Welcome to the HCF Coaches Corner! Each Sunday one of the HCF coaches will make a blog post to talk about whatever they have on their minds to share with the community!
By Coach Heather
“But I don’t like vegetables”
“But I don’t like vegetables.” Do your kids ever tell you this? I am almost 25 years old with no kids and I hear this quote every time we are about to start a paleo challenge from grown men and women. They don’t like to eat vegetables. I am not sure what it is about those nasty, flavorless things that grow from nature that these people do not seem to like. I will admit, the pre paleo Heather thought broccoli and cheese, microwaved out of a bag was good for me- I was kinda close…kinda. Growing up, I was not a fan of vegetables, my mom would put carrots in our lunch boxes but I would never eat them. On holidays we had a green bean casserole, oh- and that dish with the sweet potatoes, brown sugar and marshmellows on top! Those are vegetables right? Nope, I was wrong.
I also will admit, when I first started this ‘paleo diet’ I was one of those fruit and nut only paleo dieters- not good either. So what is it with vegetables? Why can’t we seem to like them? Is it that we know they are good for us and we are rebelling against our bodies? Or maybe it is the way they taste? We are so use to the sweetness of soda, those homemade chocolate chips cookies that melt in our mouth, and the juiciness fruit has that vegetables just taste so bland.
But did you know all of these vegetables contain varying amounts of Vitamins A, K, and B6? Vegetables also hold a great variety of other phytochemicals that may enclose antioxidants, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Diets containing vegetables may also help lower the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. They can also help protect the body against some cancers and decrease bone loss. Isn’t this amazing? So remind me why we don’t like our vegetables? That’s right, I couldn’t remember either. If you are unsure how to incorporate those veggies into your diet here are some ways that may help:
1. Add green onions, spinach, cherry tomatoes and mushroom to your scrambled eggs or omelet. This makes a perfect breakfast, snack, lunch or dinner…. eat it whenever you want!
2. Use lettuce leaves to prepare tasty grain-free wraps! Add meat, seasonings, bacon and homemade mayo if desired.
3. Use Portobello mushroom caps to make a gourmet grain-free bison or grass-fed beef burger. Top it with lettuce, tomatoes and bacon and accompany it with a salad or sweet potato fries!
4. Use grilled eggplant slices or Portobello mushroom caps as the base of your grain-free, dairy-free pizza. Top with onions, mushrooms, bell peppers and meat. Drizzle with oil and fresh herbs before serving. If you tolerate dairy, you can sprinkle your pizza with cheese made from the milk of pastured, grass-fed cows.
5. Serve mashed cauliflower (cooked, mashed, seasoned and mixed with coconut oil, butter or ghee) or try cauli-rice (grated raw cauliflower, sautéed in coconut oil) as a side dish.
6. Use spaghetti squash or sliced zucchini to serve your spaghetti sauce over for a vegetable-rich grain-free pasta dish. Make sure you add plenty of onions, garlic, carrot, celery, mushroom and other veggies to your sauce.
7. Make yourself a BIG salad! You can go the conventional route by using leafy greens, cucumber, avocado, green onions and tomatoes or prepare a salad with other raw or cooked vegetables, such as broccoli, bell peppers, cabbage or green beans! Drizzle with a homemade vinaigrette (simply mix about equal amounts of extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar).
8. Fill up your slow-cooker with a big chunk of meat and a variety of vegetables to have an all-in-one meal. Your slow-cooker will become your best friend and will help you follow your Paleo diet. Onions, carrots, cabbage, broccoli and butternut squash compliment slow-cooked meats very well, but be creative and experiment with other options.
9. Snack on raw or cooked vegetables. Dip your celery, carrot and cucumber stick in a guacamole or enjoy cooked broccoli or green beans drizzled with ghee, coconut oil, butter or extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic dressing.
10. Accompany your grass-fed bison burger, free-range wild boar steak or wild-caught sardines with a generous helping of roasted, naturally sweet tasting vegetables. Put Brussels sprouts, carrots, broccoli, onions, asparagus or butternut squash in a large baking dish, drizzle with ghee or coconut oil and sprinkle with crystal salt. Bake at 400-425°F (200-220°C), stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until cooked and slightly golden. For a quicker option, sauté your veggies in plenty of lard, bacon fat, ghee or coconut oil, season and serve with your meal.
Challenge yourself to eat more vegetables every day!