One Size Does NOT Fit All! 4 Reasons Why Dieting Is Bad For You

-There are hundreds of diet books outAsk any one of your friends, family members, coworkers, or acquaintances if they are on a diet and most of them will say they either are on a diet currently, or have been on one (or many!) in the past. Most of them will also tell you that they lost weight initially, but after they stopped dieting, they gained all of the weight back – plus more. According to an article on sparkpeople.com, only 5-10% of “weight losers” manage to keep the weight off over time. So what gives? Here are 4 reasons why formal “Diets” don’t work and what to do instead of going on one.

1.   You are a unique, one-of-a-kind individual.

Just because someone else you know has had success eating a certain way, or following a certain diet, doesn’t mean you will, too. The Institute For Integrative Nutrition calls this concept, “bioindividuality.” You may be lactose intolerant or maybe have an allergy or sensitivity to any of the six most common offenders: wheat, corn, soy, gluten, dairy and eggs. The only way to truly tell what may be an issue for you is to go on an elimination diet. To do this, you cut out all of the foods that contain these ingredients for 7 to 30 days and then add them back in one at a time to see what affects you and what doesn’t. Another possible reason for difficulty losing weight is a medical condition. At Strong Weight Loss, we check for common issues such as thyroid levels or insulin resistance, which may hinder your weight loss efforts even though you are doing everything right.

2.   Many diets are too restrictive.

They will tell you not to eat meat, cooked food, carbs, fat, or whatever food they think is the reason for obesity. The problem with this concept is that when you tell yourself you can’t eat a certain food, that becomes all you can think about. You think you NEED to have it. You may be able to stay away from it for a while, but as soon as you reach your goal weight and stop the diet, you go right back to your old habits. Unfortunately, there is much more information available about weight loss, than weight maintenance. When you concentrate on using food as fuel for your body – not as comfort when you are sad, mad or stressed out, you will be better able to maintain your goal weight for continued success.

3.   Diets can be EXPENSIVE!

When I went on Nutrisystem (one of the many diets I tried – and failed), it cost me over $300 per month and I still had to buy my own fruits, veggies and dairy! Wow! I could only eat “my” food and my family continued to eat everything I couldn’t. Not only was I STARVING, but I was broke and felt like I was missing out on real food. You might think eating healthy is expensive; however, when you factor in the cost of premade food including shipping, packaging, advertising, etc., it makes more sense to eat real, whole food. You can get healthy, great tasting food at any local farmer’s market or in your own backyard garden for much less than at many stores.

4.   Figuring out what to eat is CONFUSING!

We are bombarded with information about food, nutritional data, health benefits and health risks; often by special interest groups. Food advertising is everywhere and food companies spend a lot of money on figuring out what makes us buy more of their food. It is no surprise you often wonder how you are supposed to know what to eat.

So what on EARTH are you supposed to do?

The answer is simple: whenever you can, eat whole foods. It’s that easy. What is a whole food? Anything that walks, crawls, swims, flies, grew from the ground or had a mother. This means any food that is in its natural state and is not processed in any way. A good way to find these foods is to shop around the perimeter of the grocery store. The processed stuff is mostly in the middle of the store. As a general rule, anything that is advertised is probably not good for you.

Still Confused?

That’s where I come in. As a Health Coach, I help you reach your health and weight loss goals on your own terms. I am your Accountability Partner. Together, we figure out what foods are good for your unique body, what type of exercise you are willing, and able, to do, and then we set attainable goals that you choose for yourself. Only you know yourself inside and out – nobody else does. You know you need to exercise and eat right. I help you get there. I will cheer you on, smack you upside the head when you need it (figuratively!) and I will be there with you every step of the way. Find out more about Health Coaching here or visit my website to sign up for more health and wellness tips. I can’t wait to hear from you!

Chris

Advertisements

Building A Dynasty!

This is what happens when you least expect it!

I called a friend who has a flower business for work to see how she did her display for bridal shows since Strong Weight Loss was going to be in one on March 9th. She is an AWESOME and very strong woman and I valued her advice. Linda was very happy to come talk to me about the bridal show and she met me at work one day on a day without patients so we could talk about it. Little did I know she was going to bring me a catalog from It Works! Global. She had seen the products at a previous bridal show and signed up to be a Distributor. They had these “crazy wrap things” that she was raving about and I was very skeptical that they would even work.

