In my quest to lose weight the last time, I started seeing a doctor of Chinese medicine referred to me by a friend. During my first visit, she told me, among other things, that I had to start eating 7 to 11 fruit and vegetable servings per day. I looked at her as if she were crazy, but I decided to give it a try. What did I have to lose but weight and years of not so healthy eating habits?
At first, it seemed impossible to even conceive of how to eat all those servings of fruits and vegetables in a single day. But then she handed me a sheet that said a serving equals a half cup of any vegetable or fruit, except lettuce, spinach, cabbage, collard greens, kale and the like. You need a full cup of those leafy veggies to make a serving since they are made of mostly water. A serving can also be a piece of fruit (i.e. an apple, a pear, a plum, a nectarine) or 15 grapes or 6 baby carrots and so on and so forth.
When I left the doctor’s office, my mind was reeling. Like the psychotic Type A person that I can be, I feverishly researched the issue, tormented myself and experimented until I finally figured out how to add 7-11 fruit and vegetable servings into my day without becoming a vegetarian and without it becoming a full time job.
The first thing I did was to get on the web and look for vegetable recipes. I knew that I wouldn't be happy eating salads every single day and that I'd need some help in that regard. I discovered some great vegetable recipes online that I modified to suit my tastes. I've since discovered great recipes and ways to incorporate more fruits, veggies, and metabolism stoking herbs, spices and dressings into my diet in great cookbooks like: Metabolic Cooking 9 Cookbook Set (affiliate link).*
After finding some vegetable filled recipes that I thought I would like, I had to make a plan to increase my fruit and vegetable intake. Now, I have it down to a science. Back then, on a typical day, I'd have at least two servings of fruit before lunch. I would make a large fruit salad on Sunday, divide it into 5 one cup sized plastic containers, and throw a container into my lunch bag to eat as a mid-morning snack at work. I'd also throw in a snack sized baggie containing 12 baby carrots (that’s 2 servings) or celery sticks and hummus into my lunch bag for afternoon snacking.
Now, I have a smoothie for breakfast most mornings which usually contains three fruit servings and skip the midmorning snack.
Back then, if I made a turkey wrap for lunch, I'd add a cup of baby spinach and a sliced plum tomato to my deli thin turkey meat and dijon mustard to bulk up the wrap (that’s 2 servings of veggies right there). Now, I might forgo the wrap and eat soup and a salad instead or meat or fish with a two serving size side of veggies.
On the weekends, I'd make a vat of Curried Vegetable Soup or a pureed vegetable soup I could pair with meals all week long. A cup of pureed carrot or butternut squash soup, for example, contains two or more vegetable servings.
Sides of veggies are the easiest to make. For example, you can peel some carrots, cut them diagonally into two inch pieces, throw them into a bowl with a little olive oil and seasonings, coat them, then throw them onto a sheet pan, roast them in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes and throw a tablespoon of chopped dill over them when they are still warm (or not) and you will be a happy child. You can do the same thing with sweet potatoes (no need to peel and no dill).
You can take a 16 oz. bag of frozen peas and carrots or mixed vegetables, throw them into a pot with a little chicken broth, garlic powder, onion powder, and Goya Adobo seasoning (or a little salt) to taste and you have tasty side veggies to go with the rest of your dinner. You can take frozen broccoli, blanch it boiling water for a few minutes, take it out with a slotted spoon and throw it into a bowl of ice water to keep it green and stop the cooking, drain it and then throw it into a saucepan to saute with a little olive oil, chopped shallot (or onion) and garlic and seasonings to taste.
The point is that it doesn’t have to be hard, time consuming or even ridiculously expensive to work 7-11 daily fruit and vegetable servings into your diet. Frozen veggies give you the same bang for your buck as fresh, and canned pineapple works as well as fresh (as long as its not packed in heavy syrup). Organic and/or locally grown veggies and fruit are best. I get my organic frozen fruit and veggies from Cosco to get a little bang for my buck.
Eating 7-11 servings of fruits and vegetables every day helped me to shed 60lbs the first time. It also gave my skin a healthy glow and helped me look years younger than I am. I didn't know why then, but I do now. Fruits and vegetables are full of water and fiber, which made me feel full and satisfied with fewer calories. Also, they are full of much needed vitamins and antioxidants which, together with the fiber, helped me detoxify my system. The reward for this effort is youthful glowing skin, better health, increased energy, and weight loss.
I just started this healthy habit again and I already notice a difference in how I feel. Give it a try. Start with one of the veggie recipes contained in this free report called 10 Quick and Easy Fat Torching Recipes.
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