I just received a letter from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution urging me to write my senator about an amendment to the Farm Bill. That amendment is to put back some of the cuts that support healthy food (that’s a very short version). I happily did so. I read something that made me suspicious in the letter. It said that less than 5% of adults (I am assuming in the US) don’t eat the daily recommended allowance of fruits and veg. I looked up all of the statistics available on this subject and it seems they may have just been making it up. There was a report by the CDC a few years ago from data collected that broke down these stats by state. It’s not good news, but it is not quite as dire as young Jamie’s people are saying. I won’t print a percentage because there are so many to choose from. I will say that about 1/4 of us are good boys and girls. That is way too low.
So how much is enough? That depends on who you are and what you do. In other words, your age, your level of activity and your gender. Roughly, one should eat two cups of fruit and three cups of vegetables every single day. That really isn’t too tough. For example, if you have a couple of handfuls of blueberries for breakfast and an apple for a mid afternoon snack, you’re covered. Vegetables: salad for lunch and a side vegetable at dinner; also covered. You can imagine the variations. Please do.
One of the challenges for people that try to lose weight is the feeling of not getting enough food. There are a couple of reasons for this which are biological and vastly more that are psychological. One way to help with reducing portion sizes (which is necessary in losing weight) is to substitute flavor for calories. The more highly flavored your food the less you will want to eat of it. Food that is rich in flavor does not have to be calorie dense. You can put cayenne pepper on cardboard and not mind. It’s also the main reason that people don’t enjoy vegetables. They grew up eating canned or frozen vegetables that were only made worse by boiling. Indian food is the perfect example. Many of the Indian dishes are extremely flavorful without any of the less desirable or fattening ingredients. Italians also understand that pungent garlic, bright lemon and fresh herbs make otherwise dull (cheap) foods delicious.
Gremolata is a classic Italian condiment. There are many variations and once you make it, the variations will come to you immediately. Similar to pesto, it is great on vegetables, fish and meat. If you are having trouble getting your kid (or spouse) to eat a vegetable, smear some of this over it. Better make enough. They will want to fill their daily recommendation of vegetables covered in gremolata.
- Large handful of Italian Parsley
- 3 Cloves of Garlic
- 1 Large Lemon, zested
- Olive Oil
- Small Bowl
- Chef’s Knife
- Fine Grater
- Finely chop the garlic and parsley together.
- Add them to the bowl with the lemon zest and mix.
- Add the appropriate amount of olive oil. This will depend on the use. If you are dressing vegetables add about two tablespoons, but for fish only a light drizzle. The original has no olive oil at all.
- Salt lightly.