What is H=N/C? It is an awesome concept that Dr. Fuhrman’s book “Eat to Live” describes as the nutrient density of your diet. I don’t mind saying that I’m vegan, but that holds a lot of preconceived ideas for people. So I often prefer saying that I choose a nutrient-dense diet. Let’s face it. We all know what’s good for us but find creative ways to justify eating junk.

Dr. Fuhrman says that health is predicted by your nutrient intake divided by your intake of calories.

Health = Nutrients/Calories

What this means is the more nutrient-dense food you eat, the less you crave fat, sweets, and high-calorie foods. This also means that you can stop counting calories. But remember to read your labels and ignore the marketing on packaging! Just because something is vegan or organic doesn’t mean it’s healthy. For example, Oreos* are vegan but we all know these have no nutrients. Even if that box of organic “healthier” cookies cost you $7, it’s still got tons of refined sugar.

Don’t get crazy about it either. Once you get more nutrient-dense food into your diet there will be times you can cheat and have a small cookie. I usually save my cheats for social gatherings where the pressure of diet is on. Most Americans eat so poorly that you may only need to wait for these moments to cheat or just say NO. Be careful not to get throw off course. That can happen with me and sugar, so I have to watch myself. It is an awesome feeling to pass up junk food at work. Just doing that whenever you can truly adds up. Small victories lead to huge ones. Over time you’ll crave veggies instead of cake. Imagine that!

An idea of Dr. Fuhrman’s Weekly Shopping List goes like this (I’ve shortened it to simply show his examples.):

Vegetables to be eaten raw-carrots, cucumbers, salad greens, snow peas

Vegetables for cooking (fresh or frozen)-broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, kale, onions

Fruits (fresh or frozen)-blueberries, apples, oranges, pineapple, grapes, bananas

Raw nuts and seeds-walnuts, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds

Ingredients for homemade soups-celery, garlic, zucchini, fresh and dried herbs, lentils, dried beans

Other staples-flavored and balsamic vinegars, lemons, tomato sauce, salsa, tofu, old-fashioned rolled oats

Fresh or dried herbs and seasonings-basil, dill, parsley, chives, ginger, thyme, mint, chili powder, cumin

You get the idea.

It’s up to you how much of this you want to implement into your diet. You can switch over to it completely or simply start replacing unhealthy snacks with healthy ones. Most importantly, don’t pressure yourself. Diet is a daily, even moment-to-moment thing. It’s like falling, if you get off your diet just pick yourself up and get back on! And if you don’t cheat much and stay motivated, I promise you will feel and look great!

*Depending on your stance regarding refined sugar, Oreos may not be vegan to you. Kraft has several sugar suppliers. Some of their suppliers DO use the animal-derived natural charcoal (also known as “bone char”) in their cane sugar refining process and some suppliers DO NOT use this process.