While proteins and fats provide cell building blocks, vegetables provide most of the cofactors that make everything work. From building healthy cells to cleaning out the waste of day-to-day activity, including vegetables in your diet is extremely important. Veggies are incredibly rich in nutrients and antioxidants, which boost your health and help fight off disease.
Ounce-for ounce (or calorie for calorie) you get more “bang for the buck” when you make sure to include plenty of veggies while you meet your other nutritional needs.
Amazingly, health authorities recommend only several servings of vegetables each day. Even more amazingly, most people don’t get even that much. The truth is that reversing health issues requires nine (9 !!!) cups of veggies every day.
Why am I saying that? Because most of us have neglected our health and truly need six to even nine cups of vegetables to reverse inflammation, pain, fatigue, and other manifestations of disease.
9 cups of vegetables??!! Holy Moly that’s a lot! Ideas:
1. Make Veggie-Based Soups
Soups are amazing. Whether a pureed veggie base or meat broth (for instant amino acids that help gut health and energy) it’s simple to cook veggies into soups with delicious spices and unique blends.
Amazingly portable for lunch, adding even a small amount of extra veggies to your day is a great way to increase your intake of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
2. Try Zucchini Lasagna
Lower carb content and add more nutrients is by replacing wheat (or rice or…) lasagna noodles with strips of zucchini.
Zucchini is a rich source of B vitamins and vitamin C, in addition to trace minerals and fiber.
3. Experiment With Veggie Noodles
Veggie noodles are easy and and excellent low-carb substitute for high-carb foods like pasta.
Just put your veggies (carrots, zucchini, sweet potatoes…) into a spiralizer, process veggies into noodle-like shapes, saute, add your sauce… EASY 🙂
Try these sauces:
4. Add Veggies to Sauces
Whatever sauce you are making… add some parsley, carrots, mushrooms, peppers, think dark and green or red or purple and enjoy your higher energy.
5. Change your Pizza Crust
Seriously? I can have Pizza?
Yes you can
You won’t be able to order this as a fast food but it is surely an amazing treat. Here are my favorite crusts, the toppings are yours to decide.
6. Blend Veggies Into Smoothies
Smoothies are refreshing and when you add a great protein powder they can become a complete meal. Make more than you can eat and pack the extra for lunch.
Please do make your own. When you grab them from Starbucks or a box or any other commercial entity, our current culture has dictated adding a ton of sugar to “improve” the taste. Gosh this is terrible!
Here’s the basic recipe:
1 Tablespoon chia or flax seed
1 cup coconut milk or almond milk makes it rich and creamy
¼-½ cup combined veggies and fruit
2 scoops of Standard Process Whey Protein or Great Lakes gelatin or plant protein (here is a well-balanced and economical brand)
2 teaspoons of flax oil or coconut oil
My favorite includes a little mint to be refreshing, the possibilities are endless.
7. Add Veggies to Casseroles
Veggies in casseroles is a great way to get your family eating more nutrient dense foods.
Most casseroles are loaded with grains, dairy sauces, cheese, and any number of foods that go against our health goals.
Luckily, it is super simple to reduce calories and carbs in your casseroles by replacing the grains with veggies. Grab your favorite recipe and replace any cheese and seeds with broccoli, mushrooms, celery, carrots…
And remember, one big switch that improves the meal means a lot!
Meatloaf might not sound like vegetables. I get that. But there are no known sources of vitamin B12 in the plant kingdom, the “healthy fats” are not quite the same, and a whole bunch of other important nutrients have gone missing. For these reasons I have a hard time getting behind a completely vegan diet. That said, commercial feedlots are inhumane and atrocious. What to do?
“Vote” with your money. Refuse to buy animal products from any vendor who cannot prove their humanity. Animals must be allowed to pasture or run free in the traditional ways. Fish need to swim in the ocean.
Vegetables need to be grown free of herbicides and pesticides and certainly not GMO.
And please consider that grains are 70 percent starch. If you need to control your blood sugar, blood pressure, or weight, you’ll need to keep your starches low, under 120 grams per day.