Healthy Eating/Recipes

Which is the most important nutrient?

At the start of each semester, I pose the question: which is the most important nutrient?

I was asked a version of that question last week: what nutrients does the brain need?

Before reading further, pause a minute. How would you answer both questions?

In class, guys typically say protein is most important. Others mention water as its lack will cause death sooner than the other nutrients.

In the case of the brain question, the two nutrients trying to be solicited was water (or fluid) and omega-3 fatty acids.

I couldn’t get drawn into that. The brain, like all the organs in our body need ALL the nutrients.

Looking at specific nutrients and their effects in the body yields exciting headlines, but doesn’t typically give us super health. The picture is further muddied if we talk about nutrients in pill form!! In nutrition, we need to look at the whole picture. Translated: whole foods. 

There are most likely thousands of yet undiscovered compounds in whole foods that help the body work in an optimal way. If we focus on a single vitamin or mineral perhaps we’re missing a vital co-factor or precursor.

In this country, our obsessive attention to “small” details, or a single nutrient, misses the big picture.

The most important nutrient is all of them. Without a single nutrient you will die; an excess of a single nutrient will also cause death.

Best for the brain? You guessed it, all of the nutrients are key. Whatever diet is necessary for good circulation will be good for the brain. Let’s see that would be whole grains, vegetables, fruits, low fat dairy and lean protein sources. Avoiding added sugars is advised.

Your brain is not an organ in isolation. Eat well so your whole body, including your brain, can be well,


PS Yes, I noticed the croissant in the picture, but it was too cute (and delicious) not to use the photo!!

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Artisanal Pizza

Doesn’t “artisanal” sound so much more intriguing than “homemade”? The difference between “artisanal” and “homemade”? About $5!

It’s pizza night. Eat out? You always order and eat more than your appetite. Delivery? Ditto. Let’s make it at home; we’ve got time to put something together. And, it’s ARTISANAL!

The first step in getting the family’s buy-in is to announce “Pizza Night” in advance. Get some input on toppings. Enlist help for grocery shopping and all of a sudden, pizza at home is an event.

Why make pizza at home when there are endless, economical pizzas out there? Eating at home gives you total (or almost total) control of your nutrient intake. Spouse not eating veggies? Pizza’s a good hide-out. Kids prefer eating out with friends? Involve them and they’re at your table. You’re all consuming too much in general? I promise, you will be more mindful when eating your own artisanal pizza.

If working with yeast is your thing and you’ve got the time – go for it. The rest of us might choose one pre-made or buy the dough; or, we could fashion a crust from English muffins, flatbread or if you’re Libby cauliflower crust!

Tomatoes in season, in your own garden or the farmer’s market? Cook away. Pizza sauce requires no skill, just time. If you’re out of time, open the jar without guilt.

Ditto cheese and any toppings your heart desires and I hope your heart desires more veggies. But you get the picture. Artisanal pizza can be a whole day affair or last minute. Let’s get together in the kitchen and figure it out.

Eat together at home to be well,


PS We opted for purchased dough, homemade sauce and whatever on top but we’re already talking about next time!

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