Nutrient Density and Eating Local

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Want to eat Nutrient Dense Foods? Eat Local!

When cooking for clients and my family, I focus on ingredients that are fresh, of high quality, and are nutrient dense. What is nutrient density? The standard definition of nutrient density compares the amount of vitamins/minerals/antioxidants of the ingredient to its number of calories.

While I think you and I can agree that most of the meat and produce you find at the store is nutrient dense in their own ways, but did you know that local food is on average more nutrient dense than store-bought ingredients?  I love supporting local suppliers in the Raleigh-Durham area, and love it even more after learning that local produce retains more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than store-bought produce. There is scientific evidence that local produce trumps conventional and organic store-bought produce due to the length of time from farm to table. The produce we see at the store may look pretty, but there’s no way of telling how long it was being transported from the farm to the store, or how long it has been sitting on the shelf at the store.

Studies show that seasonal local produce has a higher nutrient value than produce out of season or organic or conventional store bought produce (1). Another study also shows that produce (spinach in this case) could lose up to 50% of some of its nutrients after 4-8 days of sitting on the shelf (2).

It’s super easy to support local and eat local by visiting LoMo Market – a mobile farmers market food truck that comes to your work or neighborhood. I recently perused their well-stocked truck and outlined some of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are high in their products.

Below are nutrients that are high in products frequently carried by LoMo –

  • High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Fatty Fish, Pastured Red Meat, Egg (Yolks)
  • High in Calcium – leafy greens like Spinach, Swiss Chard, Kale, Turnip Greens & Collard Greens, Full-Fat Dairy
  • High in B6 – Bell Peppers, Turnip Greens, Spinach
  • High in B12 – Pastured Red Meat, Shellfish, Snapper, Mackerel, Crab
  • High in Iron – Pastured Red Meat
  • High in K2 – Aged Cheeses
  • High in Antioxidants/Polyphenols – Blue & Purple Produce (Purple Sweet Potatoes, Blueberries, etc.), Turmeric Root
  • High in Probiotics – Kombucha, Kimchi, Sauerkraut
  • High in Vitamin C – Leafy Greens, Berries, Bell Peppers, Broccoli, Tomatoes, Strawberries, Rutabaga

LoMo was also kind enough to let me use some of their amazing ingredients to create some recipes for y’all! I have created two recipes – one for the meat eaters out there, and another for those who prefer seafood.

Scallops and Rutabaga “Grits” – a riff on shrimp and grits.

Strawberry Balsamic Flat Iron Steak Salad is a hearty and healthy salad for all of you red meat eaters.

I hope you enjoy!

Real Food Finds – Costco

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It’s no secret: the paleo/real-food community LOVES Costco. Really, they do. Diane at Balanced Bites has an awesome Costco shopping list, while other bloggers out there like Ashley from My Heart Beets and Kelly from A Girl Worth Saving provide their own paleo-friendly lists. Unfortunately, some of the products on these lists are just not at my Durham location (although it’s probably a good thing that my Costco doesn’t sell Hail Merrys by the case like they do in California….)

I wanted to compile a list of some of my favorite finds from my local Costco. It can be difficult to stop myself from buying ALL OF THE THINGS, so my husband and I have made a pact to only go there bi-monthly and  buy what we will use during those two months – no more, no less. That keeps our bill in check, and keeps us mindful to TRY to spread the groceries out over two months. Fresh vegetables of course won’t make it that long, but for frozen, canned, and packaged food can.

Below is a run-down of some of the products I buy on a typical Costco run. Keep in mind that I get the majority of my proteins from local farmers, so you won’t see any chicken, beef, or pork in my listing.

Priscilla Cooks Real Food Costco Staples

1) Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Portions
Cost: $29.99 (usually $35) for 8-9 portions of salmon, 3 lbs total
Description: I LOVE this salmon, and usually prefer it over buying any wild salmon at Whole Foods. Each 5-6 oz. portion is vaccuum sealed and perfect for any dish.

2) Organic Green Beans
Cost: $6.89 (on sale for $5.39!!), 5 lbs total
Description: The BEST price for organic green beans. I get pretty excited about vegetables, especially green beans. I can barely find conventional green beans for this price, so I stock up on at least two of these every time I am at Costco. They are already trimmed, too.

3) Cascadian Farms Organic Berry Blend
Cost: $10.89, 3 lbs total
Description: This blend contains strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. While I wish there were less strawberries, this is great to have in the freezer for munching and making Nutribullets. I buy these much less in the Spring and Summer when I get strawberries and blueberries from local farms.

4) Frozen Smoked Wild Sockeye Salmon
Cost: $16.99
Description: My husband loves smoked salmon, and this is one of the only kinds he buys. I’m not a big fan of smoked fish, but he enjoys a few slices with breakfast.

5) Kalamata Olives
Cost: $7.69, 2 lbs.
Description: Tasty Olives for a fraction of the price of the Whole Foods olive bar.

6) Kerrygold Butter
Cost: $6.99, 1.5 lbs
Description: Great butter at the best price out there. I usually make large batches of ghee from it. I can Maybe buy a bar for $3 at other stores when it’s on sale. At Costco, it works out to $2.33 per bar, and each block has 3 bars. I make up the cost of the $55 Costco membership by the amount I save on Kerrygold alone.

7) Wild Planet Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Cost: $9.99, 6 tins of sardines
Description: One day I will get myself to be able to eat sardines on a regular basis. ONE DAY. Until then, my husband happily eats them with spicy mustard on a pepper or cucmber.

8) Tri-Color Peppers
Cost: $6.99, 6 peppers
Description: Not organic, but a decent price for red peppers and little boats for the aforementioned sardines.

9) Campari Tomatoes
Cost: $5.49, 2 lbs.
Description: Perfect salad tomatoes. Not organic, but I’ve read that the Sunset brand is non-GMO. Not sure if that is accurate, though.

10) Wild Planet Tuna
Cost: $15.69, 6 cans
Description: Great tuna, great price. I love making my tuna with tahini and lemon juice, similar to Mary from Paleo Chef, but I use sumac instead of cumin.

11) Artichoke Hearts
Cost: $9.89, 2 2lb jars
Description: I use canned artichoke hearts for cooking a lot, but usually only find them in actual metal cans. I was glad to find some that were in glass!

12) (Not Shown) Carrington’s Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Cost: ~$16 for 54 oz.
Description: The most well priced coconut oil I’ve found. To be honest, my favorite is Dr. Bronners brand, but it’s more than double the price. I use coconut oil for cooking, sauteeing veggies, and in my bulletproof coffee.

 13) (Not Shown) Victoria’s Marinara Sauce
Cost: ~$9-10 for 2 large jars
Description: This is one of my favorite sauces, only second to Rao’s. This sauce is REALLY well priced and is delicious with zoodles and meatballs, on spaghetti squash, or just poured all over vegetables!


What are your favorite Costco finds? Share them below!!


Farmer Spotlight!

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Coming Soon – Farmer Spotlight!

I care about nutritious food, humanely-treated animals, and the people who give their lives to feed those around them.

Soon, I will be visiting farms in the Raleigh-Durham area and posting information about the farmers, their practices, and the amazing produce and proteins you can buy from them!

If you are you a farmer in the Raleigh-Durham area and want me to check out your farm, shoot me an email at No matter who you are or what you’re growing, I probably want to meet you 🙂

Strawberry Picking at Double R Cattle Services in Hillsborough, NC
Strawberry Picking at Double R Cattle Services in Hillsborough, NC