Whenever I stop and look around the supermarket, I’m always presented with a dilemma. One package says it has whole grains that will help me live longer. Another package says it has a full serving of fiber and omega-3’s that are “heart healthy,” or whatever that means. Well, as a former marketer, I’m here to say that I’ve had enough with all this scumbag marketing, and it’s time to get back to the actual content of real food.
Awhile back, I posted this video showcasing how, through diet alone, one woman was able to fight and regain her life after being diagnosed and suffering from multiple sclerosis. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it made me very introspective and I started taking careful inventory of what I ate. What was “natural,” but still man made? What was synthetic? And most importantly, what was actually healthy? I never realized that figuring out the latter can be a rather tricky task when it comes to processed foods (ahem, if you have to think about whether or not something is healthy, it’s probably not).
So my solution was a simple experiment: try to eat a combination of 14-15 different fruits and vegetables a day, and it should all take care of itself.
14 to 15 different fruits and vegetables in one day.
I told one of my close friends about this experiment, and he said “I don’t know, 14-15 just seems really arbitrary.” I said, “why yes - that’s exactly the point!”
Think about how many fruits and vegetables you eat in one day. I’m not talking about a slice of tomato here or there on a sandwich. I’m talking about an actual palm size serving. Now think about eating 15 different fruits and vegetables in one day – it’s extremely tough to do! It goes without saying that you’ll probably have double down on the salads, but most importantly, it saves you from all the other crap you’re not eating.
Want those wheat thins for an afternoon snack? Well, not if you’ve only consumed 8 fruits and veggies and it’s after 4 PM. You better get cracking to make your quota by the time you hit the hay.
Would you like proof that it can be accomplished? Here’s a list of only the fruits and vegetables I ate in one day, next to the exact meal (all other contents of that meal are left out for simplicity, and I neglected to put down a food twice if I ate it with more than one meal)
(Breakfast) Sweet potato, black beans, spinach
(Pre-Workout aka Lunch #1) Strawberries, Blueberries, Mangoes, Banana, Kale
(Post Workout aka Lunch #2) Carrots, Grape Tomatoes, Sprouts, Chickpeas
(Late afternoon snacks) Apple, Pear, Clementine
Eating like this will definitely have more of an impact on your wallet, but I look at it like this: you’re either going to pay for it now or later. I’d much rather spend money eating quality food that will help me live longer than any other alternative. Worst case, I'll be too full to eat the other crap in the cupboard. Best case? Maybe I'll realize that I like a few more foods than I thought I did.
I know I’m biased, but I think this method is a simple way to eat well, and a really easy way to hold yourself accountable. Did you meet the goal or didn’t you? It really is that simple.