nutrient dense foods

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If you’re serious about figuring out what type of diet is best for you – your answer is nutrient dense foods. Let me explain…

Food fear is rampant right now, with social media demonizing different common foods/ingredients as well as promoting “healthy” diets that lack necessary nutrient dense foods.

Nutrients are the raw materials that the human body needs to survive and thrive. If you are not consuming nutrient dense foods, you may have nutrient insufficiencies, which puts a strain on various systems in the body.

So when you believe in this idea that some foods are “good” and others are “bad”, it can create a restrictive way of eating, which can then lead to insufficiencies or deficiencies later on. All this can become incredibly confusing, especially when you’re being inundated daily with influencer messages telling you to follow this diet or that.

You may get to a point where you are afraid to eat!

That’s why today’s conversation is SO important. I’m joined by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne to discuss how to approach optimal nutrition without dangerous elimination diets or dogma around eating.

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, PhD is the founder of She creates educational resources to help people improve their day-to-day diet and lifestyle choices, empowered and informed by the most current evidence-based scientific research.

The Nutrivore approach is positive and inclusive dietary guidance, based on science and devoid of dogma, using nutrient dense foods as a foundational principle encompassed by the simple phrase: Nourishment, not judgment.

Her new book, also called Nutrivore, is now available everywhere you can purchase books. We'll talk about some of the eye-opening points I discovered in the book, and why I found it such a valuable read to help you pick nutrient dense foods.

Or, listen on your favorite app: iTunes (Apple Podcasts) | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn | Subscribe on Android

In This Episode:

  • Why nutrient deficiencies are such a HUGE problem (and how they happen)
  • Why changing your mind is a good thing (even if you feel embarrassed)
  • How morality applied to diet and foods is disastrous
  • Why you need protein (and what amino acids are used for in your body)
  • The Nutrivore approach to optimal nutrition and nutrient dense foods
  • Most nutrient-rich foods to include in your diet


“Deficiency technically refers to such low regular dietary intake of a nutrient that you develop a disease of malnutrition. There's scurvy, rickets, pellagra, beriber, night blindness, iron deficiency anemia. So we have these really well-characterized diseases caused by a single nutrient being too low.”

“The more black-and-white we think about foods, the more it increases the risk for disordered eating, for weight regain cycles, so yo-yo dieting, the more it increases the stress response. And it's actually driving, I think, what is currently a big problem in society right now, which is that we think that a diet is about what we cut out. We think a diet is about bad foods that we have to eliminate. We're bad if we eat that bad food, we're good if we eat these good foods.”


Find Dr. Ballantyne online | Instagram | Facebook | Tiktok | YouTube

GET THE BOOK NOWNutrivore: The Radical New Science for Getting the Nutrients You Need from the Food You Eat

5 Free Guides to Nutrivore

Healthy Skin Show ep. 305: Elimination Diets, Food Fear + Healing Skin Rashes {NEW RESEARCH}

Healthy Skin Show ep. 314: Is A High Protein Diet SAFE? (Or Bad For Skin Problems?) w/ Dr. Gabrielle Lyon

Healthy Skin Show ep. 316: Elimination Diets, Disordered Eating + Food Fear w/ MaryCatherine McDonald, PhD

Ultra-processed food exposure and adverse health outcomes: umbrella review of epidemiological meta-analyses | The BMJ


341: How To Pick Nutrient Dense Foods For Best Skin Nutrition w/ Dr. Sarah Ballantyne {FULL TRANSCRIPT}

Jennifer Fugo (00:14.749)

Dr. Sarah, it is such an honor to have you here on the show. Thank you for joining us.

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (00:19.908)

It is my honor to be here. Thank you so much for having me.

