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Making Friends with Vegetables

It always surprises me when someone says they don’t like vegetables.  My inner critic wants to say “What are you, five?”  Of course, I hope that most of the time this stays as an internal voice, instead I like to share thoughts from few authors in the anti-inflammatory and Primal movement who’s quotes I ruminate on:

“Eat copious amounts of leafy green vegetables.”

“Look at your plate, make portions of 2/3 vegetables and fruits to 1/3 grains and protein, this helps to decrease inflammation.”

“If you say you don’t like vegetables, we reply, “we don’t care.”  We all have to do things we don’t like.

“Maybe someone who doesn’t like vegetables, hasn’t found the way they like them served.”

– Teri Doughty, Health Coach, All About Healthy

How do we begin then to make friends with vegetables?  A friend of mine encourages his son to pick out one unusual vegetable at the grocery store.  They find out what it is, how to cook and serve it, and they incorporate the new food in their family meals.  That’s cool, I think it is great to give yourself permission to experiment, it educates the mind and the palate, and encourages trying new things. Trying new things builds neural synapses in the brain, so you get to stave off dementia while putting nutritious food on your plate!

As I was growing up my mom always made me try a food every so often, she said that my taste buds would change.  She was right.  Of course, she illustrated her point by sharing a time when I declared I did not like ice cream, because it was too much like baby food (in its consistency).  I think I was four.  I’m pretty sure my mom didn’t challenge this insistence, but for things like lima beans and avocados, I always had to try a bite.  For the record, I am now a huge advocate for avocados, but lima beans never made it off the vegetables I don’t like list.  And now that I’m Paleo, I can keep them off my plate since I’m not eating legumes.

A client recently shared that she doesn’t like to buy fresh veggies, because she hates it when they spoil.  So she asked if it was alright to incorporate frozen veggies.  Of course, any vegetable is better than no vegetable, but when you think about which option might be more nutritious, the fresh leafy greens win hands down.  I challenge you to try more greens.  Experiment with Kale, Chard, Cilantro, Collard Greens, Bok Choy, Spinach, Radish Greens, Arugula, Beet Greens, Carrot Tops, Dandelion Greens.  Raw or wilted, add greens to stir fry, salads, and soups.  I try and add greens to every meal, several different ones if I can. Since I have started trying to eat copious amounts of greens, I tend to run out before anything spoils.

As you begin your journey to educate your palate, you may find that your body educates you!  I now swab up my morning eggs with chard, seems I can’t live without it (a shift from the days of insisting on toast).  Now if I run out of chard I go hunting in the yard for dandelions, or drive to the store before breakfast!

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