Quick Video – Smoothie Supplements

Just a short video about some of the things I add to my smoothies.

My smoothie essentials are always –

• fresh or frozen bananas
• fresh or frozen fruit (anything! but faves would be peaches, mangoes, pineapple, and berries)
• fresh greens, specifically spinach or kale.
Some extras as seen in my video would be –

• aloe juice
• almond milk
• Amazing Grass (powdered greens)
• goji berries
• cinnamon• vanilla or chocolate extract (I also do almond, maple, hazelnut, etc.)
• chia seeds
• hemp seeds
• dates (such a good sweetener!)

Blogger Survey

It’s time for a fluffy fluff post!  I’m stealing this survey from Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers. 

Here it goes!

The Blogger Survey

  • What was your go-to food or snack as a child? hot-dogs-package-365js062909

    I loved hot dogs. And even worse : I loved them cold.  So I would eat 2 cold hotdogs for breakfast pretty much every morning before school.  One day, I actually had a dream that I ate a bad, slimey one, and I never ate it again. (Cooked dogs I did eat, but never cold again)
    And I know you’re turning your noses up at cold dogs, but remember, it’s really just bologna!
    Runner ups would be – saltines, and microwave popcorn. (Salt addiction, what??)

  • What got you interested in health/fitness?
    Being overweight was a big factor in learning about nutrition and exercise. Also, being a “sickly” child, along with watching my Mom have major health issues, have heightened my focus on health.
  • You’re stuck on an island for a month and can only eat three foods. What would they be?
    Bananas, oats, and clementines.  I think if I could eat an unlimited amount of those foods, I would be full, regular, and fend off sickness.  Plus, they all taste like heaven!
  • Favorite and least favorite body part to train?
    Favorite = Abs, Least favorite = Shoulders
  • Favorite and least favorite health or fitness fads?
Colorful vegetables and fruits

Favorite = Juices and Smoothies. Anything that gets people ingesting more fruits and veggies is A-OK with me!

Least favorite = Those magic pills they sell on TV, Lipozene, I think it’s called? Scary.

  • What is the hardest workout you have ever done?
    Probably some of the Insanity videos – the first time.  You get used to them after a few tries, but transitioning SO fast from move to move is killer cardio!
  • What is the first movie that made you cry?
    While watching The Wizard of Oz at a sleepover, my friends pointed out the man that “hung himself” behind the set. We watched it on loop like 20 times discussing it. I was so sleep deprived the next morning that I called my mom for a ride. She said – what did you guys do last night? I started to tell her about the movie and I just LOST it. I blubbery cried for like 5 minutes trying to tell her.  Too funny.  But come on, I was young, and it was creepy!
  • Your #1 pet peeve?

    Just rudeness in general. When speaking, when driving, when shopping.  Just be courteous, it’s easy!

  • Your dream job?
    red-panda-03
    Professional red panda cuddler.
    But really, I’d love to be the person that names paint (or nail polish) colors!

  • Hairy arms or hairy legs?
    I’m not sure I understand this question. Are they asking which I’d prefer to have? Which I do have? Which I find most attractive? I dunno, I’ll just say, everyone has both of those things naturally, so don’t be acting like some people have hair on their arms and not legs, and vice versa. We all gots both, we just remove them like most modern ladies.

Well, that was a short one!
The most interesting one is the Dream Job question, so… tell me, what is YOUR dream job!?

VeganCuts monthly box review!

I subscribe to a monthly box called VeganCuts.

They offer two products –

1. The Snack Box : Curated vegan snack products. Typically chips/crisps, teas, chocolate, and other edible delights.
2. The Beauty Box : Also hand-picked vegan products but all for your skincare, and beauty needs.  Things like body soaps, makeups, deodorants, and even candles.

I subscribe to both monthly.  They are $19.95 each. So for $40 a month I get both in the same box.

VeganCuts asked me to do a review of their snack box and graciously sent me an additional February box.  And so, I did!

I made an “unboxing” video, which is exactly what it sounds like.  I opened up my VeganCuts box, showed you what I got, tried/tasted, and reviewed each product on the spot.

