First off, let me say, I got to have Romanesco broccoli for the first time in my life at my parents house last month. This veggie was MADE FOR ME – a math loving vegetarian. I’d been looking for it for years and never was able to find it for a reasonable price. My mom and I found it at Whole Foods in the local produce section!! It lived up to it’s reptuation – nutty, wonderful crunchy texture, and beautiful. C’mon, IT’S A LIME GREEN FRACTAL!
I was talking to a coworker today about diet and they said, ‘you can’t expect someone to eat pounds of vegetables every day!!’ Um, I eat pounds of vegetables, fruits, and legumes everyday. I don’t know how to explain this to people without sounding pompous or pretentious. Eating your veggies shouldn’t be pretentious!
But the sad truth is that most Americans don’t eat their veggies. Veggies are pathetic little sides or non-existent on their plates. Many times, the veggies are highly processed or drenched in butter, fat, oil, cheese, etc. Often, these people come to me asking for diet advice, usually knowing that I’ve lost weight and kept it off. Back then, veggies were side dishes for me too. And like any change that lasts, it took years for me to re-learn how to eat.
I don’t want people to be intimidated by a whole foods diet and feel like it’s out of reach for them. So often, folks think of diet as ‘all or nothing.’ Which is scary, because under this notion small slip ups are punished and folks get discouraged and quit. I eat whole foods 80% of the time and vegan 50% of the time. But you know what, after dinner tonight I ate two – two! – peanut butter chocolate chip cookies choc full of white flour and butter. Hey, at least I bought organic flour and butter!
Old Christine would have beat myself up over this, but you know what? Life is meant to be enjoyed. I find great enjoyment in eating whole foods most of the time, because it gives me energy, vitality, and hope. It makes me feel more alive and confident in myself and my choices. But on the other side of the spectrum, a life without gelato and beer is not a life worth living in my books. Having these things as occasional treats makes them all the more enjoyable for me.
Eat your veggies and you might feel the benefits. Start small by adding something dark and green to your plate. Cook it simply with a bit of olive oil and some pepper. Eat it slowly. That’s how I started. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I honestly started noticing how much better the veggies made me feel than the cheese and carbs. I felt lighter and stronger. So I naturally started putting more and more veggies on my plate and removing most of the dairy and some of the carbs.