Month: February 2023

The Great Fruit and Veg Experiment – and app!

Photo by Iñigo De la Maza on Unsplash

A few months back, I read an article about how to be healthier that suggested you should eat 30 different plants (fruits and veg) a week. It’s not just about the vitamins you get from the food itself, but also about encouraging a healthy gut biome. “Holy moly,” I said. “I reckon 30 in a week would be tough.” Rodd was hyperbolic in his skepticism. “I don’t think there are 30 different plants in the world!” he joked.

I kept seeing this advice over and over though, along with shocking stats like this one from a recent Guardian article:

Of the 6,000 plant species humans have eaten over time, the world now mostly grows and consumes only nine, of which just three – rice, wheat and maize – provide about 50% of all calories humans consume. Add potato, barley, palm oil, soy and sugar to the mix, and you have 75% of all the calories.

Well, this simply wouldn’t do. I made a New Year’s Resolution to start tracking the variety of plants I eat each week, and I began jotting them down in a Note on my phone. I set a few rules: the item has to be relatively unprocessed (no counting cocoa beans in a chocolate bar!), and there needs to be a decent mouthful of it (no tiny amounts of spices). To my surprise, getting 30 a week wasn’t as hard as I feared.

A few things have helped. We’ve begun getting a box delivered from Box Fresh each week, which includes a wide variety of fruit and veg. So far we’ve been happy with the quality, though it does mean you have to plan your meals and eat at home so you get through it all. I’ve also been making a point of going into the office a couple days each week, and there’s always fruit there for a healthy snack. Overall we’ve been a lot more aware about getting variety, and I’ve consciously chosen options (like salad for lunch) that maximise my chance of getting new items for my weekly tally.

Fruit and Veg appI’ve also moved on from the simple Note for tracking, and I’ve built myself a pretty spiffy app that uses a Google Form to collect data in a spreadsheet. That sheet automatically keeps track of the overall variety and the breakdown per week. It also creates the chart you see above, which should continue to update throughout the year as I add more items.

So far this year I’ve eaten 79 different plants, and here’s a peek at the ones I’ve eaten most frequently:

Plants I’ve eaten every week this year: Cabbage, Coffee, Lettuce, Rice, Tomatoes. (I’ve lumped all lettuce into one category, but I’ve actually had several different varieties in there.)

Plants I’ve had nearly every week this year: Avocado, Capsicum, Carrot, Coriander, Cucumber, Potatoes, Red onion

Let me know if you’re interested in setting up something similar for yourself! I’d be happy to share my Sheet with you so you can set up your own tracking form.

Architectural dreaming

One of the things we promised ourselves when we left for Germany was that when we got back, we’d finally renovate and redecorate the house. We did up the kitchen in 2012, of course, and then the garden in 2013-2014 and the en suite bathroom in 2016. Before we left in 2020, we replaced the carpeting in our offices and the ceiling lights. But the rest of the interior is basically the same as when we moved in, and all our furniture was mostly cheap IKEA stuff we’d accumulated over the years. We saw the move as the opportunity to get rid of a lot of things, and to start to invest in actual interior design and “grown-up” furniture. We also have a few structural things we want to do, like refresh the main bathroom, redo the closets, pull down the ceiling cornice (if we can), and change the window treatments.

So of course, I’ve started a Pinterest board. Rodd’s sister also brought us a giant stack of design magazines.

Design magazines

Here’s the thing – we both really like mid-century design. We’ve got a couple pieces that we know we want to keep: our bed, our vintage sideboard, Rodd’s Grandma’s cupboards and my rocking chair (both of which can be seen here), and these funky little shelves. We’ve also got some art for the walls. But other than that, everything else can go. We’ve set an arbitrary rule that we’re allowed IKEA things in the bedrooms and offices, but not in the main part of the house.

I find myself scrolling through endless photos of mid-century shelving systems and conversation pits. (Did you know the conversation pit “is back”?) We spent hours today watching Architectural Digest videos on YouTube. But I don’t want to just create a pastiche of the Miller house, you know? I think it also needs to be more modern and us, and of course we’re limited by the concrete box floorplan that already exists.

If you know of a good Sydney based interior designer, please let me know. We’ve put out feelers to a few, but always looking for more recommendations!

PS – We did visit the Miller house back in 2019, and it’s amazing. (Rodd really, really wants that wall of built-in shelves.) If you’re into that type of thing, highly recommend you visit Columbus, Indiana and watch the excellent John Cho film

Us at the Miller House