Jennifer Fugo (00:23.198)

Well, I wanted to tell the listeners right out the gate why I wanted to have you here, because I feel like we are in a time where people are so confused about what to eat, especially in my community. They're inundated with messages all over, especially social media, where food's demonized (even nutrient dense foods), all different parts of foods are demonized, nutrients are demonized. I mean, it gets to a point where you're like, should I just not eat? Like, what do I do? How do I operate? And that is really concerning to me, especially because food means so many different things to us. To me, it's not only nourishment, but it's community, it's family. I think of food as Sunday dinners around the dinner table with my relatives when I was a kid. And to see people with such confusion really makes me sad. And so that's why I'm so appreciative that you're here because I hope that this really amazing system that you've created called Nutrivore, and we'll talk about your book as well that's coming out, how it can be so beneficial for people that wanna break free from all of that confusion and figure out what to eat without all of the dogma and the shame and whatnot.

So I wanted to ask you first off about nutrient deficiencies, because as I was reading your book, I was, so first of all, I love the fact that you jumped right into it in the beginning of the book. You talk about nutrient deficiencies and oftentimes I find that clients who've had blood work run, there are insufficiencies found. So insufficiencies, and we'll talk about what they are, a lot of times aren't a big concern to a doctor. And sometimes even the deficiencies aren't either. A lot of clients tend to have like one to three different nutrient insufficiencies, if not deficiencies, and they're just blown off, like, don't worry about it, it's fine, maybe just eat a little bit more of this or that. So can you share with us a little bit about what's the difference between a nutrient insufficiency versus a deficiency? And what are some of the most common insufficiencies that you found in the general population that you share in your book, Nutrivore?

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (02:44.612)

I would love to. And I think this is a great place to start because this is where diet and health actually intersect. So our body requires nutrients, right? Nutrients are the raw materials for all of the different things that are us. It's energy for all of the chemical reactions of life. And it is the chemical reagents, right? The before things in a chemical reaction. It is the things that drive the chemical reaction like enzymes. And the thing at the other end is the thing we need for every cell in our body to do its job. So nutrients are required for us to be alive and for us to be healthy, right? Every single cell, every system in the body has a collection of nutrients that it needs to be healthy and do what it's supposed to do.

So when we don't get enough of an essential nutrient, like vitamin C, when we get such low levels that it causes a disease of malnutrition, so if we had such low levels of vitamin C that we had a disease of malnutrition, that would be scurvy, we call that deficiency. So deficiency technically refers to such low regular dietary intake of a nutrient that you develop a disease of malnutrition. There's scurvy, rickets, pellagra, beriber, night blindness, iron deficiency anemia. So we have these really well-characterized diseases caused by a single nutrient being too low. And we don't see these diseases that commonly outside of like food insecurity, starvation. However, approximately a third of Americans have low enough levels of these nutrients in their blood that they are considered at risk for these diseases of malnutrition. So could very easily tip into iron deficiency anemia, or scurvy, or night blindness, for example. Insufficiency is everywhere in between ‘my levels are so low that I have a disease of malnutrition’ and ‘how much I actually need to be healthy.’ So that entire world of gray in between wow, I'm not getting any vitamin C and my gums are bleeding and my teeth are falling out, and I'm actually getting enough vitamin C to reduce my risk of cardiovascular disease, to improve my mental health, to improve my skin health. That entire world is the world of insufficiency.

And the reason why we care is because it increases risk of health problems, not the one-to-one relationship like I got so little vitamin C that I can't make collagen, I've got all these symptoms of scurvy. Instead, nutrient insufficiencies put strain on the biological systems that need those nutrients to do their job. That strain interacts with our genetics, our environment, our lifestyle factors, how much sleep we're getting, how stressed we are, how active we are. It interacts with our health-related behaviors, like do we smoke or do we drink? And then collectively those things increase risk or decrease risk depending on how well in-tune all of those things are. So nutrient insufficiencies are becoming recognized now as key underlying drivers of all of these chronic illnesses that affect something like half of Americans with a diet-preventable disease. That is caused by nutrient insufficiencies. It's caused by what's lacking in the diet. We tend to think of it as, oh, that person ate too much sugar, or refined carbohydrates, or they ate too much whatever. But actually, it's the lack of nutrients that's actually what's causing the problems, because our cells don't have what they need for all of those chemical reactions to happen and for the cells to do their job.

