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August 16, 2013
Creative Living
'Tis the Season for Great Fruits and Vegetables
by Dian Thomas

Once you start a program to feed yourself high-performance foods, it will not be long before you will power loading with vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables are the mainstay of Chinese meals, and meats are used as a condiment. Very few Chinese people have extra weight due to their diet and exercise habits.

Vegetables are high in vitamins and nutrients. They also have a lot of fiber that helps in digestion and works with the body to move food through the system.

Most vegetables are also low in calories. It is the fancy dips and other things that you add to them that can up the calorie count.

In my eating program, I like to have four to six vegetables a day and three to four fruits. When preparing vegetables, don't add a lot of oil when cooking. Steaming in a double boiler, grilling or stir-frying are excellent methods of cooking vegetables.

I find a key to eat a lot of vegetables is to bring them home, wash them and have them ready to go at a moment's notice. There is nothing like great preparation. Take care to dry off the vegetables before storing to prevent decay. Of course, washing celery and keeping it in a bowl of water in the refrigerator helps keep that tasty, low-calorie veggie fresh for a long time.

Steaming, grilling and stir-frying are the healthiest ways to prepare vegetables. All I have to do to steam a vegetable is to put water in the bottom of a double boiler and then cut the vegetables to go into the steamer. By the time I have my meat course prepared, the vegetables are ready.

One of my favorites is roasted peppers. They can go onto salads, into a roasted soup or on top a hamburger to add extra flavor.

When I stir-fry, I cut up the vegetables and put them into small plastic containers in the order that I will add them to the stir-fry.

Usually, I start with the meat and then remove it from the wok. Then, I add the vegetables that will take the longest to cook, followed by the rest of the vegetables.

Return the meat to the pan, and season. Voila! You have a delicious dish in just minutes that is so tasty and filled with nutrients.

Salads are another great place to add in several vegetables. In today's world of eating out, it is easy to try different ingredients that work well together. Always be on the lookout for combinations that you can take home and repeat.

Last week, I had a grilled chicken Asian salad, and my friend had a California salad. We both wrote down the ingredients in each.

But beware: You can increase a lot of calories in the dressing or by adding bacon and cheese. I do not have either on my salads. I always take my own dressing, Newman’s Lite Sesame Ginger dressing (delicious), which as only 35 calories for two tablespoons instead of some that can go as high as 150 calories for two tablespoons.

Increasing vegetables into your eating plan is one of the best ways to add high-performance nutrients to your diet.

Permanent weight-loss is not a diet; it is a lifestyle change. There is no one "magic bullet." Instead, it's a matter of consistently incorporating a number of steps that include exercise, eating right and accountability. It's like leading a symphony: You've got to have all the instruments playing at the same time or you don't get the results.

In Dian's new book, Tipping the Scales in Your Favor, she shares step-by-step what she did to lose over 105 pounds and keep up an active lifestyle.  The pages of the book come alive with practical tips, healthy recipes, over 175 beautiful color illustrations and her refreshing and honest story of the journey. Paperback (226 pages). Go to www.Dianthomas.com for details.


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