Nutrition from the Ground Up Means “Real Food”

The theme of this year’s National Nutrition Month is Nutrition from the Ground Up! To some, the notion of “Nutrition from the Ground Up” means going back to basics, while to others it is about food from the ground. Here are a few more comments in response to my question What does Nutrition from the Ground Up mean to you?

Jill Castle, a pediatric dietitian and author of Just The Right Byte wrote:

Nutrition from the ground up, to me, being a pediatric dietitian, means real, whole foods from the start—and without major compromise. I encourage parents to not fall into the trap of processed foods, junk foods, and overly sweet foods in the home. As young children move into the world, and all its temptations and food norms, a solid, healthy, “real” food environment at home is the best defense against any friend’s home, school nutrition program, or church donut routine. Children need to feel that they have a safe, supportive, nourishing food environment in the home—the “ground”. Build nutrition knowledge, healthy eating habits, and positive food relations from there!

Megan Carroll of  Tomato Tots offered a very different perspective about what real food means to her twins:

My children like to eat their foods, that look like foods. It probably has something to do with the way we cook and the way we eat. If they see the process of any single ingredient and what it goes through then it is more appealing to them. For example, we recently went to a Chinese restaurant that specializes in Alaskan King Crab and squab. They brought the crab to our table alive to show it to us first, and then back fully cooked in the shell. My daughter (twin A) ate it up, she loved taking the meat out of the shell. She does the same thing at home with local Dungeness. Our son (twin B) wanted to share the other specialty with Daddy… my husband had been telling him about pigeon and even had shown him a picture of what the cooked bird looked like, sadly for him it did not come to the table alive….. When it did come to the table my son asked for the mouth. Of course that is not the edible part or at least the restaurant figured we didn’t want it, so it wasn’t served to us like that but it did come with its little legs and wings splayed.

At home when we cook a chicken we usually do it whole and they ( both of them) love the drum sticks and the parts that look like recognizable parts. Other examples are we cook whole fish, and they will eat it up, but not touch fish sticks. We went to a fish dock one day to buy some seafood and our daughter would not let us leave until we bought our prawns with their heads on.

This is not just a meat phenomenon, because they love their vegetables in whole form as well. Peas are best out of the pod. We tried to mash them the other day and they wouldn’t have anything to do with them!

Deana Coleman answered my question on LinkedIn by suggesting that we stop relying on synthetic supplements and go back to real, natural food:

I’m in my final year of studying nutrition and each day I am becoming more and more disillusioned by the modern process of merely subscribing nutritional supplements. I am a firm believer that we should be putting those micronutrients and minerals back into the soil we have damaged so we are producing real food again. Supplementing ourselves with all sorts of synthetic micronutrients is doing more damage to our food system as we all seem to be prepared to just accept how badly damaged our soil is and believe in all the marketing garble and hype that supplement companies are spinning to us.

Get back in the garden and back in the kitchen and away from the supplement shelf in the store!!

These opinions reflect just how far removed we have become from the source of food we eat. Food to us is what comes out of  a box, not what is produced in a farm somewhere, even though the picture on the box attempts to make us imagine that. What we eat is the list of ingredients on the box, not the real food it was intended to be!

What do you think? What does this notion of Nutrition from the Ground Up mean to you? What small changes have you made to your family’s diet recently?

Please share in your comments below. I would love to hear from you!