If I had just one chance, a single opportunity to share one small bit of health advice, I would say “Eat more fruits and vegetables.” That’s all.
When you’re eating more fruits and veggies, you’re getting two major benefits: The first is that you are eating polyphenols, phytonutrients, micronutrients, flavonoids, vitamins, fiber, and all the other good and as-yet-unnamed components of leaves of spinach and slices of kiwi.
The second benefit is that when you make a choice to pop a blackberry into your mouth, you are automatically NOT taking a bite of some manufactured edible food-like item from the vending machine down the hall.
Remember what Yogi Berra said: “When you get to the fork in the road, take it.”
No matter how many fruits and vegetables you eat, if you’re still hungry then feel free to eat more. Consider that Weight Watchers doesn’t charge points for them — they’re free. They are the best snack ever, and can be the basis for a great meal. If you don’t usually eat much more than 1 or 2 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, there’s plenty of room for improvement; and if you are proud to be able to say that you eat 4-6 servings a day, the same is still true.
Think your lunch is complete? What about adding a few carrot sticks, roasted eggplant slices sprinkled with fresh parsley, homemade potato salad, a handful of mung bean sprouts, a cup of roasted cauliflower, cranberry-applesauce, celery sticks with hummus, mango sprinkled with lime juice, braised celery, or a few sliced tomatoes? What about saving one of these for your 3 pm snack?
Does this advice sound like something your mom would have told you? It should. This advice is the accumulated wisdom of the centuries, the millennia, and perhaps further. We are the ones whose family guidance, customs, and access afforded, perhaps, just enough of a slight advantage to increase the likelihood that we would survive, thrive even.
We are the beneficiaries of our ancestors’ accumulated food wisdom. So is our survival mere happenstance? I think not.