energy

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).

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Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – How being a new dad affects your fitness

This week’s Addicted to Fitness is an on location, interview and throwback episode all in one. I return to the conception site of the podcast, which is also the home of Tyler, my former cohost. Tyler reached out a few weeks ago with a concept for a podcast that related to his new found vocation, fatherhood. He wanted to discuss life after having a kid and how it impacts willpower in terms of nutrition and workout out. Being that I’m about to become a dad, and we’re less than a week away from Father’s Day, I thought this would be a great topic for us to explore on the podcast.

Before we get into the dad centric discussion, I had to recap my week of training with Tyler. I’ve really been putting a lot of effort into doing more hypertrophy (fancy word to build muscle) training in between clients at Tampa Strength. I’d like to think with these workouts and the addition of 500-1000 quality calories a day, I could add 5 lbs of muscle in 8-12 weeks. Tyler got a real kick out of hearing this and quickly accused me of “BULKING BRO!” I’m only a few weeks into the process, but have still yet to see any significant muscle gain and the workouts are starting to take their toll. I’ll keep you updated on my progress as time goes on.

After discussing my workouts, we move the conversation to how Tyler’s new baby boy has affected his fitness. A lack of sleep and free time has drastically reduced Tyler’s ability and desire to workout. However, he is a big fan of Dr. Eric Goodman’s Foundation Training (workout example above) which incorporates a lot of isometric exercises that help participants increase mobility and alleviate common ailments like lower back pain. Tyler mentions how helpful these workouts have been to improving his posture and they take less than 15 minutes a day, which is perfect for a new dad. Unfortunately, Tyler has yet to find a solution to the obstacles fatherhood has created in regards to his nutrition.

Tyler works full-time and when he comes home, he looks forward to spending as much time as possible with his son and wife. This leaves very little time for meal prep and/or cooking, which has resulted in Tyler eating more “ready to eat” foods. He realizes that eating more processed foods can have a negative impact on his fitness, but believes that spending time with his infant son is paramount. I agree and anticipate I’ll be faced with the same predicament in a few months.

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Tyler and I go off on a couple other topics, some fitness related, some not, in this episode. I found it extremely beneficial not only because I’m about to be a dad, but because it allowed me to reiterate the idea that everyone’s fitness is different. Physical limitations, circumstances at home and access to resources can all affect how fit a person can be. It’s important to remember that you need to set a level of fitness that is customized to you, not to the bodybuilder you see on Instagram or the crossfit athlete you see on ESPN. It’s great to use those individuals as motivation, but don’t let them set your level of fitness.

I truly hope that this podcast is a resource you can use to help determine where your level of fit should be. We really want to provide useful health information that allows you to enhance your quality of life by improving your fitness. We’d love to hear your opinion on whether or not we’re achieving that goal or not. Send your feedback to elementaltampa@gmail.com or reach out to us on social media (FacebookInstagram or Twitter). Your comments and support continues to help us grow and we are extremely grateful. Keep rating, reviewing and sharing the podcast!

Links to this week’s episode

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/how-being-a-new-dad-affects-your-fitness/id1121420986?i=1000386428965&mt=2

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

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/how-being-a-new-dad-affects-your-fitness-0

 

What’s on the Menu – We may be getting a bit nutty

I believe the first time I heard about the benefits of coconut oil was when I heard Dave Asprey (creator of Bulletproof coffee) talk about it on Joe Rogan’s podcast back in 2012. Asprey described how his bulletproof coffee, which contained an ingredient prominent in coconut oil, helped him lose weight, have more energy and be sharper mentally. Even though I wasn’t quite prepared to start downing his bulletproof coffee, I began hearing more and more individuals I consider experts in nutrition and/or medicine talk about the benefits of coconut oil.  People like Vinnie Tortorich, Dr. Rhonda Patrick and Mark Sisson were signing its praises, which in my mind gave me the greenlight to start incorporating it into my diet anyway possible.

I know I’ve talked about my love for coconut oil many times on this blog. Heck, I think Shannon and I have done at least two Addicted to Fitness episodes where we taste tested a coffee + coconut oil concoction (click here to listen). However, I recently learned that my LDL cholesterol is extremely high. I believe the primary culprit for this is my genes, but I’m also analyzing items in my diet that may drive up “bad” cholesterol. Which is why I’m gonna take a closer look at a few of the pros & cons associated with coconut oil consumption.

