Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Live Longer By Eating Fruits and Veggies

A very large study looking at the fruit and vegetable intake of a group of people in Europe over 8 years, found that people who ate 8 portions  of fruits and veggies daily had a 22% lower risk of dying from heart disease compare to those who ate 3 or fewer.  For each serving over 3, the risk dropped by 4% per serving.  Women saw even greater risk reduction benefits than men.

The study did not count potatoes or dried beans as vegetables because of the higher carbohydrate and calories of those foods.  Only fresh fruit was counted (not canned) and nuts, seeds and olives were not counted either. A half-million people from 10 countries were included in the EPIC study with 313,074 in this assessment.  

The reasons for the reduced risks are not entirely clear.  Changes to cholesterol levels and blood pressure have been considered as have certain components within the fruits and veggies, but the detailed analysis of this study neither confirm nor refute those theories.

This is not the first study to show the benefits of eating more fruits and veggies, but this study shows how strong the connection really is. 

"Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Mortality From Ischaemic Heart Disease"  European Heart Journal. 2011; 32(10):1235-1243

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Physical Activity Challenge Cont.

The Fruit & Vegetable / Physical Activity challenge at work has spilled over to a second month.   Fruits and veggies are no problem for me (although admittedly, I really would prefer to order an Amber Ale at the Biker Bars on the weekend instead of a  Bloody Mary...ah, the sacrifices). 

I find my personal physical activity barriers a little frustrating.  I don't DISlike exercise.  I just have better things to do (like sleep or earn a pay check).  And my hobbies are frustratingly sedentary - I like to read and make quilts.  But I am making progress, as evidenced from the exercise clutter accumulating under my desk at work.  For the past month, one pair of shoes has lived under the desk and I manage either the 15 minute or 30 minute route from the office at least 3 of the 4 days I'm in the office.  Lindsay is leading lunchtime yoga twice a week...and I've committed to Wed (despite the pine needles in my hair and the fact that I got charley-horses in muscles I wasn't even aware were prone to cramping).

Finally, I think I may have found a solution.  I borrowed my daughter's ipod yesterday, and after about an hour's frustration with updating software and figuring out how to download and transfer files, I have a book on tape from the library.  I'm not sure what happens to this file at the end of the 2 week check out. Does it vanish? Maybe the guard from the library takes it away. (I've been wondering all week who or what he is protecting and from whom.)  So this morning I sent an email to my co-workers to warn them I would be late and I hoofed it to work.  65 minutes later, and only mildly sweaty, I arrived feeling virtuous and knowing a bit more about "choice architecture" and behavioral economics, a result of a couple chapters of Nudge

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I went to the farmer's market this weekend where I found the golden beets to be absolutely irresistable.  Quite honestly, I had forgotten how much I like beets until I bought some for the veggie challenge.

My preferred way to cook beets is to roast them, but with summer time temperatures in the mid-90's F, I opted to steam them instead.  It took 20 minutes for them to get tender, and I tossed the green beans in for the last 5 minutes. 

After they cooled, I used a paper towel to rub the skins off the beets.

I was trying to think of a way to turn them into a salad without having the red and the gold bleed all over everything.  I diced the red beets then tossed them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper and arranged them on a bed of lettuce.  After rinsing the red out of the bowl I made another batch of vinegrette for the golden beets and green beans that included rice vinegar and a little mustard.  Some leftover diced chicken finished the dish.  (I included some crumbled blue cheese on mine too. YUM!) 

This turned out to be a great Cooking-While-Quilting meal.  The veggies cooked while I was sewing away at the machine and it only took 10 minutes (of my very valuable crafting time) to chop and assemble a yummy and healthy meal.  Oh...and if you don't normally eat beets...don't be alarmed when you go to the bathroom. (Everything changes to beet colors for a day or so.)

1/2 cup of beets is only 37 calories and provides 17% Daily Value for folate, 7% potassium, 5% vitamin C as well as 2 grams of fiber. (Source: