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Friday, June 21, 2013

THE 30-SERVING PLAN

Efforts have been made to standardize the American diet and steer it away from fast foods, high fat animal products, and refined carbohydrate. Thus the USDA recommendations. The current My Plate features 6 food groups. They are fruits, vegetables, protein foods, grains, dairy, and oils (optional).

If in order to meet the definition for food an edible must provide nourishment that outweighs the potential detriments associated with it, then half of these groups don't count. There are risks associated with eating grains (weight gain, inflammation, sensitivities) and dairy (osteoporosis, kidney stones, cancer), while oils provide empty calories you can easily wind up wearing around your waist.

The focus instead should be on fruits, vegetables, and so-called protein foods, which include beans and peas as well as a moderate amount of seeds. The USDA recommends 11 servings of these foods, but diets that avoid dairy, meat, nuts, grains, and oils can easily double the recommended intake and include 20 or more servings, especially when the focus is on fruits and vegetables, which are low in calories and high in water, fiber, and micronutrients.

You may wonder, isn't 3 food groups instead of 5-6 limiting and restrictive? Or, how can you eat the same thing every day? Our answer: the body craves regularity. Watch your pet or your baby, who seem to know instinctively when feeding time comes around. And with over 100 beans, greens, sweets, and seeds to choose from, variation is written in.

This is why we've concocted the 30 Serving a Day Plan. Follow this advice and you will aim for 10 servings of vegetables and vegetable fruits, 8 servings of fruits, 6 servings of starches, 4 glasses of water, and 2 tbsp. of seeds.

10
Vegetables and Vegetable Fruits
1 serving is 1 cup raw/cooked or 2 cups leafy greens
Choose a variety of colors (green, red, yellow, orange, white)
Calories: 600
Provides: 25 g fiber, 25 g protein, 25 g fat, 50% or more of 15 nutrients
 
8
Fruits
1 serving is 1 cup or 1 medium fruit
Calories: 600
Provides: 25 g fiber, 20% or more of 14 nutrients
 
6
Starches
1 serving is 1/2 cup cooked beans, 1 cup potatoes
Calories: 600
Provides: 35 g fiber, 35 g protein 25% or more of 14 nutrients
 
4
8-oz glasses of water
Note: recs are to drink 8 glasses, but emphasizing a lot of high-water content foods cuts the requirement in half
 
2
tbsp. flax or chia seeds
Calories: 150
Provides: Essential fatty acids
 
Total calories: 2000
Fiber: 97.5 g
Protein: 75 g
100% of all nutrients except vitamin D (sunlight), B12 (yeast)
If you exercise and require additional calories, eat more fruit for rapidly-digested energy.

Sample Plan

Breakfast: smoothie of 2 bananas, 2 oranges, 2 cups berries, 2 tbsp. flax or chia seeds (add 2 cups spinach if desired)

Snacks: Apple or orange

Lunch: Large green salad (4 cups) topped with 1.5 cups beans and 1 cup avocado

Dinner: Start with an hors d'oeuvres of diced vegetable fruits (cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers), lightly steam broccoli and have with 1 or 2 cups of potato/sweet potato

Dessert: Fresh fruit

Note: Bananas can double as fruit and starches. Also, avocado and olives double as fruit and vegetable fruits. So you can play with your intake to make it work.

Helpful hints: Make judicious use of condiments including lemon juice, soy sauce, hot sauce, coconut butter, mustard, stevia, cinnamon, cocoa, and nutritional yeast. At 9 g protein per 3-tbsp serving, nutritional yeast is a great way to increase protein consumption - and meet vitamin B12 requirement.

Try to eat this way for a whole weekend. Weekends provide greater freedom to experiment and the leisure to prepare your own food. You may find you enjoy this dietstyle so much you extend it throughout the week.

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