Pros

  • Contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which unlike long chain triglycerides can be easily accessed by the body as an energy source and are less likely to be stored as fat (source)
  • Contains high concentrations of lauric acid, which has been shown to aid in the treatment of viral, bacterial and fungal infections (source)
  • The consumption of MCTs may increase “good” HDL cholesterol (source)
  • The consumption of MCTs has also been linked to improved cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients (source)

Cons

  • Coconut oil is ~50% lauric acid which some researchers believe acts as a long chain triglyceride, which could raise “bad” LDL cholesterol (source)
  • Coconut oil only contains 10-15% MCTs (if you subtract lauric acid), which greatly reduces its ability to boost metabolism (source)
  • Certain commercially sold coconut oils can be highly refined & processed which greatly reduces its health benefits (source)

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My preliminary research leads me to believe that there is much more upside to using unrefined, virgin coconut oil than downside. However, for someone like myself, who is genetic predisposed to have high LDL cholesterol, it may be wise to use it sparingly. Although, I’ve recently learned that not all LDL cholesterol is “bad” and I plan on getting more blood tests done to determine the makeup of my levels. Until then, I’ll limit my coconut oil use to cooking, instead of throwing it into smoothies & my morning coffee.

Just because I’m cutting down on my coconut oil use, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear how you use it. Whether it’s for cooking, skin care or cold remedy, please feel free to send your coconut oil uses to elementaltampa@gmail.com. We’d also really enjoy it if you send us a pic on our various social channels (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter).

What’s on the Menu – Kombucha: Legit Elixir or Placebo Soda?

I truly believe that we can heal ourselves of common ailments (colds, acne, obesity, etc.) with proper diet and exercise. That doesn’t mean that I think all prescription medication is poison. There are certain conditions that require a trip to a medical professional and a necessary prescription. However, the over prescription of certain drugs can and has led to further health concerns like antibiotic resistant bacteria. That’s why we need to learn about possible natural remedies that allow us to heal ourselves, instead of always relying on our pharmacist. One particular natural remedy has been receiving a lot of pub lately about its numerous health benefits, but conflicting reports make me wonder if it’s really the “miracle drink” people claim it is.

Kombucha is a fermented beverage often referred to as “living tea.” It is made by combining sugar and tea leaves with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast known as SCOBY. The final product is a slightly fizzy, sour beverage that claims to boost your immune system, help with digestion, provide energy and even mitigate serious health conditions like cancer.

Kombucha

Mother Kombucha is available throughout Florida

I’m a big proponent of probiotics. I guess you could say I’m pro-pro (rim shot). The benefits of probiotics range from better gut health to improved mood (source link). The fact that kombucha is full of these probiotics, along with other beneficial micronutrients, is why advocates believe it will cure what ails you. There has been some recent scientific studies that backup certain health benefits of kombucha like its antidiabetic (source link) and antioxidant (source link) effect, but almost all these studies were performed on non-human subjects. Critics have stated that a lack of research on human subjects negate a lot of kombucha’s supposed health benefits. They also state that kombucha prepared in unsanitary conditions could result in the consumption of deadly bacteria (source link).

I researched “deaths due to kombucha consumption” and was unable to find any cases in which drinking kombucha was directly responsible and only one case where it was believed to be a contributing factor (source link). It’s true due to the presence of active bacteria cultures, drinking kombucha does present some level of risk, but so does buying bagged spinach. Foodborne illnesses are an issue we need to be aware of. However, it shouldn’t prevent us from consuming items that provide certain health benefits. Kombucha has been consumed for centuries for a reason. I believe that the “living tea” does provide certain health benefits, but it should be enjoyed in moderation and by those with non-compromised immune systems. Also, if you do buy it, makes sure you research the producer. I’m sure where and how the kombucha is made can have an effect on its purity.

Are you a kombucha fan? If so, let us know about your favorite brand. Feel free to send pics of you drinking your favorite kombucha to elementaltampa@gmail.com. We’d also happily accept any feedback from any kombucha naysayers.

 

 

 

What’s on the Menu – Cauliflower: The Veggie Drawer’s Utility Player

If you all are anything like me, you knew when your mom or dad was cooking cauliflower for dinner. Hell, you could probably smell it before you even walked in the house. In today’s post, we’re going to go over several reasons why you should eat cauliflower, but I get why kids don’t exactly go crazy when they see it on the dinner table. The smell, the stark white appearance and the overall bland flavor would turn off any 8 year old. The beauty of this “blank canvas” of a veggie is in its versatility and the fact that it is a nutritional “powerhouse“.

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Cauliflower belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes other highly nutritious veggies like kale, broccoli and turnips. One cup of cauliflower contains 5g of carbs with over half of those carbs coming from fiber. The phytonutrients contained in cauliflower include a significant amount of Vitamin C, K and folate. It also contains an organic compound known as glucosinolates, which when broken down during the cooking process produces cauliflower’s less than appetizing smell, but also produces several other compounds that have been found to have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects (source).

