I entered into a new world of eating when I discovered an MS recovery diet. It has really changed my thinking and my shopping. The more I learn the more I realise this diet is for everyone, not just those who are diagnosed with a chronic illness.
It took a while but I realised I had to get back to basics, fruit and veg were my answer.
My meals have become simple yet really delicious. Rather than making meat the basis for each meal I make the veg the starting point.
There are so many ways to enjoy veg. Soups, stews, roasted, steamed, baked, raw…the possibilities are endless. The variety is huge. Perhaps loosing meat from your diet is not for you but looking at the balance of your meals could be a healthy move.
When we plan meals it is completely normal to think…
1) What meat shall we have? Maybe a sauce?
2) What carbohydrates shall we have?
… and then as an afterthought
3) Shall we get some veg/salad to go on the side?
This thinking is often reflected on restaurant menus with the main dish being meat, or maybe as a healthy option fish, and then veg being a side order. Maybe the veg is even an added extra on the bill and not included as part of the meal. Even for vegetarians this happens with cheese being the obvious alternative.
If I try to eat out and ask for a ‘big salad’ restaurants just don’t get it. I just end up with a side salad spread thinly over a big plate. What I really want is a bigger quantity of salad to fill me up, as many different colours and textures as they can find and plenty of leaves to make it interesting and tasty.
Again and again we are told to get more fruit and veg into our diets and yet it can seem so hard to make a reality. We are so stuck in our ways as a society that you start to feel like a difficult customer when you ask for something, which in many ways is more simple. Unless you have a health issue that provides you with a huge incentive it is often easier just to stick with the norm and have the token side salad.
Making changes in our life can demand that we rethink habits that we have been in for years. Make a decision about what you want to achieve and then keep this in mind each time you make a food choice. Your motivation could be better health, it might be weight loss. What ever it is make it something that is important to you, as important as your body.
Rather than seeking to count your 5 portions a day perhaps try to change your thinking, how about trying..
1) What vegetables shall we have? What’s in season? What will be bright and attractive on our plate? What will be nice together?
2) Shall we have some rice or potatoes?
3) Do we need any meat or will shall get our protein from fish, nuts or seeds today?
Almost as soon as you change the balance of your diet you will experience benefits. Pile your plate with the veg first and add smaller amounts of meat and carbohydrate on top. You will eat slower if you eat lots of veg. Your digestive system will thank you for the fibre and you will start to see results in terms of weight loss and clear, glowing skin.
Fruit and veg are full of vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients. They make us look and feel great. To make your body really healthy it makes great sense to eat lots of them. Any extra effort it takes to buy vegetables is more than made up for by the simplicity of preparing and eating them.
Multivitamin tablets are advertised as an easy source of obtaining nutrients but they are only as good as the research that has been done. If you eat a wide variety of fruit and veg you will be getting everything you need plus the things that the scientists don’t even know about yet. Why wait to discover what you are missing out on?
Come on a Revitalise Day to try some amazing dishes made using in season fruit and veg and be inspired to continue this into your daily diet.