butter

What’s On The Menu – The Superior Nut Butter

Much like coffee creamers, the variety of nut butters has seemed to increase almost exponentially over the past 5-10 years. I imagine that the increase in childhood peanut allergies (21% increase since 2010) has been a major contributing factor.

For those of us that aren’t stricken with that terrible affliction, deciding on whether to buy peanut butter or almond butter can be a constant struggle. Well no need to worry because this menu spotlight will tell you which nut butter is nutritional superior.

Both are a great source of monounsaturated fat, fiber and plant based protein, but almond butter has more vitamin E, iron and calcium. Just make sure the only ingredients are almonds and maybe a pinch of salt. You don’t want to negate the nutritional benefits by buying something full of sugar and additives that prevent oil separation.

Screenshot 2018-04-11 at 5.56.43 PM.png

 

 

Advertisements

What’s on the Menu – These Veggies Could Save Your Life

Vegetables are a great source of vital nutrients. I know that’s not exactly a news flash but eating a variety of veggies is necessary to obtain a wide range of vitamins, minerals and other beneficial organic compounds.

One such group of veggies that Shannon and I try to each multiple times a week are cruciferous vegetables. The member of this veggie family, including the brussels sprouts pictured below, contain organic compounds known as glucosinolates that have been found to have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects (source).

I love roasting them in the oven, but when I’m crunched for time, I simply boil them up, cover them in spices & butter and chow down. I want to point out that eating them with a fat source, like butter, helps you absorb the tremendous amount to of Vitamin K contained in these mini cabbages.

Screenshot 2018-03-28 at 9.38.45 AM

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.

What’s on the Menu – Butter is back!

We’ve been told for decades that this particular food item can be a major obstacle to losing weight and being healthy. I’m talking about the ingredient that is making the dish below glisten like a newly shined automobile.

buttered-salmon

That’s right I’m talking about BUTTER!

It seems back in the 1960’s, butter and other saturated fats (e.g. cream, coconut oil, lard) were labeled as unhealthy by our government. This was most likely due to some possibly-bias research provided by Ancel Keys. Keys and his Seven Country Study asserted that individuals that had a higher intake of saturated fat were more apt to develop heart disease. We’ve recently discovered that his research may have been swayed by the Sugar Association and that higher mortality rates were most likely due to the higher consumption of saturated fat in conjunction with sugar.

The debate of who’s right still rages on, but scientists and researchers like Dr. Mark Hyman, Nina Teicholz and Gary Taubes have discovered that saturated fat is not the villain, it was once painted to be.

Now, I don’t want anyone to think they should start eating sticks of butter like Homer Simpson or Paula Deen, but I think it’s safe to say you should feel comfortable to cook eggs, melt and drizzle on steamed veggies, or create a sauce for a delicious salmon dinner (like the one pictured above) using butter.

One tablespoon of butter contains 100 calories and 12 g of total fat (8 g saturated) with no carbs or protein. Not exactly a complete food, but the fat it provides is essential for the production of hormones, energy, and cell membranes (source).

Also, in a world of processed foods with mile-long ingredient lists, a quality butter has AT THE MOST 2 ingredients: cultured pasteurized cream and salt.

It’s important for me to state that I’m not a doctor. Shocked as you all may be, I would never recommend taking my dietary suggestions over those from a medical professional. However, I’m pretty confident that if Shannon, the chef for the meal above, made this dish for a medical professional, they’d agree that butter is BETTER!

We want to see the delicious dishes you’ve made with butter. Tag your photos on social with #ETTampa or leave comments below on how you’ve ditched manufactured vegetable oils for the real thing.