How to Find the Healthiest Plant Foods at the Market

This is a guest post by Jenny Prince.

mineralRichAs a longtime vegan turned real foodist, incorporating meat and dairy back into my diet has been a mental struggle. I still cling pretty tightly to that idea that I can satisfy my nutritional needs without disturbing other living creatures. Beans, grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies are still my go-to daily fuel.

However, as a passionate food grower, I’m well aware that many plant foods just don’t stack up nutritionally. Not because they don’t have the potential to be healthy foods, but simply because they were raised without any real attention to their nutritional outcome. I say it’s high time we, as shoppers, figure out how to compare apples to apples, just so that we can always buy the healthier apple.

What if you had a sure-fire way to identify exactly which plant foods at market were the most nutrient-dense and mineral-rich?

No problem. I can totally help you do this.

Calling on all of my experiences as a lifelong gardener and organic soil analyst, I came up with an entirely simple way of finding these nutritional superstars – and it was inspired by pure, spooky fear. Like, horror movie-style.

My girl, proudly chomping on some spinal column

My girl, proudly chomping on some spinal column

My scary story, like all good scary stories, is based on real-life events. I didn’t have a close call with a disease or spend any time in the hospital, but it was definitely a nutritional nightmare.

For three years, I kept finding body parts.

My dog and I take a lot of long walks; we visit about 6 different trails within 40 minutes of home. Over the past few years, I‘ve started to notice bones hanging from the trees everywhere we go. Big, long animal bones, usually still connected (as in femur-kneecap-tibia). I was starting to get pretty creeped out.

Finally, I decided to consult some experts about these bones. Posting in a Real Foods Facebook forum, I asked my most outdoorsy friends:
bones
I figured one of these mountain-dwelling brewers, dairy farmers, scientists, chefs, or organic gardeners would know. And guess what? Seemed like everybody knew but me. Multiple replies confirmed this magical forest tradition:

Hunters return the bones of animals to the forest to decompose. They do this just to keep the soil system rich in minerals.

Why do they care about the soil system? Because they care deeply about plant foods.

Because hunters know that removing minerals (bones) from the forest puts the entire soil system in jeopardy, they also realize that it puts the deer population at risk. If the forest is not able to produce mineral-rich plant foods, then there won’t be any deer left to hunt.

The creepy truth is that:

Plant foods cannot sustain life unless they are mineral-rich.

Now you probably see why I got myself so worked up, huh?

So, what’s the easiest way for a health-minded shopper to source mineral-rich plant foods?

Find a veggie vendor at the farmers market who also sells eggs. Really.

Then you’ll know that your veggies were grown alongside chickens and their shells (remember: animal, vegetable, mineral!). If you can’t get to a farmers market, then ask someone at the health food store if they stock produce from any ‘diversified’ farms.

mineralRichPlantFood

Diversified farming incorporates animals and vegetables together, in efforts to keep a healthy soil system. Generally speaking, the vegetables grown on diversified farms alongisde animals are often richer in minerals than other options.

Have you found a good source of high quality vegetables in your area? What makes you feel good about buying your veggies there?

smJennyJenny Prince is a professional vegetable gardener and soil mineralizer,
as well as the author of Eat Like a Farm Girl: 3-Ingredient Plant-Based Recipes.
She shares her love for all things vegetable at jennygrows.com

How to Eat Seaweed: 10 Ways to Boost Your Energy with Sea Veggies

Growing up I always ate a lot of cookies and junk food. That was my de facto standard. But one day my dad showed up with boxes full of seaweed cookies and seaweed bars.

He figured that we could all stand to eat a little healthier, and he planned on selling them at his shop. At first we all wrinkled our noses: “seaweed?! yuck!”

But over time I grew to like these seaweed cookies. They had a different type of flavor, and since my dad was having a harder time than he anticipated selling them, I ended up eating a lot of them.

The Benefits of Eating Seaweed

How to eat seaweed is not something I learned at a young age… unless you count those cookies. I didn’t understand the benefit of eating seaweed back then, but now I’m a huge fan and here’s why:

  • A lot of the food grown on the land is lacking in minerals because of aggressive farming practices and lack of remineralization. Seaweed is packed with minerals from the ocean!
  • If you’re worried about the toxic chemical accumulation the higher up you go in the food chain, especially in fish… well seaweed is as low in the oceanic food chain as it gets.
  • Seaweed is great for balancing out the thyroid gland, which is responsible for producing hormones that keep us healthy and balanced.
  • Seaweed is pure energy, and if you need a boost it is really easy to add to your daily routine.
  • All in all, seaweed is one of the greatest foods that we often neglect to eat. It is a regular ingredient in Asian cuisine, and can add a great taste to many raw dishes!

