Eating more vegetables has made a huge impact on me and the quality of my life. It used to be that I would have a king-sized Snickers bar and a Pepsi on my way to work for breakfast. That was after having a cup of coffee while I was getting ready.
But, after years of stuffing my body full of sugar … and having three babies … I landed myself a case of stage 3 adrenal fatigue.
Add that to my already intense panic disorder and I was your basic hot mess of a person.
The thing is, I thought that I needed all of that sugar and caffeine to drive through the stress in my life and maintain my type-A lifestyle.
It turns out, not asking for help, paying zero attention to the beauty in each day, and filling my body full of garbage was just creating more chaos. I was slowly moving towards my absolute worst nightmare: losing control.
See, having adrenal fatigue makes getting out of bed in the morning damn near impossible. And, having panic disorder makes every moment after you get out of bed, basically hell on Earth.
I had to figure something out. And, I had to do it fast. Having three kids to take care of and a business to run leaves zero room for a nervous breakdown.
But, that’s exactly what was happening.
From my background in herbal medicine and collaborative care, I knew that changing my diet was a key factor in getting better. So, after some bloodwork that confirmed non-celiac gluten sensitivity, I immediately cut out all caffeine, sugar, and gluten.
Then, I started setting an alarm on my phone to make sure that I ate every two to three hours. And, that my plate was 50% vegetables, 25% protein, 20% carbs and 10% healthy fats.
With 50% of each meal being vegetables, I definitely needed to learn a few things. Like, what were the effects of eating more vegetables, how would I fit more vegetables into each of my five to six meals a day, was I going to hurt my body by eating too many vegetables, and what were the real benefits to eating more vegetables.
All of these thoughts swirled around in my mind and I needed answers. So, I started doing some research and I learned so much! Let’s dive in …
What happens in your body when you start eating more vegetables?
With a little bit of studying and research, I learned that there was a process happening in my body that was influencing all of these physical symptoms that I was having. That process was called inflammation.
Imagine you’ve just fallen down on the concrete sidewalk and slammed your elbow against the ground. Your elbow starts to swell and a bruise develops. Your elbow is inflamed.
This process is what your body does when it senses an injury or any other event that is throwing off the homeostasis or balance of your systems.
Living under chronic stress and eating garbage was taking a huge toll on my endocrine system and my adrenal glands were little sad sacks that could barely function anymore to keep things in balance.
My body was inflamed.
Thankfully, eating more vegetables helped reduce that inflammation in several ways.
Digestion is the process that your body uses to eliminate waste. If you’re not digesting and eliminating then your body is full of waste and toxins. Obviously, holding onto waste and toxins is going to increase the inflammation in your body. Where do those toxins come from? The food that you eat is a huge source. But, when you start eating more vegetables like kale, spinach, and microgreens, the roughage of the vegetables pushes the toxins through your body and helps you to eliminate more efficiently. One caveat, this process relies heavily on your drinking plenty of water.
Reduced Risk of Infection
Eating more vegetables naturally increases the amount of vitamin A and vitamin C that you are eating. These vitamins are essential to supporting your immune system in fighting and preventing infections. Vitamin C is especially helpful in keeping your gums healthy, which is where a lot of inflammation-causing bacteria can hide and multiply.
Reduced Stress Levels
Like I said before, living as a type-A and always seeking to be in control and have things perfect was causing chronic stress inside of my body. I was trying to develop a healthy relationship with money and wasn’t getting enough sleep because of the extra stress. Eating more vegetables naturally increased the amount of magnesium inside of my body, which is important for stress response and supports your endocrine system. Also, vegetables are full of vitamin B and omega-3s, which have been scientifically proven to reduce depression and anxiety.
What are some ways to start eating more vegetables?
After learning how eating more vegetables would help me in my journey through adrenal fatigue and panic disorder, I was convinced.
But, I had no idea how I was going to get that many vegetables into my body. It’s one thing to say I’m going to start eating more vegetables but it’s totally another to actually put that many vegetables into your mouth.
Luckily, I learned some easy way to make sure I was eating more vegetables without making myself sick
I was so excited when I learned about JuicePlus. I was looking for something that I could add to my nutritional smoothie in the morning and I came across this company.
