When looking at diet, it’s easy to focus on the negatives – limit caffeine, avoid sugar, keep away from food sensitivities, but there is so much good to focus on.
Have you ever had one of those meals where you felt energized after you finished eating? That’s something healthy food can do. There’s no reason to feel lethargic and drained after eating when – with a few, healthy decisions – you can instead feel like you can conquer the world.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are important. More and more research shows just how important they can be. In fact, the USDA recommends that half of your plate be filled with fruits and vegetables at every meal.
According to a recent Harvard University Medical Center and Norwich Medical School study, eating citrus may reduce a woman’s risk of stroke. Antioxidants found in fresh produce fight inflammation. Nutritionist Marion Nestle has stated that fiber, which occurs only in plants, helps protect against obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and even some cancers. Yet, most Americans only consume half of the fiber they should each day. She goes on to say that people who eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains develop less chronic disease.
Besides feeling better on the inside, fresh food can also help lighten your mood. Walking into a produce department is a feast for all of the senses. Let the wide variety of colors wash over you. Even the various, variegated greens can be a joy. Savor the sweet smells of the strawberries and mangoes, the earthy aroma of mushrooms, the green sharpness of garlic scapes, and the pungent zip of onions and garlic.
These are experiences everyone can enjoy, even with diet restrictions like gluten-intolerance or diabetes. Each of us should be eating more vegetables, no matter our diets, and choosing new varieties to try can be a culinary adventure.
Julia Child said, “Moderation. Small helpings. Sample a little bit of everything. These are the secrets of happiness and good health.” No matter what your diet restrictions may be, keep this in mind as you fashion your meals. Focus on healthy fruits and vegetables. Love your diet, no matter what. The abundance of tasty, wholesome food around you is a blessing that can bring you satisfaction, and hopefully make you feel really good, too.
*originally ran in the Northern Gold Country Parents’ Resource Guide