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Why Vegetables Help You Live Longer and Lose Weight Podcast Episode 155


How many vegetables do you eat? Today I take a close look at why I love vegetables and how they can help you live longer and lose weight.

Contact Dr Orlena

If you'd like any of the handouts mentioned, or would like to find out more about the Healthy You Healthy Family Program, [email protected]

Transcription of Healthy Vegetables Podcast

Please note this transcription is generated by software. There may be some errors. I hope you find it useful.


Hello, and welcome to fit and fabulous with me, Dr. Orlena Kerek. I hope that you are feeling amazing today. Happy December. I have amazing, exciting news. We have finally finally moved and it is amazing and exciting and stressful all at the same time. If I sound a little bit strange, that is because I am recording in my bedroom because my office is not ready.

My office is still my little Ikea box, but oh my goodness. This moment in time has been something that I have been dreaming of for the last five years. Yes. Five years. And it has finally come to pass. So if you have a vision. That it might be that you're going to be amazingly healthy, have loads of energy, get into the body that you want to get into.

You can Reach Your Health and Wellness Goals

It can happen. I started planning this journey five years ago when I looked around my house and thought, you know what? I want a bigger house. We're feeding a little bit squashed and packed and it's taken five whole years to get to it. Now you don't have to build a house that was clearly not the quickest way to get to there, but I now have.

My absolute dream house, albeit it looks a bit like a building site at the moment, but it's much easier to see as my dream house than it was a few weeks ago when I wasn't living in it. And it has been an adventure. One of the things I think is really interesting is although my brain is busy going, wow, this is amazing.

This is amazing. This is amazing. Another part of my brain is obviously busy looking at all the things that aren't working. So for example, the front door fell off on Sunday. The front door is made of iron. It was really heavy. And I had to call the architect on Sunday and say, you have to come and help us because I can't leave this door about to fall into the street, cause somebody might get hurt. Other things are that I can't open the shower door and oh, we need this and we need that. And we need this. And my brain is busy making it less. And thinking of the things that aren't working properly, can you see what I'm getting at all those negative things instead of going.

Our Brains Get Used to “Amazing” Quickly

Oh, wow. This is amazing. Well, my brain is doing a lot of that, but it's amazing that our brains just adjust there just to the amazingness and start focusing on the negatively, the negative things. Oh, so, so, so quickly now, as long as you're aware of that, that's absolutely fine because then you can get your brain to go, Hey, I'm just going to stand here for a few minutes and really appreciate the amazingness.

My kitchen is bigger than any other kitchen I've had. It's amazing. Yesterday was Sunday and I go to vegetable market on Sunday and I come back and normally I struggled to fit things in. I can hardly get into the kitchen and I can, can't unpack all my fruit and vegetables. And yesterday I came back and placed everything on the kitchen table and it was such a joy to just unpack and think, oh, it fits into the fridge or into the cupboard.

It's so easy. And. As I say, what I have been dreaming of for the last five years. So anyhow, that's me updated. Oh, except I am still swimming in the sea. Albeit not every single day. And last week I saw the most beautiful matte stingray, and it was absolutely wonderful if a little bit cold, anyhow enough about my life.

How Many Vegetables do you Eat?

What I want to talk to you today is about food and focus on food. So in the group program last week, we did what I called a focus on. Let me just share a few wins from last week's group session, which was absolutely amazing. So Leah was saying that to her Thanksgiving was a total, total. And she was saying that her mother complimented her on changes that she had made, which made her feel really, really good.

Do You Want to Lose Weight in an Easy and Healthy Way?

And she was saying that she is wearing clothes that she hasn't worn in the last five years. She hasn't weighed herself, but she thinks that she's lost 15 to 20 pounds. And as we were talking about this focus on food, she was saying that, you know, all those. There are still changes that she can make. She feels so much better in herself, so much more energy and just is loving healthier food and feeling just better in herself.

