"Eat your fruits and vegetables!"
We have been told to eat fruit and vegetables since we were toddlers sitting in our high chairs and have probably heard this a million more times since then.
And, we don't do what we are told because as adults, we want to make our own choices and fruits and vegetables are "boring" compared to pies, cakes, cookies and all the other "cooler" foods we walk past at the grocery store.
Lets face it.
The billboards and advertisements of those juicy burgers, ice cream, Doritos, and Coco Puffs we see on television, magazines, or even posters look really good and taste good too!
I think we know by now that the pies, cakes, cookies, fast-foods, soda, and "junk foods" are not as healthy as fruits and vegetables.
I think we have also gotten used to eating less fruits and vegetables over the years.
Why have we become so dependent on the convenience foods in the grocery store, gas stations, restaurants, snack machines, and fast-food joints?
Is it because we don't care anymore about eating fruits and vegetables?
And it's okay.
It's OK to not care about eating fruits and vegetables anymore. I am a Registered Dietitian and I will be the one to say....it's okay.
However, for the people that do care and would like to learn more about fruits and vegetables, you have come to the right blog post.
As a Registered Dietitian for the last 13 years I will be the first to say that hearing, "Eat your fruits and vegetables" has not made anyone healthier.
Because we aren't being taught meaningful reasons why we should eat fruits and vegetables, that's why.
Statistics of obesity don't seem to matter.
Losing our loved ones from health complications such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke don't seem to matter.
Do you know what also doesn't seem to matter? The USDA dietary guidelines.
The USDA dietary guidelines recommend an adult that consumes 2,000 calories per day should eat two-and-a-half cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit per day.
The USDA has done a lot of research to support the importance of consuming this amount of fruits and vegetables everyday.
So why are we are getting more obese and more unhealthy as a nation in the meantime?
Because, we aren't being taught meaningful reasons why we should eat fruits and vegetables, that's why.
However, before being taught on the reasons why we should eat more fruits and vegetables, let's talk about why we aren't eating the amount or even close to the amount of servings that are recommended by the USDA.
Let's talk business.
Business is money. Money makes the world go round. If we don't have money, then we can't get what we need to survive.
Let's talk about sales. Sales feed the marketing industry. If we don't have the marketing industry, then we can't get the information we (the consumers) use to purchase what we need to survive.
I already see a problem here.
One of the main reasons we are not eating the amount or even close to the amount of servings that are recommended by the USDA is because of the marketing industry.
Do we see fresh fruits and vegetables being advertised to us on television, billboards, magazines, and radio? If a slice of a tomato in between 2 ground beef patties counts as a vegetable, then, yes there are vegetables being advertised and marketed to us everyday. The problem is we can't see them because that is not the focus of the marketing industry.
So, do we blame the marketing industry for making our nation more obese and more unhealthy as the years go by?
I will be the first Registered Dietitian to say it.
The answer is yes.
But we also have the ability to choose the foods we put into our mouths everyday because we aren't toddlers sitting in a high chair anymore.
So, why should we eat fruits and vegetables?
Because they provide the correct fuel that our bodies need to function properly everyday.
Would you put diesel fuel into your car? Sure, however, your car is going to crash because it's the wrong fuel for your car's engine.
The same is true for our bodies. We aren't putting the right fuel into our bodies.
Think of the pies, cakes, cookies, junk foods, convenient/processed foods as "diesel fuel."
The other grades of fuel: regular (usually 87 octane), mid-grade (usually 89 octane) and premium (usually 92 or 93) are categories of foods our bodies need to function well such as fruits, veggies, whole grains, dairy, healthy fats.
Our bodies are "crashing" because we are consuming too much "diesel fuel."
So now what?
Well, I didn't become a Registered Dietitian for nothing. It's my job to educate on the importance of consuming the foods our bodies need to function properly.
The problem is I am not on the television, radio, billboards, or cover of magazines.
The other problem is I am not being marketed with a colorful package, ingredient label, and nutrition facts portion.
I am not fat-free, gluten-free, wholesome, made with no high fructose corn syrup, cage-free, low-fat, made from 100% real fruit juice, family-owned, original, low-sodium, and free of GMOs.
I am not the food.
I am not the package.
I am not the marketing industry.
I give you the facts about nutrition and the facts about the foods we are not eating enough of.
Let's talk fruits and vegetables, the boring foods that don't come in a package with tons of marketing terms attached to them.
We know they are naturally healthy.
It is my job to help people eat more of them even if it's just one serving a day.
If we all ate one serving of fruit or vegetable every day we would not only be giving our bodies more of the fuel it needs to function properly, we would also be telling the marketing industry to stop selling us "diesel fuel" because it's making us sick.
Start supplementing your diet alternating between one whole fresh fruit or one whole fresh vegetable (starchy and non-starchy) everyday.
Start thinking of fruits and vegetables as supplemental multivitamins because they are "premium fuel."
The marketing industry has been very successful marketing "diesel fuel" as the fuel our bodies need to function properly.
And we are buying it.