So What’s Next?

Recently I wrote about how eating real food improves your health. (Okay…maybe not so recently. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks.)

How’s that going for you?

Are you reading ingredient labels? Buying less processed foods? Shopping around the perimeter of the grocery store? Making more meals at home? Eating at restaurants that provide locally grown foods?

Excellent!

So what’s next?

Well…how about talking vegetables?

Vegetables are associated with numerous positive health outcomes. But you already knew that, didn’t you? We are bombarded with study after study showing how the consumption of vegetables may reduce the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, stroke, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. They may even lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and even help decrease bone loss. 

Why are they so good for you? Well, it’s all about the vitamins, and minerals, and antioxidants. 

Antioxidants are part of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients present in foods. They can help prevent cancer by slowing oxidative stress to tissues. They are most common in plant foods with bright, distinctive colors.  Some of the nutrients in vegetables are anti-inflammatory. Anti-inflammatory nutrients regulate our inflammatory system. If the system becomes compromised,  we experience chronic inflammation.

Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation are risk factors for cancer.

Vegetables also contain dietary fiber.  Soluble fiber, dissolves into a gel-like texture, helping to slow down your digestion, allowing you to feel full longer.  This is one reason fiber may help with weight control. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve at all. It simply adds bulk to your poop, and encourages food to move through your digestive system more quickly for healthy elimination.

Despite the fact that we know how beneficial vegetables are, we don’t eat nearly enough of them. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), 22.4% of Americans consume vegetables LESS THAN once  a day. That number increases to 38.5% for adolescents. Kinda embarrassing, isn’t it?

Want to know what’s even more embarrassing? Care to guess which two vegetables are the most eaten vegetables in the United States? Yep. Thank you, McDonalds. Without your fries and ketchup we would be woefully unhealthy.

So how about setting some vegetable related goals?

  •  increase your consumption of vegetables (make 1/2 your plate veggies/fruit)
  • eat a variety of vegetables each day (make sure you get some leafy greens EVERYDAY)
  • eat vegetables that are in season (join a CSA…plant a garden…venture outside your comfort zone)

My favorite ways to eat veggies include…

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stir fried…

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steamed and topped with Bragg’s Amino’s and Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast…

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roasted (no oil) and drizzled with tahini…

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spiralized into noodles…

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sliced and on a wrap…

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roasted with coconut oil and sea salt…

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roasted and drizzled with “crack” sauce…

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roasted and drizzled with turmeric tahini sauce…

Broccoli Soup

steamed and blended into a soup…

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roasted and blended into soup with a side of  grilled “cheez”…

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mixed into my smoothies…

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in a salad…

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and as a vehicle to get hummus into my mouth.

How do you like to eat your veggies?

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “So What’s Next?

  1. Hi Karen, Rick and I were visiting Abby this weekend in Fort Smith, Arkansas where she has found an organic shop that sells fresh made fruit/vegetable juices. I sampled a kale/pineapple juice that was delicious. I was surprised I even attempted a taste because it was *gulp* GREEN! This new experience has me thinking about juicing but don’t know the first thing about how to begin. Have you ever experimented with juicing or have any advice for a juicing wannabe? Do I need a special juicing machine and are they expensive? Lori

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    • Hey Lori! Welcome to the world of green! Yes, I do juice. We have a Omega Vertical Masticating juicer which we love! It presses the fruit/veggies and does a great job of getting all of the juice out, with minimal pulp. It was not cheap, but it has been well worth the price. We did get it on sale at Kohls, I think (Love their 30% off coupons). Our previous juicer was a Jack LaLanne and at the time I thought it was okay. But now I know better! (BTW…Reed say’s it’s also a lot easier to clean!!)

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  2. I think vegetable stir fry is my current favorite veggie dish – I actually crave it! I’ve noticed since I’ve started my whole-food, plant-based lifestyle, the other foods I used to adore (chips, cookies, and even salmon) have lost their pizzazz. Fresh veggies are WAY more flavorful!

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