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Most of us might have some version of a common story of eating junk food, quite possibly every day. Soda, chips, candy YOU NAME IT.

Tim Ferriss, among other lifestyle optimization coaches, boil it down and inform us that food is fuel – not pleasure. With this understanding, it starts to make sense that the quality of fuel you put into your body will probably yield quality internal operation, feeling, energy vitality, and overall health & well being – long term. 

Lets take a look below to see what happens when you stop eating bad “fuel” and start fueling your body with high quality whole food nutrients.

What’s Food And Food Quality?

There seemed to never be an end to the supply of food we know is not very good for you. And then, one day I woke up, and I could start tasting the “bad” that was ok the junk food. I don’t know how to specifically describe this awakening beyond the tasting and more importantly, FEELING the nasty effects of nasty food. I could no longer even drink soda with having a gross feeling wash over me from head to toe, inside and out. I felt immediately sick with an overwhelming need to either sit or lay down and sleep. This was not the ideal lifestyle I hoped to acquiesce towards. I then decided that I needed a better “fuel” to start feeding my body.

Food is any type of substance you can eat that absorbs into your body with the purpose of maintaining growth and life. The substance in food provides nutrients to your cells and provides energy to continue stimulating ongoing functions. Simply put, food is what we eat to survive. A more extended version of the idea of food can grow complex, depending on how you want to view food. Although there might be several definitions of food, there’s only a handful of ideas that constitute “quality” food.

Since everyone has unique DNA, quality food can mean different things to different people. An extreme example is the peanut allergy. Some people can eat these “close” to nature foods ALL DAY LONG. And some people will die if they take one bite of peanut. So, how do you know what fuels close to nature to consume? This answer can begin your lifelong quest in ongoing optimization in the discovery of the highest quality fuel for your unique fingerprint. The International Journal For Vitamin & Nutrition Research (Int J Vitam Nutr Res) mentions there’s a need for more research and insights into the interactions between nutrients and genes. A deeper understanding of nutrient-gene interaction might help lead to more personalized nutrition requirements and special individual needs. 

There may be some tests that can help show you some information and offer you some direction. Only you can ultimately know how you feel after consuming certain fuels (food). Nature is not lacking in variety. The more you dig down this rabbit hole, the most you’ll begin to get overwhelmed and AWE INSPIRED in the seemingly infinite and vast ENDLESS selection of quality foods nature provides in over the top endless varieties. I encourage you to begin your path now, document as much as you can, and then come share your experience with the world.

Below, we’ll take a look at the various characteristics and qualities of food, as measured by science. 

Food qualities and characteristics. 

  • Appearance
  • Size
  • Shape
  • Color
  • Gloss
  • Consistency
  • Texture
  • Flavor
  • Chemical 
  • Physical
  • Microbial
  • Ingredients
  • Traceability
  • Sanitation
  • Packaging
  • Labeling
  • Health
  • Hygiene
  • Oxidative deterioration
  • Environmental friendliness
  • Innovation
  • Sensory analysis
  • Bacteriological analysis
  • Nutrition
  • Utilization notice
  • And potentially more

All the above-listed classifications of food are important to be in complete harmony. Not only for the good of you and your family but also for the health of the environment going long into the future.

What Is High-Quality Food?

Natural Cure author Kevin Trudeau provides a simple axiom to eat foods as close to nature as possible. Foods as close to nature intended means zero or very minimally processed. 

I also learned that foods that go bad are good for you. Whereas foods that do NOT go bad, are bad for you. Eating foods as close to nature as possible can lead to a whole new world of quality daily feeling, thinking, emotional response, and spiritual aspirations. When eating foods as close to nature as possible, the body knows exactly what to do with the fuel and how to put it into optimal operation, right away. Foods close to nature offer the most critical elements to sustainability, longevity, and all other potential good things you can achieve from a strong quality fuel.

Not only is what you eat important, but how much you eat, your eating habits, and when you eat the food you do. I’m of the ongoing opinion that your body knows more about “you” than what medical researchers can quickly figure out, consistently. If it’s close to nature, and you feel good during and after you consume your food, it’s probably going to continue being good for the type of quality of food your unique body needs.

In short, quality foods are whole fruits and vegetables, quality local meat and dairy, etc. If it’s something you can consume, that’s not close to nature, it’s probably not a quality food item.

According to Int J Vitam Nutr Res, The basics of high-quality food, leading towards the best health and well-being starts with a varied diet of healthy foods. 

Health & Human Services Public Access (HHS) asks the question “what is a healthy diet”, and provides the vague response of it being difficult to offer a simple answer. The complexity of answering a seemingly simple question is suggested there’s an excessive flood of information provided by nutrition and food researchers. On top of finding a simple answer, researchers are often finding contradicting evidence, thus generating an overwhelming amount of misinformation for the media to generate the “next” fad diet book and programs. HHS suggests, even though there’s a large complexity of information, there’s enough reliable information to provide a simplistic recommendation. 

HHS quality food recommendations.

  • Water
  • Whole-grains
  • Legumes
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Limited refined starches
  • Limited red meat
  • Limited full-fat dairy
  • Limited products with added sugar

The timeless advice to eat more vegetables and fruit is consistently backed by a mountain of evidence (free PDF download or $200 for paperback). They recommend at least (minimum) of five servings per day.

Water is a high-quality nutrient we tend to overlook as an essential requirement for optimal health. It’s important to drink quality water. If tap water is the only source of water you’re able to afford and drink, there are some methods to help increase the quality of drinking water coming out of your tap. If you’re aiming to improve the quality of your drinking water, I’ve published a quick extensive review of specific methods on How To Improve The Water Quality In Your Home? The basic idea is to test your water every year and to invest in an at-home Reverse Osmosis (RO) water purification system. (Affiliate link to the affordable RO system I have installed in my home).

Vitamins and minerals are an important part of quality food consumption. HOW EXACTLY DO YOU KNOW WHAT SPECIFIC NUTRIENTS ARE IN FRUITS & VEGETABLES? Since there was no consolidated table/graph displaying a neatly organized list of nutrients in whole foods, I decided to go out and do the research myself and make the type of graph (download PDF) I desired to use as a resource whenever I wanted. Like any other packaged food at the grocery store, they list a basic set of ingredients and nutritional values. However, there are no labels for whole foods in the fruits and vegetable section. One goal I have on my LONG to-do list is to try and make a graph like this mandatory at all supermarkets, or at least available to the general public.

Click image below to view full size. Or download printable PDF.


What Is Low-Quality Food?

In order to fully understand high quality food, it might be important to look at what low quality is and what it does to you if you eat it.

Harvard provides a list of lower-quality foods.

  • Highly processed foods
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Refine (white) grains
  • Refined sugar
  • Fried foods
  • Foods high in saturated and trans fat
  • High-glycemic foods (potatoes)

A primary factor in low quality food consumptions is the basic idea of an unbalanced (low quality) diet with a high intake of fat, alcohol, sodium, and sugar. 

Why Is Eating Quality Food Important?

Eating quality food and satisfying your unique nutritional requirements is important to how you feel today and into the future. According to HHS, consuming good quality foods can help you achieve your health goals, feel good, and reduce your chances of contracting a Non-Communicable Disease (NCD). NCD’s are diseases that you do no directly “get” from other people. The World Health Organization (WHO) reveals NCDs kill 41 million people per year. A few NCDs are cardiovascular diseases, cancers, respiratory diseases, diabetes, and more.

Eating quality food on a consistent basis can promote good overall health and well-being, help you maintain the weight you want to achieve, and reduce your chances of getting an NCD.

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