil. These are oils produced as by-products of the industrial waste process and are usually rancid on the shelf (even if not technically hydrogenated).
Read the 20 health benefits of real butter from Donna Gates at Body Ecology.
7. Fermented foods and beverages
Yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, sour cream, cheese, sauerkraut, kimchi, other lacto-fermented vegetables, kombucha, and fermented soy (natto tempeh, miso; fermented is the only way soy should be consumed). People have been consuming diverse bacteria in their diets for thousands of years. It has only been in the past 160 years or so of humanity’s existence that we have developed habits of sterilizing, pasteurizing, irradiating, and otherwise eradicating nutrients and friendly bacteria from natural foods.
The kinds of foods many people eat in modern day are produced under some of the most ghastly conditions which don’t allow good bacteria to survive and simultaneously are breeding grounds for sickness and pathogens (i.e., factory farms and other conventional farming environments). Modern farming and food production methods have caused food safety authorities to create laws requiring the “sanitation” of foods in order for them to be lawful for sale on the public market. A good alternative to this problem is the consumption of lacto-fermented vegetables and dairy foods such as those produced from healthy animals kept humanely on pasture.
What’s so important about fermented foods? According to Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple, “fermentation can render previously inedible or even dangerous foods edible and somewhat nutritious. The lectins, gluten, and phytates in grains, for example, can be greatly reduced by fermentation.” Although consuming grains should be done sparingly since they are inflammatory in nature and most wheat crops are now contaminated by GMOs due to test plots maintained by biotech companies, real, long-fermented sourdough bread is one of the healthiest, most beneficial breads you can eat.
Because populations of good bacteria have been decimated by the creation of the modern food system, the average person has a massive reduction in good bacteria in his or her digestive tract, rendering the body vulnerable to many conditions and diseases.
Benefits of consuming fermented foods include protection from many viruses and bacteria like those that cause flus and colds, diarrhea, and other acute illnesses to chronic problems like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, and cancer. They also aid the digestive tract in absorbing nutrients and enzymes critical to health, as well as help to reduce dental problems and cavities.
8. Grass-fed meats and pasture-raised poultry
Steak, ground beef, chicken, duck, turkey, good sources of fat-soluble Vitamins A & D, Vitamins E & K, betaine, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA which promotes cancer defense), and Omega 3s. Grass-fed beef contains up to 4 times more Vitamin E, is the richest known source of CLA and contains 3 to 5 times more than meat from conventionally-raised animals.
Although fat is healthy for us to consume, it is true that grass-fed meats and poultry are lower in fat and calories, and also higher in protein. But the real key here is not the fat content – but rather, the right type of fat. Fats from animals raised on feedlots are unhealthy in many aspects, from the grains/soy/corn fed to the animals (who are meant to consume grass as they are ruminants), to the lack of sunlight and open spaces, to the substances administered to the animals to keep them “healthy” and make them grow faster for slaughter – antibiotics and growth hormones.
The quality of protein and fat is grossly compromised in animals in a feedlot environment, and as a result, nutrients are off balance. The Eat Wild web site shows how Omega 3 content of meats vanish in the feedlot. One example is the disproportionate amount of Omega 6s to Omega 3s found in conventional meat. When cattle and poultry consume grains, it increases the Omega 6s. Too many Omega 6s lead to inflammation in the body and eventually degenerative disease like obesity, cardiovascular problems, digestive disorders like Diabetes, and cancer.
Healthy animals and birds on pasture do not need drugs to keep them well. Farmers allow for their natural growth time and slaughter them at the right time. As a result, their meat and meat products are well-balanced foods that bring health and flavor to your table.
9. Eggs from pasture-raised hens
Eggs from chickens, ducks, and other fowl that are raised out in the open, free of hormones, antibiotics, and other chemicals are great for your health. Eggs from birds on pasture contain fat-soluble Vitamins A & D, E, and K, and also the important and lacking Omega 3s from the processed and developed diet of most people living in the United States and countries with a similar lifestyle. Eggs also offer other important nutrients: riboflavin, folic acid, and minerals calcium, zinc, and iron. Raw egg yolks are especially healthy to eat as their delicate proteins are wholly undamaged and pure (try adding yours to a smoothie).
For decades, mainstream medical and health rhetoric deemed eggs an unhealthy food to consume. We were successfully convinced that eggs gave us heart disease and high cholesterol. But medical professionals have changed their tune again and are now endorsing eggs as acceptable to eat. We always knew they were wrong to begin with.
According to Eat Wild, eggs and meat from pasture-raised birds and animals has three times the amount of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) as their conventional counterparts, and 10 times the Omega 3 essential fatty acids. There is a strong connection between the regular consumption of CLA in the diet and reduction of cancer.When birds are housed indoors and lack exposure to sunshine, ability to express natural behaviors, and consumption of insects and plants, they are deficient in nutrients. They can also become sick much easier and farmers find it necessary to administer drugs and antibiotics to keep them well. Still, some of them die anyway due to the conditions in which they live.
These foods are good sources of iodine, calcium, iron, potassium, copper, manganese, Vitamins C, D, E, & K, pantothenic acid (B5), niacin (Vitamin B3), and Omega 3 essential fatty acids. Best bets are wild caught Alaskan salmon, tilapia (U.S., farmed) whitefish, tuna, squid, crab, mollusks (oysters, octopus, squid, clams, scallops (farmed), mussels (farmed), crayfish (Northern U.S., farmed), smaller fish like sardines and anchovies, shrimp (Canada and Northern U.S.), lobster, fish roe, and caviar.
Seafood is by and large one of the best sources of the fat-soluble vitamins A & D, omega-3 fatty acids, and other important nutrients. Traditional populations the world over regarded seafood highly over nearly every other type of food. Historically speaking, great efforts were made to obtain seafood for both its health benefits and taste.
It’s no secret that the oceans, streams, and rivers have been over-fished and are polluted. As a result, there are many concerns about safe choices in seafood and eating selections that are as free as possible from toxins. However, the healthier your gut flora is, the more protection you are afforded from heavy metals (especially mercury) contained in fish. As answered in this article with questions answered by Sally Fallon Morell (Nourished Magazine), eating foods rich in natural probiotic content (such as lacto-fermented vegetables, fermented dairy, and others) can negate the effects of heavy metals found in seafood.
Check out the Super Green List from the Monterey Bay Aquarium to stay current on the latest information regarding safe-sourced seafood.
11. Super foods – chlorella, spirulina, and kelp
These super foods made the list because as far as nutrients go, these are head and shoulders above many plants or vegetables. They provide many essential nutrients necessary for health (see each food listed below). They are found growing naturally in marine water environments as well as in freshwater lakes and seas. As an added benefit, these algae foods are naturally capable of detoxification of heavy metals from the body. These unique substances are some of the best for removing toxins and for providing supreme nutrition for health.
Algae, the larger group to which these three superfoods belong, is an amazing substance capable of reversing the symptoms of metabolic syndrome – a chronic condition experienced by millions that encompasses disorders of the following: cardiovascular and arterial systems, high cholesterol, blood sugar problems and Diabetes. It is a critical element in helping to maintain proper levels of probiotic population and gut health, and helps to absorb and eliminate harmful toxins from the intestines which could otherwise be absorbed in the bloodstream.
Chlorella contains important proteins and anti-cancerous properties. It also offers immune boosting properties, aids in the digestion of food, and contains an important anti-oxidant, beta carotene. It is one of the most important sources of beta-carotene besides meat and meat products from healthy animals and birds on pasture. Chlorella is also a food that helps in the growth and repair of tissues in the body.
