In order to eat more veggies you have to eat more veggies

So when I do Chinese cooking, I mix everything together, then the kids have to eat their vegetables. They won’t have the patience to pick them out.
~Martin Yan

I was listening with some amusement this morning to an ad that said America’s weight problem wasn’t poor diet or lack of exercise, but instead hormones. Of course, the ad was full of it. America’s weight problem is poor diet and lack of exercise, with the occasional outlier who has hormone issues.

A little while later I noted with some more amusement that the stew I was cooking was 90% plant matter. In my usual cheap-ass manner, I’d purchased the smallest tray of stew meat I could find, then loaded up on the veggies, fruits, and fungi. I think the recipe I was “following” called for a can of peas, some baby carrots, and a potato to go with twice the meat I was using. I subtracted the peas, went for chopped whole carrots and more potato, and added onion, celery, jalapeno, mushrooms, bell pepper, and tomatoes. I didn’t measure, I just threw it in there until it looked right. Poke around enough and you might find a piece of meat.

There’s no magic bullet or hints and tricks to eating more vegetables. You just have to make a conscious effort to eat them. I’ve got some beloved recipes that go by the wayside because I can’t find a good way to incorporate veggies (I don’t do side dishes). Sure, chicken and dumplings would be wonderful comfort food in cold weather, but celery and onion alone do not a proper recipe make, and altering a beloved childhood recipe just isn’t an option.

This is where eating out hurts the most. Unless I opt for something vegetarian, I usually end up with a huge portion of meat and starch and not as many veggies as I’d like, if there are any at all. I do enjoy a good salad, though, and fortunately, it’s something I don’t often fix at home so opting for a salad while I’m out works well. But at home, I just have to be picky about what I cook, and remember that meat is just another ingredient, not the main dish.

And don’t joke around with me that if only we “encourage” kids to eat healthier that they’ll begin to ask for healthier foods. Ain’t gonna happen. Tell your religion to take a hike, because we’re animals, and animals like things with salt, fat, and sugar. Unfortunately, our bodies are not prepared to deal with a diet rich in these things, and so we get the so-called “first-world diseases.” Sure, with enough work and the right mindset you can train yourself to not regard bacon as something desirable (I prefer sausage myself, but I won’t turn down the bacon), but it’s an inherent part of our evolutionary history to crave salt, fat, and sugar, and those foods that contain them in abundance. That’s why most of us like fruits more than vegetables…the high sugar content.

So we have to bite the bullet and just do it. Make the choice and eat the vegetables, because nothing’s going to eat them for you, and nothing’s going to trick you into liking them more than bacon and pie.

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