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Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – Predictions on the Biggest Health Trends of 2018

Happy New Year!

We’re sharing our predictions on some of the big health trends for 2018 in this week’s episode.

Before we get into our best guesses at some of the hot buzzwords you’ll be hearing more about, we want to remind you to head over to our podcast Facebook page for some exclusive content. SPOILER ALERT! We posted a Facebook Live taste test of the junk food flavored ONE bars.

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In sharing our training recaps, Shannon reveals that she is still searching for an opportunity to get back into her yoga home studio, Bella Prana. In the meantime, some walks with Ella, and occasionally our spastic dog Jaz, along the Tampa Riverwalk has been a sufficient way to get some activity in there. Fingers crossed she’ll squeeze a ride on the Peleton in before the week is out.

I, on the other hand, was working training clients, which I’ve only really stopped doing on Christmas Day. With some clients still on holiday, it’s been a lighter training week, but new prospective clients are setting up their intro workouts. Hopefully, in the next week, we’ll be adding a few new members to the ETT community.

I also bought myself an early birthday gift and registered for a TRX certification course. TRX is a brand that focuses on suspension training, which uses only bodyweight & gravity as resistance. I’ve introduced every client to TRX and they have loved it because it is low impact, but super challenging, making it good for clients of any fitness level. Needless to say, I’m super stoked to be going to this course.

Sometimes the only weights you need to get a great workout is your own body weight — Repost from @tampastrength using @RepostRegramApp – TRX training uses only your body weight to help you build core strength, enhance cardio capacity and improve flexibility. It's also a great piece of equipment for those with movement limitations.⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ Stop by Tampa Strength today and let one of our trainers show you how beneficial TRX training can be. Let's get that core ready for beach season! ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ •⠀⠀ •⠀⠀ •⠀⠀ •⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ #personaltraining #semiprivatetraining #health #nutrition #fitness #fitnesscommunity #diet #exercise #fitfam #fitnessaddict #gym #gains #trx #functionalstrength #core #stability #mobility #movement #workout #Tampa #tampabay #tampafl #tampafitness #southtampa #healthytampabay #igerstampa #ETTampa #tampastrength

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Let’s get into the 2018 health trend predictions:

  1. Resurgence of Dietary Fat – Low fat and Fat-free diets and products are starting to be seen as a hindrance to proper nutrition. Even recent USDA Dietary Guidelines removed their dietary cholesterol limitations.
  2. Sleep Optimization – Research comes out regularly about the importance of sleep and how the lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, anxiety and a weaker immune system. The entire industry around sleep optimization has become far more prevalent (pillows, mattress, etc). Shannon referred to how many aspects of our culture (technology, stress and pace) is turning us all into “sleep zombies.” Nick dropped a statistic from Chris Kresser’s podcast around 100 million Americans having pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes.
  3. Mindfulness – Living in the moment and being aware of your environment sounds easier than it actually is. However, it’s a rare habit in our country. Teaching children mindfulness is becoming particularly popular as research and organizations are emerging to prove how helpful it can be highly beneficial.  Shannon’s yoga training included a lot of mindfulness training, but both she and I have been working to improve our mindfulness through activities like meditation.
  4. Self-Care – Truly taking and making time for your own development and care (e.g. sitting & reading a book, going for a walk in the woods) and focusing on yourself, is so important. This is especially true for caregivers. People deplete their energy and then sadly think something like a week-long vacation is going to fix it. The reality is that the “vacation method” is similar to cramming for a test the night before – it’s going to fail. Shannon’s go-to self-care practice is yoga or the basic physical activities for early morning  (ritualistic morning practices).

Honorable mention trends – gut health (past ATF episode link) & boutique fitness

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Thanks for listening – Please rate, review and share – Like & follow the Addicted to Fitness Podcast Facebook page

Links to this week’s episode:

iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/predictions-on-the-biggest-health-trends-of-2018/id1121420986?i=1000398835381&mt=2

Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/nick-burch-702220833/predictions-on-the-biggest

Website – http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/predictions-on-the-biggest-health-trends-of-2018

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Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – Addicted to Fitness 2017: A Year in Review

Another year in the books!

