I once read that the problem with our diet (lifestyle) is not in the fact that we don’t eat enough protein, or that we are not getting our share of healthy fats but that we don’t eat enough fiber.
Our real problem is the lack of fiber in our diets.
So, when the concept of 5-a-day first came about in the UK I was horrified because at the time I ate a piece of fruit or two a week and the same vegetables over and over.
The worst part was I had passed down this habit to my children.
Luckily for me, my youngest was looked after by a friend who I met a baby and mother club. She had come to England from South Africa and fruit was a MUST HAVE in her house.
It meant my youngest was always eating fruit.
Plus the UK government decided to introduce fruit and vegetables into schools – which also really helped. I still remember the day when he came home and told me his teacher made him eat raw carrots.
Now (age 17), it means he is happy to eat a wide variety of fruit and veg.
The story isn’t so great for my older two. My eldest (age 25) has now begun to eat more fruit and veg through smoothies. A visit to her house a few weeks ago saw her shop and buy fruits and vegetables with some help from me.
When she came home with the shopping her partner said exactly what she had said in the car ‘I have never seen so much fruit and veg in our usual weekly shop!’
She also bought herself a nutri-bullet to make vegetable based smoothies with some fruit.
My middle child (age 21) is fruit averse and while he will eat some vegetables it tends to be the same ones over and over.
Getting my 5-a-day plus fiber
Since embracing a flexitarian way of eating (a little meat with a whole load of vegetables) I have found it easy to get my 5-a-day and most days I manage to eat much more than five. I also find it easier to hit my required amount of daily fiber too.
I monitor all of this on myfitnesspal (off and on) to ensure I am getting enough.
I always worried about whether I was eating enough protein until I read that for my age 50g of protein a day was enough and I definitely get that much. So now I don’t have to worry about that myfitnesspal is really to help me with portion control.
Getting portion control right is essential. Especially for someone like me who was raised with huge almighty portions as ‘normal’.
When I first measured out 40g of porridge I nearly fainted. Who can survive on this I wondered.
Now I realise that I can. Or at least the slim me can. The fat me will always want to eat more and I am learning to get her round to the slim me way of thinking (slowly).
My 12-A Day Day
So today I ate the following fruits and vegetables:
- 2 Carrots
- 1 courgette
- Black beans
- More strawberries
A total of 53 g of fiber from 12 different varieties of fruit and vegetables. That is a really good day for me. On a normal / average day I always get my 5-a-day in and on an excellent day I eat at least 15 different varieties of fruit and veg.
I also manage to drink at least 2-3 liters of water a day as well.
On top on that I do my best to exercise but I am finding when I exercise I seem to eat crap and when I am not exercising I eat well. Still going through a transition period with that one right now.
Myfitnesspal has been great for helping me monitor all of this.
I am not on there to count calories but it just helps me to measure what I am eating because, as I mentioned before, what I thought was normal in terms of portions and sizes really is not. Now, this is my new normal.