THE BEST HEALTH TRICK EVER
There, I’ve got your attention.
Stick with me for a minute.
If I could choose only one nutritional habit to advise to help EVERYONE look better and feel better, it would have to be this:
EAT MORE VEGETABLES.
Wait! Don’t stop reading! Let me explain…quickly, so as not to bore you…
Vegetables are the superheroes of the food world. The list of their superpowers goes on and on. To highlight, vegetables:
- Serve as anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and detoxification agents;
Are low in calories, high in fiber, and provide almost all the vitamins and minerals your body needs;
Can help you achieve healthy, glowing skin;
Reduce risk for chronic disease;
Offer medicinal properties for healing;
Improve gut health and keep you “regular”;
Are useful in weight management and athletic performance;
Boost healthy immune function;
Elevate energy levels;
Enhance mental well-being; and
Look pretty and taste good.
There are so many vegetables to choose from. Everyone can find something they like. It’s really important to eat at least 3-4 cups of vegetables daily. Sometimes we fall into vegetable ruts, eating the same boring salad or microwaved broccoli or frozen spinach every day until it feels like we cannot stand it anymore.
However, it’s actually pretty easy to find vegetable inspiration. Just put any of the following phrases into Google, Pinterest, Instagram, or any other search engine: roast vegetables, steamed vegetables, vegetable fried rice, pasta primavera, veggie omelet, vegetable soup, crudité, green smoothies, hidden vegetables, vegetable sauces, vegetable casserole, vegetables for kids, pickled vegetables, fermented vegetables
Can you think of any others? Seriously, you could spend hours just looking at delicious vegetable recipes. I’ve included a couple of the recipes I make most often that my whole family will eat. If you have a favorite, I’d love to hear it!
Adapted from Love Soup, by Anna Thomas, this soup is velvety and flavorful and one of the best ways I have found to get a good dose of green vegetables into my body quickly. It’s also a flexible recipe, in that if you change or skip an ingredient it will still taste good.
1 bunch of chard or spinach
1 bunch of kale
4-5 green onions, sliced
1 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
1 medium potato
1 medium yellow onion
1 Tbs. olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2½-3 cups of vegetable broth
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs. lemon juice, plus more to taste
Wash the greens thoroughly, trim off their stems, and slice the leaves. Combine the chard or spinach, kale, and green onions in a large soup pot with 3 cups of water and a teaspoon of salt. Scrub the potato, cut it into small pieces, and add it to the pot. Bring the water to a boil, turn down the flame to low, cover the pot, and let the soup simmer for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop the onion, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet, and cook the onion with a small sprinkle of salt over a medium flame until it’s golden brown and soft, stirring occasionally. This will take up to half an hour. Don’t rush it - allow time for the onion’s sweetness to develop. When the onions look almost done, add the chopped garlic to the pan to heat in the last couple of minutes, until you can smell the garlic along with the onions.
Add the caramelized onions and the garlic to the soup. Allow to simmer for ten minutes longer.
Add enough of the broth to make the soup fluid enough to pour easily from a ladle. Puree the soup, either with a hand blender or in batches in a blender. Return the soup to the pot, bring it back to a simmer and taste. Add salt and pepper, if needed, to taste. Finish with lemon juice.
I learned about hiding vegetables in food from the book Deceptively Delicious, by Jessica Seinfeld. This recipe is adapted from hers.
Combine the following dry ingredients in a large bowl with a whisk:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
(the proportion of white to whole wheat flour can be adjusted to your preference)
2-3 rounded Tbs. brown sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Then combine the following wet ingredients in a medium bowl with a whisk:
2 cups hemp milk (substitute cow’s milk, almond milk, soy milk as desired)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 Tbs. water
Now pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Do not overwork your batter – it should be a little lumpy.
Coat a griddle or large skillet with cooking spray (I use coconut oil) and allow it to heat over a medium flame. You’ll know the pan is ready for the batter when droplets of water dropped in respond with a quick sizzle. Spoon the batter into the pan, using about ¼ cup for each pancake.
Cook until bubbles form on top of the pancakes and the batter is set, 2-3 minutes. Use a spatula to flip the pancakes and cook them until golden, another 2-3 minutes.
Serve with maple syrup, apple butter, or pumpkin butter.