My doctor, who focuses her holistic practice on sound nutrition, says that optimal health is about developing "a love affair with vegetables". She feels that a vegetable-centric diet is paramount, especially in a world where so much of our food is stripped of its intrinsic nutritional value. I couldn't agree more, but my "love affair" is honestly kind of "on again, off again", as they say.
Late summer and early fall is the time of year when my love affair with fresh produce is at its height. When we visit the local farmers market here in Santa Fe, the tables are overflowing with fresh greens, cabbage, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, carrots, potatoes, and more. Looking at those mouth-watering veggies, one can almost taste how they'll be when steamed, broiled, shredded, chopped, grilled, or otherwise lovingly prepared at home.
Seeing my acupuncturist this afternoon, he mentioned how he eats very high-quality meat (like grass-fed beef, bison, elk, buffalo and, yes, kangaroo), but as much as he likes his meat, he'll eat four times as much veggies as meat during any given meal. (He claims that kangaroo meat is the leanest, healthiest meat in the world, and there are so many kangaroos in Australia that they are exporting kangaroo meat as a way to decrease the population---which is similar to how we cull deer herds here in the US).
Vegetables contain enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fiber, water and other nutrients that are essential to our bodies' optimal function, and the many different colors of vegetables are not just for show. Deep reds, oranges, greens and yellows all have their place in our diet, as do the many forms of veggies, including the cruciferous (cabbage, caulifower, kale, etc) and the non-cruciferous.
While a 100% plant-based diet is not essential, a plant-centric diet is important for our health, and diabetics can do well if they heed the advice of the experts and keep their veggie consumption robust.
Granted, if you have a problem with blood coagulation and are taking blood thinners like Coumadin, you definitely want to talk to your doctor before significantly increasing your intake of green leafies (due to high levels of Vitamin K), but most any doctor will advise most diabetics to make like a bunny and eat their veggies to their heart's (and stomach's) content. If you're concerned about any change in your diet, talk to your medical provider first, of course.
If it's harvest time in your neck of the woods (and I hope it is), visit the local farmers market, farm stand or grocery store and stock up weekly on your favorite veggies, or branch out and find something new to try. There are many exciting vegetables out there just waiting to be savored, so avail yourself of the late summer abundance and eat your veggies!