“Eat your veggies”
We are used to hearing this from our parents growing up but the importance of why and how never really stuck. As a nutrition coach, one of the most common habits I am assigning to my clients is for them to eat more vegetables.
Easier said than done.
Why? Because eating your vegetables can be boring. And the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about this, is how bland and flavourless vegetables taste.
But I am going to teach you how to make this habit easier, and how to prep vegetables in a way that is actually palatable to you.
Lets make eating vegetables for every meal a regular thing you for you :)
What to eat.
There is no point forcing yourself to eat vegetables that you dislike (at least at first). Start with the vegetables that you know that you can tolerate and like. When I started to improve my nutrition I literally ate only carrots as my vegetable source.
Because that was the only vegetable that I kind of liked and could tolerate.
Once I became consistent in prepping and cooking said carrots, I started to experiment and try other vegetables.
I started to realise that veggies don’t have to be boring and bland, they can taste pretty good!
Fast forward to now, I regularly include:
Tomatoes (this is a big one because I HATED tomatoes)
And continue to experiment with veggies I can find on the island. Now don’t get me wrong there are still veggies I dislike and will not eat, like onions for example. But my range of whole foods has otherwise improved a bunch.
Make it easier for you to eat your vegetables by starting with your tastebuds.
HOW to cook:
Steam, boil , oven bake , fry, Grill
It is really up to you:
Personally I like to steam my vegetables with a bit of seasoning, because its really easy and it takes like 10 minutes. But its really up to you, give any of these methods a go and see which method you like.
How much vegetables should I eat? (Portions)
1 portion of vegetables equates to 1 fist size. Generally you want to aim for 2-3 fist per meal for males and 1-2 fists for females.
Ideally most if your plate should be made up of vegetables.
Some general benefits that you may experience when including more plant foods in your diet are:
Having a complete array of micronutrients (like calcium, magnesium and other electrolytes) is necessary for fully functioning body processes, like transporting oxygen and sending electrical signals to muscles. Vegetables are pretty important.
With the right amount and variety of vegetables, you'll feel effects in muscle coordination, appetite regulation, and mental clarity.
Including more vegetables (and other minimally processed nutrient dense foods) is going to improve so many things in your life. How you feel throughout the day, mental clarity, your mood etc. It’s not something that you’ll experience right away, usually people start feeling the benefits of eating more vegetables after a few weeks, which can be really motivating to continue on with it.
Because you have experienced what it feels like to operate at an optimal level, you’re less likely to want to go back to the way you were eating before. That’s not to say that you can’t enjoy the foods you used to, go for it!
As long as you have eaten your vegetables for the day ;)
Fad diets, juice cleanses, detoxes come in and out of fashion in our industry from time to time.
The truth is they can work to some degree, if weight loss is your goal. We all have that friend who lost a ton of weight on keto, or carnivore or plant based.
How does this work? How is it possible that even though all these diets are different, they seem to be effective in helping a person lose weight?
Instead of looking at their differences, look at what these diets have in common.
By cutting out food groups, eating mostly minimally processed foods , these diets effectively put you in a calorie deficit. i.e. you are eating less than you are expending resulting in weight loss.
The Plant based Diet
Emphasises eating only plant based foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, tubers, seeds and more. The majority of these types of foods tends to be low in caloric load , yet nutrient and fibre dense. Meaning you feel fuller and more satisfied from your meals but are actually eating LESS calorically.
Putting you into a calorie deficit.
The Keto Diet
Focuses on eating foods high in fats, and very low carb. As carbs are a pretty dense macro nutrient and quite easy to overeat. This diet effectively puts you into a calorie deficit by cutting your carbs right down.
Juice detoxes or Cleanses
These “cleanses” and detoxes focus on just ingesting liquid, so of course you’re going to lose weight. You’re not eating anything essentially.
Bear in mind that no juice or tea or smoothie will “detox” or “cleanse” your body. Your liver and kidneys do this job perfectly fine.
So while fad diets and nutrition philosophies differ in what they emphasise, they all are pretty effective in putting you into a caloric deficit (i.e. making you eat less).
It is not the absence of that particular macro nutrient or food group, it is more the decreased amount of calories you are eating that is leading to the weight loss.
This is a good example of how adaptive humans can be with their nutrition, and that we can survive on various nutrition methods or diets. There is no one size fit all diet.
Whether or not this is sustainable in the long term is another matter.
Because while it is relatively easy to cut something out for 4 to 6 to 12 weeks, keeping that going is extremely challenging for many people.
A great example of this can be seen with the participants of the reality TV show. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a study that followed 14 former Biggest Loser contestants over the course of six years. The participants had gained back most of the weight they lost on the show, and in some cases, they put on even more. On average, participants regained 70 percent of the weight they'd lost (Godman, 2018).
Fixing your lifestyle through nutrition and exercise is more than just cutting certain foods out, and working out twice a day.
It takes time and learning and habit forming, and a willingness to grow. It’s about accepting that perfection is not a sustainable nor possible goal, and that perfection is not needed to make progress. In fact being consistent most of the time will yield great results.
Its about being patient and knowing that it doesn’t need to feel like you’re working hard for it to be working.
The best way we have found to do this is to change one little thing at a time, and build upon those changes. And learn about your food and habits and experiences. And to learn more about yourself
No fad diet is going to do that for you, it all you. It always has been
Godman, H. G. (2018, January 24). Lessons from “The Biggest Loser.” Harvard Health Publishing. Retrieved February 3, 2022, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/diet-and-weight-loss/lessons-from-the-biggest-loser