A funny thing happens when I'm chatting with a new acquaintance, and they find out that I'm vegan. They almost always say, Oh... I need to eat more vegetables... And then they shuffle their feet and avoid eye contact, I suppose because they're afraid I'm going to try to recruit them into the Vegan Army. As far as I know, nobody ever wants to go vegan simply because they've just met a vegan. But something about coming face to face with a full-time plant eater seems to nudge people into realizing that maybe they don't eat quite enough plants for their own good.
Do you need to eat more vegetables? Great! Eat more vegetables! Problem solved, right? Well, I wish it was that easy. When most people think of "eating vegetables," they have dull visions of pale dinner salads, woody carrot sticks, and maybe some overcooked bell peppers on their meat-laden pizza. I can't blame anybody for not getting excited over that.
But still, the key to eating more vegetables actually is to eat more vegetables. In some ways, it really is that simple. Look for ways of sneaking vegetables into your meals. Grate or blend vegetables into soups and sauces. Add chopped veggies to casseroles. Make grilled vegetable sandwiches and pizzas. Get crazy with exotic, hearty salads. Make a carrot cake for dessert. Have a green smoothie for breakfast. Without making a big deal over it, you can pack a lot of veggies into your day without ever having to suffer through a plain bowl of lettuce.
When you do this, and make it into a habit, sooner or later the vegetables will begin to displace some of the less healthy foods you're eating. You can only eat so much, right? Eat the veggies first, and let them crowd out some of the other stuff. Then, the next time you meet a vegan, instead of feeling uncomfortable, you might even have a few recipes to share!