By Leo Babauta
In this webinar, we looked at the importance of a nutrient dense diet, and how it can help to overcome our most common diet obstacles.
I’ve broken this webinar recording into two parts:
- Part I – My Talk: What a nutrient rich diet looks like, and how to transition to this eating style. (See notes)
- Part II – Questions & Answers: Dealing mindfully with health problems, getting the exercise habit back, and more.
Part I: Leo’s Talk (with notes)
Here are the notes from my talk (video is below the notes):
The problem is that many of us tend to overeat â€” partly out of old habits, but also because our bodies are signaling us to eat more based on the rewarding food thatâ€™s all around us.
At the same time, itâ€™s not only about the amount weâ€™re putting in our bodies, but the quality of the food — if weâ€™re stuffing ourselves with sweets and French fries, weâ€™re not getting the nutrition our bodies need.
One important answer in all of that is to choose high quality, nutrient-dense foods most of the time.
If we eat a lot, but itâ€™s mostly, say, vegetables and beans, we wonâ€™t get overweight. Weâ€™ll just get filled with nutrients. So itâ€™s not the amount, but the quality of food.
Thereâ€™s also a lot of research around food reward that says sweet food, fried foods, and other high reward foods tend to make us eat more. The more we choose foods that have less sugar in them, that are less fried, and richer in nutrients and fiber, the less our brains will trigger us to overeat.
So the answer is a high nutrient diet. Letâ€™s look at what that might be like, and how to move towards it.
A high nutrient diet is based around foods that are rich in nutrients:
- Green vegetables are the king – kale, broccoli, spinach, bok choy, romaine lettuce
- Other colored vegetables are also full of nutrients – squash, carrots, red bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms
- Fruits are full of nutrients – especially berries
- Beans and legumes
- Nuts and seeds
Dr. Joel Fuhrman has an acronym that helps remember some of these: GBOMBS – Greens, Beans (and legumes), Onions (and garlic), Mushrooms, Berries, Seeds (and nuts)
Youâ€™ll notice that I havenâ€™t talked about meats, poultry, or fish — I am personally vegan, but I know you can be healthy while eating those foods, so Iâ€™m not going to knock them. I have a sister who eats high quality fish and is super healthy, and other friends who do the same, sometimes with high quality meats. But they also eat plenty of the foods Iâ€™ve just mentioned, so those foods are common to the healthiest vegans, pescatarians and meat eaters I know.
So how do we move towards this? We just start slowly incorporating these foods into our diet.
You might start with breakfast for a week– can you get some berries, seeds and nuts into your oats? Maybe a tofu scramble with greens, mushrooms, onions? Maybe a breakfast burrito with beans, greens, onions.
Then move to lunch the next week. One of my favorite ways to get all of this in is a huge salad full of greens, beans, seeds, nuts, mushrooms, other colored veggies like carrots, and maybe even some berries on top.
Then dinner for a week — look for recipes full of these kinds of nutrient awesomeness.
And then start to cut out other areas that are less packed with nutrients, replacing them with nutrient rich foods that rock.
The key is to do it slowly, and to find nutrient packed foods that you love. In the end, your diet will be a nutrient-packed powerhouse that is a loving act toward your body.
Part II: Questions and Answers
In this 2nd part of the webinar, I answered some great questions about:
- Reducing food reward vs. increasing nutrients
- Having a hard time getting back into regular exercise
- Mindfully dealing with the frustration and disappointment of health issues
- And more