Analysis of Optimising Nutrition Recipe Series (22 books!)

After working intensely over the last six months working with Saskia Lesser to create a series of twenty-two recipe books tailored for different goals, I thought it would be interesting to see how they compare in terms of various parameters, including:

  • nutrient density,
  • protein,  
  • fat,
  • carbohydrates,
  • energy density, and 
  • the protein: energy ratio.

Why did we create twenty-two recipe books?  

While nutrient density is the central theme of the recipe books, we understand that people have different preferences and goals when it comes to food.  

Regardless of whether you believe in a plant-based diet or a carnivorous diet (or anything in between), you still need enough nutrients.  

We wanted to demonstrate how nutritional optimisation could create the most nutrient dense recipes within any framework.  

We may have got a bit carried away, but we ended up with twenty-two books tailored to different goals and preferences!  

  1. Fat loss 
  2. Maximum nutrient density 
  3. Low carb & blood sugar 
  4. Blood sugar & fat loss 
  5. Bodybuilders 
  6. High protein:energy ratio
  7. Nutritional keto 
  8. Therapeutic keto
  9. Plant-based 
  10. Vegetarian
  11. Low carb vegetarian
  12. Healthy maintenance 
  13. Pescitarian 
  14. Egg-free 
  15. Dairy-free 
  16. Egg & dairy-free 
  17. Athletes & bulking 
  18. Meat 
  19. Immunity 
  20. Cancer (weight loss & maximum nutrient density)
  21. Cancer (weight maintenance)
  22. Cancer (weight gain)

This article will help you understand how each of these books is different and enable you to choose the one that suits you the best.  

How did we do this?  

The glaring problem that we saw with the recipe book genre is that no one quantifies micronutrient content.  

How do you know if the recipes contain enough nutrients (let alone optimal amounts)?  

Sadly, of the thousands of recipes we have analysed, some of the most popular “named diets” had the poorest nutrient profile.  

Following the latest popular named diet (e.g. plant-based, carnivore, vegan, keto, etc.) is no guarantee that you will be improving your food quality.

We knew we had to create something to fill this gap to satisfy the needs of the people who are starting to realise the central role of nutrients in nutrition and optimising their health, weight, blood sugars and immunity.  

First, we scoured the internet and Facebook to compile a database of recipes that would help Optimisers get more nutrients.  We ended up with a database of about 3000 recipes that we refined down to 500 recipes that were of a high enough quality (with great directions, photos, etc.) that we could include in our database.  

Then Saskia Lesser (pictured below) started creating new meals!  Using the optimised food lists for each goal and the Nutrient Optimiser, she created recipes that would provide more of the micronutrients that each of the recipes were lacking.  

Not only did Saskia create nutrient-dense recipes, but she also beautifully photographed them for the books.  We included a brief discussion of the nutrients that each recipe contains in the books and then hyperlinks to a page for each recipe on the website that provides a full graphical breakdown of the macronutrients and micronutrients for each recipe.  

After many months working together, we have more than 140 recipes spread across 22 books! 

But to make sure you are getting your money’s worth, each of the books contains a secret index of links to 150 recipes optimised for your chosen goal.  

Our goal was to create the most nutritious recipes possible for a wide range of goals.  

I think we did pretty well!  The analysis below will help you understand how each book is different and why we wanted to create so many books. 

Check out this FB Live Q&A chat answering commonly asked questions about the Optimising Nutrition Recipe Book Series.

Which recipe book is right for you?

The table below outlines who each approach is suitable for.    

