Nutrient Glossary

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Essential Nutrient Overview

Your body has innate nutritional needs that it requires for health and function.  These are called essential nutrients.  You cannot live on wood like termites.  You cannot use sunlight for energy like plants.  So, the basic physiology of your body determines what you need to consume for fuel and also for nutrition.  These are the substances that your body is designed to run on.

For example, you need to consume Vitamin C from your food.  If you do not, you will develop scurvy like an 18th century sailor.  Almost all other mammals actually do not need to consume Vitamin C, however.  They can make it from other substances they eat.  Humans and other primates cannot do this.   In other words, you are required to consume these essential nutrients from the food that you eat.

We need to consume Vitamin C from our food to satisfy a need of your body.  This is a basic example of how the essential nutrients you obtain from your food are specific to your body as a human being.  You will find a list of the known essential nutrients below.

What Else Affects the Essential Nutrients My Body Needs?
The essential elements that your body requires from your nutrition are based on both the innate needs of your body and also the specifics of your lifestyle.  The optimal levels are determined by things like your activity level, your age, even your environment.  High levels of physical activity will require greater calorie intake.  So will exposure to cold temperatures.  As we age, often the absorption of nutrients declines so more micronutrients are necessary.  It is important to remember that your body is dynamic and its essential nutrient requirements are dependant on the rest of your lifestyle at the time.

Where Can I Get The Essential Nutrients My Body Needs?
Nutrients are designed to come from eating real food in a manner that supports your lifestyle.  Whether from plants or animals, the food that we eat contains an extremely complex mixture of chemical compounds.  And often times, the name of a nutrient is actually referring to a classification of nutrients, rather than a single isolated element.  And the form and context that these nutrients come from is often crucial in how well our body can use them.  So a best practice is to consume a wide variety of real food that is congruent with your genetics and lifestyle that is in line with the Bonfire Health Ideal Diet.

Macro and Micro Nutrients
The two main categories of nutrients are Macronutrients and Micronutrients.

Macronutrients are the substances that we need in relatively large amounts, and include the three sources of calories – fat, carbohydrates and protein – as well as water.

Micronutrients include a large list of substances that our bodies need in smaller amounts, such as vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and essential fatty acids.

Minerals play a crucial role in the health of your body. Certain minerals are essential elements that you need to consume in your diet.  They include electrolytes like sodium, potassium and chloride, bone and teeth components such as calcium and phosphorus, and vital components of energy production such as magnesium.

The health of the digestive system influences its ability to properly absorb nutrients.  Key factors in mineral absorption are the mineral’s form (bioavailability) as well as interactions with other nutrients and substances present in the digestive system.  The digestive system needs to be properly acidic for the absorption of certain minerals, for example.

Minerals are typically broken down into two categories:  macrominerals and microminerals.  Larger amounts of macrominerals are consumed than the microminerals.  Just like all substances taken into your body, there are specific ranges of amounts which your body needs.

These macrominerals do not provide energy (calories) but serve many important functions in your body.

  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Chloride

Microminerals are present in all types of real, natural food to varying amounts.  Often times, the health of the soil will determine the micromineral content of food.  They are typically absorbed by your body in the small intestine.

Microminerals serve most commonly as co-factors for enzymes, meaning they are important for specific biochemical activities in your body.

Here are some microminerals:

  • Chromium
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Iodine
  • Molybdenum

The importance of fiber in your diet has been a topic of great research interest during recent years.  Fiber is found in natural foods – whole plant foods, in particular, are great sources of the various types of fiber.  Fiber includes both soluble and insoluble fiber.  Both are important for digestive health.  Fiber was a large part of our ancestors‘ diet.  Great sources of fiber include bananas, apples, pears, onions, potatoes, cauliflower, green beans and zucchini, as well as various berries, nuts and seeds.

Essential Fats
Certain fats are essential nutrients for your body.  For many years, conventional nutritional advice was to keep fat intake as low as possible, particularly saturated fat from animals.  However, it had been observed as early as 1929 that people and animals did not thrive when fed a processed diet specifically designed to remove all fat – and that adding a fatty component back to the diet will reverse ill effects. So after many years of a “minimize-fat” stance (low fat, non-fat, no fat), it has become apparent that numerous health problems occur when healthy natural fats are deficient in people’s diets. To read more about fat in general and saturated fat in particular, read Fat Is Good.

