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  Day 8 - Nutrient Density: The Golden Rule of Nutrition

Today's Homework

1. Day 8 Workout
2. Download & print your Nutrient Dense Food List (Includes the Superfoods Hit List I mentioned in the video)
3. Create a meal or snack using any of the foods off that list
4. Read through the Eat Less Of sheet, and consciously commit to eating less of these foods for the next 30 days.

Details on Today's Lesson

If I could boil down my nutritional philosophy into two words, it would be “Nutrient Density!” By focusing on nutrient density you will achieve a healthy weight without any wacky dieting, for good.

Nutrient density is the amount of nutrients a given food contains. Nutrients are things like essential amino acids, vitamins, phytonutrients, minerals, fiber and all around nutrition. Think of the food you eat as a large wallet, and the nutrition contained in the cell walls as cash. You want to deposit as much “cash” as possible into your “bank”.

For Example...

To illustrate nutrient density in action, let’s look at two dinners. One dinner has a grilled organic burger. It’s wrapped in steamed collard greens, topped with mustard, avocado and tomato. It’s served with a side of baked sweet potato fries, and a tall glass of mineral water.

Option 1 - Grass-Fed Burger Wrapped in Collard Greens


The other dinner is a sad looking mystery-meat fast food burger. It’s served between a junky white bun, and topped with a neon yellow square of "cheese", a white piece of lettuce, and served with a side of made-from-frozen french fries cooked in year old vegetable oil. Oh, and it comes with a large “Diet” coke, that was made by dudes in labcoats.

Option 2 - Traditional Fast Food Burger

The first dinner contains a long, long list of nutrients: carotenoids, isoflavones, omega-3’s, calcium, magnesium, and on and on.

The second dinner has such a meager amount of nutrients, it’s not even worth the energy it’ll take to digest it.

Nutrient Density Made Simple

Again, if you focus on eating foods with the highest nutrient values, that one action will eliminate the need for any other dieting for the rest of your life. Period.

The purpose of eating is to give your body nutrients. Yes, food is supposed to taste great, and it can even be a bonding experience with loved ones. You can love to eat, and enjoy the food you eat. But the primary purpose of eating is to give your cells the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and everything else that real food contains.

Counting calories wasn’t necessary until all the packaged, junky, boxed, fast food was invented. That’s because junk food leaves you even hungrier than you were before you ate it. If you’re eating at McDonald’s, for example, you’re getting food that is packed with calories, but with very little nutrients. Your body spends energy to digest that food, and gets very little in return. Focusing on nutrient dense foods allows you the freedom to eat until you’re satisfied, and not have to count calories. These nutrients help you feel full, healthy, and mentally alert after you eat them.

Eating nutrient dense foods can stave off the aging process, reduce your risk of age related diseases, and help you maintain a healthy weight effortlessly. There are countless studies supporting these facts.

Nutrient dense foods are:
  • Anything from nature
  • Plants of any kind (fruits, vegetables, herbs & spices)
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Legumes
  • Whole grains that have not been processed
  • Meat that has not been processed (organic if possible)
  • Seafood
  • Fats that come from nature (avocado, animal fats, olive oil, coconut oil)

That’s it. So simple.

I know this list looks short, but the amount of foods that fit into these categories could take up at least five pages of text.

Choosing the most nutrient dense foods in any given situation doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re eating like an angel 100% of the time, or cooking all your own meals. It just means you’re doing the best you can with what you have at any given moment. If you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere, and the only place to eat is McDonalds, choose the most nutrient dense thing from the menu. In this case, we’d go with a salad, and a maybe a side of oranges.


Stefania Warren
Hi Brenda,
Thank you so much for your wonderful program you created for us! I have a questions about what fried food actually means when cooking at home. I fry potatoes in butter, but I cover them and use the least amount of butter possible for them to fry/steam in a ceramic pan. How healthy is that, and how often can I eat them? I always been long and skinny, and lived in Eastern Europe for the first 24 years of life on a healthy diet. Two years ago at age 30 I had my first born son and started school soon after that having a hectic life. I come to US at 99 lbs and I weigh now 130 lbs the most I've been. I always wanted to gain weight but now I have a pronounced belly that didnt go away since birth delivery. Because I am constantly lacking sleep due to school, I was afraid to work out. I am also still breastfeeding and had been careful with any detox. I think I am eating too much carbs daily but I am experiemcing hunger if I dont eat them, something that was unseen since I was a child. I avoid, gluten and dairy, I juice as often as I can, and include sprouts and superfods in my diet. What carbs should I eat, and how much per day? Thank you so much, I know this was long.
Vicky Averill
What's a round? Do I do exercise 1 and 2 and then rest 2 minutes or do I do one two three four five six then rest 2 minutes
Brenda Turner
Hi Vicky!

