Hey folks! I know my posts have been few and far between lately and there are a couple reasons for that: 1. Life – it’s busy sometimes. 2. Work – the 40 hour/week gig really cramps my style. 3. (And this one’s a biggie.) Coming up with a topic that YOU actually want/need to hear about AND that I haven’t already covered.
Seriously, thinking about WHAT to write about keeps me up at night. Granted, this may be partly due to the fact that I have no real social life to speak of, but that’s a story for another time… So, last night I had this CRAZY idea. It’s seriously NUTS – hold on to your britches. Remember the Ann Landers and “Dear Abby” columns in those things we used to read called newspapers? Well, I thought to myself, what if we do a “Ask Amy The RD” column? Genius, right?? It would give YOU an opportunity to tell me what you want to know or are interested in hearing my opinion on (and I gotta a LOT of opinions…) and it would generate topics for me to write about! It’s a win-win!
So if you’ve got a question, idea or topic you’d like to get my 2.5 cents on just email them to [email protected] and I’ll see what I can do. How does that sound? (Really, that was a rhetorical question, I’m gonna try it even if you think it’s a batshit crazy idea.)
For my first ‘column’ I’m going to address a topic that comes up a lot more frequently than I’d like it to – it’s about vegetables – and I’m not referring to corn, potatoes or anything drowning in Ranch dressing or cheese sauce… It’s the non-starchy colorful varieties that seem to be the most frequently cited when this ‘issue’ ‘crops’ up. If you haven’t already guessed where this is going, let me help you out…
There are a WHOLE LOT of people that “don’t like vegetables”. I’m not talking about not liking one or two vegetables – but rather, “all vegetables” – well, except for potatoes, corn and sometimes some of the other starchies (sweet potatoes, parsnips, winter squash, etc.). But at the mention spinach, broccoli or even green beans and these veggie haters think you’re from the devil. It’s insane. These are usually the same people that think that being healthy and/or eating Paleo means all meat, fat and bacon (because in their world’s bacon is its own food group…). Also, these folks often come to me wondering why they aren’t seeing results (feeling better, energy improvements, weight loss, etc.). AND every damn time I tell them that they’re doing it wrong – I am met with fierce opposition and an directed to or told about some website that they got their expert information from. Seriously internet, you’re KILLING me!!
When I start talking about what a ‘day of food’ should look like and start throwing the “V” word around, things get a little crazy and that’s when the questions start flying. Here’s a sample of what I encounter along with answers to the questions – you’re welcome…
Veggie Hater: Can I blend my vegetables into a smoothie with fruit and coconut milk and drink them?
Veggie Hater: What if I just blend the veggies without the fruit or do a vegetable juice?
Me: No. (Sometimes to be a smartass I say, “Sure, but you have to start juicing your meat and bacon too.” That usually ends that conversation fairly quickly.)
Veggie Hater: Can I do a ‘greens powder’?
Veggie Hater: What can I do? I don’t “like vegetables”.
Me: Are there ANY vegetables you like?
Veggie Hater: No.
Me: What about lettuce or carrots?
Veggie Hater: I can’t have carrots, can I? Isn’t there too much sugar? (This is often coming from someone that regularly eats ‘paleo’ cookies, puts honey in their tea and refers to ‘natural’ maple syrup as a health food…)
Me: Rolling my eyes, banging head against the wall.
Here’s where I explain that the sugar in carrots is minimal in comparison to the ‘paleo’ convenience foods/bars, etc. After this subject has been discussed for a better part of a decade and we agree that eating carrots will not result in a one way ticket to food hell – we delve back into the “are there any vegetables you like” question again. After it’s established that carrots, iceberg lettuce drowning in ranch dressing and that fried onion thing they have at the Outback pretty much round out ‘acceptable vegetables’ for the Veggie Hater the conversation continues:
Me: When was the last time you tried a vegetable that wasn’t lettuce or a carrots?
Veggie Hater: Third grade. (Sometimes the answer will be more recent, something like – “I microwaved some frozen broccoli last week and it made me gag.”) This leads us to:
Me: Did you put anything on your broccoli? Salt? Pepper? Anything?
Veggie Hater: No.
Me: Have you considered trying different ways of making and seasoning your vegetables. And have you thought about trying any new vegetables that you haven’t had before?
Veggie Hater: I don’t have time for that and I don’t know what to try. (Coming from someone that spent all last weekend binge watching Game of Thrones…)
This is the part where we talk about the wealth of recipes available online, talk about easy prep strategies (like buying veggies pre-washed, pre-cut and/or off of a grocery store salad bar. We also talk about trying one new vegetable per week and about how it can take a little time for your taste buds to appreciate the flavor of some veggies. Think about it like this – remember the first time you tried beer/alcohol or coffee for that matter. I’m not talking about doctored up versions with mixers, sugar, cream, etc. – but straight up beer, tequila or vodka and BLACK coffee. Did you like ’em? Did they taste awesome? Yeah, I’d venture to guess that for most of us the answer to both of those questions is a great big NO. But, did that stop you from continuing to drink them? Again, probably not; and you’ve likely either learned to like the taste OR you’ve figured out ways to soup up the stuff to make it taste better, am I right? This might sound wacky but this will work with veggies too. I know, crazy talk – but seriously, try it.
The bottom line is if you’re doing this healthy eating thing correctly, there’s gonna need to be some veggies involved. And I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – eating something you have to choke down because its ‘good for you’ is totally missing the point. BUT that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give everything a fighting chance. If you absolutely cannot stand Brussels sprouts then don’t eat them, but if the last and only time you’ve had them was at grandma’s house, boiled until they were dead – maybe it’s time you give them a second chance. And there are SO MANY different types of vegetables and ways they can be prepared and/or added to foods you already eat and enjoy. Spinach in your eggs, shredded zucchini in your chili, cauliflower rice, cabbage or collard leaves as ‘wraps’ for sandwich fillings… Really folks, I could do this all day. And seriously, if you can’t find even one vegetable that you like – you’re not trying very hard and you need to rethink your strategy. Will it take some thought? Yes. Will it take a little effort and planning? Probably. Do you have to like everything you try? Nope. Do you have to choke down something you truly can’t stand? Negatory.
I’m not saying that broccoli has to be your new favorite food or that you need to start writing love letters to sweet tomatoes – BUT you’ve got to give them a shot. Your body, health – and maybe even your taste buds – will thank you for it. So put that in your Vitamix and blend it.
Well, there ya have it – the debut of the “Ask Amy The RD” adventure. If you’d like this show to continue – let me know what YOU want to know! Send those emails to [email protected] and stay tuned for the next episode!