Eating All Your Veggies

A tragedy has happened. In our country. Thousands, if not millions of Americans suffer and die every year from it. We’ve forgotten how to eat our veggies. It makes me cry a little inside every time the checkout clerk at the grocery store looks at my produce with confusion. The plain fact is, most Americans aren’t getting a healthy amount of vegetables. Only 26 percent of the nation’s adults eat vegetables three or more times a day. Most people should be aiming for at least 5 servings of veg a day.

Pregnant ladies and breastfeeding mums should be aiming for 6 – 7 servings. <<If reading about poop bothers you, skip the next sentence>>  I know I’m eating enough veggies when my breastfed baby has poo with a greenish tinge to it.  If you think about it from another perspective, which milk tastes better? The grass-fed cow milk? Or the confinement-corn-fed-diary milk? Be the grass-fed cow for your sweet baby, go out in the garden and graze.

Children’s needs increase with their age. But basically by the time they’re 8 years old, they should be aiming for 5 servings as well.  If you’re asking yourself if fries count as veg, it’s likely your kids are not getting their needed servings.

But, Calamity, vegetables are boring, can’t we talk about guns, please?  Yea, I hear ya. But, what do you think your body is going to live off of during a SHTF event? Probably adrenaline, coffee and stored reserves. If those stores are nothing but fries and hamburgers, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Plus, who wants to deal with a severe economic downturn AND prostate cancerBullets won’t help you with your type II diabetes.  I’m thinking, if there ever is some sort of grid down situation, even if it’s just a shaky grid situation, I DO NOT want to be dependent on a refrigerated medication. The easiest way to stay healthy it to eat a lot of fresh veggies, in an array of colors. (Plus, fruits and whole grains and some dairy, yada yada.)

What exactly is a serving of vegetables?

Glad you asked.

By weight

1 serving = 75g (2.5oz)

By volume

1 serving cooked veg = 1/2 cup
1 serving leafy veg = 1 cup
one small potato

What does a days worth of vegetables look like? Well, I know when I’m thinking of servings, I think of things like a deck of playing cards for proteins/meats.  For veggies, I’m thinking in terms of what I comfortably hold in one hand (for the 1/2 cup,) or two hands (for the 1 cup.) I have small woman-sized hands, it quite possible you larger men-type readers will need to adjust that to 1 hand or 1/2 hand.

Here are some helpful pictures, they show what 5 servings of vegetables looks like with some common vegetables. I didn’t take them, I felt no need to reinvent the wheel, when someone had already done such a good job.  Kathryn Elliot did.

Potato, lettuce, pumpkin, tomato, zucchini

tomato sauce (2 servings), spinach, carrot, button mushrooms

bok choy, broccoli, shitake mushrooms, carrot, cherry tomatoes

tomato, bok choy, asparagus, carrot, green beans

potato, corn, carrot, cucumber, tomato

So, hopefully this has been enlightening, maybe a kick in the right direction? Try giving up the soda for 2 weeks, and eating 5 servings of veg plus 3 servings of fruit every day.  I guarantee you’ll feel better.

You’ll thank me when you can outrun the zombies.

– Calamity Jane

13 comments… add one
  • Jason June 16, 2012, 3:07 pm


    What no gun talk? That is fine by me, thanks for this article.

    I have always marveled at these quantities – 5 Veggie & 3 fruit, per day?? I think you are 100% correct and if one actually consumed that much per day 3 things would happen:

    1. You’d feel fantastic because your body would be singing.
    2. You would NEVER have a constipation problem – ever.
    3. You would probably loose the desire to consume “junk” food.

    I can attest to your comments regarding proper diet during the pregnancy & after. My wife & I concentrated on a healthy diet, full of the fruits & veggies as per this recommendation. My older kids were extremely healthy, still are at 17 & 19 and they had no cavities.

    They had fruit & veggie smoothies (we called them “nice drinks” which holds today) every single day well into their teens & loved it. BTW, it paid off for us to buy a super high quality blender.

