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Daily Dozen: A Simple Plant-Based Nutrition Plan for Optimal Health

In the realm of nutrition, where fad diets come and go with the seasons, it's refreshing to find an approach that focuses not on deprivation or complexity, but on simplicity and abundance. Not to be confused with the Dirty Dozen, the Daily Dozen nutrition plan is a concept popularized by Dr. Michael Greger, the founder of and author of the bestselling book "How Not to Die."

The Daily Dozen is not a diet in the traditional sense; rather, it's a straightforward framework designed to help individuals easily incorporate a variety of health-promoting foods into their daily routine. The premise is simple: aim to consume a certain number of servings from each food group in a day, essentially revising the antiquated food pyramid and adapting it to a plant-based diet. By doing so, proponents of the Daily Dozen believe that individuals can optimize their nutrient intake and reduce their risk of chronic diseases.

daily dozen greger


So, what exactly are the twelve food groups that make up the Daily Dozen, and how many servings are recommended from each group per day? Let's break them down:

  1. Beans, three servings: This category includes all types of legumes such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas. These plant-based protein powerhouses are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
daily dozen greger

  1. Berries, one serving: Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and other brightly colored berries are packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients that support brain health and may help prevent chronic diseases.

  1. Other Fruits, three servings: Beyond berries, the Daily Dozen encourages consumption of a variety of other fruits such as apples, oranges, bananas, and mangoes, each offering its own unique array of vitamins and minerals.

  1. Cruciferous Vegetables, one serving: Broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are among the vegetables in this group, known for their cancer-fighting properties and high levels of vitamins K and C.

  1. Greens, two servings: Leafy greens like spinach, Romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, and collard greens are nutritional powerhouses, providing an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants with minimal calories.

  1. Other Vegetables, two servings: In addition to cruciferous vegetables and greens, the Daily Dozen encourages consumption of other non-starchy vegetables such as bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, and onions.

  1. Flaxseeds, one Tablespoon: These tiny seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and lignans, which have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer.
daily dozen greger

  1. Nuts and Seeds, one serving: Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and hemp seeds are examples of nutrient-dense options in this category, providing healthy fats, protein, high fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.

  1. Herbs and Spices, one serving: Incorporating herbs and spices like turmeric, garlic, ginger, and cinnamon not only enhances the flavor of meals but also offers a myriad of health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

  1. Whole Grains, three servings: Whole grains such as oats, brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and can help support heart health and regulate blood sugar levels.

  1. Beverages, five servings: Water is emphasized as the primary beverage in the Daily Dozen, but other options such as tea and coffee can also be included.

  1. Exercise, one session: In addition to dietary recommendations, the Daily Dozen emphasizes the importance of regular physical activity for overall health and well-being. From walking to running, yoga to swimming, just get active one session a day. 

While the Daily Dozen provides a helpful framework for building a nutrient-rich diet, it's important to note that individual dietary needs may vary based on factors such as age, gender, activity level, and health status. Additionally, it's essential to focus on overall dietary patterns rather than fixating on specific foods or nutrients.

Integrating foods from Organic Pharmer, like Dr. Blum's Soups are a great way to fulfill a bunch of Dr. Greger's recommendations.

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The Daily Dozen plant-based nutrition plan offers a practical and evidence-based approach to optimizing health through diet and lifestyle choices. By incorporating a diverse array of nutrient-rich foods into your daily routine and prioritizing regular physical activity, you can take meaningful steps towards achieving and maintaining optimal health and well-being. There’s even an easy to use app with the same name that helps you follow the plan and provides a list for you to check off which foods you’ve eaten in a day. We always recommend consulting with a healthcare professional before making any major changes to your diet, but if you’ve already gone plant-based, this nutrition plan is a simple and effective way to ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need to thrive.

stephanie studied naturopathic medicine

About Author: Stephanie is the current fulfillment director and kitchen supervisor for Organic Pharmer. She studied Neuroscience at University of California, Irvine before studying Naturopathic Medicine for 2 years at National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. She also spent 3 years studying East Asian Medicine at the same university.

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