How to Eat Seaweed & How to Add Seaweed to Your Diet

I often get asked how people can eat more seaweed, and this article will show you all the different ways you can do it!

1. Add spirulina or blue/green algae to your green smoothies or fruit smoothies. I’ve also added it to my green juices, it makes for a fun mix.

2. Make raw maki or sushi veggie rolls, using nori seaweed sheets as the wrapper.

3. Slice up a nori sheet to top your salads or add to wraps for extra crunch.

4. Use Irish Moss in raw pies and desserts to solidify the fillings, and get some extra seaweed into your diet through your sweet tooth.

5. Soak kelp buds and add these to your salads and wraps. I do this one several times per week, and it adds a different flair to my salads!

6. Add kelp noodles (these are raw!) to your raw soups, raw salads, or make a raw noodle dish with them.

7. Use soaked kelp buds or your favorite type of seaweed to your salad dressings by blending with quality oils and vinegars. You get a great Asian tasting dressing, and you sneak more seaweed in!

8. Dehydrate nori crackers by blending regular cracker batter and spreading it on a nori sheet. Then dehydrate and watch the salty nori turn into a delicious cracker you can’t put down.

9. Make a seaweed salad with any type of soaked seaweed, sliced cucumbers, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds for an Asian feel.

10. Bring nori sheets on camping or cross country trips, they make for a great dry snack or can be combined with fresh veggies for a super simple wrap.

Did you notice? None of these suggestions require you to eat seaweed cookies. But each one will help you remineralize your body, balance your thyroid, and feel incredible.

So go ahead, give seaweed a try. I promise you it gets easier to include in your day to day! The question is not “How to Eat Seaweed” but rather, why not eat more seaweed?

Love, Nathalie

Are You Missing Out on Important Nutrients Because You Don’t Supplement?

Could your health be suffering because you don’t supplement with vitamins and essential minerals?

When I first went raw, I thought vitamins and supplements were for the birds. Or rather that we didn’t need them. After all, I had my blood levels checked after I went raw and everything was fine.

Since then I’ve done a lot more research into the benefits of supplementation with vitamins and minerals. One of my most shocking discoveries was that modern day food doesn’t have the same level of nutrition that it once had because of modern farming practices.

Another realization was that most of us are not absorbing as many of the nutrients from our food as we should be. So in my opinion, I think it’s a good idea to supplement with a quality product that is highly bioavailable.

Supplements: Which Ones, and Why

I often get asked what supplements I take, and whether people should take supplements if they embark on a raw diet. The answer will depend on you, but I think that most people can’t afford to go cheap when it comes to their health and wellbeing.

I used to believe that we could get all the nutrition we needed from whole foods. However, more and more research is coming to light proving that produce doesn’t have nearly as much nutrition as it did years ago.

If you’re buying organic produce, or growing your own food, then the quality of the produce will be far better. However, I think that most people can still benefit from supplementation where certain vitamins are concerned.

Most Recommended Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamin D3 is highly recommended, especially if you live in a cold climate where you don’t get at least 10-15 minutes of direct sunlight outside every day.

Vitamin D3 is synthesized by your skin when it is in contact with the sun. Vitamin D3 has been linked to cancer prevention and essentially tells your cells when to die after their lifetime is up – which is very important for cancerous cells.

Vitamin B12 is another vitamin that I think people should really consider. Since we’re mostly eating “sanitized” food we don’t get much B12 from our food. That’s why supplementing with B12 is important. It’s something that even meat-eaters should consider, since everyone is susceptible to a lack in Vitamin B12, not just vegans or vegetarians.

Vitamin C is super important for keeping your immune system strong, and can help with acne. I’ve seen really high recommended doses of Vitamin C, and it makes sense we would naturally get a lot by eating fruits.

There are tons of other vitamins and minerals out there too, but at a minimum these would be the ones to focus on.

Best Types of Supplements

Most people take supplements in solid pill form. However, the nutritional absorption of pills is very low… somewhere between 20-25% is actually absorbed into the body.

On the other hand, liquid supplements have a higher absorption rate of about 90-98%, and can be absorbed more quickly.

Think of liquid supplements as being very similar to juiced vegetables. The reason we juice vegetables is to get all the pure nutrients of the vegetables directly and bypass the digestion process. That’s why liquid nutritional supplements are ideal.

I think it’s really important to invest in a proven supplement, because not all supplements are made equal. I’ve tested several types of supplements on myself over the past year, and Vemma is the only supplement that I’ve gotten results with and can recommend.

There may be other great supplements out there, so definitely do your research.

Have An Awesome Day!

I hope this article gave you some food for thought on nutritional supplements.

Love, Nathalie