Last week, I went to my mini oasis in the city – aka the local grocery store. I love to explore grocery stores, imagining that I’m on a food expedition to discover the next culinary treasure to share with the world. I had admired the green buds on the trees as I entered the store, so greens were on my mind as I hunted the aisles. But I kept seeing signs saying: “Only 9% of Americans eat the recommended amount of veggies per day.” WHAT? I thought that couldn’t be right… until I found a report by the CDC with the same statistic. This statistic is even more alarming when you consider that today’s vegetables have fewer nutrients than the vegetables my Grandpa ate when he was plowing his land.
We make over 220 decisions about food every day according to researchers at Cornell University, so we have plenty of opportunities to make the choice to add more veggies. Below are five easy ways to get you some greens:
- Just Eat It: As I wrote in my book, “Sometimes eating is not about liking.” Our taste buds and brains have been hijacked by the chemicals and additives in our food. Sometimes we need to eat for our health, not our taste buds. My sister Kiara texted me a few months ago because she finally found a brussels sprouts recipe that she loved. But along the way, she ate a bunch of brussels sprouts that forced her to remember that sometimes eating is not about liking.
- Green Potions: I drink a green potion called HealthForce SuperFoods Vitamineral Green 300 Grams Powder every morning after a glass of water. Does it taste good when compared to a Snickers bar? Hell no. Do you think that cows would prefer a Snickers bar to the grass that they eat every day? Probably. When I’m drinking my green potion, I’m not thinking about how it compares to a Snickers bar; I’m thinking about how good the nutrients are for my body. And over time my taste buds have begun to enjoy healthier, grassier choices more and more.
- Green Smoothies: We’ve all heard that you should drink your greens if you can’t eat your greens. But when you make a green smoothie, you have to remember that you are making a green smoothie, not a berry, banana, or chocolate smoothie. If you usually make those kinds of smoothies, then add a few greens too. Build a smoothie with more green stuff than sweet stuff.
Here is a recipe for a green smoothie:
2 large handfuls spinach, kale or other favorite greens
2-inch piece of cucumber
¼ cup diced celery
Juice from half a lemon or lime
½ tsp fresh ginger
½ tbs of HealthForce SuperFoods Vitamineral Green 300 Grams Powder
1 scoop of Vega Sport Protein Powder, Vanilla, 1.83 lb, 20 Servings or your favorite vanilla powder
- Tasty Leftovers: We’ve all heard you bragging to coworkers about your amazing leftovers, from your secret family chili to your mouth-watering enchiladas. Heat and place those leftover over a bed of greens. If they taste as good as you say, you won’t notice a few bites of spinach!
- Master Substitutes: Start replacing certain foods with greens. Instead of a burrito at Chipotle (or Pancheros if you live in Iowa), choose a salad bowl. Instead of a sandwich, make an open-faced sandwich with one slice of bread on bottom and lettuce on top. Or use lettuce on both sides for a veggie, turkey, or Big Kahuna burger.
Want to know the secret to how I lost 75 pounds and how I’ve managed to keep it off for seven years? I started by making small food changes such as the ones above. Sometimes I slid back, but as the years went by, the pounds slid off because I stuck with it. And I’m still making small food changes to increase my consumption of greens and veggies. I’m not after perfection… I’m after healthfection: the continued pursuit of healthy choices that will hopefully keep you living longer and possibly inspire others to do the same.