If you’re interested in all of the products that I received, watch the video! It’s long, because there are many items.

If you want just the overall review of the service, here it is :

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the most awesome there ever was, here’s my rankings in the following categories.

• Packaging :  6 
I think the packaging of a lot of the items could be better.  I realize that some things are just sample sizes so they do not have the proper packaging and labels, but because of this some things come looking a little cheap and worn down before I even open it.
I also have been spoiled by the Healthy Surprise and Bulu boxes which come in custom super cute designed boxes. VeganCuts comes in a slightly-too-large USPS box. It’s packaged with recycled paper shreds which I personally despise (they get everywhere and make it hard to find smaller items)

• Variety of the products : 8
Within each monthly box I feel like there is a good variety of items, however, month-to-month I feel like the boxes are quite similar. But I’m not entirely sure that can be avoided. Its all good stuff, and its all a surprise, so maybe there doesn’t need to be super diverse items.

• Quality of the products : 10
There are great, high-quality, well-made products included in the box.  Big brands and little boutique-like handmade items as well. It’s a good mix and seem to always be new to me brands or flavors that I’ve yet to try. Which, is the exact purpose of this!

• Value for the price : 6
Sometimes, I feel a *little* skimped when I dump all my items out and they just don’t seem like they could possibly add up to $40. When you consider the fact that they are specialty items, I have no doubt that they do indeed add up quickly. But at the same time, I want to feel like I’m getting my money’s worth. However, each month is different and some seem to make up for others.

• Overall joy it brings me : 9
I really enjoy when my VeganCuts box comes. I can’t wait to bust into and try and taste everything right away! I’ve found some new brands that will be favorites for years to come, and that is the whole point for me.  It makes transitioning to and being vegan much easier and fun with so many options.  I would absolutely recommend the VeganCuts boxes.

• My advice to VeganCuts :
This is also in the video, but I’ll repeat myself here.  I realize that the product is called a “Snack Box” but I feel like the health-conscious vegans might not be as into the junk food snacks. Personally, I’d love to receive less chips and meal replacement items and more meal-based items.  For example – tofu marinades, jarred sauces or meal-starters.  Last month I got a vegan chili that was fantastic. I’d love more like that. Canned soups or baking mixes, etc.  I still want to try the chocolates and veggie crisps, but more meal foods mixed in would be awesome.

Ok, that’s it from me!  If you watched the video, I hope you enjoyed it. It clearly wasn’t thought through or edited, so… yeah…. maybe I’m not a natural! Anyway, they wanted my opinions and I gave them!

If you’re interested in the VeganCuts boxes, you can sign up here http://vegancuts.com/

Salt Junkie

I seem to have made a pretty easy transition into a plant-based diet. I feel quite comfortable with it. I’m enjoying the heck out of my meals and navigating the restaurant circuit with little difficulty.  So now comes the tweaking.

I had my yearly physical last week, and Yay! I’m still alive! I even spoke with my doctor about recently going Vegan and she was thrilled with that decision.  Awesome.  However, when I first arrived they took my blood pressure. The nurse told me that my blood pressure (which is historically very healthy) was just a little high. What!?
Truth be told, I’m always expecting to hear that from them… why? Because I am a salt fiend.
Now, my doctor came in and checked my blood pressure at the end of my visit, and it was just fine—in a healthy range.
So, I don’t have high blood pressure… but the in the moments when I thought I did… I was a little panicked. The scary part is that I wasn’t panicking over my poor health diagnosis… I was panicking thinking about being told to give up salt!?
That’s messed up. And that feels a bit like an addiction.

Even more like an addiction, is the fact that I left there… resolving to lower my sodium intake… and had a V8 juice (like liquid salt), potatoes which I added salt to, and baked beans (salt and sugar).  I can tell that this is going to be a beast of a thing to break!

