cancer

What’s On The Menu – The Whole Food That Gets Invited to Every Party

If you’re one of the 11 people on the planet that haven’t heard the go-to mushroom joke, here you go

Q: Why did the mushroom get invited to all the parties?

A: Because he’s a FUN-GI!

Allow me to explain why that joke is somewhat comical for those who may not understand. Even though you find mushrooms in the produce section of the grocery store, they aren’t technically vegetables. They actually belong to a group more closely related to humans than plants known as the FUNGI (pronounced fun-guy) kingdom (source).

Let me know when you stop laughing?

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Image courtesy of suttons.co.uk

Now that you’ve had your chuckles, I want to enlighten you on the serious health benefits mushrooms can provide. One cup of raw white button mushrooms (pictured above) contains ~1 gram (g) of fat, 2 g of carbs and 3 grams of protein. You should also be aware that different varieties of mushrooms can provide different amounts of micro & macronutrients. For example, while white button mushrooms only have 3 g of protein per cup, large portabella mushrooms contain 5 g per cup (source). Not a tremendous difference but definitely important to individuals who are looking for more non-animal protein sources.

Mushrooms are certainly a great low-carb addition to any meal, but I believe the real benefits lie in their micronutrients. They contain a significant amount of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid) and B9 (folate). B vitamins play a major role in our energy levels and red blood cell formation, but they’re also important for brain health and fetal development (source).

Mushrooms are also the only non-animal, non-fortified source of vitamin D. This is a big reason why mushrooms are a frequent component of the vegan diet. The best dietary sources of vitamin D usually come from the animal kingdom OR processed foods enriched with vitamins and minerals (source). The naturally occurring vitamin D in mushrooms is important to several bodily functions & systems, but recent research suggest that its biggest benefit may be cancer prevention.

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The results of two separate studies, one published in 2015 and the other published this year, suggested that specific varieties of mushrooms demonstrated the ability to suppress the genetic markers associated with certain types of cancer (source). I don’t care how funny they are, mushroom’s ability to fight off the Big C is a much better reason to have them at your next party.

That’s a call back people.

Speaking of calls. You should schedule a Skype call with yours truly to discuss your current health & fitness plan. I’d love to provided you with tips on exercise, nutrition or accountability. All you have to do is send me an email at elementaltampa@gmail.com. You can also email us your delicious mushroom recipes or share a pic of your favorite mushrooms dish on our social channels (FacebookInstagram or Twitter).

What’s on the Menu – The one soft drink that doesn’t make me sick to my stomach

Yes. There is an actual difference between ginger ale and ginger beer, at least in theory. Traditional ginger beers, use fermentation to create the carbonation & usually yield a stronger ginger flavor. Ginger beer can contain alcohol, but most available nowadays do not. Ginger ale on the other hand is sweetened soda water with added ginger flavor (source). Even though I believe soft drinks can cause serious health problems, these two ginger sodas do offer moderate health benefits, but it’s certainly not because of their sugar content.

There is a reason why they offer you a ginger ale on the plane if you’re feeling nauseous. Studies performed in the last 10 years suggest that ginger can not only help with your run of the mill upset stomach, but it can also alleviate the nausea associated with sea sickness, chemotherapy and pregnancy. It’s important to know that they did not use ginger ale in these research studies. They actually determined that 1-1.5 g of ginger (raw or powdered) could alleviate symptoms associated with these various types of nausea (source). The medicinal effects of ginger don’t stop there.

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Ginger also contains a powerful anti-inflammatory compound known as gingerol (clever name).  This compound has been linked to the reduction of certain side effects of chronic health conditions like osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes and cancer. In fact, several recent studies have determined that gingerols “may be effective chemopreventive and/or chemotherapeutic agents” in the treatment of colorectal and ovarian cancers (source). The relief of day-to-day muscle pain provided by gingerol is another beneficial aspect.

In 2010, a small study conducted at the University of Georgia suggested that regular ginger supplementation could reduce exercise-induced muscle pain (source). As someone who essentially lives at the gym, this quality alone makes throwing a couple hunks of ginger in my smoothie or afternoon tea worth the spicy kick.

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Much like garlic, I’ve eaten whole hunks of ginger root. However, the intense flavor can be a little much. Which is why I love cooking with it instead of swallowing it whole. I’m a big fan of sauteing up minced ginger in a pan before I toss in vegetables and shrimp for a delicious stir fry. I know it’s a big component of Asian cooking, but I’ve found that it can provide a whole new flavor to a variety of dishes.

I’d love to hear your preferred method of consuming ginger. As long as the recipe doesn’t contain the words “Canada Dry” feel free to send them to elementaltampa@gmail.com or just tweet us a picture the next time you cook with it. Our Twitter and Instagram handle is @ettampa. Let’s connect!

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

What’s on the Menu – They’re Not Just For Dipping

I don’t know why but it seems like every casual dining restaurant has the same six appetizers. Doesn’t matter if you are at an Applebee’s, Bennigans, or TGIFriday’s, the “starters” portion of the menu usually contains wings, mozzarella sticks, chips & salsa and one particular item that contains today’s menu spotlight. I highly doubt they know that the artichoke dip they sell contains one of the most powerful cancer fighting foods on the planet.

Even though artichoke’s presence on casual dining menus is most likely a happy accident, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate the nutritional benefits of this vegetable. One medium size artichoke (about 120g) contains nearly 25% of our recommended daily allowance (RDA) for fiber. It is also contains a significant amount of folate and vitamin K which are especially important to expectant mothers (source). All these nutrients are great, but the purpose of this blog is to highlight the cancer fighting properties of artichokes.

