Your Mom was Right!!! You Need to Eat Your Veggies!

Thursday, 1:30pm
From: Work/Life Balance Entrepreneur Coach Vanessa Long, Newmarket, Ontario.
To: Solo-preneurs, Small Business Owners, Heart-Centred Entrepreneurs, Purpose Seekers

Your Mom was Right!

You Need to Eat Your Veggies!

5 Powerful Ways for Introducing More Raw Veggies to Your Body

May I be a little vulnerable with you? Okay, maybe a lot?

I hate veggies. I hate having to eat them! Those little celery and carrot sticks and salad (!) – don't even get me started on salad. All that lettuce!

Unless they're root vegetables slow-roasted beside a roast beef, I'm just not overflowing with joy. Know what I mean?

In fact, one of my family's favourite stories is about me dumping peas down behind the couch while I was watching television. My dad only caught me when I went back to ask for seconds. Apparently I'd been dumping them there for weeks!

You can imagine then, how I found myself wondering… 'Why am I writing about veggies?'

After all, I'm a coach, I help people build their passionate life and step into the empowered and liberated superstars that they know they can be. Building businesses that will change the world.

So, why veggies?

Well, here's the thing:

In Order to Create the Life of Your Dreams You Have to Be Healthy

It's true! You need to build a healthy, divine, inner temple to support you in building a life that gets you to your dreams.

You simply cannot be powerful and passionate when you feel so crappy that all you want to do is lie on the couch. Or so de-energized that you have to sleep all the time. 

I get that. I really do. When I had adrenal fatigue a few years ago I would sleep 10 hours every night and then have a mid-day nap that lasted at least 4 hours.

I was exhausted all the time. When I wasn't sleeping, I felt like I was in a brain fog.

Now, it wasn't because I don't eat my veggies. My adrenals gave out because I had run myself into the ground and never processed the grief over my mom's death. My body just shut down.

But it certainly didn't help that I was eating like crap – I could seriously go a couple of months without having a raw vegetable. I can see myself sitting there, thinking about it and not being able to remember the last time I'd had a raw vegetable.

Happily that has changed.

My Breakthrough last year was around healthy living and we put a big emphasis on getting more vegetables into my diet.

That's why I'm writing about them today. I learned how important they are – I mean, I knew they were important (I was a Personal Trainer for 10 years!) but now I believe that they are important for me… and for you.

In this article, I want to give you some specific advice on how to get more raw veggies into your world because, in my experience, they are a key ingredient in controlling weight and building our energy reserves.

But first I need to remove myself from the debate between raw and cooked vegetables – that's not why I'm here. I think it's important to have raw and cooked vegetables because research has shown that there are valuable nutrients that only become available when you cook veggies, but that cooking also lowers some nutrient levels. I figure it's safest to have some of each. (You can read more about the back and forth on this issue here.)

Tip: Scoop up some organic peanut butter or other nut butter with your raw veggie sticks for a tasty mid-afternoon snack and energy pick-me-up. The combination of protein, carb, and healthy fat will keep you moving until dinner.

Why Raw Veggies for Health and Happiness?

1. Biochemicals such as polyphenols, vitamin C, and the enzyme myrosinase are highly heat unstable and lost to the body when vegetables are cooked. To get benefit from all of the nutrients in your veggies you have to eat at least some of them raw.

2. They'll fill you up faster. The water and fiber in uncooked vegetables, plus the effort you have to put into eating them, means that you'll hear your body's 'full' signals faster if you eat your veggies raw and whole. And way faster than if you're eating chips or some other carby snack food that has no fiber.

3. They're portable. Our lifestyles are pretty mobile these days and it's easy to toss a bag of veggies into your purse or put them out on the table for the kids. It's messier and much less appetizing to throw a bag of cooked carrots into you purse, if you catch my drift.

How To Get Your Veggies with As Little Hassle as Possible

Here are my veggie hater tips to get more veggies into your world.

1. Purchase, wash, cut and bag a week's worth of veggies all at once.

I know that your time, like mine, is important and as much as I dislike veggies, I hate chopping them even more. Because it's not just chopping. You have to wash them, then peel them, then chop them, then clean up the mess. Right? Ugh!

