Archive for the tag - fruit

Do Fruits and Veggies Make You Happy?

happy-face-vegetables-628x363Is there a relationship between the consumption of produce and happiness levels?

According to researchers from University of Warwick’s Medical School, the answer may be yes.

In a study of nearly 14,000 individuals, researchers discovered that more than a third of subjects with high mental well-being consumed five or more daily servings of fruits and vegetables. By comparison, only 7% of individuals who ate one or fewer daily servings of produce reported high happiness levels. As such, the researchers concluded that vegetable consumption was a health-related behavior that was consistently associated with mental well-being in both men and women.

Of course, more research is needed. The study doesn’t clarify if fruits and vegetables make people happier. Or, conversely, if happy people tend to eat more fruits and vegetables. In other words, causation isn’t clear.

With the average American getting just three servings of fruits and vegetables per day, this study can be another potential reason to prioritize your produce!

P.S. For a program that transforms the way you look and feel through the foods you eat, download Davey Wavey’s Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter!

I Hate Vegetables But I Need To Lose Weight: 5 Tips!

Hey Davey,

Just wondering if you could give me some advice and maybe others who have the same dilemma. How do I lose weight when I do not like fruits and vegetables? Everyone tells me to learn to love them, but I’m 22 and it won’t get any better. For example, I HATE SALAD. What should I do?

Thanks,
Chris

photo-31Hey Chris,

First off, I don’t believe that you hate fruits and vegetables.

I do believe that you think you hate fruits and vegetables, but it’s time to start telling yourself a different story. With so many flavors and with so many different preparation methods, there’s no way that you can truly hate every single combination.

Second, eating veggies isn’t just about losing weight. Regardless of your goals, fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Of course, depending on how you prepare them, vegetables are much less calorie dense than unhealthy foods like pastries, ice cream, chips and fried foods – which can be beneficial if you’re looking to fill up with fewer calories.

Having said that, there a number of ways to improve your veggie habits. Here are some tips:

  1. Add veggies to dishes you already like. If you like pasta, for example, slice up some veggies and add them to the pasta sauce. Find the veggies that you least hate, and start there. It’s also easy to sneak some veggies onto your sandwich. A tomato slice and some sprouts can be a great addition.
  2. Blend them. Though kale might not sound like a tempting option, you may surprised how tasty it is in a smoothie. A quick Google search will yield plenty of healthy smoothie ideas. Add some unsweetened peanut butter and unsweetened almond milk for a base and you’re good to go!
  3. Dress up your salads. Sure, you hate the salads you’ve tried. But try something different. There are thousands of different salad dressing recipes and a million ways to top your salad. Add on a few slices of prosciutto and avocado. I love topping my salad with homemade croutons; it makes such a difference. Cube up some wheat bread and toss it with garlic powder, olive oil, dried parsley, salt and pepper. Bake in the oven until crispy and add to your salad. It’s a huge upgrade.
  4. Tune in to texture. Some of your vegetable dislike may be due to the texture. Recognize that your can control the texture through preparation. Stir fried veggies have a different texture versus baked veggies versus grilled veggies versus raw veggies. It might be texture – and not taste – that has turned you off.
  5. Take the vegetable challenge. Open your mind by making the following commitment: Try at least one new fruit or vegetable each week. You may hate most of them, but you may also end up finding one or two that you actually like.

In my opinion, a blanket statement of hating fruits and vegetables is cheating yourself from some awesome culinary experiences. I suspect that your dislike of vegetables is less about taste buds and more about perspective. And, of course, you have control over your perspectives. Stop feeding yourself this tired old story and stop defining yourself in opposition to foods that support not just your goals, but also a healthy and balanced life.

Love,
Davey

P.S. To transform the way you look and feel through the foods you eat, download Davey Wavey’s Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter – and get started today!

Is Eating Only Bananas Healthy?

Dear Davey,

I watched a YouTube video about a woman who eats only bananas. She said that the diet has improved her life and that she’s lost a lot of fat. Is this diet really something that I should try?

From,
Shane

banana-man-eat-400x400Hey Shane,

Eating only bananas isn’t a great idea. Why? Because bananas lack important nutrients that your body needs. Bananas have almost no vitamin A, no calcium, no vitamin d, no vitamin b-12, almost no iron and just a gram of protein. They also lack significant quantities of the essential fats that your body needs.

The banana diet is actually an offshoot of a more popular diet that was designed by Dr. Douglas Graham. It’s called the 80/10/10 diet. In a nutshell, this diet says that at least 80% of your calories should come from carbohydrates. Another 10% can come from each protein and fats. The diet is raw and vegan, meaning that all food sources are plant-based and uncooked. As such, the diet is big on fruits and vegetables. There’s no meat or even grains as part of this diet.

