The Power of Whole Foods: A Guide to the Traditional Foods Nutrient Dense Diet (Creator’s Diet)

Are you looking to improve your health through diet but feeling overwhelmed with the plethora of conflicting information out there? One approach that has been gaining popularity in recent years is the traditional foods nutrient dense diet.

Unlike many fad diets that focus on restricting certain food groups or promoting quick weight loss, the nutrient dense diet emphasizes consuming foods that are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that support overall health and wellness.

In this post, we’ll explore what constitutes a nutrient dense diet, what types of foods to include, and how to choose high-quality ingredients that are best for your body. So, let’s dive in!

Traditional Foods Diet

A traditional foods diet, also called the Maker’s diet or the Creator’s diet, is a diet of food found in nature. Simple as that. This is the diet that all humans have evolved to eat, a diet of real nutrient dense food.

In our information age, there is so much conflicting information! It can be hard to discern what is “real”, what foods are actually nutrient-dense, and how to implement a diet that will best serve our current life stage and situation.

There is no one size fits all diet that works for everyone. But there are principles we can use to determine what foods will be best for us.

Avocados as a healthy source of fat

Eating a Nutrient Dense Diet is the key to health

We can not live without food. For optimal health, we want the best possible food for our individual bodies.

When we understand that the root causes of all health issues, otherwise known as dis-ease are sub-optimal food (that create nutrient deficiencies), toxins, and stress, we realize that eating a nutrient-dense diet is non-negotiable for optimal health.

The same “diet” goes by many names because at it’s core…this is what our species (homo sapiens) has evolved to eat over millennia. Some examples include:

  • The Nutritional Therapy Association calls it “a properly prepared, nutrient-dense, whole foods diet”.
  • The Weston A Price Foundation refers to it as the WAPF diet.
  • Jordan Rubin popularized the Maker’s Diet, with a religious angle on the whole foods diet.
  • Numerous blogs refer to “real food” or “whole foods”. A popular example is Lisa Leake’s 100 Days of Real Food.
  • The Paleo Diet, Caveman Diet, etc are all based on whole foods (minus grains and dairy in this case)

But what actually is real food? What makes a diet nutrient dense? Let’s get started:

What are nutrients?

Nutrients are the molecules needed to build and repair our body tissues and sustain chemical reactions to keep our body functioning.

The nutrients humans need are:

  1. Protein
  2. Fat
  3. Carbohydrates
  4. Vitamins
  5. Minerals
  6. Water

We generally categorize foods by their largest macronutrient (protein, fat, carbohydrate), but the truth is that most whole foods contain some amount of multiple nutrients, and an array of micronutrients (all the different vitamins and minerals).

Food is our energy source for all chemical reactions in the body. In other words, we get nutrients from our food. Food then needs to break down to molecules small enough to cross the plasma membrane of cells of the digestive tract to be transported to body cells for use.

Butternut squash soup made with bone broth for nutrient density, served with fermented sour cream

What is nutrient density and why is it important?

Nutrient density is a measure of the amount of nutrients in a food relative to its calorie content. It is important because it helps people identify nutrient-rich foods, which are the recommended choice for a healthy and balanced diet.

A nutrient dense diet is informed by ancestral ways of eating, because these are foods that have kept humans alive for all of our history. Generally speaking, animal based foods are more nutrient dense than plant based foods, but as an omnivorous species most people will do best with a combination of both plant and animal foods.

Weston Price, a dentist who studied the diets of traditional cultures in the early 20th century, made some fascinating discoveries about the nutrient density of traditional diets. He found that traditional diets were packed with a variety of nutrient-dense foods, particularly those with animal sources such as fish, shellfish, organ meats, and eggs. A wide variety of plant-based foods were also included, including grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

Price also noted that many of the traditional diets he studied were rich in minerals and vitamins, with calcium, magnesium, vitamins A, D, and E, and other essential nutrients playing an important role in protecting the health of these populations.

Another point to keep in mind, is that fresh food loses nutrients in transport and packaging. Therefore, eating locally and seasonally is ideal (for more reasons than I can go into in this article).

One way to eat more local foods is by signing up for a CSA or farm share.

What food is included in a Nutrient Dense Diet?

Generally speaking a nutrient dense diet will include a variety of the following foods:

  • Grass Fed Meat: Beef, Buffalo, Venison, Wild Game
  • Pasture Raised Poultry: Chicken, Duck
  • Pasture raised pork
  • Organ Meat
  • Wild caught fish and sea food
  • Pastured eggs
  • Grass Fed Dairy: Cheese, Yogurt, Raw milk, as tolerated
  • Organic Vegetables
  • Organic Fruits
  • Healthy Fats (butter, ghee, olive oil, coconut oil, tallow, lard)
  • Raw fermented foods
  • Natural sugars (honey, coconut sugar, maple syrup)
  • Organic herbs and spices
  • Natural Salt
  • Spring or Filtered Water
  • Soaked or sprouted organic grains and legumes, as tolerated

If you want to learn more, check out the Pantry RESET ebook, where you can get a step by step guide to supercharging your pantry!

