How many times have you heard this before? Eat your vegetables. For most people, it’s too many to count. It’s safe to say we know that we should value these natural foods. But what isn’t general knowledge, is how much of each we should consume. Is there such a thing as eating too many veggies? If so, what health problems can occur? What happens if we aren’t getting enough vegetables? These are all common questions. In this article, we’ll go through each of them so you can know how to handle one of the most important fruit groups.
Let’s first establish what exactly constitutes a vegetable:
In essence, there are five subgroups that we break vegetables into. These are known as dark green veggies (spinach, lettuce, broccoli), starchy vegetables (corn, potatoes), red and orange vegetables (carrots, tomatoes, red peppers), beans and peas (pinto beans, black beans, split peas), and other vegetables (celery, onions, mushrooms).
In general, it’s important to try to mix in veggies from all five groups whenever you can. Luckily, you don’t have to feel like you need to eat from every subset on a daily basis. If you can get some of each on a weekly basis, that’s excellent.
How many vegetables do I need?
While this depends some on your age, sex, and activity levels, you can feel pretty safe shooting for two and a half to three cups a day. For most veggies, it’s very easy to keep track of how much your eating. Eat one cup of carrots or chopped celery and you’ll know you’re about one third of the way to your goal. Leafy greens just take a little math. With spinach and lettuce, every two cups of raw leaves equal one cup of veggie intake.
Is it possible to eat too many vegetables?
In short, yes. Vegetables are packed with nutrients. But our bodies can only consume so much. When we put far too many into our bodies, problems can occur.
What happens when we eat too many vegetables?
In the past, we’ve touched on how important Fiber is to our bodies. Unfortunately, eating lots and lots of veggies can overload our body with it. Consuming too much fiber certainly isn’t the worst thing you can do for your body. However, it can lead to a lot of discomfort by impacting your digestive system in many negative ways.
Pounding vegetables day and night will probably keep you on a low-calorie count. The problem is that your body will miss out on important foods such as protein and carbohydrates that it needs to operate at its best. Not getting enough carbs can cause headaches, nausea, and an overall lack of energy. A lack of protein, on the other hand, can lead to muscle loss and struggles with low metabolism.
Is it bad if I’m not getting enough vegetables?
Very much so. The nutrients that vegetables are made up of are extremely healthy to our bodies when consumed in the proper amount. Not eating enough of them can give us some unwanted side effects. While protein is essential to our muscles, vegetables are pretty important as well. A lack of them can lead to cramping and easy bruising. Veggies are also crucial for our minds. Without enough of them, we become prone to fatigue and irritability. To make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s good to specifically target vitamin B, found in potatoes, beans, and spinach.
Veggies are also integral to the health of our immune system. If you’ve been getting sick much more than usual, make sure you’re eating broccoli and peppers. Believe it or not, vegetables such as leafy greens and peppers can help you deal with stress better. These foods contain polyphenols and carotenoids which lower inflammation in the body and help increase brain capacity.
Written By: Bradley Ylitalo
It’s awesome if you want to go to the gym every day of the week. That’s a sign of a person who’s motivated to improve themselves and isn’t going to wait around for change. But as the saying goes, too much of a good thing can be bad. As the research shows, taking one off-day per week can give be one of the healthiest things we can do for our bodies. In this article, we’ll go through the potential harms of over-exercising and why giving ourselves a regular break can be so beneficial.
Why Over-Exercising is Bad for our Body:
Our muscles are amazing in a lot of ways, but even they need the occasional break to heal. When we work out, our muscles are sore for a reason. We pushed them to their limits and forced them to slightly tear. But for them to come back stronger, we need to give them proper time to repair themselves. It might sound weird, but proper rest is absolutely integral to our workout routine.
Why Over-Exercising is Bad for our Mind:
Not only can every-day workouts be harmful to our bodies, but they can also take a toll on our minds. I know better than anyone how powerful burnout can be. We can be so passionate about something and through overdoing it and thus burning out, not want to have anything to do with it anymore. Don’t let that happen with your gym routine. It’s great to be motivated and excited about your workouts, but make sure you’re being careful to not overdo it.
Over-Exercising Can be a Stressor:
We’ve talked about how much of a stress reliever exercise is. But if you’re cramming it into your schedule and feel overwhelmed by going every day, taking one day off per week could be just what your mind needs. Working out is one of the best things we can do on a regular basis. But it shouldn’t be put above our happiness. So if you feel like you need more downtime with your family and friends, don’t feel at all guilty about skipping the gym here and there.
