I'm subscribed to the Mother Earth News newsletter - which I highly recommend, by the way, I'm eagerly waiting for each new issue in my email. Last time I got this fabulous article about nutrient density in foods. I already knew pretty much all that was written there from Nourishing Traditions, but it was the clearest and most accurate summary article about nutrient density I have ever read.
It's true that the contents of the soil have much to do with the nutrients in our food. Currently I don't grow anything but a few herbs - sage, lemongrass, verbena, and rosemary - which I use for making tea and in cooking, because our chickens roam all over the yard and so far we've been (let's face the truth) too lazy to fence an area for a vegetable garden. But I know we can increase nutrient content in soil by composting and adding natural fertilizer.
However, the main (and most important) point is, I believe, that when you look at the average shopping cart, you see that its owner doesn't even give himself a chance for a nutrient-dense diet. The average shopping cart is loaded with pre-packaged, processed, sugar and salt-laced items, cereals in boxes, hot dogs, fizzy drinks, etc. Such items (I can't even in good conscience call them food) have a double cost, both in money and health.
The ideal shopping cart should contain basic, good-quality ingredients such as fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, good fresh meat and fish, eggs and whole milk products. Dried fruits, nuts and nice sorts of cheese can come as treats. All pre-packaged junk foods, snacks, drinks and convenience foods should be eliminated, both for the sake of our health and our budget.
It's hard to reach and maintain such an ideal, but one must never stop trying. That's what I keep reminding myself; every time my husband sticks to the shopping list and our pantry is empty of snacks, I feel like I've gained a small triumph.
Illustration photo: shopping cart