So we did a whole focus on food. And what I wanted to do today on the podcast was just focus on a little bit of it because obviously it was a really long session and it was interesting. But one of the things I really want to focus on today is vegetables. And the big question is how many vegetables do you eat?

And I have a little quiz for you that you can do. Now. One of the things I notice about vegetables, there's I am always going on about vegetables. Take on healthy eating is essentially more vegetables, less packaged food. And if you don't take anything from today's podcast, just take that more vegetables, less packaged food.

And you know, my favorite quote is “The best thing you can give your kids is your own happiness. And the second best thing you can give them is vegetables.”

So I really, really do think that vegetables are something that people. Overlook. And often when I ask people, Hey, how many vegetables are you eating?

People go, oh yeah, I've had some vegetables. But what they mean is they've had like a piece of broccoli or a few carrots. And what I mean is no, you need to rethink vegetables. You really need to think of vegetables as where you're getting most of your substance from, from really enjoying your vegetables, a huge plate of veggies.

How Many Vegetables Do you Eat Quiz

With perhaps some meat on the side or whatever else it is that you want on the site, but really focus on those festivals and enjoy to love vegetables. So here is the little quiz and I'd like you to think about this and rank yourself. So the question is how many vegetables do you eat? Do you include?

  1. Do you include veggies in one meal?
  2. Do you include veggies in two meals daily?
  3. Do you include five plus veggies into your week?
  4. Do you have a daily vegetable consumption that is a total of four plus fists?
  5. Do you include all five color groups of vegetables in your week?

So the colors are red. For example, what I would call red peppers or capsicums orange or yellow counters, one color. So that could be carrots or butternut squash or pumpkin or yellow peppers. Capsicums green now. I think green should be double. I think we should always always have green leafy greens are well, then number six.

I'm getting ahead of myself, but green is the third color. So thinking about things like OB-GYNs or stroke eggplants, and then the fifth color is white and brown together. So that could be something like cauliflower or mushrooms. So let me just recap. The five colors are red, orange, yellow, green purple, and then white and brown make one color.

So that's number four.

  1. Do you include leafy greens almost every day?

And what I say you would should be aiming for is basically four or five and six. So you want to be including a daily vegetable consumption of at least four plus festivals handfuls a day, including all five color groups of veggies in your week.

And number six, including leafy greens all most, every day. Now why, why am I so passionate about vegetables? Well, they aren't good for you. If your aim is to lead a long and healthy life, have bucket loads of energy and really enjoy it, then getting into the habit of eating vegetables is going to really, really help you.

Vegetables help You Live Longer

And we can talk about longevity. And we can talk about different diets, but essentially the evidence is pointing to the more vegetables you eat, the better it is for you in so many ways. And if you're interested in your biome, I've recorded a couple of podcasts on your biome. So that's all the different organisms that make up.

Eating Veggies is Good for Your Gut Biome

That we hold inside. Our gut vegetables are good for your bio as well.

Eating Vegetables is An Easy Way to Help you Lose Weight

Now, if your aim is weight loss, then vegetables are also your friend. Why? Because they are naturally low calorie. There's a really lovely some that I love to talk about, which is if you do the maths between looking at calories in a cabbage and calories in a hospital, Now, if you're not from the UK, you might not know what hope is.

A “Hob Nob” is sort of biscuit. It is a biscuit just to play, not exciting biscuit. And they have around 70 calories in them each. Now in order to burn one kilogram of fat, you need to burn 7,700 calories. So that's around a hundred biscuits. So if you ate a biscuit to. And you did nothing else and changed absolutely nothing except stopped eating that biscuit in three months, you would lose a kilogram of weight.

Cabbage is Naturally Low in Calories

Now have a look at cabbage. So according to my friend, Google, there are 21 kilo calories in a hundred grams of cabbage. So let's say 300 grams of cabbage equals one biscuit. 300 grams of cabbage is a reasonably large portion of cabbage. And I love cabbage and you can get a cabbage that way. Say one kilogram or even two kilograms.

