Zeroing In: Nutritionally Dense Because Low Calorie


Nutritional density ought best be viewed in combination with its energy; that is, how much high-quality nutrition per calorie. Everything pictured above is pretty decent in terms of nutritional bang for the caloric buck tradeoff, except the water crackers, which are just a bit on non-enriched wheat substrate.

So here was the take from Amazon, today.

  1. Carrs Table Water Crackers, Bite Size, 4.25-Ounce Units (Pack of 6)
  2. Matiz Gallego Sardines in Olive Oil, 4.2-Ounce Unit (Pack of 5)
  3. Cod Liver In Own Oil 4.3 oz. (Pack of 10)
  4. Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Lightly Smoked, 4.375 Ounce Tin (Pack of 12)
  5. Crown Prince Natural Smoked Oysters in Pure Olive Oil, 3-Ounce Cans (Pack of 9)
  6. Officer Smoked Cod Liver 4.26 oz (4 PACK)
  7. Henaff French Pate Assortment: 4 Different Pates (Pack of 2)

I would have ordered Rougie Mousse of Duck Foie Gras – 11.2 oz, except I live in the place euphemistically called “The Land of the Free,” and California has something euphemistically called “a law.” With any luck, everything west of the San Andreas Fault will one day fall off into the Pacific Ocean and they’ll bulldoze the Sacramento capital building right off the edge to join it…and I’ll be only 30 minutes from the coast, once again.

Let’s take a look at the “completeness scores” and “amino acid scores.” I used the Nutrition Data site, this time. I ran it for everything but the crackers. However, from what I can tell from the way they calculate the “completeness score,” eating these on the water crackers would improve the scores, since modest carbohydrate and fiber are being added to the equation, and without much in the way of calories, either.

These are all in 100 gram portions, about 3.5 ounces for those of you metrically challenged.


Sardines, 100 grams, 208 calories


Oysters, lightly cooked (like smoked), 100 grams, 69 calories


Lingcod liver. It appears to not be well documented and focuses on the fat aspect rather than the whole food. 100 grams, 424 calories

pork liver

Pork liver, surrogate for the canned pâté. 100 grams, 134 calories

And had I been able to purchase the foie gras here in the so-called land of the free, it would look like this:

goose liver

Goose liver, 100 grams, 133 calories (perhaps more in foie gras form)

As you can see, everything but the livers are crazy in terms of nutrition for calories. But hell, even the cod and goose livers aren’t that bad…it looks like a 100 gram portion of foie gras may be about 400 calories—depending how prepared, of course. Also, the canned pork liver pâté is going to be higher, because they add stuff, probably fat. We’re still talking modest caloric intake for the nutritional benefit.

So, how do I eat them? In relatively small quantities, randomly. I never open more than a can of any one thing at a time, and unless I’m sharing (except for sardines), the whole can almost never gets consumed in a day. A can of sardines always gets polished off. I tend to think of it as high-quality nutrition vis-a-vis a supplemental food since the caloric cost is so small.

Elixa Probiotic is a British biotech manufacturer in Oxford, UK. U.S. Demand is now so high they’ve established distribution centers in Illinois, Nevada, and New Jersey.

Still, sell-outs happen regularly, so order now to avoid a waiting list.

Since Covid killed my Cabo San Lucas vacation-rental business in 2021, this is my day job. I can't do it without you. Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. Two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance this work I do, and if you like what I do, please chip in. No grandiose pitches.


  1. king of the one eyed people on September 4, 2016 at 16:17

    Ha! Pate and foi gra. More proof paleo is elitist bullshit. I have not been able to afford either since my Ferrari 288 GTO was repossessed for margin payments on my equity portfolio in 1987. Sardines however, I can still manage – great for your skin!

  2. king of the one eyed people on September 4, 2016 at 18:10

    I hear Jimmy Moore is looking for an assistant to take some stress out of his life. You should apply. You should plan his meals and exercise for him too.

    • Richard Nikoley on September 4, 2016 at 18:44


      I can’t help but like Jimmy in what I consider a decent human way.

      I had had enough when he did what he did to Paul Jaminet. Made it public, so that was the end of public friendship. He was one of the first people I saw at a pre-party at PFX. All that shit melted away for a while.

      We walked up to each other, did the man embrace, and talked for a while.

