Get Your Veggies this Fall

indexI once interviewed a well-known vegan endurance athlete who swore a plant-based diet helped him win triathlons. He was lighter, well nourished and could easily drop pounds with eating vegetables and nuts. It really got me thinking about following a vegetarian diet despite my love of chicken. Now I try to add in several non-meat meals a week, including a “Meatless Mondays.” I now find myself looking for the vegetarian option on menus and find meat rather heavy, generally.

Although I don’t think you need to go to the extreme of removing meat from your diet if you love it, you can add in more vegetarian meals chock full of vegetables that offer plenty of protein.

Try these options:

For breakfast try adding in a green smoothie a few times as week. The smoothies can help remove metals in the body and cleanse you out, allowing your organs to absorb more healthy nutrients. Here are a couple of recipes. The first one is simple for those non-cooks.

2 cups water
2 cups spinach or kale
2 cups any type of fruit (watermelon and banana work well)

Pour in water into a blender, add in fruit one cup at a time and blend. Add in spinach one cup at a time and blend. Enjoy.

Blending the water and fruit first make it easier for the blender not to get the food stuck.

Real Simple’s recipe:

2 tablespoons lime juice
2 cups spinach
1 1/2 cups frozen mango
1 cup green grapes

Combine the lime juice, ½ cup water, the collard greens, mango, and grapes in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute, adding more water to reach the desired consistency.


Carry a plastic pouch of nuts, seeds, and edamame for protein. It will also help you feel full faster.


Cook a meal of colorful vegetables, such as kale and peppers of several colors. According to Jennifer Iserlof, known as the Skinny Chef, “To get the most out of your veggies, don’t overcook them: 15 minutes or less on high heat (400°F in the oven or in a hot skillet) or under 25 minutes in a 350°F oven.”

You can also cook them over high heat for one minute, add a pinch of salt and then reduce and cook for an additional two minutes. Iserlof doesn’t recommend steaming as it takes the texture of the vegetable out.