My mom invited me out to lunch a few weeks back, where I ordered a spinach and strawberry salad, which is my new summertime favorite. She didn’t know this, however, so she had to pick her jaw up off the table and put her eyes back in their sockets.
When my food was delivered, she made it a point to watch me shovel my salad into my mouth and chew. I half expected her to ask me to open up so she could make sure I swallowed.
It was hilarious, but I know why she reacted like that. I willingly ate a spinach salad for lunch, and that’s a huge deal for me.
I’m a picky eater, and I always have been. If it’s green, I wanted nothing to do with it. Until recently, that was especially true of spinach.
As I get older, my picky ways have fallen off a bit—not completely, I haven’t magically become perfect with age—but I’m so much better than I used to be. There’s a Mediterranean restaurant in town, and I have not had a bad thing on the menu yet, my favorite being the lentil soup. I think Mom may have given me a weird look the first time she saw me eat that too.
I think it all boils down to the fact that I didn’t like some veggies the way my mom made them. (Sorry, Mom.) But now that I’ve experienced some different preparations that are amazing and I’m sorry I’ve lost so many years of my life not eating them. Just because I don’t like a veggie one way, doesn’t mean I should write it off completely. I just need to try it a different way.
The better the quality food I put in my body, the better I feel. Days I eat fast food, I’m sluggish and in a fog. The days I eat high quality lean protein and vegetables, I’m ready to take on the world. Sure, doctors have been saying that for years, but I had to experience it for myself to believe it.
There’s a bit more to it than just not being sluggish. Choosemyplate.gov lists an array of health benefits to eating fruits and vegetables that span beyond daily energy levels:
- It may reduce risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
- It may protect against certain types of cancers.
- High fiber intake may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
- An increase in potassium may lower blood pressure and help decrease bone loss.
These are all things I want to mitigate. If it takes eating a spinach salad and lentil soup to do it, let’s have at it.
Pass the veggies.