Two of my colleagues and very good friends are known for saying: you have to eat “lean and green!” Sounds simple enough, huh? But then there is the anti-veggie center of the brain that screams out, “Oh YUCK! I hate veggies!” Admit it; it is true! Those same thoughts that you had as a kid have followed you to your adult years. If you are one of the lucky ones, you may not mind veggies, but you still don’t consume enough of them in your diet to say you’re eating green!
Did you know that just 100 years ago the average American consumed around 50 grams of fiber? Did you know that the average American now is well under 25 grams! Talk about a recipe for indigestion and constipation! And that is exactly what the vast majority of us do! We continue to eat more refined and processed foods and ditch the pure foods that Mother Nature intended us to have, namely fruits and veggies!
Yeah, yeah, YEAH! I know that I should eat more veggies, but I just don’t like them! Fair enough. Just to set the record straight, I want to list some of the BENEFITS of NOT having adequate fruits and veggies:
-Increased rate of colon and other cancers
-Less stable blood sugar leading to metabolic disorders and ultimately type II diabetes
-Dehydration: fruits and veggies have a very high water concentration
-Free radical damage that causes wrinkles, organ dysfunction, cellular oxidation (breakdown), aging, and overall physical deterioration because veggies are your primary source of ANTIOXIDANTS
-Lowered energy rates due to blood sugar spikes and insulin resistance
-Macular degeneration due to lack of carotenoids and other nutrients essential to optimal eye health
-Low to zero fiber intake that causes a plethora of health problems
-Lowered vitamin and mineral absorption and possible deficiencies that even multi-vitamins have a hard time compensating for
-Higher propensity to GAIN weight
-Lower propensity to lose weight DESPITE exercise
I could go on and on and on!
So What Is The Solution?
Here are some simple steps to help you add more veggies into your nutrition:
Step #1: Slowly Introduce More Veggies!
-If you are currently consuming two or less servings of veggies per day, start by adding 1 more serving for a solid week. This will ensure that your digestive system is ready for the increased task of breaking down more complex and indigestible carbohydrates.
Step #2: Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!
-One of the main reasons you are not getting enough veggies in your diet is because you are not intentional about it! As the old cliché says: “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Take ten minutes at the end of each day and plan your next day’s veggies. Slice and dice em’ and get them into a baggie and cool them with ice in a cooler. Do whatever it takes to make sure that you are PREPARED!
Step #3: Go Green!
-To get the most bang for your buck, make sure that consume at least 2 (3-4 is better) servings of green leafy veggies like spinach, broccoli, collard greens, romaine lettuce, and so on. These powerhouse foods are loaded with nutrients and will satisfy just about every vitamin and mineral need that you have. Of course, variety is king and you should also have cruciferous veggies as well, but make sure that you BALANCE your veggies with some green leafy veggies. If all you eat is carrots, you are on the wrong path my friend! Stop being lazy! J
Step#4: Go Raw, Baby!
-Try to consume at least 2-3 servings of raw veggies per day. This will ensure maximum nutrient absorption. Steaming is your next best bet. Boiling, broiling and pressure cooking all have their ways of “working the veggies over” in terms of nutrient content.
Step#5: Set Goals!
-Set yourself a goal and write the freaking thing down! No excuses here! If you want to better your health, then take it seriously! Write down how many you would like to consume and then set yourself a deadline!
Well, there you have it my friends! It is time to “eat more green, so that you can become more LEAN!” Not to mention improve your health it countless ways! In short: Life is GOOD with more VEGGIES!