Time to Talk Veggies

By Tracy Gowler 6 years ago
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It’s time to talk veggies.  We haven’t don’t that yet and it is the month of Spring Cleaning for your Body. If you want to be healthy, veggies are very important.

For all of you people that don’t love your vegetables, you just have to find a way to get them into your system.  Cause guess what?

They are kind of important.

When it comes to nutrient density, meat is definitely more nutrient dense.  Of course.  But veggies do all kinds of wonderful things for us.  You are probably asking “well Tracy, what exactly do they do?”  I’m going to tell you.

Veggies are a good source of phytonutrients. 

What does that mean?  It just means nutrients from plants.  I know, it sounds so important and it is.  They help improve the body’s antioxidant defense system, meaning they help to lower oxidative damage or stresses in the body.  You won’t find these in meat.  The highest levels of oxidative stress or damage happens from smoking, so all of you smokers out there beware and you’d better eat your veggies.

Vegetables are full of water and high in fiber content. 

You do need your fiber and you can’t get fiber from juicing.  The fiber is in the pulp.  Don’t get me wrong, if you are willing to eat your veggies in the form of a juice, it is loaded with nutrients and they are easily absorbable in a liquid format, but you do need the fiber.  That means eating your veggies too.  Raw is obviously better from a nutrient value but raw is harder for your body to absorb.  And if you are struggling with illness or gut issues (one of my friends would prefer I say stomach issues but I can’t, sorry) it can be so much easier to handle the foods cooked or steamed.

They are low in calories. 

WooHoo!!! Great for weight loss or to keep the weight down.

From a gut supporting perspective they are full of microbiota-available carbohydrates.  Justin Sonnenburg, a microbiologist from Stanford coined this term.  These are the carbs in veggies that can be converted by the bacteria and other organisms into energy.  They help feed the gut flora.  Helping with the health of your microbiome which you all want.

All of this is amazing but it’s not all. 

Nope.  Veggies can contribute to lowering the risk of death and help with the reduction of inflammation in the body.  We have talked a great deal about inflammation, leaky gut, and disease in the body.  They all go hand in hand so any lowering of inflammation, I think, is very necessary.

How much should you eat per day?  I tell my clients 5-7 servings.  Really, you should be eating veggies at ever meal.  Kale and or spinach should be eaten with breakfast.  They help the body so much.  As a matter of fact, leafy greens in general should be a part of every meal.  They help with absorption of nutrients in your body.  And yes, some of the leafy greens are highlighted as an issue with autoimmune thyroid disease because of their goitrogenic affects meaning they can reduce the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland which you need for your thyroid hormone.  You can probably tolerate the goitrogen veggies raw in smaller amounts.  Cooking them or steaming them limits their goitrogenic affects.  3-6 servings per week would be best if you do have thyroid issues.  They do have tremendous nutritional benefits so if you can tolerate them, it is good to leave them in your diet in limited amounts.

Lots of veggies at lunch and dinner, especially the leafy greens.  Adding tubers and starchy plants throughout the day.  They are also beneficial.  The point is you need a variety.  All the colors of the vegetable rainbow.

And lastly, don’t forget your fermented veggies.  They are so good for your gut health.

Ideally, you want to eat organic veggies because of the nutrient availability and lower pesticides.  It isn’t always budget friendly though so if you have a budget, please refer to the EWG’s list of Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen at EWG.org to determine what must be bought organic and what you don’t have to worry about so much.

That being said, there are other things that play into the nutrient availability of the plant. As soon as you pick the plant, the nutrient value starts to degrade.  Sometimes frozen is a good option because it is flash frozen soon after picking and the nutrients are frozen in state.  Locally grown at your supermarkets is also a great option because they have not travelled 1500 miles to get to you losing nutrients all along the way.  Just because it is organic, doesn’t mean it is the highest in nutrient value.  It is always a tradeoff.

So now you are probably thinking, great Tracy, you didn’t clear that up at all.  No, it is complicated.  Here’s the thing.  Just do your best.  Buy frozen if you can’t get it fresh.  But from the Farmer’s markets when you can.  Buy local when you can.  And for those Dirty Dozen, get them organic when you can.

And if you want to know more about veggies and fruits, there is a book out there called Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson.  She talks about storage, preserving the nutrients of veggies, canning, etc.  Everything you ever wanted to know.

Bottom line is, if you aren’t eating veggies, you need to. 

If you are, good for you.  Hopefully this gave you a little more insight.

It is Spring Cleaning time and we will continue along these lines as we move through the month so stay tunes.  Have a great rest of your week.


Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

  Eat Healthy, Health, Shop Healthy, Tracy's Corner
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 Tracy Gowler

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