Americans struggle to reach the recommended daily guidelines of six servings of fruits and vegetables. In actuality, there should be eight to 10 servings in their diet.
For me it always seemed like a good idea, but reaching the goal seems to fall short.
We know they are good for us but we tend to underestimate the health benefits of eating adequate portions of fruits and vegetables to aid in the prevention of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other potential illnesses.
Earlier in the year, for spiritual reasons, I did the “21 Day Daniel Fast” where for 21 days you can eat only fruits and vegetables (along with certain whole grains, nuts and legumes such as beans, peas and lentils). The fast is based on Daniel 10:2-3, which says the prophet Daniel spent three weeks mourning and praying for the Jewish people.
According to the Bible, Daniel “ate no tasty food” during this time.
No detailed list of foods is mentioned, but it’s assumed he kept his diet simple. During my time of fasting I found out how to be creative in eating fruits and vegetables (thanks to my wife) and discovered enjoyment in several foods I never would have tried otherwise.
If you are intentional it can be easier than you think — add a fruit for breakfast, work one in for a snack between meals, eat those vegetables first at lunch or dinner to make sure you get around to them on your plate, etc.
Summertime is a great time to start again as the bountiful fresh fruits and vegetables make it easy and tasty.
In fact, summer is a great time to get serious about all aspects of your health — check out the Institute for Healthy Living website and programs “Drop 10 in 10” and “Personal Nutrition Coach” for your dietary needs as well as the S&T Wellness Center, a medically supervised exercise program.
You don’t have to starve yourself to lose weight, and eating more fruits and vegetables is a choice we all can make.
This is the time of year in Pennsylvania to start incorporating more fruits and vegetables as the fresh harvest is bountiful.
Be smarter than me and figure out how to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet without needing a fast to do it. You are worth it.