Fuel-up with “Cross-Bearing” Veggies!
By Laurette Willis –
It is recommended we eat 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables every day to nourish our bodies, prevent disease and control our weight. For most Americans, that means another helping of French fries and tomato ketchup, but not for those of us seeking godly fitness!While the USDA estimates Americans are eating 20% more vegetables now than 35 years ago (good!), the increase is mostly in potatoes—half of that amount in French fries (bad!). It’s no wonder the obesity rate has climbed so dramatically over the years.
What is one serving of raw vegetables?
1 cup of raw leafy vegetables
½ cup chopped raw vegetables
Another way of looking at a serving size is what you can fit into your hand. If you are not eating any raw vegetables at all, start with one cup. If you are already eating a cup or two, add another cup (it’s really a lot less than you think).
Cruciferous (Cross-Bearing) Veggies?
For Latin lovers, the root of the word cruciferous comes from the word crux for cross. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy and kale contain many nutrients, such as glucosinolates, which seem to lower cancer risk. These vegetables have leaves or petals which form the shape of a cross. Cruciferous literally means “cross bearer.”
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, laboratory studies have demonstrated that eating cruciferous vegetables helps control an intricate system of bodily enzymes which protect us against cancer. What’s even more exciting is that elements of these cross-bearing vegetables have been shown to stop the growth of cancer cells, including tumors of the breast, endometrium, lung, colon, liver, colon and cervix.
The One-Bowl Fix
A great way to get a couple of servings of raw veggies in easily is to include them in a big salad. Since dinner is the meal most families can eat together, have 1-2 cups of a simply prepared salad at each person’s place setting. Don’t go for the cellophane-wrapped iceberg lettuce either. According to the March 2004 Journal of the American Dietetic Association, the most popular fruits and vegetables (corn, potatoes, iceberg lettuce, apples and bananas) are not necessarily the most nutritious. Typically, the darker the color of the vegetable, the higher the nutrient content will be. So, going for color is a good rule of thumb (green thumb!).
Go for COLOR!
GREEN: Leafy greens (spinach, lettuces, collard, mustard and turnip greens), asparagus, green peppers, broccoli, green beans, peas, green cabbage, Brussels sprouts, okra (not fried!), zucchini, green onions, cilantro, parsley, cucumber, celery, sprouts.
YELLOW/ORANGE: carrots, corn, pumpkin, yellow peppers, sweet potato, butternut squash, summer squash, spaghetti squash (our favorite!).
RED: tomatoes, red cabbage, red peppers, red onions, beets.
WHITE: cauliflower, onions, garlic, mushrooms, parsnips, shallots, turnips.
Think Zucchini is “Stupid”?
Be willing to try new things. Never tried a raw spinach and veggie salad? Think you might hate it? I once had a prejudice against zucchini (Italian squash). As a child I deemed it a stupid vegetable. I tried to feed my portion to our Shetland sheepdog Lady, but she wouldn’t eat it either. “But when I grew up, I put away childish things,” as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NLT). While zucchini still won’t make me do back flips in the produce aisle, I’ve learned that lightly steamed zucchini and other veggies with cheese and herbs tastes great (and good for me, too!).
Adapted from BASIC Steps to Godly Fitness book and Bible Study, by Laurette Willis (Harvest House Publishers).
Christian Fitness Expert Laurette Willis is the Director of PraiseMoves Fitness Ministry (http://praisemoves.com). See “PraiseMoves Kids” TV Show every Thursday @ 3:30 p.m. EST on TBN’s Smile of a Child Network and LIVE @ http://smileofachildtv.org.