Crazywrapthing

I thought that Dr. Strong might want to offer them to his weight loss patients near the end of their weight loss journey since most people have some sort of loose skin to get rid of so I told her I would talk to him. Then she offered me a free wrap and I figured I’d try it. It couldn’t hurt. I did try it and didn’t see results right away in the mirror, but the next day I could fit into my jeans I had not been able to put on in MONTHS! Obviously it did SOMETHING since I couldn’t fit in them a few days before that. I was intrigued so I told her I would have a party.

Dr. Strong didn’t want to offer them so I figured *I* would sell them in case we had someone who was interested. I had my party and had two people show up. I wasn’t sure how it would go but both of them became Loyal Customers! I decided to sign up. The fact that the products use non GMO ingredients were awesome. I also was more interested in the protein powder (it has very few carbs and fits into our eating plan at the clinic) and the Greens, which deliver 8+ servings of fruits and vegetables in one serving.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to do parties again (I did PartyLite for 8 years) so I didn’t talk about it much. But people were still interested. I started posting about it on Facebook and I had a lot of interest! Then I went to a training with Linda and found out that we don’t have to do a lot of parties – we can just meet people where they are at and let them try a wrap. While the wrap works, we chat about the products – it’s that easy! I decided I want to build my OWN Dynasty to match the one Linda is building so here I am!

I absolutely LOVE that they do the Loyal Customer program! When you order ONE thing from the catalog (price does not matter) every month for just three months in a row, you get MY cost. And there are many more benefits to list!

The Loyal Customer Program ROCKS! You get MY cost!

The Loyal Customer Program ROCKS! You get MY cost!

I got my products and tried the ProFit Vanilla protein powder with Vanilla Almond Milk this morning and it tasted JUST like vanilla ice cream! I even told my hubby I could freeze it and pretend it was ice cream. LOL! I also have been taking the Ultimate Thermofit at dinner and it has taken away my carb cravings and urges to eat at night! The Greens taste fantastic, and have also helped me with my snacking. I’m a fan! Wraps or not, I’ll continue to use the other products. If you haven’t heard about them, you need to send me a message! I’ll be happy to share!

Just some of the products!

Just some of the products!

This is seriously the ONLY company I have come across that I am excited to share with others and promote the products and the opportunity.  Check out my website HERE and see what it’s all about!

Be App Savvy-Great Health And Fitness Apps!

How many of you live on your phone?

How many of you would be entirely lost without it?

How many of you think it’s a fifth appendage?

I DO! And I know many of you out there do too. We’ve done some research and found some of the best Health, Fitness and Weight Loss ApWeightLossAppPhotocollageps out there. Here they are in no particular order.  Enjoy!

Apps for Health and Weight Loss:

 

1.  Spark People: $3.99 for the phone APP or Free on your computer:  This website is great on your PC. It offers many different resources and tools for weight loss, weight management, nutritional facts, exercise, videos, support blogs, a tight-knit online community, tips, recipes and recipe calculating, calorie counting/tracking and more. Many of the features on the PC are not available  on the APP so try the free PC version first. Lots of daily e-mails and tips. If that becomes a bother, you have to unsubscribe from the PC version. This is my personal favorite, the one I use for everything, and one I strongly recommend.

2.  Lose It – Free:  This APP is mostly a tracking app. It includes calorie counting, food journaling, meal planning, exercise planning, barcode scanning and health goals. User friendly, simple in format, and easy to use. Recommended by Strong Weight Loss (the big guy who pays the bills). Seriously – he really is awesome and I’m not just saying that. If you live in the Southeastern Wisconsin area and need help losing weight, you need to come see him. His program is amazing!

3.  My FitWeightlossapppic2ness Pal – Free (All Versions):  This APP is a versatile tracking APP that provides goal setting, calorie tracking, food    journaling, support blogs, and exercise tracking. This APP is also simple in format. The PC version has more detail, but in all,  this is a great and easy APP for weight loss and weight maintenance.

