I was only looking for 6 key reasons to eat vegetables.
I found five thousand. How can this be? PHYTOCHEMICALS. There are more than 5,000 phytochemicals identified plus many we suspect still remain unknown. Turns out, mother nature has packed a punch of power in the plant kingdom. Many plants contain one or more of these 5,000 nutritional perks that helps us:
- Defend against pathogens, parasites, and predators.
- Protect against chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease, neurodegeneration, and cancer.
- Purify and renew the blood
- Cleanse body of toxins
- Stimulate effects
- Relaxing effects
Food for …
As a part of the Forty-three Eighty Fitness challenge, for the next six weeks we are going to cover the elementary need for food. Function. That doesn’t mean it has to boring and mundane. It just means we are going to get back to providing our body with the building blocks it needs for life. It is about food for sports performance, energy, mental clarity, good digestion, glowing skin and good sleep. It is not all-inclusive, as they are general dietary guidelines. Each week we will dig a little deeper into the 6 daily tips. If you are not a part of the program and not a patient of mine, don’t worry, there is still lots right here in the Forward Health Journal and on the Naturalaura site.
In our society we relate to one another so much through food. It is really a part of our heritage, our culture and our social connection. This is partly what makes it so difficult to make changes. It’s not just a little corner of your life. Eating is something we do everyday. Every time we eat we make a choice. What drives that choice? Taste? Texture? Atmosphere? Experience? Promise to make you happy? If you suspect you might make choices driven by emotion, you might like to join me next Wednesday, March 15th at Goodness Me! in Guelph from 6:30-8pm for a free educational session on Food or Mood, Which Comes First? Register here.
Evolution, Not Revolution!
It won’t work if you try to make all the changes at once. As I say to my patients, it’s about evolution, not revolution. Did you learn to ski by jumping on the black diamond hills first? Not likely. You needed to build some strength, add some skills, practice them in safe small ways and build your confidence. Ditto for making changes in diet. Start somewhere. Carve out an area and make some attempt for small changes. This week we are going to start with vegetable awareness! Goal is 6 cups of vegetables a day. Many people struggle to get one. If you are the one cup a day kind of person right now, then maybe you aim to get two or three cups a day as a place to start. What’s in it for you?
Guideline Goal: 6 cups of Vegetables a Day
3 Cups of Cabbages
The cabbage also known as cruciferous or brassica family helps support phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification of the liver. This means eating more of this family of vegetables provides support for your natural detoxification process. Your liver is in charge of over 300 jobs. Not a bad thought to give your liver a hand.
Interesting to note: broccoli contains abundant B vitamins, vitamin A, has more vitamin C than citrus and is rich in chlorophyll.
- Brussels sprouts
- Swiss chard
- Collard greens
- Bok Choy
- Radish/ radish greens
3 Cups Leafy Greens
Bitter greens help stimulate digestion. Good digestion means good energy! Some cultures find this helpful before a meal, others after. Leafy greens also provide fibre, vitamin K, chlorophyll, vitamin A and C. Lettuce leafs contain the sedative lactucarium, which relaxes the nerves, helping the rest and digest nervous system do its thing.
- Dandelion greens
- Carrot tops
- Red leaf lettuce
- Beet greens
1 Cup – Mix of Orange and Red
Red and orange means a rich source of beta carotene / vitamin A. Carrots and beets are blood purifying and anti-inflammatory for mucus membranes. Bell peppers are additionally an excellent source of vitamin C. Sweet potato and squash have great fibre and help reduce inflammation.
- Bell pepper – red/orange
- Sweet potato
1 Cup Other
For appetite control, celery can be eaten between and during meals. Celery root is excellent sliced thin and baked on parchment paper. Fennel root has a mild licorice flavor and is an excellent add to soups. Parsnips slow cooked with carrots marinated in a little olive oil and sea salt is delectable. Peel them and cook them whole! Cucumber is very cooling and better eaten in the hot and dry times of the year. A couple slices of cucumber and maybe a sprig of mint in water is a very refreshing. summer drink.
- Celery root
Ideally more cooked in the fall and winter and start introducing more raw in the spring. Cooking vegetables will destroy some of the nutrients, however softens the fibres and makes them easier to digest. Digestive fire is stronger in the hotter months, so lots of raw in summer is just fine. Fall, winter and early spring we are better to eat more slow cooked, lightly steamed vegetables. I often preserve the water I steam my veggies in and use it in stir fry to add moisture or add it to soup. Eat your cooked veg or broth within 24 hours to obtain the maximum nutrition. Don’t forget an easy way to add up the vegetable tally is to throw a stick or two of celery, and a handful of greens into your smoothie. My favourite energy-boosting green smoothie has 2 sticks of celery, a handful of leafy greens- whatever is in the fridge, a bunch of dried mint from the garden and a little ground ginger with my pea protein.
Cornerstones of daily eating.
Jessica Cosby and Brett Milton’s Forty-three Eighty Fitness six week challenge kicks off in Guelph this month. My part is to provide some education for the nutritional aspect of good health. Thanks to Carrie and Mark Godman we set up at the prestigious Granite Homes showroom this Friday and delved into the general aspects of the 6-Daily Diet Tips.
For the next six weeks, there will be weekly posts to provide a little more information in each of the areas of:
Week 1 – Value of Vegetables
Week 2 – Power of Protein
Week 3 – Friendly Fats
Week 4 – Function of Fibre
Week 5 – Controlling your Carbs
Week 6- Flourish Your Flora
Oh, I almost forgot!
To find your personalized “food fingerprint” I often encourage people to have their food sensitivities evaluated. Then we map this with the six daily diet tips to maximize your results. To have this test done, call 519. 826-7973 and ask about the KORU food testing.
From the heart, mind and research of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.
More about naturopathic medicine here.
Del Rio D, Rodriguez-Mateos A, Spencer JPE, Tognolini M, Borges G, Crozier A. Dietary (Poly)phenolics in Human Health: Structures, Bioavailability, and Evidence of Protective Effects Against Chronic Diseases. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. 2013;18(14):1818-1892. doi:10.1089/ars.2012.4581.
Pitchford, P. 2002. Healing with whole foods. Asian traditions and modern nutrition. 3rd ed., North Atlantic Books, Berkely, California.
Temple N, Wilson T, Jacobs DR. 2006. Nutritional Health—Strategies for Disease Prevention 2nd ed, , Humana Press, Totowa, NJ.