The more we investigate, study, and become more and more enlightened, the power of a plant-based diet becomes more and more evident. I do realize the fact that there are many people for whom a plant-based diet would be very challenging, or even inappropriate, but we can all benefit from moving towards a more plant-based or plant-focused diet.
Published in November 2017, the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)# showed only 1 in 10 adults meet the federal fruit or vegetable recommendations. This statistic is far less than the “5-a-day” rule we all learned in school and recommended by the USDA Dietary guidelines. The reality however is significantly more disturbing. That “5-a-day” rule should not be some far off goal. Indeed it is a bare minimum. The actual number recommended by nutritionists is 8 to 10 servings of vegetables and fruits per day. I will add that most can benefit from focusing more on the veggies than the fruit. Fruit is enormously healthful but we can’t overlook the sugar, albeit natural, if consumed in excess.
First we need to understand this how much food this recommendation really represents. A serving for most vegetables is ½ cup (aside from this, a serving of greens is considered 2 cups because they’re really fluffy – cook this amount down and you’ll get about ½ cup). Go into your kitchen right now and take a look at how small a ½ cup measure is and try to determine where you fit into the 8-10 servings a day. Understand also that an average serving of vegetables (the non-starchy variety) is only about 30 calories and has the potential to add tons of fiber and nutrients to the diet. So basically adding more veggies adds few calories but has the ability to add to our satiety at each meal or snack. For most of my clients I give them veggies free. Yes free! Eat as much as you want because as a good friend of mine once says… “It’s all about the veggies!"
# CDC Report link: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p1116-fruit-vegetable-consumption.html