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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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