Broccoli for breakfast will help you eat better
Imagine that you’re highly motivated to eat better. You start reading articles and books. You talk to others whom you respect. It won’t take long before you run up against conflicting opinions as to what to put in your mouth. A reasonable person might become discouraged and decide not to eat better.
A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association provides a refreshing degree of clarity for what might seem to be an intractable problem—how to eat better. The purpose of the study was to determine if a low-fat or a low-carbohydrate diet would lead to greater weight loss for overweight adults. It turned out that both diets were about equally effective at helping research subjects lose weight. But that’s not the interesting part.
The researchers advised all study participants, regardless of which diet they ate, to cut back on added sugar (as in sodas, energy drinks, and sweet teas), refined grain products (as in bread, chips, and crackers), and highly processed foods (as in microwaved meals, fast food, and margarine). In addition, participants were asked to ramp up their consumption of vegetables and whole foods. Now get this: The researchers told the participants not to worry about portion sizes or calories. Really? Yes!
Some of you may grumble because you don’t like vegetables. For years, I thought I didn’t like kale—thus I didn’t eat any. Then a friend told me how to cook it to make it highly tasty. She suggested sautéing onions and garlic in olive oil over moderate heat then adding chopped kale. After five minutes of cooking, she told me to sprinkle balsamic vinegar over the kale, cover the pan for a few minutes, and enjoy. I now enjoy kale all year long, especially what my wife and I grow in our home garden. You can change your mind about vegetables and eat better.
From my personal experience, it’s pretty much impossible to gain weight while eating lots of veggies, especially the non-starchy kinds, while minimizing added sugar, refined grain products, and junk food. I eat spinach, cabbage, carrots, Brussels sprouts, kale, onions, and garlic almost every day. The photo shows how much broccoli I eat for breakfast every day. Swiss chard, celery, tomatoes, green peppers, zucchini, green beans, and parsley also help keep me going. Brown rice and quinoa and perhaps some meat show up for dinner several times each week.
A key point to remember: Changing what you eat for a month or two probably won’t last for the long term—unless you regard your new and better eating as a “new normal” and turn it into a healthy habit. If you do that, you won’t need much if any willpower to stay on the path of eating better. You’ll happily stay on the path because you see yourself as a healthy person. And what does a healthy person do? Eat better.