As health enthusiasts, some of us tend to fall into a bit of a trap of paring our food right down to the basics. While many of us have moved on from boiled broccoli and chicken (I hope), there is still a lot of nutritionally deficient “clean eating” going on out there.

Why is it nutritionally deficient?

With lower calories, comes lower volumes of food, and with lower volumes, we of course will experience lower micronutrient intake, the very micronutrients needed to help convert our food into fuel and our stored fuel into useable energy.

These micronutrients are also important for the millions of chemical reactions going on inside the body, from how well you get oxygen to your cells, down to how well you produce things like growth hormone or testosterone.

Our soils are a lot lower in nutrition than they used to be. Add to that antibiotics and hormones in our proteins, and pesticides on our produce, we are not only getting lower nutrition, but also a higher toxic load that we need nutrients for our liver to help detoxify.

Ideally, I’d love everyone to go eat a combination of healing traditional high fat foods and raw plant based foods, as these are the diets that produce all the building blocks needed for muscle growth, hormone production and nutrient intake, but for now here are a few non-caloric ways you can supercharge your nutrition.


High in magnesium and other minerals, raw cacao is a wonderful addition to any food that has some sort of sweetener in it (stevia, or fruit, protein powder). The combo of the sweet + cacao = chocolate! Add Cacao powder to smoothies and shakes and cacao nibs sprinkled on oats or in protein powder pancakes and the like.

Some of them are a bit gross, I personally recommend Good Green Stuff as it has a nice fruity flavour and goes well in shakes. If you can handle earthy flavours, then there are a ton of powdered greens on the market. Greens are high in all the things you would find in vegetables, and also with the added kick of nutrients found in sea vegetables and things like wheatgrass etc. You can also get “red” powders, which are high in antioxidants.

Hemp, Maca and Mesquite are all plant derived nutrient powders. Maca has good levels of B Vitamins, Calcium and Magnesium and is also used to help balance out hormones. Mesquite also contains Ca and Mg and also iron, potassium and zinc. These powders can all be added to shakes or stirred into oats or homemade rice pudding.

Fermented foods are high in beneficial probiotic bacteria. The stress of training and/or competing can place a huge strain on our bodies, and in many people, this stress starts to affect their intestinal health. Adding things like Sauerkraut or other fermented vegetables to dishes can help with digestion and also keep that gut in shape. Gut health is crucial to maintaining a healthy metabolism. Be wary, pickles are not the same as fermented food, and some sauerkrauts etc are simply just pickled.

Each gram of fat contains 9calories, regardless of what type of fat it is, so if you’re going to eat fat, why not make it the best quality most healing fats on the planet! A good combination of fat from all sources is necessary for hormone health, cellular function and a whole host of other things. Virgin Coconut oil is a great anti-fungal, and can be eaten raw.

Saturated fats AREN’T the devil, despite what we are told, and can be eaten without you having a heart attack. Did you know that ALL your hormones are made from cholesterol? Please don’t leave fat out of your diet, this is bad for your body. Put the margarine back on the shelf, and get the butter.

Why not make a salad, and on top with your protein, have some roasted broccoli and other veges, and then why not blend up more veges with something like some sundried tomato and make a vege dip to have on top of it all! Don’t just stop at a half a plate of veg, fill it up!

Best eaten from organic sources, organ meats are just brimming with nutrients. Here’s a great link detailing the nutrient profiles of organ meats. And, organ meats are a lot more effective on the budget. Learn how to cook them properly though, or you’re likely to have flashbacks to mums steak n kidney pie when you were 5.


Add a lemon or Apple Cider Vinegar to water to aid in digestion, and a ¼ tsp of Himalayan Pink Salt to 1 litre of water will help remineralise your body, reduce fluid retention and improve blood pressure and energy.

Nothing beats homegrown veges, and homekill proteins – you always know what went in to it, and you may find your wee piece of land has more nutrition in the soil as it hasn’t been market farmed. Small scale organic fertilisers and composting will also help to bump up the nutrition in your food.

Stay well everyone, so you can keep training well!

Stacey Hancock
April 2013

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