The secret to eating more vegetables


If you had only listened to your mother, I wouldn’t need to write this post today. “Eat your vegetables,” she said. But did you listen? I think not. Otherwise, the government would not need to keep reminding you to eat them.



First, let’s begin with how to recognize a vegetable. In the wild, if it squeals, whinnies, moos, squawks, or swims, it’s not a vegetable. In the supermarket, look for bones, blood, and gristle. These are dead giveaways that you are looking at a different food group. Vegetables do not and have never moved. Be careful not to use the lack of movement as your only definition. Otherwise, cakes, cookies, candies, and pizza can easily be misidentified. These so-called foods are not vegetables.



Many people do not realize that those colorful and leafy products in the produce section of the supermarket are not decorations or gardening plants. Those are the edible plants known as vegetables.


More than your refrigerator's bottom-drawer petri dishes used for growing mold

Vegetables: More than your refrigerator’s bottom-drawer petri dishes used for growing mold


According to the DGAC of the HHS ODPHP and USDA CNPP* (U.S. Departments of way too many acronyms), people (you) are not eating enough vegetables. Many people have told me that I have a peculiar insight into these kinds of problems. In fact, some say it’s a very peculiar type of insight. So, as a public service, I am revealing (for free) the secret to eating more vegetables.



1. Buy vegetables – you can find fresh ones in the produce section of your supermarket. Avoid the inner aisles of your grocery store where they place the embalmed ones in cans.


2. Remove any wrappings. Sometimes vegetables are tied up with little wires. Right-tighty, lefty-loosy will not help you here, so do your best. If you have difficulty, cut the wire with kitchen shears.



3. Prepare the vegetables. This may require a level of manual dexterity you have not reached yet. If you don’t feel comfortable holding a knife or if others don’t feel comfortable when you are holding a knife, merely wash them and ask others to prepare them.



4. Put the vegetables on your plate.



5. Use a fork to spear a piece of a vegetable or use your fingers to pick it up. It’s not unheard of to use a spoon for vegetables that come in small pieces, like peas.



6. Put the vegetables in your mouth and chew. Don’t forget to swallow.



You will be amazed at how these deceptively simple steps will help you eat more vegetables.



Having trouble visualizing these steps? For just $9.99 you can purchase my 60-minute video demonstrating these methods. But wait, there’s more. If you act now (instead of just sitting there), for an additional $9.99 I will also send you my “Secrets to Eating More Fruit.” This patented method of “fruit installation” includes hand-illustrated diagrams as well as pictures of real fruit showing you how to get it inside your digestive system. (Note: The book has graphic content that may be offensive to some people who don’t like the way I draw.)



Since my patented methods have not yet proved patently false, I’m now offering to help you serve yourself in the same way I serve myself. And just to show you how self-serving I am, tomorrow I am giving away copies of my other most recent book, The Magic of Mastication: Unmasking the Mystery of Meaningful Mouthfuls. I guarantee it will give you something to chew on.



*Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee of the Health and Human Services Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion AND the United States Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion


Beware of acronyms



Someday I plan to tell a story of loss, accusation, denial, and the TSA, but not yet. I have been warned by my paranoia to be careful here. I hesitate to spell out TSA as Transportation Security Administration because, for all I know, they flag every mention of their name on the Internet. (Hi, Mr. TSA! You are doing a great job. No need to read further.)


Unfortunately, the acronym mentioned above already has my name and address because I made a formal complaint about an incident in New Orleans. I’m sure that had no connection to being singled out on my last trip through Chicago and made to stand in one of those see-through booths waiting for an agent who never came. I was not far from the conveyor belt where my purse and valuables waited for me, but half of the time my view was blocked by other passengers grabbing things from trays and walking away. I got a good ten-minute workout, bending right and left, standing on tiptoes, straining my neck to peer around people and moving from one corner of my glass booth to the other to make sure the passengers weren’t walking away with my things. Finally an agent walked over to me and said I could go. Maybe being forced to stay in a glass cage is their equivalent of time-out for whiners.


(Note to reader: Sometimes I am stupider than I look. I plan to travel this summer, but now I wonder if I will make it back home. If not, I have really enjoyed getting to know you.)


But that is not what I want to write about today.


Apparently the DHHS, the Department of Health and Human Services, resents the power of the TSA to open your luggage and remove items deemed unsafe or possibly too valuable for you. (You don’t really need that iPad.) The department’s Division of Childhood Development and Early Education, DCDEE, mandates all pre-kindergarten programs serve food that meets guidelines determined by the United States Department of Agriculture, USDA. And now, they have the power to open your child’s lunchbox or breakfast box and decide what is safe for the child to eat.

This concerns me for two reasons. First, if you put all those acronyms together, you come up with DHHSDCDEEUSDA. That hardly trips off the tongue the way TSA (Takes Stuff Away) does. It is ugly, gross, and hideous, or what I like to call UGH. Second, the USDA considers chicken nuggets and batter-coated French fries with ketchup healthy food. These are the foods our children receive at day-care centers and schools because we must take into consideration their taste preferences. Never mind offering good food to children and allowing them to develop a taste for fresh food. Give them what they want: processed food with lots of fat and sugar. And if you must serve vegetables, drown them in cheese sauce, mix them in a casserole using canned soup full of excess sodium and additives, or serve huge dollops of dressing to dip those carrot sticks in.


Can you tell this is a rant?


Last week, my daughter received a note from my grandchild’s day-care warning parents not to send any breakfast food such as donuts or pop-tarts. Only healthy breakfast foods are allowed. The following day, my daughter joined her child for lunch. You can imagine her delight at what was served: hotdogs in white buns, oven-baked French fries, canned tangerines, and lots and lots of ketchup. Nutritious, no?  Everything a growing child needs, assuming you consider any of that healthy food and you consider ketchup a vegetable.



Now, excuse me while I bite down very hard on a carrot.