Sunday, November 9, 2014

How to Eat More Veggies: Veggie Challenge Follow-Up

Happy Sunday Friends!!

I hope your day has been simply splendid! I've enjoyed a relaxing day of sitting my butt in front of the coach watching some good ol' football. Getting ready to watch my Packers beat the snot out of Chicago. (Bears still suck!) :)

Anywho, how did y'alls 5-day Veggie Challenge go? How did it make you feel? Were you successful in adding veggies to every meal? Did you find some awesome new recipes from Pinterest? (If you are a bit confused, then you must have missed my 5-Day Veggie Challenge post! Go check it out, it's not too late!)

Well one thing was for sure, adding veggies to every meal was not an easy task! Not only did it require a bit
more creativity, but also a lot more prep work. I had a lot of fun experimenting with some new vegetables I had not before tried! Parsnips and delicata squash = delicious new favs!!

Here are some of the tasty meals I cooked up over the week:
Butternut Squash Soup
Quinoa Stuffed Cabbage & Zucchini

Crab Cake on Veggie Quinoa Pilaf &
Steamed Brussels Sprouts
Spaghetti Squash Spinach Alfredo

Since I discovered what a challenge adding veggies could be when you are pressed for time and have limited resources, I thought I would compile a lists of tips that I found to really help. (So if you still haven't completed the challenge, now is your chance!!)

Menu Planning
This has become a critical component of my week; setting time aside to plan the next week's meals! This way I know EXACTLY what I need to buy at the grocery store and keep myself from buying those other extras (OK, fine I still buy a few extras..) This also helps to make sure I have a decent meal to eat every day. If I just leave the decision-making to when I am hungry, I am more likely to whip together a dinner of pancakes and call it a night.

Preprep Your Veggies
As I have learned from my days in food service, preprep is SO crutical! Sometimes to save time later, you need to spend more time on the prep work. This means, take at least 1 day a week to prechop all your veggies! That way when you are cooking, you simply grab the chopped onions, carrots, cabbage, [insert favorite veggie] out of the fridge, throw in your dish and BAM! Awesome veggie-licous dinner! HUGE time saver! I even found a huge container of 8 prechopped veggies at Trader Joe's for about $3! It is awesome and saves so much time.

Experiment With Unique Veggies
Cooking with foods you're not use to is what, in my opinion, makes for great adventures in the kitchen! I don't know about you, but there is something about proving to myself that I can cook a new vegetable that makes me feel oh-so accomplished! So, continue this veggie challenge by pushing yourself to buy 1 new vegetable every time you go to the grocery store or farmer's market! Think of how many new ones you will have tried after a few months!

So at the end of the 5 days, how did you feel? More energized, refreshed? Did you just feel better overall?!

As for me, no. Sadly, I did not... Not because I did not abide by my own challenge rules (because I certainly did). You may be thinking, wait a minute.. I though eating more veggies was suppose to make you feel better? Well, it is. If you are a normal person with normal digestion.

This, friends, is where my red flags start to go up. Now, I have been dealing with digestive issues for a few years now. Mostly I have been suffering from terrible abdominal pain, bloating, and (for the sake of being discreet) other issues. I have done a few things to try to help it (candida detox, elimination diets, digestive enzymes ect.), and some things helped a bit and some did not. It just kind of became my new normal, accepting that by the end of most days my stomach will look as though it is carrying a small bowling ball (I've learned to hide it well) and feeling as though tiny shards of glass are moving through my intestines.

Some days are worse than others, but I can say I haven't felt 100% in about 3 years. This last week was certainly no exception. In fact, Thursday night at class I was in so much pain I could hardly focus on my group midterm exam in class. All I could think about was getting home to lay down so the pain would hopefully go away.

Even as I sit on the couch now typing this, my stomach is in quite a bit of pain! So, I have decided it is probably about time to go see a doctor to see what is up. I plan to head to a gastroenterology over Christmas Break to get this figured out. I will be sure to keep you all posted!

But otherwise, how did your 5-day veggie challenge go?! I would love to hear your story!

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