If it's a ginormous ginormous, ginormous cabbage. Now let me ask you this. How easy is it to eat a packet of biscuits, put your hand up. If you have ever eaten a packet of biscuits. And I definitely can put my hand up to say, I have eaten a packet of biscuits. Now, as I say, I absolutely love cabbage and I eat it frequently.

Aim to Eat Leafy Greens at Least Once a Day

I definitely eat the greens at least once, possibly twice a day. I have never, ever, ever eaten an entire cabbage in one sitting. It is just not possible. So can you, can you see what I'm getting at that if you're eating cabbage as your go to food, you are naturally eating far less calories than if you're eating cookies and biscuits and all of those things.

You Don’t Have to Eat Veggies You Don’t Like

So if your goal is weight loss and you love vegetables and you know how to prepare them in an easy and delicious way, I'm not talking about eating cabbage. If you hate it, I'm talking about. Making it delicious with some garlic and putting some olive oil on it. Or my dad does a really fabulous. Cabbage salad with some vinegar and oil.

Email for Cabbage Recipes

Oh, it's delicious. I could eat so much of it. And now if you're interested, I also have a recipe handout about the cabbage. You will have to email me at [email protected] I'm afraid I do not have it as a handout that you can sign up for it. So if you're interested in getting that cabbage recipe handout for easy cabbage recipes, feel free to email me and I will send it to you.

But it can be easy and tasty and delicious, and it doesn't have to be about, oh my goodness. One, I'm never allowed to eat cookies or I'm depriving myself. It's about enjoying the food that you're eating and feeling amazing because you're eating food that is really nourishing. So in the focus on food that we did, we did ask lots of other questions because obviously there is far more to our diet than just vegetables, but I just thought I would take out that.

Little nugget and ask you this question about how many vegetables are you eating and can you increase the amount of vegetables that you're eating now? A couple of things that came up in the session that we were talking about somebody said, oh my goodness, but I find it so difficult to buy vegetables, fresh vegetables.

You Can Shop Once a Week and Still have Veggies Every Day

I find that I have to go to the supermarket or wherever I shop two or three times a week so that they are fresh and. I hear you, but I mostly go once a week and sometimes I might do a top up. So I think the way to get around this, the way I do it is I go and I buy like kilos and kilos and kilos.

Remember, I'm cooking for six people. Although obviously my children don't eat as much as my husband and I, and our. Sort of by what I can get hold of, I buy what's in season and I also have this mental note of what needs eating up now. So for example, on Sunday, the day I go to market, we will often have lots of soft fruit because it needs eating up.

It doesn't last as long. Whereas if I buy a cabbage red cabbage, green cabbage cauliflower, if I buy a fresh one, I know that it will last till at least halfway through the week. And if I put it in the fridge, it will last a whole week. It not so much in the summer, but definitely in the winter. So how in your mind thinking, okay, I need to buy some stuff that I'm going to be able to use towards the end of the week.

Frozen Vegetables are an Easy Way to Eat Veggies

And the other thing that you can do, it's frozen fruits and vegetables or frozen vegetables and lots of vegetables. Freeze really, really well. And was super useful. I love peas or other. My children love frozen peas and actually they eat frozen peas frozen, which is perfectly fine. Other things that I love are frozen artichoke hearts, which we can buy here.

You may or may not be able to buy them near you beans. So edamame. Or broad beans also freeze spinach is another thing that freezes you can get sweet corn frozen. I can't get sweet corn frozen here in Spain. We hardly ever eat sweet corn, even though I totally. So go and check out your freezer aisle.

If You Buy Tinned or Jarred Vegetables, Check the Label for Added Ingredients

And again, you can also look at the tins, the jars. You have to be a bit careful with jars because they often add salt and sugar to things, and you don't realize unless you go and look at the ingredients, but you can get some vegetables that are not they don't add sugar and salt to too. So it is perfectly possible.

Cooking Vegetables is Easy

To think about shopping in a way that you only have to shop once a week. And another thing that people say is, oh my goodness, it's so complicated to cook vegetables. How am I going to cook vegetables? And my response is it is so easy, just absolutely easy. My default is to throw things in the oven.

