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There is a lot of confusion around nutrition and it’s because people are asking the wrong question. The question is less about “how many carbohydrates/protein/fats do I need in a day?” and more about “What food sources will give me optimal health and wellbeing so that I can live a long and fulfilling life and ultimately fulfill my Dharma? “

Data collected in 2006 showed that 60% of the American diet came from processed foods, 30% from animal products, 5% from white, starchy vegetables like potatoes and 5% from fruits and vegetables. So with this kind of diet, it is understandable that 51% of American die of heart disease and that by 80 years old, most men will have cancer cells in their prostate and most women will have cancer cells in their breasts. And if the cancer doesn’t kill them, a heart attack likely will. The statistics are clear.

So what do we need to focus on? We have two things to consider. Macronutrients are your proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. We spend a lot of time talking about these things. Micronutrients are your vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. The key here is phytochemicals, or plant nutrients! Hardly anyone talks about how many phytochemicals they’re getting every day!

They are important because even as we added vitamins and minerals to foods, “enriching” them, cancer rates still skyrocketed. Phytochemicals overwhelm vitamins and minerals in micronutrient density, reduce free radicals, remove toxins, help immune function and slow aging. They are essential.

Question: What does a piece of chicken have in common with a bagel?
Answer: A piece of chicken is just like a bagel because they are micronutrient-poor foods but concentrated forms of macronutrients, the bagel rich in carbs and the chicken rich in protein. But a tomato contains over 500 different nutrients! Our bodies are STARVING for micronutrients.

So how to get more phytonutrients? Use the ANDI score. ANDI stands for aggregate nutrient density index and if you eat foods high on this list, and cut out processed foods you will enjoy lifelong health and wellness!

Like what you read? Then you’ll really enjoy Jenna’s workshop:  Fostering Life-Long Health and Abundance- the yogi’s journey to a whole foods lifestyle that sticks. March 1st, 1 pm at Ocean Beach Yoga SF. Sign up here! 

slc1Jenna is a board certified holistic health coach and yoga teacher and is the health and wellness expert for the global yoga community. She presents workshops and classes regularly at Google and at yoga studios around the San Francisco Bay Area. She helps her clients have more energy, lose weight without dieting, curb sugar cravings, and heal their relationship with food. She combines western holistic nutrition and eastern philosophy to maximize her clients’ transformations.