Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Eat more fruits and veggie's!!

Before I get back to our food pyramid discussion I'd like to tell you about my friend. I have this friend, Melissa, whom I went to high school with who is taking the plunge. That's right for the month of January she will be following a whole food plant based diet. Consuming nothing but plant based goodness! Hooray for Melissa!! She will be documenting her progress on her blog, so pop on over and follow along. I know I am super excited to see how it goes.  Here is the link to her blog:

If any of the rest of you feel so brave I'd love to hear your story too. I know you won't regret it!

Alright, so now back to our pyramid discussion. Today we are up to the fruit and veggie section. And really, what more can I say then just eat more!! More vegetables!! More fruit!! Just add more to everything!

When I was first switching over to a plant based diet I gave myself the challenge to try two new things every week. So I'd buy one vegetable I'd never tried before (which was a lot) and one fruit I'd never tried before.  It was really a lot of fun and I learned to love a lot of new stuff!  And I learned a lot of new ways of preparing new foods.  Give yourself this same challenge.  I promise you'll have fun with it.

If you feel like its hard to down that many vegetables in one day, get creative.  Start juicing, add them to your smoothies, disguise them in pasta sauce.  This is where your blender and food processor can really become your friend (and no, you don't need a fancy blender).  For example, tonight I was stumped on what to make for dinner so I grabbed a bunch of veg from the fridge threw it in the blender and voila!  Instant pasta sauce.  Just warm it up to your liking and your good to go.  This one is always a big hit and super healthy and because you aren't cooking your vegetables you're getting all that raw goodness.

I suppose it goes without saying, but you should be eating more vegetables then fruit.  Why?  Well, to be perfectly honest, I'm not really sure.  In all the research I've been doing I can't find anything that says exactly why.  However I have learned that every vitamin and mineral that you can get from fruit, you can also get from eating your veggies, but not the other way round.  So if you had to choose between the two food groups, always go for the veggies and use your fruit as your treat.  These are our natural "treats" that we should use in place of our sugary candy and baked good treats.   But that's doesn't always happen.  Sweets have always been my weakness, but I am SOOO much better then I used to be. 

Here is some info I found on this subject from this website:

"Although both of these food groups contain some fantastic antioxidant nutrients, fiber, vitamin C, and unique phytonutrients, you're not going to find diverse sources of minerals or B vitamins among the fruits. Alternatively, vegetables (as a group) can provide all of these nutrients in significant amounts. That being said, I would never want to choose only one of these food categories because both can make such fantastic contributions to an optimal diet. In addition, when you compare fruits and vegetables to the other food groups, you'll find that they have many characteristics in common. Let's now take a closer look at some of the benefits that each of these food groups can provide.
Both fruits and vegetables provide our body with rich sources of water-soluble vitamins, which are required everyday. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamin E, A and D), which our bodies can store for future use, the water-soluble vitamins (vitamin C and the B vitamins—B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, and folic acid), are needed every single day for our bodies to function optimally since they can't be stored or can only be stored in very small amounts. Vitamins are called essential nutrients because our bodies cannot produce them, and the best way to obtain them is through the foods that you eat. Both fruits and vegetables also provide a rich source of health-promoting phytonutrients (plant nutrients), such as carotenoids, flavonoids, and organic acids (such as ellagic acid), which act as antioxidants and are responsible for much of their coloration."