When I first started in my quest to reverse my chronic fatigue and Epstein-Barr virus 24 years ago, I decided that I was going to eat 20 fruit and (raw) vegetable servings per day, because I had read that 5 a day was, at that time, the recommended intake for health. Since I was sick, I concluded that I would need a lot more; following my recovery I have increased my intake even further.
According to Rachel Johnson in the Mail on Sunday, only 30% of people in the UK manage to get their 5 a day every day, and she also tells us that it is “an expensive, and time-consuming business”. I disagree. Last month I explained in my audio how to eat well on a budget. As far as time-consuming goes, you can whizz up a raw soup in less than 5 minutes, and my recipe this month takes about the same amount of time to prepare. Many sceptics believe that there is no point in increasing the recommendations to 7 a day, as the UK government has recently done, because even fewer people would do it.
So what’s behind these revised recommendations anyway? Basically, research from the EPIC study (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Heart study) indicates that those with higher fruit and vegetable consumption have lower rates of degenerative disease. Research published in 2011 which studied the diets and lifestyles of over 300,000 Europeans indicated that 8 servings a day were needed to reduce the risk of death from heart disease. Each additional serving was linked to a 4% reduction in mortality. So, in this instance, more really is better. Another interesting fact that emerged from the study is that southern Europeans eat more fruit and veg than those in the north, and that includes us in the UK.
In this article I wanted to explain how I get my 70 a day (yes, really!), and just how easy I find it. In brackets after each ingredient is the serving size. Approximately 80 grams of produce counts as a serving, but it depends on the produce. For extremely nutritionally dense produce, such as the sprouted green foods, considerably less than 80 grams could be required.
A large green juice. Ingredients are 4 sticks of celery (2), 1 cucumber (2 or more), 1/2 lime (0.5), 2 handfuls of pea shoots* (4), 2 handfuls of sunflower greens* (4) and a shot of wheatgrass juice* (4). Total servings = 16.5.
*Sunflower greens, pea shoots and wheatgrass juice, all being sprouted foods, are incredibly nutritious and have up to 30 times the nutritional value of the best vegetables. Therefore, although I have stated that these count as 4 portions each, the true value could be even higher.
2nd breakfast/post exercise smoothie
Water (0), 1 banana (1), 1 tablespoon of tahini (0), 2 handfuls mixed low glycaemic berries (2), 6 Juice Plus capsules (2 each of fruit, vegetable and vineyard blend = 13*), 1 teaspoon green powder (6*).
Total servings = 22.
*Juice Plus contains the nutritional extracts of 26 different fruit and vegetables, juiced, dried at low temperatures into powder, and encapsulated. Whilst no “portion size” is available, I have estimated that the 26 fruit and vegetables that the capsules contain, equates to about 13 servings when all 3 types are used. Likewise with the green powder.
Large salad with spinach (2), watercress (1), kale (1), avocado (1), alfalfa (2), radish (2) and broccoli (2) sprouts, mung bean sprouts (2), grated raw beetroot (1).
Total servings = 14.
Nori wraps, with similar ingredients as above for salad, but wrapped in a nori sheet. Total servings = 17 (14 + 3, if you use 3 nori sheets).
So where does that leave us?
With whole food supplementation, 16.5 + 22 + 14 + 17 = 69.5. Awesome!
Without whole food supplementation, 69.5 – 13 – 6 = 50.5. Still pretty impressive. And even if I have my facts about the nutritional intensity of wheatgrass, sunflower greens and pea shoots wrong, this daily intake will still give you about 40 servings.
Simple isn’t it? And with whole food supplementation, it ends up being even easier. Why settle for 7 when you can have 40? More definitely can be more!