Seven a Day the Easy Way
Guest Post by Lisa Hooper:
When I was asked to take up Vegesentials challenge of incorporating seven portions of fruit and veg into my daily diet, I didn’t see it as too much of a chore. I already incorporated veg into my evening meal and tried to stick to salad at lunchtime. However, never entirely sure of what makes up an actual portion, it’s often hard to tell how many I was getting. Also, where I fall down is eating fruit. The end result never feels worth the effort that goes into peeling, coring and chopping it. So I rather liked the idea of someone else going to the trouble for me and telling me how many portions I’m actually consuming!
So for a week, I had to really focus on my actual food intake and drink a pot of Vegesentials per day. These are a mixture of raw fruit and vegetables, in a selection of flavours that will surprise you. The colours are vibrant but I must be honest, the green ones were a little off putting. So rather than push those to the back of the cupboard, I started on day one with Cucumber, Pineapple and Spinach. The taste was surprisingly sweet and zingy. Not a trace of nasty “greens water”! The pineapple really came through and the cucumber made it into a refreshing drink. Asked to monitor how I felt as a result of this challenge, I decided to substitute my mid-morning Cappuccino for my Vegesentials drink instead. Surprisingly (well to me anyway) the kick I got from the zingy taste of the drink, was a pleasant substitute for the caffeine. I also felt less bloated as a result of not having the milk.
As I was off to a good start, I decided to look for other ways of substituting veg for something not so good for the figure. The obvious choice was carbs. I had heard that long strips of carrots and courgettes can be used as a substitute for pasta. So I bought myself a julienne peeler and gave it a go. When layered under a good helping of bolognaise sauce, the vegetables do make a perfectly good substitute. No I don’t suppose any of us are going to be ordering this when we go to our favourite Italian restaurant, but it does make a mid-week dinner healthier. I also made a hearty vegetable ragu and served this instead of potatoes or tried mashing a cauliflower (with a spoonful of English mustard and a little butter) rather than the heavier mashed potatoes.
Once you start, it’s actually a lot easier than you initially think to incorporate a lot more fruit and veg into your diet. For me, substituting for the carbs and dairy definitely made me feel less sluggish and bloated. Some days are, of course, going to be easier than others so having one of these fruit/veggie drinks is a good way of knowing you’re getting a couple of portions in with no effort!
You can find out more about Vegesentials from their website.