I have received a few emails and questions about how to transition to a nutrient-dense diet. This has sparked me to present a "12-steps" for food. Even in my own process, there have been gradual steps toward better health. Some things were immediate (removal of sugar), but some things took longer (brewing my own Kombucha). All of my research and instruction into nutrient-dense food has come from the book Nourishing Traditions and the website provided by the Weston A Price Foundation.
Here are my suggestions:
1 - Remove all refined sugar (replace with raw honey, 100% pure maple syrup, stevia powder, Rapadura) and refined flours (most importantly white). Replace with soured or sprouted grains.
2 - Switch to raw milk. If this is not feasible, at least switch to organic, non-homogenized whole milk.
3 - Switch to soaked oats for most breakfasts. This will teach you about lacto-fermentation, as well as get you gradually weaned onto soured food, if you are not already.
4 - Make your own salad dressings (use raw products as much as possible. Make Caesar's once a week as they contain raw egg yolks and anchovies, which are both very nutritious)
5 - Make your own broth, and get in the habit regularly making broth/stock so that you can incorporate more soups and gravies into your meal plans.
6 - Learn to marinate and plan to slow roast your meats so that you can purchase the more economical cuts, and then upgrade to pasture-fed, organic with your savings. For the higher quality cuts (chops, steaks, etc) transition yourself to eating them rare.
7 - Brew some Kombucha. It may seems scary, but the "work" is quick and then it takes care of itself.
8 - Begin making your own bread. No sugars, no preservatives, no glue additives, etc. If you are not ready for traditional sourdough yet, there are other "compromise" breads that would still be steps in the right direction.
9 - Try making your own sauerkraut. This is a great next step in lacto-fermentation. Sauerkraut is a great condiment, and a small amount each day is wonderful for your gut. This is a good baby step towards experimenting with other lacto-fermented veggies and salsas as well.
10 - Make and culture your own dairy products! The easiest is probably creme fraiche. After you try this (and LOVE how delicious and cheap it is) try making your own yogurt. If you are daring, try cheese. Make your own ice cream, and load it up with raw egg yolks, and raw cream if you can.
11 - Incorporate liver (I know! Gasp!). The easiest way for us is grating it (frozen), or finely chopping it into gravies.
12 - Take a look at what else you buy "pre-made" at the store. Condiments? Crackers? Snacks? Dive in and learn to make it yourself.
Everything can be made from whole foods. Pretty soon you will have no need to walk down the store isles, as all of your purchases (if you do not get food direct from farms or through a company like Azure Standard) will be on the exterior walls.
I plan to focus on one of these "steps" each month with recipes and how-to's, though it may not be in this order.
Questions and comments are welcome as always!