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You know me, I’ll sacrifice taste for a nutritional payoff (e.g. sardines). Luckily, cauliflower is so adaptable that you can use it to make some of your favorite carby side dishes. Instead of white rice, try riced cauliflower (pictured above). Instead of tater tots, try cauliflower tots. Instead of a wheat based pizza crust, try a cauliflower pizza crust. Yes that’s a real thing! Former guest of the Addicted to Fitness podcast Anna Vocino has an awesome cauliflower pizza crust recipe on here website. Give her recipe a shot and let me know how it comes out. We’d love to see pictures of how you dress up your cauliflower.

Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – Heart Rate Training & Fit Bit Breakdown

The first month of 2017 is nearly complete and some may be welcoming new habits after weeks of hard work setting new routines. On this week’s podcast, Nick and I kick-off by sharing the things we’ve added to our own fitness/health routines so far.

Nick started the year by doing a series of monthly challenges. For January, he’s given up an overindulgence – alcohol. In addition, he’s incorporating daily morning workouts to try and lose the pesky holiday pounds that almost all of us pack on.

I, on the other hand, finally started exploring a quest into a new topic of my health, which is also the topic of our podcast today – Heart Rate Monitoring and Training.

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Nick shares the formula for how to calculate your Zone 2 (fat burning zone):

180 – your age = your zone 2 beats per minute (BPM) OR being able to hold a conversation while exercising (e.g. if you’re 30 years old, you subtract that from 180 and your Zone 2 heart rate is 150 bpm, give or take a few beats)

In order to better understand my own heart rate efficiencies (or otherwise) I invested in the best monitor for the money I was looking to spend and bought the Fitbit Charge 2.

My motivations for wanting to better understand this element of fitness and how it contributes to my health comes after long battles with stress and poor sleep, two things many people are likely grappling with as well. The Peloton classes introduced me to how heart rate training can improve your fitness and I had read countless articles about how it benefits your overall health.

The Mayo Clinic states that a normal resting heart rate (RHR) for adults is 60 to 100 beats per minute. Fitbit compiled their substantial user data and estimated 50-90 BPM is average for an adult.

So what affects your resting heart rate? Well, as it turns out, quite a lot:

  • Activity level
  • Fitness level
  • Air temperature
  • Body position
  • Emotions
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Medications

You can impact your own heart rate in a number of ways:

  • Physical exercise (15-20 min/day will lower RHR)
  • Reduce body fat/increase muscle mass
  • Mindfulness

In terms of exercise, Zone 2 training is how many athletes build endurance. It’s all about low intensity for long periods of time – staying in that fat burning zone.

I’ve been experimenting with some of the Zone 2 training on the Peloton so far and have already seen some impact on my RHR.

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Much of what I’ve learned in the last few weeks is due to my Fitbit Charge 2. Costing a fairly reasonable $130 (to start) the Fitbit Charge 2 was highly rated by CNET, even more so since Fitbit launched a software upgrade late last year.

In the last part of the podcast I get into the details of my own review of the fitness monitor, including the ups and downs (because nothing is perfect, right?).

Pros:

  • Not bulky
  • Changeable bands
  • Useful mobile app/interface
  • Battery life is good (4-5 days before needing a charge)

Cons:

  • Absolutely can’t get wet
  • Charger is awkward

Some of the features I like most include a cardio fitness rating. It gives a rating based on its estimated VO2 Max and indicates your overall performance in endurance-based activities. Currently, mine is sitting around 38-42, which is “good – very good” for a female of my age (positive sign!).

The app is a whole other side of this product, which we’ll get into in a future episode, but as of now, I would recommend the Fitbit Charge 2. It holds me to new levels of accountability, further helping me stick to a healthy lifestyle.

Now all I need to work on is adding some friends to my Fitbit circle!

We’d love hear what goals you set or accomplished so far this year. Please feel free to share them with us in the comment section, on Facebook or email us at elementaltampa@gmail.com. Your feedback and support has helped us grow into a 5 star rated podcast and we are extremely grateful. Keep rating, reviewing and sharing the podcast and let’s stay healthy year.

Links for this week’s episode

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/addicted-to-fitness-podcast/id1121420986?mt=2

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

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/a-breakdown-of-heart-rate-training-the-fit-bit-charge-20

 

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.

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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.

What’s on the Menu

This week I have a bite(s) size edition of #whatiatewednesday for you. Snacking healthy can be difficult but with a little forethought, it can be a breeze. There are plenty of great healthy snack options like hard boiled eggs, olives or hard cheeses (if you can handle dairy). Take this snack I pack in my lunch everyday. A small Tupperware of walnuts (heathy fats + protein), raisins (glucose for immediate energy) and dark chocolate (caffeine + theobromine for a coffee like pick me up) is the perfect afternoon health snack. The fish oil supplement in the pic is not required to complete this snack but can be beneficial if you don’t eat enough fatty fish.

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