Friday, April 16, 2010

"Eat your vegetables!"

Do you remember your mom telling you to eat your vegetables when you were younger? Maybe she still tells you that, which is very likely since less than a third of Americans eat the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are packed with essential vitamins, minerals and fiber, (my favorite!). Due to the Standard American Diet (SAD), which is laden with meat, processed foods, and manufactured products and not with fruits and vegetables, Americans are malnourished and dying from diseases and cancers. One of the easiest ways to prevent the onset of diseases is increasing your daily intake of fruits and vegetables. 

Now, I am not telling you to become a vegetarian. I’m merely suggesting that you eat more vegetables and fruits in a way that works best for you and your lifestyle and what makes you feel best (bioindividuality!). One simple way to eat more fruits and vegetables is to add them to what you already eat. For instance, add fresh onions and peppers to your tomato sauce when you make your spaghetti and meatball dinner. Or put some bananas and berries into your morning cereal. It doesn’t have to be a big to-do and you don’t have to give up the foods you like to be healthier.

I wanted to share this recent article about Mark Bittman because he found a way to eat more vegetables that works for him and has reaped the health benefits of it. Mark Bittman is a columnist for the New York Times and a popular food writer. Several years ago, when he turned 57, his doctor told him that he had high cholesterol, high blood sugar, sleep apnea, bad knees and 35 extra pounds. Yikes! And the advice his doctor gave him was, “I think you should become a vegan.” Now Mark was happily an omnivore and above all, a food writer! He thought about his lifestyle and found a diet that worked for him: eating vegan before 6. So that means anything eaten before dinner does not contain meat, dairy or animal-derived food items. Then he eats whatever he wants for dinner. Since adopting this way of eating, Bittman has lost 30 pounds, lowered his cholesterol and blood sugar, relieved his knee pain and cured his sleep apnea. Amazing, huh?

I first found out about Mark Bittman’s diet about a year and a half ago. I was a well-rounded omnivorous eater but always made sure to include fruits or vegetables into my meals. As I read more about health and the undeniable benefits of fruits and vegetables, I thought I would experiment to see how I would do on the unofficial Mark Bittman diet. I’ve found it to be a fairly easily implementable diet. I don’t normally eat meat or eggs for breakfast-I’m an oatmeal kinda girl :) so the biggest change I made was eliminating meat from my lunch, for which I now bring in a salad or extra vegetables from the night before. Dinner is the meal that I actually can spend time eating and enjoying so that’s when I’ll indulge in some meat, poultry or seafood. Since eating this way, I have more energy and don't get sick very often.  This is something that works for me and I encourage you to experiment with what works best for you.  Maybe you can experiment with the Mark Bittman diet to see how you feel?  Have you done something similar?  What were the results?

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