The 12 Core Principles

The foundations of the Mother Nature's Diet healthy lifestyle.

Core Principle 7

Eat plants and animals

If you really think about what food Mother Nature put on this earth for us humans to eat, if you think about what was naturally available as food for humans before we built shops and roads, boats and planes, tractors and refrigerated warehouses, it all comes down to plants and animals.

Anatomically modern man has lived on Earth for around 185,000 years. In broad terms for about 180,000 of those years we ate plants and animals and drank water. There were no fridge-freezers, no sugar-coated hoop-shaped multi-coloured breakfast cereals, no fizzy drinks, no oven pizzas and no convenience stores selling bags of crisps and chocolate bars.

You might have read the last paragraph and thought this is all sounding like a ‘Paleo diet’ or something. Paleo is great, but while thinking about our ancestors and our origins, it is also important to remember that almost nothing on Earth in the 21st century is still as it was 30,000 years ago or 130,000 years ago. Most plants today have been changed by farming through hundreds of years of selective breeding. Topsoil composition has changed, as has air to some degree (pollution) and fresh water and sea water. Animals have been bred to be smaller, or larger, fatter, or leaner, more muscular or faster growing. Foods are now grown using chemical inputs including pesticides, hormone supplements and artificial fertilisers.

The reality is that very few of the things we can buy in our shops as food today are the same as they were back tens of thousands of years ago. The best thing we can do to emulate the more natural diet of our ancient ancestors is to ‘eat plants and animals’ and do our best to avoid processed foods – as laid out in Core Principles 1, 2, 3 and 4. Once we take out all that processed stuff, Core Principle 7 and 8 are all about putting the good stuff in, by eating fresh, natural, whole foods.

Plants (we’re talking vegetables, and some fruits)

There are many great reasons to eat lots of vegetables and fruits.

  • Eating lots of veggies and fruits means lots of micronutrients – vitamins and minerals – which are good for you in a great many ways
  • Eating a ton of veggies displaces most of the processed starchy ‘beige bloat food’ from your dinner plate
  • Replacing the grains and starchy carbs in your meals for more vegetables exchanges those calories we talked about in Core Principle 1, for more nutritious high-fibre foods

One of the core goals of the MND lifestyle is to consume a very nutrient-dense diet. We want way-above-normal levels of vitamins and minerals, and we really don’t want to waste our money, or our digestive energy, eating low-nutrient-density foods, that offer calories but little in the way of vitamins and minerals. Micro-nutrients are important for powering all our bodily functions, resisting ill health and helping us to have lots of energy, so we want to eat as many nutrient-rich foods as we can.

This is the main reason why we broadly look to replace the starchy carbs such as bread, cereal, pasta, rice, spaghetti, and excessive amounts of white potatoes, with lots of root vegetables and green leafy veggies instead. You can watch a little video at the bottom of this page to learn more about making those changes.

Removing these starchy processed carbs from our diet, and adding extra vegetables, gives us greater amounts of vitamins, minerals and some beneficial dietary fibre. All these vegetables are great, and let’s not forget fruits too. Our healthy lifestyle should include a couple of portions of fruit every day, again because fruit offers lots of beneficial micro-nutrients and some additional dietary fibre. Citrus fruits, berries (tend to be seasonal) and bananas all offer useful nutrients, and many find apples, pears or similar offer just the right amount of fibre to maintain healthy bowel function.

Pack your daily diet with lots of vegetables, greens and all the colours - reds, oranges, yellows and more - for a broad spectrum of nutrients.

While it might be tempting to think that vegetables are some kind of wonder foods, that maybe we should all become vegetarians for a long and healthy life…we also need to eat animal foods, as they too offer many benefits. There are some persistent myths around the health benefits of vegetarianism and the idea that all plants are good for us, and that we only need to eat plants and we can abandon animal foods.

These myths are just not true. We need to eat animal foods too; broadly speaking, animal foods are the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.

Animals (meat, fish and eggs)

Animal foods contain many vital nutrients that we need. Meat and fish will give you the best proteins (the building blocks of all life) available, lots of good vitamins and minerals, abundant essential fatty acids and plenty of good HDL cholesterol. All these nutrients are important and their bioavailability from animal sources is often far better than from plant sources.

Over a period of years, a vegetarian diet, and particularly a vegan diet, can potentially lead to a number of nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin B6 and B12, iron, and certain important fatty acids. Eating animal products such as oily fish, eggs and organ meats (such as kidneys and liver), ensures we correct these imbalances.

Some of the key benefits of animal foods include:

  • Vitamin A is much more bioavailable from meat than from non-animal sources
  • Some of the best sources of B group vitamins are animal foods such as liver, fish, eggs and pork
  • Vitamin B12 is mostly only found in animal foods. Some B12 can be found in vegetables, but not in a form that is bio-available to human digestive system
  • Vitamin D is not found in plants at all, it is only found in animal foods. (Alternatively, your body can use sunlight to convert cholesterol into vitamin D)
  • Iron from animal sources is far more bioavailable than from plant sources
  • EPA and DHA (fatty acids, these are health-promoting omega-3 fatty acids) are only found in animal foods, mostly in oily fish and fish oils. These fatty acids are essential for brain and nervous system function, and omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in many studies to promote heart health

Plants and animals

As you can now see, a balanced healthy diet really should be made up of foods coming both plants and animals, as both offer beneficial nutrients. Mother Nature’s Diet recommends that around half of your calories should be coming from meat or fish or eggs, and the other half of your calories from vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. That’s the MND way.

You should look to create balance, get some of your protein from meat, some from fish, some from eggs. Don’t get stuck eating only one thing. I meet some people who eat ‘lean white chicken breast’ every day and never anything else. They have been ‘scared away’ from animal fats over 60 years of the wrong message from the diet industry.

That’s a mistake – you should not avoid animal fats, because you need the vital nutrients in those good fats to help your body absorb other nutrients. For example, your body uses vitamin A to synthesise and assimilate proteins. If you only eat lean meats, and avoid fatty meats (such as fish, fish oils, liver and eggs) then you will be slowly depleting your body of vitamin A.

Equally don’t only eat tuna. Don’t only eat broccoli. Don’t only eat carrots. Don’t get stuck on just one thing. Aim to eat a wide variety of vegetables, look for all colours – greens, reds, yellows, etc., as colour often indicates a variety of available micro-nutrients. Also aim to eat a variety of fish, especially oily fish, meats of all sorts, including organ meats, and eggs. Don’t deny children foods with good fats in them. We have seen the ‘diet industry’ and ‘health experts’ push an agenda of ‘cholesterol is bad’ for 60 years, yet many scientists and doctors argue that there is not one scrap of evidence that total dietary cholesterol causes any harm at all to human health.

Cholesterol is an essential component of all cells in all animals. In terms of your life, it’s as important as air, water, blood and glucose for the brain – it’s absolutely essential. Cholesterol forms an essential element of all cell membranes in your body. It is so important, that all animals can produce their own, so if there is not enough coming in your diet, your body will make more for itself.

Natural sources of good (HDL) dietary cholesterol happen to be the foods we often see associated with good fats – such as oily fish like salmon and mackerel, extra virgin olive oil and olives, nuts and seeds, avocados, free-range eggs, organic grass-fed meats and organ meats, such as liver.

Summary

You can now see how Core Principle 1, 2 and 3 had us remove the grains and processed foods from our plates, and now Core Principle 7 puts the good plants and animals in their place. We swap out those starchy processed carbs for more vegetables, and we benefit from a diet higher in vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre.

Interested to learn more?

Buy the book, get started right away, today, and start feeling the benefits almost immediately, usually within a few days!

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