Revive Your Energy at the Gym:
Remember that feeling when you first started going to the gym? You’re excited to be there, inspired, and probably had some of the best workouts of your life. That’s what a day off can give you. After resting up, you feel like you’re ready to tear up the gym as both your muscles and brain are invigorated and ready to go. So if you’re one of several gym-goers who’s feeling worn down, give yourself a break, and start your next workout with a fresh mind and a renewed energy.
After you made it through your week at the gym, reward yourself! It doesn’t matter if it’s a movie night or a dinner date. Just make sure your day-off is something you look forward to. By giving yourself something to work toward, your exercise time will only be enhanced.
Hello all! We here at Go Fit are very excited to offer you this free e-book. This should be a great addition to your fall calendar, and help you to find tons of fun activities for your friends and family. Just click the link, and please enjoy!
Food Trucks can be a fun way to get a quick bite to eat on the run. Sometimes, they’re far from healthy, but in this case, it’s quite the opposite. Here we interview a family member of the Thurston’s, the founders and proprietors of the Stories Foundation and the Freedom Truck.
When did the Freedom Truck get started?
Just about a year and a half ago we bought the truck and really started preparing to run it. Last summer was the first time we opened our doors and started serving our food. We’re really excited to get into our second year and keep growing.
What kind of food does it sell?
We take a lot of pride in selling our All-Organic food options. We mix up the menu on occasion but we always have our staples of falafels, sweet potato fries, and iced coffee.
Where can we find the Freedom Truck?
We do a ton of events around the twin-cities. You can see us at everything from five K’s, to business parks, to churches.
It’s not every day you hear somebody decide to open up a food truck, what gave your family the idea?
When we first started the Stories Foundation, which runs the Freedom Truck, our original goal was to open a Stories restaurant. That is definitely still something we’re trying to accomplish, but for now, the food truck is the best way to get our name and food out there. If we can build our brand and gather some sponsors, we would be ecstatic to open the Stories cafe.
Freedom Truck’s profits go to ending sex trafficking, how did your family decide to do that?
That idea was set in place long before the Stories Foundation ever came to fruition. My mom and sister were at a conference seven or eight years ago where they really felt a calling to help put an end to what is a huge problem worldwide. Sometime after the conference, my sister ended up going to Thailand where she saw things first hand that just furthered her heart for the issue.
The Freedom truck is part of a bigger foundation called stories, is that also about ending sex trafficking?
Absolutely. It’s the main reason we started the organization and why we are so passionate about what we do.
In your opinion, the one food that you have to try from the Freedom truck would be what?
Definitely the Falafels. You can order it more on the plain side, or closer to a gyro. The sauce is really what does it for me though.
If someone doesn’t live in an area that the food truck frequents, but still wants to support the Stories foundation, is there any way they can donate time and or money?
Yes, for sure! We have a website you can visit called storiesfoundation.org, where you can find out all sorts of information. Whether you want to know where you can find the Freedom truck, donate time or money to the foundation, or learn how you can fight human trafficking, it’s all there.
Next time you’re out and about and happen to see the Freedom Truck, give it a try. Not only will you get great tasting food, but you will help resolve a horrible social issue.
Image courtesy of the stories foundation Instagram
For some, including myself, there’s nothing better than a good run on the treadmill. It’s so fun to get your heart rate up, your arms pumping, and your legs moving. But understandably for some, they wonder why on earth they should hop on the treadmill or bike. If you’re not training for a 5k or marathon, and aren’t an athlete, what’s the point of having good cardiovascular fitness? I’m here to tell you. You don’t have to become an everyday runner, but in this article, I’ll show you why even every once in a while, you want to fit a good walk, jog, or run into your workout.
This is probably the obvious one. The key to losing weight is all in calories. Eat less of them, and burn more of them. The quickest way to to do the latter is to get moving. Walking at 3.0 mph burns 400 calories an hour, jogging at 6.0 mph burns 800 calories every hour, and running at 9.0 mph an astounding 1200 calories every hour. Those numbers are staggering. If you’re at all unhappy with your weight, cardio is definitely one of the better ways to change that.
Improve Heart Function:
The brain is a muscle, and it’s working every minute of every day. Cardio is perhaps the best thing you can do to help take care of it. Just like with any other muscle, when you work it out, it becomes stronger. When we make the hearts’ job easier, it not only runs more efficiently but lasts longer as well. What’s the leading cause of death in the United States? Heart disease. Cardiovascular activity is a fantastic preventative measure we can all take.
Get Better Sleep:
If we’re going to spend one-third of our life snoozing, we might as well make the most of it. Perhaps surprisingly so, frequent cardio workouts is a great way to do just that. By improving our sleep, we’ll wake up with much more energy, and as we know, that will make our entire day much better. How much is that worth? It’s priceless.
