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No-Nonsense Nutrition Report: 9 Ways to Boost Plant Food Intake

saladMy Blessed and Valued Health Seeker:

I am not a vegetarian or a vegan. I eat properly raised animal foods. I consider myself a “qualitarian.” By that I mean for me the most important thing is the quality of the food I eat. That being said, my meals are focused on a source of clean protein, a healthy fat source and plenty of organic plant foods – vegetables, fruits, seeds, spices and herbs. 

According to the CDC, less than 20% of Americans consume the recommended minimum of 4 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. 

Why it’s Healthy:

A recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology concluded that approximately 7.8 million premature deaths every year may have been prevented if 8 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables were consumed daily! My goal in this report is to show you how easy it is to get plenty of vegetables and fruits in your daily meals.  

9 Ways to Boost Plant Food Intake: 

Let Them Eat Salad! At this time of year in particular, a big, delicious salad just hits the spot. In my Today’s the Day Plan (and soon to be released, updated and expanded Today is Still the Day!) I recommend clients have at least one big raw salad a day. It is one of the easiest ways to get as many as 4 servings of veggies in one delicious shot!  

Almost as important as the quality of the produce you create your salad from is what you top it with! Choosing the freshest, organic produce is, of course, number one in importance. But if you then douse it with bottled dressing full of sugar and omega 6 oils, or choose a low fat dressing, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. 

In order to get the full benefit of the many fat soluble vitamins you need a source of healthy fat. Making your own dressing using a healthy oil like extra virgin olive, avocado, pumpkin seed, macadamia nut, hemp or flax seed oils and combining it with balsamic or raw, organic apple cider vinegar will unlock all the nutrients in your beautiful salad. You can also add hard boiled eggs, seeds like pumpkin, olives, nuts or avocado slices to bump up the nutritional value another notch! A ¼ or 1/3 cup of beans is also a great topper. 

To clarify, one cup of leafy greens is considered one serving and each ½ cup of the non-leafy veggies you add like cucumber, bell pepper, tomato, beets, artichoke hearts, radishes, onion, etc. is considered an additional serving. I don't know about you, but my salads, as you can see from the picture contain well more than 1 cup of leafy greens.

One of my new favorite things to add which you can see in the picture above is organic hearts of palm (as well as olives and capers)! Watch for a No-Nonsense Nutrition Report in the near future all about their health benefits. 

Soup and Stews. A big, steaming bowl of soup or stew loaded with vegetables can easily provide you with 3 to 4 servings of vegetables. Another great option is veggie chili

More Ideas

veggies zoodlesSwap out Grains for Veggies. It is so easy to replace pasta noodles with vegetable noodles. You can spiralize any number of veggies including zucchini (a.k.a. zoodles) butternut squash, parsnips, sweet potatoes and carrots. 

Spaghetti squash, a favorite of mine, is all ready to use as a noodle substitute. Just roast, scrape out with a fork and you’re ready to go. 

Instead of white or brown rice, why not try subbing in cauliflower, carrot, broccoli or sweet potato “rice.” A quick sautee and some seasonings and you’re done! And they are delicious. 

You can also use cauliflower to make pizza crust and a favorite in my house, cauliflower tots!  

Use Leafy Greens as Meal Boosters. I personally love adding spinach or kale to my soups, eggs, shakes and smoothies. I also like including a generous handful of parsley, cilantro, watercress or sprouts to smoothies in particular when I have them on hand, but they’re also delicious on salads, in wraps and on sandwiches. 

Don’t Overlook Frozen. I stock up on frozen organic vegetables whenever I see them on sale. They are a lifesaver when time is of the essence or there’s an unexpected person for dinner. I roast cauliflower and broccoli right from the freezer and they come out beautifully. It makes including vegetables easy and there’s now no excuse even when the fresh isn’t available. 

Dip anyone? Two of my favorite dips are artichoke dip and spinach dip – combining them just takes things over the top. And if you substitute cucumber “chips,” carrot sticks and bell pepper strips for chips or crackers, you are multiplying the veggie benefits! 

Guacamole is a great vegetable-based dip and using salsa on eggs or with a burger is another delicious way to get another serving of veggies easily. Spread your wrap or sandwich bread with pesto instead of mayo or mustard and you get another veggie hit.

Try a different preparation method. My kids used to tolerate steamed cauliflower and broccoli but they never got too excited about them. When I tried roasting them instead the response was very different. They loved them! Get creative and try roasting instead of steaming. Or stir frying. Substitute eggplant or zucchini “fries” instead of potatoes. Mashed cauliflower or even a combination of cauliflower and parsnips is a unique change to the same old mashed potatoes. 

A Few More Ideas

veggies herbs and spicesSpice things up. Herbs and spices may not be vegetables per se, but they’re still plants and concentrated sources of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant phytonutrients at that. You don’t need much but even a little adds a lot of flavor, keeps your meals interesting and adds lots of extra nutrition. 

They are so versatile and you can include them in your smoothies (I often add pumpkin or apple pie spice), add to your coffee, hot chocolate or tea (cinnamon is my favorite), to your eggs (I always add powdered mustard and chili spice to mine) as well as to your salad dressings and main dishes. 

Shakes and smoothies. Besides greens (spinach, kale, chard, arugula, romaine) and a stalk of organic celery or a fresh cucumber from my garden during the summer months, I love adding berries (fresh or frozen) to my shakes for a nutritional boost with very little added sugar. 

I hope these have given you some ideas and jump-started your creativity.

NO-NONSENSE NUTRITION NUGGET: The highest amount of vitamins and nutrients are contained within the vegetable's skin and the layer directly underneath it which is why buying organic is important. Then you can safely eat the skin. The first carrots that were grown were purple in color! Orange carrots later originated from Holland. Frozen vegetables are just as beneficial to the health as fresh vegetables. Both tomatoes and bell peppers are actually fruits!
Until next week, I wish you overflowing, abundant health, peace and joy and I call you BLESSED (empowered to prosper and succeed). 

Ann 

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Your fork is the most powerful tool you have to transform your health. 

THIS WEEK’S BLOG POST: 


Every time you eat is an opportunity to nourish your body. 

As always, all information offered in these reports is provided for informational purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. 

“You can trace every sickness, every disease and every ailment to a nutritional deficiency.” Dr. Linus Pauling



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