In my last blog post I mentioned 7-13 servings of fruits and veggies is recommended on the daily. That is for an average, healthy, non-active individual basically looking to stay alive.
For anyone who is active, extremely or otherwise, who is sick: physically or otherwise, pregnant, or nursing your recommended intake will be higher.
The role of micro nutrients (vitamins & minerals) in your body is likened to the role of oil in your vehicle. You can not operate a high performing machine on low quality or low quantity of oil.
As an athletic vegan I can attest to the fact that it is difficult to get not only my daily recommended amount, but to get a surplus to help fight the free radical damage from oxidative stress that incurs from being active and basically just living in this toxic world.
So, I will tell you how I as a vegan & nutritionist aim to get my daily recommended amount of fruits and veggies, and them some, every single day!
1. SMOOTHIES! This is my #1 way to get a variety of produce in my body the easiest way.
For veggies I will add carrots, cucumber, broccoli & greens (kale, spinach, collard, spring mix).
Fruits: Berries, watermelon, bananas, cranberry, mango
As you can see ^, there is a variety but it’s not all it can be, smoothies are just a start.
2. Stir Fry! I LOVE stir fry’s. I can get a rainbow of colours all into one meal.
Zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, peas, green beans etc.etc.etc.
3. Juicing – but it doesn’t happen often. I love a fresh made carrot, apple & beet juice. I don’t so much love the clean up after or the time it takes. So I save it for special occasions, or rainy days.
4. Juice Plus+. Knowing that I need way more than my daily recommended intake and looking over my food journals for the day I can see I just do not reach that amount. Vegan or not, it’s hard work. With Juice Plus+ I get the nutrients from 30+ fruits, veggies and berries on the daily, and I can feel it! My energy levels are great, and my post-workout recovery is a lot shorter than it used to be sans fruit and veggie abundance. I do not substitute fresh produce with Juice Plus+, but I do take it for peace of mind in knowing that what I lack in fresh produce I make up for in this product. It’s truly been a life saver.
5. SNACKS- Fresh cut carrots, cucumber, celery, apples, cherries, peaches etc. Snack time is fresh fruit and veggie time, always.
Don’t underestimate the power of whole food nutrition from fresh fruits and vegetables. If you are not getting enough, try consciously increasing your intake for just a week and feel the difference in your body AND mind.
Thanks for reading, much love, light & abundance from my heart to yours XO
Janine Fournier, RHN, RYT
“Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in both men and women from adolescence to middle age.”
It’s deep, it’s dark, it’s daunting, it’s debilitating… It’s depression and 8% of Canadians will be affected by a major form of it at some point in their lifetime, this does not include anxiety disorders.
I have felt guided to write a post like this for quite some time now but finding the right words always eluded me.
Each time I hear of someone losing their battle to this silent killer my heart aches a little more and I wish there was something I could do to help.
And the thing is, there is something I can do.
I can share my story and share what I know and hope that my words and my knowledge reach someone else going through this.
I had my first experience with suicide 10 years ago when someone I knew took their own life. At this time I was in college aiming for a degree in psychology, so I could help people. This loss hit me hard. I couldn’t understand how or why someone would do this. Why they felt so alone, and why they felt this was the only option. It took seeing school guidance counsellors to help me understand a little more and to know that even though I wished I could, there was nothing I could have done at that time.
As each year passes, the numbers seem to keep growing of people I know and don’t know losing this battle.
It was only a few short years later that I would learn first-hand the desperate ache that comes with wanting to end your own life. I didn’t understand it at first. I didn’t want to get out of bed, I barely went to school any more, my bf felt like he was walking on eggshells around me like I was a ticking time bomb that could be set off at any moment.
But I didn’t care. I didn’t care who loved me and how much. I didn’t care what I was losing or missing out on or giving up. Nothing mattered. When you fall into the depths of a depression like that, it’s not selfish. On the contrary I felt like I was a burden. I felt as though no one should have to deal with me. I felt unloved and unwelcome for no other reason than those were the thoughts presented in my brain, I felt useless.
