Recently, a client asked me if I had an all-inclusive list of the most nutrient dense foods for our nervous system, bones, muscles, and digestive system, as well as some recipes that would help strengthen and preserve them over the long term.
It seemed like a tall order, but then I recalled that Sally Fallon Morrell of the Weston A. Price Foundation had already compiled a list of fourteen recommended super foods. Though it doesn’t specifically address each of the four elements of the body my client referred to, it details the beneficial properties of each super food. I told my client that if she were to make the foods on this list a vital part of her daily diet, they would impart the very effects she’s looking for!
Read on to learn about these super foods, and see four of my favorite recipes that call for some of these nutrient dense ingredients. But first I want to describe the functions of the nervous system, bones, muscles, and digestive system for all of my readers who may want to learn more about them. I will also write about my favorite whole food supplement, which I take daily. It’s comprehensively formulated for people who cannot (or will not) maintain a perfect diet. Anyone out there who fits this category? Certainly, I’m one of them, which is why I include this particular supplement in my daily regime. But remember—supplements are just that. They “supplement,” but they can’t take the place of an otherwise healthy diet.
Before we get going, allow me to make a brief personal statement: As we all know, the human body is an extremely complex set of systems, and it would take twenty volumes or more to cover every food associated with the best health outcomes. That’s why I must limit this post to a brief explanation of the specific action of each system mentioned above, and offer a few recipes (and a supplement) that you can immediately incorporate into your diet.
Now here is some information from InnerBody.com about the categories my client asked me about: the nervous system, bones, muscles, and digestive system:
“The nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord, sensory organs, and all of the nerves that connect these organs with the rest of the body. Together, these organs are responsible for the control of the body and communication among its parts. The brain and spinal cord form the control center known as the central nervous system (CNS), where information is evaluated and decisions made.”
“The skeletal system includes all of the bones and joints in the body. Each bone is a complex living organ that is made up of many cells, protein fibers, and minerals. The skeleton acts as a scaffold by providing support and protection for the soft tissues that make up the rest of the body. The skeletal system also provides attachment points for muscles to allow movements at the joints. New blood cells are produced by the red bone marrow inside of our bones. Bones act as the body’s warehouse for calcium, iron, and energy in the form of fat. Finally, the skeleton grows throughout childhood and provides a framework for the rest of the body to grow along with it.”
“The muscular system is responsible for the movement of the human body. Attached to the bones of the skeletal system are about 700 named muscles that make up roughly half of a person’s body weight. Each of these muscles is a discrete organ constructed of skeletal muscle tissue, blood vessels, tendons, and nerves. Muscle tissue is also found inside of the heart, digestive organs, and blood vessels. In these organs, muscles serve to move substances throughout the body.”
“The digestive system is a group of organs working together to convert food into energy and basic nutrients to feed the entire body. Food passes through a long tube inside the body known as the alimentary canal or the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract). The alimentary canal is made up of the oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestines, and large intestines. In addition to the alimentary canal, there are several important accessory organs that help your body to digest food but do not have food pass through them. Accessory organs of the digestive system include the teeth, tongue, salivary glands, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.”
The Fourteen Super Foods
Here is the list of super foods recommended by Sally Fallon Morell. To learn more, visit TraditionalCook.com and click on any one of the individual foods to see how it supports your body, and why it has earned the SUPER FOOD status.
- Butter from grass-fed cows (preferably raw)
- Liver from grass-fed animals
- Eggs from grass-fed hens
- Cod liver oil
- Fish eggs
- Whole raw milk from grass-fed cows
- Bone broth
- Wild salmon
- Whole yogurt or kefir
- Beef from grass-fed steers
- Organic beets
My Favorite Daily Whole Food Supplement
Cyrofood Powder supports cellular health and overall vitality. I consider this a whole food, and it even has raw bone marrow! It’s a highly nutrient dense supplement that you can mix with raw milk, fresh juice, or even add to cereal, yogurt, and other foods. Cyrofood Powder a great supplement for anyone serious about marinating in good health. Also recommended for seniors or those recovering from an illness.
Four Nutrient Dense Super Food Recipes
Bone Marrow Butter
—The following is an original recipe from Monica Corrado. Personal note: To learn more about the nutritional properties of bone marrow, I encourage you to read Nourishing Broth by Sally Fallon Morell and Kaalya T. Daniel.
