Eating Fruits and Vegetables - Make It Your Lifestyle
The Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are invaluable in cleansing, detoxifying, and revitalizing the entire system. Frequent intake helps bring vitality to the body, renews clear mental focus and brightening the spirits. Europeans use this as a method of rejuvenation and natural healing.
We tend to overload our systems with too many rich and processed foods; too many indigestible combinations; too much salt, sugar, fat and protein. We undermine our bodies’ capabilities by the way we live. We add daily to the burden of toxic wastes, but we do little to assist in their removal. And through no fault of our own, we take in a great number of pollutants from the air we breathe and the water we drink. The result is more wastes than the body can reasonably handle. These toxic wastes interfere with proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients.
I used to be 20 lbs overweight. I tried dieting, but it did not work. My dieting made me fat and flabby. With dieting, we rarely focus on nourishing the body with good, wholesome, nutrient-rich foods. The weight that I’ve lost always comes back - and with a few extra pounds. Finally, I learned to lose weight properly by learning to eat correctly and exercise regularly. It’s that simple. With proper nutrition and exercise, I was able to achieve my ideal weight and maintained it permanently. I have more energy than ever before. I look and feel more youthful, vibrant, stronger and healthier than when I was younger. The right foods, the ones that feed the body, can be eaten in plenty. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes provide a great amount of bulk, which satisfies the appetite quickly and is easily digested and assimilated. These foods also encourage the loss of unwanted fat.
Think of fruits and vegetables as your best allies. These foods are truly the natural and effective cure. They contain very large amounts of essential vitamins and mineral for very few calories. We should strive to eat three to five servings of fruits and four to six servings of vegetables daily. Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale are best defenses for fighting and preventing certain diseases like cancer. However, according to "Sarah The Healthy Home Economist", "cruciferous vegetables should be cooked before eating as they contain chemicals that BLOCK the production of thyroid hormone in your body." "Cooking crucifers reduces the goitrogenic substances by about 2/3." She added a list of common cruciferous vegetables that should not be eaten raw to protect our thyroid gland: arugula, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, turnip, collard greens, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, radish, rutabaga, and watercress.
Since we find that many of these vegetables mentioned are commonly included in fresh vegetable juices or smoothies and salads, consuming them on an occasional basis is not going to do any harm. Therefore, she advises that it would be wise not to make a habit of eating/drinking any of these vegetables in raw form.
She also cautions that vegetables tend to form nitrates after cooking and during storage, so it is best to avoid refrigerating and reheating vegetables. For raw vegetable greens, she added that some veggie greens contain a chemical called oxalic acid which blocks iron and calcium absorption and may contribute to the formation of kidney stones. These vegetables include spinach, chard, parsley, chives, purslane and beet greens. However, by steaming or cooking these veggies, oxalic acid can be reduced.
The Importance of Raw Fruits
Fruits are always best eaten raw. Fruits are most nourishing when eaten raw and provide excellent sources of whole nutrition. Raw foods are vital to optimum health and energy levels. They are high-nutrient and high-volume foods. Proper nutrition enables our cells to repair, replenish, and replace themselves efficiently, and cleansing the body of wastes. We can eat large amounts of raw fruits and our body will be flooded with micronutrients and fiber.
Processed and refined foods can sustain us but our cells and tissues are not regenerated. Under these circumstances, we tend to age more quickly and feel less fit than we should. We are not exactly sick, but neither are we in vibrant health.
Raw fruits are a rich source of enzymes. Without enzymes, food could not be digested. It is the enzymes in foods and those manufactured by our own bodies that help convert foods into new cells and tissues. These enzymes are usually found in fresh, raw foods. Overcooking destroys the live enzymes.
Raw foods can help in cleansing the body by reducing the burden of wastes that the body has to deal with and eliminate those already stored in the tissues. Raw food supplies fiber which we know is so important for sweeping the whole digestive system free of wastes.
Raw foods contain valuable antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and water. Raw fruits are the healthiest we can eat and they also promote weight loss. We can still use a variety of raw vegetables in salads, but in moderation. We can even top it with cut-up berries or oranges and sprinkle nuts (for protein). With the addition of a little dressing, this can already be a whole meal. We can also derive maximum benefits from fruits and vegetables by juicing them. Fresh juices are digested and assimilated into the system in a matter of minutes.
Juicer and Blender
I love to juice or puree fresh fruits and vegetables. This is an easy way to consume fruits and vegetables. I hate chewing them. My blender does the “chewing” for me. So, I make smoothies twice a day. It contains greens, berries (frozen or fresh), add some protein powder and almond or soy milk. I don’t use cow’s milk.
By using a juicer or a blender, we derive the maximum benefits out of these raw foods. Both methods give fruits and vegetables a remarkably revitalizing effect upon the entire body. Juicing is a superb way to load up on potassium and in addition, we give our body an internal bath of health and vitality. It does not hurt to flood our cells with nutrients!
This does not mean we should only eat raw foods. But every effort should be made to eat fresh, raw foods as often as possible. Including raw foods in our diet is important and keeps it balanced. Raw foods have live enzymes. However, there are other vegetables that are best eaten cooked like, string beans, snow peas, leaks, onions, etc. and they can also be eaten as much as we like. Whether cooked or raw, vegetables are still right to eat. By eating right, this will help put an end to diabetes or heart disease, even cancer, and who knows, might even get you off the medications!
The bottom line is: Don’t diet. Eat right all the time, and eat for health! We have to find a way of nourishing ourselves by eating clean. We can still stock up on a colorful assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables, including healthy choices of whole grains and lean protein. If you are blessed with a yard or a patio, you can make an effort to plant your own vegetable garden that can be free of pesticides and other chemicals and enjoy an organic produce even just for the summer months. Last summer, we had planted green beans, tomatoes, eggplants, okra, both yellow and white squash, zucchini, cucumber and lettuce. These are good enough to make a little salad or side dish. We also had blackberries, blueberries and raspberries which add to my smoothie. These berries grow wild every year in our yard.
Here's a sample of my smoothie recipe
1 cup of almond milk (vanilla flavor or unsweetened)
½ cup fresh or frozen berries
1 scoop of protein powder (or ground Chia/Flax seeds)
Combine all and blend.
For variety: I add a stalk of celery, 1 medium carrot to the above and blend. Plain yogurt or Kefir yogurt may also be added for probiotic. I choose the berry flavored Kefir. This may be used in addition to or in place of milk and fresh/frozen berries.
I also toss in one of my multi-plex caplet or open one of the multi-vitamin capsules for added strength and nutrient. This is really best for strengthening and boosting our immune system.
Banana and peanut butter are also alternate smoothie ingredients that can be blended with almond milk and 1 tablespoon of ground Chia/Flax seeds. This makes a high fiber and super protein mixture.
I found ground flax hulls and I used them alternatively with Chia/Flax seeds. I only add 1/2 to 1 scoop in my smoothie. Flax hulls provide Cobalamin (Vitamin B12). It is a very nutritious dietary fiber (soluble and insoluble) and a potent antioxidant due to its amazing botanical chemical compound called lignans.