8 -12 Servings of Fruits and Vegetables

Friday, December 27th, 2013
You cannot get bored given the wide range of fruits and vegetables that exist.

You cannot get bored given the wide range of fruits and vegetables that exist.

I read all the mainstream press about eating 4-5 servings of fruits or vegetables a day. I say that’s bunk. I think the better number is 8-12 servings of fruits and vegetables. If you eat more whole, complex grains — for example, quinoa, brown rice, black rice, millet, you can keep that number closer to 8. This is my recommendation if you are an active person. If you sit all day and rarely exercise, your body does not require as much nutrition.

I am speaking from experience and knowledge. I have read so many books and magazines regarding health and nutrition over the years, I am a minor expert. When my uncle was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I spent 40 hours researching foods and supplements that could help him heal. I was on a mission. (More on that one day, in a completely separate post.)

As you move through the holidays and festivities, notice how worn down you feel from the pastries, fried foods, sugary or alcoholic drinks. Try eating 8 – 12 servings of raw, steamed or sauteed vegetables the next day and see how you feel. Enough said.

It is actually relatively easy for me to consume 8-12 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. I am NOT a salad eater. I feel like a fricking rabbit. I can occasionally eat salads, but every day, multiple times a day is my idea of food hell. I love the taste of delicious food and my body actually does better with cooked food.

So how do I manage to consume so many fruits and veggies? I start my day with a smoothie. My smoothie typically contains 4-5 servings. Later I may eat an apple, orange or dried nori (seaweed) as a snack. For lunch I’ll have 2-4 servings of vegetables because I usually eat left overs from dinner. If not, I’ll add a side salad.

For dinner, I’ll have another 3-4 servings of vegetables. And for dessert I may slice mangoes with bananas and Greek yogurt. Although I may a go a few days without meat, I’m not a vegetarian. I do occasionally eat organic beef, buffalo or chicken. I also eat wild caught fish and canned tuna and sardines.

Sugar Depleted or Worn Out? 10 Juices / Smoothies for Energy & Health

Sugar Depleted or Worn Out? 10 Juices / Smoothies for Energy & Health

Because I eat 4-6 times per day, I have no problem getting all this in. I am very muscular and active so I burn ~2,500 calories per day. Because I eat whole grains and veggies, I can actually eat a large amount of food since these have much fewer calories. Vegetables are nutrient dense and fiber rich but calorie light.

Example: One Trader Joe’s regular sized bag of chips has 7 servings at 150 calories each. That’s 1,050 calories. But 7 medium baked potatoes without butter or sour cream are only 600 – 700 calories. You may be able to knock out the entire Trader Joe’s bag of chips in one or two sittings but I doubt you can do the same with the baked potatoes! So you see, eating all those fruits and vegetables has its benefits!

In addition, when you focus on eating all those fruits and veggies, it’s much easier to eat well. Your mind is focused on what you CAN have instead of what you CANNOT have. It just feels better. And you eat better naturally. You think, “What will go with my spinach, sweet potatoes and squash?” You choose baked chicken or fish instead of buffalo wings with sweet and sour sauce!

Research Has Great News for Runners Over 40

Monday, May 6th, 2013

By Bennett Cohen

Yes! She's saying. "They finally discovered what I already knew!"

Yes! She’s saying. “They finally discovered what I already knew!”

The common belief that we inevitably lose muscle as we age is being debunked by research. There is mounting evidence that muscle loss has to more to do with lack of use than age. This conclusion is welcome news for runners (and other masters athletes).

A study by Dr. Vonda Wright at the UPMC Center for Sportsmedicine in Pittsburgh assessed the fitness and strength of recreational masters runners, cyclists and swimmers. Her subjects ranged in age from 40 to 81. Dr. Wright used MRI scans of the upper leg to measure muscle and fat content. She found no significant decline in muscle size or strength due to aging. The MRIs of the quadriceps of her 40 year old and 70 year old subjects were virtually identical. In comparison, MRI scans of a sedentary 70 year old’s quad show a shrunken muscle covered in fat.

Research at the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging at the University of Western Ontario found that the leg muscles of runners in their 60’s and 20’s contained the same number of motor units (the reduction of motor units is considered to be a key contributor to age-related muscle loss). In comparison, non-runners in their 60’s exhibited a 35% decline in the number of motor units vs. subjects who were in their 20’s.

A previous Feature Article that appeared in our newsletter You’re Not Getting Older You’re Getting Faster reported on research that concluded that running economy does not decline with age. The higher your running economy, the less oxygen you require to run at a given pace. Therefore, an “economical” runner can continue running at a given speed for a longer period of time than her less economical counterpart. Running economy is reliable indicator of distance race performance.

These research findings are great news! Being able to utilize oxygen efficiently and possessing well preserved muscle strength, middle aged and older runners are capable of fast running and race times.

The same article reported that runners age 40+ are more prone to Achilles, hamstrings and calf injuries than younger runners. “The normal wear and tear that occurs with training seems to take greater time to repair with aging, and older runners continue running at a frequency similar to that of younger runners.”

The study supports our experience that following a training regimen that does not take age into account and allow for adequate recovery time is a leading contributor to injuries among middle aged and older runners.

A followup study at the University of Western Ontario examined the arms muscles of runners in their 60’s and their sedentary counterparts. The study found that the arms of both contained much fewer motor units than the subjects who were in their 20’s.

Unfortunately (but logically), one type of exercise does not preserve muscle strength for the entire body. The adage “use it or lose it” rings true!

� 2013 Savvy Runner Inc

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