In Search of Nutrient Density

by Gretchen Inman


In light of the latest food gross out on the web – I am referring to the pink slime that was an FDA approved additive in  the fast food burger world, we need to redirect our attention to more food truisms. The images of the extruded blob being packed into boxes for shipping to processing plants was a grim reminder of what is allowable in our food by the very same entity that should be protecting us. That being said I believe that in order to rebuild trust that has slowly dissipated from the consumer we need to take on a majority of the responsibility for ourselves. It is being done by establishing trust within our communities. It is the only way to be sure our food sources aren’t being tampered with.

Alarming enough is the reality that anything processed has lost its nutritional density by as much as 80% and many of the fruits and vegetables grown today are genetically modified to withstand shipping thousands of miles, endure fluctuations in heat and cold, plus last considerably longer  than nature intended.

While planning your garden this season keep in mind the thought of planting a broad variety of vegetables, herbs, fruits in order to not only save money at the grocery store on substandard quality produce but offer yourself a chance to know where your food comes from. Your local farmers markets are still a key place to acquire excellent products and lord knows they can use all the support we can give them. Become a grower/farmer yourself and gain the appreciation for a deeply fulfilling task that pays off in so many ways. Make it a family project, better yet plan a communal garden in your neighborhood. Everyone benefits.

There continues to be a lot of mis-information about what nutrient density means but the simplistic definition is: a nutrient-dense food is the food that delivers a complete nutritional package. Although whole foods are the best way to ensure nutrient density is being obtained so much of our source of these whole foods are being compromised by the factors I mention in the second paragraph. Our bodies know the difference and better health comes with applying these principles to our daily food intake regimen.

While it can be very challenging to make the drastic changes that need to happen  for our food to be in a proper state of consumption. Last months Missouri Organic Conference is a perfect place for the needs to be addressed. The local agricultural leaders who attended are addressing the very issues that concern all of us. The network of minds that come together offer a very important step in reassuring our food sources are safe, while attending to the small picture (local communities) and big picture (state wide collaborations) that are nationally plaguing our food sources.

The bottom line, I believe, is that corporate greed has overcome reason when dealing with the allowable ingredients in processed products. The only way to avoid them is to avoid them, completely. Forget convenience, this is your health and the health of your family. Back to the basics that our great grandparents lived with. Purity: hormone-free , antibiotic-free, additive-free, zero processing. Imagine going to the market filled with fresh locally grown produce, presented seasonally, fresh meats and fish, dry goods like flour, sugar, rice and beans, freshly baked breads – no boxes, bags of processed foods, nothing to pollute your body with chemicals, toxins, and additives…..imagine.

In search of nutrient density, keep to the outside perimeter of the store. Avoid the aisles and stick with the wholesome foods your body deserves. Plan and plant your garden to provide yourself with the best nutrient dense foods- yours!