Eat your vegetables!
It’s an admonition many of us heard growing up, and its implication is clear: eating vegetables is a healthy but often unpleasant task--one which, in our childhood, may have involved threats (You can’t leave the table until you eat that broccoli!”) or bribery (“I will literally pay you money to eat that broccoli.”)
So why does something so good for us often have such a bad rep? Maybe it’s because a lot of us can identify with athletic trainer and massage therapist Stacy Ford: “For me, when I was a kid, the veggies were often boiled to mush with little color or flavor.”
It’s pretty hard to win people over with boiled, colorless, flavorless mush.
But here’s the good news:
It doesn’t have to be that way! Your cauliflower’s fate is not sealed. Your broccoli and carrots are not doomed to lose their color, texture, and taste. As Stacy found out, there are endless ways to prepare veggies that do not involve prolonged boiling: “Now that I cook for myself, I have learned to look and listen for better recipes. They don’t have to be complicated. Many times it is the cooking process. Or adding an herb to season.”
One her favorite ways to eat veggies now is to roast kale “with a tad of olive oil and sprinkle of salt and YUM! Has the crunch and mild salty flavor of potato chips with less carbohydrates and higher iron.”
OK, so now that we’ve dispelled the myth that veggies can’t be absolutely delicious, let’s get to the benefits. Just what do they do for us?
Licensed massage therapist Lisa Franklin explains:
"Vegetables are powerful sources of nutrition. Different vegetables have different benefits, but all of them:
• are cholesterol free
• provide fiber
• boost the immune system
• help prevent diseases and infections
• help with maintaining the digestive functions of the body
• benefit and support the skin
• reduce stress and protect your bones”
The nutritional impact of vegetables is something reflexology and Reiki practitioner and teacher Tracy McGovern discovered in a powerful way as she learned to use them to help restore her health.
“In the spring of 2012,” she said, “I noticed a lot of hair on the bathroom floor. Time went by and it got worse and by the fall of 2012 I was wearing a wig. This is an incredibly alarming thing, as I am sure you can imagine.
I learned a lot after that. I learned the body will keep giving you hints until it find something that gets your attention. And I learned that food is absolutely magical in returning your body to health.”
For Tracy, vegetables were instrumental in reclaiming her wellness.
“I fixed my health issues with food,” she said. “And vegetables played the biggest role in that. Vegetables helped me regain sleep, energy, feeling good, and my hair! I learned the best plate of food to have is mostly vegetables. That was not always the way I ate. So I learned to be creative. I learned about vegetables I had never heard of before!”
What was a necessity at first became an adventure as Tracy experimented with new veggies and new recipes, “mixing colors and textures and cooking methods and spices...this became fun and an outlet for creativity.”
Wildly nutritious. Magical at restoring health. An outlet for creativity. Worthy of the word “YUM” in all caps. What’s not to love?
So, as you can see, we’re pretty excited about veggies. We’re so excited, in fact, that not only do we want you to share your ideas and tips by tagging us at #chronicwellness and #cwquakertown, but we want you to share your recipes with us, because…….drumroll, please….we’re compiling a cookbook of awesomely healthy, uber delicious recipes! So send us your best veggie recipe--it’s a great way to share the love and, who knows, maybe even get featured in the Complete Wellness Cookbook!