Who, in their lifetime, hasn't heard someone tell them "Eat Your Vegetables!" For most kids, I imagine the first health coach they ever meet is their own mother. She is constantly telling them to "go outside and play" and "eat your vegetables." Two of the best things a mom can teach their children.
My dad had one rule for eating... "If you don't like dinner, maybe you'll like breakfast." This from the man who also promised I could have a candy bar every day and an ice cream cone every week. I had a rough beginning as to healthy eating habits. Don't misunderstand, I love my parents, but luckily I also had Myrtis Nix in my life.
Myrtis was my second mom. The mother of my best friend, she lived two doors down. I remember her house as well as I remember my own childhood home. Myrtis was my earliest health coach. She never let me leave the table without eating everything on my plate. She is the voice I hear in the back of my head saying "Eat your vegetables, they will help you grow strong."
I never knew Myrtis was such an expert on all of today's modern modes of diet rules for optimum health. She knew about some of these diets before the diet itself was ever invented; in some cases, before the health guru who wrote it was even born.
Here is the list:
Low Carb (Atkins, South Beach, etc.): Knock-out the sugar and starches and eat your vegetables.
Paleo: Eat tons of meat, ignore grains and eat plenty of vegetables.
Whole30: Eat meat, seafood, eggs, some fruit, plenty of good fat and tons of vegetables.
Calorie Counting: Don’t eat junk food and eat more vegetables.
Raw Food: Eat your vegetables, as long as they aren't cooked.
Insulin-Resistance (The Zone, etc.): Balance your proteins with carbs, vegetables are unlimited.
Mediterranean: Eat more vegetables, olive oil and occasionally fish.
Michael Pollen's 7 Word Diet: Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants
Macrobiotic: Avoid animal products and processed food, eat more vegetables and grains.
Eat Right for Your Blood Type: Limit everything to a certain amount of times per week according to your blood type, except vegetables, eat them 3-4 times per day.
Ayurveda: Eat more vegetables in accordance to your Dosha.
Alkaline Ash Diet: Cut out meat, dairy, sweets, caffeine, alcohol and processed foods but instead add nuts, seeds, fresh fruit and eat vegetables.
Vegetarian/Vegan: Eat mostly vegetables and then eat even more vegetables.
The pattern is clear and the simple truth is inescapable... your mother (or in my case, Myrtis) was right all along.
According to ChooseMyPlate.gov, the following are health benefits of eating vegetables.
Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. None have cholesterol. They are important sources of nutrients such as potassium, fiber, folate (folic acid), ribolfalvin, niacin, anti-oxidants, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, lycopene, quercetin, and anthocyanins; and countless other phytonutrients. Plus, vitamins A, B, C and E.
Vegetables truly are one of the best sources of vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting phytochemicals you can find, which makes them excellent food cures. You should be getting at least five servings of vegetables daily, but I encourage you to eat even more than that, since they’re so good for you. If Myrtis were alive today, I believe she would agree with me.