    There is NO substitute for a healthy diet.

  • Jarhead Survivor June 17, 2012, 7:15 am

    Good post, CJ. Add a good exercise regimen to this diet and you’ve got the recipe to be a lean, mean, fighting, machine. (As we used to say way back in the (my) day of the Marine Corps.)

    I’ve been eating about three a day recently, but this coming week my goal is to hit five servings a day of veggies and three of fruit. You’ve motivated me to get back on track and ease off the summer diet of grilled meats and chips.


  • Westie June 17, 2012, 11:24 am

    Totally true! I have a friend who eats virtually no fruit or veggies and she has multiple health problems as well as being overweight and tired.
    She also gets very little exercise. There’s truth to “you are what you eat.”

  • Leon June 17, 2012, 11:54 am

    I’m fine with no gun talk. There are sites devoted to that topic and many forums where a person can debate if the 9mm is better than the .45 ACP, or other such topics.
    True preparedness depends on a balanced view, IMO. To bring up a topic many may not have considered is a good thing.

  • PrepHer June 17, 2012, 6:59 pm

    Veggies and fruit are the way to go. As a type II Diabetic, I’ve learned alot about food and how it affects my blood sugar. Some veggies, like potatoes, carrots, squash, beans, etc have alot of starch (natural ‘sugar-like’ when cooked) and need to be measured and ‘counted’ as a carbohydrate as well. Some veggies, I can eat as much as I want like lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery…… Fruit (and their juices) absolutely needs to be eaten carefully as it has a natural sugar and in moderation. But a diabetic can easily meet the minimun requirements of 5 servings a day and feel better for it.

  • Charles June 17, 2012, 7:34 pm

    GULP !!!!! 5 serving’s, in a day, not there yet but as a southerner veggies are a way of life at mealtime, altho heavily porked, green’s boiled down with some salt pork, sauted peppers, onions and mushrooms in a tablespoon of bacon grease, tho we are using alot of olive oil, bacon grease and fatback just goes good with some things,,,, veggies are so mix and matchable, the seasonings one can add to these as well, and as a seafood coastian we crab boil alot of shrimp and mudbug’s, but to add our veggie quota you throw in new potatoes and corn on the cob, that crab boil soaks in and spices up just enough to make you wanna hurt yourself eating…. Nothing like celery sticks with a glob of peanut buttah for a snack, umm ummm good…. thanks for the post madame, ya made me hungry so it’s off to a bowl of melon, just which one, the garden has musk, canalope and watermelon still left, hmmmm….

  • Kathy June 17, 2012, 8:26 pm

    CJ thanks for the great non-gun post. I changed my diet (and added more excercise) last Oct and do my darndest to eat as many veggies/fruit as possible. Other than losing 55 pounds, I feel so much better. No more pain in my knees or feet and my skin looks great. Although I wish I had the time to do a full on garden, living near farmers does help to get the freshest stuff possible. The only thing I will add is there are some veggies which I found just taste better when you can get them grown with out nasty commercial pesticides….my rule of thumb now is anything that sticks out of the ground needs to be organic. All others are optional, but let’s be realistic, sometimes the good stuff is just too much. When all else fails frozen or canned will give you the same nutritional value as fresh.

    Thanks again for brining up this key subject in preparing for trouble.

    • Jason June 19, 2012, 12:21 pm


      Congratulations on you weight loss & the personal discovery how a simple dietary change affects your body. Skin is the largest organ on the body & when it looks great, it is a huge & visible indicator of how your entire body feels. Good for you!

  • sillyMe June 19, 2012, 4:12 pm

    Wish it were true. The simple fact is that those of us living in the West eat adequate to more then adequate diets. What we do suffer from is misinformation, pure propaganda and food biases. Everyone should eat a “healthy diet” (whatever that is since no one including the experts seem able to agree). A healthy diet is simply a diverse and inclusive diet (meaning don’t exclude entire groups of food because of food biases). Avoid fads such as veganism, vegetarianism, low carb, protein diets, organic, etc. If you do this you will get more then enough vitamins and minerals. A diet like this would include fruits and vegetables but it would not include an anal preoccupation with that.
    Will it make you live longer? Maybe if you are a poor person in some third world country but as a citizen of the West it will make zero difference. There is no magic food that you can eat and make you healthy or prolong life and there is no “bad” food that eating it as part of a diverse diet will harm your health or make you die young. I truely wish it were all that easy but it’s not. Everything else is pure BS and food bigotry.

