Get your mind out of the gutter. I'm talking about fruits and veggies.
A lot of people are all about these whole food fruit and vegetable supplements these days.
Have you heard of them?
They take the juice from a bunch of different kinds of fruits, vegetables, and grains and cram it all into a pill you can swallow so you easily get your recommended intake of the good stuff.
But let’s back up and talk about how many servings of fruits and vegetables you’re actually supposed to be getting each and every day.
According to the USDA, adults 19 and older (yes, even if you act less than half your age) should be eating five to nine servings of fruits and veggies a day. That’s about 2.5 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit. Every day, people, every day.
The USDA says the average American is only getting 1.5 cups of veggies and 1 cup of fruit a day. Insert sad face emoji here.
But not you. Right? RIGHT? I’m giving you the stank eye, in case you can’t see me. Which you probably can’t because you’re probably reading this online.
Anyway, we’ll revisit this whole getting enough fruits and veggies conundrum later.
I’m not against supplements. I think they can be important to give us an extra boost, address specific concerns, and help us get nutrition we might not be getting from our food.
Like me, for example. I take B vitamins, especially Vitamin B12 because that shit is hard to come by (read: impossible) in the plant world. It helps me feel happy and less like a raving lunatic. Some days.
The question is: Should you rely on a supplement when you CAN get that nutrition?
Me thinks not so much.
You might think you’re doing your body a favor by taking a concentrated dose of all these nutrients and antioxidants and phytonutrients. But your body might not be able to handle that high dosage. So you could very well end up peeing all those vitamins and minerals right down the drain.
So long calcium, magnesium, fiber, potassium, folate, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C!
You know what’s more bioavailable? The vitamins and minerals in fruits and veggies that don’t come in a package.
It might seem like common sense, but we’re up against multimillion dollar industries banking on the fact that you have guilt and shame and will do anything to get rid of said guilt and shame.
All right, I kicked my soap box into the corner.
To show you it doesn’t have to be so difficult, I’ve provided a handy dandy one-day meal plan (the 90s kid in me wanted to say handy dandy notebook) for you. It’s not gospel, and you don’t have to follow it to a T. Use it for inspiration or as a coaster if you want.
See? Even if you just have a giant salad for lunch or dinner and enjoy a morning smoothie, you’re in good shape. That’s not so hard. You can totally do that.
If you’re the DIY type, here’s a quick primer on what counts as a serving so you can piece together your own plan:
- Generally, a cup equals a cup. So one cup of grapes, like the morning snack, is one cup of fruit.
- For dried fruit, you need to cut the amount in half. So a half cup of raisins comes out to one cup of fruit.
- A big ol’ piece of fruit (think apple, banana, orange, peach, grapefruit) equals one cup.
- Juice counts as a fruit, but let’s try not to use this for our daily intake, okay? You’re missing out on key nutrients when you take this shortcut.
- I saved the bad news for last. One cup of greens does not equal one cup of leafy vegetables. You need to double it. So to get one cup of vegetables, you need two cups of spinach.
P.S. Download your copy of the meal plan here. You know, in case you're looking for a new coaster.