For our final episode of 2017, we’re recapping some of our favorite episodes. It was harder than you might think, with more than 40 episodes logged over the year, including taste tests, interviews, reviews and personal updates. But, no worries! We are sharing our top six episodes with ya!

Before we get into the recap though, we give a quick reminder that Nick and Tampa Strength are launching Tampa Fit Moms in January. If you’re a local, you can sign up to get your year of fitness on the right track.

Check out what current FIT MOM @juicybjules thinks about training at Tampa Strength. Head to tampafitmoms.com to enroll in our upcoming FIT MOMS program. ⠀ ⠀ “Training at Tampa Strength has an outstanding, energetic vibe! The facility is immaculate & the staff is friendly & professional. They put together a custom work out tailored for me where I can progress at my own pace, they're flexible with the schedule, it's always challenging & they keep me accountable! I would recommend it to anyone that is looking for an ideal place to train! .”⠀ ⠀ •⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ •⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ •⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #personaltraining #semiprivatetraining #health #fitness #fitnesscommunity #fitmoms #momfitness #fitfam #grouptraining #womenfitness #abs #active #core #weightloss #motivation #workout #Tampa #tampabay #tampafl #tampafitness #southtampa #healthytampabay #igerstampa #ETTampa #tampastrength

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Now, let’s get on with the show!

Whether you’re new to the podcast or a seasoned listener, these are some episodes worth going back and giving a/another listen to.

  1. Cryotherapy (1/9) – One of the coolest experiences! It seems intimidating at first, but we took a group of people to try a cryotherapy experience with fun results. Then we dive into the benefits of this increasingly popular therapy.
  2. The Hemp Coffee Interview (2/20) – Nick and I interview the founders of The Hemp Exchange, do a taste test, and learn all about the incredible health benefits of hemp coffee.
  3. Crutch Foods (3/27) – We continue to reference this episode due to the importance of knowing our crutch foods so that we don’t get stuck in a dietary rut.

Coffee taste test pic

4. Fat & Coffee Taste Test (4/10) – Because we’re such coffee lovers, we had to explore the various fats that can be added to coffee and find out which were our favorites.

5. Mothers Know Best & We’re having a baby! (5/27) – Our largest personal unveiling on the podcast, when we announced our pregnancy.

6. 1776 Marcos Game (7/3) – We test each others’ nutritional knowledge of foods, but with a fun twist, by looking at foods from 1776 (the year of our country’s independence).

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These are our favorites from the year, but let us know what yours are! Head over to our Facebook page for some exclusive content and to share your 2017 highlights.

Hope you had a great year and we look forward to spending 2018 with you!

Links to this week’s episode

iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/addicted-to-fitness-2017-a-year-in-review/id1121420986?i=1000398314746&mt=2

Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/nick-burch-702220833/addicted-to-fitness-2017-a

Website – http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/addicted-to-fitness-2017-a-year-in-review

Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Day Macros Game

Autumn is in full swing, the Halloween candy has been devoured, and signs advertising turkeys are posted in pretty much every grocery store window in America. Yes, it is almost Thanksgiving time! Which is why this week, we’re bringing you the return of our Thanksgiving Marcos Game where Nick and I face off in a battle of nutrition knowledge (kind of) and deductive reasoning.

But first, we highlight training notes for the week and share a tip for your holiday eating this year.

Let’s start with Nick’s training. He’s been enjoying a surprising aspect of his position teaching classes at Title Boxing & Kickboxing; he gets to meet a wide range of individuals, including a YMCA sports director and a science professor at our Alma Mater (University of Tampa). The feedback from those taking has class have been flowing in and it’s been really positive. Meanwhile, the ETT tribe has also added some new members recently in addition to welcoming back some returning folks.

