allergies

What’s On The Menu – It’s More Pea Than Nut, But I’m OK With That

Some of you may have guessed from the title what food I’ll be discussing in today’s menu spotlight, but for those who are still trying to figure it out, I’ll give you a hint: it taste DELICIOUS! I’m sure that’s all you needed to realize that I’ll be analyzing the nutrition of peanut butter in today’s post.

My love for peanut butter is borderline extreme. I don’t know if I’ve tasted a peanut butter product I didn’t like. My dedication to this faux-nut runs so deep that I mandated that Shannon eat at least a tablespoon a day while she’s pregnant with the hope that our child won’t be born with a peanut allergy. As silly as that may sound, a recent study suggested that exposing infants, that are at least 4 months old, to peanut products could make them less likely to develop peanut allergies (source). It’s probably a longshot but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the same logic extends to babies in utero.

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Peanut butter is a derivative of peanuts, DUH, which belong to the Fabaceae family, better known as the legume family. Even though peanuts are often used in the same culinary applications as true tree nuts (e.g. almonds, walnuts, etc.) they are actually related to peas and beans (source).

Unlike green beans or snap peas, peanuts actually grown underground. This is extremely beneficial to the agricultural process because they can create their own nitrogen, which helps them grow. Then when they die, they release that nitrogen into the soil for other plants to use. This reduces the amount of additional nitrogen in the form of fertilizer the farmer has to use (source).

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But this post isn’t about the agricultural benefits of peanuts. It’s about its buttered version’s nutritional pros and cons. Check out the list below and make up your mind on whether or not peanut butter should be on YOUR menu:

PROS

  • Contains a significant amount of all 3 macronutrients: 100 grams (g) consists of 50 g of fat, 25 g of protein and 20 g of carbs. Also contains 5 g of the pseudo macro fiber (source).
  • Contains a significant amount of micronutrients: 73% RDA of Manganese, 67% RDA of Vitamin B3 and 45% RDA of Vitamin E just to name a few (source).
  • Contains cancer fighting antioxidants: peanut butter contains p-coumaric acid which research suggests could help prevent colon cancer (source).

CONS

  • Peanuts contain aflatoxins, which have been linked to cancer & childhood development issues. It should be noted that the process of turning peanuts into peanut butter eliminates approximately 90% of the aflatoxins (source).
  • Contains a large amount of omega 6 fatty acids. Research suggests that frequent consumption of foods high in omega 6’s can increase inflammation and create a greater risk for cardiovascular disease (source).
  • It doesn’t contain as much as roasted peanuts, but peanut butter does contain oxalate, which can contribute to the formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones (source).

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After a cursory look at the nutritional data on peanut butter, I can say with all honesty that I’m still a huge fan. I don’t advocate pigging out on it, but it can be a macronutrient dense addition to your diet. Just make sure there is no one in your household that is allergic.

As you can see from the photos above, I’m a big fan of adding a smear of peanut butter to fruits and vegetables. I’d love to hear about which food vehicles you use to get your dose of PB. Please email your go-to recipes/meals to elementaltampa@gmail.com. You an also post your PB creations on any of our social media channels (FacebookInstagram or Twitter). Let’s all show our love & appreciation for this nut butter imposter!

 

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What’s On The Menu – More Than Just The Freshmaker

How did mint become the go-to car air freshener scent? Was it good marketing? Did people like how that green leaf looked hanging from their rear view mirror?

It’s visual appeal could be a possible reason but I think it has more to do with how the scent affects our biology. A study performed in the early 2000s found that the smell of peppermint actually affected the amount of anxiety, fatigue and physical demand experienced by drivers on prolonged trips in the car. The study suggested that “periodic administration of (peppermint) odors over long-term driving may prove beneficial in maintaining alertness and decreasing highway accidents and fatalities” (source). Cognitive benefits are just the start to the positive health benefits of this refreshing herb.

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I constantly tell you about the high antioxidant content of certain fruits and vegetables, but I don’t seem to give as much recognition to herbs. Shame on me because mint, which is a broad term for 15-20 different species, contains one of the highest antioxidant capacity of any food. One particular antioxidant contained in mint, rosmarinic acid, has been shown to be an effective natural treatment for seasonal allergies. Also, if you already have the sniffles due to the common cold, menthol contained within mint plants has been long regarded as a natural decongestant because of its ability to break up phlegm and mucus (source).

The benefits of mint not only alleviate cold like symptoms, they can also help prevent you from getting a cold or some other type of infection. Peppermint oil has been shown to stop the growth of certain types of fungus and bacteria including the nasty MRSA. It’s also a good source of vitamin C, which can help improve the performance of our immune system (source). Speaking of performance, mint may be the PED all athletes can use without fear of getting busted.

I already mentioned one study that demonstrated how peppermint enhanced the performance of drivers, but can it do the same for athletes? A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine in 2013 discovered that individuals that ingested a minute amount of peppermint essential oil displayed improvements in exercise performance, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and several other related categories. The researchers believe that these improvements were due to the herb’s ability to relax bronchial smooth muscles, increase ventilation & brain oxygen concentrations and decrease blood lactate levels (source). That means that if you can run and chew gum at the same time, you may have a leg up on your competition.

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I always try to chew gum while working out, except for disciplines that require me to wear a mouthpiece (e.g. kickboxing, grappling, etc.). I’m sure it helps me concentrate but I use it mainly to prevent dry mouth. I use the crappy sugar-free stuff you get at the grocery store, which is peppermint flavored but I doubt has any real peppermint in it. Maybe I’ll perform a little experiment on yours truly to see if ingesting peppermint essential oil has a beneficial effect on my workout performance. Stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, I’d love to hear how you like to incorporate mint into your diet. I enjoy throwing a handful of mint leaves into a tall glass of club soda with lime, essentially making a non-alcoholic mojito. Please feel free to share your minty fresh recipes with us on our social media (FacebookInstagram or Twitter) or email them to elementaltampa@gmail.com.

You can also take advantage of the free fitness consultations I’m currently offering by emailing me.

Last but not least, we’d really appreciate it if you vote for Addicted to Fitness for the “best local podcast” in the Creative Loafing Best of the Bay contest. Click the following link to cast your vote. Thanks!

 

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

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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.

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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.

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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