When I was growing up it wasn’t uncommon to eat a meal in courses. Nothing fills you up like a three course meal. Often times a soup and/or salad was included with an entree when dining out at a restaurant. At home, my mom would fix a “relish tray” including various crudities we could snack on while dinner was prepared.
There are advantages to eating meals in courses. Beginning with a salad or vegetable soup helps us to get in some fiber and helps prevent us from becoming deficient in fruits and vegetables in our diet. The more plant-based nutrition you can eat, the healthier your body will be. Whole food plant-based nutrition provides more fiber, no cholesterol, plenty of protein, more beta-carotene, more folate, more vitamin C, more vitamin E, more iron, more magnesium, and more calcium than animal based foods. Fiber increases our insulin sensitivity, acts as a prebiotic in our bowel, binds carcinogens, reduces constipation, improves regularity. It has been linked to reductions in breast cancer, reductions in gynecological cancers, improved vaginal health, decreased colon cancer, and decreased prostate cancer.
Each whole fruit or vegetable is packed with natural vitamins and nutrients that act in numerous ways on our body. Their effect really can’t be duplicated by taking supplements of each isolated component, no matter how much we may want to simplify nutrition into one magic pill.
For all the same reasons, a whole food plant-based option makes a great choice for a meal’s second course as well. Eat whatever combination of brown rice, corn, oats, beans, and/or potatoes you like in a good enough amount to fill you up. Imagine the possibilities alongside vegetables on your plate or in a bowl.
Lastly, the third course should be a much smaller and can include richer plant foods like nuts, soy, or avocado. Or perhaps a fruit to satisfy any dessert cravings.
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