Month: April 2017

What’s on the Menu – Expiration dates need not apply

I’m a huge Anthony Bourdain fan. I know I’ve said it before, but he is my man crush. He’s a badass chef, a killer writer and trains jiu-jitsu nonstop. Besides the decades of substance abuse, I’d definitely want to be him if I could switch bodies for a day. One of the main reason I want Bourdain’s life is he gets to travel the world and eat unique and sometimes unusual cuisine. One such trip, which was documented on this CNN show Parts Unknown, took him to Denmark and the “science bunker” of the often #1 rated restaurant in the world, Noma. There he got to taste numerous food items in various stages of fermentation. Fortunately for us, we don’t have to travel to Denmark to reap the benefits of fermented foods.

Screenshot 2017-04-27 at 3.01.34 PM

Inside the Noma Science Bunker (pic courtesy of eater.com)

Fermented foods are all the rage nowadays. You can find them at grocery stores, farmers markets and juice bars. You can even find them at baseball stadiums. You may have several fermented foods in your fridge and not even know it. Common fermented foods include: yogurt, miso, sauerkraut, natto and kimchi, which is today’s menu spotlight.

The nutritional value of the vegetables used to make Kimchi are actually enhanced due to the fermentation process. The primary bacteria responsible for Kimchi’s fermentation, Lactobacillus plantarum, not only increases the numerous vitamins and minerals contained in the vegetables, it also increases important bioactive compounds like thiocyanate and glucosinolate. These compounds have been linked to possible treatments for various health conditions such as cancer, obesity and atherosclerosis just to name a few. Kimchi also happens to be a natural probiotic that promotes proper gut health (source). Sounds like a miracle food right? I think it is and what’s even more amazing is that you can make this miracle food at home for next to nothing.

Menu post 4-27

Making homemade kimchi is so ridiculously easy that I’m pissed at myself that I haven’t done it yet. The only supplies you’ll probably need to invest in are several glass mason jars with screw on lids. Other than that it’s just vegetables and spices. Check out the video below to see how easy it is to prepare (sorry for the commerical).

If you already make your own homemade kimchi, let us know about your recipe. We’d love to share a pic of your delicious fermented veggies on our social media channels. Feel free to send any and all feedback to elementaltampa@gmail.com or reach out to us on social media. We’re not afraid to “fanboy” over the greatness of kimchi in a public forum.

Advertisements

Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – From the Vault: Active Key West Trip & Cricket Protein Bar Review

A year ago this week, Shannon and I were hosting numerous events in preparation for our wedding on April 29th. To commemorate that event, I figured I’d reach back into the ETT Wrap Show vault for our first podcast as husband and wife. Even though we start this throwback episode off discussing our wedding day, we quickly turn the conversation to health and fitness with a recap of our extremely active honeymoon in Key West.

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 5.59.59 PM

Bikes were are preferred mode of transportation while in Key West

All you avid Addicted to Fitness listeners know that Shannon and I aren’t ones to just lie around on vacation, and our honeymoon was no exception. We decided to rent bikes instead of a car while in Key West. This choice allowed us to stay active and explore lesser seen parts of the city. I also got a nice long run in from our hotel to the Southernmost Point, which was necessary because I was about to participate in the Mud Endeavor obstacle course race with several other ETT members. You can click here to check out another throwback episode about our performance at the Mud Endeavor.

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 6.04.31 PM

Image courtesy of the Exo Cricket Protein Bars Instagram Page

After discussing our upcoming mudrun and the possibility of me completing an Ironman triathlon, the episode quickly transitions to Shannon taste testing a very unique protein bar. Fans of the podcast have probably heard my former cohost, Tyler, and I taste test Exo Cricket Flour Protein bars (episode link), but I was still waiting to get Shannon’s first impression. I hate to spoil it for you guys but Shannon wasn’t grossed out by the bars made with ground up crickets. It didn’t come as much of a surprise to me being that the first 4 ingredients were almonds, dates, coconut and honey. Click here to learn more about this sustainable protein bar.