Basically, JuicePlus takes the vegetables, grinds them into powder, and then puts the powder into capsules. It’s pretty much the easiest method for getting 30+ fruits and vegetables into your body daily.
I was a little bit skeptical because I didn’t want to be ingesting anything processed. I mean, I was trying to heal from some debilitating physical conditions – I needed to get better! So, I had my naturopath review the products and material and she said it was totally safe.
I also did my own research and learned about the Health Advisory Board. I figured that many doctors couldn’t be wrong.
Starting the day off with a solid bit of protein and green leafy vegetables helps to immediately balance your blood sugar after being asleep all night.
Meals like frittata or omelets are a great way to mix those two macros into one meal. For instance, one of my favorite breakfasts spinach and kale frittata. I can take four or five cups of the greens and steam them.
Then, mix them into the eggs and have a nice big pile of food that’s going to heal my body. I usually eat one whole egg and three or four egg whites. I cook them in coconut oil so, I’m getting plenty of healthy fats too.
Veggie Soups and Stews
It’s hard to keep fresh veggies in the house without them going bad quickly. So, making a nice veggie soup with a healthy bone broth base gives you a way to use up a bunch of veggies and get a good amount in each serving.
You can eat veggie soup for lunch or dinner or even just for a snack. Mixing in broccoli, spinach, and collard greens with some turkey burger and bone broth makes a quick and easy soup that you can eat a few times a day.
Is it possible to eat too many vegetables?
With all of this talk about eating more vegetables, you might be getting worried that you’re going to hurt your body somehow by eating too many.
I mean, with vegetables being full of vitamins, you don’t want to overdose on them, right? Wrong. There is no reason to be concerned about eating too many vegetables for staying healthy and reducing inflammation.
Some people might be concerned about eating too many vegetables for weight gain, and there is some research to support that is a valid concern. But, if you’re eating five to six small meals per day and you’re keeping your portion control to 50% vegetables, there isn’t really any need to worry about your calories.
You can use the MyFitnessPal app to track your calorie intake for a few days just to see how it comes out if you’re interested in that.
What are the health benefits of eating more vegetables?
So, we’ve pretty much covered all of the ways that eating more vegetables is a good thing for reducing inflammation and helping your body heal from chronic stress.
But, there are actually so many other overall health benefits to eating more vegetables.
Reduced Risk of Disease
It has been proven in several scientific studies that eating more vegetables will reduce your risk of a heart attack. In fact, when heart attack patients leave the hospital, many of them are referred to cardiac education classes where they learn to follow the Mediterranean diet.
The basis of the diet is to make sure you’re eating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats.
Vegetables have phytonutrients, vitamin C, and are dense with water. All of these things help to improve skin tone and reduce wrinkles.
In fact, phytonutrients help to protect cells from damage caused by stress, toxins, and environmental influences.
Your skin is an organ the same way that your heart and liver are organs. In fact, it is the largest organ in the body. So, it stands to reason that eating more vegetables would help to improve the health of your skin.
Couple this with a clean beauty routine and your skin will thank you a million times over.
Lower Blood Cholesterol
Vegetables are naturally higher in fiber. So, eating more vegetables means eating more fiber and eating more fiber reduces the cholesterol in your blood.
Cholesterol is a thick and sticky substance that can build up in your bloodstream and eventually solidify on the walls of your arteries. When it solidifies, it reduces the diameter of your arteries and that slows down blood flow.
Your body needs oxygen to survive and blood carries oxygen to all parts of your body. So, you can imagine how bad it is to have blood flow in your body slow down.
Not to mention that chunks of cholesterol can break loose and travel through your bloodstream until they reach a spot that is too narrow to pass and cause a blockage. This is called a stroke and it can be fatal.
If you’re thinking about having more babies, then you know you need a good amount of folic acid in your body.
Eating more vegetables is an amazing way to increase your folic acid intake naturally. Without taking those giant prenatal horse pills.
So, there you have it.
If you’re feeling tired, run-down, overwhelmed or stressed to the point of panic attacks – I highly recommend that you start with changing your diet.
Eliminating sugar, caffeine, and gluten (if you’re sensitive) plus, eating more vegetables will have a huge impact on how you feel.
Just make sure to stay away from nightshade vegetables, increase your water intake, and add a couple of cups of soluble fiber.