I made a beautiful Farmer’s Pie (think Shepherd’s Pie, but all veggies) and I deliberately cooked it without any added salt. I served it up and thought it was so bland! But it couldn’t be truly bland… this dish was made with so many beautiful vegetables with flavors of their own! It was full of herbs and seasonings and cooked in a veggie broth. My mouth was just like, HEY GIMME SALT. SALT MAKES THIS MAGIC.  Some people have a real addiction to sugar. Mine is definitely to salt!
I do feel like I need to cut back a bit. Because, I won’t be blessed with low blood pressure forever if I continue to overuse salt.  Also, I’m buying, preparing, and eating flavorful foods, I should be able to taste and appreciate their flavor without amping it up like crazy with salt.

I’m not even sure where to start now, with cutting back.  I think maybe I’ll just commit to cooking without salt, and then allow myself to salt the dish before eating.  This would at least cut the salt in half, because I am always salting before, during, and after cooking!  No more salting the water when making pasta or potatoes and using low-sodium versions of foods. I started that by buying low-sodium soy sauce, soup and broth, and no-salt added canned beans and corn.

Am I alone in this? Anybody else have a salt-addiction? Any advice on lowering my intake?

Baby’s First Veggie Burger

I’ve eaten a veggie burger before, but I’ve never made one from scratch! I’d heard that it could be done, but veggie burgers that you buy or eat at restaurants are so mysterious. It tastes good, but it doesn’t look or taste like any vegetable you’ve ever had. The whole thing was a mystery to me!

Anyway, I had those leftover green lentils that I cooked the other day and I figured I could somehow get them into a patty and cook ‘em up.

So I did!

And here’s how I did it :

Ingredients
4  mushrooms (like baby bella/crimini – use the 4 or 5 largest in the bunch)
2 cloves garlic
1 medium carrot
1/3 of a medium onion
small handful of fresh cilantro (if you don’t like cilantro, try regular parsley, or even some spinach leaves)
2 cups prepared green or brown lentils
flour
spices
oil for cooking (refined coconut if possible)

1. Take the mushrooms, garlic, carrot, onion, and cilantro : put all in the food processor until small and evenly sized. Dump them in a bowl.

2. Add to the bowl 2 cups of cooked lentils.

3. Spice it up.  I added cumin, coriander, caraway, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Lentils can take a lot of spice, so add a little more than you think you need.

4. Add 1/2 cup of flour to the mixture. With a fork, or your hands, smush up the mixture. You want to make it so that the flour mixes all in evenly. The flour is what makes it able to form and maintain a patty shape. Once mixed, put some in your hand and form a patty. If it forms a nice solid one, it’s good to go, if it crumbles or falls apart, add a little more flour until its just right.

5. Form your patties.

my patties, all formed and ready to go.

Get a nice big skillet out, in your skillet heat up a layer of oil. I’d highly recommend using refined coconut oil for this. But you could use canola, corn, etc.  But really, coconut is the way to go!

Once your oil is good and hot put your patties all in! (if you’re not sure if your oil is ready, start to stick your patty in it. If it sizzles, you’re good. If it doesn’t, give it some more time)

Cook for about 5-7 minutes.  Don’t flip them or squish them or poke them until the bottom side is brown and crisp.  Then, gently flip and cook the other side. After another 5-7 minutes. Once both sides are crisp and browned you’re good. Take them off and let cool just a little.

I ate mine on a bagel thin, with lettuce and some spicy aoili I made (it was just vegan mayo & italian hots mixed together!)

I served mine with some deli pickles and a bowl of pineapple!

I think this is going to be a super versatile recipe. You can spice it however you want… curry, Mediterranean, spicy, sweet, Asian inspired… many possibilities.  You can also do any shape you want… you can do balls and use like falafel or to crumble on salads. You could do it as a loaf and bake it.  Genius!

Social

If I were to describe myself, it would definitely include the term – anti-social. Despite this, I somehow live a pretty social life.  I certainly can’t complain that I have incredible people who actually want to spend time with me.  This weekend was an exceptionally busy one and it, of course, revolved around food!