According to Natural News, “chlorella is a single-celled algae that naturally occurs in freshwater rivers and ponds in East Asia, tinting those bodies of water green. It is gathered from these natural sources, dried, crushed into a powder, and then packed into tablet form for sale as a dietary supplement. It has twice the protein density of spinach, 38 times that of soy beans and 55 times that of rice, providing nine essential amino acids along with a number of vitamins and minerals.”
Spirulina is rich in protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins – A, B, C, D, E, K and minerals boron, iron, calcium, chromium, copper, iodine, phosphorus, germanium, selenium, magnesium, and zinc. This algae is also a rich source of the proper balance of Omega 3s and 6s. Because of its amino acid content, it can be a good replacement for those trying to eliminate coffee (which depletes adrenal gland function and diminishes ability of the liver to remove toxins) from their daily routines. Amino acids provide energy and helps to regulate the production of hydrochloric acid, necessary for proper digestion, to help maintain proper appetite levels and weight management.
Kelp contains iodine as well as a variety of vitamins like B (folate and pantothenic acid) K, and minerals such as iron, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
Like the other sea vegetables, kelp contains lignans; phyto-nutrients which have shown to slow the growth of angiogenesis (blood cell growth). This is the process by which rapidly-growing tumors obtain nourishment, but also send cancer cells out in the bloodstream to establish secondary tumors or metastases in other areas of the body. Lignans have also been shown to to inhibit estrogen synthesis in fat cells as effectively as some of cancer chemotherapy drugs.
These nutrient-dense foods from a variety of sources are part of a foundation for a healthy diet. Remember that conventional sources for foods do offer some vitamins and nutrients, but overall deliver less nutrition than organic and sustainable alternatives. The main thing to remember is to try to find the most sustainable-source for your foods. Sustainable means higher nutrient content and better nutrition.
And don’t forget that when you spend your money supporting sustainable and local agriculture instead of the big multi-billion dollar conglomerates, you secure a future for safe, nutrient-dense food for your family and the future, as well.
Did the foods in this post make your list? Do you have some foods you’d like to add to this collection?
Want to know more about food?
How well do you know your food? Find out!
The importance of dietary fats
Eating disorders, a product of modern society
Organic is only part of the story
38 replies on “11 Healthy and Nutrient-Dense Foods At-A-Glance”
I try to focus on these foods for my family (and do it on about the same budget we had eating SAD food). The only Superfood we’ve added is Kelp, I’ll have to look into the others you mention.
Raine – what form of FCLO do you take? I have the gel, and it’s hard to get down – let alone the fact that I’m the only one that will even attempt it. I think I have to bite the bullet and pay the extra for the capsules.
Millie – I just realized I forgot to mention olive oil – but then again, that’s what these web sites are all about, to share information with one another, which is why I encouraged people to add some of their own and those which aren’t mentioned here. I actually was taking chlorella for awhile, and stopped just because we had been spending so much on nutritional whole food supplements and we had to cut back. I’d like to add it back into our daily regimen again, or kelp or spirulina. I love the detoxifying effects they have!
Tara – we all take Green Pastures FCLO in the non-gelatin capsules. I’ve never tried the gel, and yes it is expensive, but we have been managing to take them over most of the winter months.
They are easy to get down, but my husband can’t take more than one a day because he has been unable to do what it takes to stop eating processed foods and get his digestion under control and healed enough to be able to process them. If he takes more than one a day, he gets fish “burps” and this is a sign of problems in the digestive tract such as yeast overgrowth, not enough hydrochloric acid being produced, and leakage of toxins into the gut. He is hard to convince!
we use the green pastures orange flavored fermented skate liver oil. we were using the unflavored FCLO from green pastures but it had a burning feeling to it – my husband hated it. i didn;t mind when i chased it with raw milk. my kids love the cinnamon flavored gummy fish from green pastures. it is expensive but they eat 2 a day each and think it’s candy.
