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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Stepping into a World of Color

Can you Taste the Rainbow?
 
 Hey everyone! I hope your day is going well! I know this post is going out way late in the day, but training calls. :) After a long morning at Hitchfit gym and a long afternoon at strength and stretch class at Quixotic, it's actually quite nice to take a break and write everyone on here. :) So, let's begin the daily lesson, shall we?
 
Okay, so we all remember hearing "You better eat your fruits and veggies," right? I personally remember pushing green beans around on my plate for years and then always getting caught as I carried my plate towards the trash can with those green beans ever-so-slightly covered with a strategically placed napkin....and then back to the table I went. :)  Thanks mom and dad! :) Now I can't eat enough green beans to satisfy my cravings for them.
 
 Of course it's a lot easier to stuff our faces with pasta, bread, pizza, candy, ice cream, etc. than to sit down to a big bowl of veggies, but which one will make your body feel good in the end? Yes, a sugar high or a carb-load feels great at the beginning, but when that crash happens...well...you crash! It doesn't feel so good then but for some reason we always seem to go back to it the next day, only to end up with the same results. The thing is: YES, it's hard to limit yourself on those items because they taste fantastic (and the companies selling those products know that because they spend TONS of time making sure that they put just enough salt and sugar to make you crave it and come back for more), but once you start limiting your intake of them and filling those desires with healthy options - you will actually start to crave the healthy options more. Your body wants to be healthy! It's more work for it to process all those carbs and sugars and sodium...and let's face it, who wants to do more work? :) Give your body a break!
 
Fruits and vegetables have SO MANY awesome health benefits! Of course, we need to make sure that we are eating them in the correct quantities and at the correct times in the day to take full advantage of all those benefits. Fruit actually passes through the digestive system faster than almost any other food (at only 30 minutes) and although it is better for you than a donut, it still contains sugar, so you need to be careful that you are not overloading on it. Many people (myself previously included) think "Hey, it's fruit! It's good for me! I can eat as much as I want!" Then they sit down to huge bowls of fruit for breakfast and then add a bowl of fruit to their lunch, and heck, why not throw in some more fruit after dinner as a healthy dessert? Fruit needs to be eaten in moderation. Sugar is sugar! Just because it's natural sugar, it is STILL sugar! So, limit yourself to a small bowl of fruit in the morning to give your body a little jump start to the day and then add in some sort of protein or complex carb and water (we'll get into those later) to go with it so that you actually feel full after breakfast. Since fruit passes so quickly through the system, you really need to eat more than just fruit so that you aren't feeling like you are starving 30 minutes later, causing you to indulge in a quick snack (honey buns from the vending machine anyone?) or a huge breakfast because you think that you must just be really hungry that day.
 
Veggies also need to be eaten in moderation, but less moderation than fruits. Vegetables (leafy greens in particular) cause the digestive system to retain water. That's why diets which require  you to eat meat for days on end (generally three in a row to flood your system with protein) require you to eat veggies on the fourth day (so that you can add water back into your system and hold it there for a bit). That's also why you may lose up to 6 pounds in three days on the lean-meat only diet, only to gain 3-4 pounds back once you add the veggies. The body needs water! I think I've stressed that a lot, but it's important people! Veggies (along with fruits) are full of complex carbs (these are good), full of nutrients, good sources of protein, low on calories (the body actually uses about the same amount of calories to process the veggies as the veggies contain themselves), generally fat-free and cholesterol free, fill you up quickly, and are currently the best known defense against cancer (due to containing phytochemicals).
 
Need I say more about eating your fruits or veggies?!? You cannot get a healthier snack! NO, rainbow skittles don't count and neither do fruit cups which contain that jello substance around the fruit or added sugars. It needs to be natural in order to get all the benefits your body deserves! Same goes for vegetables: don't eat veggies from the can! There is something gross thinking about eating something that was originally healthy but then ruined by preservatives and shoved into a can coated in chemicals...Mmm, right?
 
So, here is my challenge for the next seven days: 
 
We are going to eat fruits and veggies every day for the next seven days to match the seven colors of the rainbow! 
 
Yay!!! I know you are leaping for joy right now, right?!? Okay, okay...stick with me on this one. It's not just a challenge from me to you, it's a challenge to yourself. This challenge is the easiest way to keep track of how many fruits and veggies you are actually eating and also a way to make sure that you aren't favoring one over another (because then you would be missing out on all those other benefits from the one's you aren't eating).
 
So...
 
Tomorrow is day one of the challenge and we will be starting with the color RED. Now, I'd like it if everyone ate both a red fruit and a red veggie, but if you only want to eat one or the other, I'll accept that too. :) Feel free to mix it in with other things too (I don't expect anyone to sit down to a nice lunch of plain red bell peppers or anything dramatic!). :) Every day, I will post fruits and veggies to correspond with the color of the day so that you can see all the health benefits of that day. Make it fun! Get your kids involved too! After all, they will follow your lead and thank you for teaching them all this later. :)
 
Feel free to post a comment below and tell us what RED fruit/vegetable you indulged in for the day. :) At the end of these seven days, you will be proud of yourself and your body will be thanking you too!

Have a great day!

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