While it has now become recognized that fat is a necessary component of a healthy diet, certain specific types of fat are essential to the body.  The specific types of fats described as essential fall into two types: Omega-6 fatty acids and Omega-3 fatty acids.

Both Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids:

  • are unsaturated
  • are only found in certain foods
  • are a long chain fat, meaning they are a longer molecule than the majority of fats we consume

There are also several differences between them.  We consume far too many Omega-6 fatty acids in our modern diet, and we consume far too little Omega-3 fats, especially DHA and EPA.  Omega-6 fats are found in many sources commonly found in our diet, while Omega-3, especially the essential DHA and EPA, are not commonly found in our diet today.  In addition, Omega-6 fats tend to have pro-inflammatory effects, while Omega-3 fats have an anti-inflammatory influence on your body.  The best source of DHA and EPA Omega-3 fatty acids is fresh water fish.  The easiest way to make sure you are consuming enough Omega-3 fatty acids is to take a daily supplement.

Many nutrients play an essential role in your body by acting as antioxidants.  Antioxidants protect cells, DNA and proteins from damage by free radicals.  Free radicals are produced by normal metabolic processes in your body as a by-product of energy production and use.  However, unhealthy lifestyle choices create excessive free radicals that create damage to your body.  Free radical damage is associated with blood vessel damage and cardiovascular disease, DNA damage and cancer formation, and dementia.

Antioxidants are most concentrated in plant foods, especially those with bright colors.

The most commonly discussed antioxidants include:

  • Vitamin A:  found in carrots, kale and broccoli; critical for vision
  • Vitamin C:  found in red peppers, parsley and citrus fruits; supports the immune system
  • Vitamin E:  found in avocados, eggs, oils, leafy greens like spinach, nuts and seeds; promotes a healthy heart and aides in the absorption of nutrients
  • Carotenoids:  found in oranges, tomatoes, bananas and brightly colored peppers; aide in healthy immune function and fight free radicals
  • Lycopene:  found in tomatoes, pink grapefruits, watermelon and papayas; important for preventing heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes and male infertility.
  • Glutathione:  found in raw fruits and vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, avocados, and cauliflower; detoxifies carcinogens and free radicals and plays an important role in the immune system, gastrointestinal system, and the nervous system.

There is a broad range of nutrients in food that have levels of antioxidant activity; many are known, and likely even more remain to be uncovered.

Research shows that antioxidants are best obtained from whole foods, rather than as isolated chemicals.  A Bonfire diet-style provides a high level of antioxidants by supplying you with a broad range of fruits and vegetables, and at the same time, a genetically congruent lifestyle minimizes excessive free radical production.

One of the most dynamic areas of nutritional research has been into the body’s needs for fruits and vegetables.  The complex chemical compounds found in plant foods have been shown over and over again to have proven health effects and protect us from disease.  The chemicals in plants are often referred as phytochemicals, or phytonutrients.

The Linus Pauling Institute at the University of Oregon:

“Phytochemicals can be defined, in the strictest sense, as chemicals produced by plants.  However, the term is generally used to describe chemicals from plants that may affect health, but are not essential nutrients.”

However, in combination, research shows that they are in fact a critical essential element.  A key to this aspect of phytochemicals is that their effects add together.  Rather than a single chemical from a specific plant, the effects are from the spectrum of phytochemicals, and the total amount consumed.  This is why a Bonfire Health Diet Style includes eating a wide variety of vegetables!

Here are some of the more well known classifications of phytochemicals (although there are many thousands, most unknown):

See more about phytochemicals here at the Linus Pauling Institute.

It became clear that there were specific substances in food that were necessary for health, and that the lack of certain substances led to disease.  In 1912, the term “vitamin” was coined to describe these substances.  At first, there were two known vitamins, or classes of vitamins:  Vitamin A, the fat-soluble vitamin, and Vitamin B, the water-soluble vitamin.