Since we have little time to heal a wounded planet I say let us forgo the idea of consuming more animals so more humans can eat more animal products. Seriously folks scientists are telling us to eat less meat if we want our planet to survive. If you don’t want that then please by all means consume to the death …. yours and the planets.
Raine, when we grew up, we used to take the bone marrow from the bone once it was cooked (maybe from a soup) spread the bone marrow on a piece of homemade bread and then add salt and pepper. We used to fight for it as there wasn’t much.
I don’t know much about the nutrient content, can you help there, any info?
p.s. great info piece
YUM! W/ respect to Adam, properly farmed critters can be raised (pastured) on marginal land that could not otherwise be used to produce sustenance without extensive environmental degradation. Eating “nose to tail” also helps maximize nutritional value of said critter. I found some excellent liver spread at a local certified organic butcher shop, and it is sooooo good. This list is a great start to a more nutrient dense diet.
Nice piece. Adam, I like your name. The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre would be worth your time since you are already taking the time to read this type of information and post comments. Eating animals raised by traditional methods is one of the healthiest things anyone can do for themselves, their families, and the planet. There is no harm when an animal grazes on pasture. In fact, it is a benefit to the land, as the animal actually improves the quality of the soil. It is the ultimate solar energy. Sun to grass to animal to human, benefitting all involved. Good luck.
What about meat broth? We are on GAPS so we eat many of the above foods. I only make broth from chicken feet and chicken backs or necks. Do you still think we are getting minerals from the meat in our broth? I cook the broth for 12-14 hours and we always eat the meat.
Adam – unfortunately, a great deal of people defending vegetarian viewpoints completely miss the point of eating sustainable-raised, humanely raised meats. Everything about that type of farming is good for the environment – the fact that animals are allowed to graze as they naturally are supposed to, the fact that people eat less meat when they consume sustainable-raised animals because the nutritional content is in correct balance with nature and our bodies and therefore we consume less, and as Laurie so astutely mentioned below, the idea of using the whole animal so as to make food go further and waste less – just as our ancestors did. They got quite a few things right – they lived more simply and did not waste anything.
That’s more than can be said about a lot of vegetarian and vegan products – with all due respect. Many of the products produced for those consumers are manufactured in the most horrific ways, such as with genetically-modified organisms (think soy, grains, corn, nuts, etc.). I realize there are exceptions (but as long as we all understand that exceptions are all those are – just like the meat produced).
When you specifically refer to sustainable as I’ve done here, there is really no argument. When you start throwing daggers at “meat eaters” and make your main point that they are destroying the planet, it falls short because I’m not advocating supporting commercial farming, factory farming, or genetically-modified activity – all of which destroy the environment and our health. People are omnivores; we are meant to consume meat. We were bio-engineered by God with the correct type of teeth for eating meat, we function better on a diet that includes meat – and I’m not saying meat at every meal, just some meat in our diets, period. And if we all ate sustainable meats, we’d be eating the correct amounts for our health, damaging the environment less, and be healthier.
Any marketplace that advocates that the majority of our food is cultivated, produced, and sold via a modern, industrialized model of agriculture is soon going to fail – whether it is meat or plant based, and that, my friend, is what makes up the bulk of our choices in the world we live in. If you can’t see the difference between sustainable and conventional (which is VAST), I don’t know how else to respond to your comment.
Carmen – I have heard about spreading bone marrow on bread. I have never tried this though. It sounds like a meal item you might possibly find at one of the Weston A. Price convention’s meals. I really have to try this sometime! Thanks for your comment!
Tina – yes, I mentioned bone broth (which I think is the same as what you are mentioning), and I know there is bone and meat broth listed on the GAPS diet plan. It’s a great food and so easy and cheap to make. I am glad to hear more and more people are returning to making this fantastically healthy traditional food.
