National Eat Your Vegetables Day!

You’ve probably been told since you were a toddler to “Eat your vegetables! They’re good for you.”
But, do you really know WHY they’re good for you?  Let me jump into a few reasons why vegetables kick serious butt!

1) Vegetables are nutrient dense. It should be no surprise that Popeye turned to a vegetable when he needed a power-up. Think of vegetables as one of our body’s most efficient fuel sources: they are packed full of vital macro, but more importantly micronutrients. Macronutrients provide the body with energy (calories), where micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) don’t provide any energy, but are needed by every system in the body to function. Without proper amount of micronutrients in our diet, we run the risk of developing deficiency diseases.

2) They fill you up, without “filling you up.”  Basically you can eat a whack load of vegetables, without overshooting your intake goals for the day. For example, 200 calories of broccoli is the size of a grocery bag, compared to 200 calories of a donut, which may only be half of one. Vegetables are an easy way to add volume to your meals, but not the added calories.

3) Veggies keep your body operating at maximum efficiency! Vegetables are a great way to keep your…um…indoor plumbing…functioning properly.  Adding a fibre rich vegetable or two to each meal is a great way to keep things working right! Seriously: if you’re someone who doesn’t eat many veggies, you will notice a considerable difference after adding veggies to your diet regularly.

4) They fight disease! Because of the rich nutrient profile of vegetables, they work towards prevention of diseases. 4) A lot of people today, don’t start looking at their diet as being a problem until they are already sick. Remembering that our bodies contain the most efficient pharmacy within them. Our body is always trying to survive and be the best it can be. So give it a vegetable here and there, and it will thank you!

5) Veggies can be delicious! I hear a lot of clients say, but they don’t taste good. Firstly, if your palette is used to highly refined flour and sugar products that have an addictive effect on the brain, then yes a vegetable is gonna taste like dirt. Lucky for us, our palettes will change with time and you will crave vegetables! You will! But, in the mean time there are ways to spice them up or hide them away in our already favorite dishes. Here’s a few ways to do that:

– Toss a handful of spinach in a smoothie
– Add veggies to your eggs and make an omelette
– Ditch the bread, use lettuce, kale or collard greens as your bread, bun or wrap
– Spiralize vegetables like zucchini, sweet potato, even carrot or just use spaghetti squash to replace refined pastas
– Mix vegetables into your pasta sauce, or utilize salsa more
– Switch your pizza crust with cauliflower crust
– Make a fresh juice
– Make baked vegetable fries

The possibilities are endless!
Try out this recipe loaded with veggies and see if I have converted you 😉

RECIPE –>>  Sweet Potato Nachos

 

Olivia Harty

HBSc. Nutrition and Dietetics

Personal Training Specialist Certified

Back to Basics with Hip Hinges

Walking into the DHP rehab area, you’ll notice patients lined against the wall holding a wooden dowel to brace themselves; one end in hand and the other end placed just a foot or two in front of their own feet on the ground. You’ll most likely see patients pushing their hips back

and touching their glutes to the wall. This, my friends, is a popular exercise in the DHP facility we like to call hip hinging.

Many of the patients we see (children, adults, athletes), perform much of their forward bending using their lower backs, placing much stress on the lumbar spine.  As a toddler we rarely see this lower back bend because we primarily used our hips to bend over, so the question is – what has happened between then and now to make this fundamental movement pattern change?

This compensation or misuse typically occurs in individuals who have dealt with injuries and thus, use this method to avoid pain or limited range of motion. In addition, those who’ve simply adapted to poor posture for prolonged periods of time bend the lower back because it’s simply the easiest way for them to move.

Using the hip hinging method that is often seen in clinic,

we teach patients to utilize core muscles to support the spine, torso and pelvis. The hip hinging exercise teaches the body to re-learn a basic functional movement pattern; the body re-learns to use the hips to initiate the forward bend all while bracing the core. Ultimately, this will prevent the slumped or curved forward posture that often looks as though the individual is tucking their ‘tail’ between their legs.

As an essential movement to everyday life, we need to understand that the hip hinging mechanism can help when picking up your child,

grabbing the newspaper off the front driveway, and even at the gym when athletes perform their daily workouts that involve lunging or squatting. In addition, athletes understand that the ultimate base position for sport involves bent hips and

knees in addition to an engaged core, benefiting athletes to effectively generate more controlled power.

All in all, as a functional movement the hip hinge is the ultimate foundation for major lifting techniques, such as the squat and deadlift – and most of us perform these movements in some way during our busy day-to-day lives.

So it only makes sense that we all pick up that dowel, find a spot on the wall and re-teach ourselves to hip hinge effectively.