One image that doesn’t go hand in hand with vegetable eating is that of a husky diner pushing away from a plate of broccoli. “Hoo boy! I’m stuffed! I couldn’t eat another bite!” That full feeling is called satiety—rhymes with “society”—and is more often associated with being overstuffed with meat and potatoes than with veggies. In both cases, though, it stops your eating. Satiety derives from a medieval French word that means “enough”.
A very general misunderstanding about plant-based noshing is that you can’t really feel satisfied on veggies. Au contraire, hungry folk. Eating plants fills you up, chemically and actually, and with stuff your engine burns like premium gasoline. Plant matter comes naturally packaged with the ability to “sate” you like nobody’s business. How? You can thank the Plant Kingdom’s natural hunger suppressant; a little cellular miracle called the Thylakoid.
If you look deep into the individual cell of a green plant, you will see tiny organelles in there; the complicated and incredibly tiny guts of the plant cell itself. One of these organelles, the Chloroplast, is the wondrous little cellular machine that turns sunlight into chemical energy; the alchemy through which the sun enters our ecosystem and gives rise to Life. Thylakoids, part of the chloroplast’s membrane, have been found in clinical studies to increase a hormone called cholecystokinin, secreted in the small intestine after a meal to shut down hunger and let the body get to work assimilating the fat and protein you just gobbled (hopefully with the proper fork).
Veggies are jammed with thylakoids, and dining on greens triggers the hormonal message “Stop Eating.“ But thykaloids are really only the icing on the cake. It’s long been known that plant life is basically made of fiber. And what does fiber do? It busies your stomach in a healthy way. Because your stomach has to work with a little more chemical concentration to break down the fiber, eating plant matter slows digestion and pumps the hunger brakes—slowing the speed with which dinner leaves your tummy and heads into the intestinal tunnel of love. Bottom line; fiber-rich foods keep you sated longer, so you feel less hunger and are not as inclined to nibble further. While food manufacturers busily try to infuse sugary junk food with synthetic “dietary fiber”, you can get yours from the Farmer’s Market, and in all the nutty colors of the rainbow. Yeah, your hunger management program pops up out of the dirt. How much better can it get?
Now, all together. “THANKS, THYKALOIDS AND FIBER!” Try saying that three times fast…
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