Last week we began a dialogue with clients about how most people classify plant based foods. We took so many questions about why we call savory plants vegetables and why sweet produce is called fruits - and we are happy to continue to dialogue with you about this difference. However, we also dove into conversations about why fruits have a bad reputation for being too sugary, why kids won't eat greens, and how the timing and the combinations of foods make such an impact on health. So, we decided to keep the conversation going this week with answers to these issues, along with a few tips for enjoying food with less guilt.
Many highly intelligent people believe that eating berries or munching on melon is the same as consuming a low fat candy/food bar or chips (of roughly the same calorie count). How wrong they are. Fruits is a vital source of sustenance for the human body. Fiber and nutrient rich, raw, dried, and minimally cooked fruits (here's the pdf from last week) satisfy hunger naturally and contribute to a healthy digestive tract. The empty calories in candies and processed snacks offer nothing that your body truly wants.
The cautionary tale for fruit becomes relevant only when you see the word, "fruit" on a label. Fruit juice, fruity snacks, fruit spreads are nothing more than sugar, but the messaging affects so many people. Reach for low calorie, low fat, gluten free, sugar free, organic... It doesn't matter what label you use, people more often opt for a snack or a dish that offers some magical benefit when almost all of the labeling is total bull shit.
Kids Hate Greens
Do kids really hate their vegetables, or do their parents? More often than not, the kids who refuse to eat broccoli, spinach, etc come from families where these foods are rarely consumed by the adult members of the family. Kids who grow up in homes where greens appear at all meals may end up not liking something, but they never end up liking no produce.
A great way to get kids to enjoy edible botanicals is to teach them how to grow them. Even apartment based New Yorkers can grow tomatoes, herbs, and a few other edibles in their homes. School gardens and composting are another great way to get little people to develop and embrace a diverse palate. Nothing is worse for little bodies than to consume an all-brown diet.
Timing and Food Combinations
On the topic of timing, our team believes that your body needs a few things first thing. Water, movement, nutrients - in that order - EVERY SINGLE DAY! Wake up and drink a glass of water. Before you eat, spend 8-10 minutes moving your body in a metabolically stimulating routine (www.inmotionworkouts.com). Afterwards, hit the kitchen because you need to eat within 60 minutes of waking up. If you need to get out the door quickly, split breakfast up into two courses and have the bigger one at the office.
Combining foods enhances nutrient absorption too (like tomatoes with olive oil or avocado - the lycopene needs fat to be processed properly), so while this post isn't going into the specifics, you can read more about food combinations here.
No Need for Guilt
Relating to food in a positive way starts with this fact: focus on getting the foods your body needs first. Forget about eliminating bad foods from your diet. Make today be the day that you get at least half of your meals in the form of vegetation (fruits, leaves, and roots - here's the pdf from last week). As your body adjusts to the increased nutrient value, your cravings will adjust. We know that you will find yourself less tempted to reach for your "guilt-trigger" food, and as a result, you won't feel guilty when you do.
The last tip we offer: identify a guilty pleasure that offers benefits to your body. Dark chocolate, for example. Splurge on it! You deserve it!