Finding how fruits and veggies heal all wounds

On many days of the week, I find a quick swing through a drive thru is easier than working a sweat from cooking at home. 

However, my stomach hurts, my bank account hurts and it’s quite obvious I’ve been lacking in the fruit and vegetable department. 

In order to jampack the nutrients I have lost from a poor diet as a college student, I challenged myself to incorporate fruit and veggies into my daily consumption and keep my meals made inside the kitchen. 

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), diets high in fruits and vegetables are widely recommended for their health-promoting properties because of their concentrations of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Fruits and vegetables are also a source of dietary fiber, decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity.

Prior to this challenge, I genuinely could not recall the last time I consumed a fruit or vegetable besides as a flavor of drink, and my body felt more sluggish than usual. I was inspired to make a change, so I did the research, prepared my list of ingredients and took off toward the local Aldi, the most affordable and my personal favorite grocery store. 

While walking through the aisles, I packed my cart with essential fruits I knew I could trust: apples, strawberries, blueberries, lemons, blackberries and bananas. Then, I reached for the greens: celery, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes (up for debate) and sugar-snapped peas. 

I grabbed quick and easy ingredients for meals to pair with my nutritious goods like eggs, meat, bread, crackers, noodles and cheese. I also snagged a few sauces and hummus for extra motivation. 

I happily strutted away from self-checkout, pleased with my healthy decisions, and my purchase was under $65. 

During the week, I ate fruit for breakfast every morning paired with toast, eggs or yogurt. As someone who often skips breakfast after a late morning routine, it was difficult to feel hungry in the early hours. I worked my way up from solely an apple to breakfast sandwiches with fruit on the side, and I feel more energized throughout the day. 

I snacked on fruit and vegetable plates when I had the urge to reach for chips and dip, and I added lemons to my water to encourage healthy drinking habits. 

The most daunting task of the week were the actual meals I had to prepare. I swallowed a sandwich nearly every day, but I got comfortable with mixing vegetables to create the most elite sandwich combinations of all time. I also created charcuterie board-like plates for lunches, and other easy meals like pasta, salad, tacos and wraps. 

After this week, I feel a difference in the energy I have for the day and most importantly, my stomach hurts a lot less. As someone who struggles with processing food in general, this week taught me how incorporating foods as tolerable as fruits and vegetables can make such a difference in the way you feel.

Write to Mercedes Kauphusman at

Header Photo: For a weekly challenge, I decided to go a week consistently eating fruits and vegetables while cooking meals in the kitchen. Pictured is me enjoying some corn. (Courtesy Mercedes Kauphusman)

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