Foods are the building blocks for our body. Whatever our body needs to do, it does it with the food we eat. If we eat fruits and vegetables, our new skin will be made of fruits and vegetables; if we eat McDonalds, our new skin will be made of McDonalds. So choosing your food carefully is essential to your healing.
What are my goals when I eat?
First, I aim to get the RDI of every essential vitamin and mineral. These are: Vitamin A, C, D, E, K, 8 different B vitamins, Calcium Chloride, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Selenium, Zinc). Read more here: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/listing_of_vitamins
Most vitamins I get enough of very easily, but after running my numbers for 2 weeks, Vitamin E, calcium and chromium I have to pay special attention to. Also, Vitamin A, C and E are the key building blocks in collagen production, so I’m always sure to get enough of those.
That’s micronutrients. We also need to think about macronutrients. These are: Fats, Proteins, and Carbohydrates.
For the purposes of TSW, I believe fats and proteins are what we should be focusing on. Carbohydrates mostly provide energy, but fats and protein provide building blocks for collagen and new skin cells. That is what we desperately need right now.
We also need to think about bioavailability. It’s fine to eat the right nutrients, but they also need to be bioavailable, meaning our body can actually use them. As a general rule, nutrients from animal foods will be more bioavailable than plant foods.
An example: Vitamin A is essential for collagen production. Carrots and sweet potato are popular sources of Vitamin A, but they don’t actually contain any Vitamin A. They contain beta-carotene, which our body then needs to convert to Vitamin A. However, animal products such as eggs and liver provide Vitamin A already in a fully bioavailable form. Why? Because the animal we are eating has already converted it for us.
The same goes with protein. Most plants contain proteins with incomplete amino acid profiles. We need to eat various plants to get all the amino acids and synthesize the protein into a form we can use. However, animal proteins are complete and ready for use by our bodies. Why? Because the animal we are eating has already synthesized it for us.
Most plants also contain various anti-nutrients, such as lectins and phytates, which prevent us from fully absorbing all their nutrients.
So with all that in mind, the goal is to get all essential vitamins/minerals, preferably from animal foods, in the form of fats and proteins.
What does this look like?
Below is an example of what I will eat in a day, and why
Meal 1: 150g oats (300g after cooking), plus 250g fruit.
I eat oats because they contain large amounts of almost every essential mineral (see my nutrient chart at the bottom of this post). I add a little almond milk for vitamin E and chia seeds for calcium. I add fruits high in Vitamin C, usually papaya, pineapple and blueberries. I also mix in a teaspoon of raw cacao powder (packed with minerals!)
Water content in this meal: around 450-500ml.
Meal 2: 250g beef or lamb (mince or steaks), 2 pastured eggs, avocado.
Big serving of fats and protein, also gives you nearly all your daily zinc, selenium, half your iron, and a huge dose of B vitamins. I cook everything in butter fat, lard or bone broth fats. Pastured eggs are also a great source of Vitamin K2.
Water content in this meal: Around 300ml.
Meal 3: 250g Salmon, 2 pastured eggs and sweet potato.
Salmon is a super fatty fish and provides nearly every essential vitamin and mineral. Sweet potato is a big Vitamin A provider, which I’ll only eat if I haven’t eaten liver that day. As an animal food, liver is generally my preferred source. Eggs are just great overall for fats, protein and nutrients and can be added to any meal.
Water content in this meal: Around 400ml
Other things I’ll drink during the day:
150ml of bone broth:
Fats, proteins, collagen, lots of good stuff, and all great for skin health. Bone broth is also perfect for keeping a healthy gut. Usually I add some meatballs and/or tendons to it. Tendons are pure protein/collagen – perfect.
250ml almond cacao milkshake
Mostly to meet my quota for calcium and Vitamin E. I blend it up with a teaspoon of cacao and 2 dates, it’s like a healthy chocolate milkshake 🙂
All these meals added up keeps you at about 1,500ml water intake including all food.
How many nutrients?
This chart is an spreadsheet I put together to calculate the intake of essential vitamins and minerals each day. The meals I’ve shared above have been put in to show what the overall nutrient profile is. As you can see, it provides every vitamin and mineral in abundance except for calcium and chromium. If you don’t mind busting your NMT water limit, you can eat some oats or broccoli for the chromium, and drink some milk for the calcium.
On days I’m especially hungry and/or have worked out a lot, I’ll just grill up some beef or lamb steaks, or drink more bone broth. Steaks are great because they’re sugar free carb free, and packed with fats and protein.
If cost is an issue, try buying ground meat/mince instead of steaks/fillets. They are cheaper but nutrient profile is mostly the same. Organ meats are even better because they’re more nutritious but usually cheaper. Beef liver is the most nutrient packed food you can get and is practically free in some butcheries. Eggs are also a great substitute.
If you can’t afford salmon, you can try canned salmon or a cheaper fish like sardines. Or just stick to the red meats, the nutrient profile isn’t THAT different. Vitamin D is the main thing you will miss without fish, so make sure you get sunshine or take a supplement.
Bone broth is also great to keep costs down if you can’t afford to eat so much meat. Some nice butchers will give you bones for free, just ask.
Nutrition is our cornerstone of healing, take it seriously and watch your body bloom. Keep fighting everyone!