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Be a part-time vegan

Do you eat enough vegetables? Me neither. Most people should eat at least three servings of vegetables and at least two servings of fruit a day.

health and fitness Updated: Apr 22, 2010 14:46 IST

Do you eat enough vegetables? Me neither. Most people should eat at least three servings of vegetables and at least two servings of fruit a day. But only 27 per cent of adults consume that many vegetables, with a third getting their fill of fruit, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Don’t feel too bad if you don’t fall into either of those groups. Some people simply prefer meat, or doughnuts, or cheese and crackers — or just about anything — to broccoli, carrots and the like.

Find your inner veggie fan
So what’s a vegetable-starved population to do? We could follow the example of Mark Bittman, one of the strongest advocates for finding your inner vegetable fan. The prolific food writer and columnist for The New York Times makes a case for shifting our diets away from meat and processed foods to mostly plant-based foods. Bittman says he didn’t make the big change in his diet until he (a) saw statistics about the environmental impact of large-scale livestock production; and (b) recognised, as he turned 57, that he had high cholesterol, high blood sugar, sleep apnoea, bad knees and 35 extra pounds. That’s when he decided to try the ‘vegan before 6 pm’ diet.

‘Vegan before 6’ entails eating a vegan diet every day until 6 pm. After that, Bittman enjoys whatever he wants to eat in whatever portions suit him.“In three months, I lost 35 pounds,” he says, adding that he gained five of those back. “My cholesterol and blood sugar went down and stayed down. My knees pretty much got better,” and his sleep apnoea vanished. Go easy on the calories