4.  Livestrong – Free (lite version) or $2.99:  This APP offers calorie tracking, nutritional information, food planning, health tips, community support blogs, and diet coaching. It is available without the community support blogs and anywhere, anytime tracking, as a free version.

5.  Web MD – Free:  This APP helps with health information, health improvement efforts, symptom checkers, and first aid  information. The first aid information is always available – even when you have no internet access.

6.  Live Well Network – Free:  This APP offers hundreds of recorded programs that feature different aspects of life from cooking,  travel, recipes, home decor, fitness and spirituality.

7.  Foodle – $2.99:  This APP provides nutrition facts on thousands of foods as well as origin and fun facts about the food  you are researching. Fun, informative and interesting.

 Apps for Recipes and Nutrition:

1.  Health Recipes: Cooking for Fast Weight Loss – Free:  This APP provides recipes with the how-to video and photos. It provides the calorie amounts and offers a wide range of recipes to appeal to all tastes.

2.  The Skinny Skillet – $3.99:  This APP has a lot to offer for its price. There are over 250+ recipes that are low carb and low-calorie. Each recipe has a photo, includes nutritional facts, weight watchers points, and a shopping list. No internet access is required to use the APP except for updates, which do inRecipeappcollageclude
more recipes.

3.  All Recipes Video Cookbook – Free:  Recipes for Everything.

4.  Allthecooks Recipes – Free:  Focus is on Social Cooking.

5.  World Recipes – $2.99:  Recipes from all cultures.

Apps for Alternative Diets:

1.  Garden Plate – Free and $2.99 (Pro Version):  This APP offers 65+ vegetarian, celiac, and gluten-free recipes along with photos, easy instructions, and shopping lists. Pro version offers more recipes.

2.  Whole Foods Market Recipes – Free:  A grocery store APP that featAlternativedietapppicures over 3,000+ recipes, including one made in their deli. This APP has meals of all kinds for all different diets. It has shopping lists, cooking guides, and does also offer  e-mails regarding store specials and promotions (you can unsubscribe).

3.  Diabetes In Check – Free:  Great APP for diabetes or for people who watch their sugar and carb intake. This APP has it all FREE! You get blood glucose tracking and medication tracking (if needed), reminders, carb trackers, barcode scanner, hundreds of recipes, sample meal plans, message boards, and all your data charts that are easy to share via e-mail or for your MD. There is a paid version that is $3.99 and offers customized meal planning and tracking.

Apps for Exercise:Exerciseapppic

1.  Jillian Michaels Slim Down.

2.  Sworkit.

3.  FitStar.

4.  Daily Burn.

5.  7 Minute Workout.

6.  Ninja Fitness (Designed for Youth).

Almost all of the APPS listed are available for both Apple and Android products. The prices may differ and the PC versus APP content varies between them. So check them out and have fun with it!

What is a CSA and Why Should You Use One?

Some of the items you may see in your share

Some of the items you may see in your share

The letters CSA stand for Community Supported Agriculture. Basically, you are buying a “share” of a local farm and in return receive fresh produce every week for the duration of the summer. Typical CSA shares are available late May through November, although some farmers have Spring and Fall shares available. Most farms have several drop off points where you can go to pick up your share each week. The cost varies by farm and the frequency of your share. Some farms also offer half shares, which are delivered every other week.

Why should you care? This is a wonderful way to keep your grocery costs down because your fruits, vegetables and herbs don’t have to be shipped in from far away, and you are getting fresher, higher quality food for you and your family by buying local. If one share is too expensive, you can opt for a half share (for some farms) or split the cost with a friend or family member. Are you worried about leftovers or some produce you don’t like to eat? Share with a local food pantry that takes produce! The possibilities are endless.

In addition to produce, some farms offer meat, eggs and other extras along with recipes, newsletters and events that go on at the farm for the members such as festivals or U-pick days.

If you are overwhelmed and confused, don’t worry! There is an open house every year at the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee, WI, where all the farmers come to meet prospective members and you can find the farm that is best for you. This year’s FREE event is Saturday, March 8th, 2014 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Riverside Park Urban Ecology Center 1500 E. Park Place, Milwaukee, WI 53211. Bring your family and friends along. The more the merrier.

