change is slow

I was talking to an acquaintance, and she mentioned that she started eating five servings of fruits and veggies each day and it wreaked havoc on her body.

While she has some medical issues that might make this worse for her than for the average person, a large, sudden increase in fresh produce might not make your digestive tract really happy.  If you are currently not eating fruits and vegetables at all, beginning to eat a ton of them immediately will likely lead to gas and possibly cramps.  This would be more or less likely depending on which ones you specifically chose.

So should you just skip the produce, seeing as it will have side effects, and instead maintain what you’re doing now?  No!

Start slowly.  Your body didn’t learn its current habits in a day or a week.  Add in one or two servings per week.  For many veggies, a serving is a fairly large amount.  Instead, you could add half a serving of two veggies for a little variety.  Toss in a few beans here or there.  Really, just a few to start with.  Think of it as training your digestive tract the same way you would train your legs for a 5K.  You’re not just going to get up and run a 5K.  You start walking, add in bits and pieces of jogging, and over time, you graduate to jogging three miles.  Same with veggies and beans.

Different colored vegetables typically offer different health benefits, so as you go, be mindful of your colors.  The last time we were at the salad buffet place, The Big Man commented that my salads are always very visually appealing.  Typically, this is my salad in a salad-as-meal situation: spinach base, tomato, carrot, broccoli, red onion, peas, chick peas, hard-boiled egg, splash of vinaigrette.  Bell peppers offer many benefits, but I hate them.

Do you have any other advice for someone just beginning to be a healthy eater?

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