Food is an important part of health but we must be clear that it is only a part. A holistic approach to health is required, taking other factors such as water, air, exercise, emotions, and mental state into consideration. What we eat significantly affects our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being. We all have different body types, ethnic backgrounds, medical histories, stress levels, caloric needs and physiological responses to food; therefore, no one philosophy is right for everyone.
Here are some Blissfully Live Vegan and Vegan Guidelines to consider for a healthier lifestyle full of fruits and vegetables.
1. Avoid processed “junk” foods including fast food, packaged foods, high fat foods this first week and frankly the longer you can limit them in your diet, the better you will feel.
2. Choose as many local, seasonal, organic foods as possible. Begin by adding whole fruits and vegetables into your diet. Start with soups, smoothies and salads. They are fun meal choices that help you integrate more fruits and vegetables into your diet.
3. Eat smaller amounts more often. Eating just enough to nourish yourself without going beyond what is comfortable is at the heart of being gentle to your body.
What counts as a serving for fruits & veggies?
- 1 cup leafy greens, berries or melon chunks
- 1/2 cup cut or cooked fruits and vegetables (broccoli, carrots, pineapple…)
- 1 medium piece of fruit or vegetable (apple, plum, peach, orange)
- 6 ounces natural, fresh 100% fruit/vegetable juice
- 1/4 cup dried fruit (sulfur free)
4. Consider how you prepare your food so you get the most out of them (and we don’t mean the most calories, we mean the most nutrients). Obviously, your deep frying days are over. Bake, broil, grill, roast and steam your food. Stir frying is acceptable as well with a small amount of oil.
5. Eat a rainbow every day. Many of the health benefits of micronutrients are concentrated in the pigment of fruits and vegetables. Essentially the properties that give each fruit or veggie its rich color are the same elements that help protect our immune systems and keep our bodies strong. Each color family is rich in unique and important micronutrients. The American Cancer Society recommends choosing at least one representative from each color family per day. We like to say: “It’s good practice to eat a rainbow every day.” All fruits and veggies are good for different reasons. Don’t be afraid to take chances, to try new combinations and to customize the fruits and vegetables you mix and match.
tomato, watermelon, red pepper, beets, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, grapefruit, pomegranate, apple, guava, red onion, Japanese persimmon
orange, sweet potato, mango, winter squash, papaya, carrots, orange peppers, tangerine/Clementine, nectarine, peach, apricot, Asian pear, Japanese squash
spinach, kale, swish chard, mustard or collard greens, avocado, asparagus, artichoke, bok choy, green cabbage, Chinese cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green pepper, watercress, kiwi, apples, avocado, cilantro, basil, parsley, mint
blueberries, eggplant, concord grapes, purple cabbage, blackberries, plums
garlic, cauliflower, onions, ginger, Japanese radishes/Daikon, burdock root, Shiitake, Maiitake mushrooms, Jicama
6. Think about protein in a new way. Protein is essential for a healthy immune system, building and maintaining lean body mass, regulating the speed of digestion, and overall energy levels. As Americans, we eat lots and lots of animal proteins like meat, poultry and pork. The typical American plate is 50% animal protein, 25% overcooked vegetable and 25% starch like white potatoes. Health advocates recommend reshaping our plates for balanced, healthy eating. Recreate your plate by shifting to 50% plant foods like vegetables or some fruit, 25% lean protein and 25% whole grain.
Examples of the Plant Proteins You Should Be Eating:
- Beans & Legumes (lentils, split peas, black beans, garbanzo beans, hummus, kidney beans)
- Nuts & Seeds (walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds)
- Natural Nut Butters (almond, peanut)
- Soy Foods (edamame, tofu, soy milk)
The Animal Proteins You Should Be Eating:
- Organic, cage free Poultry
- Grass Fed lean beef (bison, ostrich, buffalo)
- Organic eggs
- Wild caught fish
- Organic dairy products
Before you can truly embrace a Blissfully Live Vegan and Vegan Lifestyle in fruit and vegetables, it is important to understand the benefits these foods are literally bringing to the table. Here are some quick facts you didn’t know about everything – from Apples to Turmeric.
- Apples contain antioxidants that help protect “good” HDL cholesterol levels in the blood.
- Avocados are densely packed with anti-inflammatory, healthy fats. Well-known for its vitamin E content, an important antioxidant.
- Beets are potent antioxidants with liver-protective properties.
- Blueberries and blackberries are rich in anthocyanins—these phytonutrients have power. They can reduce inflammation, increase detoxifying enzymes in the liver, and stop cancers from creating their own lifeline-blood supply.
- Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable that promotes natural detoxification in the liver. It is high in sulfur and iodine.
- Carrots are the richest plant source of vitamin A, good source of potassium.
- Celery is high in organic sodium, magnesium, and iron. Magnesium is important for the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into energy; for muscle relaxation and the prevention of cramps; and for nerve conduction and preventing tooth decay.
- Cilantro provides a rich source of carotenoids.
- Cinnamon has been shown to help keep blood sugar in check.
- Cucumbers contain potassium and phytosterols, which help lower blood cholesterol levels.
- Fennel’s active ingredient, anethole, blocks inflammation in the body and can stop cancer cells from multiplying.
- Ginger root reduces nausea, pain and inflammation, and provides heartburn relief. It also aids digestion.
- Grapefruits provide a rich source of vitamin C, and are a good source of lycopene (a carotene with prostate cancer-protective properties).
- Kale is an especially nutrient-dense vegetable with many potent micronutrients. Rich and abundant in calcium, lutein, iron, and vitamins A, C, and K, kale has seven times the beta-carotene of broccoli and ten times more lutein, another potent carotene. Kale is part of the cruciferous vegetable family, making it a good source of the phytonutrient indole-3-carbinol. Research shows I3C has many anti-cancer actions, such as promoting estrogen ratios in the blood that are weak, but needed to discourage breast cancer tumor growth. Crucifers are also potent detoxifiers.
- Kiwis offer twice the vitamin C of an orange per serving. They are a good source of vitamin E (a potent antioxidant) and potassium.
- Lemons contain natural anti-nausea and overall digestive-aid properties.
- Mint is rich in plant-based omega-3 fats – an important nutrient for healthy hair, skin, and nails that has powerful anti-inflammatory activity. Omega-3s may also protect against the development of heart disease and certain types of cancers.
- Parsley is a good source of folic acid, which may help lower the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancers. It also promotes fresh breath.
- Pineapples are high in the enzyme bromelain, an anti-inflammatory.
- Spinach is high in iron, vitamin C, and beta-carotene. The vitamin C and beta-carotene in spinach are antioxidants, and may help to protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. Most dark green leafy veggies are rich in lutein – a phytonutrient shown to help delay age-related macular degeneration of the eyes.
- Sweet potatoes (and carrots for that matter) are rich in – a phytonutrient responsible for giving these veggies their rich orange color. Zeaxanthin has anti-cancer activity: it helps encourage cancer cells to commit suicide (apoptosis), and helps prevent tumors from being able to create their own blood supply (anti-angiogenesis).
- Swiss chard tastes sweeter in juices than spinach. It is rich in vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. Foods rich in potassium have been shown to lower blood pressure and heart disease risk.
- Tomatoes are rich in lycopene – a member of the carotene family famous for its potential to prevent prostate cancer.
- Turmeric has been shown to have multiple forms of anti-cancer activity in prostate, ovarian, colon, uterine, and breast cancer cells. The active ingredient responsible, curcumin, is approximately 1,000 times more bioavailable (absorbable) when combined with black pepper.
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