There are now 13 essential vitamins, broken down into fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins:

  • Vitamin A (carrots, kale, and broccoli)
  • Vitamin D (fatty fish such as salmon, sunlight)
  • Vitamin E (avocados, eggs, oils, leafy greens such as spinach, nuts and seeds)
  • Vitamin K (green leafy vegetables such as kale, swiss chard, spinach, parsley and lettuce)

Water-Soluble Vitamins:

  • Vitamin B1 (green vegetables, beets, almonds, turnips and beans)
  • Vitamin B2 (eggs, nuts, fish and lean meats)
  • Vitamin B3 (turkey, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, avocados, dates and mushrooms)
  • Vitamin B5 (broccoli, avocado, and meats)
  • Vitamin B6 (meats, raw vegetables, nuts)
  • Vitamin B7 (egg yolk, liver, some vegetables)
  • Vitamin B9 (liver, turkey, tuna, banana, potatoes, chili peppers)
  • Vitamin B12 (fish and shellfish, liver and other meat sources, eggs)
  • Vitamin C (red peppers, parsley, citrus fruits)

Your body requires protein in your diet.  Proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids.  Your body connects various amino acids together to form long protein chains that are an essential part of every cell and tissue of your body.  Therefore, your body does best when an array of the various amino acid types are consumed.

Essential Amino Acids
Certain amino acids are essential.  Essential amino acids must be consumed in the diet or a deficiency results.  In other words, they cannot be made by your body.  The essential amino acids, however, can be used by your body to create all the other non-essential amino acids.

The essential amino acids are:  threonine, lysine, methionine, arginine, valine, phenylanine, leucine, tryptophan, isoleucine and histidine.  They are abundant in animal products like eggs, chicken and beef.  Be sure to select free range, grass-fed, naturally raised meats and eggs.  They can also be found in various nuts and seeds.

These amino acids cannot be made by your body.  They need to be consumed in your diet.  These ten amino acids are referred to as the essential amino acids.

Glossary of Bonfire Exercise Terms

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Bonfire Move Glossary

What is “functional training?”
Functional training is any type of exercise that has a direct relationship to the activities you perform in your daily life.

What is the “Bonfire WOD?”
WOD stands for Workout Of the Day.  This is your daily workout for you to do today.

What is a “rep scheme?”
A rep scheme is a prescribed number of repetitions of an exercise (or exercises) during your workout.

For example: The workout calls for a rep-scheme of 20-15-10 deadlifts and pushups.  This means you must perform 20 deadlifts, then 20 pushups, 15 deadlifts, then 15 pushups, and finally 10 deadlifts, then 10 pushups.

What does it mean when it says the workout is “for time?”
It means that the workout should be done in as little time as possible against the clock.

What does “prescribed weight” mean?
A prescribed weight will be given in your workout for specific exercises in both male and female quantities.  This is a recommended weight, however – if the weight is too heavy, then scale down to an appropriate weight.

What is Tabata?
For twenty seconds, do as many reps of the assigned exercise as you can – then rest 10 seconds.   Repeat this seven more times for a total of 8 intervals and 4 minutes total exercise.  Your score is the least number of reps for any of the eight intervals.  This means that it is an all-out effort for each interval.  Don’t hold back!

Types of Movements in the Bonfire Health Program:

  • Monostructural:  Run, bike, swim, row, jump rope
  • Gymnastics:  Air Squat, Pull-up, Push-up, Dip, Handstand Push-up, Rope Climb, Muscle-Up, Press to Handstand, Sit-up, Jumps, Lunges
  • Weight Lifting:  Deadlifts, Cleans, Presses, Snatch, Clean and Jerk, Medicine Ball Exercises, Kettlebell Swing

Types of Equipment Utilized: Most of all the Bonfire Workouts can be done at home if you do not belong to a gym.  Here is some of the equipment you may wish to purchase.:

Equipment Shopping Checklist

  • Mats
  • Olympic Bar
  • Bumper plates
  • Dumbbells
  • Pull-up Bar
  • Dip Station
  • Flat Bench
  • Portable Power Racks
  • Parallettes
  • Still Rings
  • Ab Mat
  • Plyometrics Boxes
  • Kettlebells
  • Jump Rope
  • Medicine Balls
  • Stop Watch

Most, if not all of it, can be purchased at a local sporting store.  Soon we will also offer most of the equipment you need directly through the website.

What if I can’t do the recommended weight?
Use a weight that’s manageable to you, or use a percentage of the weight prescribed.  Assume the average male weighs 175 lbs and the prescribed weight is 95 lbs.  Thus, you’d pick a weight that’s approximately 55% of your bodyweight.

What is a substitute for running?
To substitute a different aerobic exercise, pick a comparable time interval.  For example, if you run 400m in 90 seconds, then row or bike or jump rope or run stairs, etc. for 90 seconds.  Other suggestions:  box jumps, cross-country skiing, heavy bag work, kettlebell or dumbbell swings, weighted stair-climbing or box-stepping.

