Sunday, November 3, 2013

BEFORE YOU CUT UNHEALTHY FOODS FROM YOUR DIET, ADD VEGGIES. LOTS OF THEM.

Today's NYTimes Magazine has a six page story, Broccoli's Extreme Makeover by Michael Moss about how hard it is to get people to eat vegetables. I think that's odd because I crave them. But I didn't always. Not until I started filling half my plate with them at every meal. After just a few weeks of that, vegetables became the part of the meal I'm most interested in.

I believe most people are starving for vegetables and don't realize it until they really start feeling the effects of the vitamins, the minerals, the enzymes, the flavonoids -- or until their gut flora/microbiomes begin to expand in a healthy direction and combat the bad bacteria that's been colonizing their unhealthy guts.

Use the internet to study the diets of populations that produce the most centenarians. They all eat loads of plant foods -- including oodles of greens and other vegetables. And not because somebody begged them to. Those are the foods humans are naturally attracted to.

Want to try cutting out some of the junk food you eat? Here's my advice: Before you start cutting out unhealthy foods, first try adding a lot of vegetables to your diet. The darker colored, the better. Shoot for making half of every meal vegetables. Sound like a lot? It's easier than you think. Once you start regularly eating spinach, carrots, celery, green beans, beets, squash, eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli, you will crave them. And let's add tomatoes and avocados to that list even though they're technically fruits.

And what about fruits, shouldn't you be adding a lot of those to your diet as well? Not at first. Fruit in general has a high sugar content, so you really want to be using fruit to replace other sources of sugar, not adding it before you start cutting out other sweets.

When I first started adding a lot of vegetables to my diet I got Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. That way I learned a lot about cooking with vegetables even though I continued to eat meat. But actually, the more I started loving vegetables, the smaller the meat portion got. I go days without missing meat, which brings me to another point in the Times article. The point is made that because there are no subsidies, vegetables are quite a bit more expensive than foods made with corn and other grains which are subsidized by the government. But here's a tip, if you stop eating grains (especially wheat), you'll be less hungry, like to the tune of 500 calories less a day. That's a lot of food you won't have to buy. Don't believe me? Try eating more vegetables and giving up grains for a week and get back to me...

As much as I enjoyed the Times article and the gimmick of putting a big advertising firm on the problem of getting folks to buy broccoli, here's the last thing I'd like to see: the Food Industry involved in selling and marketing vegetables. It will increase the cost and damage the product. There's nothing wrong with vegetables just the way they are.

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