Check out the website http://www.localharvest.org/csa/ for more information. If you really can’t afford a CSA or would like to pick your own produce, be sure to check out your local Farmer’s Market.

Less Is More: How to Feel Satisfied With Less Food

Sundays at Grandma and Grandpa’s house were a family event when I was a child. Every week we would go over there, spend the day and then have a huge, family dinner. This usually consisted of some form of meat and potatoes along with a vegetable that I didn’t like. I did, however, love the meat and potatoes. Sometimes it was macaroni and cheese, sometimes it was pot roast, sometimes it was chicken with noodles and gravy. Don’t forget the heavenly dessert, hand crafted by the best baker in the world – my Grandma. Whatever it was, we were encouraged to have seconds and thirds until we were full. I never learned correct portions sizes – I just ate until I was “full.” Which for me, was VERY full and somewhat uncomfortable. I had no clue about nutrition. It was all about instant gratification. A point I read once really resonated with me. When you have a second helping, that’s having a second dinner. It’s a simple concept, but very compelling.

SocratesquotesecretFast forward to years later and I was 233 pounds. Well THAT didn’t work very well, did it??? I started learning more about nutrition when I had finally had enough of being fat, uncomfortable, and unhappy. Since I don’t want to bore you with all the gory details, let’s skip them all and I’ll give you the tricks I have learned to make myself more satisfied with less food.

  1. Track everything you eat. And I mean EVERYTHING. The good, the bad and the ugly. Do this without judgement or shame – it’s just information. This is the only way to truly see what you are eating at the moment and where you can start to change things. I use a free tracking website called www. sparkpeople.com but there are many sites out there. Just pick one you like and start there.
  2. Read nutrition labels. Start paying attention to serving sizes and only eat one serving at a time. Get a set of measuring cups and spoons and a food scale. Weigh and measure everything until you get good at estimating correct portions. I still weigh and measure everything – it just helps me stay on track and I’ve made it a habit. About one cup of food is a serving size. That’s not a lot compared to what I ate as a child! It took a LONG time for me to get used to that amount!
  3. Use smaller plates and bowls. You would be surprised how well this works! The same amount of food on a smaller plate or in a smaller bowl looks like more than it is because it fills the entire surface. This tricks your brain into thinking there’s more food available.
  4. When eating out, ask for a “To Go” container right when your meal is served and put half of it away right away. Most restaurant portion sizes have become two and three times bigger over time. A Happy Meal at McDonald’s is what an adult size portion used to be! Putting half of your meal out of your sight before you start eating ensures you will eat less at dinner, and also have leftovers for another meal.
  5. CHEW YOUR FOOD SLOWLY! I can’t emphasize this enough. Especially since I’ve always been a fast eater. Put your fork down between bites. Focus on the smell and texture of the food, along with the taste. You will feel satisfied sooner and you will give your saliva a chance to do its job, which is to start breaking down your food before you swallow it. Your stomach will thank you!

Making these tips a habit did NOT happen overnight for me – it took time. Make sure you are gentle with yourself and know that getting healthy is a journey. Start small – don’t try to change all of your bad habits at once. That is a just a recipe for failure. Success is much sweeter when you reap the benefits of hard work!

“Beauty” vs. The Beast. A Night In The Life Of An Emotional Eater

Beauty vs. The BeastI’m late. It’s 5:40 p.m. and we need to leave our house at 6:15 to get to my son’s counseling appointment. I scoot out of the parking lot, quickly making sure there are no cars coming from either direction as I get on the busy road in front of work. It will  take me about 20-25 minutes to get home but of course, I’m behind every obstacle you could imagine. These include the car driving 10 miles under the speed limit, the train that I never have to wait for on a normal day, the “snow” (really only wet pavement since it was barely a dusting and it’s rush hour), the stop lights, the people turning left, etc.  You know how it is when you’re in a hurry. That’s when God decides to mess with you just a little. Or a lot. Depends on the day.