Finally, Nick hinted that we’ll soon have some exciting information to share about a new program geared towards moms that Nick will be launching soon at Tampa Strength. More to come on that in a future episode, so stay tuned!

I, meanwhile, missed the mark on my training targets this past week due to some increased time demands from our baby girl. However, I did manage to get on the Peloton for a couple rides and incorporate some short yoga and circuit training workouts in addition to the daily walks/trips with the little one and our dog. Any activity is good!

shannon and the peanut

Now, we’ve talked about some holiday eating tips in the past (check out that episode here), but this year, we’re bringing you something new! And it all goes back to a very simple instruction that you probably heard from your parents growing up – Chew your food.

I discovered an interesting story in a book that we’ve had on our shelves for some time, that described the importance of chewing and cited a story from a book by Lino Stanchich, Power Eating Program: You Are How You Eat. The story was about Lino’s father, Antonio, who was a concentration camp survivor.

Hear the whole story in our podcast, but the quick summary is that Antonio and his two friends who practiced chewing their water (yes their water) survived the labor camp amidst starvation conditions, while the 29 other people in that camp did not. Chewing the water gave them more energy! The very act of chewing impacted their ability to survive with so little food.

Once Antonio was free and home, he tested the impact of chewing on his food (once up to 300 times per bite!) and found that chewing a bite of food (150 times per bite was the sweet spot he discovered) had tremendous results on his energy. Official studies have also detailed how important chewing your food is, primarily because properly chewing your food allows the rest of your digestive system to do their own jobs, versus taking extra energy to do the job of breaking down food. This is why you feel so tired after large Thanksgiving meals – you likely didn’t chew your food and your digestive system was having to do overtime to digest that monster meal!

So this year, take a page out of Antonio’s book (or rather his son, Lino’s) and really chew  each bite of your holiday meal. You don’t have to aim for 150 bites, but set a reasonable goal of 12 or 20 – just to try – and see if you feel more satisfied and have more energy by the end of your meal. It truly comes down to enjoying each and every bite. You’ll likely consume less food too, which your waistline will appreciate.

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Next we break into our 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Macros Game! (Test your knowledge and hear how we scored on the first game in this previous episode.)

For anyone who is unfamiliar with the Macros Game, it is a nutritional trivia game that requires the contestants to guess the macro nutrient (fat, protein or carbohydrate specifically) when given its amount in a serving of a certain food.

This time around, Nick and I test each other’s nutritional knowledge on foods like bone-in ham, mash potatoes, apple pie, and more items you’ll probably see on your Thanksgiving table. Listen to the podcast to see whether I was able to maintain my winning streak or if Nick broke through with the win.

Also, make sure you play along and send us your scores. If  you get a perfect score we’ll share it on all our social channels with a special shout out post!

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As we conclude, we have to share a special congrats to our sponsors at The Hemp & Coffee Exchange for closing on their first brick-and-mortar store location. More details on that announcement to come soon.

For those who don’t live in the Tampa Bay Area, you can still enjoy their sustainable super-coffee by visiting hempcoffeeexchange.com, and using the code “ATF” at checkout to get 20% off your order. It makes an incredible gift for the coffee-lovers in your life!

As always, please take a minute (seriously, it’s that fast) to rate and review the podcast in iTunes and on the Addicted to Fitness Podcast Facebook page.

Connect with us via email (elementaltampa@gmail.com) and on social media (FacebookInstagram or Twitter).

Links to this week’s episode:

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/2nd-annual-thanksgiving-day-macros-game/id1121420986?i=1000394733610&mt=2

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/nick-burch-702220833/2nd-annual-thanksgiving-day

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/2nd-annual-thanksgiving-day-macros-game

What’s on the Menu – How Fat Can Be Your Friend

When celebrity fitness trainer Vinnie Tortorich came on the Addicted to Fitness podcast (click here to listen to entire episode) last year, he made a statement that really resonated with me. He said

The worse thing about dietary fat is that it’s called FAT!