  • VegEdible June 21, 2012, 3:37 am

    Agree pretty much with everything in your post, but I think Kathryn Elliot needs to learn what are and are not vegetables. Cucumbers, squash, zucchini, and tomatoes are fruits (and don’t use the “culinary expert” argument that it’s a vegetable because we use it like one … if you use a radial tire as a vegetable, you still have a mouthful of rubber). Corn is also not a vegetable but a grain. Mushrooms are fungi, not vegetables … delicious yes, but still not a vegetable.

    Finally, as long as everyone ignores sillyMe’s advice, there are some good comments above. I do think there are bad foods. Back in my country, carbohydrate consumption has gotten so out-of-hand that “normal” carbohydrate consumption is labeled as “low carb”. If you consider most of Little Debbie, et al products, you’ll find very few redeeming qualities. We need to focus on eating quality foods. We consume way too many low-quality high-carb foods. Excluding large amounts of carrots and a few other vegetables, you can probably get away with a “high carb” diet derived from vegetables. I’m not too concerned by 50 grams of carbohydrate derived your home-grown spinach, but I am concerned by 50 grams consumed in a Mocha Frappé.

    Focus on quality and not just quantity of vegetables. Vegetables grown in your backyard are likely to be more nutritious and tastier than those hybridized to be able to withstand droughts and bugs and pesticides and herbicides and diseases and thousands of miles of transport and sitting on a shelf for days on end. Ever compared a Walmart tomato (a fruit) with a backyard tomato? I rest my case!

  • sillyMe June 21, 2012, 11:22 am

    Vegedible: Ironically I mostly agree with you in spite of the sideways swipe at me. The point most people simply fail to understand in this discussion is we all, with few exceptions, get sufficient vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from the Western diet. The advice to eat more high quality foods, presumably to get more of these vitamins, minerals and nutrients, is redundant. Everyone should eat a diverse diet and not exclude foods or follow fad diets. If you do that you will get all the nutrients you need and a mocha frappe won’t harm you. The science of food is not complex but the human bias is so intertwined with this science that even college trained dieticians and nutricionists are propagandized with many of these pseudo-science beliefs.

    Your body needs a MDR (minimum daily requirement) of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Any food beyond this is simply burned as energy or stored as fat. Eating twice the vitamins you need will do you absolutely no good and in a few cases will actuially harm you. The MDR that is published and updated has a built in safety net in that it overstates a typical humans MDR. This means the MDR is probably twice or more of what the typical human requires. So stick with the MDR, avoid fad diets and have your little Debbie or mocha frappe because it is just food.

  • Survival Foods June 25, 2012, 2:56 am

    The good old vegetables have been replaced by the Junk Food. We are becoming lethargic couch potatoes, leading to obesity and many other lifestyle problems.

  • Steve June 25, 2012, 12:59 pm

    Get a juicer !!!!
    Got one about 6 months ago. Best thing I ever did for myself. I get approx 15 servings a day. I feel absolutely fantastic. Higher energy levels than from coffee. I have 2, 1 quart servings of juice a day. Generally in the place of breakfast and lunch. I use cucumbers, spinach, brochlie, apples, beets, celery, carrots, ginger. Theres many more combos and potions.
    Dont get suckered into buying a $300 dollar machine either. I got a Brevill for $130 works great. You dont have to prep the veggies either. If it fits through the machine it goes in. Seeds, etc are all removed. You end up with a moist saw dust type material which makes great compost. The liquid ends up in a seperate container.

    I cant say enough good things about the improvement in my over all health and well being.


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