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Variety is the spice of life!

Am I right?

This week has been all about variety, specifically as it relates to plant foods.

On Monday, I threw down an IG Challenge to try and eat 30 different plant foods in one week. Right now it is Sunday morning and I am this close to 30 having made a dinner last night that added (5) new plants, so I have ONE left.

Let's look back at the week and acknowledge that I had a lot of food out (take out and dinner out). The list for the week included:

1. Spinach (bottom of a breakfast bowl)

2. Tomatoes (side of a breakfast bowl)

3. Watermelon (side of a breakfast bowl)

4. Blackberries (on my daily yogurt)

5. Sweet Potatoes (Sweetgreen Harvest Bowl)

6. Kale (Sweetgreen Harvest Bowl)

7. Apples (Sweetgreen Harvest Bowl)

8. Almonds (Sweetgreen Harvest Bowl)

9. Marcona Almonds (Snack form Trader Joes)

10. Macadamia nuts (Snack form Trader Joes)

11. Mixed Greens (Fish Taco lunch!)

12. Avocado (Fish Taco lunch!)

13. Black Beans (Fish Taco lunch!)

14. Red Onions (Fish Taco lunch!)

15. Zucchini (part of dinner chicken bowl)

16. Sweet Onions (part of dinner chicken bowl)

17. Garlic (part of dinner chicken bowl)

18. Sugar Snap Peas (afternoon snack)

19. Canary Melon (pick from my CSA)

20. Plantains – (Sauteed in coconut oil for #tacotuesday)

21. Banana – (Snack before my run)

22. Raspberries (addition to yogurt)

23. Hemp Seeds (sprinkled on top of yogurt and raspberries)

24. Romaine (salad at dinner out)

25. Potatoes (at dinner out)

26. Pistacios (homemade salmon dinner)

27. Bok Choy (side dish at homemade dinner)

28. Basil (pesto on leftover chicken)

29. Cucumber (dinner side dish)



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MOM NOTE: I did this with Zoe before she left for camp and she LOVED it. I actually was able to get her to try some new things to keep up with me. We will try it again together when she gets back.

Why is in your best interest to try and eat a variety of plant foods?

Researchers at the American Gut Project found that people who ate more than 30 different plant foods each week had a more diverse gut microbiome compared with those who ate 10 or fewer. I'm not going to go deep into the science, but the benefits of a diverse microbiome include:

  • Controlling blood sugar and lowering your risk of diabetes

  • Supporting brain health by producing brain chemicals and communicating with nerves that connect to the brain

  • Affecting your weight loss.

So, you want to get started? Lets go! What counts as plant food?

  • Fruit & vegetables are obviously plant foods: each variety can count as one – so a cos lettuce is different to watercress, rocket and iceberg.

  • Legumes: so we’re talking beans, such as black, cannellini or kidney, chickpeas, and lentils.

  • Grains: oats, buckwheat, millet, wheat, brown rice, wholemeal pasta and quinoa. NOTE: White pasta and rice aren’t included, because the industrial processes used to remove the whole grains strip them of many of their nutritional benefits.

  • Nuts & seeds: almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews – so many to choose from.

  • Herbs & spices: Obviously they’re plant-based but, because the quantities we eat tend to be fairly small, each is only counted as one-quarter.


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