I think there are minerals in bone broths made from animals and birds living naturally without pesticides and chemicals, hormones and antibiotics. Whether or not the levels of minerals are as high as they were several hundred years ago before the massive pollution and chemical exposure the earth has had is another question entirely. I’m not so confident that ours is similar to what was found back then.
I think nettle should be included in the superfoods. Not only is this plant a super food, it’s also free and can be found just about anywhere making it easy to work into the diet for anybody.
Love your response, Raine!! Sometimes people become so imbedded in the mindspeak of the powers that be, they follow like lemmings—right off the cliff! I was a vegetarian/vegan for years and know the “speak” he’s using; he just hasn’t taken off the veil yet. Once you do, and realize how important everything you wrote about is to our health and how important it is to do some homework of your own, the “Meatrix” loses it’s grip. You can check out a cool video on my site with that intention. http://www.nourishingnancy.blogspot.com! Keep up the great work, Raine!!
Thanks for the post, just started following and have already found a ton of awesome information on your blog.
In regards to this post, one food I think could be added to the list is hemp seed, to me this is one of the most most nutritionally complete foods. They contain the essential amino acids plus some, essentional fats — omega 3,6(GLA)& 9, tons of minerals and chlorophyll.
Barb – I have heard a lot about nettle, but I always thought it was to be used more as an herb or in a tinctre – as in Traditional Chinese Medicine or homeopathy, but either way, I am sure it is a great substance for health. I will check that out!
Jonathan – thanks for your visit and comment. I agree that hemp is a great plant to be used for many things, including food. The only thing I would say about it, since it is a seed, is that it must be properly soaked in an acid medium and/or sprouted before consumption. Grains, vegetables, and many other plants contain phytic acid and need proper preparation before eating.
I appreciate your support and I like your blog too. Lots of great information, I’ll be checking it out in the future!
Hi Raine! As always, an amazing article. I gave you some link love on my Thoughts on friday here: http://amoderatelife.com/2010/06/friday-thoughts-from-the-middle-of-the-road/
Keep up the GREAT investigative work!
Hi Alex – thanks for your visit, and thanks for linking me on your site! I also appreciated your comment on the RFM forum. I was going to go and respond to it, but I am easily distracted and departed from my primary tasks each day, and hadn’t gotten to it yet. Thanks for reading and I hope you are having a great day! 🙂
“For many years, medical communities have campaigned against butter and promoted unhealthy artificial polyunsaturated fats like canola oil, vegetable shortening, cottonseed oil, and soybean oil. These are oils produced as by-products of the industrial waste process and are usually rancid on the shelf (even if not technically hydrogenated).”
I’ll stick with real butter, thanks. Margarine just isn’t the same.
Jim – I agree, butter is the best, there is nothing else!
Awesome post! I eat all of these quite regularly, except for the superfoods…
The only thing that might be better than butter is foie gras!
I don’t eat any butter. My uncle was a butter taster for Land O Lakes. He died of a heart attack. High LDL levels. My great grandfather was a butter maker. He died of a heart attack too. Instead of butter I use extra virgin olive oil. It is my butter substitute. Why? It is a powerful anti-inflammatory. The hydroxytyrosols in extra virgin olive oil (Spain and Italy) appear to be an inhibitor of the enzymes that produce pro-inflammatory eicosanoids, just as aspirin does. This begins to explain the Crete paradox. This population consumes more than 40 percent of their calories as fat (primarily extra-virgin olive oil), but has the lowest rate of heart disease in the Mediterranean region. They are basically taking liquid aspirin.
Me too. I love extra virgin olive oil. I search all over for the extra virgin olive oil from Spain because of hydroxytyrosols in it. So far what I’ve come up with is ordering it online (http://www.buy-extra-virgin-olive-oil.com/ ) because my local markets don’t carry it. I like the peppery taste you get when it’s loaded with hydroxytyrosols. I also like the health benefits.
Alex – thanks for visiting! I have unfortunately never had any experience with foie gras, but I need to make that something I do in the coming future! It’s been on my list!