      It’s civilized.

  3. May on September 5, 2016 at 13:20

    Foie gras is rank cruelty, you would not let anyone treat your wonderful Jack Russell’s like that I’m sure, please try to extend the compassion you have for your mutts out a little bit, I’m British and to my eyes California isn’t some left wing animal rights enclave even though Arnold said eat less meat, conditions determine consciousness, you won’t like that last line I’m sure!

  4. CCL on September 5, 2016 at 16:40

    How do you eat the sardines?

    • pinkface on September 5, 2016 at 17:50

      With my mouth. Tried eating them with my ass but they didn’t digest as well.

      • Shameer Mulji on September 5, 2016 at 21:28

        Wouldn’t digest in my mouth either for the simple reason that I would vomit before I even bite into pretty much anything on that list.

    • Richard Nikoley on September 5, 2016 at 18:11

      Pink face beat me to snark.

      • gabkad on September 6, 2016 at 11:13

        Just checked in over here while wondering what I should have for lunch. Good ideas. Had crunchy toasted German rye bread with sardines, a bit of mayo, and homegrown (‘beyond organic’) sweet, juicy, delicious tomatoes! Thanks for reminding me that there’s sardines in the cupboard.

        I’ve never had a garden before so I’m totally enjoying all the different kinds of tomatoes. Don’t know if I’ll ever be able to enjoy store bought. I lucked out and got an allotment this year. The guy who had it before me grew heirloom tomatoes. Well, waddaya know, all these little tomato plants popped up. Last week-end I counted: 10 varieties. I don’t know how many plants but it’s over 30. Free! Awesome. I’m saving seeds because I don’t think I’m allowing too many over ripe ones to land on the ground and come back at me next year. His beans grew back too. I don’t know for sure the variety, but I’ll be building a beanery thing for next year and will get serious about growing beans. 2 bean plants have given me 2 cups of dry beans. I’ve been eating out of the garden for the past 2 months. All sorts of vegetables. Blame Tim and all his ‘garden porn’ pictures!

      • CL on September 6, 2016 at 14:35

        Ok, I won’t shove them in my ass, promise. But for real, I’m not a huge fan of the taste, is there a way you all recommend eating them that masks the taste a bit? I like tuna but sardines are sooo fishy.

      • Richard Nikoley on September 6, 2016 at 23:10

        Have you actually tried SMOKED oysters, clams or mussels, canned?

        They are far way easier than sardines, for me. Sardines are OK. Those smoked things are bomb.

        And the cod livers? If the word gets on that gig, foie gras market is dead. Butter, dude. Succulent. I have had a number of people try them. 100% love. You can’t tell them what they are trying first.

        People are fucktards,

    • Cristina M. on September 27, 2016 at 21:27

      I eat sardines in olive oil (Vital Choice brand) with steamed kale (the one italians call Cavolo Nero, I just like this one better with sardines than the russian kale). The tomato sauce canned sardines (also from Vital Choice) I eat them with avocado slices and a slice of buckwheat bread (gluten free, just because I want so). If you find it hard to eat sardines, try to put lemon juice on them, start with a lot of juice and then reduce it, as you get used to the taste. And don’t go by the smell that comes out when you open the can, it’s disgusting. The taste is different. My husband eats them too, but takes the bones out (which is a shame) and puts them in my bowl. They are a breakfast food for me, and the only incovenience for me is having to eat them at work (I exercise in the monring and go straight to work after my session), so I always have to eat them in the change/shower room at work, can’t eat them at my desk :).

  5. Evolutionarily on September 6, 2016 at 15:43

    If you can’t stomach whole wild caught sardines in EV olive oil then don’t eat anything for a few hours then try again. If they’re still not appetizing, repeat.

    • gabkad on September 6, 2016 at 18:21

      Or fast for two days. ;) People these days are so ‘into’ bland.

      • king of the one eyed people on September 8, 2016 at 08:49

        I thought we had lost you. Why so quiet?

      • Richard Nikoley on September 8, 2016 at 13:48

        Gab gardens.

      • Richard Nikoley on September 8, 2016 at 13:50

        …Wait ’till winter winter, where she’s holed up in a hammock with blankets and cats….

