It’s a well-known fact that including vegetables in your diet is a great way to improve your health. When it comes to the foundation of your diet the focus should be on non-starchy vegetables and fruit. You get more nutrients, minerals, vitamins and fiber per calorie with these foods than any other. In addition to this, an important component contained in most vegetables is phytochemicals, which have been cited as having extreme beneficial effects on human health and in some studies have shown to reduce the risk for certain types of cancer.
Vegetables should be the food group with the highest volume in our diet compared to other foods. EVERY time you eat at least half of your plate should be non-starchy vegetables and some fruit (ideal ratio of 3 to 1).
Vegetables are generally classified as non-starchy and starchy vegetables. Since the average person already consumes a significant amount of carbohydrates every day, attention should be placed on non-starchy vegetables, rather than the starchy vegetables such as corn and potatoes.
We should all aim to change our habits to allow at least 7 to 9 cups of the non-starchy veggies each day. Depending on your activity level and leanness, you may do well adding a few moderate servings of fruits or starchier foods– but everyone is unique with how they respond to higher quantities of concentrated carbohydrates, so use caution with large amount.
When purchasing fresh vegetables, it is important to choose wisely. It’s best that you learn to recognize the signs that a vegetable may be overripe, rotten or otherwise damaged. Some vegetables may not display any evidence of damage on the outside, so it is essential that you only purchase your vegetables from a trusted source. Some fresh vegetables are treated with pesticides, antibacterial and antifungal chemicals in order for them to stay fresh longer. Some of these chemicals can be detrimental to your health, so it is best that you wash each vegetable thoroughly before preparing it for consumption.
Key tips to consider:
-Focus on locally grown produce, it means the vegetables are in season and as fresh and nutrient dense as possible.
-Eat organic when possible. Foods that are treated with pesticides and other chemicals get into your body.. EVEN if you wash them!
-Aim to have ½ of your plate veggies—with a wide variety of colors (different colors mean different nutrients)
-If your objection to eating more vegetables is time, consider buying pre-cut veggies to save time OR precook veggies ahead of time to add to an omelet in the morning or to add in with your quinoa for lunch or dinner.
My personal favorite way to each veggies is to dip them in hummus!
Our supplement(s) of the week is the Herbal Cleanse (part of the 24 Day Challenge) that includes fiber as well as the Probiotic Restore which helps get your metabolism jump started. Fiber is critical to digestion. I would also recommend the Multinutrient Nutrition System (MNS) for those of us who maybe don’t always get the 7-9 servings of veggies we should be each day. Think of MNS as your insurance plan to making sure you get the nutrients, vitamins and minerals you should each day.