How to increase your vegetable intake the simple way

If you like it, veggify it!

One of the easiest ways to incorporate more vegetables into your diet is by adding them to recipes you already enjoy. This strategy makes healthful eating habits attainable in the following ways:

First, you feel comfortable preparing the recipe. Rather than investing resources to master a brand-new vegetable recipe, simply adding vegetables to recipes that you’re already familiar with conserves your energy and your time.

Second, this suggestion affords you the opportunity to make your favorite culinary classics new again with the diverse flavors and textures of different vegetables.

This week, aim to bolster your healthful consumption habits by making vegetables a priority on your plate. Begin by implementing these recommendations for veggifying popular recipes:

1. Scrambled Eggs

Coat a pan with a thin veil of olive oil. Then, sauté mushrooms, onions, and peppers. Set aside. In the same pan, prepare your scrambled eggs. Next, add the sautéed vegetables to the thoroughly cooked scrambled eggs to make this morning meal more nutrient-dense.

After your scrambled eggs have taken shape and are thoroughly cooked, toss a handful of sliced greens (i.e. Bok Choy, collard greens, Kale, spinach, etc.) into the pan.

2. Brown Rice

Dice two medium-sized carrots. Combine the carrots with diced onions and one cup of snow peas into a pan. Sauté. After that, add in your batch of cooked brown rice.

3. Tomato Sauce

Add a depth of flavor and texture to this Italian classic by cubing four medium-sized carrots and four medium-sized stalks of celery. Sauté. Use the carrot and celery sauté as a base for your tomato sauce.

4. Pancakes

Incorporate squash or pumpkin into your pancake batter.

Grate a medium-sized zucchini to add to your pancake batter. Helpful hint: zucchinis have a large water content, so be sure to press the grated zucchini with a paper towel to prevent your batter from becoming soggy.

Looking to incorporate more vegetables into your diet?

Check out my recipes for Zucchini Chips, Escarole Salad, and Roasted Potatoes and Leeks.

Have you ever veggified a recipe?

Until Next Week…Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie

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Consumption patterns: One profound shift to health and freedom

Last week, I wrote about Nannie’s empowered journey to health and freedom. How can each of us reach this same destination?

I’m of the belief that changing our consumption patterns from mostly processed foods to mostly whole foods profoundly affects our diets, and consequently, our collective health.

Whole foods originate from the Earth and its bounty. (Think animals, nuts, seeds, and plants.) Processed foods are manufactured by humans or machines. (Think cereal, hotdog buns, pop-tarts, and seltzer.)

In general, whole foods offer vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients essential for longevity. On the other hand, the majority of processed foods consist of empty calories, that is, they’re devoid of nutrition.

While whole foods are pure, processed foods contain additives, such as artificial colors, maltodextrin, high fructose corn syrup, and other gunk (yes, I ❤ the technical terms 😉 ) that hinder health and wellness.

For example, a recipe for homemade tomato sauce may consist of the following: garlic cloves, onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, olive oil, basil, oregano. Voila! It’s a winning recipe because each component is a whole food that originates from the Earth.

In contrast, a jar of tomato sauce purchased from the grocery store may consist of tomato paste, herbs, salt, and pepper, but also guar gum, Red 40, and refined sugar. Yikes! This store-bought tomato sauce is processed because all of its components do not originate from the Earth.

This week, try swapping processed foods for whole foods. However you begin is awesome in every way! Depending on where you’re at in your journey to health and freedom, you may feel ready to make this shift during a single meal one day this week, or at dinner each night for the next seven days. The only thing that matters is that you do indeed begin.

Remember, this shift in consumption patterns doesn’t have to be a monumental change filled with angst and rigidity. Go for a noble effort rather than aiming for suffocating perfection. You totally got this 🙂

Comment below to ask questions, to share your go-to recipes featuring whole foods, and to tell us how this shift in consumption patterns affects your health!

Until Next Week…Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie

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Nannie chooses health and freedom. What about you?

My grandmother, whom I call Nannie, awoke from a sound sleep this past Monday morning due to acute abdominal pain. She rushed to the hospital, and in less than 24 hours, underwent an emergency procedure. When I saw her in recovery, attached to an IV pole and an oxygen tube, my heart broke.

Nannie and I are best friends.

Nannie is the type of person who, while walking down the street, will scout out a stranger feeling blue, engage her or him in conversation, listen to her or his life story, and then proceed to tell that person how he or she should go about fixing what’s broken.

