An Ecological Mexican American Chica:
Doing all she can to live sustainably in body, soul, and on this planet earth.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Eating Veggies Fills You Up

Plant Based Lunch = 2 c. salad: spinach, bok choy, beets, onions & chickpeas, 1 c. French green lentils spiced with cardamom, cumin & cinnamon, 1 c. quinoa with tomato & basil

Imagine getting full after eating a little bag of carrots, or a small bowl of greens. Is that bad? Remember the last time you ate cookies, fried food, or Doritos, and you just couldn’t stop eating them? That’s because your your stomach’s fullness receptors aren’t activated until it’s filled up.

Source: Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Eat for Health. Book One, 2008
It’s funny to me that government institutions such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention perform research studies and make statements like, “Eating fruits and vegetables may help manage weight.” Shouldn’t that be obvious? I suppose it’s not if you’re eating large portions of foods that are fatty, salty, and laden with sugar. Eating an apple or a celery stick, if you’re mostly eating greasy meat and starchy carbs, isn’t going to help you magically lose weight. The trick is eating less (or none) of the bad stuff, and eating more of the good stuff.

When I tell people I shop every Saturday at the farmers market, many react by saying they could not do the same because it is too expensive. Of course, if you just trade out all the meat and vegetables that you consume for organic ones, your grocery bill will go up. But it’s not just about trading out pesticide-ridden spinach for a locally and sustainable grown spinach. It’s about changing the way you eat in general.

Calorie Comparison (from CDC)
By going to the farmers market, I don’t eat anything that comes out of a box or can, and also, I end up eating smaller portions of meat. Since the meat is very expensive, I’ve been forced to eat less of it, and I make up the balance by eating more vegetables and legumes. And voila, now I am eating healthier and not spending that much more than when I used to shop at the big corporate health food stores. But how can I eat a meal that is mostly vegetables and only a little meat and no pasta or rice? That doesn’t seem like it would fill me up. But it does!

Short-term studies (mostly conducted over several days with limited food options) described in the following section indicate that feeling full is more likely to make a person stop eating than is the total caloric content of the food consumed. Many people believe that consuming high- calorie foods will make them feel full, but a study by Duncan and colleagues3 provided contrary evidence. In their study 20 obese and non-obese participants ate as much as they wanted over 5 days from a diet that alternated from low-energy-density to high-energy-density foods. On the low-energy-density diet, the participants felt full with just over half the calories (1570 kcal) they needed to feel full on the high-energy-density diet (3000 kcal). (Source: Can eating fruits and vegetables help people to manage their weight? Research to Practice Series No. 1).

Below you’ll see my plant-based lunch, one hour later. I was so full, I couldn’t finish my lentils. I ended up eating a portion equaling a little less than 1 cup (the container I’d put them in was 1.9 cups). Now it’s nearly four hours later, as I write this post, and I am starting to feel a little hungry. This would be a good opportunity to have a little piece of fruit and small handful of almonds (raw, organic, and sprouted are best!). Dinner will be similar to lunch, although I might add a portion of meat (no larger than the palm of my hand) to my meal, a pint of vanilla porter (tasty in the winter time!), and a tablespoonful of raw local honey for dessert. I call that splurging! How about you?

Plant Based Lunch...Eaten. (Too full to finish the lentils.)

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