Did you eat your fruits & veggies today?
There is so much information available nowadays regarding nutrition and how it affects literally every part of our life, health, mood and everything in between. For so long people have been eating to…well, just eat. To fulfill a craving or to satisfy our basic hunger without much thought of fueling the body and mind with the vital nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that we need to live healthy lives. Over the past several decades, more and more of our food has become processed and over processed.
As a young child in the 1970’s, I loved vegetables, as long as they were in a can. I can remember canned French green beans, corn, carrots, and peas (NO lima beans THANK YOU!!) being stacked in the cabinet. How could meals get any better than this? No sooner had we asked the question when the answer came…TV dinners! A new trend and a must have. Hungry Man turkey and mashed potatoes (at least that's what they said it was) fried chicken, pot pie: All complete with a processed veggie and dessert on the side. I ate them up. We all did.
Then came the microwave. WOW!! Anything I wanted in less than 30 seconds! All prepared in convenient, toxic, plastic trays no less. You name it, we cooked it in the micro. What could be more convenient than meals in under a minute? Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the Fast Food chains. McDonalds MY FAVORITE…at least until Wendy's came along. I wonder why my thyroid is shot. That's another story for another time.
I ate anything and everything terrible that they gave us. Sadly, at that time we did not know it was terrible for us. Today we know better and I am happy to say there is no microwave in my house: No TV dinners, no canned veggies and no McDonalds. I am so happy to make a meal or snack that is fresh, whole food. It is a common occurrence to have a veggie tray available when the kids are playing outside. The rule is to eat a different color every time you grab something. Today’s tray has broccoli, snap peas, carrots, tomatoes, and celery.
Studies have proven that a diet FULL of Mother Nature’s goodness and FRESH vegetables and fruits is not only good for us, it is necessary for our bodies and mind to operate at optimal levels. The anti-inflammatory effects of the “greens” are amazing. If you start to incorporate them into your diet on a daily basis instead of the man made “factory” foods you will begin to see an amazing difference. Your body will thank you for it!
As a massage therapist' I see a lot of people that complain of a general all over muscle aches and pains. Complaints of joint stiffness, chronic neck and low back pain, and disrupted sleep are common. One of the main reasons for all of these complaints is an underlying low-level chronic inflammation due to our diet. Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response. Without it, we can't heal. Foods that are processed, high in sugar and saturated fat can spur on the inflammation. They cause over activity in the immune system, which can lead to joint pain, fatigue, and damage to our bodies. While massage therapy is one AMAZING tool to help with all of the aforementioned, it is imperative to have a healthy diet FULL of FRESH fruits and vegetables. Not only are they low in calories but they are anti-inflammatory, high in much needed phytochemicals, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Experts recommend that we eat AT LEAST 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. If you can count on one hand the amount of freshness you have had today then you might need to reconsider what you are putting in to your mouth. So many fruits and vegetables are convenient and travel well, like apples, oranges, pears, & baby carrots. Slice up some cucumbers, zucchini and peppers add in some snap peas and a healthy dip and you have yourself a healthy snack.
I love these article/slideshow on the power of adding fresh fruits & vegetables to your day. Not for the weight loss as much as it shows how power packed these babies are with nutrients. Please pick one to add to your daily meals. Enjoy!