Jennifer Fugo (06:48.157)

And I like to think of that, or I explain it to clients, like think about your career, or if you're a mom, and you don't have all the tools that you need, and you're really trying to stretch what you have really thin, that's what your body has to do. And it becomes a stressor, so your body needs to prioritize things to sustain life, because our body is amazing at what it does, but it cannot just magically pull nutrients out of thin air. If they are not present, we now have this additional stressor in our life that can cause certain things to go awry. So I think that a lot of times helps, at least my clients go, oh, I didn't realize that. I didn't see that it was that big of a deal because we don't make everything that our body needs. And I think that's an important factor.

So you and I were talking earlier because we are from the, I guess I started back in the 2000s. I had a podcast, you had a podcast, and I was sort of like, oh, gluten-free, and I was big on elimination diets many years ago. And you were called the paleo mom. You had this big platform all about paleo. And in hindsight, I personally have some regret, I know better now. But I feel like some of what I did helped to perpetuate this idea that restriction, there's like this morality around if you cut these foods out, you're healthier, and that certain types of foods are bad. And we use language like good versus bad or inflammatory or toxic to oftentimes describe things to repel people away from consuming certain things. And as I was reading your book, I honestly didn't know the origin of the phrase you are what you eat, and I didn't realize this was coined from a politician. I mean, it makes sense now.

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (08:53.152)

Yep. A politician who thought that if you ate the same kind of foods that he did, you were a good person in the moral sense like he was. Like he really felt like his food made him good and you had to eat the same way to be good, and if you ate differently, you were bad.

Jennifer Fugo (09:16.669)

So I'm curious, in regards to that and in light of everything and your journey, and also too, I think it's important because it helps people understand the intention behind the Nutrivore system. What is your take on dietary choices, maybe we can even expand that to elimination diets, with this morality piece of how we view ourselves in terms of the foods we choose and or we don't choose to consume?

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (09:46.564)

Yeah, I think that the first thing I need to do to answer this question is explain that I also, I used to be the paleo mom. I am not anymore, but I come from this world of ‘yes’ food lists and ‘no’ food lists, and moralizing foods, and also that perfect robust mentality, right? You have to eat all of these things perfectly and then you'll be healthy. And if you make a mistake or if you cheat, then everything will unravel and you deserve whatever bad thing happens. So my personal journey through viewing foods differently, more objectively, unlearning a logical fallacy that I had learned from scientists when I first entered the paleo community, that made a lot of sense on the surface, but sort of like realizing, oh, you can't actually judge a food based on one compound that food contains. That food contains thousands or tens of thousands of compounds. We need to know how everything in that food interacts together when we eat it to understand how it impacts our health.

It sounds so logical to me now, but that journey was not, there was not one eureka moment for me. It started with me researching the gut microbiome for a book about gut health and starting to realize that a lot of foods that I was not eating were fantastic for our gut bacteria. Like, it feeds increased diversity in all these probiotic species. And then starting to look more at the science showing like, you know, I'm not eating legumes here, I'm not eating lentils. And here's this huge body of scientific evidence showing that legumes decrease risk of cardiovascular disease, and cancer, and type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease, et cetera, et cetera. I might be wrong. The entire community here might be wrong. And looking through the lens of the gut microbiome was my first step into starting to think about foods more broadly, starting to think about foods beyond like, legumes have lectins. Thinking about them in terms of what they have, of incredible fiber content. They're the most nutrient-dense starchy foods. They're full of fiber and minerals and phytonutrients like polyphenols, and needing to understand how the whole food impacts the whole us. And I started then challenging my own beliefs around food and my own moral judgments of foods.

As the paleo community went more anti-science during the pandemic and I realized that that was not compatible with my belief system and approach to the world, and already realizing that there were a lot of foods that we had been avoiding. I was working on adding them back and sort of challenging my fear around those foods and starting to decide, you know, it's time to build something new. And Nutrivore’s like the natural place for me to go, because I'm understanding now how nutrients impact the body, I'm learning now beyond the gut microbiome. One of the things that I did, as my personal journey is about reevaluating these foods, looking at them more objectively, looking at science a different way, looking for meta-analyses and systematic reviews, the highest quality of scientific evidence we have instead of looking at individual studies. I’m really trying to be more rigorous in my approach, ditching this old way of thinking about foods and really trying to expand, right? Expand my criteria for understanding foods. At the same time as I was doing that and trying to build Nutrivore to withstand scientific scrutiny, trying to build all of the resources that I have to be incontrovertible, right? It just represents where the science is at. It's a logical thing. Get all the nutrients our bodies need from the foods we eat. I was also digging into the psychology research. So at the same time as I'm just trying to understand what foods are health-promoting more broadly, and not thinking about them in terms of one compound that in one specific circumstance might not be good for one person when that doesn't reflect what the whole food does.

