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Thursday
Oct012009

Popeye Was Smarter Than He Looked

I'm strong to the finich

Cause I eats me spinach,

I'm Popeye the Sailor Man.

Although Popeye's bulging muscles probably didn't come only from eating spinach, his can of vegetables certainly could have helped. It's a lesson many of us could learn from. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently released a state-by-state report of fruit and vegetable consumption, and the results were far from respectable. The results showed that only 33 percent of adults meet the fruit and 27 percent of adults meet the vegetable recommendations each day. More than likely, these numbers include the consumption of fruit juices which are not as nutritious as whole fruit, so the numbers may actually be even worse. If we all know that fruit and vegetables are important, how can we ensure we consume enough each day? How can we make sure fruit and vegetables are more of a priority in our meals?

Make it a Habit

Some estimates show that we eat about 80% of the same foods from week to week, which means some of our diet is a result of long-term habits. If you don't eat vegetables with meals on a daily basis, there is a good chance you don't even consider it when it comes time to eat. One of the easiest ways to being making it a habit is to buy the small bags of pre-made salad mixes (without the dressing in them). Take a bag with you, along with your favorite "calorie-appropriate" dressing. If you forget, almost every restaurant has a variety of salads. You could even pick one up at LifeCafe on your way out of the club and save it for later in the day. My favorite at LifeCafe is the Mediterranean Salad.

Buy Fresh Vegetables Frequently

Food prices today are not cheap. If you're like most people, you're not going to want to waste food. If you make it a point to buy more vegetables each time you go to the store, it's more likely you'll eat them throughout the week. If you have access to organic vegetables at the store or at a Farmer's Market, it's probably worth the small increase in price to buy them over the regular produce.

Look for Alternatives

What if you don't have the time to eat your fruit of vegetables? Not everyone has the time to sit down and eat a full meal, vegetables included. Juice is often promoted as an alternative. Unfortunately, fruit juice is highly concentrated in sugar, and lacks much of the fiber found in normal whole-fruit. For fruit, juice would not be a good replacement for whole fruit on a regular basis.

Vegetable juices often work well since there is not much sugar in vegetables. It is not the same as eating fresh vegetables, but is a great addition to a healthy nutrition plan. Many drinks and mixes offer fruit and vegetable blends as well. They contain dried blends of fruit and vegetables, which provide a host of antioxidants and are a very convenient way to take in additional fruit and vegetables. In fact, our newest supplement, FastFuel Complete, contains 750 mg of a proprietary fruit and vegetable blend with each serving. It's incredible how many different vegetables can be packed into a great-tasting vanilla or chocolate shake.

Summary

There is no doubt that your body benefits from consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables. For whole foods, try to consume more vegetables than fruit because they are far lower in calories and sugar. Fruit is certainly healthy, but still contains plenty of calories. Eat them. Drink them. Just get them in. You may not turn into "Popeye" overnight, but making them part of your usual nutrition plan can certainly help you develop an "Eye-Popping" physique.

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