Dear Lauren – Your Questions Answered

Dear Lauren,

I want to start incorporating more fruits and veggies into my diet.  The last time I tried I think I did too much too soon and was hungry all the time.  Any words of wisdom?  I know you said those green drinks are filling. 

Dear Alicia,

Let me just say how excited I am that you are willing to give this another shot. It’s very common to decide to do something, and then try out the most extreme version of it…but extremes rarely last.  Going from a Standard American Diet to an all veggie diet over night can work for some, but it’s incredibly difficult for others.  I feel the best way to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet is to do it slowly.   Transition.  One thing at a time.   One of the easiest and most effective ways to get started is to make one meal a day raw.

Just one.

Let’s start with breakfast for instance.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so I hope you are not skipping it!  Take something as simple as a bowl of oatmeal.  Now instead of eating just a bowl of oatmeal, let’s add half a cup of berries (of your choice), a handful of raisins and a tablespoon of almond butter to it.  You’ve just taken a plain oatmeal breakfast (which by itself is full of protein), added fruit, and more natural protein – as well as a healthy fat, with the almond butter.

Smoothies.  Smoothies are a great choice for breakfast.  For your smoothie base use 1-2 very ripe bananas, 1 cup of organic fresh spinach (packed) and the nut milk of your choice (almond milk, rice, hemp, etc.) you can also use spring water.  Now add some fruit, like strawberries, blueberries or pineapple. Add ice or use frozen organic fruit to create the cold smoothie consistency.  Then add a tablespoon of almond butter.  Or you could add a scoop of your favorite Raw Protein Powder (my favorite is SUNWARRIOR Warrior Blend Protein Powder) and Blend!

Another breakfast option is a very simple one.  Sliced fruit with raw almond butter.  Even if you are short on time in the morning, you can make this one happen.  Just slice up three apples, sprinkle with cinnamon and add 2 tablespoons of raw almond butter for dipping.  Or dip in hummus!  I love doing that too.

If you decide that LUNCH is your thing, choose a salad, a veggie wrap, bring a container of chopped veggies and hummus with you to work.  Out of hummus?  Grab some honey mustard or dijon mustard.  Switch out your burger for a veggie burger.  Switch out your regular fries for baked sweet potato fries.  

Healthy eating really is simple. You don’t need to be 100% vegetarian or vegan or raw in order to reap amazing benefits.  You don’t need to be extreme.  You need to find your own personal balance that works for you.  Here’s what happens when you begin slowly – you have time to adjust.  You begin to feel the benefits.  You have more energy.  You’ll find that eventually, after a raw smoothie breakfast, you will feel so amazing that you will decide to add more veggies to lunch.  Then maybe more veggies to dinner.  

What is the trick to feeling full?

Pick one healthy fat – olive oil, raw nut butters, raw nuts, avocado, olives – and make sure you add it to a salad, a smoothie, etc.  That will keep you feeling satisfied, full, and staying on the healthy bandwagon.  If you sat home and ate heads of lettuce all day long, I doubt you would get that full feeling.  You need to be eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, and make sure to include a healthy fat.  Healthy fats actually speed UP our metabolism and help us burn more fat!   I personally like to use avocados.  I add one to my soup, or add one to a tomato, avocado, spinach, honey mustard sandwich…or add one to a salad.

Hydration is also extremely important.  Make sure you are getting enough water each day. Upon waking, drink a large glass of spring water before you do anything else!  Throughout the day, make sure you are drinking enough water.  If you feel thirsty, you are dehydrated.  You never want to walk around feeling thirsty.

Would it be excellent to cut out all the processed food, meats, dairy and bad stuff in one big swoop? Yes, if you have that kind of personality that extremes work with….but no otherwise.  I’d rather see you transition one meal at a time, at a pace you are comfortable with and STICK WITH IT FOREVER than do it for one month hardcore and then go back to eating chips and burgers because it was too hard.

Eating Fruits and Veggies is not a diet.  It’s not something you do for 30 days and then quit.  It’s not a fad.  It’s not “strange”.  It’s the food that we are supposed to be eating.  It grows all around us in nature and is full of vitamins, nutrients, and everything we need to lead strong healthy lives.  This is a lifestyle.  This is a healthy way to live each and every day.  The best way to make a change is to begin slowly with just one meal a day.   Prepare a head of time.  Pick one day during the week (I use Sunday) to rinse and chop veggies and have them at the ready!  Your health is worth it. Your life is worth it.  Your family is worth it!



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