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (14:31.812)

Getting into the psychology research was really eye-opening because the more that we take a dichotomous approach to eating, the more we have black-and-white foods, right? ‘Yes’ foods and ‘no’ foods, what I had been steeped in for years at this point, right? Like this perfect robust mentality. The more black-and-white we think about foods, the more it increases the risk for disordered eating, for weight regain cycles, so yo-yo dieting, the more it increases the stress response. And it's actually driving, I think, what is currently a big problem in society right now, which is that we think that a diet is about what we cut out. We think a diet is about bad foods that we have to eliminate. We're bad if we eat that bad food, we're good if we eat these good foods, right? We take on those moral judgments that we impart on foods. And when we restrict, that increases food fixation, obsession, cravings. It makes it so that we can't shake that food that we're missing. We're thinking about it constantly. And eventually that causes disinhibition, which is the technical term for ‘I broke my rules and then fell off the wagon.’ And then all my health behaviors unravel.

So restriction is actually driving the entire diet and weight loss industry. Because it's driving this I'm gonna white knuckle my diet and do this good thing for as long as I can, and then when I can't anymore, you know, it's whatever goes at that point. So it is the key thing that is why the diet industry is worth hundreds of billions of dollars per year right now, that is actually making us less healthy every single one of these cycles that we go through. It's harming our mental health. It's increasing dramatically the percentage of people developing disordered eating patterns and eating disorders. And it's making us miserable. And so between the psychology research and being able to like, oh, I understand my own experience so much more, thank you, psychology research, for opening my eyes to all of this.

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (16:57.956)

But also taking this broader lens through which, looking at a few foods, I felt like I really needed to integrate that into the Nutrivore philosophy. So Nutrivore, it is not a diet. There is no ‘yes’ foods and ‘no’ foods. There's many different ways that we can choose foods and have all of those foods, the nutrients they contain, add up throughout the day to meet our optimal nutrition needs. So you can take that nutritional sciences education and apply it within your diet preferences, within your accessibility to different nutrient rich food, within your budget, within your taste preferences, and within medical needs as well, right? I felt like it was really important to integrate the importance of letting go of moral judgments of foods because those moral judgments of foods are driving diet behavior. I'm going to do this thing and that makes me good while I'm doing this thing.

And then when I can't do this thing anymore, because we're literally setting ourselves up to fail from the very beginning of thinking about foods in terms of restrictions, then I feel terrible about myself. And the more guilt and shame we feel, right? Guilt and shame are emotions associated with eating disorders and weight regain cycles. I want to liberate us from diet culture, while still improving our diet quality and making sure that we lower risk of long-term health problems, right? I want to be able to help everyone eat a higher quality diet without having to feel like I'm not allowed my favorite foods, without having to have that restrictive mindset. The everything in moderation phrase does not mean what most people are using it as, but adopting sort of a moderation and balanced mindset when it comes to food. And getting off of that roller coaster where I'm going up, I'm good, I'm eating good foods, I'm going down, I'm bad, I'm eating bad foods. Just taking that emotional link, the relationship with food, the moralization of food, and the moralization of ourselves when we eat those foods, just taking that out of the equation.

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (19:23.908)

I think that means that Nutrivore as a philosophy becomes, instead of a diet that you go on for as long as you can, white-knuckling, it becomes a knowledge base that informs day-to-day choices. It becomes, I don't wanna say lifestyle either, it becomes just a way of eating that's sustainable, because we don't have to feel guilty for I had one piece too much birthday cake and I got a tummy ache last night. Those things happen, that's part of the human experience, right? It doesn't make you a bad person. And I think if we can let go of that emotion of the moralization, I think it allows us to be more consistent in more nutrient dense foods and health-promoting choices. And actually embracing the lack of perfection I think is really important for making healthy eating overall sustainable so it's just something that, it's just how we eat.

