More often than you think, I run into people who don’t eat vegetables. Like, at all. Either the person doesn’t like them, or just simply didn’t grow up eating vegetables so doesn’t think to put them in meals.
Wherever you are at, know that it’s ok. It’s never too late to get some good veggies in your diet. If you’re a veggie eater now, that’s awesome! But take a look at how much you are getting in. Most people don’t get near enough vegetables in their diet. A serving of broccoli is 1 cup. Greens are unlimited, you can have as much as you want to fill you up! But are you really? Take stock this week of how many vegetables you are getting in. Reminder that veggies that grow above ground are going to be less carb heavy than the ones that grow underground (think cauliflower vs potato).
Ever wonder what would happen to your body if you didn’t eat vegetables? Here’s a few things you could experience if you are getting low/no veggies in your diet.
- Energy levels would be low
Veggies like dark leafy greens and fruits like papaya are great sources of B vitamins. There are B vitamins in meat and dairy products, but as I discuss more below, you want a variety of B vitamins to be feeling great. A lack of B vitamins in the system has been linked to fatigue, mood swings, anxiety and depression. If you’re feeling sluggish and down, start by eating more veggies. Having more veggies never hurts, even if you are seeking an alternative method to deal with anxiety, depression etc..
- You could be “backed up” due to the lack of fiber
Your system needs fiber. It needs it. Like, really needs it. Fiber helps prevent constipation, it helps regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down the rate of digestion of sugar into your bloodstream, and can help you feel fuller, longer. And yes, folks, the best source of fiber in my opinion is veggies! Popcorn has some fiber too if you’re thinking of a good snack for a movie night (but make your own, air popped or on the stove!)
- You could be at risk of getting diverticulitis down the road
Diverticu-what? You’ve most likely never heard of diverticulitis, but if you have, you know how scary it can be! If you don’t get enough fiber in your diet – which is found in veggies and fruits – your intestines are going to strain to get food through. After a while, your intestine is going to get tired, weak spots will form, that will in turn form pockets in the lining of your intestine. Hmm a pocket in your intestine, that can’t be good eh? Because we all know what those pockets will fill with. Having poo filled pockets in your body can result in infection. You may have to be put on antibiotics at this point, or if it’s bad enough, have surgery to remove the pouches. Eat your veg folks!
- You may have a hard time losing unwanted pounds
If you’re not filling up on lower calorie, higher nutrient veggies, than what are you filling up on? Meats? Dairy? Whatever else you are eating is most likely to be higher in calories, and missing key vitamins to help your system run as it should (aka your metabolism).
- Your skin won’t glow and your hair maybe won’t grow
Simply put: there are nutrients that are found in fruits and veggies that you just can’t find anywhere else. Fiber, folate, vitamin A(yes, liver is a good source of A, but who eats liver these days?) and vitamin C are big ones. There is no vitamin C in meat. Why do you need vitamin C? Well it does SO many things in the body – and is essentially the body’s super-helper. It helps grow and repair tissues in the body and it helps the body create and use collagen – which is needed to grow skin, hair, nails, cartilage etc..
- Your metabolism will suffer
Although meat has some B vitamins, your best bet at getting all the B vitamins you need are to eat some dark leafy greens, Especially when it comes to folate, getting those dark leafy greens in your diet are so key in my opinion. The B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin, folate and B12) need each other to work properly. There are so many chemical reactions happening in your body (aka your metabolism), so a variety of foods to keep the levels of vitamins and nutrients up are going to be key in having your body run like a well oiled machine. This is why nutritionists will say “variety is key”. So don’t just eat chicken and broccoli forever- diversify!
Are you sold on eating veggies yet? Next time you make a meal, think of all of the benefits vegetables give you – and think of how great you can feel!