All proteins are not created equal.

When you are deciding which foods to eat, choosing a diet where most of the foods give you the most nutrients per gram makes good sense for building and maintaining good health doesn’t it? In fact Dr. Weston A. Price found through his research of healthy populations worldwide that “All disease comes from malnourishment.” (see www.westonaprice.org)

Next, it makes sense to choose proteins that are easy-to-digest so that the nutrients that they contain are available to the body, which was another aspect of the work that Dr. Price did. When he sought to find cultures of people that had perfect health, he was hoping that he would find one that was vegetarian as he believed in the principle of vegetarianism. Unfortunately, he was very disappointed to find that cultures whose protein sources were from plants displayed degenerative conditions. This is because proteins from legumes, nuts and seeds are difficult to digest and do not have the nutrient-density of animal foods as they do not have the full array of amino acids.

As you can also imagine, fractionated proteins like “whey protein” and other protein powders are highly processed, difficult to digest and are therefore poor choices for nutrient-dense foods. These are among the “new-fangled” food¬† inventions of today that rob your pocketbook and promise results, when in fact, they are not real food!

So shopping for foods that will comprise a good diet is at best confusing when there is so much conflicting health advice–especially when we have been literally brainwashed into believing that a healthy diet is low-fat and high-fiber.

How can we go about making an educated choice about what proteins to include in our daily fare. If we are looking at nutrient-density alone, the foods highest in nutrients are not only organic, but they come from animals eating their natural diets. So finding a source of eggs, dairy, meat and fish from good sources is critical to good health as there is a remarkable difference in the nutrients in for instance, eggs from a pastured chicken and even an organic egg from a “vegetarian-fed” chicken (chickens are not vegetarian by the way–their natural diet is comprised of bugs and worms). Price also noted that in all cases healthy cultures ate ample amounts of traditional fats with proteins like butter, meat with its fat, cream, lard, coconut oil or palm oil.

Also, all healthy cultures that Dr. Price studied had sacred foods for good health, couples who wanted to conceive and growing children.  One of the sacred protein foods that they consumed was organ meats like liver. Liver from a grass-fed cow or other pastured animal is one of the most nutrient-dense animal foods that you can eat. If you consume liver just once a week, you will greatly magnify the nutrients available to your body for building and maintaining good health. Some people think the liver stores toxins, but in fact it acts as a filter. However, it is also very important to get liver from good sources-see http://www.westonaprice.org/localchapters/index.html for a list of local Weston A. Price chapters in your area to locate farm coops that carry naturally raised foods.

Below is a fascinating list of the comparative vitamin content of various kinds of liver. From this list, you will see just what nutrient-density really means.

Liver Comparison Chart

From: Nutrition Almanac, by John D. Kirschmann

Beef Lamb Veal Chicken Duck Goose Turkey
Amount 1lb 1lb 1lb 1 1 1 1
Weight: gm 454 454 454 32 44 94 102
Vitamin A 199130 229070 102060 6576 17559 29138 18403
Vitamin B1 1.16 1.81 .9 .044 .528 .062
Vitamin B2 14.79 14.9 12.3 .628 .838 2.21
Vitamin B6 14 1.36 3.04 .24 .72 .78
Vitamin B12 363 472 272 7.35 23.7 64.6
Biotin 454 454
Niacin 61.6 76.5 51.8 2.96 6.11 10.35
Pantothen
Acid
35 32.7 36.3 1.98 7.81
Folic Acid .99 .99 236 752
Vitamin C 140 152 161 10.8 4.6
Vitamin E 6.36
Calcium 36 45 36 3 5 40 7
Copper 12.7 25 36 .126 2.62 7.07 .512
Iron 29.5 49.4 39.9 2.74 13.4 11
Magnesium 59 64 73 6 23 21
Manganese 1.23 1.04 .083 .294
Phosphorus 1597 1583 1510 87 118 245 319
Potassium 1275 916 1275 73 216 303
Selenium 206
Sodium 617 236 331 25 132 98
Zinc 17 17 .98 2.53
Total Fat 17.5 19.6 21.3 1.23 2.04 4.03 4.05
Saturated Fat 6.8 6.9 42 .63 1.49 1.28
Unsaturated Fat 5 6.63 .5 .59 1 1.73
Cholesterol 1360 1361 1361 140 227 475

So when considering how to build good health for a lifetime, choosing foods according to nutrient-density will go a long way to helping you achieve that goal, and we have history and good research on magnificently healthy people as our example.

For more information on a healing diet and nutrient-dense foods see www.performancewithoutpain.com.

Best in health,

Kathryne Pirtle

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