A round is when you complete all the exercises in the entire sheet. They're all numbered, so for today, you'd complete exercises 1-6. Then you rest 2 minutes.

Beginners do all the exercises one time through, intermediates do them twice and take a 2 minute rest each time they finish, and advanced do the entire circuit three times.

Michelle Mendez
Hello Brenda!
I am curious to know what is your in take on coffee? I am mostly a tea-type of person but i heard to many negatives around coffee such as not good for your kidneys or stains your teeth etc. and u put sweet potatoes on the list. Is it okay to use red or brown potatoes? are they considered "Nutrient dense"?
Brenda Turner
Hi Michelle!

Coffee can be a stressor on the body, and it's typically best to avoid it if you can. And yes, it does put a strain on the adrenals, which could lead to a vicious cycle of needing to rely on it.

That said, one cup of coffee per day is ok if you have it immediately upon waking, and you don't drink it late in the day. Caffeine has a half life of 12 hours. So if you have 90 mg of caffeine (a typical cup of coffee) at 9am, you'll probably still have around 45mg in your system by 9pm. So consume caffeine early, and sparingly.

On the potatoes, any variants are fine. Yams and sweet potatoes offer a few more nutrients, but all varieties are fine. Just be sure to have them within 2 hours before or 2 hours after a workout, so your muscles can use the glycogen as fuel, rather than store it as fat.
Erica Joy Parker
Hi Brenda!!

I have a question about digestion and stomach. Anytime I eat I cough for a little while after, it is an odd tickle in my throat that also includes some clear mucus. The cough usually goes away within 30 mins. it seems to be a digestion issue, or something related to stomach. I don't bloat very often, I eat a very clean diet, only items you recommend. I do drink one cup of coffee a day and keep dairy to a min.

I have tried HCL pills, DGL chewable and digestive enzymes and they don't seem to really help. The DGL chewable seem to help a little.Health wise my main issue is Hashimoto's. The cough is really annoying, I have had it for about a year now. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

P.S. I am loving this program. I have followed you on YouTube for years so happy you made this program! :)
Brenda Iris Gonzales
Sorry ....I saw coconut milk but not almond milk which is better to drink?
Brenda Turner
Unsweetened almond milk is a fine choice. It's high in vitamin E and taste really good.

Now, I put coconut milk on there instead of almond milk for a few reasons.

Coconut milk has lauric acid, which is great for giving your body a natural energy boost. Coconut milk is lower in phytic acid than almond milk, so it's easier to digest. It's an all around great alternative to almond milk.

I love them both, but would consider coconut milk more "nutrient dense". And I know most people opt for almond milk, so I wanted to use this as an opportunity to introduce new things into your diet, and encourage nutritional variety.

So, you might try using almond milk for a week or two...then coconut milk, and so on.
Colleen Mahaney
Where I live I have a very hard time finding the unsweetened coconut milk, but can find (usually) unsweetened almond. Is it better to avoid the sugar or get the lauric acid? I have never had any problems with either, digestion wise.
Leah Gailius
Hi Brenda,

What are your thoughts on eggs? I'm mostly vegetarian, so I end up eating about 2 eggs a day and maybe 1/4 c. egg whites... but I'm not sure if that's overdoing it...
Brenda Turner
Hi Leah,

Eggs are a very healthy food, rich in choline, and a fantastic source of essential amino acids. The thing that many people worry about is the yolk "having too much fat".

The truth is, the yolks are very nutritious, and help to make you feel full. The yolk is just as important as the whites, so don't worry about having even three whole eggs if you feel like it!
Brenda Iris Gonzales
What are your thoughts on unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk.