Thursday March 17, 2016
We all know we’re supposed to be eating our fruits and vegetables — especially whole, raw ones — but it often feels like a seriously uphill battle.
America’s industrial food system encourages us to increase our consumption of industrial foods, full of simple carbohydrates, processed fats, and potentially harmful additives. If it seems expensive, difficult, and time-intensive to buy and prepare raw, whole ingredients, it’s by design.
But fighting back against this system is far from impossible. The biggest step is finding areas in your life where you can make the easiest changes for the biggest impact! These easy ways to get more fresh, raw fruits and veggies will help.
1. Swap Your Morning Coffee for Noni Fruit Leather
Start off first thing in the morning by replacing your morning cup of coffee with a simple raw food that gives you a side-effect free energy boost: Noni Fruit Leather. The best news: that energy boost comes along with tons of antioxidants, beneficial enzymes, and 165+ other beneficial compounds.
An energy boost is one of the first positive effects that many people experience when they start taking Noni Fruit Leather every day. Here on the farm, it’s how we all start the day!
2. Drink Your Greens
If you think green smoothies have to be bitter or flavorless, you simply aren’t doing them right! You can fill your smoothies with delicious, nutritious fruit and still pack in plenty of greens to get the vitamins and minerals you’re looking for.
If you want your smoothies to pack an even more nutritious punch, try blending in a piece of Noni Fruit Leather! We recommend starting your smoothie with your liquid, adding the noni and your greens, and then blending all that together until it’s perfectly smooth. Then you can add your fruit (fresh and frozen) and any thickeners you’d like to use, without having to worry about an unexpected chunk of spinach!
3. Sweeten with Fruit Instead of Sugar
Most Americans today are addicted to sugar. Our bodies are biologically designed to crave sweetness, as it’s a sign of ripeness in nature, signalling peak nutrition and freshness. Unfortunately, in our industrial food system, sweetness often means just the opposite.
Our bodies didn’t evolve to cope with the huge amounts of sugar we ingest today, plus we aren’t used to having access to such a concentrated form of sugar. Modern sugars are stripped of fiber, vitamins, and all the other things that balance out the sugar that occurs naturally in fruits, for example.
Whenever possible, skip the added sugar altogether. If you’re making a recipe that really needs some sweetness, try adding fruit juice or preferably whole raw fruit to sweeten instead of sugar.
4. Redefine the Word “Salad”
Just like with green smoothies, if your image of a salad is a few sad pieces of lettuce with fatty dressing on top, you aren’t doing it right. Salads are so much more delicious (and nutritious!) if they contain a wide variety of vegetables, along with fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds...let you imagination go wild!
Did you know you can add Noni Fruit Leather to your salads? It makes a really delicious vegan bleu cheese substitute! In fact, noni is often called “cheesy fruit” because of how similar the flavor is. Check out this blog post for recipes!
5. Shop the Perimeters
Grocery stores make a much bigger profit selling processed foods than they do whole foods. So they fill the center aisles with processed food, hoping to lure in shoppers. Whole foods, like produce, dairy, meats, and so on, are along the store’s perimeter.
Many experts recommend starting your shopping by circling the perimeter of the grocery store, and only venturing into the inner aisles for specific items. Don’t let yourself get sucked into the seemingly infinite variety of processed food-like substances!
6. Become a Label-Reader
All of us have to buy processed foods every so often, but even then you can choose a less-processed option by scanning the ingredients list. Look for ingredients you recognize — preferably whole foods, most preferably plants! In general, the shorter the ingredients list, the better.
7. Get Into the Kitchen
Once you start actively trying to eat more vegetables, you’ll start noticing something whenever you go out to eat. There aren’t a ton of options on most menus that are loaded with veggies! There are usually “vegetarian” options, but they often focus around carbohydrates, tofu, and other things that aren’t whole, raw plant foods!
When you cook for yourself, you can create a meal that’s centered around raw or lightly-steamed plant-based foods, rather than relying on that puny side of broccoli most restaurants will give you.
There are countless other reasons to increase the number of meals you cook for yourself: fewer additives, less salt, better portion control . . . it’s one of the most rewarding ways to invest in your health!
8. Preserve the Bounty
One thing that stops many people from eating fresh fruits and vegetables is spoilage. Planning exactly when things will be ripe and ready-to-eat is a skill that takes practice, and it’s extremely frustrating to throw out food — especially if you paid the price for organic, local, non-GMO foods!
Even the most basic food preparation methods can help you extend the shelf-life of these perishable foods, without sacrificing nutrition! Freezing and drying are particularly awesome ways to get more life out of your fresh produce.
9. Bring Nutritious Snacks To-Go
Snacks are the area where most of us cheat the most on our nutritional aspirations, but it’s also one of the greatest opportunities to sub in fresh, raw fruits and vegetables! Whole fruits and veggies make great snacks all on their own, but adding a dip rich in proteins and healthy fats will make them stick.
10. Reduce Decision Fatigue
Did you know that the human brain can only handle a certain number of tough decisions in a day? There’s a well-documented phenomenon called “decision fatigue” that kicks in when we have to control our impulses too many times in one day.
This can be a big problem if you’re trying to change the way you eat. Many of us are able to start the day strong with good choices, but by the end of the day, we cave in and binge on something sweet, salty, or nutritionless. You aren’t weak — you’ve just reached the point of decision fatigue!
Stocking up on healthy foods instead of junk food is one way you can reduce the number of decisions you have to make, and protect you from a temporary lapse of willpower.
What other ways can you think of to increase the number of fresh, whole, raw fruits and vegetables in your diet? Let us know in the comments!