She will call you up, she will call you out, and she will disregard your excuses about why it can’t be done, or why it won’t happen.

People really dig it.

Because as she’s breaking you down and building you back up again, she makes you feel safe. And cherished. And hopeful.

She was born and raised in Dorchestah (Dorchester, MA) amongst 16, (yes, 16) brothers and sisters. She had a childhood straight out of hell: an alcoholic father, an abusive family structure, an impoverished home, and a neglected neighborhood. Food was fleeting, and health was a luxury, not a right.

When Nannie and I discuss how she overcame her upbringing to become the empowered, healthy, and vibrant woman she is today, her answer always comes back to a choice she made long ago. She didn’t want the life that she was born into. So she chose to create a life she would grow into.

Nannie wanted to be healthy, and she wanted to be free. (Isn’t there a piece of all of us, albeit sometimes silenced, that wants the same thing?)

So Nannie made it happen. She did it for her mother, her siblings, her husband, her kids, and most importantly of all, she did it for herself.

Nannie is seventy-seven years old. She’s a yogi. Her form during plank pose is #likeaboss. She eats chia seeds like they’re going out of style. Her manifesto is “all my cells are well.” And she can maintain an informative discussion with you about organic versus conventional produce, the Dirty Dozen, and the Clean Fifteen.

In other words, Nannie dominates on every level.

I’m relieved to report that Nannie is doing quite well following her emergency procedure. In fact, Nannie decided to do Shiva pose at the hospital while attached to an IV pole (once a yogi, always a yogi!).

She is healthy, and she is free. And she has nobody to thank for that but herself.

This summer at Let’s Eat Lunch!, we’re choosing health and freedom. For ourselves, for our loved ones, for our world. Each of us has power within to make this choice. Let’s Eat Lunch! will provide the information and inspiration to sustain it.

Why do you choose health and freedom?

Until Next Week…Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie

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What is Health? Part Two

My grateful thanks to all who responded to last week’s blog.  I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts about what health is.

As I wrote last week, Josh Billings said “Health is like money, we never have a true idea of its value until we lose it.”

I totally agree with this.  Health is something that is so easy to take for granted, but once has been lost, it can be so difficult to recover from and get back.  In 2002, I had my first experience with someone whose health was failing when my Papa found out that he had terminal cancer.  With his last 365 days left to live, he spent it with me and other people he loved most in the world. Overnight, the grandfather I had known in health became different from the man I came to know in sickness.  Out of seemingly nowhere, he became limited by his own body and lost the freedom that comes with being in sound physical condition.  His life ceased to be the adventure that I know it could have continued to be, had he recovered and was still here, able to share his passion and zest for life with others.  With Papa’s passing, one of the things that I learned was that health is sometimes not forever.  Chronic disease and illness can change everything irrevocably in an instant and damages the human body in such a way that it will never be the same again.  However, this is but one definition of health or lack thereof.

Conversely, day to day health, without the limitations of serious illness, is a result of the choices that we make everyday.  That in itself can be both exhilarating and even a little bit daunting, because we know that it’s up to us, it falls in our lap, and our decisions are in our own hands.  At any time, you can be your own stumbling block or stepping stone.  The other thing that can be scary is there is no “pretty” or “perfect” answer of what health looks like that can be transferred from individual to individual.  Because we are all different, each person has to work towards cultivating the diet/exercise “formula” or “master plan” that makes them feel the strongest and most beautiful.  You’ll know when your own personalized health plan is optimal when you constantly feel a radiant “glow.”

No higher education degree, certificate, or license is necessary to be healthy.  It’s ironic how if you want to be an astronaut, literature teacher, mathematician, or archaeologist, you would most definitely need a college degree, etc.  To get where you most want to be in life, and then to get the most out of where you are in life, you need your health.  Your health, in your hands, allows you to create the life of your dreams and live the adventure you’ve always wanted.

To your health!

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

What Is Health? Part One

Below you’ll find a few quotes discussing four individual thoughts about health and the ways we can achieve healthfulness:

“Health is a relationship between you and your body”  -Terri Guillemets

“If you’re concerned about your health, you should probably avoid products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a strong indication it’s not really food, and food is what you want to eat” –Michael Pollan

“Health is not simply the absence of sickness.”  -Hannah Green

“Health is like money, we never have a true idea of its value until we lose it.”  -Josh Billings

Which of these quotes most resonates with you?  How do you define the word “health” in your own life?  What do you do to achieve health?  Next week, I’ll try to answer some of these questions with my own opinions about health, but first, I want to hear from you!

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