2015-07-20

Plant Matter: Because Plants Matter

We have a saying in my household: Eat more plant matter; because plants matter.

It's a stupid saying, but it's a friendly way to remind each other to eat some fruits and/or vegetables. It's easy, especially when we're feeling lazy, to skip the vegetables. They often require a separate cooking pan, and usually must go through the time-consuming and annoying process of being washed and chopped. But the alternative to eating these things is to consume a "beige diet," which nearly everyone agrees isn't healthy.

Besides, vegetables are tasty, and they frequently end up being my favorite part of whatever meal I happen to be eating. If we take the time to actually cook and serve our vegetables, we feel much better.

In truth, it is a rare occasion indeed that I neglect to eat vegetables at a meal. Each and every morning for breakfast I have a vegetable omelet and a fresh, sliced apple or pear. My lunches typically include at least two cups of fresh spinach and another piece of fruit, and at dinner I eat between 2 and 5 cups of vegetables. I meet or exceed the CDC's recommended daily intake, and I try to ensure that my family follows suit.

This, as it so happens, puts me in a small minority of human beings within the United States. According to a recent CDC estimate, less than 14% of Americans consume the recommended daily intake of vegetables. Fruit consumption prevalence fares only slightly better at less than 18%. (Interesting sidebar: It took me a bit of creative Googling to find the original source study for these numbers. Apparently, news outlets have forgotten how to cite their sources.)

No one is eating their plant matter. That's a mistake.