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The Value of Variety

Hayley Constance

How many times have you heard the recommendation to eat 5-8 servings of vegetables each day?

How often do you only hit three servings in a day, and all three are steamed broccoli that sat too long in the microwavable bag?

It's really difficult to get a full spectrum of nutrients in your diet while enjoying what you're eating without exploring different foods and testing out your cooking abilities. You don't have to be an expert chef to make vegetables taste good; actually, most of the time, you really only need some grass-fed butter and a good shake of pepper and sea salt, along with some courage to try something new.

Something that tends to help folks rationalize the crazy idea of eating so many vegetables (before they realize how delicious they can be) is knowing how different vegetables can serve them specifically.

Vegetables that are orange in color are high in beta carotene (vitamin A's precursor) which serves as a powerful antioxidant and vitamin C. These vitamins give your immune system a boost and keep you eyes and skin glowing and healthy.

Red foods like tomatoes and red peppers are high in the phytochemical lycopene, which many studies have found to prevent prostate, breast, lung, and stomach cancers. Tomatoes in particular are a rich source of potassium which the body uses to balance sodium levels.

Purple potatoes and cabbage pack a harder antioxidant punch than their less-pigmented counterparts, helping protect the body against oxidation and free radical damage.

With the "green juice" market booming, I think everyone knows the good in green. Dark leafy greens such a kale, chard, spinach, beet greens, etc. are SO rich in minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium, and folate, just to name a few. These minerals together are responsible for the contraction of the heart, the relaxation of your muscles, regulation of blood pressure, keeping bones healthy, and producing energy for your cells. A multivitamin just doesn't cut it, y'all.



This week we challenge you to try a new vegetable or give one that you have written off another chance. If you're still not into eating them on their own, try hiding them in smoothies or marinara sauce. The sweetness of a banana will completely hide the taste of a handful of spinach in your protein shake and some chopped zucchini and butternut squash will add sustenance and vitamins to your sauce.

Happy eating!

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