As with any diet, there are pros and cons.

In terms of cons, it is very difficult to keep vast quantities of ripe fruits and vegetables in your home. When we buy produce from the grocery store, it usually isn’t ripe – so the timing can be a challenge. Also, because the diet is very strict, it’s difficult to maintain at social gatherings and restaurants. Like any raw diet, sustainability and proper education can be a challenge.

In terms of pros, look no further than the many 80/10/10 enthusiasts. For fans, this diet is life-changing. Practitioners note having tremendous amounts of energy, body fat loss, improved sleep and better productivity.

My recommendation is this: Diets are very personal.

You know who you are and what you’re able to do. The right diet for me might not be the right diet for you. Eating entirely fruits and vegetables isn’t something that floats my boat, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that this diet isn’t a possibility for the next person. And just because a diet is difficult to maintain doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s impossible for you. For most people, I recommend a very realistic diet of lean meats, nuts, beans, whole grains, fruits and generous amounts of vegetables. In fact, you can read all about it in my Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter.

But none of that means that the 80/10/10 diet is necessarily a bad choice for you. Diets are personal.

Love,
Davey

How Much Fruit Is Too Much Fruit?

Screen Shot 2014-06-27 at 6.21.00 PMWhat isn’t there to love about fruit? Fruit is sweet, delicious and packed with the nutrients that your body needs. But like any food, too much fruit can work against your health and fitness goals – especially because fruits are calorie-dense and loaded with carbohydrates.

Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. First, check out government guidelines. The accompanying chart can give you insight into your daily fruit needs. Keep in mind the chart is designed for individuals who get less than 30 minutes per day of exercise. If you are more active, you’ll be able to consume more fruit. For most of people, 1.5 – 2 cups of fruit per day is recommended.
  2. Avoid fruit juices. Juicing removes beneficial fiber from fruit. The resulting liquid is barely healthier than soda. Instead, get your fruit from whole sources.
  3. Be mindful of your carbohydrate intake. Your body needs carbs for proper function and energy, but too many carbohydrates and excessive calories can lead to excess weight. Eating a banana before the gym can provide a boost of energy. Eating 5 bananas as a snack, on the other hand, is not doing your body any favors.
  4. Avoid “fruit” products. In the grocery store, you’ll notice many variations on fruit products. These include fruit snacks, roll-ups, puddings and so on. Often, there’s little to no fruit in these products – and they’re usually loaded with added sugar. Stick with real fruit.

Of course, don’t get the wrong impression; fruit is healthy. But like all foods, it’s important to eat fruit in moderation – and to focus on a well-rounded, diverse and balanced diet.

 

Eat Your Fruits & Vegetables… Or Die!

happy-fruit-and-vegetable-face-rosemary-calvertWhen your mom told you to eat your fruits and vegetables, you probably didn’t realize it’s a matter of life and death. And according to a new study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, it is. Sort of.

For the study, researchers examined 65,000 English adults at least 35 years of age. For an average of 7.7 years, the dietary habits and health status were monitored for each participant. Variables that could affect the outcome – like age, sex, BMI, alcohol intake, physical activity, smoking, etc. – were all taken into account and controlled.

The findings were striking.

According to researchers, individuals who ate seven or more servings of produce were 42% less likely to die from any cause during the study. Specifically, these individuals were 25% less likely to die from cancer and 31% less likely to die from heart disease when compared to people who ate fewer fruits and vegetables. Moreover, the decrease in mortality risk was linked more strongly with vegetables than with fruits.

Eating healthy – and getting your servings of fruit and vegetables – isn’t just about looking good in a bathing suit. It’s also about living a long and healthy life. After all, you can’t wear a bathing suit… if you’re dead.

 

Eat Healthy: Find a CSA!

20080127_img_2633As I’ve said before, people tend to eat what they buy. What you put in your kitchen is a pretty good indicator of what you’ll put in your body. As such, it’s important to buy healthy and nourishing foods.

Of course, supermarkets are full of unhealthy choices. When we shop, we’re bombarded with sugary treats, packaged foods and heavily processed items. It can be difficult to resist temptation and stick with wiser choices like whole foods, fruits and vegetables.

Moreover, most of us tend to get into a culinary rut; we end up selecting the same foods week after week. However, a healthy diet is a varied diet. By eating a variety of colorful, healthy foods, we ensure a broader range of nutrients and minimize the risk of deficiencies.

That’s why I love CSAs.

CSA stands for community-supported agriculture. It’s a locally-based economic model of agriculture and food distribution in which a network of individuals supports one or more local farms through a financial pledge. In exchange, members of the CSA receive boxes of produce throughout the season.

