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Minimum Amount of Fruits/Veggies Per Day??


#1

I know this is a little bit cheap of me (I'm all about saving $$$), but I was thinking today about what the recommended minimum amount of servings of fruit and vegetables are per day for overall health purposes. Theoretically, if you were to stick to the minimum amounts per day, then your $ goes a lot further since your food supply would last longer.

Also, on a side note, have you found it cheaper to buy raw vegetables and eat them raw/cooked/sauteed? Or buy the steam in bag veggies?

Again, just random things I was thinking about today while I was analyzing my budget and looking for ways to cut expenses.


#2

I buy both raw and frozen veggies. I don’t believe in the steam in bag ones. Just buy frozen and put them in a glass or. Ceramic dish add some water cover and microwave.


#3

from a 100% strictly bodybuilding standpoint, you need little to no vegetables in your diet to make progress.

How much you need for wellbeing and longterm health is up for debate.

If you want to keep it cheap and simple, frozen veggies as mentioned above, or something like cabbage is dirt cheap and takes forever to go bad.


#4

If you honestly only want to eat the “minimum effective dose” of fruits and veggies, the USDA’s recommendations are probably fine. They recommend 3 cups of vegetables for a 19-30 year old “moderately” active man. You can find a chart here http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/vegetables.html

Prices vary so much depending on where you are and what is in season that it’s hard to give a universal answer about cost. Personally, I find in season fresh fruits and vegetables the least expensive. Out of season I buy large bags of frozen vegetables.

If money is really tight, sticking with produce that can be bought in bulk and store well is usually a good way to go. Cabbage, carrots, onions, and apples are all good. Ideally you’d want more variety, but this will keep you fairly healthy.


#5

besides taking Superfood, the minimum for me personally is about 2 cups of spinach, 2 cups of broccoli, 2 bananas, and 1 cup of berries per day. Anything more than that is just a bonus. I would log your food into cron-o-meter for a few days and see where you are deficient.

I buy those bags of spinach from Trader Joe’s and those microwaveable broccoli bags… I’d prefer to steam the broccoli but I’m usually in a rush.


#6

Minimum effective for what end goal? All the muscle a guy pursues relentlessly is no good if he is unhealthy from other problems.

My recommendations (somewhat facetiously) are that you get in the protein you need for your desired muscle mass, then fill the rest of your stomach with as many vegetables as it will hold, emphasizing greeny leafy vegetables on top of your carb dense veggies. If there’s still room, you haven’t hit the minimum amount. After you do that, shove in 25% more green leafy vegetables.

BTW, ZipLoc makes a special microwave safe steamer bag. It’s some special type of plastic. You shove the food in, add a tablespoon of water, and microwave it. It inflates while steaming, but has a couple vents to prevent it from exploding. They work pretty well, and when coupled with bulk veggies, are cheaper than buying steam-in-bag veggies. If you’re really cheap, you can rinse them out and reuse them once or twice.


#7

Frozen spinach is your friend. Mark Sisson recently mentioned this in one of his Dear Mark responses to a reader with a similar question. A buck or two should get you a 16-ounce bag. Dump that in with a good jar of pasta sauce, or even just a can of tomatoes, and a pound of ground beef for a very easy and healthy meal.

Big bags of carrots can usually be found cheap. I’ve been getting 5-pound bags of organic carrots at Whole Foods (note that this contains two phrases that generally increase food prices) for $3.99 the last few weeks. I can eat a whole pound of organic carrots every day for less than a dollar per day. Chop-em-up and put em in the slow cooker with an onion and big hunk of meat. Devour. Repeat.

Sweet potatoes are sort of on the fringe of “vegetable” vs. “tuber” but they’re usually pretty cheap (especially when they’re in season) and give a pretty good bolus of some nutrients.

Eating fruits and vegetables can be expensive if you go after luxury items or out-of-season stuff that has to be shipped in from all over the world, but you absolutely can eat 3-4 servings of vegetables a day for no more than a few bucks. I spend way, way, way more on animal protein than I do on vegetables, and I eat at least a full pound of vegetables a day, sometimes as much as three pounds.


