Veggies Are Worth Smiling About!
I'm going to get a bit personal today with a story about myself and our amazing vegetable friends. Last week I was at my dentist's office for a routine cleaning. I have been suffering from periodontal disease for the past several years, due to a banding issue from wearing braces for 12 years. My had been having me come in for a cleaning and examination under my gums every three months due to the progression of this problem.
Because of my schedule, I was unable to get in for a cleaning for the past six months, but to my (and my dentist's) wonderful surprise, when I finally got in for the appointment, he discovered that the periodontal disease had actually reversed itself! He said he had never seen anything like it, and asked what I had done differently. The only thing I could think of was my increased vegetable intake.
Last spring, a friend had written a book on natural ways to balance hormones, and in it she recommended eating two pounds of vegetables a day. I had argued with her, thinking of all of the flack I would get from patients if I asked them to eat that many plant foods every single day! She suggested I try it myself and see how easy it actually could be. She was right! I went to the market every three days and purchased six pounds of a variety of vegetables. I had to get creative with some of my recipes and I changed my snacks to all veggies, but it was actually pretty easy. I already knew about all of the wonderful health benefits of adding more plant material to a diet, but honestly, I never expected my gums to completely heal in six months time!
So how exactly do you get in two pounds of veggies every single day? I know I have written about this several times before, so if this is a review for you and you have already made this a life change, please indulge me one more time:
Breakfast: Saute an assortment of veggies (asparagus, spinach, kale, carrots, onions, etc.), add an egg or two, and season to taste.
Snack: Raw cucumber slices, snow peas, and/or a variety of other veggies with hummus dip.
Lunch: Make a big salad with all of the fun veggies you like.
Dinner: A small piece of meat, beans or fish with lots of veggies on the side.
It really helped me to Google and research vegetable recipes I loved. One great idea I found was to use cauliflower in place of bread, tortilla chips, crackers or pancakes; there are some really creative cauliflower recipes out there!* I suggest you put together about 30 fun, tasty recipes you like--then you have lots of choices to draw from. If you are cooking for a family of picky eaters, include them in making the food choices. Let them taste different types of vegetables--they may wind up liking more than they think they would.
It took me a few weeks of experimenting, planning, tasting new recipes, and just playing with different vegetables to come up with the perfect plan and enough variety to be satisfying, but it has paid off with better health, more energy, good weight loss, better sleep and now, healthier teeth and gums!
You can do it too!
Dr. Susan Godman
*Here's a link to some creative recipes with cauliflower: