Being a gym owner many people think I must be some kind of hardcore health fanatic. While I greatly value health and fitness, I am anything but perfect when it comes to eating (or my fitness for that matter!). I have a wicked sweet tooth, enjoy all kinds of adult beverages, and am partial to salt and vinegar chips. For the most part, I can keep these to a moderate enough level that my indulgences aren’t especially detrimental to feeling pretty good. When I do go a bit overboard, my body is quick to let me know and I feel sluggish and unmotivated.
For about the past week I have been crushing fruits and veggies. It’s common knowledge that you should be regularly eating a variety of fruits and veggies, but it seems like very few people actually do. I’m not going to go into all the benefits, but if you want more info check out the articles linked below. While I have always eaten some fruit and veggies, I have definitely lacked in the variety department and consumption has not been a priority. After seeing several posts about eating 10 shades a day on a blog I follow (OPEX Fitness), I decided it was time to step my game up. So far it’s been way easier than I thought it would be. Liz has been on board as well so each evening we check in and tell each other what we ate that day.
In the past I’ve done the Whole 30 or various paleo challenges and they have helped me dial in my eating and feel really good. But they have all had a specific timeline, and when I finished I would eventually revert back to old habits that included not having much of a plan or consistency with my nutrition. I learned a lot by doing these challenges, but this time around I wanted to see if I could create a long-term habit rather than more of a temporary reset. I liked that instead of having to eliminate a bunch of foods I could simply focus on adding something nutritious.
My daily game plan to get 10 shades in:
- Morning Smoothie (6 shades): 1 scoop of Driven Whey, a handful of Antioxidant Blend Frozen Berries (from Costco, it has 5 types of berries), a handful of spinach, and water. This takes me about 1 minute to make and is delicious.
- Late Breakfast/early lunch (4-5 shades): 2 eggs, bacon, piece of toast, mixed green lettuce mix, carrots, purple cabbage. Sometimes I will sub bell peppers for carrots or cabbage or add tomatos or avocado to the mix.
- Dinner (2-5 shades): Usually some type of meat or fish with a couple veggies on the side: Roasted potato or sweet potato, broccoli, brussel sprouts, bell peppers etc. If I don’t have the smoothie in the morning I will add some more veggies at dinner.
So far I haven’t had any issues getting 10 in and plan on continuing indefinitely. I have found there are a couple keys to my success:
1) Buy enough fruits and veggies. Pretty simple but if they aren’t readily available what are the chances you will eat them?
2) Get a large variety in one meal. With a smoothie or a salad you can easily add a bunch in one go. Likewise if you are roasting or sauteing. Just chop more up than you might normally and throw them in.
3) Don’t be overly concerned with serving size. I’m not going to try to game the system by eating one baby carrot and counting it but I’m also not weighing and measuring everything either.
Here are a couple articles on why it’s important to get your fruits and veggies in.
If you don’t like vegetables here is a great article explaining why and giving you a method to make them more enjoyable or tolerable depending on your outlook.
I’ve got a few more nutrition habits I will be implementing in the months to come but want to make sure I have this one fully dialed in first. If you are reading this and ready to give it a go yourself shoot me an email and let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org). I’m always more motivated when I’ve got some buddies around.:)