Happy Valentine’s Day! This week’s tip is especially appropriate for this holiday, since it will help keep you heart-healthy and strong. Tip #7 in our Full Year of Resolutions is to eat more veggies.
A Whole New World of Vegetables
When I was growing up, I thought vegetables came in cans. That’s all I knew – canned peas, beans, and corn, and though I was grateful for the food, these mushy, bland staples were never my favorite. Even throughout a lot of my adult life, my meal would consist of a potato, some corn or peas, and some meat. I had no idea of the wide variety of fresh and delicious vegetables that were available.
It wasn’t until I met Carla that I began to realize what I’d been missing. Carla introduced me to broccoli, cauliflower, fresh beets, squash, asparagus…It was like a whole new world! She was shocked, but I’d honestly never tried any of these vegetables. She really expanded my world when it came to eating fresh foods that could improve my health. Who knew that vegetables could become one of my favorite foods? Mmmm, just thinking about it makes me crave a big, heaping scoop of yummy roasted veggies!
I spent much of my life eating based on bad habits I learned early on. Besides the canned goods, I ate lots of meat, a lot of bread, plenty of starch, and way too much sugar. It’s no wonder I had so many health issues, based on how I was fueling my body! But now, I know better. Now, I know that food is medicine. And now, when I load up my plate, I always fill at least half my plate with vegetables. Not only is it so much healthier, it’s also so much yummier than how I used to eat!
Prepping delicious vegetables is also very easy. Here is one of my favorites from Carla’s repertoire:
Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower
Cut broccoli and cauliflower into chunks and spread in a foil-lined baking dish. Drizzle with avocado oil. (This oil is great because it has a high burn point and is also a healthy fat. We’ve eliminated all hydrogenated and vegetable oils from our diet.) Add a little salt and pepper, and then mix it all together so the vegetables are well coated. Cook at 425 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Watch them for the last 10 minutes. The trick is to get the right about of char on them. That bit of crisp makes your vegetables extra delicious.
You can watch Carla make this recipe in this week’s video. We chose to make this recipe because it’s one of my very favorites, but there are many delicious versions on this vegetable theme. It’s equally delicious when done with sweet potatoes. Carla shows her roasted root vegetables in the video as well, using beets, turnips, and sweet potatoes – yum! (For specific tips on types of root vegetables to use and how to cook them, check out her recipe here.)
It’s easy to eat more veggies is easy when they’re this delicious!
Why Veggies Matter
Have you ever heard of the Wahl’s Protocol? Dr. Terry Wahls is a clinical professor of medicine and teaches internal medicine residents in their primary clinics. She is also a clinical researcher, and she uses food as medicine in her quest to treat the debilitating symptoms she experienced from progressive MS. Once confined to a wheelchair, Wahls put her MS in remission by changing her diet.
She discusses the immense benefits of vegetables in her book, and the list is long:
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Anti-cancer properties
- Stronger, more elastic blood vessels
- Better cognitive function/healthier brain cells
- Healthier cells overall
- Improved prostate health
- Provide DNA protection
- Anti-bacterial properties
- Immune system health
- Skin health
- Reproductive health
- Eye health
- Heart health…
And the list goes on. Veggies are good for every single part of your body! So it’s really important to add these vegetables to our diet every single day.
Also, we recommend that you always try to get organic vegetables. Then you don’t get all the pesticides and additives in your produce.
Nine Cups of Veggies a Day Keeps Disease Away
One of the things Dr. Wahls advocates is eating nine cups of vegetables a day, divided into three separate categories. She recommends eating three cups of greens, which we’ll address in a later tip. Today’s tip focuses on the other six cups of veggies.
Three cups of the veggies should be what Wahl’s calls ‘vibrant-colored veggies.’ The root veggies we roasted fall into this category. Pretty much any vegetable that is rich in color is also rich in antioxidants, which are essential to protecting the growth of brain and mitochondria cells. They also reduce and prevent inflammation, which we know is so key to staying and feeling healthy.
The other three cups should be from veggies that are high in sulfur. This includes cruciferous vegetables, like the broccoli and cauliflower we roasted, as well as mushroom, garlic, and onions. Our brain and mitochondria require a large amount of sulfur to thrive and grow. Garlic is actually a ‘sulfur powerhouse,’ and just two cloves can help you meet your daily sulfur requirements.
A great way to eat more veggies is through a delicious soup. There are many of these on our website, like one of my favorites, Cream of Mushroom. This soup is actually dairy-free and chock full of healthy vegetables and flavor.
Throughout our Year of Resolutions we’ll talk about becoming scientists and our bodies being our very most important lab experiment. After working on this for the past few years, I can immediately tell if I’m doing something wrong that I need to change. I can always tell when I’ve eaten something that causes my body to have digestive issues and leads to inflammation (pain) in my body. But when I’m getting all these plant-based foods into my diet, I’m consuming all this fabulous fiber and great nutrition. The inflammation decreases, and the pain goes away.
Eat More Veggies, a Little at a Time
There are so many ways to add veggies to your diet – throw ‘em in your morning smoothie, have a salad for lunch, roast some veggies and add some protein for dinner. It’s easier than you think! However, if nine cups of veggies a day sounds like a lot, just start small. Simply try to have more than you’re having now. Try to fill up your plate with a little more veggies and maybe a little less bread. Then pay attention to how you feel. Give it a try and see what happens.
The possibilities are endless, and so are the health benefits!
We always love to get your comments, thoughts, and questions. We’ll respond to each one. You can read more about our miraculous health journey in Eating to Live: Unlocking the Leaky Gut Code.