The doctors offered anti-depressants and even in my sad state, I declined. The one thing I knew for sure in my deepest core was that drugs were never the answer, no matter what kind. I knew something was wrong inside of me and I needed to figure it out without medical intervention. I vowed that if my thoughts ever turned seriously suicidal I would consider medical treatment, thank god I had something worth living for that got me up every day: my dog. There is something about that unspoken, unconditional Love that apparently can overcome anything. And so for her I kept going. Not everyone finds that drive or that purpose, I was truly blessed.
As I have said before, I knew first and foremost my diet needed a major overhaul, it was the only thing that felt do able.
Being a vegetarian is not an automatic default to healthy.
I was a very unhealthy vegetarian. I ate processed foods & dairy products like they were my life line. When in reality they were seriously shortening my life time.
I didn’t read books or do much research at first. I listened to my body and what I knew for sure was that what I was using to fuel my body was destroying my brain.. both of them.
Both? Yes, you have two brains, technically. The gut brain (2nd brain) is also known as the enteric nervous system. Your gut is full of important neuro-transmitters which send signals back and forth to the brain in your head. This really plays an important role in determining our mental state.
Food sensitivities, food allergies, medications, sugar, food additives, food colouring, alcohol, cigarette smoke, birth control pills etc can all affect the state of both of our brains, but in speaking about the gut brain these things can greatly lead to the depletion of our good gut bacteria which helps our bodies find balance. With an imbalance of good gut bacteria, we find ourselves off balance in many ways.
Secondly a wide variety of fresh, colourful, natural fruits and vegetables are crucial in finding a sound mental state of health. There are a few reasons for this. The phytonutrients from a variety of organic fruits and vegetables help to keep open the neuropathways that can get blocked and cause symptoms of depression. Antioxidants from fruits and vegetables also fight free radicals and oxidative stress from the environment and toxins. The daily recommended intake is 7-10, are you getting this much? That is average, if you are unwell, deficient, active, athletic, pregnant your recommended amount is significantly higher as your body is compensating and needs an overabundance to maintain balance.
Third, avoid gluten! The “glu” in Gluten will leave you feeling stuck, that’s all I have to say here.
Fourth, eat a diet rich in healthy fats. The brain is 60% fat, if you deprive your body of healthy fat you are starving you brain and a starving brain is an unhealthy brain.
Lastly, exercise. During my dark days of depression I did not want to get out of my basement apartment bed. I hated anything to do with exercise. But once I found some strength to get up and start making changes in my life, exercise became a savior to me. Yoga, deep breathing and a regular weight lifting routine are all a very crucial part of maintaining a balanced state of mental health & well being.
This I can say for sure: I do not take mental health, depression/anxiety lightly. It is always important to speak with a health care professional, your doctor, a counsellor or other mental health professional if you are experiencing the symptoms of depression and/or having suicidal thoughts.
I believe depression (in some forms) is like a virus that can lay dormant in the system and can be triggered at any time. For myself, I have recognized some of the triggers and a HUGE part of that is my diet and exercise routine. There are some days when I fight Very hard to make it through the day. There are some days where I cry for what seems no reason at all. There are some days when no matter how bright the sun is and how perfect my outside world is, I just want to lay in bed. I’ll tell you this, sometimes that is okay. To nurture your self, cry, take some you time but Please, if a day or two goes by and you can’t seem to shake it, reach out to someone. Let someone be your listening ear or shoulder to cry on, sometimes we all just need someone to lean on. If you feel so inclined you may reach out to me if you just need someone who understands, to listen.
If you find yourself suffering from mental health issues and would like to work on a diet and lifestyle program that will facilitate a more healthy way of living, please contact me: email@example.com for a free 20 min consult to discuss how I can help.
There is always hope for a brighter tomorrow, the light that is within you never goes out, just sometimes we need some help re igniting that flame.
So much love to you all from my light to yours <3
Janine Fournier, RHN, RYT