Food is a medicine that we need to take every day. Food can prevent, treat and even reverse disease. Improving your diet can help fight obesity, diabetes, arthritis, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, depression and reduce cancer.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest 4 to 13 servings, or 2 to 6.5 cups, per day, of fruits and vegetables. Research reveals over 90 percent of Americans do not eat that amount. In striving to meet these recommendations, let’s take a look at what a serving of fruits or vegetables actually is:
One medium size piece of fruit
½ cup chopped fruit
Half a cup of cooked vegetables
1 cup of salad greens
*Nine servings = about 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables every day.
Here is my favorite arugula recipe:
Nutty Arugula Salad
Two large handfuls of freshly washed arugula
1 splash of toasted sesame seed oil
A handful of pine nuts
A handful of blueberries or raspberries
2 pinches of shredded Parmesan cheese
A dash of salt and pepper
Notice that you don’t need any measuring tools for this recipe. Welcome to handmade foods – meals and foods you make with your own hands. Using your hands as much as possible increases your connection with your food and with the people that you are feeding with your food. Plus, it makes clean-up very easy!
Ayurveda has a term ‘anjali,’ which refers to the volume of food that you can hold in your hands cupped together. Two anjalis of fruits or vegetables is designed to fill your stomach. The Japanese culture has another word ‘oryoki,’ meaning ‘just enough.’ This Zen practice is a style of eating in a very mindful way, with a lack of greed and with consideration for just taking enough to satisfy. In this practice, meticulous care is taken in handling the food and utensils and respect is held for those served, as well as those who produced the food, harvested the food and brought the food to your table.
For more information on healthy practices for how to eat and how much to eat, check out my blog post “Food Rules: Understanding Fuel and Fire.”