On Friday night, I had dinner at Macaroni Grill with three beautiful ladies.  I like Macaroni Grill for one big reason :

Create your own pasta! Its a little dumb, though, because they list it just like that on the menu, but do not list the pasta, sauce, or accompaniment options anywhere. Luckily, I know the secret. They do list them online! So I write it down before I go.  My favorite option is the capellini (lowest calorie of their pasta options), with pomodoro sauce and all the veggies I want. Classic spaghetti, but really good and satisfying.

The next morning, I had plans to spend the day with another friend.  We got lucky and ended up in the area of a Seasons 52 restaurant. If you’ve never been, the schtick is that all menu items are under 475 calories.  And that for all 52 weeks of the year they rotate the menu to be seasonal.  So that you’re getting the freshest, in-season items.

I ordered the “Winter Vegetarian Platter”  (Which I ordered with no cheese)

This was phenomenal.  a cranberry & orange zest quinoa salad, cedar-plank tofu with mango chutney, roasted golden beets, mushrooms and broccolini, and a roasted veggie and black bean soft corn taco. I know you’re all probably like ehhhh boring! But believe me, when you season and cook things perfectly, they are fantastic no matter how healthy they might be!

I also had a handmade Ginger Agave Soda with Mint.

And for dessert, a little glass of fresh fruit.

After lunch and some shopping we went to Starbucks and chatted indefinitely.
I got home quite late, but had to stop at the store to pick up something quick to make Joel for dinner. I ended up making him a reuben, but as I was shopping I had a serious hankering for something junk foody. Must have been the overabundance of freshness I had for lunch!  I thought that chicken nuggets sounded so good. So I looked over all of the faux-meat frozen nuggets.  Nearly all of them had eggs and/or milk in them.  Eventually, I found the Gardein brand chicken tenders.

gardein_frz_CrspyTndrs_US_Sm-225x238

They are amazing. Seriously.  In a way, though, they taste and feel almost too much like real chicken. It’s a little scary. The breading is soooo good though, better than typical real chicken nuggets.

So here is my “chicken nuggets and french fries”

Those are Snapeas, for my quick french fry substitute.

This little meal cured my hankering for junk.  Don’t judge!

Then, on Sunday, I planned a little brunch with my Mom and Aunt, just because I hadn’t seen them in awhile.
We did it potluck style and each brought something.  My Mom and Aunt are so incredibly thoughtful, that they also accommodated my diet.

I made a banana date bread, and a rainbow fruit salad.

We had : tomato juice, coffee, fruit salad, banana date bread, roasted root veggies with black beans, roasted green veggies with tomatoes, and a crustless quiche with broccoli and goat cheese.

My plate :

I LOVE breakfast. I love greasy, meaty, buttery, saucy, savory, diner breakfasts… yet, this is one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever eaten.

After all that talking and laughing and socializing this weekend, it’s time to go back to work and see more people! Oof!

Ah well, I had a fantastic weekend, seeing people I don’t get to see often and eating some freakin’ incredible foods.

Here’s some bonus pictures :

Mr. Fred Tea. You fill his trousers with tea and let him relax.

My first attempt at a Tofu Parmesan. It was really, really delicious. But I wanna try full on breading and baking the tofu next time, like a eggplant parm.

Spinach falafel wraps (pre-wrapping)

Post-wrapping

Brussels with balsamic glaze

 

Food prep : roasted a whole pan of fingerling potatoes.

Lentils, pre-cooking. My first real attempt. I have no idea what to do with them now that I have a bowl of ‘em ready to go!

Homemade scallion rangoons

Beautifully green salad

 

 

Dog.

 

 

 

 

Food Comments/Food Shaming

I love food, therefore, I love to talk about food.  I love when people tell me what they are having for dinner, or ask me what I ate at a restaurant. Food, as a topic—is not, and should not be taboo.

However, discussing someone’s eating habits is actually in pretty bad taste.  To be honest, it’s downright rude.
But like with anything, there’s a good way and a bad way to do it.
Personally, I am known for eating “weird” food, and therefore I get my fair share of comments.  Very rarely do I get an appropriate comment or reaction, (which I would consider to be positive curiosity), rather, the comments usually come from a place of judgement and harshness.