I get home around 6:05 – not bad time considering the traffic. I’m REALLY hungry. I didn’t have my afternoon snack because I was distracted by the patient we had to take care of and didn’t notice my hunger until I got home. I’ll never make it until about 7:30-8:00 so I quickly whip up a  healthy smoothie for dinner that I can take along. My 9-year-old keeps asking, “Mom, can we go to Topper’s?” Toppers is a pizza delivery place and since I’ve given up most junk food, I really don’t want to answer him. You see, I’m eating healthy for myself, but the rest of the family is not necessarily on board – including my husband. Our rule is usually that he only let the kids eat pizza when I’m gone so I don’t have to be subjected to the heavenly smell of one of my biggest trigger foods. Pizza is so bad for me that I can’t even put the leftovers away because I will just sit there and eat the lonely pieces  instead of putting them away. So I put my son off with my standard answer when I don’t really want to answer, “I don’t know. We have to go. Get your coat on.”

All five of us pile into the car with the usual fighting from my oldest daughter about my middle son not letting her into the car first and him bellyaching about why she has to go in HIS side. I sit down, put on my seat belt, and settle in with my spoon and smoothie cup to enjoy every chocolately, fruity bite.  I can vaguely taste the spring mix I put in there, but the protein powder, almond milk, cinnamon, cacao nibs and frozen peaches and cherries all combine into a heavenly dinner. My husband is driving, so I can put my full attention on my concoction. Surprisingly, because it’s dark outside, I enjoy every bite more slowly and more thoroughly than when I can see what I’m eating. Funny how that works. I’m happy that I’ve made a good choice and that I don’t have to feel like I’m starving for the next two hours.

After the appointment, my youngest son (you know, the one with the one-track mind) says, “Can we go to Topper’s?” Again. I told him we can’t just GO to Topper’s. We have to order it ahead of time and I’m not going to call for a pizza I’m not going to eat. At least that’s what my silly little mind thinks. So my husband suggests Little Caesar’s. They have $5 ready to eat pizzas you can just go pick up. My heart sinks a little, but they didn’t eat and I feel guilty that I got dinner but they did not, so I say fine. I snooze on the way because that’s just what I do in the car in the dark (who doesn’t?). I didn’t pay attention when my hubby put the pizza boxes in the back of the car. Nice of him to do that so I don’t have to sit with them on my lap for the ride home. That would just be torture. But I can still smell it. The cheesy, savory scent wafts up to the front seat and I try mightily to ignore its call. This is where the Beast rises up and I get into a fight with it in my head.

BEAST:  “What do you think you’re going to do? Just sit there and not eat any pizza? It’s your favorite food! You won’t be able to resist the smell. You’ve tried before and it didn’t work.”

ME:  “Yes, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m going to go upstairs and take off my makeup and get ready for bed. Maybe if I stall long enough they will eat and put it away before I get back downstairs.”

BEAST: “Yeah right. You know the kids don’t eat that much and there will  be some left. And they never put it away so it will be just sitting there waiting for you to eat it.”

ME: “I will stay strong. I can do it.”

BEAST: “We’ll see.” I ignore it and close my eyes again.

We get home and as I get out of the car to go into the house, my husband opens the back of the car and pulls out THREE pizza boxes! “You got THREE boxes? Why did you get three?” I ask.  He answers, “Because I’m hungry and so are the kids.” I mentally steel myself for another fight with the Beast but I silence my inner thoughts for now.

I get inside and go straight upstairs to the bathroom to take my makeup off. I distract myself with my nightly ritual of washing my face, cleaning the litter box and playing with the cats, who are staring at me from the counter silently begging me for the treats they get at night. I make the bed, do some random distractions and then the Beast starts up again.

BEAST: “You know, you could just have ONE piece. You could even take the topping off and throw out the crust so you stay away from the carbs. It won’t be that bad. Just one. No more.”

ME: “I ate dinner. I do not NEED more dinner. I’m not hungry. I am at my calorie limit for the day. Maybe I’ll just go get my computer and bring it up here and get away from the temptation.”

BEAST: “Just one. It won’t hurt anything. They’re never going to eat all of that pizza.”