Improve Mental Health:
It’s no secret that many Americans struggle with anxiety and depression. We all know medications can help, but so to can cardiovascular fitness. If you’re someone who is battling with either of these mental health problems, hitting the gym as much as possible can be a great way to help alleviate them.
Even if you don’t have depression or anxiety, we all deal with a lot of stress. Walking and running can provide us with a lot of much-needed relief. After a good workout, we come away with a clear mind and are ready to focus on our daily tasks.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in shape or not. It doesn’t matter if you’re at a healthy weight or not. Cardiovascular fitness is for everyone. If you can make time to fit it into your workout routine, you’ll begin reaping rewards that make it all well worth it. So next time you’re at the gym, hit the treadmill or bike. It’s not something you will regret.
- Always perform weight training workouts first.
- Do HIIT cardio on separate days and preferably fasted.
- Research shows that 1-2.4 hours of cardiovascular exercise done 2-3x per week is optimal.
- The ideal training frequency is 2-3x per week (per muscle group).
- To read the full article on cardio and weight training, visit: https://www.mindtomusclefitness.com/cardio-and-weight-training/
I know this is true for me and many other Americans. I honestly couldn’t tell you how many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or bowls of macaroni and cheese I’ve eaten. It’s got to be in the hundreds, but that’s about as specific as I can be. Why do we eat these two so much? For a few reasons. First off, they’re simple and easy to make. Anyone can make a PB&J, and as long as you can boil water, mac and cheese in your cooking repertoire as well.
Aside from simplicity, both of these meals are relatively cheap, filling, and let’s be real, great tasting as well. For all of these reasons, mac and cheese, and PB&J have been American staples for a very long time. If we’re going to keep consuming them going forward, I felt it be a great time to dive into both of their nutritional values. Today, we’ll go through the benefits and negatives of both of these foods, as well as summarize what it means for us.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
The peanut butter will give you exactly what it’s known for, protein. Checking in with 13.5 grams, you’ll already be at 25% of your daily intake. Choosing whole wheat bread will give you 3.8 grams of fiber and a ton of great nutrients. That 3.8 grams doesn’t get you very far in regards to your suggested daily fiber amount, but it’s still much better than what you get with white bread.
A PB&J comes packed with 16 grams of sugar. Considering we need about 32 grams a day, that’s not terrific. As for calories, all ingredients together, we get to 376. That’s certainly not horrible if you can make a meal out of it. But if it’s an afternoon snack, it lands on the heavier side.
You definitely shouldn’t feel guilty about eating a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. For a quick meal on the run, it’s a very solid option. But since the sugar count is so high, you probably don’t want to eat it on an everyday basis. Overall though, the protein will keep you feeling full, and the fiber and nutrients from the bread will be great for your digestive system.
Macaroni and Cheese
Mac and Cheese doesn’t exactly come with a ton of health benefits. But it certainly isn’t without any. For starters, the cheese will give you seven grams of protein. And should you use milk, the combination of that and the cheese will give you a good start on your daily dairy intake.
Most of us just go ahead and eat the entire box once we’re taking the time to make it. Unfortunately, that puts us in a very bad spot in terms of both calories and sodium intake. Starting with calories, a box of cooked mac and cheese adds up to 1050. Yikes. The sodium is even worse. That same cooked box will give you 90% of what you are shooting for on a daily basis. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to have nine-tenths of my sodium in one sitting.
There are far worse meals out there, but macaroni and cheese should be thought of as an occasional treat rather than something to have on the regular. The high amount of calories and sodium far outweigh the protein and dairy benefits.
A sandwich is a classic American lunch. Grab some bread, meat, cheese, and lettuce, and you have yourself a quick and tasty meal. But just like with any other food, we need to examine what exactly we’re putting into our body. Sandwiches are often low in calories and provide us with a lot of grains and protein. But if we throw on a few ingredients that we shouldn’t, an otherwise healthy meal can become not so in a hurry. In this article, we’ll go through some tips to remember before you create your next sandwich masterpiece.
Go with Whole Grain Bread
Refined grain (white) bread looks simple and tastes great. However, it lacks many of the great benefits whole grain bread provides including fiber, iron, and vitamin B, making it the far less healthy choice. Speaking from my own experience, switching to whole grain isn’t very fun at first, but you get used to it rather quickly.
Bread is a grain, which is one of the main food groups for a healthy diet. In general, it’s good to shoot for consuming at least half of your grains as whole grain if you can. By eating your sandwich as such, you’re off to a great start toward reaching that goal.
