Taking responsibility for ourselves includes, in large part, what we put into our selves. Growing up in Southern Louisiana, I was exposed to many delicious cultural dishes that, as it turns out, were not necessarily all that healthy [bummer]. I mean, who knew that spinach could be eaten in ways other than in a casserole smothered with cheese and topped with bread crumbs? Go figure.
The further I got from my roots the more aware I became of how important it is to include fresh raw foods [hello carrots, greens, sprouts and fruit] into our daily diets. Once I got on track with how to eat, the re-parenting and re-culturing of my taste buds began! I was on a mission at that time to learn as much as possible about the truth behind what our bodies need daily for optimal health. I became certified and started working one-on-one as a fitness coach, and soon after became certified in nutrition.
One thing I learned during this time was that it’s important to give our bodies the vitamins and minerals it needs daily. When we don’t, our bodies take the these vitamins and nutrients from it’s reserves inside us, if we have any. If we don’t, and the longer this goes on, we run the risk of developing vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Not getting daily fruits and veggies also under serves our digestive system, which relies heavily on the enzymes in veggies and fruits to move things along and out of us on a consistent basis. One of the absolute most important parts of our bodies to keep ‘in shape’ is our digestion, specifically our large intestine.
In a country as rich as the United States, so many people are walking around malnourished and with tons of low nutrient food blocking up their colons. Because of my awareness of the body-food connection, I can literally see when someone has a dysfunctional digestive system. I believe this is based purely on a lack of education about How-To eat. We are first exposed to food as children at home, and more often than not, the food we are taught to eat or are given is not going to be what we’ll need to be thriving healthy adults. That is a big conversation, and one that I will address here, but for today I wanted to reach out to you with a few great ideas on How-To get your fruits & veggies into your day:
IN THE MORNING
Before we eat anything in the morning, we need to go about re-hydrating our digestive system, which has been without water for anywhere from 6-9 hours. The best way to do this is to squeeze the juice from 1/2 a lemon into a cup of warm water.
After this, another round of warm water is a great idea, especially in the form of a Detox or Decaf Green tea.
Finally, the morning is an excellent time to have as many fruits as you like, so you’ll have an opportunity to use the fruit sugar for fuel.
Adding fruit to a smoothie, bowl of low carb high fiber cereal, or simply as a plate of fresh local in season fruit is ideal in the morning.
My favorite Smoothie goes like this: coconut juice or filtered water, un-sweetened acai berry pure, 1/2 bananna, shredded coconut, frozen organic berries, spirulina, goji berries, and sprouted almonds or raw almond butter, cinnamon and a splash of vanilla extract and a tablespoon of flax seed oil. Delish!
Lunch time is a great opportunity to have a huge raw veggie juice with your meal. Here’s my personal favorite mix of veggies that I came up with that tastes great to me and is also full of vitamins and minerals. My Veggie Juice: Cucumber, celery, a large carrot, a small piece of red beet, ginger, lemon, and a handful of kale.
If you want to hang with the Queen of the juice & smoothie conversation – check out my friend, and someone I deeply admire, Kris Carr and her blog post all about juicing and smoothies. She recommends the best ingredients to use to keep your drink low sugar: cucumber, celery, leafy greens like kale or collard greens, carrot, green apples, pears.
low sugar fruits, like berries [ I keep frozen organic berry medley in house. let defrost and mix in a bowl with trail mix for a snack ]
green apples with all natural almond nut butter
sprouted almonds [ another dear girlfriend of mine will tell you How-To create fantastic raw almond snacks here ]
raw veggie bowl: cut up carrots, celery, radish are super
tasty rubbed in a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt to taste
I follow the same rule for Lunch and Dinner as far as how much color I like to have on my plate. By color I mean veggies that are still in their natural state, either raw or lightly steamed or cooked [ remember to lightly cook veggies, don’t kill them by cooking them till they change color]. If you commit to having raw veggies or lightly cooked veggies for at least 50% of your meal, the rest of your meal can be dictated by your own dietary needs or preferences.
Since I know that the darker the green the healthier the bite I use kale, arugula and spinach for my salads. While I do enjoy food and eating savory things, I also see food as something that’s main purpose is to serve the cells of my body. So with that, I often create salads that will get straight to work in my system rather than slowing them down with all the popular things we find in salads today. Here’s an example of my current ‘no frills’ favorite healthy salad:
Diced celery /and or any other raw veggies you have and love
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Dashes of Cayenne Pepper and Sea Salt to taste
Delish! Trust me it is – TRY IT – and even if you suffer through it the first time, your body will actually begin to crave this exact recipe since everything in it is so easily absorbed by your body.
Hope you’ve found some ideas and inspiration here to keep on track with the fruits and veggies. What we put into our systems has so much to do with our energy levels, emotional levels and mental focus. That’s why eating with awareness is a key part of being fully responsible for your self.
I’d love to hear from you. Comment below to lemme know what you do to keep getting those fruits and veggies into YOU on a daily basis. Also, stay tuned to the programs that will be launching in 2011 – as nutrition will be incorporated into all my teachings and conversations!