You know you should be eating more of them.
It’s not a question of knowing – the evidence is everywhere. But you still don’t seem to make time for those five servings.
Do the mushrooms on a combo pizza count?
Even if I count my pizza toppings, I’m still about 4 3/4 servings short, how can I make up the rest?
How do other people do it? And if it’s really so important, why aren’t I dead yet? Maybe it’s not that big of a deal.
The good news is your recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables isn’t as much as you think it is AND juicing can make it doable (even for adults who hate eating vegetables).
How do they do it?
[10 Second Tip] Get most of your vegetables in one quick and easy glass of juice.
Do you remember the food pyramid from our youth – 3 to 5 servings of vegetables and 2-4 servings of fruit.
Now, the food pyramid has been replaced. Choose My Plate doesn’t give serving recommendations like the pyramid did.
To get a recommendation from the government on how many fruits and vegetables you should be eating, go to the CDC Nutrition Calculator.
How Much Do I Need
The CDC calculator bases its recommendations on your age, gender and activity level and guess what my recommendation was. That’s right 5 cups (3 of vegetables and 2 of fruit) of fruits and vegetables a day.
The CDC also links to a nice graphic “What Counts As A Cup?” that shows you how much a cup of various foods are.
Here are some suggestions from the CDC for typical readers of this site:
- 42 year old man, less than 30 minutes of physical activity – 2 cups of fruit, 3 cups of vegetables
- 42 year old man, more than 60 minutes of physical activity – 2.5 cups of fruit, 3.5 cups of vegetables
- 42 year old woman, less than 30 minutes of physical activity – 1.5 cups of fruit, 2.5 cups of vegetables
- 42 year old woman, more than 60 minutes of physical activity – 2 cups of fruit, 3 cups of vegetables
- 48 year old man, less than 30 minutes of physical activity – 2 cups of fruit, 3 cups of vegetables
- 48 year old man, more than 60 minutes of physical activity – 2.5 cups of fruit, 3 cups of vegetables
- 48 year old woman, less than 30 minutes of physical activity – 1.5 cups of fruit, 2.5 cups of vegetables
- 48 year old woman, more than 60 minutes of physical activity – 2 cups of fruit, 3 cups of vegetables
A good rule of thumb when it comes to serving size – one cup is about the size of an adult female fist.
So it doesn’t take a lot to reach our recommended portions – a couple of celery stalks and a handful of baby carrots and we’re almost there, right? Well yes and no.
The problem with most Americans vegetable intake (even if they eat their recommended amounts) is a lack of variety and diversity. So if you can eat celery and carrots no problem, or a side salad at your fast food restaurant, they’re probably the ONLY vegetables you ever eat. You’re missing out on variety and honestly, the vegetables you are eating probably aren’t very dense in nutrition. The drive thru salad certainly isn’t.
So how can normal adults with jobs and kids get enough nutrient rich vegetables?
Juicing To The Rescue
There are three main benefits that juicing has over eating vegetables (and keep in mind we’re talking vegetables here, there is growing evidence that drinking too much fruit juice can have negative effects).
- More effective absorption of the nutrients
- You can get your whole days allowance in one glass
- The only realistic way that most Americans are going to get the necessary variety of vegetables (rule of thumb: fit in as many colors as you can)
When you juice vegetables you break down their cell walls and remove most of their fiber (more on that in a minute) which makes them easier to digest. You should get the full benefit of juice in about 20 minutes. According to the Stanford Cancer Institute, one cup of carrot or celery juice contains as many nutrients as five cups of the vegetables chopped. And phytochemicals in vegetables give them color, odor, and flavor but more importantly influence the chemical processes in our bodies to:
- Stimulate the immune system
- Block substances we eat, drink and breathe from becoming carcinogens
- Reduce the kind of inflammation that makes cancer growth more likely
- Prevent DNA damage and help with DNA repair
- Reduce the kind of oxidative damage to cells that can spark cancer
- Slow the growth rate of cancer cells
- Trigger damaged cells to commit suicide before they can reproduce
- Help to regulate hormones
– American Institute for Cancer Research
So Can I Just Drink All My Vegetables
You can but you shouldn’t. My philosophy is something is better than nothing. If the only way you’re going to get your vegetables is by juicing them, then do that. But ideally you should be getting in servings of whole raw vegetables to provide the fiber your body also needs.
You also shouldn’t view vegetable juice as a meal replacement. Rather, you should be drinking juice in addition to your healthy balanced diet. Vegetable juice is predominantly carbohydrates so you are getting almost no fat and very little protein.
I have drank V8 and I have drank freshly juiced vegetables. V8 is ok if its your only alternative but it is no comparison to the energy, health, and well-being that I have gotten from drinking fresh. When I’m drinking fresh juice, my energy is up, my skin is clearer, my body feels all around better. But it is a lot of work, making it easy and affordable is a whole post in itself. Coming soon.
In the meantime, don’t forget to check out these 10 Second Tips that are easy to implement and will make noticeable changes to your health and well-being:
- Drink a glass of lemon water first thing in the morning to receive a long list of benefits including weight loss, energy, regularity, and many more
- Eat half a cup of blueberries a day to reduce risk of heart attack, keep your mind sharp, help you slim down, bulk up on bone, and stay limber