ME: “Fine. Just one piece. I can handle just one.” I go downstairs and tell myself to just sit down in my spot at the couch and open the computer to check email. Like normal. But my legs have a mind of their own and just walk into the kitchen. There are two boxes sitting on the dog food bin near the window. I assume they’re empty since they aren’t on the stove like the pizza usually is when we have it. I think to myself, “That’s odd. They don’t eat that much so fast. Ever.” There is one box left on the stove. Bonus! I open it and it’s empty. I close it and lean against the sink. I’m mad. At myself, at my kids, at my husband. How DARE they eat everything! The Beast returns with a vengeance and it’s on a rampage. I try to calm it down with logic.

ME: “Wow, I can’t believe they ate it all already. Fine. I’ll have a piece of dark chocolate. That will help.” I get the piece of dark chocolate out and eat it slowly, savoring each bite. It will only cost me about 50 calories instead of 300. That’s a good choice.

BEAST: “That sucks! I wanted one piece! I’m mad!

I am actually pouting by this time, eating my chocolate. My husband walks past. “What’s the matter?” he says.

“Nothing.” I mutter.

“You look pissed. What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” I’m still having this war with the Beast. I don’t want to tell him why I’m mad because I’m the one who said I didn’t want to eat any pizza. It doesn’t make sense. He walks away, unconvinced. I speak again to the Beast.

ME: “Why are you mad? You ate dinner. Your family did not. That is very selfish of you. They went hungry for over two hours and you didn’t. You should be ashamed of yourself!”

BEAST: “But I wanted one piece! I’m not happy! I’ll never be satisfied!”

ME: “Well that’s tough! I’ll give you one more piece of chocolate – ONE. No more. And you can have some tea. That will make you satisfied. It always does.”

BEAST: “I’m not going away!”

ME: “Calm down! YOU are the one who makes me eat stupid things when I’m not hungry! YOU are the one who made me gain weight back! It’s YOUR fault! I will NOT let you beat me this time. Besides, there’s no pizza left. What am I supposed to do? I’m DONE listening to you!”

BEAST: “FINE! If you’re going to be THAT way – I’m outta here!”

ME: “Good riddance.” I get the second piece of chocolate and make my hot herbal tea. It has peppermint and lemon in it and it always calms my appetite. I take the tea and the chocolate in the living room and eat the chocolate slowly. Sipping tea calms me down and I am happy I finally won this round. But the Beast will be back. I just have to stay strong. I go to bed, happy that I’ve won.

The next morning, I get up and get ready for work. I open the refrigerator to get my eggs out for breakfast and make my lunch. There are two pizza boxes sitting in there, staring at me. Love him or hate him, my hubby must have put the full boxes on the bin on purpose to help me, even though I didn’t want to be helped at the time. I’m grateful.

Later that day, I ask him, “Did you put the pizza boxes there so I would think they were empty?””Yes,” he says. “That’s what I thought,” I say,”Thank you.” He says, “You’re welcome.”

I can totally resist the leftovers, so I’m in the clear, thankful that I have a loving husband who helps me out when I need it. Even when I don’t think I want him to.

Veggie Haters Rejoice! Help Is Here!

I have hated most vegetables since I was a child. I don’t mean I “just didn’t like the taste much,” I mean HATED them. Once time my mom made me eat some corn at dinner and I puked it right back up on my plate. “See Mom, I told you so!”

I’m not touching them. Ever. Never ever. Not happening. I really mean it.

My repertoire of vegetables consisted of lettuce, tomatoes, celery, carrots (raw only), and cooked broccoli. I much preferred potatoes, bread, meat and cookies. Beans? No way! Too grainy, bad taste, not worth my time. Mushrooms? Ewwwww! Too slimy. Gross!

As I’ve gotten older and wiser, however, I have discovered that I don’t hate all vegetables – I just didn’t like the way they were prepared for me when I was a kid. And they were always plain with just butter and salt. And I didn’t like butter (told you I was weird). The veggies I was served were most often boiled until they were mushy and tasteless. No wonder I didn’t like them!