Jennifer Fugo (20:22.581)

I love that.

And with that being said, I think this is one of my big concerns too, is that, with all of the elimination, we've also gone through many iterations of saying, for example, that Americans don't get, that we get too much protein. And one challenge with that is that protein is not just protein. There are building blocks involved in this called amino acids. And there are some amino acids that you can't just magically make out of thin air. So we do actually have to be careful with protein intake. It's something that I've cared more about as I've gotten into my 40s, I'm a lot more cognizant of protein intake for optimal nutrition now. So I loved the way that you discussed amino acids, the importance of them. So can you share with my listeners what amino acids are and what are the roles that they play beyond just, I think most people think we just build muscle with them.

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (29:26.18)

So muscles are definitely made out of protein, right? Like that is absolutely true, but everything is made out of protein. Proteins are what do the things that are life. Like that is what does alive, is proteins. So proteins are structures, right? So all of our cells are made out of proteins, the glue that holds our cells together is made out of proteins. Even our bones, we think of bones as being calcium and minerals. They're on a protein scaffold. That is what makes our bones. That's the collagen in our bones, it's a protein. And so a protein is life. And there's 20 amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins. So proteins are made up of these long chains of amino acids. They can be anywhere between about 20 amino acids long and like thousands long. And the way the amino acids link together, like think of a chain where each link in your chain is a slightly different shape and you've got 20 different shapes to play with, right? That's your 20 amino acids that you can link together.

And so sometimes you put like, a triangle next to a, like, octagon and it makes a little kink. So then how these amino acids fold in on each other just because of their shape in the order that they happen to be in for this specific protein, is what causes a protein to take on a 3-D shape. And it is the shape of the protein that allows it to do its job. So we have 20 amino acids that our bodies use to make the thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands. I don't even know how many different proteins we have in our bodies. Many, many, many out of just 20 building blocks. Of those 20, nine are essential. We cannot make them. We have to get them from food. And that's what the term complete protein means. It means that that food has all nine of the essential amino acids in an acceptable, relative ratio to each other that roughly matches what our bodies need. There's an additional six amino acids that are considered conditionally essential, meaning we can make it, but there's limits to how much we can make.

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (31:42.98)

So we really still need to get those from foods as well, at least some of it most of the time. And then there's five amino acids that we're like, we don't really need. We can make as much of it as we want. And it's actually, what's really fascinating is we use 20 to make all of our proteins. There's like another three that our bodies can go, you need to be swapped out. So we make the protein and then we just randomly go, ha ha ha, tinker, tinker, tinker, let's add in these other three. So there's another three amino acids that we can just like put in after the protein's made.

And then there's hundreds of others that have roles in our health that don't get put into proteins. They're just amino acids just wandering around doing cool things to our biology. There's one called ergothioneine. We get this mainly from mushrooms that has been nicknamed by scientists, the longevity vitamin. It's not a vitamin, scientists suck at naming things. It's not a vitamin, it's an amino acid, but what's really cool is it seems to, through antioxidant activity, it seems to reduce the risk of all of the health conditions we associate with aging. And it seems to have a life-extending effect. So countries where they eat a lot more mushrooms or other, there's a few other foods that are good sources of ergothioneine like tempeh, like fermented soy, they have longer lifespans on average than we do in America. And it's like a straight line with ergothioneine intake. We've got mechanisms as well to explain how that works.

