I made another dish where the goal was vegetable variety.
- garlic *
- red onion
- red pepper
- green chili pepper
- yellow pepper
- kale, both steam and leaf *
- green beans
* were purchased at the farmers market hours before cooking
I explained in the last post that I create my own stir fry dishes to increase the protein and vegetable portions while decreasing the starch. This macro-nutrient approach has a host of health benefits. What I didn’t explain was why I include such a wide variety of vegetables.
After reading The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, I learned that each vegetable has its own unique nutritional profile and they vary widely. Variety is as important as quantity.
Humans evolved to derive nutritional benefits from a wide range of vegetables. I forgot which evolutionary book I got this from, but when hunter gathers came across a new area of food they would eat a little bit from many food sources. They would not restrict themselves to just one or a few vegetable sources, for fear it could be poisonous. This is the concept of “diversify the toxin“. If one of the food sources is bad, then eating a small amount of it still allows for survival. Advance this idea over several hundred thousand years and realize that you are the product of genes that survived and thrived on a wide range of vegetables.
And to think I used to eat the same lunch at Taco Bell three times a week for almost four years.
Since exploring the concept of “diversify the toxin“, my entire approach to vegetables has changed. Instead of mindlessly eating spinach and broccoli, because they are the best, I instead am constantly rotating and adding to the list of vegetables I eat. The result is my immune system is much stronger (no cold in over a year now) and I’ve gotten leaner.
Stir fries, curries and soups are three excellent platforms for loading up on a wide variety of vegetables.