Buy Salmon – Olive oil is healthy, and I did neglect to put that on the list, but the reason I did was because many people have started discovering this food and are using already; this list was sort of intended to be a compilation of foods that are very nourishing and that a lot of people maybe don’t consider or use, yet, but should.
I would venture to say that if your grandfather worked for Land O Lakes butter and died of a heart attack, it wasn’t because of the butter. Butter contains saturated fat, and saturated fat is actually very important for heart and overall health. Medical rhetoric has made an enemy out of saturated fats and cholesterol, but did you know that in the last few years medical science has been reporting that cholesterol is good for your health and doesn’t cause high cholesterol or heart disease? Here is a link to some great research:
If your uncle died of a heart attack, the culprit is probably more than likely artificial fats and other processed foods he ate, which can accumulate in the tissues, arteries and cells of the body. These substances cause disease. For many years, the industrial food movement has told people real fats are bad for us to eat, so we have been eating unhealthy, artificial fats and processed foods.
Fats from animals raised on factory farms certainly fit that description, and I know for a fact that Land O Lakes is a public-traded, conglomerate company probably owned by one of the agribusiness giants, which means farming practices are modern and do not take care to watch for soil management and organic practices. Farming like this causes the foods to be unhealthy, and causes sickness and disease (as opposed to traditional, sustainable farming).
So yes, olive oil is healthy, but many of these other foods are not currently acknowledged by mainstream health sources and I’m just doing my part to educate and change that information so people can understand.
What is not commonly known is that in that part of the world you mention (the Mediterranean), people not only consume a lot of olive oil, but butter too. That area of the world still uses many traditional practices in farming and food, and butter is certainly a traditional food eaten all over the world by many different cultures for thousands of years. Butter is also a powerful anti-inflammatory due to its nutrient content (see above), with Vitamins A, D, E, and K – these nutrients are critical to fighting inflammation and disease – especially in raw butter that has not been pasteurized.
It wasn’t until the 1920s that heart disease began to surface as a definite problem in medical circles – prior to that, heart disease was a relatively rare thing. And that incidence just happens to be after about 30 – 40 years of influence of the Industrial Revolution and the advent of fake and artificial fats – like Crisco and hydrogenated oils, which were the latest new thing to come along and pushed by food companies and health sources starting around the turn of the century. Here’s an article about cottonseed oil and how it’s use began through Proctor & Gamble, and how their scientist invented hydrogenation:
I looked at the land o lakes website and could not find any information on what they feed their cattle.Since grass fed milk products are rare, and the fact that they are grass fed would be emphasized by the producer, I think it is safe to assume that their cattle are fed industrial feed such as GMO Soy and Corn, quite possibly chicken manure, rendered restaurant plate waste, and all the other unnatural feeds that Big Ag likes to feed cattle.
None of these things are the natural food of cattle, and they cause the fat to have too much Omega 6 and not enough Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 6 fatty acids are known to cause inflammation.
I am convinced that grassfed butter is healthy and reduces inflammation, as it has the natural balance of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3’s reduce inflammation.
Raine, you are right about people in that area of the world eating butter as well as olive oil. They also love to eat fatty lamb and pork, the fatter the better. For example, raw pork lard is a prized food in Italy. Slices of this are eaten raw, on a piece of bread.
Stanley – I also looked on the Land O Lakes web site and their affiliate sites to try to find out what their cattle were fed and could find no information. I also assumed it was probably grain/soy/corn/silage feed and GMO-based, as that is the primary track most agriculture business is on these days.
I also agree that butter reduces inflammation and is better for health. I’ve seen too much research, testimony, and observed great things in my own family to the contrary to believe otherwise anymore. It’s true, at one time I was convinced fat and cholesterol were unhealthy to consume. But with all the massive health issues people in our country experience and all the evidence I have seen as to how industrial oils and other fake fats are causing our downfall in health, it’s easy to see just how healthful and essential real, natural fats are to our well-being.
this is a great list. I take cod liver oil but have yet to take the fermented kind. I am also quite bashful when it comes to organ meats but maybe I’ll get there some day!
