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By Olivia Janisch

Improving your physical, mental and emotional health, at its simplest form, comes down to one thing: eating more plants.

While most people seem to know this, many of us have trouble actually doing it. This is a major source of the rampant illness in this country. Due to their exceptionally high macro and micronutrient content, and their grounding and healing properties, adding more vegetables and fruit into your diet will do wonders for your life. Here are some tips to make it a little easier.

Have staples and know what you like

Ever go to the grocery store wandering around not knowing what to buy, only to leave with a bottle of coconut water and bag of pretzels? Planning ahead a little will make you a lot more efficient and will ease the stress when other shoppers are charging around you like little storm troopers.

Some suggestions:

  • Buy fruit in bulk to have for breakfast (or at least pre-breakfast) and to snack on
  • Basics like almond butter and hummus are great for dipping cucumbers, celery, bell peppers, and apples
  • Broccoli and cauliflower can be cooked and prepared, and keep really well.
  • Avocado on whole grain or gluten free toast with a little lemon is a great mid day bite
  • Grab a bag of spinach or kale to quickly sauté and use as a side dish for anything
  • Buy a protein-rich grain to bulk up anything, they also keep really well. This includes quinoa and wild rice, and you can try faro and barley if you’re feeling adventurous.
  • When it comes to giving things flavor, all you really need are olive oil, balsamic, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. They taste good on literally everything.

Having a good routine and ideas of what you like and enjoy will make having a healthily stocked kitchen much easier.

Make it easy on yourself

There are some really amazing farm-to-doorstep delivery companies popping up. These businesses work directly with farmers to deliver fully customized grocery boxes to your doorstep. This saves you money and time, and ensures that you’ll have fresh, farmers market quality groceries in your house when you need them. If you hate grocery shopping or don’t have time to get to the farmers markets, these are the way to get everything you need without having to stress over it.

If you don’t mind hitting the grocery store or farmers markets, there are some ways you can shop and prep more efficiently. Try this:

  • Chop veggies immediately when you come home so they’re ready to go when it’s time to eat
  • Buy a bag of frozen green beans, carrots and peas so that you always have veggies on hand
  • Spend most of your time at the grocery store in the produce section so you don’t get distracted by all the beautifully designed boxes of processed food
  • Buy five peaches or grapefruits or bananas and have one each morning for a week.
  • Making lunch every day is quite the chore, so try bring a side of veggies in Tupperware to have with whatever you usually get for lunch.

Putting systems in place that make it easy for you to eat more food from the ground will support your goals and create strong habits for eating the right things. You don’t have to overhaul your entire eating regimen, just work on adding in whole foods where you can.

Drink a smoothie

Smoothies are a great way to up your raw fruit and veggie consumption. Start with a nut milk, like coconut, hemp, almond or rice milk, and add a big handful of kale. Then add in a spoonful of almond butter, some flax seeds, an apple, protein powder, pineapple spears, a banana, or whatever you have on hand that seems good. You can also get vegan coconut milk ice cream to give it a nice texture. Because smoothies are blended, your body will quickly absorb the nutrients and you can take them on the go. It’s a very efficient way to improve your nutrient consumption and it’s really easy clean up.

Eat the colors of the rainbow

There’s a lot of debate about what greens are the best to eat and what fruit sugar has the lowest glycemic load. While these are important facts to consider, worrying about these details will hold you back even more from eating whole foods. For now, if it comes from the ground, consider it wholesome and nutritious, and eat and enjoy plentifully. Different colored foods have varying health benefits, so buy a wide array of things that you like and will enjoy.

Start with whole foods

Every meal you eat should be at least 50% vegetables. This is the only way to ensure that you’re eating balanced meals and that you’re supporting your skin, hair, organs, and immune system. Because this country puts such an emphasis on protein consumption, many meals are based around an animal protein. While some animal protein is good, most people need to up their veggie intake, not their burger intake. Base your meals around a salad or a grounding vegetable like a sweet potato, a cauliflower, mixed roast veggies, or whatever you can prepare easily and enjoyably.

Increasing your plant intake will do wonders for your energy, mental health, weight, and overall vibrance. Figure out what you like and commit to incorporating more into your every day routine.

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