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Nutrition from the Ground Up–National Nutrition Month

This March, the American Dietetic Association’s theme for National Nutrition Month (NNM) is “Nutrition from the Ground Up.”

What does that mean? you may ask.

I wrote about the movie Fresh and sustainability just few days before March–I should have saved that post for now but I was too excited about it. In the movie, Joel Salatin, owner of Polyface Farms, said:

We’re not farming animals, we’re farming grass. If you take care of the grass, it will take care of the animals

That’s exactly what “Nutrition from the Ground Up” means for me.

In the paper, “Healthy Land, Healthy Food and Health Eaters” (link to PDF file) by Angie Tagtow and Alison Harman, they say:

When the soil is unhealthy it becomes the source of disease in plants, animals and people.

Makes total sense.

Now let’s take these concepts to your house, kitchen, and dinner table. After all, this blog is all about practical nutrition! What can you do to eat more real, wholesome, sustainable foods?

Start by revisiting the tips and resources I listed in Fresh the Movie and Sustainability.

I have also found Nourished Kitchen through my friend Nicole from Prevention RD. It may be worth to check out, but I’m a little skeptical for few reasons:

  1. Many recipes need work, time, and more time–many of us don’t have
  2. The recipes are made with lard, butter, and ghee–not necessary your healthy oils–to avoid refined oils. My question for her is: what about non-refined oils? Olive oil is one, and you CAN find unrefined versions of canola, peanut, sunflower, safflower, and sesame oils
  3. She recommends unpasteurized dairy. I know some people might disagree with me, but I want to ensure my family doesn’t drink milk with questionable safety.

If you decide to go to her website, take what makes sense to you, and leave the rest! And remember, just because a food is made at home, such as fried breakfast donuts, it doesn’t always translate to healthy.

My friend and I were talking about sustainable and whole foods, and her point was that it takes too much time. As a mother and full time student, she doesn’t have extended hours to dedicate to the kitchen. So we both brainstormed strategies we can take to bring the concept home–without the stress.

  • Buy seasonal
  • Buy from farmers’ markets
  • Buy from a Community Supported Agriculture Farm (CSA)
  • Use whole grain flours when baking and whole wheat pastas
  • Make your own salad dressings and sauces
  • Recycle and buy packages that are environmentally friendly
  • Buy grass-fed beef and eggs from free-range
  • Start a small vegetable or herb garden at home
  • Make homemade breakfast foods, baked goods and snacks from real ingredients. Try my banana flaxseed walnut muffins or this quinoa breakfast bowl or this granola
  • Teach your kids and get them involved in conversations about wholesome foods
  • Use raw sugar or honey in moderation, and forget about sweeteners
  • Go apple-or berry-picking, or whatever in season

Change doesn’t have to be drastic, and you don’t have to throw away everything in your pantry. Take one step at a time.

Happy Healthy Eating!

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Kristen (swanky dietitian) March 11, 2010, 12:49 pm

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    Great post! I love the idea for National Nutrition Month..Nutrition from the Ground Up.

    Great tips! I have been trying to be more aware of the foods I am buying. Recycling has become a big part of my life as well as bring a reusable water to work everyday. Those little changes can add if we all do them.

  • Ghada Abdelmoumin March 11, 2010, 4:38 pm

    Nour, that is very true; “take care of the grass and it will take care of the animals.” I use to feel very exhausted even if it is as simple as lifting myself off bed :)until I changed my diet and started using less oil and more salad and vegetables. And most importantly, eat home made food. Thanks for your nice and informing articles.

  • rebecca subbiah March 11, 2010, 10:33 pm

    great point, love the choc bar you designed

  • Stef March 12, 2010, 11:43 pm

    i love this theme, i’m so glad they picked it!

  • Nour El-Zibdeh, RD March 13, 2010, 2:56 pm

    Kristen: thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed reading your blog. Yes, small steps make a difference.

    Ghada: thanks. I’m glad you are feeling better

    Rebecca: thanks… I hope I win 🙂 I’ve been getting lucky lately 🙂

    Stef: thanks for the comment. Sustainability is a big now. I hope it’s not just a hype and lasts

  • TwinToddlersDad March 13, 2010, 3:38 pm

    I too like the theme of Nutrition From The Ground Up. I think there is need to go back to basics with food and the whole culture around eating. There is nothing wrong with packaged food – it is part of the modern life because of convenience – what is not working is the notion that food comes out of a box and that we don’t need to worry about its source, who makes and how it is made. Our relationship with food needs a fundamental change!