You'll see it in the step about Green Smoothies and I mention it should be a big part of dinner when I talk about the main dish salad in Less Meat; really it's sprinkled throughout most every step but as I have thought about it and have gotten feedback from readers who have been doing it I feel like there should be a 9th step! It's so important that I probably should have prefaced my steps with this important principle. Well I am doing it now! Those of you who have followed and implemented the 8 steps I hope you already find you are doing this but if not I HIGHLY suggest you take it to heart and do your best to implement this step also! It is....
Always eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is very, very important, in fact I think that it is ESSENTIAL to long term health and sustained weight loss. I have studied and read lots and lots of info about health, diets, etc. etc. etc. One thing I have found in a lot of my studies is that I can always find some expert contradicting another expert. A lot of times both view points make sense and I can see some truth in most of them. Sorting it all out and deciding what works for you can sometimes be a little tricky. (Hopefully another subject for another post!)
I have noticed though that NEVER is there info stating that fresh fruits and vegetables are bad for you. There are however many, many test and studies that sing their praises! (Note that these test are usually done with conventional produce, so to me that means organic is just going to be that much better! Regardless of what kind, we should be eating lots and lots!)
I don't think anyone is going to argue with me on this point! We all know fruits and veggies are good for us! We all know we should be eating more of them! I'm sure you have also noticed that a lot of the recipes on this blog are cooked. Made from whole foods but still cooked! It's obvious that I don't push a 100% raw food diet. I don't think one is necessarily bad, in fact I think depending on how it is implemented, can be quite good! I even "go raw" myself for a week or two at a time once or twice a year, just to cleanse and sort of "refresh" my system. I do think to always be 100% raw takes a HUGE commitment especially to feed a family that way! (Again probably info for another post!) I like having the ability to make really yummy healthified treats and a nice comforting healthy dinner with a cooked dish. BUT just because that is most of the recipes you see here know that they are actually the smaller portion of what we eat.
I really like to keep things Simple and so there isn't a set amount of what we eat everyday. But I do try to have some goals and guidelines. In our family we try to always eat at LEAST half of our food in it's fresh raw state. The goal is 80-90% but we usually only achieve that in Summer and Fall! I think we average between 60-70% raw. And we try to eat some enzymes with EVERY meal so it can help to better digest and absorb the nutrients in our food. For a look at what we eat on a typical day see my eBook Simply Scheduled: 2011 Chapter 4 - A Typical Day the Simple, Healthy, Tasty Way!
Here are some things that has helped us to achieve these goals and guidelines:
- Smoothies Especially Green ones (Leafy greens are the highest concentrated nutrient foods on the planet!) Blendtec Total Blender Wildeside is my favorite blender for easily making smoothies for the whole fam! It blends everything super smooth and the large jar holds over 96 ounces!
- Growing our own garden and planting fruit trees, berry bushes, etc. Eating lots of it fresh then freezing or drying (so it still preserves the nutrients and some enzymes) the excess to use during the winter when we don't have a garden.
- Using Bountiful Baskets (We love this we use a large variety this way and enjoy trying new things! Plus it saves us money!)
- Buying a share in our Local CSA! We love Jacob's Cove which is our local CSA! I think it's super important to support your local farmers! To find one near you try Local Harvest. You never know when gas prices may get so high that we can't afford shipped food. If that time ever comes I hope we all know and support our local farmers and know how to grow a good garden ourselves!
- Sprouting! We like to be sprouting on a regular basis! Sprouts are an easy thing to add to most anything and they are FULL of enzymes! We have put sprouts on granola, on sandwiches, or even a dinner dish! A very cheap, easy way to always have fresh food!
- Main Dish Salad! We try really hard to have a big salad every night! Usually it's a simple green salad with leafy greens, sprouts and whatever else we have on hand. Sometimes though it might be a big cabbage salad, veggie tray or even and cucumber and tomato salad. The point is to have a large helping of a fresh raw salad before or with the cooked dish. Start to always think of your salad as the main dish and anything else the side! Look in my Soups and Salads category for yummy salad and dressing ideas!