Now that I’m done with nutrition classes, I’ve had some time to breathe. I took a Memorial Day vacation to West Virginia with my husband and in-laws, scrubbed down my kitchen, and even caught up on filing. What can I say, I’m a wild woman!
Oh, and I turned 35. Happy birthday to me. 🙂
In honor of my special day (and my parents’ 42nd wedding anniversary), my mom and I made an experimental, gluten-free version of Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s “never-get-sick chocolate cake.” While there are some changes I want to make (final gluten-free recipe to be posted this summer), the end result was surprisingly tasty with my healthy chocolate frosting.
So good, in fact, that I had cake for breakfast on my birthday.
With almond milk ice cream and a salad, because I am a study in contrasts. 🙂
Then, the day after my birthday, I hopped on my Google Analytics account to see how Veggie Quest was doing. Traffic was decent given my lack of posting, but to my surprise, I discovered that for the month of May, one of my most popular posts was “Not So Hard: 2 Pounds of Veggies a Day.” In that post, I demonstrated how to eat 2 pounds of vegetables, per Dr. Fuhrman’s recommendation in his book Eat to Live.
I was surprised, however, that people were still seeking out that post, because it’s over a year old. I guess everyone’s looking for ways to eat more vegetables!
Inspired by the post’s success—and reeling from the chocolate-cake-and-ice-cream bender that was my birthday—I decided that it was high time to have another “2-pounds-of-vegetables” day.
So without further ado, let’s dive in and eat some veggies! Below is my “day in food” from June 5th:
Breakfast: ½ pound of vegetables
- 2 oz greens
- 6 oz cauliflower
Breakfast was a smoothie modeled on my easy 4-ingredient green smoothie formula. I used 2 oz of greens (pea shoots that I bought at the farmer’s market last weekend and a smidge of spinach) plus 6 oz of cauliflower to up the vegetable quotient.
Wait, I can hear you now: Cauliflower in a smoothie? Gag, right?
Au contraire, mon chère! Cauliflower is actually a great base for smoothies, especially if you don’t like bananas. Cauliflower makes smoothies thick and creamy while taking on the flavor of whatever else you put in. Which, for me, was pear, frozen mango, and vanilla extract. If you swap your banana for cauliflower, though, be sure to add a little extra stevia or a couple of dates, plus a splash of lemon juice to liven things up.
Click here for chocolate silk pie made with—you guessed it—cauliflower!
I also added flax seed for omega-3 fats, and ¼ cup of white beans to pump up the protein, a trick I first tried out in my blueberry muffin protein power smoothie. The resulting smoothie was quite tasty, not to mention huge: a full quart!
To round things out, I also had a Brazil nut and a handful of strawberries.
Lunch: 1+ pounds of vegetables
- 2 oz salad greens
- 5 oz cucumber (½ large)
- 3 oz yellow bell pepper (½ large)
- 10 oz marinara sauce with sauteed veggies
I started off lunch with a big, beautiful kale salad topped with half a cucumber, half a yellow bell pepper, and my favorite 5-minute sweet ginger dressing (not shown).
Then it was on to leftovers from the night before: gluten-free black bean pasta with homemade marinara sauce loaded with herbs and sauteed veggies: onions, carrots, zucchini, and fresh basil, to be exact. I had some extra pasta and a couple of almonds, since I’d had a light breakfast.
For a snack later in the afternoon, I also had some almond milk hot chocolate and the last of the Edible Arrangement that my husband got me for my birthday, because he’s wonderful:
Dinner: ½+ pounds of vegetables
- 3 oz lettuce
- 2 oz red & yellow bell pepper
- 5 oz sauteed fajita veggies (peppers & onions)
Dinner was another salad, similar to the one I had for lunch, but without the cucumbers and some red pepper thrown in for more color (plus dressing, of course).
I followed up the salad with a healthy dose of sauteed fajita veggies over Whole Foods organic corn tortillas, which incidentally are a good source of calcium and rich in iron. I sprinkled on some black beans and fresh cilantro, and post-picture-taking, I added some salsa for good measure. Then I had seconds, because I’m not exactly a delicate eater. (I didn’t count the seconds in my total, because I was too lazy to weigh the veggies.)
For dessert I had air-popped popcorn drizzled with maple syrup and the lightest sprinkle of salt. Yum! (Sorry, no pic.)
Final count: ~2¼ pounds of vegetables
Two-pound mission accomplished! In fact, I could have omitted the veggies at breakfast and still met my goal.
Of course, let me be clear: I don’t eat 2 pounds of vegetables every day. However, when I do, all those veggies edge the junk food right out of my diet. Interestingly, the effect seems to last, too: After just one day of eating a herculean amount of vegetables, over the next few days I find myself eating cleaner and greener—literally. (Even though I may not make it to 2 pounds.)
If you’re not used to eating lots of vegetables, though, it’s best to increase intake gradually to keep your insides happy! (Interestingly, eating more vegetables is linked to overall happiness as well.) However, keep in mind that some medications and health conditions can interact with certain foods—even vegetables. So if you have a health condition, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before making dietary changes.
That said, even moderately increasing veggie intake is good for most people. So if 2 pounds of vegetables a day isn’t your thing, know that every little bit helps. Hopefully my over-the-top day has gotten you thinking of ways you can work more veggies into your day!
Now I have a favor to ask: I’m considering making “2 pounds of vegetables a day” into a monthly feature on Veggie Quest. So if you found this post helpful, please let me know in the comments below. If you didn’t, please let me know what would have made it better. Thanks for your feedback!
More from Veggie Quest:
- How to Eat 2 Pounds of Vegetables a Day
- Not So Hard: 2 Pounds of Veggies a Day
- Quick Barbecued Vegetable Kebabs
Shared on What I Ate Wednesday.