Getch'a Greens On!
I have been noticing these food blogs where vegan bloggers are chronicling their daily meals of legumes (mostly soy products), grains, and maybe a token veg on the plate, as if for garnish. One blogger I came across was posting everything online that she was eating for a month, and consumed as many as seven soy products a day, from yogurt to power bars to tofu cutlets. And I’ve noticed that there is rarely a shortage of sugary desserts on these blogs as well. As a strong whole-foods advocate I couldn’t help but wonder: as vegetarians and vegans, shouldn’t there be more of a love for vegetables, not "faux fare", uniting us?
You weren’t told by your parents throughout your childhood to eat your vegetables just so they could affirm who’s boss...
...Vegetables are super sources of much-needed minerals, vitamins and fibre. They also contain particular phytonutrients that scientists are only now getting to know and really understand how they all work together to keep us healthy in a way that a multi vitamin supplement never will. Plus, when our bodies are too acidic, our cells swell and are less capable of releasing toxins - and who wants that? Veggies make your body’s pH more alkaline, which helps us avoid disease.
But how much daily veg is enough? Some say about 5 cups a day (3 cups raw, 2 cups cooked as the weather warms up, 3 cups cooked and 2 cups raw in the colder months) to keep cancer away. (That's more than you thought, isn't it?) Another way to go about it is simply to be sure that at least half your plate is covered with veg at every meal. I make this happen by pouring hot soup over a handful of organic baby spinach or some steamed broccoli or kale, or dolloping chilli over some chopped romaine lettuce and topping it with fresh cilantro and creamy avocado. (Okay, okay, avocado is technically a fruit, with a nutritional profile more akin to a nut, but it’s still very good for you!) Sometimes I'll have a meal that's all veggies, with maybe some toasted seeds and tamari on top. It can be a very satisfying assortment of colours and textures.
And while a rainbow of vegetables will be both visually stimulating and nutritionally beneficial, deep greens – like collards, kale, bok choy, spinach, chard and parsley – have very little starch, get their colour from blood-purifying chlorophyll and antioxidant carotenoids, and contain other important micronutrients like calcium and folic acid. When you up your vegetable intake your body will thrive, and I’m sure it won’t be long before others notice a healthy glow. So getch’a greens on!