So amino acids are super, super cool. And we definitely, definitely want to be eating protein. And protein foods are not just protein, protein foods have other nutrients that are really beneficial to us. So when we're getting plant proteins, like, you know, soy or lentils or hemp heart, ee're getting fiber, we're getting polyphenols, like phytonutrientsm we're getting a collection of vitamins and minerals. When we get protein from seafood, we're getting those long-chain omega-3 fats that are so great for neurological health, cardiovascular health, and immune health, we're getting a huge range of vitamins and minerals. And when we eat protein from meat and dairy, we're getting other types of potentially beneficial fats. I mean, some of those fats aren't so great, but we're getting a collection of those other amino acids, like taurine, that are really great for metabolism, like creatine, carnosine, that we're not gonna be able to get from other foods. So there's always other nutrients, right? You're getting your iron, B12, you're getting other nutrients along with the foods that contain protein. So it's not just the protein.

Jennifer Fugo (34:31.921)

And I wanted to mention one specifically, histidine, which nobody really talks about except I feel like in the skin community, because histidine, as many of my listeners know, is really important for the filaggrin protein that helps us not have leaky skin. It's really important for the skin barrier. And that is an essential amino acid. So again, this is why we can't just say, oh, it's not a big deal. I'll steal it from my muscles. That's not healthy.

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (34:59.748)

Also, it's a biogenic amine, which means that it can be converted into histamine, which is, I mean, yes, responsible for allergic reactions, but also an excitatory neurotransmitter, which, who doesn't like being excited?

Jennifer Fugo (35:13.713)

We talk a lot about histamine here too. It's about the Goldilocks principle, just the right amount, enough to keep us awake and excited, but not enough to drive our immune system haywire. But I think it was really helpful to read about these different types of compounds and nutrients and how they interplay within the body. And as I was reading the book, Nutrivore, and I just want to share the book here because, I thank you so much, also I love reading books. Like I actually love books. I'm a book reader. I don't do the electronic thing, I just love the tactile feel of a book.

But the thing that I loved about the book was that it reminded me of the books in my master's program that really shifted my perspective, that weren't trying to convince me or sell me on some concept. That were taking both sides and saying, you could look at it this way, but we also have to look at it this way, and we also want to consider how we got here and how this plays out. I like the freedom to be able to make a decision based on education. I don't really like to be told what to do. Maybe that's just my personality type. I don't know. But this was an excellent resource that reminded me of the books that really shifted my perspective drastically and helped also break me free of dogmatic thinking. So thank you for that. But I did want you to also explain, like you have this whole Nutrivore approach to food. So you have, there's what, 12 different groups of nutrient rich food that you've identified. Can you talk a little bit about more of the nitty gritty of this actual system? Like what's it about?

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (36:53.316)

Yeah, so Nutrivore is just the goal of getting all of the nutrients our bodies need from the foods we eat. That sounds like a really simple goal, but diet culture over the last 70 years has meant that almost none of us know how to do that intuitively. So Nutrivore at the book, the website, all of the resources I create on social media, are about creating that knowledge base to help inform our day-to-day choices to achieve that goal. So I've created quite a few different tools to help make that easy so you can increase your nutrient intake without having to learn all of nutritional sciences first. I want to increase our knowledge base, but I understand also practical resources are very much appreciated by most people. And so one of the tools that I created was the Nutrivore Score, which is a quantification of nutrient density of foods.

One of the other tools that I created was identifying 12 food families, a little bit more granular approach than the four or five food groups we're used to thinking of, that each have something unique to offer us nutritionally, that when we're eating those as the foundation of our diet, it doesn't mean those are the only things you eat. It just means that there's an additional focus on getting enough of those foods. And it also doesn't mean that you have to eat all of those foods, if you have allergies, if they don't align with your dietary preferences. These are the most nutrient rich foods foods that make it the easiest to get all of the nutrients that our bodies need and require the least amount of thought. We don't need to weigh or measure or track or obsess in any way. Again, going back to the idea of moralizing foods, it helps us get kind of away from that overthinking idea that diet culture has taught us.

So the 12 foundational food groups are vegetables in general, root vegetables, leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, that's the cabbage family, mushrooms, alliums, that's the onion family, fruit in general, citrus fruits, berries, nuts and seeds, legumes, and seafood. Each one of those nutrient rich food groups have a collection of nutrients that are hard, like they're either unique to that food group, we really can't get them from anywhere else, or they're just much easier to get from that food group. And it takes a lot more thought and trying to figure out where am I gonna get this nutrient from if I can't eat that food? And that's again what the entire Nutrivore educational ecosystem is about. Even if you, let's say you're allergic to seafood, right? Like that's a fairly, that's a top eight allergen, right? So if seafood is something that you can't eat or you're a vegetarian, you're a vegan, you don't want to eat seafood, what are the nutrients in seafood that you're really missing out on?

