The following questions were asked during real coaching sessions with a variety of clients who were experiencing frequent colds, lack of energy, and intense sugar cravings. They are common issues my clients experience. The responses in bold are informative and not taken from the actual conversation. The clients’ identities are protected.
BENEFITS OF ADDING MORE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES TO YOUR DAILY DIET
Client: “Ive been feeling tired and run down lately. It seems everyone is sick at work and I always catch everything. I keep cereal bars at my desk and crave sugar every day between 2-3pm it seems. A friend of mine takes “X” (popular brand OTC diet pills) and says they give her tons of energy and she has lost 15 lbs so far! I’m considering buying some just to jump start my weight loss. What do you think?”
What if I told you I had a pill you could take daily that could help protect you from heart disease, cancer, stroke, reduce bloating, help manage stress, give you more energy, and help maintain a healthy immune system- I’m confident you would say “How do I order a bottle of these magic pills? Sign me up!!” Right? Nature provides us with most of the “magic” our bodies need and you don’t have to look any further than your local produce department, farmer’s market, or backyard!
The USDA recommends eating 5-9 servings of vegetables and fruit per day as part of a overall healthy diet. They are important sources of fiber which can help with regularity and keep us feeling fuller longer. They provide vitamins which fight against infections and keep our skin, eyes, teeth and gums healthy. They help prevent and protect us from chronic disease, give us sustainable energy, and even help us to manage stress better. Aside from the endless nutritional benefits, adding more vegetables especially, is a more natural and healthy approach to any weight loss plan.
HOW TO BUY ORGANIC ON A TIGHT BUDGET
Client: “My sister tells me I should only buy organic produce. It can be pretty pricey to do so and I am on a tight budget. What do you suggest? Is it really necessary?”
Generations ago, our ancestors thrived on a completely organic diet. However, due to modern farming methods, we are ingesting pesticides and other chemicals that are harmful to our bodies. You cant experience optimal health when your body is full of toxic chemicals. There will be a breakdown in your system at some point. If going 100% organic does not fit into your budget, try changing out one food at a time. The following list of foods can help you determine where to make changes first. These foods are called the “Dirty Dozen +” and should be purchased in organic form as often as possible as they have the highest concentration of pesticides.
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Kale/Collard Greens
- Green Beans/Sugar Snap Peas
This next list is called the “Clean 15” and contains foods that have a lower concentration of pesticides. They can be purchased less often in organic form.
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas
- Cantaloupe (domestic)
- Sweet potatoes
CREATIVE WAYS TO ADD VARIETY OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES TO YOUR DAILY DIET
Client: “I not a huge fan of vegetables. The only vegetables my mom served when I was younger were corn and green beans. We had grapes and bananas in our house, but I typically snacked on Ding Dongs and Twinkies. I’m not even sure what some of these fruits and vegetables are when I browse the farmers markets!”
Some folks were never exposed to a variety of fruits and vegetables during their childhood, so it can be challenging as an adult to branch out and try new things. If this sounds familiar, you are missing out on a whole world of delicious flavor and healthful benefits! Vegetables add flavor, texture, aroma, and flavor to your food. They are very versatile and so easy to grab and go as healthy snack options too! Try adding chopped onions, celery, peppers, and mushrooms to your soups. Throw some spinach and avocado into scrambled eggs. Add mango, spinach, avocado, or strawberries to your breakfast smoothies! For a delicious sweet treat, frozen blueberries/black grapes are wonderful! If you experience the 2p slump at your desk, trade the cereal bars and coffee for 10 sugar snap peas and 2T of hummus. This snack satisfies a craving for sweet, savory, and crunchy!
I like to challenge my clients to choose a vegetable or fruit in the produce section they have never tried. Find the most interesting, unrecognizable piece of produce that arouses your curiosity. Pull out your phone and do a search on the nutritional benefits of this food, how to prepare it, and then take it home and enjoy it! It is how I discovered the deliciousness of jicama! It is so sweet, crunchy, and provides me with vitamin C, fiber, magnesium, and other nutrients!
TO JUICE OR NOT TO JUICE?
Client: “Is it better to juice my fruits and vegetables or eat them whole?”
Juicing is an alternative way for some people to increase their daily consumption of fruits and vegetables if they are having trouble adding them throughout the day. I add spinach, blueberries, and sometimes avocado to my smoothies when I need a little extra nutritional boost. However, when juicing you lose some of the benefits eating whole foods provide. One downside to juicing is the loss of fiber. The pulp that is left in the juicer contains the fiber and traces of vitamins and minerals in the juice of that fiber. Fiber helps keeps us regular and fuller longer. We also tend to use more fruit in our smoothies than if we were to eat it in its whole form. Too much of a good thing can lead to other issues. I have worked with clients who have experienced weight gain from juicing, but it was due to adding more fruit than they would normally eat at one sitting, or even in several sittings! When battling the bulge, it is always a good idea to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. But it is more beneficial to enjoy them from your plate. rather from your glass.
By Fitmo Lifestyle Coach Carol Keller
Do you look in the mirror and say “Who Am I?” Do you want to feel younger, confident, & have more energy? As a woman over 40, I understand the struggles that woman our age go through. I’ve been a health and fitness coach for over 10 years and I want to help you get YOUR sexy back & put that confidence back in your strut!