Bananas Are Not Kale
‘Don’t forget to eat your fruits and veggies!’
As a Health Coach, I have heard this phrase far too often, and I am sure you have too. It’s universal knowledge that fruits and vegetables are good for you. And they are.
However, I am here to dispel the myth I desperately hoped people would intuitively figure out for themselves. Fruits and vegetables have nothing to do with each other. They are NOT created equal, and bananas are not kale. Shocking, I know.
Recently, I was reading one of my clients’ food intake forms for the week. He was super proud of his healthy eating, and I was eager to review his progress. My built-in ‘veggie radar’ was lying dormant as I read through lists of bananas, pineapples, melon, and other types of candy provided by nature. Granted, I am pleased my client is not resorting to processed artificial candy, however the truth is, fruit can be harmful when consumed in excess. It is even more harmful when it is substituted or mistaken for vegetables. Sugar is sugar. Vegetables are way better for you than fruit.
If you are a fruitarian, I totally get you. I’ve been there. If you are like, ‘WTF is a fruitarian?’, don’t worry about it. Fasting on fruit for spiritual or detoxification reasons for a given period of time can be helpful, however I highly suggest incorporating micro greens, algae, or other greens to balance out the potentially inflammatory aspects of a high fruit diet. Everyone is different, and you must pay attention to the signals your body is giving you.
Another important aspect of eating fruit lies in how we are eating it. For example, when I make a vegetable juice, I do not put fruit in it. Not even an apple. I am not suggesting that adding apple to your veggie juice will kill you, however it is important to know then when you juice foods in general, you are not retaining the fiber. Fiber contains important nutrients and vitamins that work synergistically when the food is eaten as a whole. In the case of juicing fruits, all you really get when fruit juice (even fresh squeezed) is a straight dose of fructose into your bloodstream— especially if you are not including green leafy veggies in your juice. In that case, I’d rather have some dark chocolate. In other words, eat an apple and drink greens. In other words, bananas can make you fat. Kale can’t. If you need a little sweetness to your veggie juice, add a carrot or some lemon or some coconut water. According to Dr. Robert Lustig, ‘fructose is a “poison” that is nearly as toxic to the liver as alcohol.’
Some of you obviously know that fruits and vegetables are worlds apart, but some don’t. Fruit should be viewed as a treat from Mother Earth. It should be eaten in moderation on an empty stomach unless blended in a smoothie with greens. In order to reduce the potentially harmful effects of sugar on the body, blend fruit with green leafy vegetables, healthy fats, and anti-inflammatory herbs. An example of a balanced smoothie would be: blueberries, spinach, coconut water, flax oil, and cinnamon. Blueberries are low in sugar, spinach helps balance out sugar release into bloodstream and prevent the good old sugar ‘highs’ and ‘lows’, and flax oil stabilizes mood and enhances brain function and nutrient absorption.
Not only are fruits and vegetables not created equally, but vegetables are not created equally either! Oh my! Certain vegetables can cause spikes in blood sugar, others can make us feel energized, others can cause indigestion, others can help us feel grounded, and more. Sign up for my newsletter under this blog to learn more details about the energetics of food.
For now, I encourage you to reduce the amount of high sugar fruits you eat. These include but are not limited to: pineapples, grapes, mangoes, figs, all dried fruits, bananas, and cherries. Swap those with low sugar fruits, which include but are not limited to: all berries, kiwi, lemon, lime, and avocado. Aim to eat fruit in its whole form in order to receive necessary minerals, fiber, phytonutrients, and vitamins. In order to stabilize your blood sugar, feel more sated, and increase your overall health, create green smoothies with low sugar fruits. Eat more vegetables than fruits, and keep them on the green side!