Having frequently bemoaned the fact that I never get enough vegetables to eat when out and about or in restaurants, everyone nowadays is talking about 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day not being sufficient – we should be eating 7-10 per day.
I don’t have any problem with this and completely endorse the validity of health being related to the number of portions we eat. When I trained as a nutritional therapist in the 1980s, I remember being taught that we shouldn’t eat more than 2 pieces of fruit per day and at least 5 portions of vegetables per day. I have followed the advice ever since. It was sound advice as was much of the rest of the training yet only now 30 years later is the effect of diet on our health really being accepted.
I find that if I have fruit with my breakfast, an apple mid-morning or mid-afternoon and a salad or home-made soup for lunch, I am often up to 5-7 portions before I think about my evening meal. It’s not difficult to do if you base more meals around vegetables rather than thinking of vegetables as an extra.
I’m lucky in that I love fruit and vegetables but I also find that the more I eat them the more I love them. Our taste buds soon become adulterated if we feed them on processed stodgy food which we then end up craving rather than the greens. Whenever I make a meal, I think about what veggies I have before I think what I can put with them so if I have for instance a good selection, I might choose to make a vegetable stir-fry with cashew nuts or if there are just some root vegetables and a few odds and ends that need using up, I might make a thick broth. Unfortunately most people think about the protein content of the meal first and vegetables are used to fill any gaps.
I was in the car one lunchtime listening to a phone-in on this subject. The participants ranged from those thinking what a lot of rubbish and how impossible, to those who had seen their health problems disappear as they had embraced eating more vegetables and fruit. It’s not rocket science – we are what we eat!
I loved the Matt cartoon in the newspaper on this subject. A man is standing at a bar with a newspaper under his arm with the headline – 5 a day not enough. ‘A pint of beer please,’ he says – ‘and could you put a cherry on top?’