Essentially. I just sprinkled with olive oil. Sometimes I don't even bother to do that. And I chop things out. And put them in the oven. Obviously it does depend, I don't do that with cabbage, but there is always an easy way of cooking vegetables. And I think really the problem when people say, oh my goodness, I don't like vegetables is that.

Eating Packaged Foods Means we Don’t Enjoy Vegetables so Much

And this is some hard, love my friend. That they are eating too many packaged foods. And the problem with packaged foods is they put in lots of salt and sugar and other flavor enhancers. And if you're used to eating that kind of way, when you eat vegetables, they just have no punch it's. Have you ever done the strawberry test?

This is one of my favorites tests and it comes from a few years ago. It was Easter time here in Spain. And that's the beginning of strawberry season for us. And I had some beautiful, beautiful strawberries. I ate a strawberry. Oh my goodness. It was delicious, beautiful, lovely tasting full of flavor. And then I had a mouth full of chocolate because the kids had loads of chocolate, obviously, really, really, really sweet mouth, just full of sugar and sweetness.

And then I had another strawberry exactly from the same bunch of straw. Tasted the same, but in my mouth it tasted sour and horrible. And I thought, why on earth would I bother to eat strawberries like this? They don't taste very nice. And basically what had happened was my mouth was so full of sugar that I couldn't taste the natural flavor of the strawberry.

And if you're eating lots of packaged foods, that is what you're doing. Every single mealtime, every time you eat that and your taste buds and your brain gets used to that really high level of sugar and all those other things. Now, when you allow yourself to wash that out and stop eating those processed foods, then you allow yourself to fall in love with fruit and vegetable.

And to really just enjoy the natural flavors of them. And when you do that, you actually really don't have to cook them very much. You don't have to do complicated things within these, just really, really easy tasty and delicious. So. My thoughts on vegetables, vegetables are good for you. And are you eating enough of them?

Eat a Rainbow Every Week

They are a really easy way to just give yourself a little, I'm eating more healthy boost. So just to recap, you want to be aiming for daily vegetable consumption of at least four fists, including all five color groups and including leafy greens, almost every single day.

Email [email protected]

Now, if you would like the handout that I did to the focus on food, which goes into more detail about different food groups, then please feel free to email me at [email protected] That's [email protected]

Are you ready to Make 2022 Your Healthiest Year?

And if you are thinking, Hey, you know what? I really, really, really want to get to healthy, amazing me in 2020. And I would love some help making it easy and fun and keeping me on track. I would absolutely love to chat to you and see if you are a good fit for the healthy youth healthy family group program.

I currently have five places that I am looking to fail. Does one of those places have your name on it? And if it does, or if you're interested, then email me at [email protected] And we will talk about setting up a time to chat, to get to know each other. And I can explain more about the group program.

Are You Ready to Transform Your Life?

You can ask questions and find out about it. So five places that I am looking to feel in December, the price is going to go up in January. I would absolutely love it. If it was you, I would love to see your transformation. I would love to help you get to healthy, amazing you so that you have bucket loads of energy every single day.

And that you know that you're doing everything you can to lead a. And healthy life. And if weight loss is your goal that you become proud of your body, you find the body that you love, that you love movement, and you just enjoy it. Okay. I could ramble on and on and on about the benefits of getting to healthy you for ages.

If you want to chat to me, I would love to chat. Then email me and I will send you the booking link. I do have it on my website, but the easiest way to do is just email me because I'm in the middle of moving and I haven't managed to set it up. So have a fabulous week and I will see you next week.


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Written By Dr Orlena

Dr Orlena Kerek (MBChB from the University of Bristol, UK) trained as a pediatric doctor. She is now a family health coach. She helps busy mums who want to feel amazing by eating healthy food, enjoy a healthy life, get back into their honeymoon shorts and teach their kids healthy habits all without thinking about it.

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