Did you know that eating an abundance of veggies can also make you happier?
Studies show that eating lots of vegetables make us feel good, increases our happiness and sense of well-being, increases our vitality and motivation, and even increases curiosity and creativity. How’s that for instant gratification?
It is recommended we consume 3-6 cups of vegetables each day, and many studies support this recommendation, to gain optimal health benefits. If you’re new to eating veggies, don’t let the goal of 3-6 cups a day intimidate you. Start with what you know you like. If you like cucumbers and green beans, great! Eat them. Every day. Dietary changes are hard, so here’s some advice from the professionals!
Eat the Veggies – Avoid the Pesticides!
As important as it is to eat your veggies, it is equally important how those vegetables are grown. Many people don’t realize that testing has found 230 different pesticides and pesticide residues on conventionally grown produce, and a single food can have up to 20 different pesticides, many of which can’t be washed or peeled away. All of that health benefits that come from eating vegetables may just be null and void when you ingest a plethora of pesticides with them!
Choosing organically grown vegetables minimizes exposure to these harmful pesticides and herbicides that have been linked with lower IQ and ADHD in growing children, kidney and liver damage, oxidative stress, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, and increased antibiotic resistance. In one study, adults who switched to organic had 96 percent fewer pesticide breakdown products in their urine after just one week! This benefits you, your children, and farmers and farm workers who may be exposed to these chemicals.
Here are some great ideas from nutrition professionals on how they incorporate more veggies into their meals, so you can, too!
- Roast a large batch of vegetables to keep in the refrigerator for easy access through the week— try sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, cauliﬂower, and/or broccoli. Warm or cold, roasted veggies are delicious additions to salads and grain bowls, served with fried or scrambled eggs for a quick breakfast, or eaten as a simple side.
- A little prep goes a long way — choose three or four of your favorite veggies to eat raw (think cucumber, sweet peppers, radishes, carrots), cut them up and divide them among small storage containers that are easy to bring on the go.
- Aim to eat at least one large salad with a variety of veggie toppings every day. And while we’re talking salads, think outside of the lettuce box—try shredded cabbage topped with mint, cilantro, peppers, and cashews; chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh herbs; or thinly shaved fennel topped with slices of your favorite citrus fruit. There are many ways to eat salad, and it doesn’t always have to include lettuce.
- Love pizza? Load it up with veggie toppings and after it has baked, add a heaping pile of arugula tossed in lemon juice and olive oil. Better yet, substitute your regular pizza crust for a cauliﬂower one!
- Keep your fridge stocked with sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables—they make easy, no-prep sides and snacks and are great toppings for sandwiches, wraps, and salads.
- Toss a handful or two of baby spinach, frozen cauliﬂower, or frozen zucchini into your smoothie—once it’s blended, you’ll never know it’s there. Roasted beets are also a fun addition to smoothies, adding a touch of sweetness and vibrant color.
- Sometimes a good sauce or dip is the key. Try buffalo sauce drizzled on roasted cauliﬂower, marinara sauce dolloped over sautéed zucchini and eggplant, your favorite salad dressings repurposed as a veggie dressing (chopped celery mixed with blue cheese is a favorite), or pesto and hummus for raw veggie dipping.
- “Hide” veggies like chopped spinach or kale, shredded carrots, shredded zucchini, or ﬁnely minced mushrooms in meatloaf, taco meat, burgers, or spaghetti sauce.
- Don’t forget about veggies at breakfast! Try sautéed vegetables with eggs, finely shredded carrot and/or zucchini in pancakes or oatmeal, or even your favorite veggie-loaded lunch or dinner as your first meal of the day.
- Get creative with veggie substitutes like zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, eggplant lasagna, and cauliﬂower rice and pizza crust.
- Serve any type of entrée (chicken, steak, pork, ﬁsh) over a big bed of greens lightly dressed with a dressing of your choice.
- Keep your pantry and freezer stocked with frozen veggies so you’ll always have a quick and easy option on hand; just heat, season with sea salt and pepper, and add a healthy fat like ghee, grass-fed butter or coconut oil.
For those days when you’re in a hurry, try pH-balanced Super Greens capsules or add one scoop of pH-balanced Super Greens powder to soups, sauces, smoothies or simply add to any favorite recipe for hidden nutrition and picky eaters!
To Our Health,