“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon” – Doug Larson.
So how is everyone getting on with this 7-a-day thing then? Nailing it? Thinking of ramping it up to 12 by next month? Yeah, didn’t think so. To recap briefly for people living in a cave or non-UK readers: a recently published study by University College London whipped the British press into a frenzy by suggesting that the current WHO (and NHS) guidance to aim for a minimum 5 daily servings of fruit and vegetables was inadequate and that 7, or ideally 10, should be the new minimum benchmark to guard against death from all manner of terrible illness.
An adult serving is about 80g. So that’s over half a kilo a day if you take the conservative 7 a day as your yardstick. Potatoes don’t count. Nor, according to the UCL study, does fruit juice. Oh, and most of that half kilo is meant to be veg, rather than fruit. None of this is likely to be news to Australian readers (where the official campaign is “Go For 2 (fruit) and 5 (veg)” a day) but here in the UK, where it was estimated that less than 30% of the population was getting even 5 a day, it’s a bit of a kick up the arse.
Now, I am certainly not here to make you feel guilty about your vegetable consumption. Far be it from me to steal the Daily Mail’s thunder. And anyway, notwithstanding our new ‘regime’, we are nowhere near hitting 7 a day every day in our house. Probably not even most days, to tell the truth. Because, like most parents, I exercise full Parental Hypocrisy, our son definitely gets closer than we do — I work on the principle that a portion for him is roughly what he can fit in the palm of his hand. I read that somewhere. The guidance on portions for pre-school kids is pretty vague — but this is because I dictate what he eats and salve my middle class conscience by engineering his diet around vegetables while continuing to dodge them myself.
But this dodging must stop and vegetables must be embraced! Surely if I say that enough it will come true, right?
So I thought I’d try out a new series of weekly posts on vegetables. Because if nothing else having to write about them means I will have to go and buy them and cook with them and eat them. I am rather loftily going to call it the 7 a Day series, and each week it shall feature a vegetable (and occasionally a fruit), with some ideas as to do with it. And some photos, because they fill up posts quite nicely. It will, as far as possible, be seasonal too. Apologies in advance to Southern Hemisphere readers – you will have to wait six months before any of this is relevant. But now you know how I feel when my December Donna Hay magazine drops through the letterbox and there you are all having smug summer barbecues and drinking smug summer Chardonnay and doing whatever else it is you do (smugly) in the sunshine while I am eating my 675th casserole.
Asparagus will be first up. Coming soon!
If you have a particular vegetable that you really can’t get to grips with – let me know or leave a comment below and I will attempt to cover it. Provided it isn’t portbello mushrooms. Because they are gross.