Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

F+V

As I threw some blueberries into my granola this morning and while I packed my lunch with raisins, an orange, salad (cabbage, carrots and spinach), asparagus (side dish with my pork and couscous lunch) I hit me: I'm eating way more fruits and vegetables than I did a year ago. Sometimes, we make changes, they become routine and we forget how it used to be. We don't realize how far we've come until we stop, turn around, and realize that the mailbox is way the hell back there. But am I eating enough? Just how many should I eat each day?

More than I thought. For me, it's actually 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables each day. That's about 9 servings! 


I think the goal is to be surrounded by them, like this woman.
How about you? Find out how many you should have HERE.

I've fell victim to not eating enough good stuff in the past. A few years ago I never ate broccoli raw and now (since I started pairing it with hummus) I buy a bag every single time I shop. I still have the occasional day when I'm overdue for a grocery shop and the only spinach I have left is wilted or my bananas are brown, or I'm on vacation and eat out. But in general, I'm eating more than I ever have, and will now be striving for my goal of 4 1/2 cups. But why?

My pre-lunch salad 
Why is it important to get enough? Just because the government says we should? No! Because the benefits of doing so are almost too numerous to list! The most obvious one is weight management: the fiber in fruits and vegetables helps us feel fuller with less calories - more bang for your buck. Bringing a salad with me to work every day is one of the main changes that has helped me drop pounds. Realistically, I'm not going to go home and make a salad. But when I bring it with me to work, I don't really have a choice.

Getting our required serving of fruits and vegetables helps maintian balanced blood sugar levels, reduces our risk of cancer, chronic diseases and stroke. It helps with lower blood pressure and reduces our risk of heart disease, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. There's even a link between depression and too many processed foods, according to this article in BBC news.

So, exactly how do fruits and vegetables reduce cancer and all of that other good stuff? Because they are nutrient dense! And, they have phytochemicals!!! These little guys (also found in whole grains) are responsible for improving health on the cellular level and strengthening our immune system. Antioxidants are a type of phytochemical that fight free radicals that we are all exposed to every day. Check out more on the little guys here and here. 

Our bodies are just not designed to proccess all the refined sugar and chemicals in pre-packaged/processed/refined food. And if we eat a diet consisting mostly of that, we will pay the price. Does this mean my diet is perfect? No! I eat dessert more than I should, still use too much salt, and still drink more caffine than I should. But I'm getting my fruit and veg. dammit.

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