As a veggie or vegan we often believe we're better at making food choices. However, just because we don't eat meat or dairy, it doesn't always follow that we have the best diet in the world. A plate of chips or a bag of crisps is still an unhealthy choice whatever else you may or may not eat that day!
A few years a go I tried to make a difference to my inner health - by setting myself a challenge to eat at least 100 portions of different fruit or vegetables over the course of the year. If the idea of 'eating a rainbow everyday' is good for us then surely a wider variety of foods must be even better - think of all those different vitamins and nutrients.! Sadly, I didn't quite get there, but I was close - about 95 - but I ran out of ideas of what to eat as we got into autumn / winter.
This year I'm more prepared. I've written a list of fruit and vegetables - about 130 in total - some definitely more exotic than others - so I can plan my grocery shopping in advance and make the effort to hit the target.
I have set myself a few rules, but they are simple enough:
1. minimum of a portion for it to count - so one slice of apple over the year is not enough. However, a portion can be an aggregate over a year, eg. small amounts of garnish or ingredients (eg. ginger, garlic, horseradish, etc) can be added up over the year to count as one each.
2. different citrus fruits can be counted separately (tangerine, satsuma etc),
3. count all grains as one (eg. quinoa and polenta only count for one)
Now we're at the end of January, I've ticked off a lot on my list. Maybe even 50-60 already. My January has been full of winter veg - lots of root veg and brassicas and a variety of nuts. I've even ticked off celeriac and fennel.. But, this isn't a sprint. I'm not in a rush. For somethings I know I'll have to wait for the right season until I see and eat them - the different summer berries and autumn soft fruits.
I'm lucky that I'm pretty open for all foods - there's not much I won't eat. Though I did have a city break in Italy a few years ago and there was a whole meal based around the chicory / radicchio.
If I get to 99 and then chicory is the only thing left.. then I might have to try again another year..
If you fancy trying your own food challenge, let me know how you get on.