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You need to eat six servings of veggies — a day

Everyone should eat at least six servings of vegetables a day–and no, lettuce is not a vegetable. Nor are tomatoes, the shredded cabbage mixture from coleslaw or those decorative carrot shavings we get with our sushi sashimi. I am speaking here about real vegetables: broccoli, Brussels sprouts and spinach. Those are vegetables.

Eat Vegetables to Lose WeightVegetables are essential soluble fiber and fiber is the only component of food that makes a person feel full without contributing calories. Soluble fiber also takes the edge off your cravings for snacks by effectively controlling your blood sugar. It gives an indirect boost to your fat metabolism by attaching to fat and reducing the ratio which is stored as fat deposits.Soluble fiber displaces fat and sugar calories that may contribute to weight gain. Rudimentary? Maybe not, and there’s more. Take a guess as to what happens to all of those displaced fat and sugar calories? Here’s a gentle hint: vegetables are fiber. We absolutely need this roughage in our diet to assist with essential functions, without which, can — and will — cause disease, not to mention irritability.

“Eat a rainbow everyday –at least one fruit or vegetable form each of the color groups: red, orange, yellow, green, indigo blue/violet,” recommends Suzanne Eberle, a regestered sports dietician and author of Endurance Sports Nutrition. “Ask for double tomato slices on sandwich, snack on kiwis (yellow-green) eat a cup of blueberries, have a spinach or tossed green salad at dinner” are a few simple and efficient ways Eberle suggests on how to include a myriad of vegetables with our meals.

An Artist’s Palette

“If we do eat color, they tend to be artifical” said Dr. Deanna Minich, internationally-known nutritionist. “It is essential that we get the full rainbow variety of natural colors on our plate. Red foods like tomatoes and watermelon contain the antioxidant, lycopene, shown to reduce the development of certain cancers and may be important for warding off heart problems. Orange foodslike carrots are sources of beta-carotene, a vitamin A precursor. Yellow-green foods are packed with phytonutrients like lutein for eye health, chlorophyll to protect cells from damage, and folic acid, an essential nutrient for growth and development.  And, finally, blue-purple foods are excellent sources of brain-protective antioxidants. Eating berries can keep the mind sharp and focused” Minich advised.

It is extraordinarily simple to purchase fresh vegetables. I for one do not, however. Often, I forget that I even bought fresh vegetables. Or, if I do use, say, fresh broccoli, it is usually too much for one serving, and the remainder goes to waste. It is far more convenient to buy the frozen variety. Opt for the bags instead of the frozen “blocks.” The bags include those vegetables mentioned, as well as a colorful medley including pleasing others such as chopped carrots, sliced green and red peppers, cauliflower and celery (celery also helps to freshen the breath. So, eat lots of it).

To prepare, steam the entire bag (remove from bag first, please) for no more than eight minutes. This way, the vegetables remain crunchy. Eating soggy vegetables are not nice, not for you and especially not pleasing for the people around you (following digestion). If at all possible, eat the entire bag. Seriously. This is your daily vegetable serving. Of course, if it is a bag of broccoli, you may want to just steam half the bag and re-freeze the remainder (in an airtight container).

I already know what you are thinking, “is he for real with this cooking stuff?” Okay, you can forgo all of this preparation and actually drink your greens and no, V8® is not green. Garden of Life’s Perfect Food® Super Green Formula is a compressed powdered vegetable mixture that you can mix with water (I am not recommending mixing it with juice, as there are so many varieties of juices with so much added preservatives and sugar, it is best to stick with regular H2O).

The elixir is basically ground vegetables, sprouts and organic cereal grass; it has more greens per serving than other green food formulas. Since most of you are pressed for time, or probably missed the six servings anyway, you can drink this before a gym workout (at least 30 minutes) to enhance your virility. I drink a glass of this every, single day. When traveling, I put two scoops (included in the container) in a Ziploc® bag. Perfect Food® Super Green Formula costs about $40 and is available at Whole Foods and other fine supermarkets.

Now, the magic. Add “miraculous” flax seeds to your diet. Like Manna from Heaven, these tiny seeds are loaded with lignans (a group of chemical compounds found in plants) that benefit the heart and possess anti-cancer properties. Flax may also lessen the severity of diabetes by stabilizing blood-sugar levels. Flax seeds can be a supplement to ANY diet and weight loss regime. By the way, since they are seeds, I recommend buying either the powder, gel caps or liquid (oil) version. Flax seeds are simply too tiny for us to effectively chew and ultimately digest. You will be “wasting” your money.

  • learning exactly what a serving of fruit and or veggie is has helped me immensely. I incorrectly assumed a serving was a much larger portion than it actually was. For instance, I thought that one apple was one serving, but it’s actually a half-cup when sliced. However, greens are a full cup; a half cup of lettuce would make a puny salad. Different fruits have different serving sizes, such as 6 strawberries being one serving, but one banana is one serving. This made getting all my servings in a day much easier than I thought it was. If you don’t know, go to the USDA website to find the serving amounts of the foods you love.

    Marianne

    2:07 am
    14/06/2011

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