I have to tell you… all those tense moments sitting at the dinner table as a kid…with my mom telling my brother, sister and me to eat our veggies… really did sink in – at least partially. I have always felt that eating the “5 a day” fruit and veggie would benefit us nutritionally. The challenge has been the effort. It takes time to buy, store and peel – never mind properly cook those little power packs. So, in the reality of my life, it was often forgotten. Excuses such as “no one will eat the salad.. and there are tomatoes in the spaghetti sauce” and “just tonight, we will just have potatoes with our meat” became more than rare occurences. This has now changed. My view of food is different now – and I realize that my food must fuel me – not just fill me.
The next challenge – now that we understand about the importance of water, and have addressed the whole grain issue in our diet – is to add more vegetables to our diet.
And despite my best efforts to teach my children that veggies were there friends (we had almost every video tape of Veggie Tales; we called broccoli “little trees”; we bragged about how Popeye had big muscles because of the spinach and Bugs Bunny had great eyesight because he ate carrots).. 1/2 of my 4 children are not veggie lovers… one of them is a self-proclaimed veggie hater.
I have had a new visual picture form from the reading that I have done about what makes us susceptible to cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Our innocent but oh-so-important cells are being inundated with all kinds of toxins in our daily lives. In addition to this, we are not giving them the basics to keep them strong.
It’s almost as bad as expecting a horse to keep ploughing but refusing to give him the food and water to carry on. Through the generations, our cells have become genetically weaker thanks to our environment – and add to this a poor diet of fast good and no exercise – and what hope to we have to live to a healthy old age?
So, fuel them up we must! And fruits and vegetables are at the top of the list thanks to their concentrations of the most important vitamins and minerals.
In addition to all the benefits of vitamins and minerals (which could fill a book, never mind a blog post), antioxidants are very important in helping to keeping our cells healthy and happy. “Antioxidants are substances that may protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals.” 1 Free radicals, or oxidants, damage cells causing cancer, artery damage, aging and inflammation and originate from pollution, radiation, fried and burnt foods, sunlight and combustion. The super hero foods with antioxidant nutrients are continuing to be found to be key in preventing and possibly fighting diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes, Hypertension, Infertility, Macular degeneration, Measels, Mental illness, Periodontal disease, Respiratory tract infections and Rheumatoid arthritis.
In addition to antioxidant nutrients, God has given us veggies and fruits that are super-packed with Vitamin A, C and E, Minerals Selenium, Zinc, Copper, Iron and Manganese which help to fight those nasty free radicals.
Here’s my plan:
- While I was recovering from my surgery, and preparing for chemo, I dived right into juicing. A delicious way to digest fruit and veg in its best form – raw. It was a perfect answer for the nausea I was suffering from – and I could just imagine all those vitamins and minerals strengthening my weak cells. Breakfasts will soon feature a small glass of a new concoction for each of my family members. It may have to be bar room style shots of goodness complete with a “ready… one, two, three.. chug!” but it’s going to happen.
- The freshest veggies from my own small container garden – you can follow my progress my becoming my friend on Facebook and joining my “Container Gardening for a Healthier Life”
- Surreptitiously adding vegetables to any recipe I can – including quick breads and muffins, sauces, casseroles and even desserts if I can get away with it
- Keeping stock of nibble sized fruits and veggies for easy snacking.
This is probably going to be the biggest challenge I will have, next to family exercise. But with a little ingenuity, a positive attitude and some good solid facts behind me, there might just be a good chance of success!
Top 10 Antioxident packed foods:
- Blackberries (5.75 millimoles per 100g serving)
- Walnuts (3.72 millimoles per 100g serving)
- Strawberries (3,58 millimoles per 100g serving)
- Artichokes (3,56 millimoles per 100g serving)
- Cranberries (3,13 millimoles per 100g serving)
- Raspberries (2,87 millimoles per 100g serving)
- Blueberries (2,68 millimoles per 100g serving)
- Cloves (2,64 millimoles per 100g serving)
- Grape juice (2,56 millimoles per 100g serving)
- Cranberry juice (2,47 millimoles per 100g serving)