I can’t think of a better way to begin this blog post than with one of my favorite quotes from a leading gut specialist. She says, “If you want to encourage the growth of good bacteria, heal inflammation, crowd out parasites, improve motility, get rid of belly fat, lose weight, eliminate yeast, dissolve gallstones, prevent diverticulosis, balance your pH, quiet down IBS, boost your energy, cut your risk of colon cancer in half, banish your bloat, and really glow from the inside out then the single most important thing you need to do is eat greens every single day.”
We could just stop right there. There is no need for further explanation! We could all go eat a salad and call it a day—but a little bit of extra information never hurt, so…..
Here goes Veggies, 101: Vegetables are the gift that keeps on giving. They are full of fiber, vitamins, nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants that nourish and fuel our bodies. They contain virtually zero calories, and certain vegetables actually turn off the inflammatory response in our bodies, thereby promoting healing and longevity.
If a food was boxed, branded, and marketed to the public that claimed to do everything that veggies can do, that product would fly off the shelves! Yet, somehow, veggies are continuously underrated. We all want “new & improved,” but the truth is that vegetables are already perfect: No improvement is needed.
Clients often ask me which veggies are the “best” veggies, and I say, “All of them!” The darker the better, though, since the substance that gives darker veggies their color is the very substance that helps fight inflammation.
If you are burned out on the “usual suspects,” and long for something newer and more exciting than a carrot or a stick of celery, I encourage you to search for a new cookbook with inspiring recipes. Send out an S.O.S. to your gal pals and ask what their newest fave veggie dish might be. Ask your kids to choose a new veggie at the store and challenge them to find a recipe to prepare for the family.
Practically speaking, here’s how to get more veggies in your day:
Rather than cereal for breakfast, scramble 2 organic eggs and stir in some arugula, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms.
Instead of a sandwich on bread, use leaf or romaine lettuce as the base.
Re-think your typical salad and try to create a rainbow of color. At the salad bar, begin with a base of several kinds of greens. Add kale or chard to the usual romaine or iceberg. Find the deepest, richest colors and add them to your green base. The more colorful, the wider the variety of vitamins and minerals.
Add finely chopped veggies to spaghetti sauces, homemade or store-bought soups, and even to casseroles.
Simply put: be on the lookout for ways to invite vegetables to the party. They need not be bystanders and will add flavor, color, and deep nutrition to any dish, any time of day!
Cheers and bon appetit,