Should we Focus on the Macronutrients or the Micronutrients? {Rich Food Poor Food Review and Your GPS: Grocery Purchasing System}

December 20, 2013 · 3 comments

rich food poor food

Today you’ll hear from a new real foodie blogger, Melissa, who I met recently when she joined us on the local Weston A. Price chapter board.  Welcome Melissa! 

As a Naturopath and Holistic Real Food Nutritional Consultant (and now a blogger, too), I work with people daily who want to not only eat better, but want a clearer understanding of food sources, the nutritional elements in their food, and any tips and strategies to get the best bang for their buck while food shopping.  Hands down, Rich Food Poor Food offers that and much more!

I was first introduced to the authors, Jayson and Mira Calton, while watching the Primal Cooking Workshop hosted by Joe Rignola of Wellness Punks, Holistic Health & Nutrition. During the Caltons’ interview with him, I was mesmerized by their real food approach and how they take a deeper look at micronutrients in the diet and possible micronutrient deficiencies in our body. This is a topic I focus on in my practice with my clients, so their approach was music to my ears. Their first book, Naked Calories, takes the focus off of macronutrients and puts it directly on micronutrients – vitamins, minerals and fatty acids, and how to help improve health.

It seems that from the media and our conventional doctors, all we ever hear about are proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and counting calories – the macronutrients; but the Caltons take restoring your health a step further and explain the importance of micronutrients.

I literally read Rich Food Poor Food the day it arrived, it was too good to put down!

A little about the health duo, Jayson and Mira:

In 2005, the Caltons were married and set sail on an unconventional honeymoon, a 100-country, 7-continent, 6-year global expedition they called “The Calton Project.” Their goal was to observe people from vastly different regions in remote, semi-remote, and urban settings, to discover how specific dietary patterns and lifestyle choices affected the development of modern disease. From camel treks thru the Sahara to visiting troglodyte dwellings in Tunisia, to five-hour canoe rides deep into the Amazon jungle to study the remote tribes surviving there, the Caltons have ventured further and longer than they could have ever imagined. The result is a unique global perspective on nutrition and a new understanding about diet as a whole, which has brought them to where they are today. (Source) How amazing is that, and does it sound familiar to any of real food foodie and WAPF’ers?  I’ll give you a hint: Our founding father of nutrition did this same experiment back in the 1950′s.

These days the grocery store remains a place of marketing mayhem, toxin trickery, and hidden micronutrient depleters every aisle you turn.  In Rich Food Poor Food, the Calton’s breakdown your grocery shopping experience into 2 easy-to-follow parts; Part I “Know Before You Go” and Part 2 “Ready, Set….Shop”.

Part 1: “Know Before You Go”

In part 1 in the book, the Caltons discuss “Know Before You Go”, and getting prepped before heading out. As we know in the real food realm, preparation is key to success. Their book emphasizes becoming dialed into your GPS, Grocery Purchasing System, I love that! We all understand how a car’s GPS helps us navigate on the road, and in this day and age we really do need a GPS to help us decipher modern food marketing and labeling.

JAM-199x300Modern food packages are an advertisers free-for-all, in order for them to cash in from your food choices. This first chapter describes the 3 sections of the food package. This for me was so helpful and an easy explanation to offer my clients who are transitioning to a real food lifestyle.

  1. The front, or “billboard” (think marketing only)
  2. The nutrition facts, often referred to “the label” (macronutrients)
  3. The all important, but many times overlooked, “ingredient list” (the most important part)

While explaining the importance of reading scrutinizing labels, the Caltons poke fun at the Eat This, Not That guys. If you’ve read any of the Eat This, Not That articles, you know those authors promote almost any low-fat (and toxic) food over a high-fat version of the supposed same food. The Caltons demonstrate what a poor food idea that is, by comparing Lay’s Classic Potato Chips to Lay’s Baked Potato Crisps.

Here are the ingredients for Lay’s Classic Potato Chips:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable oil (sunflower, corn and/or canola oil)
  • Salt

The image on the bag had a more traditional chip look and feel.

Here are the ingredients for Lay’s Baked Potato Crisps:

  • Dried Potatoes
  • Cornstarch
  • Sugar
  • Corn Oil
  • Salt
  • Soy Lecithin
  • Corn Sugar

The image on the front of the bag had an earthy-healthier feel (don’t be fooled).

The Lay’s Baked Potato Crisps are actually preferred over the Lay’s Classic Potato Chips by the Eat This, Not That guys. Really? The Caltons were not impressed. These crisps are not even made with real potato slices, they contain 3 corn additives, including HFCS aka corn sugar, sugar and soy; and are all potentially GMO foods. The Eat This, Not That guys called the Baked version their go-to chip choice. So, this is a perfect example of smoke in mirrors when it comes to advertising.

Part 2: Ready, Set…Shop

What I love about this section is that instead of using chapters the Caltons use aisles for each food group as you navigate through the grocery store…clever! Each aisle has noted “steer here” (micronutrient rich foods) or “steer clear” (micronutrient poor foods) which identify name brand products that are health promoting and those that are health depleting as if you were walking through the store with your cart and reading the labels yourself. Aisles consists of Dairy, Meat, Fish & Seafood, Produce, Condiments, Grains, Baking, Snacks & Beverages.

The lists are easy to read, bulleted and very colorful.

rich food poor foodThey give actual product names in the steer here and steer clear categories, and give a variety of choices, kind of a “good-better-best’ explanation and why, therefore empowering the reader to become an even more advanced food detective when at the grocery store. They also add in “food for thought” paragraphs with important health restoring wisdom that ties into the grocery list, which I appreciated.

They also take the dirty dozen and clean 15 genetically modified foods list even further and have created their very own Terrible 20 and Fab 15 to help the consumer steer towards non-genetically modified foods and even more nutrient-rich foods.

Rich Food Poor Food truly does help end the grocery store chaos and confusion for those concerned about food quality. I highly recommend this book, quite honestly, for anyone who eats. The more you know, the better you do.

Get Rich Food Poor Food here!


Melissa MMelissa Malinowski, Naturopath and Holistic Real Food Nutritional Consultant is a board member of Nourishing Ways of West Michigan, the Weston A. Price local Chapter, she is also the lead coordinator of the West Michigan Paleo/Primal Meet-up Group and is active with the No GMO 4 Michigan group. She is very passionate about helping people establish a balanced mind, body and lifestyle by helping individuals and families transition to eating real foods, natural living and helping to uncover root imbalances and assess nutritional status using her state-of-the-art BioMeridian machine. She focuses on demystifying confusing and contradictory health issues, diet rumors and fads by offering clients the tools needed to eat healthy without counting calories and by breaking down information into practical forms that can be implemented into any way of life. For consulting services Melissa can be contacted here. To subscribe to Melissa’s e-newsletters for even more health tips and to receive her free detox, weight loss and hormone balancing e-guide, click here.

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  • { 3 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 John Russell December 20, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    “They also take the dirty dozen and clean 15 genetically modified foods list even further and have created their very own Terrible 20 and Fab 15 to help the consumer steer towards non-genetically modified foods and even more nutrient-rich foods.”
    I’d like clarification on that. The only GMO’s I found on that list are corn and papayas(I don’t like them all the same, anyway).


    2 Soli December 21, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Regarding the title of the post. I don’t think we can choose one or the other. In order to get the most benefits of one, the other is necessary.


    3 John Russell December 21, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Indeed, when it comes to nutrition, there lies the old addage: “there is no ‘I’ in team”.


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