Diets suck…the life out of our days, the days out of our years. Anything that is restrictive in such a way can only have short-lived, superficial success because it is physically and emotionally repulsive. Instead, I aim for a more succulent sustenance to promote optimal well-being.
I do this by trying to eat a rainbow every day. I don’t always succeed, but with this as my goal I typically eat well and feel great.
But not today, at least during the first half of the day. I had sourdough pancakes this morning, an almost weekly necessity for someone like me who can’t stand to waste excess starter and who had no other occasion to bake, having already baked two loaves of bread last week. Then for a snack, I had two pieces of string cheese. So far, that’s a lot of white. And brown (syrup). I skipped lunch; I was to meet a friend for lunch and a walk but we, despite thinking we were in the same parking lot, could not find each other. By the time I got home after running errands, it was time for dinner. I had hummus (more white), a raw red pepper (red, obviously), stuffed grape leaves (green), tabbouli (green and red), and cabbage and carrot salad (purple and orange). Now that is a rainbow-licious meal! It is only missing yellow and blue. I suppose we could count the chickpeas, and maybe the tahini, in the hummus as yellow.
I’m going to go eat a blueberry now. Mission accomplished.
I usually plan my meals very carefully, but with work and social engagements and travel, unfortunately infrequent as it is, my plans are not always executed as I had anticipated. I like to shop and chop on a Friday, or if that is not possible early on a Saturday, preparing everything that I need for the week so that eating my daily rainbow is a matter of routine. It can become a bit bland, many times eating the same thing on Wednesday as I ate on Saturday, but this process makes it easy for me to ‘follow the rainbow.’
To further help me, and you, do a better job of eating our daily rainbows, and of absorbing a variety of nutrients, here is a list of my five favorite foods in every color (except for blue, because I can only think of one — but to be practical, purple includes both blue and red so I suppose eating more than one of those will do). Of course, you should consult your physician or nutritionist before radically changing what you eat because there are many things to be taken into consideration when it comes to food — like sensitivities, disease, macronutrient balance, ethics, etc. You can also make your own rainbow hotlist and post it on your cupboard, put it in your journal, or set up a calendar alert to remind you each morning.
Red – strawberries, red peppers, tomatoes, cherries, apples, red beets (or are they really purple?)
Orange – carrots, cantaloupe, butternut squash, peaches, yams
Yellow – pineapple, bananas, lemons, summer squash, acorn squash
Green – kale, spinach, artichokes, asparagus, brussels sprouts
Blue – blueberries
Indigo/Violet – blackberries, beets, cabbage, grapes, dried plums