We all know we should do it. But do any of us really want to?
It wasn't until I embraced the idea of inundating myself with vegetables that I started to really like them and rely on their benefits. Like energy. Who wants more energy? I don't—as I am already easily excitable, enthusiastic and high-energy enough.
However, there are many folks who are struggling with chronic fatigue. They wake up tired, stay tired throughout the day, and go to bed tired. And then there are those who have brain fog. They feel fuzzy on the details and can't seem to snap out of it. And what about those who are dealing with a feeling of blah. A feeling of ugh to all that life can offer. They have lost their vigor.
All of these folks would benefit from more vegetables. Guaranteed.
And not just one or two more servings of vegetables, I mean like 10-12 servings of them.
So why so many vegetables?
Simple. Food is information. It behaves as a medicine or a poison. Food tells your body to create disease or remove it. Vegetables are one of the most positively potent foods we have. So we might as well harness the good from this particular food group!
Does this sound like you?
- Vegetables seem to randomly appear on your plate with little rhyme or reason.
- Getting something green into your children's tummies is a nightmare.
- This food group annoys you. Yet, you still try to "do vegetables" because it is the right thing to do.
Kind of? Definitely? A little? Then this challenge is for you.
The 7-day challenge details.
I challenge you to eat 10-12 servings of vegetables a day for a week. That is right. A full 7 days. And after that week I want you to reevaluate how you feel. My bet is on more energy, more clarity, and more vigor. Frankly, if you have a few pounds to lose, I bet you lose a few of those too.
Don't know where to start? Feeling stressed? Read on for 5 tips to help you succeed at this challenge.
TIPS ON HOW TO CONSUME MORE VEGGIES
1. It doesn't always have to be green.
In fact, it is better if you eat a rainbow of colors. Lots of diversity packs a more powerful punch than a lot of one color. It's the power of synergy. So steam some red cabbage, chop up some carrots, make a butternut squash soup, you get the idea. Want inspiration? The IFM created this fantastic color checklist for kids. Take a look—it works for adults as well! Print it out and hang it on your refrigerator. Or get creative with your kids. Pull out some water color paints and have your kids paint a color wheel. And then tell them to hold you accountable when you put their dinner plate on the table. Does the plate look mostly tan, brown and white—which is typical of processed grains, or does it look like a rainbow. Easy peasy!
2. Embrace a morning smoothie (and make sure you chew it).
I wasn't always a smoothie person. But once I understood the importance of eating a ton of vegetables I made the choice to figure out a way to embrace smoothies. Now I love them. In one smoothie I typically have cucumber, celery, avocado, a huge handful of mixed greens as my veggies. I will add in ONE fruit—usually blueberries, plus chia seeds, Spirulina, a touch of lemon juice, some filtered water and/or almond milk. Doesn't that sound powerful? I feel like I am drinking/chewing a beautiful gift as I know it is used for good. Talk about self-care. And why chew? Everything is connected. Digestion starts in the mouth. Frankly, it might even start with a thought. Does you mouth ever "water" when you think of a favorite food? Chew and the benefits will only be greater.
3. Lunch should be half vegetables (especially if you are a kid).
Say what? I am serious about this one. Don't let your kids convince you that they have a Doritos defficiency. I promise you they don't. Lately my boys have been going off to school each day with a mix of cucumbers, carrots, jicama and green beans. Real food with a healthy crunch! Anyway...I aim for at least 50% vegetables. It doesn't always happen and that is okay, but it is a goal that gives me peace of mind. There is a lot outside my control, this is one thing I can make sure happens. My boys also get whatever fruit we have, some nuts or almond crackers and usually a Larabar. And it doesn't take me very much time to prepare each morning—about 10 minutes for lunch for 2 kids. So the excuse that you don't have time....well, how about you try it once and reassess.
Here are a few of Cole and Will Riley's favorite lunch fixings.
4. Become friends with the produce supervisor at your grocery store. Or join a CSA.
These folks are the veggie experts! They tend to be pretty creative and always seem so helpful and chatty! Ask them what they like to eat and how they prepare it. Ask them which days are the best days to come to the store for fresh produce. Find out what day the jicama is delivered. Cutting into a jicama only to see that it has gone bad is NO BUENO my friends. And if you opt to join a CSA (community supported agriculture) you will receive all kinds of vegetable goodies to play around with. But the pressure will be on. Who wants to get a bag of veggies only to watch them be ignored and rot? Not me!
5. Try one new vegetable a week.
Start slow. And frankly if that feels like too much, try one new vegetable every 10 days, and if that still feels scary, try for twice a month. No one will judge you. NO ONE WILL JUDGE YOU! The point is to get your meals off of autopilot and to intentionally try something better for your health. Your vitality. I think you will like the results!