For example.  Say I am drinking a green sludgy looking drink.

Bad Comment : “Eeewww, what IS THAT? How can you drink that? It looks like Swamp Thing’s diarrhea!”

Good Comment : “Is that greens in a smoothie? Good for you, could you tell me the benefits of that?”

Bad comments—casting aspersions upon someone else’s diet can do more damage than you know. Making people feel embarrassed to eat healthy food in public can affect their health and their emotional relationship with food. If you’re actually curious, go ahead and ask someone what they are eating, maybe even why they are eating it, heck! you can even ask to try it. All of those things are productive for you, and not damaging to them. Imagine getting enough harsh comments about your green smoothie, that you start eating a more “socially acceptable” breakfast of coffee and cinnamon buns in the morning, just so that people don’t point it out. Maybe that sounds extreme, but its not. It’s human nature. We want to do what is healthy for our bodies, but the desire to be accepted socially is way, way stronger. If you’re not actually curious, but rather  just really desiring to insult someone on their personal choices… then maybe you need to stop and think about that for a minute.

If you are having dinner with someone and they order something you don’t like, you don’t need to tell them. Believe me, they really didn’t care that you absolutely detest peppers. They weren’t ordering them for you.  And they don’t need to hear about how they make you want to vomit.
I would say that we should try and put food into the same sort of kid-glove category as you would religion, politics, and weight.  If you don’t have something positive or productive to say, just don’t say anything at all.
Now, I also understand the argument that maybe I’m giving food too much power here. That negative comments about inanimate objects that we’re putting in our mouths are simply here nor there. And yes, on a rational level, I would agree with you.  But as the saying goes—we’ve truly become what we eat.  And if negative, harmful words and emotions are put onto our forks, they are going right into our bodies as well.

So, if I offer you a taste of my green sludgy smoothie, the proper reaction is not to recoil in terror, wave your arms about and scream “NOOOOO!!!”  Just say, “no thank you.” (or better yet, just taste it, you might like it, you never know!)

Are you a food commenter? Do food comments annoy you?

Vegan Navigating

I was going to a friend’s house for dinner this past weekend.  I’d already informed her that I was eating vegan, but not to make any special accommodations for me. The very last thing I’d want to do is inconvenience someone, but even worse – I would not want to offend someone by not eating the food they prepared me.  So, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do.

I declared that I would bring dessert, and luckily that prompted her into telling me that she’d be making tacos!  Beef for the meat-eaters, refried beans for me!  So I did my very first vegan dick move and offered to bring my own vegetarian beans (because regular refried beans are heavy on the pork fat)
Luckily, she loves me, and did feel I was being a dick at all. Whew.

Turns out, nobody else likes beans anyway, so they were all for me, so I didn’t feel bad bringing my own. In the end, I had a DELICIOUS burrito, with rice, beans, lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumbers, and salsa.  I didn’t go hungry, no one was offended, I didn’t compromise my diet, and we all had a great time.

Oh, I’m sure you’d like to know how dessert went too, right?  It was fantastic!
I knew I wanted to make berry shortcake.  But I haven’t done any vegan baking yet, so I was a little nervous. I started with a box mix for pound cake.  I subbed out the butter for Earth Balance, and in place of the eggs I used a mix of vinegar and baking soda.  It looked like a science experiment, but the end result was beyond wonderful. It was sweet and buttery and perfect! Nothing to be scared of!

The vegan’s dessert

The non-vegan’s dessert. Hello ice cream & whipped cream!

My view was nice, too. Hi Tyson!

Yesterday, Joel and I headed out to lunch at our favorite Indian buffet place.  Typically, they have lots of veggie options, so I knew I’d be OK.  But this time? They were closed! Emergency electrical issues. Eeep! So we decided to try out a different Indian place.  There was a beautiful buffet, full of steaming hot saucy dishes.  Out of all of them, how many were vegan friendly? Not a one.