A nutrient dense dinner of steak and eggplant

What “foods” are not included in a nutrient dense diet?

It probably goes without saying, but if it was made in a factory you probably want to avoid it. Here’s a short list of some food-like products and additives that I recommend avoiding. These items do not provide nutrients and may even be harmful.

  • Vegetable oils (soy, canola, sunflower)
  • Artificial colors
  • Artificial flavors
  • Preservatives
  • Most sugars
  • Refined grains
  • Processed and packaged foods
  • Conventional dairy
  • Synthetic vitamins
  • Table salt

How to Choose Nutrient Dense Foods

When it comes to choosing high-quality foods for a nutrient-dense diet, there are several parameters to consider. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

1. Choose Whole Foods

Whole foods are foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. They are minimally processed and contain all the nutrients that nature intended. Examples include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. No ingredient list is the name of the game.

2. Choose Organic

Organic foods are grown without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Studies have shown that organic foods are higher in nutrients than their conventionally grown counterparts.

3. Look for Grass Fed and Pasture Raised

Grass-fed and pasture-raised meats contain more healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and vitamin K2 than factory-farmed animals.

Apply this to dairy and eggs as well. Grass-fed dairy such as cheese, yogurt and kefir can be a nutritious addition to your diet. Eggs should ideally be pasture raised, but at the very least organic.

4. Avoid Processed Foods

Processed foods are typically high in sugar, unhealthy fats, sodium, and artificial ingredients. They are often low in nutrients and can contribute to chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Beware “organic” processed foods that may have less artificial ingredients, but are still mostly devoid of nutrients, like their conventional counterparts.

5. Read Labels

When shopping for packaged foods, be sure to read the ingredient list and nutrition facts label. Look for foods with as few ingredients as possible, and make sure you understand what all those ingredients are. If you don’t know what it is, put it back.

By choosing high-quality foods that are organic, grass-fed, whole, and minimally processed, you can ensure that you are getting the most nutrients possible from your diet.

Learn more about the DOs and DON’Ts for food in the Pantry RESET guide, full of helpful tips and step by step instructions to begin your health journey at home.

Eat a rainbow salad for micronutrients: vitamins and minerals, along with fiber

How to Determine What YOU Should Eat

Now that we know what foods are part of a nutrient-dense diet, the next question is how to determine what to eat for your body. The truth is, everyone’s nutritional needs are different, and what works for one person may not work for another. However, there are a few general guidelines that can help you make informed decisions about what to eat.

Listen to Your Body

First, it’s essential to listen to your body. Pay attention to how you feel after eating certain foods. Do you feel energized or sluggish? Do you experience any digestive issues? These clues can help you determine which foods work well for you and which do not.

Clarify Your Health Goals

It’s also important to consider your individual health goals. If you’re trying to manage a specific health condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, you may need to adjust your diet accordingly. Consulting with a nutritional therapy practitioner can be helpful in determining your individualized dietary needs.

Quality Matters

In addition, consider the quality of the food you’re eating. Choosing high-quality, nutrient-dense foods is key to getting the most nutritional benefits from your diet. Look for organic produce, grass-fed meats, and wild-caught fish whenever possible. These foods are free from harmful pesticides and chemicals and are often more nutrient-dense than conventionally grown options.


Finally, understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition. Everyone’s nutritional needs are different, so it’s crucial to consider your individual needs when choosing what to eat. This could include factors like age, gender, activity level, health status, and more.

It’s essential to experiment and find what works best for your body. Don’t be afraid to try new foods and approaches to eating, and remember that nutrition is a journey, not a destination.

It Starts at Home

Ready to take control of your health? Say goodbye to processed foods and download our free pantry reset ebook today! With our guidance, you’ll learn how to identify and remove the worst offenders from your pantry, making room for nutritious, wholesome options that your body will love.

Say hello to improved energy, clearer skin, and a happier digestive system – all within a matter of weeks. Don’t wait – take the first step towards a healthier you today!

The Bottom Line

In summary, a nutrient dense diet involves consuming whole, unprocessed foods that are rich in essential nutrients.

This includes a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, high-quality proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. It is important to steer clear of foods that are highly processed, high in refined sugars, and lack essential nutrients.

When choosing foods for your body, it’s important to determine what works best for you and your unique needs. This could include exploring different dietary approaches, utilizing high-quality food parameters such as organic and grass-fed, and understanding the role of dairy and grains in your diet.

By prioritizing nutrient-dense foods, you can fuel your body with the nutrients it needs for optimal health and wellness.


Daley CA, Abbott A, Doyle PS, Nader GA, Larson S. A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutr J. 2010 Mar 10;9:10. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-10. PMID: 20219103; PMCID: PMC2846864.

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