The question:
Will I feel better if I increase my vegetable intake?
 
The inspiration:
Dr. Terry Wahls book, The Wahls Protocol
 
The experiment:
9 cups of non-starchy vegetables and berries (green, sulfur, color) a day for 30 days. 
 

Why Eat Vegetables?

 
One of my favorite things to do is to experiment on myself. We are all so different that really you need to see how something feels in your own body.  Something that works for one person, may not for you. My latest experiment is taking a part of the Terry Wahl’s Protocol for autoimmune conditions. Since I already eat Paleo, I decided to take her recommendation and increase my non-starchy vegetables. 
I don’t have a diagnosed auto immune condition, but I suspect I am micronutrient deficient, simply because most people are. While I eat vegetables every day, I do not get a huge variety and some days I only eat protein and fat. What struck me is that Dr. Wahls explained that since our soils are depleted, we must eat a higher volume of veggies to get the micronutrients and vitamins we need to keep the body functioning at its best.  
The 9 cups is broken down into three categories:
  • Leafy Greens: excellent source of vitamins A, C, K, and B group. Includes kale, arugula, beet greens, chard, collard greens, lettuce, spinach.
  • Colors: bright colors is an indication of high levels of antioxidants. Includes avocado, celery, beets, cherries, blueberries, olives, plums, carrots, mango, squash
  • Sulfur Rich: sulfur supports the liver in detoxification and is important for synthesizing protein and producing collagen. Includes the whole cabbage family, mushrooms, and the onion family. 
9 cups a day is A LOT of veggies. My motivation was definitely tested and I honestly rarely hit the 9 cups a day mark. I ended up eating around 6 cups a day and didn’t include much fruit after the first week. I am very sensitive to fruit, so I try not to eat it very often even though it is full of antioxidants. 
 
I added in easy things like Seaweed Gomaiso and Sea Kelp Delight to increase sea vegetable minerals.
bragg organic sea kelp delight 
 
I rarely buy frozen veggies, but my grocery store had bagged organic  kale and broccoli bags on sale. These guys SAVED me! 
frozen broccoli
I also drank a few pressed juices, but made sure they didn’t have any added fruit.
 
Here’s the thing. I immediately felt better. 
 
I felt worse on the days I didn’t get in my 6 cups. I was shocked. I think this really points to even someone on a seemingly healthy diet could be depleted for a variety of reasons. Soil depletion is one. Also, I believe my increased stress from moving, taking a new job, being on my feet all day, dealing with horrendous traffic, and not having a support system of friends and family had been depleting my stores. I’ve also been crossfitting whenever I can. I don’t believe my body was ready for all that stress. Stress, whether it’s real of perceived, takes the same toll on the body. It depletes your minerals stores, vitamin B stores, and wears you down.
 
My goal is to continue on with at least 6 cups of veggies a day. Even working in a paleo kitchen and being a chef, it was a struggle to get enough veggies suggested by the protocol. I have to make a concerted effort every single day.But, I feel significantly better, so it is worth it to me. Specifically, I feel more energized, my eyes were less itchy, and my mind felt sharper. 
 
My next step is to figure out how to garden or sign up for a CSA so I access to fresh, local vegetables. Just like mom says, EAT YOUR VEGGIES!!
workout plan