      • gabkad on September 8, 2016 at 15:08

        It’s still 30C with humidity so it feels like living in a giant’s armpit. At least today there’s wind.
        Time to get out to visit my plants. :) and have a beer with Da Boyz of the Allotments..

      • Richard Nikoley on September 8, 2016 at 16:17



      • gabkad on September 8, 2016 at 18:33

        Parks and Rec have allotment gardens. People who live in apartments can grow stuff. Even people with houses and backyards because this way the raccoons don’t eat everything. There don’t appear to be any raccoons but lots of other critters. I’ve been out there after sunset and the other day I saw a coyote. Great place to hang out on a summer evening.

        Just now I made a huge bowl of salad: lettuce, endive, lemon basil, leafy celery, Hamburg parsley, tomatoes…. all from the garden. The garlic clove was from the store because I didn’t have the garden last year and ya gotta plant your garlic in October…. Mix it up with tuna in olive oil, add a sprinkle of oregano, YUMYUM! Nothing tastes as good as lettuce etc. that is cut in the garden and eaten 10 minutes later. I don’t bother to wash the lettuce: get my soil based micro-organisms. ;) Toasty corn tortillas.. folded them over all this salad’ and made a delicious mess. Perfect evening meal in this hot weather.

      • Richard Nikoley on September 8, 2016 at 20:35

        “Dude,” I never wash veggies either.


        Gotta ring you up again one of these days…..

      • gabkad on September 9, 2016 at 03:26

        When the lettuce etc. is from my own garden I know it’s ‘beyond organic’. No pesticides, no herbicides, no fungicides.

  6. Ellie Riley on September 6, 2016 at 12:53

    Yes, sardines are an amazing food for the price – and so convenient to store and use. I like to eat them with slices of orange.

  7. Radford McAwesome on September 6, 2016 at 13:57

    Try Wasa crackers for whole grain. The “Light Rye” aren’t so crunchy.

  8. CL on September 7, 2016 at 06:03

    Thanks Richard, haven’t tried either but will try both now.

  9. Matt on September 7, 2016 at 08:48

    Hey, I love the table water crackers. How do you know they aren’t enriched though? I saw that the ingredients for some of the flavored crackers specifies enriched but not on the original. Is that all you have to look for? On one website it listed the flour in the original as enriched though. Just trying to figure it out.

    • Richard Nikoley on September 7, 2016 at 09:20

      Good question and that’s exactly what I did. Carr’s has the least ingredients, and, on all the boxes in the stores, and on the website, the original is the only one that doesn’t specify enriched.

      So, deductive assumption. At any rate, one box lasts a week. Not a big quantity anyway.

  10. gabkad on September 8, 2016 at 11:39

    king of the one eyed people: who, me?

    If me, not lost.

    I was looking at a world wide table of ‘enriched’ or ‘not enriched’ flour. The Europeans don’t except a couple of places like Moldavia. So Italian products are not enriched although they are more expensive than local. I guess until Canada finalizes it’s Free Trade agreement with the EU….. UK does not enrich wheat flour either. If the Carr’s Water Crackers are imported, then they are not made with enriched flour.

  11. Bacchal on September 10, 2016 at 22:59

    Another good cracker for meaty toppings is Ak-Mak. Stone-ground whole wheat with a bit of honey, sesame, and butter. Delicious. Whole Foods sells them for a buck and change.

    Never tried cod livers. Butter, eh? I’m sold.

  12. Jackson Cu on September 20, 2016 at 11:39

    Large amounts of bread (e.g. >2-3 slices), even the hard-to-find artisanal stone-ground whole wheat stuff, and real sourdough, give me 2-day migraines (I tried several times). The French-bread-shaped gluten-free bread from Whole Paycheck, doesn’t. I’m always looking for good bread substitutes.

    On a recent trip to Scandinavia, I found out crispbreads with lots of seeds, are very popular. Very crunchy. They had gluten-free options, and I ate it a lot. No headaches.
    They look like this

    Anyone know of good ones available in CA?

    • gabkad on September 20, 2016 at 11:59

      I used to make stuff like that for the donkeys. Oat groats mixed up with applesauce and baked on a cookie sheet in the oven. I’d add some other things too like rose buds, camomile, etc. but this would work with sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and whatever seeds you want. Tasted pretty good and the donkeys loved it.

      Sort of like horse cookies but no flour and no molasses.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.