May 5

Focus on Nutrients, Not Calories



The Role of Food in the Body

The science of nutrition is confusing, but it should not be. There is nothing more natural, or fundamental, in our lives. Food exists to promote growth and development, to provide energy, and to repair and maintain our cells.

Each cell, organ, and process in our body requires a specific set of nutrients to run optimally, and these nutrients are given to us by Mother Nature in the form of plants, animals, and other natural resources found on the earth. We are designed to work in harmony with the earth in a perfect circle. However, as we change and try to “improve” what was given us, we start to breakdown and not function at an optimal level.

In order to make better food choices and to understand why we sometimes feel great and other times not so much, it is important to look at what happens when we eat.

Your brain is the control center of the body. When your cells need fuel (i.e. nutrients) they send a signal to the brain which triggers hunger. This hunger cue leads you to eat.

Once you put a bite into your mouth the process begins. Chewing breaks food down, then saliva and digestive juices start the process of extracting out the individual components. Once the material reaches the digestive track the individual cells can come and grab what they need.

Imagine the game Pac man. If each PAC MAN can grab what it needs, it goes back into its corner and processes the fuel. However, if the food did not contain the necessary components or they are not in a proper form, the PAC MAN does not get what he needs and goes off hangry. This triggers another message to the brain and the hunger cue starts again.

So, you eat more, and the cycle continues until all the PAC MEN are happy and content. The problem is many times they NEVER get what they need leading to chronic overeating and constant cravings. Instead of nourishing your body with the building blocks it needs, you are FEEDING it substances that it cannot process or utilize.

Bottom line, the more nutritionally dense your food is, the LESS it takes to supply what is needed and you feel satisfied, focused, and full of energy instead of bloated, tired, and foggy. Yes, quality food may cost more, but you need less to sustain yourself, so you are buying and consuming less.

The next time you still feel “hungry” or unsatisfied after eating a big meal, ask yourself did the meal provide what was needed or was it just filler. A good rule of thumb is to fill your plate with 75% of plant-based whole foods and to chew well!!

Learning to focus on the nutrient-density of your meals is key to better health. It is a simple concept that takes the stress, confusion, and frustration out of planning and choosing what to eat.  

Once you LEARN to truly NOURISH, and not just FEED, your body you will be amazed at the changes that happen!  If you would like some individualized help on this journey, book a clarity call and let's chat!

Mrs. Dornberg

About the author

Cheryl Dornberg, NBC-HWC, is a national board-certified health & wellness coach and culinary nutrition expert who is passionate about using the power of food to achieve optimal health and increase longevity. She specializes in motivating and empowering individuals to create sustainable & consistent dietary and lifestyle habits that support the management and prevention of chronic health conditions, increase longevity, and improve overall quality of life.


Culinary Nutrition, healthy eating, member content

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