I like to think that our family eats healthier than the norm. We eat in on most nights. We don't drink soda. We don't have chips, candy, or cookies (except healthier cookies like Snikiddy Chocolate Chippers and Earth's Best Letter of the Day Cookies) laying around. We often buy organic. BUT I'm fairly certain that we don't eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day.
You probably remember learning about the food pyramid when you were in about fifth grade. But recommendations have changed since then. The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a new symbol and interactive food guidance system in April 2005 called MyPyramid. MyPyramid is "part of an overall food guidance system that emphasizes the need for a more individualized approach to improving diet and lifestyle." Essentially, you can go on the website and create an individualized pyramid based on your age, gender, height, weight, and exercise routine. There is even a pyramid creator specifically for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
My plan said I should be eating 3 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit per day. It doesn't seem like that much, but I probably don't get that amount every single day.
That's why I'm thrilled to have discovered Juice Plus+, a fruit and vegetable supplement that "provides the nutrition from 17 different fruits, vegetables, and grains in a convenient and inexpensive form." The supplements come in powder, chewable, capsule, and gummie format.
I interviewed Hayden Sears-Livesay, a Juice Plus+ distributor, to get the inside scoop.
ME: If my child already gets a healthy dose of fruits and veggies, should I still give him/her the Juice Plus+ supplement?
HAYDEN: Yes. We try to encourage eating as may fruits and veggies as you can. The recommended daily allowance is 7-13 servings. I only know a small handful of people that actually do this. And most of what we do eat is cooked. So, JP bridges that gap between what we eat and what we SHOULD eat. For those who do eat the 7-13 servings a day, JP can still add valuable nutrients (but of course, it is not as important for these people). Also, Many people do not get the variety of produce that JP provides. Having a variety of colors is very important.
ME: What is the recommended age for the chewables and gummies?
HAYDEN: The chewables and gummies are dosed for children age 2 and older. Many toddlers and babies take it before this, but they need to be watched closely so they don't choke. The adult capsules can also be opened and sprinkled into food or drink for babies who don't chew well yet. It should not be given to babies under 6 months. But, it is just fruits, veggies, and grains so it is nutritionally safe for anyone who can eat fruits, veggies, and grains.
ME: Since the chewables are "just fruits, veggies, and grains," is it possible to take too many of them?
HAYDEN: Taking too much Juice Plus would be like eating too much fruit or veggies. You may get a little diarrhea. Some people double or even triple their JP when they are sick or feel like they may be getting sick. So, you would have to really OD to be uncomfortable.
ME: Can I purchase Juice Plus+ locally?
HAYDEN: JP is only sold through distributors and is sent to you directly from the company. We want to make sure you get it nice and fresh. We don't want it to be sitting on a shelf or in a warehouse (because it is raw fruits and veggies). When you order from a website the order is given to a distributor to handle.
I've been giving my daughter the JP Gummies every day and she LOVES them. She often takes my hand, leads my to the pantry, and points up to the Gummie containers...so I guess you could say she's begging for more fruits and veggies (for the record, my daughter is also a huge fan of corn, broccoli, and peas).
If you want other ideas about how to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet, create your own food pyramid and click on "tips" next to vegetables and fruits.
To order Juice Plus products or get more info, log on to the Juice Plus+ site.
***If you'd like more tips about eating well, you can contact Hayden Sears-Livesay at firstname.lastname@example.org for a FREE DVD entitled "9 Simple Steps to a Healthier Family Diet by Dr. William Sears" (while supplies last).