Varying the Veggies You Consume...
Some Reasons Why

Quick question: are you varying the veggies you eat to some degree? Or do you confine those mainly to a few favorites and standbys, as so many of us seem to do? Although peas, carrots, and celery are handy and taste great, a broader variety will likely bring you higher nutritional dividends.

Veggies Vary in Their Benefits
(Big surprise, right?)

Unsurprisingly, just as people vary in their skills and attributes, vegetables differ in their gifts: Vitamins A, C, and E; calcium, magnesium, and potassium; folate, fiber, and phytochemicals (among others).

To access a broad spectrum of those, we're wise to consume veggies of all colors: yellow, orange, red, indigo or purple, dark and light green, and white. Perhaps I’ve even missed a color or two, as the Vegetable Kingdom is both vast and varied.

Moreover, in addition to the flashier actors, legumes and starchy veggies can also lend a hand on your plate. In short, to gain the greatest benefit from vegetables in general, many of us may need to double down on consumption and expand our tastes, as well.

  Branching Out

Another reason to broaden your range? Here it is: We humans can become bored fairly quickly, and if we’re already not veggie enthusiasts (or think we're not)...well, you can see the issue(s), right? So, what might be lurking outside the norm for you?

Would it be jicama or yucca, perhaps? Kohlrabi? Rappini or radicchio? Okra? Purslane? The latter makes a terrific salad ingredient, by the way. [However, your best sources for purslane (IMHO) will be farmers markets or your own container garden, as it tends to be invasive in the ground.]

Speaking of salads, if you barely recognize bok choy outside of a wok, try some sliced raw in salad, maybe with slivered almonds, grated ginger, a few chow mein noodles—and even some chopped scallions, if you like those. [But add the latter with a light hand, because too many will overwhelm the delicate taste of your bok choy.]

Don't forget beets and turnips! If you believe (as I once did) that you don’t care for the latter, try eating them raw. For example, at our house we peel and then slice or sliver them, brushing them with lemon or lime juice and then grinding on some fresh black pepper. Prepared that way, this veggie makes a wonderful cocktail (or anytime) snack or salad ingredient. Shredded turnips can also make a tasty addition to salads.

If your personal war-horses include few, if any, in the cruciferous (aka brassica) family, try eating more of them raw. For example, you probably eat raw broccoli or cauliflower florets already, but have you tried coarsely grating their stems into salads? (I suggest peeling the broccoli stems first.) You'll maybe discover a new crunching treasure.

  Bottom Line?

When it comes to veggies, imagination and experimentation can do a great job for you. Here are a few simple suggestions:

  • Making a (shredded) carrot and walnut salad? Try adding some shredded beets.
  • Add chopped radishes to your potato salad for a shot of tartness.
  • When your green salad seems a bit pedestrian, toss on some nasturtium blossoms (but only after you've dressed the salad, if you’re going to do that).
  • Add sliced or chopped Brussels sprouts (raw or blanched) to salads or sandwich spreads.
  • Bake sweet potato muffins.

As you see, augmenting your “repertoire” can be pretty simple. With a bit of imagination and motivation, you can easily take it and your own tastes beyond their present boundaries. Best of all, the exploration itself is part of the fun.


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Please understand that the material at this site is NOT medical advice, as I am neither doctor nor nutritionist. What I am is merely someone who's lived successfully on a vegetarian diet for many decades...and I transitioned from omnivore to vegetarian gradually. Do check with your doctor, though, if you're considering big changes to your own diet. Also, be sure to find a dependable source of Vitamin B12.

Living Vegetarian the Easy Way
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