DAY # 19
Today I will add plants (fruits or veggies) into EACH meal and snack.
Plants heal your body on a cellular level like nothing else on this planet. Make sure to focus on color and variety! You can add fruit to breakfast-- think cutie clementine, banana, pear, apple, berries, or 1-2 Tablespoons of dried fruit. Because dried fruit is a concentrated source of sugar its recommended to be mindful of portion sizes since it's easy to overeat. It’s not that you can’t have dried fruit, it’s just that a little goes a long way.
**Healthy suggestion: Wean yourself from dried fruit with added sugar. Did you know that cranberries are pressed for juice then plumped up with oil and sugar since they are pretty tart naturally! On average, dried cranberries generally contains 26 grams of added sugar per 1/3 cup! Once I realized that I transitioned to something that felt a bit more natural, apple juice-sweetened cranberries. My sensitive belly does not miss the extra white sugar! BTW the American Heart Association recommends limiting your added sugar content to no more than 24 grams of added sugar (equals 6 teaspoons or 100 calories) for women; 36 grams of added sugar (equals 9 teaspoons or 150 calories) for men. Remember, it isn't a daily requirement to consume sugar, just make your added sugars count, you enjoy them and they are worth it. If you are diabetic it's always a good idea to pay attention to how certain food impacts your blood sugar, energy, and gut. We’ll discuss more on sugar coming up.
Lunch can be a chopped salad or vegetable side: this is where leftovers can be super helpful! I'm a big fan of making ample grilled, steamed, broiled veggies for a meal and then using leftovers to pack up as a side dish or main for lunch.
Snacks are easy - fruit of your choice or carrots, celery, cucumber, peppers, cherry tomato, cauliflower, broccoli or sugar snap peas with hummus or plain Greek yogurt + Mrs. Dash ranch packet or other flavor to make a healthy high-protein dip. Vegans can replace the dairy yogurt with tofu or non-dairy yogurts (Lavva plant-based yogurt (my personal fave), Forager cashew yogurt and Soy Delicious unsweetened coconut yogurt are dairy-free varieties that you can find at Whole Foods, perhaps some Kroger or Publix stores).
Dinner is a no-brainer by adding in veggies of your choice. If you always default to steamed broccoli or grilled asparagus, perhaps try something new like other roasted or grilled veggies. Chop up all your veggies, place on a baking pan or dish and drizzle with avocado or extra-virgin olive oil and a pinch of sea salt (my favorite is pink Himalayan sea salt - in a small salt grinder at Trader Joe's) then roast for about 20-45 minutes depending on what veggies you cook). I like to roast sweet potatoes on one pan and asparagus and other similar sized veggies on another since the asparagus is smaller and cooks faster. But there is nothing like grilled asparagus with a drizzle of avocado oil & pink sea salt (!!!). Sweet potatoes, beets and other thick, hearty root veggies take longer to roast.
Feed your body with healthy veggies and fruits and remember to chew chew chew until the consistency of applesauce to help with digestion. Not only will you absorb more nutrition but also reduce gas and bloating as well as slow down at meals, chew your food, and stop when you feel content. If you have IBS or IBD, please don’t go overboard on veggies! Raw ones take a lot of digestive strength to break down so it’s suggested to stick to cooked ones. Keep portion sizes on the smaller side (no more than 1/2 cup if that’s what you tolerate) to prevent overloading your system. Everyone learn to listen to your body and trust your innate belly wisdom that we are tapping into!
Ask yourself if what you are doing today is getting you closer to who you want to be tomorrow...