As you may have noticed, I haven’t posted on Veggie Quest in awhile. That’s partly because I’ve been researching a new media project. (More to come on that later!) But, alas, it’s mostly due to the fact that I’ve been off the wagon big time. And when you have a blog focused on healthy eating and vegetables, well, you can see how that could be a little…embarrassing.
In fairness, I haven’t been chowing down on steaks and fried chicken or anything—but to be honest, those kinds of foods aren’t my weakness. Instead, I’ve been indulging my sweet tooth like crazy—we’re talking egregious amounts of refined sugar! Oh, sure, it was just a little at first, but that little bit turned into more and more as my taste buds acclimated. Then I added in some caffeine, and then some fat, and then a little more fat. Now, perhaps unsurprisingly, my breast pain is back with a vengeance and I feel completely run down.
I know how it started, the same way it always does: emotional overeating in response to feeling stressed and overtired. I mean, why sleep and take care of yourself when you can stuff your face with sugary carbs, right?
Luckily, I also know what to do to set things right: start making sleep a priority and get back to eating 2 pounds of vegetables a day à la Eat to Live and Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I know I probably won’t make it to my veggie target every day, but I do know that by increasing my vegetable intake, I’ll displace empty calories and ensure that my body gets the nutrients it needs to be resilient and strong.
How to work in 2 pounds of veggies a day
Here are the general guidelines I follow to make eating 2 pounds of vegetables a day a snap:
- Breakfast: Green smoothie or salad, along with a bowl of hot cereal, if needed
- Lunch: Big ol’ salad, plus soup and a sweet potato or baked potato
- Dinner: Salad and a vegetable-rich entree; or a salad, entree, and big side of cooked veg
Since actions speak louder than words, here’s what I ate to make it happen today:
The smoothie was an experimental concoction my mother insisted that I try—herb salad mix with orange juice, clementines, and flax seeds. While it was surprisingly good (my mom’s creations usually are), it was a little sweet for my taste, and the color, well…Oscar the Grouch was all I could think of! I may tweak it and post it yet, though.
Yes, that’s a serving bowl I ate out of, because the salad was huge. (Which is kind of the point.) If you’re at the office, you can eat right out of the clamshell container without looking too odd.
Since busy bowls are basically a big warm salad, I counted it as both a veggie entree and a salad.
Not shown was more rice cereal with cinnamon and raisins; two small apples; a grapefruit; and stevia-sweetened, almond-milk hot chocolate. (I tell you, I eat a lot.)
Here’s the vegetable breakdown:
Herb salad mix (3 c)
Herb salad mix + baby romaine (4 c)
Grape tomatoes (handful)
Cucumber (1 large)
Veggies in soup
Baby bok choy (half a head)
All in all, a pretty good day! While it wasn’t perfect—I ate more food than I needed overall—it was about ten times healthier than what I’ve been eating, plus I got my 2 pounds of veggies! So, I’m actually pretty proud of myself. Now if I could just be as disciplined about enforcing my bedtime… (What can I say, I’m a work in progress!)
Better yet, in terms of nutrients, the day rocked. In a little under 1900 calories, I got 51 g protein, 16 g fat, 1500 mg sodium, 4900 mg potassium and 61 g fiber. Even cooler? I racked up 794% of my vitamin A, 717% vitamin C, 108% calcium, and 132% iron. Let’s hear it for veggies!
Now I want to hear from you: How do you decide when you’ve fallen off the wagon? And what do you to climb back on?