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (39:51.66)

The number one is long chain omega-3 fats, docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, DHA and EPA. So where can I get those that aren't from seafood? We can get some from sea vegetables, from algae, algal oil supplements are sort of designed for this group of people. There's a few vegetables like purslane that have some, but it helps us go, okay, like here's a nutrient that's really important in seafood, how am I going to get this otherwise? How am I going to get the selenium? Brazil nuts, have you covered. So those are the most nutrient rich foods that help us most easily accomplish this goal of getting all the nutrients our bodies need. And also remind us that if there's one of those foods that I can't eat for whatever reason, or I dislike, I choose not to eat, or I can't access, I can't afford, whatever the reason is, okay, well now I know there's some troubleshooting that I need to do.

And so the rest of the Nutrivore book, the Nutrivore website is about helping you understand why those are special and what else can I do if I can't eat that food. So I kind of want to emphasize we don't moralize foods. So there's no bad foods, but there's also no good foods. So even though these foods, I call them foundational, because when they form the foundation of your diet, it makes it so much easier to get all of the nutrients our bodies need. But it doesn't mean that they're the good foods and it doesn't mean that they're the must foods, right? There's no food you have to avoid and there's no food you have to eat.

Jennifer Fugo (41:29.809)

I love that. I constantly encourage clients, I'm like, the goal should be to expand your diet. It should never be to walk away from this experience as we're working together for you to end up on this even smaller restricted diet, because the goal should be variety. Variety improves the availability of nutrients, plus it helps with our gut diversity. It's so important on so many levels and frankly, like you said, there's a time and a place. Some foods, like you go to somebody's birthday party, clients will ask, they'll go, but if they have a piece of cake, am I setting myself back? Do I have to start over? And I'm like, no, have a little piece of cake and enjoy every bite. That's my response. And listen, I am sure that I have colleagues that may not agree with me. If you have a food allergy, it's a totally different ballpark. That's not what we're talking about here.

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (42:24.772)

Sure, yeah. There's medical reasons for avoiding foods. That is a whole separate thing.

Jennifer Fugo (42:27.771)

Exactly. But having peace around your diet and feeling like you're making your own choice about what to eat that's not based on shame, fear, you're somehow a bad person, you're weak, all of the judgments that tend to come up is so important to me. And I love that that is so important to you. And so first of all, thank you for writing this book. I think it is an excellent resource. I would wish and hope that everyone in my community will get a copy of this because I do think it's an incredibly, it's a system to make sense and cut through all of the confusion and end that push and pull of trying to keep somebody thinking and eating a certain way because of X, Y, and Z. You're just making it simple and I love that. So thank you for that.

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (43:23.908)

Thank you.

Jennifer Fugo (43:25.519)

So Dr. Sarah, can you tell us how can everyone find the book, because it's out now.

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (43:32.132)

Yes. So Nutrivore: The Radical New Science for Getting the Nutrients You Need from the Food You Eat by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, me, is available wherever books are sold. So I definitely encourage you to check out a local independent bookstore. If they don't have it, make a request and they will get it in for you. But whatever bookstore is close to you or your favorite bookstore online will have it. And you can learn more if you're like, hmm, I want to know more about what's in this book. If you go to my website,, that's where you can learn more about the book and decide if it's a good resource for you

Jennifer Fugo (44:09.328)

And we'll link up all the book and all of your resources and everything in the show notes to make it really easy for people to find not only the book, but also you. So thank you so much for being here. I deeply appreciate it. I wish you the best of luck. I honestly, this is going on my bookshelf with the other books that have really changed my mind about how to eat and think about nutrien-dense foods. So thank you for this. And I hope that we can have you come back sometime.

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (44:35.684)

I would love that. Thank you again.

nutrient dense foods