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When Aussie-born Joe Cross reached a tipping point, he was 100 pounds overweight. His diet was a mess. Work was stressful. His list of medications were stacking up. It wasn’t good. And then he got this crazy idea to change his diet with a kind of green power.
Have you ever wondered if you’re getting all the vitamins and nutrients you need for best health in your diet? Would a little more leafy green power make a difference?
Cross hoped it would. His plan: Go to America. Travel across the country living on nothing but green power by juicing mostly vegetables and some fruit for 60 days. Talk to people about their health and their diet. And document the process. This green power experiment turned into the documentary: Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.
Green Power Nutrients Found in Fruits and Vegetables
If you want to get real about what your diet actually looks like, go check the kitchen for fruits and vegetables right now.
Chances are pretty good that you don’t have much on hand. Or you go to the trouble of buying them, but don’t get around to eating them? Am I right?
If you’re like most adults, you’re probably not eating enough fruits and vegetables. Sure, you have the occasional salad or piece of fruit. But you still don’t come anywhere close to eating the volume of vegetables and fruits recommended.
Take a look at your diet for the past couple of days. How does your fruit and vegetable intake measure up to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans?
Here’s how much you should actually be eating:
- Fruit – 1.5 to 2 cups a day
- Vegetables – 2 to 3 cups a day
The truth: A recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that most adults only get 13.1 percent of the recommended amount of fruit per day, and only 8.9 percent of needed vegetables.
Poor Nutrition Linked to Health Problems
And that’s a problem. Fruits and vegetables are packed with green power (essential vitamins and nutrients for best health).
If you’re not getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet, you’re putting yourself at an increased risk for chronic diseases. Research shows that poor nutrition contributes to:
- Obesity. In the United States, nearly 70 percent of all adults are overweight or obese. Nearly 83 percent of adults in Australia are overweight or obese. It’s literally a growing problem that now affects about one-third of the world’s population.
- Diabetes. Health experts predict that 1 in 3 adults will develop type 2 diabetes by 2020, and many more will have pre-diabetes. Left unchecked, diabetes can damage vision, organ function, circulation, and raise the risk for a heart attack or stroke.
- Heart disease and stroke. These are the leading causes of death around the world. Combined, heart disease and stroke claim the lives of about 15 million people a year. A healthy diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits, and regular exercise can greatly reduce the risk.
- Cancer. Health experts estimate that 30 to 50 percent of all cancers are preventable by eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, and adopting other smart lifestyle habits.
- Osteoporosis. Poor nutrition and habits like smoking or excessive soda consumption contribute to osteoporosis, or poor bone health.
- Dental disease. It’s sometimes overlooked, but poor dental hygiene combined with eating sugary and/or acidic foods can damage teeth, and raise bacteria levels in the mouth linked to gum disease, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Change Your Diet, Change Your Life
You probably don’t think about chronic disease when you eat a candy bar, order a fast food burger, fries and a soda, or eat your way to the bottom of an ice cream carton.
But you probably should. Every food choice you make can promote health and prevent disease, or have the opposite effect.
Functional medicine doctor and best-selling author Dr. Mark Hyman says:
“Food has the power to heal us. It is the most potent tool we have to help prevent and treat many of our chronic diseases.”
And he’s right. If you eat more vegetables fruits and other whole foods, it can have major impact on your overall health and longevity.”
So what should you do if you’re not eating enough vegetables and fruit right now?
- Start small. It’s tough to completely change your eating habits overnight. Instead of trying to suddenly go from eating no vegetables to plenty, start small. Add a serving of vegetables to one meal a day, for example. Or swap a sweet treat for a piece of fruit. Start will small changes, and you’ll find it easier to develop healthy eating habits.
- Practice cooking. It’s easy to eat more vegetables if you know how to prepare them. But it takes a little practice. A spinach salad is a cinch. But do you know how to cook and artichoke heart and make it taste good? Get a recipe book, or check out online recipe sites. Then head to the kitchen. You’ll get better at cooking healthy meals the more you do it.
- Take a supplement. The truth is, most of us should probably take a nutritional supplement. Call it green power, nutritional insurance, or something else. A supplement can be a great way to make sure you get all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs for best health that you might not be getting from your diet.
Need help getting the vitamins and nutrients you need for best health? Check out our green power supplements and others made from all-natural, vegan-friendly, pure ingredients.
- Cross, J., & Engfehr, K. (2011). Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. United States: Reboot Media.
- U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2015). 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. From: http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Adults meeting fruit and vegetable intake recommendations – United States, 2013. From: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6426a1.htm.
- World Health Organization. (2017). Diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases. From: www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/publications/trs916/summary/en/.