Lately, Clif and I have been talking about improving our diet. We are, ahem, at that age when the body needs all the help it can get. It’s not that we don’t eat well—we eat a fair amount of fruit and vegetables—but our diet is definitely heavy on the carb side. So, we decided to ramp up the vegetables and replace white bread and wraps with whole wheat.
On the weekend, we’ll allow our selves some treats. After all, this is a marathon, not a sprint.
How appropriate, then, to come across this in the Guardian: “Forget five a day, eat 10 portions of fruit and veg to cut risk of early death.” Basically, the gist of the piece is that we need to dismiss the advice to eat five servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Instead, we should be eating ten. Lest this sound too daunting, three tablespoons of peas count as one serving, as well as two spears of broccoli, and one half grapefruit. There is a chart in the piece outlining what ten a day would look like. (Oh, if only there were a similar requirement for chocolate!)
This advice is based on “[t]he analysis in the International Journal of Epidemiology [that] pooled the results from 95 different studies involving a total of approximately 2 million people.”
The studies indicate that eating “up to 800g of fruit and vegetables – equivalent to 10 portions and double the recommended amount in the UK – was associated with a 24% reduced risk of heart disease, a 33% reduced risk of stroke, a 28% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, a 13% reduced risk of total cancer, and a 31% reduction in premature deaths.”
As always, further studies are needed to confirm the results, but how can you go wrong eating more fruit and veggies?
And, to round out the coincidences, a day or two before I read the article, I made a vegetable and bean soup that includes carrots, celery, cabbage, tomatoes, and black beans. I’m not sure if a big bowl would tick off five servings of veggies—beans count, too—but it must come pretty darned close.
This soup has other benefits as well. It is not expensive to make, even if you use organic ingredients, and everything can be tossed into a slow-cooker, where the soup will simmer away, filling the whole house with a delightful smell. Best of all, as my Yankee husband put it, the soup is pretty darned good.
A word of warning about the following recipe: As is my habit, I did not make this soup following a particular recipe. I just added ingredients as I saw fit. Soup is very forgiving this way. Therefore, much of what I’m suggesting will be guidelines. Feel free to experiment with the ingredients and the spices.
In the end, you will have wonderful, nutritious soup, and you will be well on your way to fulfilling your ten-a-day requirement of fruit and veggies.
Bean and Vegetable Soup
- Five or six cups of chopped vegetables. (I used cabbage, carrots, and celery.)
- 2 (16 oz) cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 (28 oz) can of fire roasted crushed tomatoes. (I used Muir Glen.)
- 1 (1/2) cans of water—using the can from the fire roasted tomatoes. Add more water if you want a thinner soup.
- 1 pound of ground turkey
- 1 tablespoon of chili powder
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon of coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Salt to taste
- Cook and brown the ground turkey in a large skillet.
- Put the cooked turkey in a slow-cooker.
- Add the rest of the ingredients.
- Cook on low for nine or ten hours; high for five or six hours.
- Enjoy and feel virtuous.