Load Up On the Veggies
If you’re not a huge fan of the taste of vegetables, hiding them in your sandwich is a great way of slipping them into your diet. Tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, onions, peppers, and cucumbers are all terrific examples of easy sandwich adds. Not only will these veggies add fantastic texture and vibrant flavor, they will make the sandwich much more colorful and aesthetically pleasing. There are hundreds of combinations of vegetables you can slide into your sandwich. Just keep trying different mixes until you find what’s best for you.
Make Avocado You’re Go-To Condiment
Mayonnaise and mustard are the prototypical sandwich condiments. While they’re actually not too bad calorie-wise if you portion them well, they’re still not the healthiest thing for your body. I highly recommend going with Avocado. It’s healthier, more filling looks better, and in my opinion, has a better taste too. The increasingly popular fruit is packed with vitamins and minerals and gives us a lot of much-needed fiber. So before you top off your sandwich, slice up an Avocado and leave the mayonnaise in the fridge.
Pair it With Some Fruit
Do you think you can name the five major food groups? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Vegetables, fruit, protein, grains, and dairy. With a lot of sandwiches, four of these five are pretty well included. Fruit is the only one that isn’t. If you can add a banana or apple on the side of your sandwich, you now have a relatively low calorie, balanced, and filling meal. Working this nutritious meal into your regular rotation is a good way to help maintain your long-term health.
Stick with Homemade
As far as restaurants go, sub-shops are far from a bad idea. But compared to homemade, the tried and true has the advantage. In everything from cost, to time, to health, homemade is a far better option than going out to get your sandwich. The restaurant taste might be very enticing, but the calorie count of your trip can get surprisingly high. If you like having sandwiches during your lunch break, try to make sub-shop stops more of an occasional outing rather than an everyday option.
I’m sure you’ve heard it five hundred times and another five hundred times more; Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. By feeding our body right when we wake up, our metabolism is increased throughout the entirety of our day. Not to mention, the extra boost of energy is a great way to start off the morning. So what are we supposed to eat for this all-important meal? Let’s find out! Here, we’ll go through five quick tips to think about the next time you’re preparing breakfast.
1) Value Protein
We all love our protein. It can be really helpful in building muscle mass, and perhaps more importantly, provides our body with a lasting, full feeling. So how do we add protein to our breakfast? To do so, look to incorporate eggs, oats, greek yogurt, and peanut butter into your regular rotation. These breakfast options will pretty easily keep your stomach satisfied until lunch hour rolls around.
Protein, important as it already is, gives our brain plenty of amino acids that it uses to get through a hard day of work. It also provides our body with good, healthy energy for several hours. Start eating protein for breakfast and you’ll quickly be able to tell the difference in how you feel at work.
2) Avoid Sugar
Pancakes and waffles are classic, very popular breakfast options. Unfortunately, they usually add more negatives than positives to our diet. Neither of these foods is particularly healthy on their own, as they are packed with sugar. To make matters worse, both of them are most often topped with syrup that may make it taste good but adds a lot of calories without much substance.
Fruit juice is another thing to avoid in the morning. Orange and apple juice can be loaded with lots of sugar, which again, adding many unnecessary calories to our diet. Why is sugar so bad, especially in the morning? Long-term problems aside, sugar can make us very tired as the day goes on. If you’re wondering why you’re fatigued at work, too much sugar in the morning could be the reason.
3) Eat Your Fiber
We need about thirty grams of fiber every day. It’s a good idea to eat a solid amount of those in the morning. Main reason being, is that fiber has been known to slow down your digestion, which will keep you more full for longer periods of time. Luckily, many breakfast foods are packed with it. With oatmeal, fruits, yogurt-parfait, and cereals such as fiber-one and mini-wheats all being great sources of fiber, the options are plentiful for good breakfast ideas.
4) Get Hydrated
You’ll see conflicting reports on exactly how much water we need on a daily basis, but one thing is evidently clear, we need lots of it. It can often feel like a chore to be slugging down water all afternoon and night long. So instead of saving it all for later, get started right away in the morning. That tired afternoon feeling is a common one, that can sometimes be caused by simply being dehydrated. Try getting in some of your much-needed ounces in the morning, and you might just be able to shake the fatigue. One final positive effect of being properly hydrated all day long is that occasionally, our minds can mistake thirst for hunger. If your body isn’t having to consistently ask for water, your appetite should become more accurate to your needs.
5) Have Fun with it
If waking up earlier than you already do sounds like a pain, take steps to make sure it isn’t. Constantly mix up your breakfast and find healthy meals that you absolutely love. Once you get into a routine and feel the added benefits of a healthy breakfast, waking up a little bit earlier will be something you’re glad to do.