Here's the neat thing I finally discovered: You can get a week's worth of veggies prepared and cleaned up in under an hour. Really! You can. Figure out what you want and then do it all at once. Put on some dance-able music and make it fun. By doing it all at once instead of spreading it all through the week you save a tonne of time in prep and clean-up. And you can make your purées here too! (see #3)

Tip: Add a little bit of vinegar (1/2 a cup should do it) to your sink of wash water and get your veggies squeaky clean. 

If you find that your veggies get a tad, um, mushy, by the end of the week – make time to do a mid-week refresher. One of my clients set an outcome to eat way more veggies and she preps a whole swack of them twice a week: huge salads, sautéed veggies and lots of little raw veggies keep her focused on her own health when everything else gets crazy.

Tip: Keep your veggies out where you can see them in the fridge. Don't hide them in the crisper drawers. You won't eat them if you can't see them!

2. Eat a Salad at Lunch

I work at home now, but when I was in an office, I would take a bag of salad greens to work each week and make myself a salad every day to have with my lunch. Very simple and fast.

This was a huge step for me because, remember, I hate salads. But I noticed after a while that my body had started to crave salads instead of chocolate and that's kind of a cool feeling.

Tip: Use a vegetable peeler to peel carrots into your salad. They're way easier to eat that way and make your salad look far prettier than it deserves.

If you want to take your salads to the next level, make what my friend calls the 'kitchen sink' salad. Start with some salad and then just start tossing in whatever you can find: veggies, nuts, fruit, cheese (very important!), and meat are all possible ingredients.

Add a nice vinaigrette and, Voila!, you have a kitchen sink salad. To me, it's far less painful to eat than a regular salad because the lettuce is minimized and it feels like a treasure hunt to search for the next yummy bit.

Tip: Use veggie slices instead of crackers and chips for dips. Use lettuce, spinach, kale, or collard leaves instead of bread, pitas, and tortillas when you make sandwiches and wraps.

3. Buy a Juicer

I've had a juicer for years and I'd only used it a few times in the decade or so that I had it. Recently, though, my fabulous man had a health epiphany and he has been making us juices almost every day for the last few months. 

The first thing that happened was my old juicer blew out on Day 4 of our juicing experiment but we now have a shiny new one and it makes juicing a breeze. Easy to clean and really powerful, it juices just about everything.

The drawback to juice is that it won't fill you up the way the whole veggie would and it removes the fiber. The plus is that you get all the other yummy-nummy nutrients and, seriously, what are the chances that I would ever eat that many vegetables if they weren't in juicy form.

It tastes great, it's the only way I'll eat beets, and it starts my day out with all sorts of good and virtuous feelings.

Bonus: Sneak Your Veggies In

Okay, this one technically isn't for raw veggies but I just had to share the brilliance of sneaking veggies into other foods.

When I first moved in with my new family I was determined to eat my favourite foods. One of my favourites is a Mandarin Orange Salad that my mom used to make.

I was also determined that the kids were going to try and like everything I prepared. I know! I was new.

However, after watching our youngest regurgitate his salad onto his plate (seriously!) I made a different vow: I was NEVER going to deal with that kind of drama again.

There's only so far a woman will go. So I did what I always do when I have a problem: I bought a book – actually I bought two.

My favourite is Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld (that's Jerry's wife) and it has stood me well over the last few years. The system works like this: you steam and purée your veggies and then freeze them in single-serving portions – a process she describes in great detail.

Then, whenever you're cooking you throw in one of the single servings. Voilá! Suddenly you have veggies in all your meals even when you have extremely picky eaters. 

And they don't know that you've done it. It's brilliant!

Also?! There's no pork so that works well for me too.

The Chicken Meatloaf is by far my favourite dish from the cookbook. It's amazing.

You can order the book here to have it delivered to your door.

Are You Ready to Open Your Heart to More Raw Veggies?

Here's your challenge: Pick one of these ideas and start to work them into your life.

Tip: Put a bowl or two of raw veggies on the table during snack and meal times and let everyone get their fill of goodness. My kids prefer raw veggies to cooked so we always have a variety ready to go.

You'll have more energy, better skin and hair, brighter eyes, internal organs that are far healthier and a bounce in your step that comes from knowing you are treating your body like the sacred temple that it is.

Make sure you let me know about your successes. Either email me or post it on our Facebook wall.