This weekend we experienced some pretty terrible weather with the impending approach of a Category 4 hurricane (Joaquin). Luckily, Joaquin decided to take a detour and spare us from even more dangerous weather. Nevertheless, it was still dark and stormy out with all day rain– totally ruined my half marathon training, but life goes on. While I was “rained in” I decided to experiment with a weather-inspired beet juice recipe. I call this baby The Hurricane since it was “born” into existance in the midst of hurricane Joaquin’s threat to strike the east coast. Continue reading
Today I want to talk to you about a healthy habit that is not only going to help you manage your weight, but also improve your overall wellbeing. This healthy habit is eating MORE. Yes you read that right! …specifically, eating MORE vegetables and fruits. Can you guess how many servings of veggies and fruits you should be consuming daily? Experts recommend 5 to 9 servings per day! When I initially heard this recommendation I was pretty surprised and realized I was getting no where near this amount. Are you?
Dont worry I’ve got you covered. Since changing my eating habits I’ve fallen head over heels in love with veggies and fruits discovering a variety of ways to get my recommended amount (and more) with ease every single day. But before I give you those hot tips, let’s talk about why the experts think we should eat more of this good stuff.
Vegetables and fruits are not only nutritious and delicious, but they are also naturally low in calories. Now that’s a big win! More benefits include fiber to keep you full longer and keep your digestive system happy 🙂 These foods can also reduce risk of disease and provide vitamins and minerals which keep you energized and healthy. I think these are all pretty great reasons to eat your veggies (I guess mom was right all along, as usual).
Don’t panic– vegetables and fruits are so versatile and easy to incorporate into any meal or snack. Here are my top tips on how to eat more vegetables and fruits.
[ HOW TO EAT MORE VEGGIES & FRUITS: ]
1. Juices and Smoothies – this is my favorite way to sneak in both veggies & fruits! (Be careful to read the labels & avoid added sugars and additives).
2. Soups– Great one-pot-meal!
3. Salads– Pile on the veggies!
4. Meatless Mondays – trade out one meal a week for a vegetarian dish.
5. Be Sneaky– chop veggies small enough to hide into sauces, burgers, meatloaves, etc.
6. Take Shortcuts– frozen veggies are just fine (and much easier to prep), pre-chop and wash your produce so it’s readily available to you, and if you buy canned watch out for BPA and sodium contents.
7. Recipe Re-do– Try making your favorite foods a little healthier (for example, add veggies to your omelets, make kale chips, use avocado instead of butter when baking)
8. Fill at least half of your plate with veggies
9. Try supplementing with green powder boosts for days where your on the go and really lacking in veggies.
10. DIY salad dressings! Swap the fattening, high calorie dressing and make your own
A few suggestions I’d like to leave you with are to aim for more vegetables compared to fruits. For example, if you consume 5 servings of veggies/fruits in a day be sure to try having at least 3 of those servings from vegetables and 2 from fruit. And when you eat out, don’t be afraid to ask for a side of vegetables or substitute your fries for veggies.
Do a little experimenting, try some new produce, and step out of your comfort zone. This one small change can lead to BIG results. It just requires a little bit of effort on your part but YOU CAN DO IT.
For meal ideas incorporating vegetables and fruit check out:
I was a girl that loved chocolate milk, bread and butter, and the Double Decker Supreme at Taco Bell (hold the tomatoes). My parents tell me I was a pretty big candy addict too, throwing tantrums if I didn’t get my sugar fix. I remember eating McDonalds for lunch almost every day my senior year of high school. On the rare occasion that I had fruits it was usually strawberries
dunked in sprinkled with sugar, because I didn’t think they were sweet enough otherwise. I was a picky eater, not caring for anything “green”—you know, like broccoli, spinach, avocados—or any other fruits and vegetables for that matter. I was completely ignorant about nutrition and the implications it can have on a person’s health.
When I started college I was tired of struggling with my weight and confidence; being unable to keep up with sports, and dealing with asthma. I was now independent and completely responsible for what I ate. I decided to get “healthy.”
Unfortunately my definition of health was so far off. I though healthy meant skinny, as so many misinformed women think today. I went on a calorie-restricted diet and incorporated a lot of cardio. Of course I lost weight this way, but in no way was I healthy. I was tired! Mentally and physically I was dragging. I was excited to finally wear a size 2 but that excitement quickly faded when I realized this diet was not sustainable and was depriving my life of so much joy. I would panic thinking about my next meal or going to a social event. I cycled from eating whatever I wanted, then feeling guilty and trying to cut calories for a few days to “make up the difference.” My weight fluctuated as a result. It was not until I found the book “The Food Revolution” by John Robbins that my life changed and I quit dieting. Today I stand firm in the truth that food is not fear, it is fuel.
Any diet that deprives your life of joy is not a healthy one.
I learned about plant-based eating. Reading all of the evidence based benefits and research this type of lifestyle promised made it all the more alluring. I decided, after reading that book, that I wanted to feel my very best, be healthy, and heal my relationship with food.
I began focusing on eating more whole, unprocessed plant foods by incorporating fruits and vegetables into each meal and snack. It took some trial and error, and a lot of listening to my body, but eventually I learned what foods I thrived on and which ones did not work so well for me. It’s been 4 years now, and I continue to follow this way of eating pretty consistently.
This time I wasn’t following a diet, I was changing my lifestyle.
These are a few of the benefits I experienced as a result of switching to a sustainable, plant focused way of eating:
- I haven’t used my asthma inhaler in 4 years
- My taste buds changed (flavors are so much bolder to me now)
- I fell in love with fruits and veggies, which I previously despised
- Feel stronger and more energized
- I don’t get sick as often (or as severely)
- Healthy relationship with food
- I have found balance by focusing on overall wellness- physical, mental, emotional
- Reduced cravings
- Renewed confidence
- I’m not afraid of that scale!
Today I can confidently tell you I am on a growth path. I completed a course at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to receive my certification as a holistic health coach. I’m constantly learning about nutrition, finding ways to continually improve my own health, as well as help others find ways to positively change theirs.
I hope sharing my story will inspire you to learn more about health and wellness, and as a result make some positive changes in your own life. If you’re looking for a little guidance I’m happy to help.
*** Please share your story and/or thoughts in the comments below or email me at PrescribingHealth@gmail.com ***
Until next time,
[ Always check with your physician before making any major dietary changes or increasing the physical demands on your body. ]