In my blog post “Fish Broth and Your Thyroid,” I wrote the following nutritional comment about this wonderful super food: “Bone marrow is a soft, spongy tissue found inside femur bones. Red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are produced in the bone marrow. With its unique fat and cholesterol composition, this substance is highly prized for its life-giving and brain-building properties. Bone marrow is considered a delicacy and is generally roasted or taken from bones that have been used in bone broth. Spread on toasted French bread rounds, it can become your daily nirvana.”
6–8 marrow bones, cut short, no longer than 2 inches tall
½ cup raw butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and softened
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
¼ teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped fine
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Spread bones out on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, marrow side up.
- Roast bones for 15–20 minutes, until marrow is bubbly and knife-tender all the way through. Let marrow bones cool to touch, then scoop out marrow.
- Add marrow, raw butter, salt, rosemary, and parsley to a food processor. Blend until incorporated, and serve.
—Adapted from Nourishing Traditions (p. 204). Personal note: If you’d like to make your own homemade fish stock for this recipe, see my blog post “Fish Broth and Your Thyroid.” And in Nourishing Traditions (p.84), you’ll also find a good recipe for the pima cream or creme fraiche called for here.
2 onions, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
½ cup butter
½ cup unbleached flour
1 quart fish stock
2 cups red potatoes, cut into ¼-inch dice
2 cups cultured pima cream or creme fraiche
2 cups chopped oysters (including liquid)
½ cup dry sherry (optional)
Sea salt and pepper
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
- In a large pot over medium heat, gently sauté onions and pepper.
- Blend in the flour and butter. Cook, stirring constantly, for several minutes.
- Blend in fish stock with a wire whisk. Bring to a boil.
- Add potatoes and simmer until tender. Add cultured cream, chopped oysters, and (if desired) dry sherry. Simmer until just cooked. Stir in nutmeg and parsley. Season to taste.
Easy Breakfast Egg Casserole
—Adapted from Laura at Heavenly Homeakers. Personal note: This casserole couldn’t be easier to whip up in the morning. I used white cheddar, just as Laura suggests, and it was delicious, but feel free to experiment with other types of cheese. The original add ins for this recipe included cooked sausage and bacon, ham, and leftovers like baked potatoes or sautéed vegetables. I’ve provided some of my own suggested add ins below.
8 pastured eggs
½ cup organic heavy cream
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup shredded cheese
Optional add ins: fresh diced mushrooms, fresh herbs such as tarragon or rosemary, or ½ jalapeno, seeded and diced
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk eggs, cream, and salt in a bowl, then pour all of the ingredients into a 9×13-inch casserole dish.
- Add diced mushrooms, tarragon, rosemary and diced jalapeno to taste. Gently stir them into the egg mixture.
- Top casserole with cheese. Bake 30–40 minutes, or until middle comes out dry when pierced with a butter knife.
Super Food Meat Muffins
—Adapted from Health, Home & Happiness. Personal note: Because of the fat content in the meat, you don’t need to add any oil to the muffin pan. If you use a metal pan, be sure to insert unbleached muffin liners so the mixture doesn’t come into any contact with the metal. To learn more about liver and other organ meats, read my blog post “The Yuck Factor: I Will Not Eat Organ Meats,” which is where I first shared this recipe from Health, Home & Happiness. Finally, I encourage you to make your own homemade ketchup with the recipe from p. 104 of Nourishing Traditions. Yields 12 muffins.
1 lb. organic grass-fed liver, soaked overnight in lemon or orange juice
1 lb. ground beef
6 cloves garlic
¼ cup ketchup (optional)
2 tablespoons basil, parsley, or other favorite fresh herb
½ teaspoon ground sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Pulse liver in your food processor, then add remaining ingredients.
- Mix thoroughly by hand until the mixture is the consistency of hamburger. Top with ketchup if desired.
- Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Cool a bit before serving.
Note from Maria: I am a Certified Natural Health Professional, CNHP, not a medical doctor. I do not diagnose, prescribe for, treat, or claim to prevent, mitigate, or cure any human diseases. Please see your medical doctor prior to following any recommendations I make in my blogs or on my website.