Publisher’s Point: On Being “Nutrient Dense”

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

I don’t often struggle with coming up with a topic for each edition’s Publisher’s Point. Most of the time, many folks in my life will say that I have more than enough to say on most subjects. However, there was something so personally grieving to me about the L’Simcha Synagogue slaughter that it stopped me from saying anything that could on any level be helpful. On the radio Monday, Rex Davis, my co-host and all-around tough guy with a tender heart, sat behind the microphone and with slumped shoulders said to listeners in the Tennessee Valley, “This makes me feel like crying.” “Me, too,” I replied. Enough said.

I thought about being part of the solution and not the problem, and I realized that the only way besides prayer that I could make a difference about any of it is if I purpose by grace to be what I call “nutrient dense.” The term was coined years ago by a former Air Force Captain who had served bravely until his daughter died unexpectedly, and he consequently chose to enter civilian life. The emotional and spiritual level of “nutrition” in his being was understandably severely depleted, and he and his wife went through some dark times. However, it was their journey toward wholeness that has gone on to inspire literally thousands, including me, and I find that I am leaning hard on their story while I get through this.

So, what does it mean to be “nutrient dense”? In the area of food, it means selecting foods that aren’t empty, altered, jacked around, weak, unrecognizable to your body, unsustainably produced, and harmful to your health. Eating foods that are nutrient strengthens everything from your bones to your brain, and will empower you to be of help in what is often referred to as “the most difficult of circumstances.”

In the area of your soul and spirit, it means roughly the same thing. Consuming multiple sources of “nutrition” in the form of that which inspires, motivates, comforts, confronts, encourages, stretches, brings laughter, love, grace and redemption, has the same result. It makes it possible for you to be of help in what is once again being described as “the most difficult of circumstances,” but the results are far more intangible.

Either way, what I am finding, is that the more I choose to be “nutrient dense” in every regard, the more that I can be of true help. And the more I can be of true help as I serve up the feasts that are uniquely my own, the more I can complete the cycle and become full again.

Recently I watched an interview with a man who had had a “NDE,” or Near Death Experience. Prior to his documented death, which occurred after suffering from a split aneurysm, he said he had not been particularly “religious.” However, as a result of this encounter, he experienced the love of God, something that all these years later still brings him to tears, and while he was in the presence of God, he was made aware that really, the only purpose of life is to love, even when it’s difficult and unfair.

Bringing love when there is no reason is just another way of being “nutrient dense,” and to me it’s the only way that life and the things that are truly senseless can make any sense. Will you join me in making and serving a feast, now that we are in the season of feasting?