#8

I can’t prove the point but my expectation is that the epidemiological evidence favoring at-least particular amounts of fruits and vegetables is really not so much from the amount of fruits and vegetables per se, but from:

Prebiotic fiber intake, supporting healthy population of bacteria and Archaea (being precise, could have just said bacteria)
Effect of phytochemicals on the above (not as important as above I think)
Effect of phytochemicals on the body
If overall intake requires it, the vitamin and mineral content
Intake of beneficial bacteria on surface of fruits and vegetables (largely depleted with commercial produce.)

So no fixed answer really. If going for minimal fruit and/or vegetable intake, I’d try to in some way make sure that the above don’t get shortchanged.


#9

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
I can’t prove the point but my expectation is that the epidemiological evidence favoring at-least particular amounts of fruits and vegetables is really not so much from the amount of fruits and vegetables per se, but from:

Prebiotic fiber intake, supporting healthy population of bacteria and Archaea (being precise, could have just said bacteria)
Effect of phytochemicals on the above (not as important as above I think)
Effect of phytochemicals on the body
If overall intake requires it, the vitamin and mineral content
Intake of beneficial bacteria on surface of fruits and vegetables (largely depleted with commercial produce.)

So no fixed answer really. If going for minimal fruit and/or vegetable intake, I’d try to in some way make sure that the above don’t get shortchanged.[/quote]

This. This just my experience, but I experienced a medical event last year that resulted in the loss of almost all of my colon and serious damage to my stomach. As a result, I can’t eat fruits or vegetables, excepting some very limited things I’ve been able to tolerate without putting myself at risk of blockage (iceberg lettuce and watermelon have worked for me).

I used to be someone who ate a substantial amount of vegetables; not as much fruits. But I can say that I’ve had substantially negative effects on my physique as a result of my dietary restrictions on that end. The problem is really twofold: first, I just feel less healthy overall by not being able to eat vegetables. Second, you will find that you have to fill your stomach with something. Because of my dietary restrictions against fiber, I’m left with things that don’t really fill me up or leave me feeling satisfied, which leads to fairly frequent overeating.

Just imo, but if you’re going to cut costs on the grocery bill, nixing vegetables is not the place to start.


#10

One thing interesting is just eating good protein and massive amounts of veggies (leafy grens and more carby types) like Yorik suggests makes you feel good and look “great”…if great is a lean kinda fit look. Honestly if I don’t carb up with white rice, potatoes, or even random “uhealthy” carby foods I quickly lose the weight lifter look and become more like a surfer.

Anyone else experience this? Basically veggies can be overdone if you’re filling your stomach up and not getting in starchy carbs…


#11

I find it odd that veggies (one of the cheapest foodstuffs, at least here in the UK), would be no.1 on your list to cut when budgets get tight.

I just did a quick experiment at my local shop. For the same price as 350g of crappy, own brand chicken (£3.50 for anyone who’s interested), I could buy 1kg of cabbage, 1 kg of carrots, a whole head of broccoli, a head of celery and about 750g of cauliflower. None of this was on any special offer. That’s about 3 days worth of veg for the price of one meals worth of chicken and you’re telling me veg is the expensive bit?


#12

In the US you sure don’t seem to get much for your money anymore in most cases for fruits and vegetables. The pricing seems unbelievable compared to past values.

ActivitiesGuy’s information is great: I’m going to try to put it to work. Those are some good prices.


#13

My answer will go against almost everyone here - I say that you don’t need concern yourself with the amount of veg/fruit you eat on a daily basis.

Why do I say this? Many don’t like them, and look at kids, they won’t eat them.

Vegetables are touted for these reasons: antioxidants and nutrients. Evolution might also have something to say.

Antioxidants: The liver and kidneys process and expel exogenous antioxidants rapidly. The majority of oxidative activity occurs in the cellular mitochondria, where the body already has its own antioxidant system set up (glutathione is the main one). Any ingested antioxidant will never enter the cellular membrane. All that vegetable crap is taken in a run out quickly. Your body uses oxidation and reduction for many purposes, and does not want outside food interfering.