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One of the reasons why cancer cells propagate is due to oxidation which is caused by a build up of free radicals in our body. In order to reduce the negative effects of oxidation, our body produces antioxidants and we acquire them from the food & drinks we consume. Artichokes just happen to contain some of the most powerful antioxidants on the planet. Cynarin, rutin and the other antioxidants from artichokes have been shown to reduce the cell growth of certain forms of cancer in clinical studies (source). You should put THAT fun fact on your menu Cheddar’s!

I doubt that if you combine artichokes with cheese and mayo like those restaurant appetizers do that you’ll get the same health benefits as just grilling them. Shannon and I have used them recently to make a delicious Tuscan Chicken Skillet meal, that I contend wouldn’t be the same without the artichokes. Send us your go to artichoke recipes and don’t forget to include pictures. You can always reach us on social media or send us an email at elementaltampa@gmail.com.

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Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – Interview with World’s Tallest Bodybuilder, Aaron Reed

This week, Nick interviews former pro-wrestler and the world’s tallest competitive bodybuilder, Aaron Reed. Not only has Aaron worked hard to become a beast of an athlete, he’s also the author of the nutrition book The Supernatural Lifestyle, which serves as the basis for the Eat Like Aaron meal prep service he offers in Tampa Bay.

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Image created with photo courtesy of Luis Battistini (@luisx_com)

The road that got him to where he is today has not been a cake-walk. In fact, Aaron faced a humorless, life-threatening a-hole, also known as leukemia, as a child. He was diagnosed young and had to beat that monster before he was able to follow in his family’s athletic footsteps.

His late start didn’t deter him from finding his passions, though. Aaron learned early on that he was good at lifting weights and sought his inspiration from legend, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Fast forward a bit, and Aaron talks about his days in the WWE and how an injury as a pro wrestler led to him discovering that he had hepatitis. Faced with the choice of going back on chemotherapy, he made the decision to treat his illness with nutrition. A lack of help from other fitness experts led him to become a self-taught nutritionist, passionate about using his diet as a healing and strengthening force in life.

Aaron’s three rules to nutrition:

  1. Eat whole foods
  2. Don’t combine sugar and fat
  3. Eat certain macronutrients at certain times

His learned expertise in nutrition resulted in him writing his book in 2011 and subsequently starting his meal prep service, which focuses on raising insulin sensitivity (that’s a good goal) by eating more fat on its own and fewer carbohydrates.

When asked what kinds of meals are included in the Eat Like Aaron meal plan, he told Nick:

  • Carbs + protein meal (e.g. chicken and rice)
  • Protein + fat meal (e.g. grass-fed burger and guacamole)
  • You can have vegetables at any time because they provide fiber (not suggested for post workout)
  • Eating fat is important because it helps with hormone production and sex drive (hey-yo!)

Aaron also shared his belief that artificial sweeteners are a big no-no because they dull insulin sensitivity and may be the cause of visceral belly fat. So don’t expect to see those anywhere in his meal options.

As the first body builder we’ve interviewed for the podcast, Aaron set a really high bar (and not just because he’s 6’7″)! He’s a friendly and talkative guy with an incredibly inspiring story and a clear passion for nutrition. Seeing how far his knowledge has already taken him is motivating proof of just how critical diet is to your health.

Do yourself a favor and connect with/follow Aaron on his social channels – Facebook, Instagram (@aaronw.reed), Twitter (@AaronWReed)

Oh! And just in case you need a little comparison to see what we mean by the world’s tallest bodybuilder, check out the side-by-side selfie of Nick and Aaron below.

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Let us know how you’re enjoying the podcast between episodes and keep sharing the feedback either on Facebook or by leaving a review in the iTunes store. We love hearing from you! As always, thank you so much for listening and supporting.

Links to this week’s episode

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/interview-worlds-tallest-bodybuilder/id1121420986?i=1000380018657&mt=2

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

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/an-interview-with-the-worlds-tallest-bodybuilder-aaron-reed

 

What’s on the Menu

Spaghetti and meatballs. I feel like those two have been perpetually linked since the beginning of time, or since pasta has been a thing. Fortunately, we’ve discovered that meatballs don’t always need a refined carb counterpart. This week’s look into Shannon and I’s menu features turkey meatballs paired with garlic sautéed baby bok choy instead of pasta. Bok choy is a great pasta alternative because it’s a cruciferous vegetable that is loaded with vitamins A, K, and C and contains over 70 antioxidants, which is why some researchers believe it can aid in cancer prevention (source). Expanding our food choices, especially when it comes to vegetables, is crucial to optimizing our health and developing as a species (source). The next time you go grocery shopping, forget the box of barilla and go for the bok choy. If you are already a bok choy fan, let us know what dishes you incorporate it into. We’re always looking for new recipes.

 

What’s on the Menu

I have to admit that I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s. They don’t always have the widest selection of groceries, but the price of their quality items (organic, grass-fed, etc.) is hard to beat. One of those quality items that I’ve sorta already professed my love for is avocado oil. Yes, if I had to choose between an actual avocado and avocado oil, I’d choose an avocado all day. The actual fruit has way more macro and micronutrients. However, as someone who’s trying to be more fat-fueled opposed to carb-fueled, avocado oil is a healthy addition to my fat sources. The consumption of monounsaturated fats, which this oil is high in, has been linked to lowering the risk for certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes (source). Looks like I’ve found a new salad dressing.

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