I ended up with some naked salad, white rice, plain naan, and some grilled veggies that I plucked out from under the tandoori chicken. It was fine, and hey, pretty low calorie at least, for a buffet plate. But when I went back up to peruse the desserts?  Jackpot!
Fruit salad galore! Also some fantastic coconut ladoos.  Which, I actually think are made with ghee, but I’m not sure, and I had one anyway!

So in the end, it wasn’t the most fantastic meal, but I certainly did not leave hungry, and got off a bit healthier than I normally would have at the buffet. I’d consider it a win.

Overall, I’ve been navigating the vegan landscape pretty well so far.  As many people have been telling me – it’s not about being PERFECT, it’s just about making the best choices based on what is presented to you.  And I think I’m doing a good job at that.

Question to you!! 
It seems like most people who talk to me about going vegan are saying the same thing : that they could probably go without meat, but could NEVER give up cheese! (cheese is quite literally addicting, so that isn’t surprising) but tell me – what would be the hardest for you? meat, eggs, milk/yogurt, butter, or cheese?

Moving the Focus

Imagine that you were born with a large, dark birth mark across your face. A painfully obvious, even distracting disfigurement.  Imagine that every night before you went to sleep you’d wish and hope with all your might that you’d wake up in the morning having had it magically disappear. That you’d be normal. . .  beautiful, even.  Imagine that you were so preoccupied with this mark on your face that you allowed it to form you. To let it become who you are, despite not wanting it there at all.

That is how I feel about my weight.
(let me make an aside here, and tell you that I realize this metaphor is flawed. Weight can be changed and such a birthmark typically cannot be. But just go with it, please)

It preoccupies my mind.  As an example, the other day something prompted me into a daydream where I thought about what would happen if I went to the doctor’s, and they told me I had some terminal illness. Do you know what my first thought was?  That I would be most sad about dying before I ever got to be my goal weight.  Never getting to experience life as anything other than obese.

That’s my big regret??
That’s my dying wish?
Just to be skinny?!

I’m not sure exactly how messed up that is, but it sounds at least a little bit crazy, no?

I’m trying very hard right now to focus on everything else. Every aspect of my health and wellness other than my weight. It’s hard though.
It’s not hard planning my meals based on nutrition (vs. weight loss). And it’s not hard working out to get stronger (vs. calorie burning). Those things are easy, and actually very enjoyable.  So enjoyable, that I start to feel really good about myself which then prompts me to step on the scale. Because as much as I don’t want it to, everything comes down to the weight.

But should it?
That’s the part I struggle with.  The truth is that it’s not possible for me to  a) be optimally healthy and fit and b) be truly happy with myself when I am overweight. And if that’s the case, then, is it wrong that I focus on it SO much?  If that keeps me motivated, is it really a bad thing?
I’m not entirely sure.

I know I’ve written a hundred variations on this same topic.  Finding balance, accepting myself, focusing on the health, not weighing myself… and on and on.  But this is where I’m at, again.
I’m eating a healthy, not overly fatty or processed vegan diet. Though my decision to eat this way was NOT based on weight loss, the truth is that it IS a diet that most people lose weight QUICKLY on.  So I can’t even lie and say I wasn’t hoping for that, as well.

So, I’m proud of myself for not joining the Biggest Loser competitions this year. I’m proud of myself for not weighing myself daily. I’m proud of myself for making decisions about my diet and workouts that were based on the overall wellness of my body vs. weight loss specific.

These are all quality steps in the right direction for me.

Do you struggle at all with focusing on weight loss more than you think you should?

 

In defense of Vegetables

Colorful vegetables and fruits

At my office, us ladies have a super secret confessional board. Rule #1 of the Confessional Board is that you don’t talk about the Confessional Board.  Today, I’m breaching.  Last week we wrote our goals for the week on the board, and someone’s goal was “to eat at least 1 vegetable a day”

Whoa. At least one a day? This implies that this person typically eats no veggies in a day. You would think that somebody told me that they starting smoking crack. I was dumbstruck.  But then I started thinking and asking around.  I realized that Joel only eats the fruits and veggies that I force into him, and so thats only maybe one a WEEK.  Granola bar for breakfast, sandwich and chips for lunch, spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.  No veggies.  (and no, I don’t consider marinara sauce a veggie serving!)
I asked a few other people.