Nutrients: Vegetables have a lot, but most go in your mouth and out the shitter. You can’t digest cellulose, so most nutrients are trapped in the cell and pass right through you. Chew all you want but you can’t break down all those cell walls. There is also the issue of antinutrients, like oxoalate, which binds minerals and make them unavailable. I’m not sure how much of a problem that is though.

Evolution: Did people really care about eating vegetables? I doubt it. They taste bad and offer minimal caloric/nutritional value.

I eat them mostly as condiments and enhancers. Enjoy them at your leisure. I used to spend a lot of money buying them and finally realized that I was throwing it away.


#14

Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of cancer: a prospective cohort study.
George SM1, Park Y, Leitzmann MF, Freedman ND, Dowling EC, Reedy J, Schatzkin A, Hollenbeck A, Subar AF.
Author information
Erratum in
Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Oct;92(4):1001.
Abstract
BACKGROUND:
There is probable evidence that some types of fruit and vegetables provide protection against many cancers.
OBJECTIVE:
We hypothesized that fruit and vegetable intakes are inversely related to the incidence of total cancers among women and men aged >50 y.
DESIGN:
We performed a prospective study among the cohort of the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study. We merged the MyPyramid Equivalents Database (version 1.0) with food-frequency-questionnaire data to calculate cup equivalents for fruit and vegetables. From 1995 to 2003, we identified 15,792 and 35,071 cancer cases in 195,229 women and 288,109 men, respectively. We used Cox proportional hazards models to estimate multivariate relative risks (RRs) and 95% CIs associated with the highest compared with the lowest quintile (Q) of fruit and vegetable intakes.
RESULTS:
Fruit intake was not associated with the risk of total cancer among women (RR(Q5 vs Q1) = 0.99; 95% CI: 0.94, 1.05; P trend = 0.059) or men (RR(Q5 vs Q1) = 0.98; 95% CI: 0.95, 1.02; P for trend = 0.17). Vegetable intake was not associated with risk of total cancer among women (RR(Q5 vs Q1) = 1.04; 95% CI: 0.98, 1.09; P for trend = 0.084), but was associated with a significant decrease in risk in men (RR(Q5 vs Q1) = 0.94; 95% CI: 0.91, 0.97; P trend = 0.004). This significant finding among men was no longer evident when we limited the analysis to men who never smoked (RR(Q5 vs Q1) = 0.97; 95% CI: 0.91, 1.04; P for trend = 0.474).
CONCLUSIONS:
Intake of fruit and vegetables was generally unrelated to total cancer incidence in this cohort. Residual confounding by smoking is a likely explanation for the observed inverse association with vegetable intake among men.


#15

0 depending on what else you are eating. You can get everything you need from animal sources, but it requires things like organ meat.

Aside from that, you need certain nutrients, not certain amounts of foods. The problem with listing out so much of a food is that they are all different nutritionally. The actual contents of something like an orange depend on many thing like soil conditions, growing methods, est. You can actually end up with things like oranges that have no vitamin C. So, you can?t even assume you get your daily C from eating an orange.


#16

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:
Aside from that, you need certain nutrients, not certain amounts of foods. The problem with listing out so much of a food is that they are all different nutritionally. The actual contents of something like an orange depend on many thing like soil conditions, growing methods, est. You can actually end up with things like oranges that have no vitamin C. So, you can?t even assume you get your daily C from eating an orange.
[/quote]

This is a great point. Incidentally, I’ve adopted a practice of picking up one “wild card” item every week, something that I know is generally nutrient dense (or rich in one particular nutrient) that I do not eat every week, hoping that exposing myself to a variety of foods, not just the items themselves but where they come from, might be useful in keeping myself from any untoward nutritional deficiences.

Recent fun items:

celery root
plantains
parsnips
purple sweet potatoes
smoked mussels

None of these are magic foods, but they’re all things that aren’t every-week staples where I thought “Hm, I’ll eat some of these this week, that’s probably a good idea”


#17

I used to do the wild card thing as well, including spices. I didn’t focus it so much on a weekly schedule or anything.

My motivations also weren’t health related. It forces you to learn new ways of cooking, to get a grasp on the different flavors elicited from the item, and to try other items that go well with that.

Similar approaches would be picking something you have and trying something new: “I’m cooking with whiskey all week,” etc.