The Veggie Challenge
Nutrition is a cornerstone to good health. Good health, athletic ability and a healthy weight are all dependent on your body receiving the nutrients it needs to maintain all normal body functions AND to support the increased energy needed too support fitness activities. If your diet regularly supplies the nutrients necessary to sustain healthy function, the likelihood of overeating is reduced. Healthy Food choices will also give you a feeling of being “full” and they will reduce those cravings for non-nutritious food choices.
While the USDA recommends 5 to 9 servings of fruits and veggies a day, researchers have found even greater benefits when a minimum of 10 servings of fruits and vegetables are consumed each day. A 2017 meta-analysis of current research, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology (https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/46/3/1029/3039477), studying levels of fruit and vegetable intake in relation to a variety of health outcomes concluded that eating 10 portions of fruits and vegetables per day was tied to a:
- 24 percent reduced risk of heart disease.
- 33 percent reduced risk of stroke.
- 28 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
- 13 percent reduced risk of cancer.
- 31 percent reduction in premature death.
The scientific evidence is pretty clear – we all need to eat a minimum of 10 servings of fruits and veggies a day. Sounds simple. In reality, though, consuming this many servings can be very challenging. To achieve this goal, every meal needs to contain multiple servings, starting with breakfast. For the past 3 to 4 months, I have been making a serious attempt to eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible, hoping for at least 10 servings per day. Sadly, I typically consume only about 6-8 servings, with effort!
This is what I do…
Breakfast: I found the best way to incorporate the most fruits and vegetables early in the morning is to make a smoothie. I use Juice Plus protein powder and almond milk as a base [PH1] and blend in the following (makes two 32oz servings):
Spinach (at least 2 fistfuls), cucumber (3 tiny ones with skin ON), celery (2-3 stalks), watermelon, 1 banana, a handful of frozen strawberries, a handful of frozen mixed berries. I believe this gives me about 5 servings of fruits and vegetables.
Lunch: usually leftover salad or veggies dipped in guacamole for 1-2 servings
Dinner: We almost always have a large salad along with another vegetable and a meat dish to make for 2-3 additional servings
Snacks: on a good day I’ll eat watermelon or another fruit for a snack
So…. I eat multiple fruits and vegetables at EVERY meal and still only consume 8-10 servings on my best days!
I usually advise clients to keep a food journal to learn about what they are really eating and how it affects their bodies. They track what they eat, but not calories, and how they are feeling. Almost everyone I have worked with, like me, has been surprised at how few fruits and vegetables they are actually consuming.
With this in mind, I have suggested that members and clients look into Juice Plus. Juice Plus, unlike other supplements, is made from fruits and vegetables. The capsules are made from the juice powder concentrates and oils from more than 40 different fruits, vegetables and grains. While Juice Plus+ isn’t a substitute for eating fruits and vegetables, they support a healthy diet by offering a much wider variety of naturally occurring vitamins, along with antioxidants and phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables. It’s like a safety net, to ensure that your body gets the benefit of lots of fruits and vegetables even on those days when you can’t seem to get 10 plus servings in your diet.
After several years of referring clients to an outside person to purchase these products, I have decided to offer them myself! I’m excited about adding another tool to help my members attain their optimal health. More information about Juice Plus can be found on my JP website: http://j-silverman.juiceplus.com/
[PH1]What about matcha, macca and cinnamon?