Friday, February 04, 2005


Why Vegetables are GREAT for Weight Loss

According to the latest household survey, we spend a tiny amount on fresh vegetables, excluding potatoes. By comparison, we spend five times as much on red meat and twice as much on chocolates and fizzy drinks. No wonder we are so unhealthy! No wonder so many of us are overweight!

I mean, we complain about how long it takes to see the doctor, we moan about the cost of prescriptions and we wonder how we manage to put on weight so easily, yet we can’t even be bothered to feed ourselves properly.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not suggesting you jump into a cold bath, put on sackcloth and ashes, and eat beetroot for breakfast. However, I do suggest that you stop and ask yourself whether you and your family are eating a balanced diet.

What is a balanced diet? In a nutshell, it’s a diet which contains lots of good things (like vitamins, minerals and fibre) but only a few bad things (such as saturated fat and refined sugar). This is why vegetables are so important. They contain lots of vitamins, minerals and fibre, but no fat or sugar. In addition, they fill us up without making us fat.

So how much should you eat? It depends on your lifestyle. For example, if you are a non-smoker, teetotal and in good health, then every day you should eat at least 4 helpings of vegetables, including potatoes, plus a helping of salad. More is better.

On the other hand, if you are prone to colds and flu, a smoker or a drinker, or if you have any stress in your life, you need more. I suggest at least 6 helpings per day, plus a large salad. In addition, you should have at least one main meal per week of vegetables only. Once again, more is better.

Six helpings a day may sound a lot, but it’s not really.

For example, all you need is: (1) a small can of beans for breakfast; (2) a large sliced tomato on a cracker for a mid-morning snack; (3) some sweetcorn or mushrooms with your lunch; (4,5,6) potatoes and two other vegetables with your main meal. There are hundreds of different combinations to choose from.

Of course some of you may be thinking ‘I can’t eat all this!’ If so, I suggest you find yourself a large rock weighing about half a ton, then get half a dozen strong young men to place it on top of you as you lie on the floor. This ought to give you some idea of what it’s like to have a heart attack, which is only one of the many nasty things that may happen to you, if you eat too much rubbish and not enough vegetables.

In other words, if you want to increase your chances of avoiding nasty things like heart disease, breast cancer, lung cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer and arthritis, and you want to lose weight, then eating a balanced diet with lots of vegetables is the way to do it.

Finally, a diet which is rich in vegetables also helps to protect us against the growing dangers of pollution. Don’t forget, about 40 per cent of all UK schoolchildren now suffer from allergies – many of which are believed to be caused by pollution. So serve lots of vegetables and keep the whole family slim, healthy and safe!

Mind you, if you really want to avoid polluting yourself, you might also consider going a bit easy on the alcohol and the fags.

According to the same survey, we spend eleven times as much per person on drink and tobacco than we do on vegetables. Yes, I know that most of this is tax, but this is yet another reason to eat vegetables. After all, they’re healthy, good for weight loss and tax-free! What more could you want?

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