  1. Fat loss – Rapid fat loss with less hunger and cravings due to nutrient deficiencies and adequate protein to prevent muscle loss. 
  2. Maximum nutrient density – The most nutrient-dense recipes available!
  3. Low carb & blood sugar – Stable blood sugars and weight maintenance on a nutritious low carb diet.   
  4. Blood sugar & fat loss – Ideal for anyone with elevated blood sugars and body fat to lose. 
  5. Bodybuilders – Designed for muscle gain without excess body fat.
  6. High protein:energy ratio – High protein:energy ratio for aggressive fat loss.  
  7. Nutritional keto – Designed for someone who enjoys a ketogenic way of eating (without therapeutic ketone levels).
  8. Therapeutic keto – Designed to achieve therapeutic ketone levels (e.g. for epilepsy, dementia, or Parkinson’s).
  9. Plant-based – The most nutrient-dense plant-based recipes available.
  10. Vegetarian – The most nutrient-dense vegetarian recipes (i.e. plant-based with eggs and dairy).
  11. Low carb vegetarian – Nutrient-dense low carb vegetarian meals for stable blood sugars.   
  12. Maintenance – Designed to maintain body weight while providing plenty of nutrients to live a healthy and energised life.  
  13. Pescitarian – The most nutrient-dense pescatarian recipes (i.e. vegetarian plus seafood).
  14. Egg-free – Maximum nutrient-density (without eggs).  
  15. Dairy-free – Maximum nutrient density (without dairy).  
  16. Egg & dairy-free – Maximum nutrient density (without eggs or dairy).
  17. Athletes & bulking – Support activity or growth with an eye on nutrient density. 
  18. Meat – The most nutrient-dense meals that contain meat (e.g. beef, pork & chicken).  
  19. Immunity – Focus on the nutrients that support robust immune function.   
  20. Cancer (weight loss & nutrient density) – For someone with cancer (less glutamic acid and methionine) while maximising nutrient density and satiety to promote fat loss.
  21. Cancer (weight maintenance) – For someone with cancer (less glutamic acid and methionine) while providing enough energy to maintain a healthy weight.
  22. Cancer (weight gain) – For someone with cancer (less glutamic acid and methionine) while providing plenty of energy to support weight gain during and after cancer treatment.

Macronutrients

The numbers in the analysis in the rest of this article are based on the average of the top 60 recipes sorted for each approach to show you how each approach is different.

This first chart shows the macronutrient breakdown for each recipe sorted by percentage protein.   The high protein:energy book (inspired by our friend Dr Ted Naiman) has the highest percentage of protein.

Optimal nutrition score (micronutrients)

While most people are familiar with macronutrients (carbs, fat, protein, fibre and alcohol), we’re more excited about micronutrients.  The Optimal Nutrient Score is a single number that gives us an indication of how much of each of the essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and amino acids the recipes provide.  

Previously, we defined the Optimal Nutrient Intakes that align with greater satiety and was achievable with whole food.  If a recipe provides 100% of all the Optimal Nutrient Intakes with 2000 calories, then it would get an ONI score of 100%.  

The chart below shows an average of the highest-ranking 60 recipes for each approach.  

Targeting nutrient-dense recipes means you will get plenty of all of the essential micronutrients without needing to consume excess calories.  Our analysis of 60,000 days of micronutrient data from Optimisers shows that as people increase their ONI score, they tend to experience greater satiety and eat less.   Dialling up the nutrient density of your diet is a great way to increase satiety and eat less without relying on calorie tracking, self-restraint and battling against your appetite.

If your goal is weight loss, then focusing on a higher ONI score which tends to align with eating fewer calories is a great strategy.  

Thinking in terms of nutrient density allows us to turn the focus from restriction and deprivation to on giving your body what it needs.  Improvements in diet quality lead to greater satiety and weight loss.  

It is possible to get an ONI score above 90% if you’re really committed.  The chart below shows Camilla’s micronutrient fingerprint chart, which gave her an ONI score of 95.3% that she achieved using the Nutrient Optimiser to dial in all her micronutrients.  This was the highest in our recent Nutritional Optimisation Masterclass.   

You can read more about Camilla’s amazing journey in Camilla goes from strength to strength with the Nutritional Optimisation Masterclass.  

Protein 

Next, we thought it would be interesting to look at each recipe in terms of the Optimal Nutrient Score for each approach vs other parameters.  The chart below shows protein vs optimal nutrient score.  The trend line shows that we tend to get a maximum nutrient density at around 50% protein.  

Carbohydrates 

The chart below shows the relationship between non-fibre carbohydrates and nutrient density.  While none of the dense approaches are particularly high in refined carbohydrates, there seems to be a sweet spot between 15 to 20% non-fibre carbohydrates that aligns with higher nutrient density score.  

