This is how I eat more vegetables…

pistachio pesto

This is how I eat more vegetables…

There’s a social media/magazine trend that gets my goat.

It’s when fit-looking, health-conscious women brag about their ability to eat crap food and maintain a small waist. For example, an actress tells the magazine interviewer that her favorite food is pizza, or an Instagram influencer captions her six-pack photo with “but hey, I’m addicted to donuts.”

It rings a little hollow to me.

That’s not to say that pizza can’t be a woman’s favorite food or that a lean personal trainer doesn’t have a donut addiction. But if they think sharing this information makes them relatable, they need to think again.

As someone who has trained the Hollywood elite, (said with tongue firmly planted in cheek), I can give you a reality check. This type of woman is not sitting on her bum, binge-watching Netflix and sucking on bonbons. They exercise like the dickens and follow strict diets; for them, eating donuts is the exception and not the rule, so why highlight it?

It reminds me of rom-com scripts that write the female lead as a beer-swilling, football-loving hottie, to get the guy. It’s a clichéd, anti-feminist storyline that is SO 1990s.

I bring this up because you need to know the facts. Being healthy takes effort. Just like it requires effort to be stylish, kind, and up-to-date on current affairs.

You might look at these women and think they have good genes — and maybe they do — but they also make good decisions.

The way I see it and teach it is like this: you can definitely have some junk from time-to-time IF the bulk of your food is nutritious.

My husband and I balance our Friday night takeout and Sunday croissants with the Brontosaurian amount of veggies that we eat during the week. It’s called the 80/20 rule, and it’s just the way healthy living works.

It’s a principle that people gloss over. They’ll say:

“Too simple.”

“Too boring.”

“Not sexy.”

But it’s also the principle that will keep you healthy, happy, and able to enjoy life.

One way to get in more of the 80%  is to hide your vegetables into tasty things like dips and smoothies.

My husband was NOT a vegetable fan when he and I first began dating, so just like I’d do with a child, I would puree spinach into his banana smoothie and hide sweet potatoes in his chocolate brownies. These days he not only asks for vegetables but even takes the initiative to cook them for our family. (I call that winning, folks!)

Perhaps you’d like to try this strategy for yourself? If so, try the three simple recipes below, all of which are packed with veggies, made in the blender, and taste as good as they are for you.

Chickpea Carrot Hummus

Blending chickpeas with steamed carrots, ginger, and turmeric adds more nutrition and flavor.

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, chopped, and par-cooked in microwave
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried turmeric
  • a decent grind of black pepper and a pinch of Himalayan sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • splash of water to thin, if needed

Add everything to a high-speed blender or food processor and whiz to combine. Refrigerate for up to five days (or freeze in ice cube trays and defrost as needed).

Eat with veggie crudités, wholegrain crackers, or spread on your lunch sandwich.

Beet-Berry Smoothie (serves 1)

This antioxidant-rich smoothie provides a serve each of fat, protein, and veggies at breakfast. I make three at a time and freeze them in glass jars. To defrost: place in the fridge overnight.

  • 1 small beet, peeled, quartered, and steamed in the microwave (about 1.5 minutes)
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1/2 small banana
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 serve vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Add everything to a blender and process until smooth. This smoothie should be thick enough to eat with a spoon; if it’s too thick, add a little water. Feel free to top with fresh berries and nuts, if you like.

Loaded Vegan Pistachio Pesto

This recipe is lighter and more nutrient dense than store-bought pestos, as I’ve reduced the oil, omitted the cheese, and used a bouquet of different herbs. Pistachios provide potassium and magnesium, and they tend to be cheaper than the pine nuts used in traditional pesto recipes.

  • 1 bunch each parsley, basil, cilantro (fresh coriander)
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and squashed with the back of a knife
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (more if needed or desired)
  • a decent grind of black pepper and a pinch of Himalayan sea salt

Add everything to a food processor and whiz until smooth. Add a little more lemon juice or a tiny dash of water if needed.

Transfer half the pesto to a glass jar and drizzle olive oil over the top. Store in the fridge for 4-5 days, and use as a dip, a spread, or to toss through veg and pasta at dinner. Freeze remaining pesto in ice-cube trays to use in soups, pasta, meat dishes, etc.

Remember, healthy doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to be boring. It should be simple, sustainable, doable, and desirable, and that’s precisely what I’ll teach you in my new 7-week online program, Slim Down With Self Love Bootcamp. Click here to find out more.

With love,

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