Podcast Pic 4-24

Image created with photo courtesy of Jonathan Fanning

Hopefully you all enjoyed this throwback episode and don’t worry, Shannon and I will be back with a brand new episode next week. We also have a couple interview episodes coming your way so make sure you subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t done so already and please share Addicted to Fitness with a friend. 

We’ve already received some feedback from the “homework” we gave you listeners on last week’s show (click here if you missed it), but we’d still love to know what time during the week you reserve for listening to Addicted to Fitness. Please send any and all feedback to elementaltampa@gmail.com or drop us a line on social media. Thanks for helping us set another download record this month. Stay healthy this week peeps!

Links to this week’s episodes

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/from-vault-active-key-west-trip-cricket-protein-bar/id1121420986?i=1000384709561&mt=2

Android: http://subscribeonandroid.com/addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/rss

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/from-the-vault-active-honeymoon-shannons-cricket-protein-bar-taste-test

 

What’s on the Menu – Looks like Popeye was Right

I had a stout aversion to any green vegetables growing up. I don’t know if it’s a phase all kids go through, but the idea of eating peas, broccoli or kale made me physically ill. My parents gave up trying to incorporate green veggies into my diet after an unfortunate “messy” situation at the kitchen table. Those scarring experiences are probably why my parents, and other relatives, are still astonished when they see me pile green veggies on my plate nowadays.

One such green veggie that seems to make it into my diet on a daily basis is spinach. To be honest with you, I actually have to limit how much spinach I eat. It’s not because I’m prone to kidney stones, which the oxalates in spinach can contribute to, it’s because Shannon and I eat so much that we’d have to buy a new container multiple times a week. If you listened to this week’s Addicted to Fitness (episode link) you’d know that we buy it organically grown since the conventionally grown version contains high pesticide levels. I’d hate to go broke over spinach, but its health benefits are so prolific that its worth spending a little extra cash.

Spinach4

I’m sure you’ve heard some of the major health benefits that spinach provides: high in numerous water & fat soluble vitamins (K, A, B6, Folate), minerals (magnesium, copper, iron) and fiber. What you may not be aware of are the potential health benefits of its “lesser” known micronutrients.

Spinach happens to be one of the richest sources of chlorophyll (substance that makes it green) on the planet, which means it’s also one of the richest sources of thylakoids. Recent research using spinach extract containing high levels of thylakoids has been shown to delay stomach emptying, decrease levels of hunger-related hormones and increase levels of satiety-related hormones. This research suggests that spinach extracts may be a viable treatment method for obesity and type 2 diabetes (source). In addition to its numerous health benefits, the mild taste of spinach makes it a welcome addition to a variety of dishes.

Spinach smoothie

Naturally I incorporate spinach into any salad I make, but the one meal that I always add spinach to that may come as a surprise to some is my homemade smoothie. Vegetable and fruit smoothies are a great way to add more dark leafy greens into your diet. My go-to recipe includes:

  • A big handful of spinach
  • 1/3 cup of blueberries
  • 1/3 cup of strawberries
  • 3 tbsp of Collagen Hydrolysate protein powder
  • 2 tsp of cinnamon & turmeric

I don’t think I’ve found a dish that I wouldn’t add spinach too. Even though I haven’t tried it in a dessert, I’m certain I wouldn’t turn down a bowl of spinach ice cream. Please feel free to share your favorite spinach recipe in the comment section below or email them to us at elementaltampa@gmail.com. You can also share pics of your delicious spinach meals on our Facebook page. Click here and post away!

Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – Two Big Struggles: Allergies & Pesticide Contamination

Shannon and I recorded this week’s Addicted to Fitness a little earlier in the week than normal, which means we didn’t have a tremendous amount of training to recap. I was fortunate enough receive a Stick Mobility training session from Shawn at Tampa Strength. If you are unfamiliar with Stick Mobility, it’s an innovative exercise modality that uses pliable “sticks” of varying length to simultaneously build strength, improve mobility and increase muscle activation. Click here to learn more about this all-inclusive form of exercise

Mobility sticks

Follow Stick Mobility on Instagram to see more exercises

Shannon didn’t have a lot to report during our training recap, but she did participate in a very important health related event this past week. If you’ve listen to the podcast in the past 3 months, you may have noticed Shannon frequently battling congestion. She finally came to the realization that her frequent “colds” may be the result of environmental allergies. Fortunately, her mother is a practitioner of a non-invasive form of allergy testing known as Namburdripad’s Allergy Elimination Testing (NAET). NAET uses muscle testing to determine the body’s response to a specific allergen (click here to learn more). Shannon’s test determined that she has sensitivities to trees, weeds and grass which are all in full BLOOM right now in Florida.

I recount my own experiences with allergy testing and I can tell you that they were the exact OPPOSITE of non-invasive. Shot, after shot, after shot. My arm would look like a dart board after an allergy test. When I got my final allergy test as a pre-teen, they ditched the single needle approach for a board with at least 16 needle-like attachments that they laid on my BACK, which allowed them to measure my body’s reaction to multiple allergens all at once. If I had to do it again, I think I’d rather live with the allergy than go through those tests again. However, I didn’t have severe allergies like the one nowadays that can ground a plane.

Screenshot 2017-04-16 at 7.20.08 PM

Shannon and certain plants now have a love-hate relationship

Both Shannon and I feel as if peanuts are public enemy number one when it comes to allergies. We don’t have children, but we’ve already heard stories about schools being “no nut” zones and/or airlines having to offer “nut free” flights. Shannon and I give a quick synopsis of the 2017 recommendations to prevent peanut allergies from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH guidelines state that early exposure may help prevent severe peanut allergies from developing (click here for the NIH press release).  After our peanut discussion, Shannon and I move onto another issue that I’m sure parents are concerned with in regards to its effect on their children’s health.

Numerous studies have linked the consumption of foods high in pesticide concentrations to adverse health problems. Shannon and I discuss one tool that can help consumers avoid these health risks. Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) puts out lists of the “dirtiest” and “cleanest” produce in regards to pesticide contamination. According to their website (link), the EWG is a non-partisan environmental group that acquires their pesticide data from tests performed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). We go over both lists in their entirety in the episode but if you want a quick sample from both: Dirty: 1) Strawberries 2) Spinach 3) Nectarines; Clean: 1) Sweet Corn 2) Avocados 3) Pineapple. Hopefully this information helps you make the healthiest decisions possible when it comes to picking out produce.

Podcast pic 4-17

We love providing you all with helpful health & fitness information on a weekly basis and judging by our download numbers, you all love hearing it. We actually have a little homework for you all this week. We’d like to know when your favorite time to listen to the Addicted to Fitness podcast is. Do you listen while commuting to work? Sitting on the spin bike? Walking the dog? Whatever time, place or activity you’ve reserved for the podcast, we want to know about it. Feel free to send your responses to elementaltampa@gmail.com or send us a message on any of our social channels. We’d love to hear from you all.

Links to this week’s episode

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/two-big-struggles-allergies-pesticide-contamination/id1121420986?i=1000384465001&mt=2

Android: http://subscribeonandroid.com/addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/rss

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/two-big-struggles-allergies-pesticide-contamination

What’s on the Menu – Not So Sweet Potato

I really think the sweet potato should thank the Paleo movement for its recent rise in popularity. I grew up on a farm and the only time I recall seeing and/or eating sweet potatoes was in pie form at Thanksgiving. But then the paleo diet started to gain popularity in the early 2000s and BOOM! Sweet potatoes were in vogue.

