We have all heard for years that the USDA recommends that we have 5-7 servings of vegetables a day for optimal health. Diet and nutrition research tells us that when we shift our diet to include more vegetables, we can avoid heart and cardiovascular disease, have improved blood sugars, and avoid or roll back diabetes, have better digestive function and protect ourselves from cancer. Why then do Americans fail to make the dietary changes that promise us vastly improved health?
- We are creatures of habit. It is simply not easy to change habits. We have emotional attachments to our traditional foods and cooking methods. We often make food choices because they represent emotional well-being to us rather than for their nutritional merits.
- We have a great deal of encouragement from fast food businesses and corporate food producers to hold on to our unhealthy eating habits. Remember the old jingle, “You deserve a break today….”? They might have said, more honestly, “you deserve a heart attack today and a life time of ill-health”. However, they are not going to say that; they want to make money. They are going to sell us what they know we will buy. They are not our mother and they don’t care about our health.
- Our lives are busy. We don’t have moms at home any more with ample time to focus on the home and meal preparation. Moms are having to work full time, care for their children, run the house, run the errands, take care of extended family and social obligations. Oftentimes husbands are reaping the rewards of their wives incomes, but don’t quite know how to step up to the plate with the household work.
- Our tummies are cruel task-masters. They want what they want right now. They do not care about our intellectual decision to eat better and get healthier. When they want to be fed, they will have us grabbing at anything handy. They do not care that we just worked all day, took our child to the doctor, and then to the pharmacy, and maybe to the store, and then finally dragged ourselves in the door, needing to rest, but are instead confronted with our “second-shift” at home. Now we must cook and clean and tend to the children, or the spouse, and even the dog and the cat.
In order to fend off the attacks from all of these pressures, we have to have a cunning strategy, a plan. We have to sneak up on our enemy before our enemy can sneak up on us.
We have to be prepared in order to win the food fight.
So how do we get prepared? We must learn food principles and tricks.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been wanting to incorporate more vegetables into my meal plans. I just seem to crave more veggies. No doubt about it, I feel better when I do manage to get at least a couple of veggies on a daily basis.
You’ve probably heard that the daily nutrition recommendations from the USDA (acronym for United States Department of Agriculture) say that we should have 3-5 servings of vegetables each day. French fries don’t count! Well, potatoes count, but the trouble is that french fries are packing too much starch and oil. Bummer! The sad fact is that too much oil and starch can have negative health impacts for us, like weight gain and a propensity to developing diabetes.
Cooking Light magazine has some very nice recipes. By chance, at the store the other day, I picked up a copy of ” Diabetic Cooking Light” and was delighted to see the simplest recipe for tomatoes that is absolutely delicious. It is nothing but fresh tasty tomatoes, feta cheese and a little olive oil. Go here for the recipe: Easy Tomato Salad