GB Jiu-Jitsu Lifestyle: Eat Your Veggies

Did you eat your veggies today?
You can hardly look at the news without seeing another article about the health crisis that affects many people – children included! – largely due to lifestyle factors such as the lack of exercise and poor diet.
When we talk about the Jiu-Jitsu Lifestyle we are talking about a holistic approach to our lives: not only staying fit by training Jiu-Jitsu but a positive mental attitude, avoiding self destructive habits like smoking or overindulging in alcohol, and a healthy way of eating.
We all know that we should eat more fresh vegetables…but if you are honest for a moment, you probably must admit that you don’t eat as many servings or eat vegetables as often as you should for optimal nutrition. There are multiple reasons why getting your allowance of fresh vegetables doesn’t happen as often as it should. Lack of time for shopping, lack of knowledge on which vegetables are best, convenience, cost (organic produce is famously expensive!) and so on.
There are some things that we can do to increase the amount and quality of the vegetables that we eat in the course of a week while maintaining our regular obligations to school, work, family and of course, going to class at Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu.
Here are 5 suggestions to get more vegetables into your weekly meals.
1 Plan your shopping and eat at home. The best way to make sure that you have access to healthy meals – when you are tired, busy and just come home from work or Jiu-Jitsu class – is to have done your food shopping at the beginning of the week. Eating out is not only a large financial expense, but it is said that the #1 thing you can do to eat better is to prepare the majority of your meals at home. That way, you know and control exactly what is going on your plate. Buy what you need for the week in a single trip to the supermarket and it should last you throughout the week.
2 Buy food storage containers and bring your meals with you to school, work and bjj class. This simple tip of having an abundance of those portable plastic food containers has a HUGE effect on the convenience of preparing your own healthy meals and as importantly, having the healthy meal available when you are away from your kitchen. What tends to happen when you find yourself hungry during the course of your day without a healthy meal in your bag? Unfortunately, a trip to eat fast-food or a convenience store for less than desirable food options. Prepare several meals ahead of time and bring with you.
3 Have a small number of go-to vegetable dishes that you can prepare easily. Not everyone wants to be Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen, but you do need some basic food skills to prepare your vegetables. Check out this video on some easy and tasty ways to prepare vegetables at home.

4 Buy frozen vegetables and keep on hand. Would you believe that often times frozen vegetables actually have a higher nutritional content than fresh vegetables from the produce section?
Because the of the short time between when they are picked to being flash frozen, the nutrients don’t degrade as much as fresh produce that was picked and sitting in a cooler for 1 week. And using frozen vegetables is both cheap and ultra convenient!
5 Drink your vegetables and eat your fruits. I got this excellent advice from a book on sports nutrition. Most fruit juices are mostly sugar water, devoid of the fibre that our bodies need. That glass of sweetened orange juice from concentrate is not so much different in terms of sugar content than a soft drink.
At the same time, it is not easy to eat an entire plate of nutritionally dense kale or spinach. But if you’ve ever tried one of those high end blenders that makes green smoothies in seconds, you will become a believer. It is an easy way to get those greens into your body without a lot of time spent.
Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Asia