That one statement inspired me to look into the low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) lifestyle to determine if it suited me better than the not so low carb lifestyle I was participating in at the time. After subtracting certain items that contain refined carbs from my diet and adding more items that were high in healthy fats, I started feeling fuller, longer and was no longer hangry two hours after a meal.

There is one particular “fatty” food item that has been a part of my diet well before my shift to LCHF. I’ve been hearing about its health benefits for well over a decade and its versatility has made it a staple in Shannon and I’s kitchen. It can be used as a cooking oil, salad dressing, finishing sauce and even a skin care product. The multi-talented food item I’m referring to is olive oil and it’s this week’s menu spotlight.

Olive oil is a broad category of oil made from pressed olives. I realize that isn’t “breaking news,” but I wanted to mention that because the different types of olive oils at the supermarket can be quite overwhelming. If you’re looking for the variety that provides the most health benefits, you’ll want to stick with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Any other variety may use solvents to extract the oil or partially consist of cheaper, inflammatory oils.

Even though EVOO, purchased from a reputable producer, doesn’t contain any protein or carbs, it’s still highly nutritious. One hundred grams, which is about 7 tablespoons, of EVOO contains 72% of our recommended daily allowance (RDA) for Vitamin E and 75% of our RDA for Vitamin K (source), both of which can contribute to preventing cardiovascular disease. The micronutrients contained in olive oil are impressive but it’s the type of fat it contains that really sets it apart from other cooking oils.

EVOO consists primarily of monounsaturated fat. This type of fat is more heat-resistant, which means it is less likely to oxidize when used in cooking applications. This is one aspect of EVOO that makes it superior to other cooking oils like canola or even flax-seed, which consist primarily of polyunsaturated fat. Less oxidation means less free radical production, which can cause inflammation that may researchers believe is responsible for chronic health conditions like atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Oh, and EVOO contains a ton of anti-inflammatory phenols and polyphenols to further combat those previously mention conditions (source).

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As you can imagine, I frequently use EVOO to saute veggies and as my go-to salad dressing (2 parts EVOO + 1 part vinegar). I also use it to make my baked sweet potatoes fries nice & crispy, add extra flavor to my fried eggs and add even more monounsaturated fat to my daily avocado snack.

I mentioned it quickly earlier in this post, but it is very important that you purchase your EVOO from a reputable producer to get the optimum amount of health benefits. There are two great books, Extra Virginity Real Food / Fake Food, that describe some of the deception associated with olive oil.

A couple quite tips I’ll give you in regards to purchasing EVOO are buy imported and make sure the container it comes in is NOT clear (light can cause oxidation over time). If you have a brand of EVOO that you swear by, I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to share it with us via email (elementaltampa@gmail.com) or snap a pic of the bottle and share it on our social channels (FacebookInstagram or Twitter) and don’t forget FAT DOESN’T MAKE YOU FAT!

What’s On The Menu – Eating Whole Foods On The Go

I’m a man who likes structure. I love scheduling out all my appointments, meetings, training sessions and so on. Hell, I even like scheduling out what food I’ll eat on a daily basis. Unfortunately life doesn’t always allow that to happen.

Regular readers of the blog know that Shannon and I’s schedule the last few weeks was completely rearranged by Hurricane Irma. After I heard Tampa was in the path of potentially one of the strongest storms to make landfall in the U.S., I disregarded any healthy eating habits and focused primarily on fortifying our house. Thankfully, Irma caused minimal damage and allowed us to return to our normal routine rather quickly.

Then, 2 weeks later, Shannon went into labor.