When I started really paying attention to what was good for me and why, I learned a few tricks to make vegetables more palatable. I still don’t like beans or mushrooms (hey, at least I’m trying!), but I have found more veggies that I like. I WILL eat corn now and then but only if it’s fresh and still on the cob (I DO have my standards you know!). Here are a few of my favorite ways I have learned to prepare them:

Roasted (Cue the horns trumpeting and angels singing from heaven!):  This is the BEST way to try new vegetables. Many blog and message posts I have read have raved about how awesome veggies taste when you roast them. My favorite recipe, adapted from http://www.sparkpeople.com:

2-3 Large Onions, chopped into large chunks

1 each Red, Yellow and Orange Bell Pepper, chopped

1 small bunch Asparagus, cut into small strips

6 cloves of Garlic (I mince my own with a garlic press)

1-2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Place in jelly roll pan. Roast in oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of all vegetables. Experiment with the ones you could tolerate the best first. Ones that don’t gross you out or make you think of dirt. I have tried carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and snap peas. None of those worked for me – but at least I tried them. I much prefer my broccoli steamed, grilled or marinated.

After Roasting – YUM!

Speaking of which……

Marinated:  Adding flavor to your vegetables is easy. You just have to be brave and open minded. Here’s my favorite recipe:

4 cups Broccoli Florets

1 large bunch Asparagus

About 1-2 Tbsp. Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce

About 1-2 Tbsp. Sesame Oil

1-2 Tbsp. Sesame Seeds (optional – I don’t use them if I grill the veggies).

Cut broccoli to the size you like and break off woody ends of the asparagus. In large bowl or re-sealable plastic zipper bag, place broccoli, asparagus, soy sauce and oil. Marinate for 1-2 hours. Cook as you like. I like to place them in a grill basket and grill them with my meat for the meal. You can also roast them in the oven for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

If roasting, sprinkle the sesame seeds over the veggies during the last 5 minutes just to toast them.

Grilled:  There’s nothing like a good Summer backyard barbecue. Or Spring. Or Fall. Or Winter. Heck – anytime is a good time to grill out! There are a couple of ways you can grill your veggies.

Admiring the Grill Basket and my hubby’s delicious BBQ chicken.

  1. Invest in a good grill basket. This is a great way to grill your veggies without burning them or  having them fall into the fire. The basket fits nicely in between your meat or on the top shelf if you have a gas grill. Place the basket on the grill until done – usually only about 10 minutes.
  2. Hobo packets. Take a long piece of tin foil and spray it with cooking spray. Cut any veggies you’d like into chunks (squash, peppers, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, whatever you’d like). Place them in the center of the foil. Add butter, seasoned salt, spices or olive oil but make them small enough so that the veggies don’t take too long to cook. About 1-1.5 cups of veggies is good. Place them on the grill and cook until they are done the way you like them. Usually about 20 minutes or so. You can also add meat and cheese to these packets to make them an entire meal. Chicken, beef or vegetable broth add flavor and helps steam the vegetables too.
There's a whole zucchini in there! I'm sneaky!

There’s a whole zucchini in there! I’m sneaky!

I have a few other tricks to sneak veggies (especially the ones I don’t like) into my diet. I puree them and add them into dishes I already make. In spaghetti sauce or chili I add carrots, spinach, zucchini, broccoli or cauliflower, pureed with a little water in my Nutribullet. I also add spinach, celery, kale or broccoli to my smoothies. With my chocolate protein powder (I use Chocolate Vegan Shakeology but you can use any protein powder you like), cinnamon, cacao nibs, almond milk and frozen fruit, you don’t even know the veggies are in there. You can try this on your family, too. Especially the kids. They have NO idea! It’s brilliant! (And healthy, too, but you did NOT hear that from me!)

Any way you try vegetables is a step in the right direction. I have found that since I’ve starting eating healthier food, my taste buds have changed and I can actually appreciate the true taste of veggies. Or at least some of them. Just an side note: Vegetables taste MUCH better from your own garden or the local Farmer’s Market. And they cost less. Bonus! Go for it! Set a goal to try 5 new veggies this year. Go to the grocery store and pick one that you have never tasted to see how you like it. You never know – you might like it!