October 15, 2010

How do you make vegetables sexy?

Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.  - Doug Carson
Seriously, if we attached as much sex appeal to broccoli as we do to Coke, the broccoli people wouldn't be able to keep the stuff in stock. I'm a health promoter. As such, it is my job to promote such (boring) health behaviours as eating more vegetables, getting daily physical activity, and the usual messages created (I swear) as a constant reminder of what we aren't doing well. Hell, I'm tired of hearing the same old message and I do this stuff already!

My task this morning was to talk about vegetables to a room full of meat-lovin men (and a few good women). I stayed up last night tossing around ideas and wondering how I could make this topic fun, exciting, and question generating - vs. the usual sound of crickets in the room....not that I'm not a great presenter or anything.
Vegetables are interesting, but lack a sense of purpose when unaccompanied by a good cut of meat.  - Fran Lebowitz 
Of course, it wouldn't be professional of me not to mention the usual chronic disease fighting benefits of vegetables and the suggested serving sizes based upon the Canada Food Guide. What I ended up doing, however, laughed in the face of nutritionists everywhere. I offered my audience a alternative. What if, I proclaimed with the same amount of excitement as one ripping into a bag of Doritos after a week of severe dieting, I could offer you a compromise. Eat more veggies, but dip them, bread them, cheese them up, and even....deep fry them (oh no...not that!!!!!!!!). Yes, I suggested deep frying. Going against all that is holy and good, I suggested doing what it took to get those damn vegetables down. Of course, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I didn't add that daily deep fried food will NOT end well...but I believe my point was made.
An onion can make people cry, but there has never been a vegetable that can make people laugh. - Will Rodgers
In my opinion, my role as a health promoter isn't preaching the gospel of a smoke-free, vegetable-eating lifestyle full of physical activity and happy thoughts. We all know that smoking and high-fat eating isn't good for us. My job, as a behaviour change specialist, is to tell a story that will make the topic of the day interesting, fun (maybe even exciting), and enjoyable. If I can sprinkle a bit of education in there without creating a sermon and boring the crap out of people, all the better.

Seriously, if I can make the subject of vegetable eating fun AND motivate those I serve to add a few more vegetables in their diet, my job here is done.  Now, if I could package this up into a slick book deal complete with a global speaking tour I could leave this God-forsaken place for green pastures...............just kidding........sort of.

That's all I got.

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