Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables

Jane and I have been incredibly busy the last few weeks. And that means I'm really behind in my reading. It's gotten so bad, that I'm tempted to just mark everything in my reader as "read" and start fresh. But then, there might be something really valuable that I might miss out on. For example, I just stumbled across an article in the New York Times which talks about the Best Way to Cook Vegetables. According to this article, raw is not necessarily better. I guess that makes sense... some things are probably more easily digested if they are partially cooked. But I always thought that the closer you could get to food in its natural state, the better off you'd be. That's not necessarily the case. It depends on the nutrients you're looking for. According to this article:

Boiling carrots, for instance, significantly increased measurable carotenoid levels, but resulted in the complete loss of polyphenols compared with raw carrots.

Not surprisingly, frying was the least nutritious way to prepare the vegetables looked at in this study. So, next time you're at Johnny Rockets don't count those french fries as a veggie! But it does help to eat your veggies with some fat. Lycopene, lutein, and beta-carotene are absorbed in greater quantities when ingested with fat. That works for me... I love my tomatoes in guacamole! But I also really love my tomatoes right off the vine .

The overall recommendation here is to eat a large variety of fruits and vegetables daily, to help reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, and to help keep your blood pressure and cholesterol lower.

The latest dietary guidelines call for 5 to 13 servings - that is two and a half to six and a half cups a day. For a person who maintains her weight on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, this translates into nine servings, or four and a half cups a day, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.

So make sure to eat a wide variety of fruits and veggies, prepared in a number of different ways. This will probably ensure that you're getting all your nutrients. Or, as the old idiom goes, "variety is the spice of life."

Don't forget, we're not medical professionals, so as always, seek nutritional advice from your practitioner of choice.


  1. I’m new to the vegan world myself and when I came across your blog it was nice to see someone going through the same transition. You have a lot of information for people just coming into the vegan world and that is what I have been looking for. I also like that you are not the militant type.
    So far people think I’m going through a phase not eating meat, milk and eggs. “What are you eating? You are going to get sick if you don’t eat any meat!” have been standard responses.
    So keep up the great blogs and thanks for all the useful info!

  2. Hi Annette,
    Thanks, for the kind words. I’m glad we can provide some value to you.
    Yes, we’ve heard the “but what do you eat” comments from our family and friends too. After a while it can get a bit irritating. We try to remember that most of them are coming from a place of caring though.
    As for us not being militant. We feel it would be hypocritical of us to take that stance as we ate meat up until a year ago, and we’re in our 40s. And, we believe people are generally more accepting of information if it’s presented in a non-confrontational manner.
    So, good luck on your journey. Hopefully we’ll continue to inspire you.

    Hi Alex…
    I know your comment wasn’t directed at us, but… we categorize the militant type as people who are so passionate about their cause that they wind up alienating most people — this includes people who might even believe in the same cause, but not to the same extent and are therefore “WRONG.”

  3. I know a “militant” type. Mostly they are just annoying. We have an acquaintance that is pretty well up there on the high-horse about raw food. I lovingly refer to her with my husband as ‘Miss Snippy Pants.’ She looks down on us mere vegans because we are killing those life-giving enzymes by cooking. Of course, she has no problem “warming up something in the dehydrator”.
    I thoroughly researched the raw vs. cooked debate, and while it is true that most enzymes are destroyed by cooking, the enzymes that are destroyed by cooking are also destroyed by your body’s own digestion process, thus they can only aid you during that digestion. In addition, there are some really crazy theories about raw food that are completely unscientific – like the nutty notion that these enzymes somehow equate to the “life force”.
    The best course of action is to eat diversely: raw and cooked, fermented and all states between and combined. That way you get all the benefits of vitamins, fibers, enzymes, minerals, and digestive aid in the various forms.

  4. Hi Jasonpsyche,
    I like to think of them as overly-enthusiastic.
    Thanks for sharing what you’ve learned about a raw diet. We’ve not researched it because, quite frankly, switching from omni to vegan eating was about as much as we were willing to attempt.
    I agree with the general philosophy of eating diversely. But I’m always open to reading the latest nutritional information.

  5. The thing that never changes in all these studies and research is that in order to achieve ultimate health and the most benefit from your food is to eat a wide variety of it and in a wide variety of ways. So while you chop those carrots that you plan to boil, eat a few raw ones. Hey, I’ve got this covered. ­čÖé

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