Until you’ve eaten all your vegetables!
We’ve all heard it at some point in our lives. The grouchy “mean” parents who just didn’t understand that we didn’t like our vegetables! Then again we’ve all learned by now that our parents are almost always right. If they’re not, they’re pretty damn close.
Vegetables are the root, stem, and leaf part of a plant.
For example – carrots, celery, and spinach.
Human beings are omnivores. We have incisors for cutting, canines for tearing, and molars for mashing it all up. Incisors and molars are your plant eating teeth. If you notice, we have many more plant eating teeth than we have for meats. This is a good indicator of which kinds of food should be most common in a human’s diet. Think about a horse’s mouth, all incisors and molars. A dogs mouth, all canines and sharp molars with very small incisors. This is the same technique scientists use to determine the diet of any animal, past or present.
So using that information, we can conclude that plant matter is the most important part of our diet and the best source of all the proteins and vitamins we need.
Fiber comes from vegetables (and fruits and beans) like split peas, lentils, black beans, artichokes, broccoli, raspberries, blackberries, avocado, spinach, kale, collards, and cabbage.
Soluble fiber has a kind of gelatinous form when it is processed through your guts, slowing digestion and by doing this gives you a little extra time to absorb more nutrients from your food. Insoluble fiber adds “extra” to your poop (sorry weak stomachs) and this prevents both diarrhea and constipation.
Important vitamins like vitamin C, A, B-6, B-12, and folic acid, have several functions.
- Vitamin A maintains the tissue of the skin, gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts. It also helps, along with all those great antioxidants from fruits, to protect all cells throughout your body from those pesky free radicals. It also helps you be more resistant to infections.
- Folic acid and both B vitamins are vital for your nervous system. These three vitamins also keep your immune system functioning the way it should and are needed for the metabolism of amino acids and the synthesis of proteins.
- Vitamin C boosts iron absorption, boosts your immune system, promotes healthy gums, helps wounds heal faster, and fights infections.
Where do you find these vitamins? Citrus fruits, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, parsley, cabbage, asparagus, avocados, cantaloupe, currants, mango, kiwi, papaya, peppers, pineapple, strawberries, carrots, apricots, sweet potatoes, yellow squash, pumpkin, watercress, greens, dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Here is a great chart for which vegetables (just like fruits) are best in which seasons.
There’s always a something green in season whether it’s leeks or okra. Other great veggies like spinach, potatoes, garlic, beets, and celery are good year-round. Squash, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes are best in the fall, when the mood is right for more festive dishes.
The best part is that if you don’t like tomatoes you don’t have to eat them. You can choose bell peppers for color, or pineapple and/or mango for taste. The same applies to almost all vegetables or fruit. Switch up when you need to.
So don’t leave the table until you’ve eaten all your vegetables.
Your body will thank you for it.