Turns out, it’s not that uncommon.  But wow, it’s a little scary.

I’m not going to go on and on about the benefits of veggies. You probably know it all already. So why aren’t you eating them?
Here’s the common answers I heard :

1. I don’t like vegetables.
Ok, this is the worst of all the excuses. Firstly, there are THOUSANDS of fruits and vegetables. You can’t even begin to think you don’t like any of them. You have tastebuds and they have taste. All different kinds, trust me, there are some you like!  Just try everything, the very worst that could happen (aside from a deathly allergic reaction, lol) is that you don’t like it. Big whoop.  Just TRY.
Secondly, I’m assuming that you’re a grown up.  Just because you didn’t like brussels sprouts when you were a kid doesn’t mean you don’t now.  You can even hide them in things so you can’t taste them.  Spinach in a smoothie, kale in your soup, carrots in your meatballs.

2. Fruit has too much sugar.
Fructose and glucose are not metabolized the same in your body. Eating an apple is not the same as eating a snickers bar.  Don’t look at fruit as candy, or as a dessert. Think of fruit as just a sweet vegetable. Packed full of vitamins and nutrients that your body needs to be healthy!

3. Produce is expensive.
So is medication and doctor’s visits.
I know that sounds extreme, but its true.  The cost of sick-care is way, way higher than the cost of prevention.
Also, it’s not as expensive as it sounds. You don’t need to buy the fifteen dollar figs or the fanciest lettuce there is.  Kale is cheap and versatile. A bag of apples is the same price as a bag of Doritos.  Also, the more vegetables you incorporate into your meals, the more satiating it becomes, and the less meat and oils you’ll need to add.  Buy just a little less meat and put that money towards some veggies.
Lastly, you need *need* to buy fresh. Buy what you can afford and what you like.  Canned is better than nothing, frozen is better than canned, fresh is best.  If you actually prefer the frozen bags of mixed veggies – get them!  Ain’t no shame! Even if you prefer fresh, buy a couple bags of the frozen just to have on hand.

4. I don’t know how to prepare them/what to make.
Google is your friend.  Type in “best way to prepare brussels sprouts” BAM. A million ideas and recipes.  All the work is done for you, they are telling you exactly how to make it so it tastes its very best.

My trick?  When planning a meal,  most people start with the protein.  They think, we’ve got some chicken, so lets do chicken parm, with spaghetti
Try starting with the veggie in mind instead.  You see some green beans on sale, so you say – lets have some green beans for dinner! Google up “green bean recipes”  You’ll find whole, wholesome meals that include green beans.

5. My husband/wife/kids/etc. won’t eat them.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t.  I cook Joel and I different meals every night. Variations are EASY.  You’re making that chicken parm and spaghetti for the family? Do some eggplant parm as well for those that will eat it. Make a side of roasted vegetables to go with. If you’re the only one that eats them, it’s fine, you’ve got leftovers for a roasted veggie wrap for lunch.
Your kids need to see you eating them, even if they don’t want to themselves.

6. I don’t know how much to have?
My answer is – with veggies : you can’t ever have too much.  But for a minimum? I’d say aim for 1-2 servings per meal.
What does that look like?  Have a piece of fruit with your breakfast.  Have 1-2 veggies with your lunch and 1-2 veggies with your dinner.  Have another piece of fruit or veggie for/with a snack.

There you have it. I know it’s a little tough-lovey, and I don’t mean any of this to sound harsh.  It seems like a trivial thing, not eating enough veggies.  But, it’s not.  Our bodies are meant to have these things, they need it to function optimally, its just the way it is.
I’m not asking you to give up anything, just ADD something. Add some fruits and veggies, you’ll love it, I promise!

Here’s a cute list of some typical fruits & veggies found in the US grocery stores.  Just look at all the options.  Look at this list when you need inspiration for dinner!