I don’t have a box to do box squats, box step ups, or box jumps.
Use stairs or a stable structure such as a bench of the appropriate height.

What is a substitute for Wall Ball throws?
The “standard” substitute for Wall Ball is either dumbbell or barbell thrusters.  Since you can’t (or shouldn’t, anyway) actually throw the dumbbells in the air, use about twice the specified ball weight (40 lbs. or so instead of 20), and do them as explosively as possible.

Here are some directions if you choose to make a homemade medicine ball:

  • Take an old, or cheap, basketball.
  • Cut a slit in it.
  • Stuff with sand.
  • Sew or glue the slit closed (optional), and then tape up with good ol’ duct tape.  This gives you a perfectly functional 18-22 pound ball (9 or 10 kg) for under $4.

I don’t have a kettlebell to do kettlebell swings.
Use a dumbbell.

What if I don’t have dumbbells?
Buy some.

Is there good substitute for PVC pipe?
Wooden dowel, broom handle, or a broken hockey stick.

I don’t have rings or I can’t do a ring dip.
Do 3 regular parallel bar dips, or use the edge of a bench or couch to assist your dips.

What if I can’t do pull-ups?

1.  Jumping pull-ups (use as much leg push as needed, lower slowly).
2.  Pure negatives (climb to top position using whatever means necessary, chair, bench, whatever, then lower slowly)
3.  Assisted Pull-ups:  use an Assisted Pull-up Machine (if you’re lucky enough to have access to one), or even better, a human spotter to give you a lift.  Bend your legs at the knees so that the tops of your feet are facing down, have the spotter support you there to provide some lift.
4.  Assisted pull-ups with elastic:  Get a large elastic band (surgical tubing works great), loop over the bar, and step in it to provide some lift

I can’t do Handstand Pushups (HSPU).
Most of us can’t.  Support all or most of your body while working up to HSPU.  You can place your hands on the floor, and your legs on a bench or ball or counter (bend at the waist).  You can hook your toes over a bar in the power rack or smith machine.  You can do partial reps, building up to full range of motion.  For example, stack a few books up under your head; lower to the books.  Work on removing a book from the pile every workout or so until you are going head to the floor.

You can sub standing presses for HSPU, using absolutely no leg drive, but they are not as good a sub as working toward the actual motion.

I can’t do double-unders, or I don’t have a jumprope.
Do tuck jumps: Stand with your feet slightly inside the width of your shoulders.  Bend your knees and lower your body down 8-12 inches.  Explode into the air and bring your knees up to your chest in a tucked position.  Upon landing, your feet should be in a strong, dorsi flexed or “toes up” position.  Use your whole foot to generate power, not just your toes!  Maintain good posture in your upper body.  Keep your chest and head up.  Don’t let your shoulders lean out beyond your knees.  This can stress your lower back.  Explode off the ground as quickly as possible and repeat for the required number of repetitions.

If you can’t do tuck jumps, do 5 single-unders for every double-under.

Types of Rep Schemes in the Bonfire Health Program:

As many reps as possible in a certain amount of time – AMRAPAs Many Rounds As Possible.:  This means simply that you perform as many full-range of motion repetitions of a given exercise as possible in the time allotted.

For example:  Perform as many squats as possible in 1 minute.

When the workout calls for AMRAP, this means you must complete as many rounds as possible of the workout in the time allotted.  For example if the WOD was:

AMRAP in 10 Minutes of:
5 Squats
10 Box Jumps
15 Slam Balls

For this workout you would start the clock and do all three exercises 5 squats, 10 box jumps and 15 slam balls in order.  Once you have done this, you have completed one full round.  Start again and do as many rounds of possible in 10 minutes.   Remember to keep your score so you can beat it next time.

The 10, 12, or 15 minute variety of AMRAP’s seem to promote the highest intensity.  You want to put in an all-out effort until the time has stopped.  Typically 3 movements will be the max of a WOD like this.  An example would be a heavy weightlifting movement paired with a higher skill gymnastics movement and a monostructural sprint of some sort so you get a total functionally fit workout.  So much fun!

Triplets: Usually these are comprised of a monostructural element, a gymnastic movement, and a weightlifting movement.

