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Scientists Discover Why Eating Leftovers Is Good For Your Health

Scientists Discover Why Eating Leftovers Is Good For Your Health

Leftovers are great! When you start thinking about what to have for dinner tonight, who doesn’t love it when they remember they have leftover food that can just be reheated to have a delicious dinner? No extra work, no extra dishes!

Scientists have shown that eating leftovers is healthy, for your body, your wallet, and the environment.

American households throw away about $640 each worth of food every year, and consumers don’t really care about the environmental impact of trashed leftovers piling up in landfills, according to a survey by the American Chemistry Council.

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Healthy Environment, Healthy You

Food waste makes up more than 20% of what’s in landfills and is a significant source of methane gas as it rots, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to Earth’s warming. Plus, there’s the environmental impact created by growing and shipping food across the country. Wasted food accounts for about 2% of greenhouse gas emissions, 35% of freshwater consumption, 31% of cropland and 30% of fertilizer usage, according to data cited in an article on food waste from Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, published in the journal PLOS in June 2015.

Marty Heller, a senior research specialist with the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan, and his colleague Greg Keoleian, released a study looking at the greenhouse gas emissions involved with the production of the food we eat and the food we waste. “If we look at the greenhouse gas emissions associated with that food waste, it is equivalent to adding an additional 33 million average passenger vehicles to our roads every year,” Heller said.

Your Body on Leftovers

As for your body, when you reheat already cooked fruit and vegetables, all you’re losing is a little vitamin C (it’s heat and time sensitive) and a small amount of B vitamins, but you’ll make up for them elsewhere in your diet. The fiber content is just as high, and the flavors can be better the second time around!

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Often the taste of your food will be more intense as the water content will be lower, and if you’ve stored cold meat and gravy with cooked vegetables, such as potatoes, they will all have infused their flavors and you’ll have less need for added salt. Beta carotene, an antioxidant that helps reduce the risk of cancer, is more easily absorbed from cooked carrots and tomatoes than from being eaten raw, and people with sensitive digestive systems can find cooked vegetables easier to digest.

What To Do With Your Leftovers

If you don’t like reheated foods, try making the food into a different texture. Leftover chicken or brisket? Time for some pulled/shredded meat! Leftover vegetables or bread? Time for a soup! Leftover pizza can be turned into omelets, quiche, croutons, and more. Here’s some more great ideas for repurposing your leftovers.

And here are some great ideas on making a new meal with your pasta from last night!

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Whoa, Money Savings Alert!

And taking your leftovers for lunch will save you money. Don’t spend $8-10 per day on lunch, when soups, sandwiches, salads, and more can be reheated at work for a healthier and less costly meal. If you’re spending $8 per day on lunch, you’re spending $2,080 per year on lunches alone. Even taking your lunch to work or school twice per week will save you a good amount of money! Buying lunch 3 days per week means spending $1,248 per year. Moreover, eating leftovers for dinner once per week will save you on average $25 for one meal for two adults, or $40+ for families with kids!

Let’s say you eat leftovers only one night per week for dinner. A family of 2 adults will save $1300 in ONE YEAR. You could go on a great vacation for less than that!

So, basically, you can save the environment, be healthier, and save money by eating the food that you already have. Help an Earth out, and eat in!

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Featured photo credit: jeffreyw, via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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