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How do you feel about vegetables? I admit, I used to hate them. I still tend to say I don’t like them very much, but I need to stop saying that because it’s really not true. I actually love most vegetables, and I’ll tell you why.
Last year at about this time, I decided to change my diet. At the time I ate a pretty typical American diet. Over the last few years I’ve greatly reduced my consumption of sugar and processed foods, but I don’t do fad diets or pay much attention to food trends like clean eating, paleo, keto, stuff like that. I like Asian, New Mexican, and Mediterranean flavors, and I hated vegetables.
As I became more passionate about health and fitness, I realized that I was not fueling my body with adequate nutrition. I was working out more, and harder, and running out of energy. I did add supplements like protein powder and BCAAs, but I knew that if I really wanted to be healthier, I’d have to change the way I ate. So I purchased the 2B Mindset, a nutrition program from Beachbody. Because it’s a paid program, I won’t let you in on all the secrets, but I will give you a hint: two big parts of it are drinking more water and eating more vegetables.
I figured I wouldn’t like it. I figured my family wouldn’t like it either. But I also figured it was worth trying. I found more ways to prepare the few kinds of vegetables I did like. Thankfully, I’ve always loved zucchini. It’s such a versatile vegetable, and there are so many delicious possibilities. I really should have planted some this year! Maybe next year. I also found ways to add vegetables into foods I prepared regularly. I discovered cauliflower rice and zoodles. I added red peppers to chili and tomato sauce. I tried brussels sprouts. I don’t like typical salads, but I do like chopped salads, especially with kale. I started taking those to work. I found some really delicious recipes. I blended vegetables into smoothies.
After a few months of begrudgingly adding more vegetables to my diet, I discovered some interesting changes. I felt better. I had more energy. And probably the craziest part, I started really liking vegetables! I’ve gone from liking about five (green beans, asparagus, zucchini, potatoes, and broccoli) to liking nearly every vegetable I try, except for iceberg lettuce and beets.
It’s a weird fact that the more you eat a particular kind food, the more you tend to want it. If you eat a lot of sugar, you want a lot of sugar. If you eat a lot of fast food, you want fast food. If you eat a lot of vegetables, you want vegetables. Adding more vegetables didn’t just change my diet, it changed my life. I eat very differently now than I did a year or two ago, and I enjoy food just as much now as I did then. I just enjoy more kinds of food. And… chips. Somehow when I started eating more vegetables, chips and french fries became my favorite guilty foods, even more than sweets.
I hope you don’t think that just because I like vegetables now, I’ve abandoned my love for all the other foods. Believe me, I love all the foods. Pizza and cupcakes are still my favorite. But I learned that making a shift is possible, and that making healthier food choices can be enjoyable. And that roasted broccoli with butter, garlic, and a squeeze of lemon is just one of the best things in life.
This month in my 30 Day Challenge group, we’re eating more vegetables. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite recipes and tips for adding more veggie goodness into your life, whether you like vegetables or not. I hope you’ll join me!
What’s your favorite vegetable? If you have a good recipe, let me know!