Couplets:  A two-exercise combination chosen from the categories of monostructural elements, gymnastic movements or weightlifting movements.  The gymnastic/weightlifting couplet is possibly the hardest WOD to do.

Monostructural WODs:  Best done in intervals in order to keep up the intensity.  For example, split up a 2k run into eight 400m runs for time.

Chippers: Chippers are usually high rep lower weight lifts and gymnastic movements that are difficult to keep up high intensity with.  These are typically longer WODs that are more aerobically challenging.

Weightlifting WODs:  There are many ways to do these, such as intervals (1 heavy clean and jerk on the minute, every minute for 20 minutes), or for repetitions (30 clean and jerks for time).

Strength specific WODs:  These workouts will call for a certain amount of sets and repetitions for a specific exercise.  Here are some common rep schemes:

5×3 (5 sets of 3 repetitions)
5×5 (5 sets of 5 repetitions)
1 rep max x 5 (5 sets of 1 repetition)

Each of these rep schemes are designed for you to be adding weight to each successive set to make it increasingly harder.  These are exercises that demand good technique, a sufficient warm-up, and a stretch afterwards.  Track your progress so you can improve your lifts each time.

Other WODs may have a higher workload, but these WODs also demand a high level of intensity and strength.

Glossary of Insight Terms

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Wellness Objective (WO)
The ultimate objectives per domain.
Example:  Being optimally hydrated

Wellness Principle (WP)
A foundational tenet or rule consistent with the Wellness Paradigm.
Example:  “Add first, then subtract” or “Move toward a positive, not away from a negative”

Critical Concepts (CC)
The big ideas associated with each Insight /lesson per domain
Example:  “Our cells expect and require regular movement.”

Desired Outcome (DO)
The over-riding objective – the end goal.
Example:  Within the Spark domain:  Peace of Mind

Essential Elements (EE)
The required element or “Nutrient” featured in the Insights or lesson plan within each domain
Example:  Connection
Read full Essential Elements description.

Innate Daily Requirement (IDR)
The recommended required amount/measure of each Essential Element (EE)
Example: Exercise 5 – 6 days per week.

Influence Mechanisms (IM)
A technique, concept or mechanism that confers a level of predictable behavioral influence

  • Best Practices (BP)
    Strategies commonly used successfully to achieve a desired outcome.  When integrated with Vital Behaviors, success becomes more and more likely.
    Example: Save 10% of every dollar earned  (“In our clinics…we’ve seen….”)
    Read full Best Practices description.
  • Vital Behaviors
    High leverage behaviors that lead directly to desired outcomes
    Example:  Utilize EFT – electronic funds transfer to ensure 10% savings every time.
    Read full Vital Behaviors description.
  • Nudge
    An environment, setting or process that has been put in place to promote or influence better choices
    Example:  Putting fruit in plain sight and keeping the doughnuts on the roof.

Bonfire Challenge (BFC)
An action step, strategy or behavior prescribed specific to a given Insight
Example: “Do this:  Drink 50% (+) of your body wt. in fluid ounces.”


  • Perfect Practice
    A quality that is consistent with an Ideal Mindset
    Example:  Well people practice gratitude.
  • Clear Standard
    A clear objective or comparison model, which is quantifiable where possible
  • Model Behavior
    Role model or mentor for a given quality or behavior
  • Creative Process
    The creative process applied to a given element or quality
  • Up-Hill/Down-Hill
    Member or Participant classifies a challenge as personally easy or more difficult
  • Traffic Lights
    GREEN:  Add ____________________ Start
    YELLOW:  Reduce ____________________ Slow Down
    RED:  Subtract ____________________ Stop
  • De-railers/Guard-Rails
    Thoughts, beliefs, people or environments that derail change efforts
  • Daily-Do-Over
    Recount the day’s events and identify how you would like to re-do a specific situation
  • Recovery Mechanism
    Proactively identify effective techniques or strategies that help you get back on track
  • “Life Saver” or “Guardrails”
    High leverage thought, person or technique that is sure to keep you on track for your change effort
  • Bonfire Partner
    A “buddy” or partner for a specific challenge (BFC), (change) effort or program
  • Goals/Reward/Penalty
    Next Happily Attainable Goal (NHAG), Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG),
    Goal Dates:  recorded, professed (publicly), or published
  • Reward:  Compelling incentive for successful Process, Behavior, and/or Outcome
  • Penalty:   Equally compelling penalty or dis-incentive for same