15 Weeks of More
Week 4: Double Your Veggies
Last week I experienced two things: a fear of food and feeling hopeful about food. Two very different feelings that further confirmed why I know this is so important. But, before we get started, I want to hear your experience with 15 Weeks of More so far. I would love to hear from you.
You may have seen this if you follow me on Instagram or on Facebook. I shared early in the week about witnessing someone using fear to sell supplements. The message was that all food is bad, with the exception of what this person termed "real food" and you must purchase their advertised supplement to be healthy. I was shocked and very disturbed by what I was hearing. Fast forward to later in the week and I was fortunate to be able to attend a forum on sustainability in our food system. I left with actionable steps that can be taken today to improve health.
These two experiences reminded me how cluttered the messages of nutrition can be and how easy it is to become confused and distracted. It's another confirmation that this email series, 15 Weeks of More, is a small step in cutting through the noise.
These weeks are meant to remind you that nutrition doesn't need to be overly complicated. Sometimes it really is as simple as increasing the good stuff. Dr. David Katz said it best at the forum: "We need to increase calories from good food, not decrease calories from good food."
Week 4: Double Your Veggies
The idea for this week stems from the idea of pushing through a comfort level and into a space that is outside of the norm for you. This little nudge in a different direction can help to call attention to where you can add more plants to your meals.
Your challenge is to double your servings of vegetables for a minimum of 5 meals this week.
That means if you're used to tossing spinach into your morning smoothie then I want you to add cauliflower or squash or sweet potato in addition to the spinach. That is doubling your veggies. If you typically order one side of vegetables at dinner then order two. Maybe have them as an appetizer to share with the table or add them both to your plate. If you make dinner at home and it's typically a single veggie night then double the portion of the single vegetable. Add an extra vegetable to a sandwich, beyond the traditional lettuce and tomato. Get creative and share your tips with #aneweats on instagram or to the ANEWtrition facebook page.
What is a serving?
Vegetables are low in calories, high in fiber, and rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals. This isn't new news, but what's surprising is that 9 out of 10 of us don't get enough in our day. So what is a serving? The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a minimum of 2.5 - 3 cups of vegetables per day for both men and women. One cup will count as a cup serving for most vegetables with the exception of uncooked, leafy greens where two cups will be needed to make a serving of vegetables. I don't recommend actually putting the vegetables in a measuring cup - a visual "measurement" will do!
Research continues to show that a plant-based diet is beneficial for your health. This doesn't mean vegetarian or vegan, but simply means shifting the focus of the plate to vegetables, whole grains, fruits, beans, and replacing meat with plant-based proteins some of the time. In the forum I mentioned earlier, Dr. Walter Willett shared a slide that really hit home. See below.
This is a screenshot from my Twitter account, so it is a little blurry, but the basic message is this: reducing red meat consumption is positive for your health and replacing red meat with "anything else" will lower your risk for coronary heart disease (CHD). This effect was seen when replacing just one serving of red meat per day. Remember that when replacing protein sources in the diet, we need to ensure we are replacing with a protein or a mix of plants with protein. So, this might mean tempeh or tofu or it might mean whole grains and beans such as in a veggie burger. More on plant-based proteins can be found here.
I will be on social this week sharing how I'm doubling my veggies and I'm looking forward to connecting with you! Don't forget to share your tips and ideas with #aneweats.
You can see more on Instagram @allisonknottrd or on Facebook on the ANEWtrition page.
New here? Check out the introduction to 15 Weeks of More, Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3.