While it’s smart to reduce carbs to stabilise your blood sugars, pushing carbohydrates super-low can limit foods that can provide us with harder to find nutrients.  

Fat 

This next chart shows the % fat for each approach vs nutrient density.  While fat is a great source of energy, and there is no need to fear nutrient-dense foods that contain more fat, higher fat intake does not typically align with higher nutrient density.  

Energy density 

Energy density is the amount of energy per weight of the food you eat.   As we can see below, the vegetarian and plant-based approaches (with less fat from animal products) have a lower energy density.   In the bottom left, we see that therapeutic keto and cancer (weight gain) have a much higher energy density but suffer when it comes to nutrient density.

Protein:energy ratio 

Next, we come to the protein:energy ratio which has been made popular recently by our friend Ted Naiman.  

As you can see from the chart below, up to a P:E ratio of about 3.0, a higher protein:energy ratio definitely aligns with greater nutrient density.  The extreme high P:E approach will be useful for an aggressive weight cut (i.e. if you have a LOT Of weight to lose or are preparing for a bodybuilding competition).   

Fat + net carbs

Finally, we can see that nutrient density (in terms of essential nutrients per calorie) is also very closely correlated with the energy from fat and/or carbohydrates in our diet.  If you have body fat that you want to lose, you need to optimise your diet to move to the left on this chart.  

Summary 

If you want to start your journey towards Nutritional Optimisation, we’d love you to grab one of our recipe books using the links below.  We hope you’ll love it! 

ApproachAvailability
Fat Loss

Optimising Nutrition

Fat Loss Recipe Book

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Maximum Nutrient Density

Optimising Nutrition

Maximum Nutrient Density Recipe Book

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Low Carb & Blood Sugar 

Optimising Nutrition

Blood Sugar & Low Carb Recipe Book

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Blood Sugar & Fat Loss

Optimising Nutrition

Blood Sugar & Fat Loss Recipe Book

Discount
Bodybuilders

Optimising Nutrition

Bodybuilding Recipe Book

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High P:E Ratio

Optimising Nutrition

High P:E Ratio Recipe Book

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Nutritional Keto

Optimising Nutrition

Nutritional Keto Recipe Book

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Therapeutic Keto

Optimising Nutrition

Keto Recipe Book

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Plant-based

Optimising Nutrition

Plant-based Recipe Book

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Vegetarian

Optimising Nutrition

Vegetarian Recipe Book

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Low Carb Vegetarian

Optimising Nutrition

Low Carb Vegetarian Recipe Book

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Maintenance

Optimising Nutrition

Maintenance Recipe Book

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Pescatarian

Optimising Nutrition

Pescatarian Recipe Book

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Egg-free

Optimising Nutrition

Egg-free Recipe Book

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Dairy-free

Optimising Nutrition

Dairy-free Recipe Book

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Egg & Dairy Free

Optimising Nutrition

Egg & Dairy Free Recipe Book

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Athletes & Bulking

Optimising Nutrition

Athlete & Bulking Recipe Book

Discount
Meat

Optimising Nutrition

Meat Recipe Book

Discount
Immunity

Optimising Nutrition

Immunity Recipe Book

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Cancer (Weight Loss)

Optimising Nutrition

Cancer (Weight Loss) Recipe Book

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Cancer (Maintenance)

Optimising Nutrition

Cancer (Maintenance) Recipe Book

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Cancer (Weight Gain)

Optimising Nutrition

Cancer (Weight Gain) Recipe Book

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Addendum:  Nutrient Fingerprint Charts 

For completeness, we’ve included the nutrient fingerprint chart for each of the recipe approaches.  The nutrients shown towards the top of the chart are the ones that each approach does not contain as much of, while you will receive plenty of the nutrients shown towards the bottom of each chart.  

Book 1. Fat loss 

Rapid fat loss with less hunger and cravings due to nutrient deficiencies and adequate protein to prevent muscle loss. 

Optimising Nutrition

Fat Loss Recipe Book

Discount

Book 2. Maximum nutrient density 

The most nutrient-dense recipes available!

Optimising Nutrition

Maximum Nutrient Density Recipe Book

Discount

Book 3.  Low carb & blood sugar 

Designed for stable blood sugars and weight maintenance on a nutritious low carb diet. 