Because CSAs are local (unlike supermarkets where produce is flown in from around the world), the boxes of fruits and vegetables reflect the local growing season. From week to week, the produce changes depending on the harvest.

The variety of produce isn’t just beneficial from a nutritional perspective. It also lets you experiment with new recipes and try new flavors. It’s actually a lot of fun… and, because you’ll never get a box full of candy, it becomes very easy to eat healthy.

I’ve already signed up for a CSA here in Los Angeles. But they’re literally all over the entire country. Use this website to find one in your area.

Is Fresh Produce Healthier?

frozen-mixed-vegetablesFresh sounds better than frozen, but is it necessarily true when it comes to fruits and vegetables?

Two separate UK studies were commissioned and carried out by Leatherhead Food Research and the University of Chester. In both studies, researchers examined key nutrient levels three days after storage. In other words, if you pick up fresh and frozen broccoli on Monday, how do the two compare on Thursday? Will the fresh or frozen broccoli be healthier?

After 40 different tests, researchers concluded that nutrient levels were higher in frozen fruits and vegetables 66% of the time.

According to researchers, the nutrient levels in fresh produce decreased during storage – especially in the softer fruits. This decrease wasn’t seen in corresponding frozen fruits and vegetables, disproving the myth that fresh food products are always nutritionally superior. At the very least, frozen produce is nutritionally comparable to fresh produce.

And it makes sense. Frozen produce is picked at the peak of freshness and then flash frozen. This process locks in and preserves the high nutrient levels until consumption.

Moreover, frozen fruits and vegetables also tend to be much cheaper. So really, it’s a win-win situation.

Is Dried Fruit Healthy?

Dried Fruit MixWhat’s not to love about dried fruit? It’s easy and convenient. It’s delicious. AND it can satisfy your sweet tooth cravings. But is it healthy?

The answer is yes, no and it depends.

In the purest form, dried fruit is really just fruit with the water removed. In essence, all the good stuff is left behind. Dried fruits are often rich in the fiber, vitamins and minerals that your body needs. And if you’re feeling sluggish or if you’re engaged in a high endurance activity like hiking or kayaking, dried fruit can provide your body with a much-needed jolt of energy. In this sense, dried fruit is smart choice.

However, many people forget that dried fruits have just as many calories and sugars as their fresh counterparts. A dried plum, for example, is just a fraction of the size of a fresh plum; it can be eaten in one bite. And because it seems so small, many of us will eat 3 or 4 or 5 or more. But it adds up fast. A cup of pitted and dried plums has more than 400 calories, 111 carbohydrates and 66 grams of sugar. While dried fruit can be healthy in moderation, it’s important to carefully monitor consumption.

Moreover, pay attention to the ingredients in your dried fruit. Dried fruit is already sweet and added sugar isn’t needed. But this is America, and a good number of brands add sugar to their dried fruits. When you add sugar to dried fruit, it essentially renders it into candy. Pay attention to the ingredients on the nutrition label and avoid any products that list sugar, corn syrup, etc.

While fresh fruit is the recommendation, dried fruit is a solid and more convenient alternative – and definitely a huge step up from snacking on chips, candy or ice cream.

Can Too Much Fruit Make You Gain Weight?

Dear Davey,

I love fruit! I eat it several times a day, but I’ve heard that too much fruit isn’t necessarily a good thing. Can eating too much fruit make you gain weight?

From,
Brandon

Fruit: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Thanks for the great question. Most people are surprised to learn that too much of anything can make you gain weight…. Even steamed broccoli!

Weight gain occurs when you take more calories in than you burn off in a day. Of course, because vegetables like broccoli are less calorie dense than many other foods, you’d probably fill up before achieving a calorie surplus.

Fruits, on the other hand, tend to have several times the calories of non-starchy vegetables when compared ounce for ounce. The higher caloric count in fruit is due to its sugar content; therefore, it’s important to consume fruits in moderation.

It’s worth noting that though fruit is often high in sugar, fruits are packed with many other healthy nutrients and are often rich in fiber. High fiber diets may lower the risk of colon cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes – and fiber helps normalize bowel movements and lower cholesterol. Fiber even facilitates weight loss by minimizing blood sugar spikes and helping dieters feel full and satisfied. As such, it’s not fair to put apples and ice cream in the same category just by virtue of their sugar content.

Government guidelines recommend 2 cups of fruit per day. Opt for fresh or frozen fruit – and stay away from dried fruits which often contain added sugar. They’re also easier to overeat. Fruit juice, which usually contains very little fiber (and usually very little fruit), doesn’t count. Apples, berries, bananas, papayas, melons, avocados (yup, it’s a fruit!) guavas and kiwis are often regarded as some of the healthiest fruit choices available.

So eat up – just do so in moderation!