I should mention that there is some debate amongst paleo diet followers if sweet potatoes are “paleo” or not. Regardless, I think sweet potato farmers should thank Robb Wolf and Dr. Loren Cordain for the 80% increase in consumption of their product in the U.S. between 2000 – 2014 (source). Shannon and I have certainly done our part to contribute to that increase as sweet potatoes frequently make their way into our weekly meal plans, and why not! They provide significant amounts of essential nutrients like fiber, vitamin C & B6 and manganese. They also provide more of the antioxidant beta-carotene than any other whole food on the planet (source). But what about their sugar content? Well, the actual truth of their sweetness may surprise you.

pexels-photo-89247

The glycemic index (GI) & glycemic load (GL) chart is a good tool to use when you’re trying to determine your body’s blood sugar & insulin response to certain foods (click here to see chart).  If you check out the chart you’ll see that sweet potatoes have a lower GI and GL than russet potatoes. If you’re trying to maintain a strict diet that contains only low GI & GL foods, a baked sweet potato may not be an option. Luckily there is a certain way to prepare sweet potatoes that will significantly lower their GI & GL.

While a baked sweet potato contains a relatively high GL of 22, a boiled sweet potato contains a GL of only 11 (source). This is great news! Wanna know why? Because in order to absorb more of those awesome nutrients contained in the sweet potato, you need to add fat to them. See where I’m going with this? That’s right, mashed sweet potatoes with butter and heavy cream may be the healthiest way to enjoy this multipurpose starch. You can also toss the steamed sweet potatoes in olive oil if you’re lactose intolerant.

Sweet potato pic

Sweet Tater Chips – One of my fav preparation methods

Above you’ll see a pic of my sweet potato “chips” before they head into the oven. No, they’re not exactly low carb, but they are covered in butter and olive oil. If you’re interested in indulging in these every once in a while, you’ll need a stainless steel vegetable slicer to CAREFULLY cut the sweet potato nice and thin. Coat them and a foil lined baking sheet in butter and/or olive oil and bake them at 400 degrees for approximately 15 minutes. Take’em out, flip’em, and cook for another 10-15 minutes. You can broil them for a few minutes at the end if you want to crisp them up.

Now that I’ve share one of my favorite sweet potato recipes, it’s time for you to return the favor. Feel free to send your recipes, complete with pictures, to us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. You can also email them to us at elementaltampa@gmail.com. We appreciate all feedback, especially the tasty kind.

Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – Fat + Coffee Taste Test

We kick off this week’s Addicted to Fitness discussing our training accomplishments for the week. Shannon is working towards logging 3 Peloton rides per week and is starting to perform more exercises to improve strength & endurance in her legs, butt and lower back. I on the other hand am focusing on building strength & mobility in my upper back with daily workouts at Tampa Strength, and increasing my run training. I love long distance running which is like nails on a chalkboard to Shannon who prefers long rides on her bike. This fact promted her to remind me that she kicked my butt in the bike portion of the sprint triathlon we did together back in 2011.

Screenshot 2017-04-09 at 8.09.21 PM

Post triathlon selfie of Shannon and I

After our training recap, Shannon and I launch into the main portion of this week’s podcast, which was inspired by a listener’s request. One of our favorite listeners, Lindsey, asked if we had any knowledge of the health benefits of the fat + coffee mixture known as “bulletproof coffee”. We’ve actually discussed the idea of fat + coffee in several episodes of the podcast (episodes #3, #8, #39) but we figured why not do a taste test of multiple types of these beverages. You don’t have to twist my arm to get me to drink coffee, especially ones that have my preferred macronutrient.

Bulletproof coffee was made popular by Dave Asprey, who claimed that a combination of high quality coffee blended with healthy fats, grassfed butter and MCT (medium chain triglycerides) oil, can act as a meal replacement and provide several other health benefits. Believers of fatten coffee claim that it provides immediate sustained energy, improves metal acuity, kickstarts your metabolism and puts you into fat burning mode (source). I’ve been drinking fatten coffee for sometime now and I can attest that I’ve experienced some of these supposed benefits, but I often vary my recipe. Shannon and I decided to taste test 4 different fattened coffee recipes:

  • Coffee + 2 tbsp Heavy Whipping Cream = 100 calories & 12g fat
  • Coffee + 1 tbsp Coconut Cream + 1 tbsp Coconut Oil = 165 calories, 18g fat, <1g sugar
  • Coffee + 1 tbsp Butter = 100 calories & 12g fat
  • Coffee + 1 tbsp Omega Power Creamer (Ghee, Coconut Oil, MCT oil) = 120 calories, 14g fat

I’ve been drinking the coconut cream & oil version for sometime and it is my go-to not only because of the taste (like a coffee & a pina colada had a baby according to Shannon) but because it helps me minimize the amount of dairy I ingest on a daily basis. Shannon actually enjoyed the butter version the most because of the non-oily mouth feel and it’s latte-like characteristics.

Coffee taste test pic

Fatten coffee works well for me because I feel that I function better running on fats opposed to carbs. If you’d like to become “fat fueled” this morning coffee concoction may be for you, but I do want to warn potential fatten coffee drinkers that regularly combining it with a high carb breakfast could lead to potential health problems (click here for article on other potential health problems associated with bulletproof coffee). I want to convey that you should always consult a physician or certified dietician before making any major additions to your diet, but please feel free to continue to send us podcast topics for future episodes.

Podcast pic 4-10

You listeners helped us set our download record in March and we’re on pace to set another record in April. Please keep listening, sharing and sending us feedback on how we can make Addicted to Fitness the best health & fitness podcast available. If you promise to keep helping us spread the good word of fitness, we promise to keep churning out interviews, product reviews, taste tests, and everything else you’ve come to enjoy about the podcast. Keep sharing and stay healthy this week peeps!

Links to this week’s episode

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/fat-coffee-taste-test/id1121420986?i=1000384200765&mt=2

Android: http://subscribeonandroid.com/addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/rss

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/fat-coffee-taste-test

What’s on the Menu – Dark Chocolate: Brain Candy

If you’ve checked out the “About” section of elementaltampa.com you would know that I wasn’t always as health conscious as I am right now. There was a point in my life where I didn’t care about a food’s nutritional content, calories and/or ingredients. My taste buds determined what I ate and that usually meant refined grains and sugar. Pasta, crackers, chips, fast food and of course CANDY! I was fortunate enough to pull up from the nutritional tailspin that I was in and now my cravings for “treats” has evolved.

72 cacao

I discovered that once I kicked processed foods out of my diet, my taste buds started being more appreciative of the flavor of whole foods, especially sweet items. This epiphany marks the point when my love for dark chocolate really began. I always liked chocolate, but it was mainly milk chocolate that consisted of more sugar than actual cacao. Once I modified my diet, I started gravitating more to dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao. I now enjoy Ghirardelli’s 86% cacao dark chocolate, which contains less than 2 grams of sugar per 1×1 inch square. I’m trying to condition my taste buds to enjoy the highest cacao content possible not just because it contains no sugar, but because of its numerous health benefits.

86 cacao

Much like the previous menu “spotlights” in this blog, dark chocolate with high cacao %’s contain extremely high levels of antioxidants. These antioxidants reduce the presence of free radicals, which can be responsible for chronic diseases/syndromes like type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and even cancer. In addition to its antioxidantive properties, dark chocolate may be one of the world’s most powerful “brainfoods” (source).

A 2009 study documented an improvement in the cognitive function (e.g. problem solving, memory recall, perception, etc.) of elderly adults that consumed foods rich in flavonoids like dark chocolate. The flavonoids in dark chocolate also promote cerebral blood flow which could help individuals who suffer from dementia or strokes (source). Hopefully these health benefits will motivate you to add a few pieces of dark chocolate to those Easter baskets you may be putting together in a few weeks.

chocolate-183543_1920

If you have a killer recipe that features dark chocolate, please send it our way. You can post it in the comment section below or email it to us at elementaltampa@gmail.com. Also, please share these blog posts with a friend. Help us spread the good word of proper nutrition.

Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – An Interview with Juice Plus+ Senior Sales Coordinator, Elise Rosato-Devin

This week’s episode starts off with a bit of celebration as the podcast hits a monthly download record of about 1500 downloads in the month of March. We couldn’t have done it without you! So first off we have to give credit where credit is due and thank you all for listening and sharing the podcast each week.

We’ll keep things rolling so you can keep on listening!

Before we dive on into the main interview of the podcast, we chat about an interesting new experience for Nick. This week, he left the kickboxing bags and mitts and donned some sticky ankle socks for some work at the barre. No, that is not a spelling mistake. We’re not talking about some booze filled tavern, but rather the isometric workout that focuses on small movements for a total body workout that will give you a new respect for all those ladies who are hitting the barre hard multiple times a week.

The reason for all the pelvic tucking and toe pointing exercise at Pure Barre South Tampa was the instructor, Elise Rosato-Devin, who is not only a pure barre instructor but also a spin instructor, a fitness competitor and a national sales coordinator for Juice Plus.

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 7.08.34 AM

Follow Elise on Instagram at @barrebellafit

Nick and Elise met up at a local coffee shop and dug into some background and details.

First up, as it was top of mind since Nick just completed his first class, was the Barre workout. The contracting of muscles, the intense control, is all about tearing down the muscle fiber and rebuilding them with isometrics. This training usually appeals to women (95% of clients are female) because it builds long lean muscle, while men come in, try the workout and usually struggle with the poses. In his 55-minute workout, Nick burned almost 400 calories!

In addition to teaching barre, Elise is also a spin instructor at Soho Cycling, where her focus is more on building cardio. She is even a fan of Peloton and she recently visited their home studio in New York to train!  Elise focuses on the shake and burn while in the barre studio, she uses interval training in her spin classes to burn fat and build heart health.

Elise also goes into her experience as a fitness competitor. When she was training to compete in 2016, she was lifting weights six days a week, but overtraining most likely led to a back injury that forced her to put her hopes of competing on hold. This temporary setback helped her realize she needs to have a different mindset when she restarts her training later this year, especially as a vegetarian, which can make consuming enough protein without consuming too many carbs difficult.

The topic of nutrition helped draw their conversation to her use of Juice Plus for its whole food nutrition. The supplements are based on a “juicing” concept to provide individuals with a multivitamin that people can actually absorb, unlike synthetic vitamins you get at the drug store. Since our current food system is drastically lower in nutrient dense whole fruit and vegetables, Juice Plus juices fruit and vegetables fresh from the farm in order to provide the maximum amount of nutrients possible.

The supplements provide the nutrients we need to fight inflammation and oxidative stress, which can causes illness and disease. Elise tested the product on herself for four months before she started sharing it with her network of friends and family as a sales coordinator. She was impressed by the large amount of clinical research Juice Plus did to confirm the legitimacy of their products’ nutritional benefits. Plus, if you use Juice Plus, you can sponsor a vitamin program for a child for free up to four years – a great program giving back to kids in need.

Learn more about the Jucie Plus products Elise provides HERE.

Podcast pic 4-3

Nick and I were both really impressed with Elise’s diverse fitness journey. I was a wee bit jealous of her trip to the Peloton studio in NYC for sure!

Since the topic of Juice Plus had been requested by one of our friends and listeners, Katie C., we were happy to finally get into this, especially with a great interview subject. I have used some of the Juice Plus products previously and had positive experiences. No doubt, we’ll be looking into Juice Plus ourselves in the future, Nick is really eager to try it out before officially endorsing it to clients and family.

If you’ve used Juice Plus before, we’d love it hear about it, along with any other feedback you’d like to provide about the podcast. Don’t be a stranger and get in touch with us. Connect with us on our social channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) or send us an email at elementaltampa@gmail.com.

Thanks again for making March our best month yet!

Links to this week’s episode

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/interview-juice-plus-senior-sales-coordinator-elise/id1121420986?i=1000383626057&mt=2

Android: http://subscribeonandroid.com/addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/rss

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/an-interview-with-juice-plus-senior-sales-coordinator-elise-rosato-devin