Optimising Nutrition

Blood Sugar & Low Carb Recipe Book

Discount
  

Book 4. Blood sugar & fat loss 

Ideal for anyone with elevated blood sugars and body fat to lose. 

Optimising Nutrition

Blood Sugar & Fat Loss Recipe Book

Discount

Book 5. Bodybuilders 

Designed for muscle gain without excess body fat.

Optimising Nutrition

Bodybuilding Recipe Book

Discount

Book 6. High protein:energy ratio

High protein:energy ratio for aggressive fat loss. 

Optimising Nutrition

High P:E Ratio Recipe Book

Discount

Book 7. Nutritional keto 

Designed for someone who enjoys a ketogenic way of eating (without therapeutic ketone levels).

Optimising Nutrition

Nutritional Keto Recipe Book

Discount

Book 8. Therapeutic keto

Designed to achieve therapeutic ketone levels (e.g. for epilepsy, dementia, or Parkinson’s).

Optimising Nutrition

Keto Recipe Book

Discount

Book 9. Plant based 

The most nutrient-dense plant-based recipes available.

Optimising Nutrition

Plant-based Recipe Book

Discount

Book 10. Vegetarian

The most nutrient-dense vegetarian recipes (i.e. plant-based with eggs and dairy).

Optimising Nutrition

Vegetarian Recipe Book

Discount

Book 11.  Low carb vegetarian

Nutrient-dense low carb vegetarian meals for stable blood sugars.

Optimising Nutrition

Low Carb Vegetarian Recipe Book

Discount
  

Book 12.  Nutrient dense maintenance 

Designed to maintain body weight while providing plenty of nutrients to live a healthy and energised life.  

Optimising Nutrition

Maintenance Recipe Book

Discount

Book 13.  Pescatarian 

The most nutrient-dense pescatarian recipes (i.e. vegetarian plus seafood).

Optimising Nutrition

Pescatarian Recipe Book

Discount

Book 14.  Egg free 

Maximum nutrient-density (without eggs).  

Optimising Nutrition

Egg-free Recipe Book

Discount

Book 15.  Dairy free 

Maximum nutrient density (without dairy). 

Optimising Nutrition

Dairy-free Recipe Book

Discount
 

Book 16.  Egg & dairy free 

Maximum nutrient density (without eggs or dairy).

Optimising Nutrition

Egg & Dairy Free Recipe Book

Discount

Book 17.  Athletes & bulking 

Support activity or growth with an eye on nutrient density. 

Optimising Nutrition

Athlete & Bulking Recipe Book

Discount

Book 18.  Meat 

The most nutrient-dense meals that contain meat (e.g. beef, pork & chicken).  

Optimising Nutrition

Meat Recipe Book

Discount

Book 19.  Immunity  

Focus on the nutrients that support robust immune function.   

Optimising Nutrition

Immunity Recipe Book

Discount

Book 20.  Cancer (weight loss & nutrient density)

For someone with cancer (less glutamic acid and methionine) while maximising nutrient density and satiety to promote fat loss.

Optimising Nutrition

Cancer (Weight Loss) Recipe Book

Discount

Book 21.  Cancer (weight maintenance)

For someone with cancer (less glutamic acid and methionine) while providing enough energy to maintain a healthy weight.

Optimising Nutrition

Cancer (Maintenance) Recipe Book

Discount

Book 22. Cancer (weight gain)

For someone with cancer (less glutamic acid and methionine) while providing plenty of energy to support weight gain during and after cancer treatment.

Optimising Nutrition

Cancer (Weight Gain) Recipe Book

Discount

To kickstart your journey towards optimal get your free program and one of 70+ food lists personalised just for you!  

Marty Kendall
 

  • Terri Corona says:

    Every time I try to buy one of these cookbooks, I get an error message that says “Object doesn’t support property or method ‘assign'”.

    Is it just me?

  • […] and my favorite tools to help you come from my colleagues (Marty Kendall and Saskia Lesser) over at Optimising Nutrition. We have collaborated on 3 amazing recipe books that are specifically designed for cancer patients […]

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