I don’t know about you, but I hate commercials. Why must they constantly interrupt our favorite shows? Funnily enough, however, though I detest how many commercials there are, because they’re so oft repeated, I remember them far better than the shows I love. I remember the jingles, the characters, and the slogans.
One slogan I’m sure you’re all familiar with is “Wow, I could’ve had a V8!” I never liked V8, and their clever, albeit endless, advertising didn’t change my mind, even though I knew I needed to eat more vegetables. The one commercial I remember is one where people had numbers over their heads that showed how many servings of fruits and vegetables they had consumed that day. I tried to find it on YouTube but couldn’t. Maybe I’m mixing two commercials together in my memories.
The point I’m getting to is this: If you were to have a number over your head that signified the average number of fruits and vegetables you typically eat in a day, what would it be? Some recommendations are 5-9 servings, while other recommendations go as high as 12. Is there room for improvement in your diet? If so, this article is for you. It’s short, sweet, and to the point.
Set an intention right now to raise your score. We all know in any game, the team with the highest score wins. Choose foods that are going to make you a winner. Fruits and vegetables are the food of champions. They are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals, which is signified by their beautiful colors.
I normally tell people to eat the rainbow, but you know what? Even if you eat 12 servings of just apples, you’re going to be healthier than if you only ate 2 servings of fruits and vegetables along with mainly processed foods. Maybe there are no blue fruits or vegetables that you like. That’s okay. Just eat more servings of the types of fruits and vegetables you do like.
The truth is, the variety that we enjoy in America on a continual basis is somewhat artificial anyway. Much of what we eat is not local, and it’s not in season. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. I’m just saying to think we must eat a huge variety to be healthy is simply not true.
There are many places in the world where people enjoy optimum health on a limited diet. How are they so healthy, even though their diet is limited? It’s because most of what they eat is whole plants. I’m not saying that plants are all you should eat. I am promoting author Michael Pollan’s statement as a guide for our eating: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” Got it? Good!
If you’ve been thinking about eating a healthier diet, there’s no better time than the present to start. I’m challenging all of you to raise your score this week. See just how many servings of fruits and vegetables you can eat every day. E-mail me at the end of the week and tell me how well you did…..and then start all over again the next week.
Tips for success:
- Go buy your favorite fruits and vegetables NOW and have them handy.
- Ask your family for their favorites, so you can purchase their favorites as well – if they are eating these instead of processed snacks, it will make it easier for you. There’s strength in numbers!
- Make vegetables the star of each meal with meat as the small side or only used to flavor the dish.
- Place fresh produce in a prominent location on your counter or in your fridge where you will see it and be more likely to choose it over a less healthy option.
- Get rid of all the processed snack foods at home, at work, and in your car.
- Carry produce with you in your car. In hot weather, you can keep a cooler. This may sound crazy, but you must plan to succeed.
- Make a veggie tray with healthy dip or fruit bowl to keep at work.
- If co-workers typically offer you less-than-healthy foods, share the challenge with them. Either they can join you in eating healthier, or you can ask them to not offer you foods that may weaken your resolve to eat a healthier diet.
Most of us want to live as long as we possibly can, but that’s only true if we can be healthy and truly enjoy all those years, right? Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables is the key to living a longer, healthier life. Watch the video below to hear about the research concerning the relationship between eating produce and longevity. Skip to minute 3:05 to begin.
Good luck as you raise your score this week. As you do this and keep at it, I promise you’ll feel stronger and healthier. It will become easier over time, and it will eventually become more natural for you to reach for a piece of fruit than for a pre-packaged food-like product. There’s nothing like keeping it real for enjoying optimum health. Have a great week!