You are so good at putting together information like this, Raine. I so appreciate it. I will be passing this on to my clients and customers. Why should I re invent the wheel. And, of course, I will give full credit to you. Personally, I am doing pretty well with that list. I don’t take the fermented CLO (yet) but mine is a pretty high quality. I still have to work occasionally with the old “diet mentality” and the fear of fats. I love them but sometimes find myself cutting back just because of all my old Weight Watcher, etc. training.
Such thoughtful good comments.
Hi Charity – thanks for your comments, and I’m glad you can use this for your clients. So many people have health issues and it’s great to hear when people like you are educating them to move toward health and eliminate problems that can be dealt with by eating nourishing foods we were meant to eat. 🙂
I can do everything but the organ meats. Awesome article Raine!
Thank you for this resource — I will share it with the Nourishing Our Children community. I envision that this list is not order or nutrient density? The most nutritious animal food, according to Dr. Price, was fish and shellfish. He found that the populations that had access to fish from the sea had the thickest skulls and best bone structure.
Sandrine – thank you so much for sharing! No, I did not place these foods in any type of order, but I do remember reading that those seafood is the most nutrient-dense from Dr. Price’s book. It’s amazing the things he learned in his travels, and I still marvel at his work. No one else has ever done this type of research, to-date, that I’m aware of, which makes it that much more remarkable.
I am still not doing as well on organ meats as I’d like to either, Mendy. I need to switch gears and get this going more regularly. I really want to have access to chicken and/or pig livers that are from sustainable sources as they are supposed to be milder in flavor and more versatile. The only thing I’ve been able to find is the beef liver, and I’m pretty opposed to the flavor. I just can’t seem to prepare it in a way I actually (and my family) enjoys it. I know I should be adding it though in small amounts to meals I prepare like casseroles, soups, and other meals like taco meats, shepherd’s pie, etc. I just need to make this part of my routine. I’ve been so wrapped up in all the things I do for GAPS, I don’t have time for one more thing! Baby steps. 🙂
Hey! Love the article! It’s a great primer on the basics that I can share with friends and family and even strangers who show interest in traditional foods! Thanks!
I have just recently started taking the Green Pastures FCLO with Butter Oil blend, cinnamon flavor. It’s ok, but I am getting “flavored” burps for about four hours after taking it. I’m pregnant and am wondering if you (or anyone) has some insight as to whether I might not be absorbing the nutrients or if I’m just burping because I’m pregnant.
Hi Kate – some people burp when taking the FCLO and that is usually a sign of not digesting the fats properly. I’d recommend GAPS by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride (from Gut and Psychology Syndrome), which you can do while pregnant and also eventually add the FCLO back in. Times on Intro for GAPS and various stages of the diet vary from person-to-person. I have been on GAPS since May and seen dramatic improvements in health issues I was having (panic, anxiety symptoms), and I although I wasn’t having burping when taking the FCLO before I started GAPS, I did have a Vitamin D blood test done which showed very low levels of D in my body, despite taking 8-10 FLCO capsules daily plus eating many traditional foods high in natural Vitamin D.
If you are not absorbing D it often means a magnesium deficiency is occurring, since we need magnesium to absorb fat-soluble activators in Vitamin D. GAPS can certainly help increase magnesium levels, but many people still need a supplement or to use magnesium oil (topical application on the skin). There are two types I know of that are good – the spray:
and the bath flakes:
I hope this is helpful to you. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
konw ohw keyouo of ohw tiow. kookt kikw e ohwmw I am uting.
You made a number of good points there. I did a search on the matter and found nearly all people will agree with your blog.
It as hard to find well-informed people for this topic, but you seem like you know what you are talking about! Thanks