Shannon labor

These two epic life events forced us to eat a lot of prepackaged foods on the go. Fortunately for us, there are some legit prepackaged whole foods available nowadays. Below is a list of several of my favorite whole food items that you can eat on the go:

  • Epic Bars: these “meat bars” are made with high quality protein from sources like buffalo, venison, salmon, wild boar and many more. They also focus on using other whole ingredients that are low in sugar and free of gluten, grain, soy and dairy. The sriracha chicken bar pictured below contains 4 g of fat, 15 g of protein and only 1 g of carbs (click here for more nutritional info).
  • Trail Mix Packs: individual serving packs of raw and/or lightly roasted & salted almonds, cashews, walnuts and even peanuts are a great source of dietary fat, protein and fiber. Just beware of the sugar content of any trail mix packets that are filled with lots of candy or dried fruit. The Go Raw Trek Mix packets from Trader Joe’s contain 14 g of fat, 7 g of protein and 3 g of fiber.
  • Parmesan Crisps: these crispy chip substitutes are so flavorful that you won’t even remember the word Doritos after having them. I usually grab a $3-4 container from Whole Foods when I’m out and about, but you could easily make these at home. According to the Whole Foods website, 4 crisps contain 6 g of fat, 9 g of protein and 1 g of carbs (source).
  • Upgraded coffee: I don’t leave home without my homemade coffee concoction – 12 oz of coffee, 3 tbsp of Great Lakes Collagen and 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream or canned coconut milk. This creation contains approximately 12 g of fat, 18 g of protein and <1 g of carbs. Click here to read more about Great Lakes Collagen.

Whole Foods Togo

That’s my abbreviated list of whole foods you can eat on the go. If you’ve got an item that you believe fits the criteria please let me know. Drop us a line, and by that I mean email us at elementaltampa@gmail.com or give us a shout on social media (FacebookInstagram or Twitter).

I believe that the moumental life events are done for the time being. Now Shannon and I are mainly focused on rearing our young, which means we’ll hopefully have time to make some home cooked meals. If you have any ideas for big batch dishes we can munch on during our maternity/paternity leave, feel free to send them our way.

 

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!

 

What’s on the Menu – Let’s Talk Turkey

I may be guilty of propagating a myth about one of our nation’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin. In the Instagram post (link) promoting this week’s menu spotlight, I suggested that the wild turkey was in a race with the bald eagle to be on our nation’s seal.

I recall hearing that historical tidbit from a reliable source and when I went to find supporting research, I found a source that seemed to confirm my statement. Upon further research, it appears the idea of Franklin championing for the wild turkey to be our nation’s symbol way back in the 18th century isn’t entirely true.

According to excerpts from a letter authored by Franklin, he did believe that the wild turkey was a “bird of courage” more likely to chase off an intruder than the bald eagle, but did NOT suggest that the turkey should be a part of our nation’s seal. It appears that Franklin was somewhat apathetic to the idea of having a bird on our nation’s seal altogether (source). Regardless of the turkey’s moral character, the fact that it provides both significant macro & micronutrients is 100% accurate.

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You won’t find these types of turkeys at your grocery store

The turkey you pick up at the grocery store looks very different from the turkeys Benjamin Franklin was talking about. They may look different but their macronutrient content is very similar. Three ounces of turkey breast, without skin, contain 2 grams (g) of fat, 0 g of carbs and 26 g of protein (source). Not a great source of healthy fat or carbs, but a definite protein powerhouse. No surprise that you find turkey on a lot of meal plans for individuals looking to put on muscle.

Much like other animal-based protein sources, turkey is high in B vitamins, B3 & B6 in particular. B3, also known as niacin, is critical for the conversion of dietary macronutrients into usable energy including the production of glycogen. For those unfamiliar with glycogen, it is an animal starch stored in our muscles as fuel for future physical activity (source). This particular function of B3 is most likely why bodybuilders ingest supplemental forms of it to help them maintain their rigorous workout schedule.

Turkey also contains a significant amount of important dietary minerals. Zinc, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and iron are several minerals you’ll absorb eating turkey, but the mineral most abundant in turkey is selenium. A 4oz serving of turkey contains 62% of our DV of selenium, which is known to be a powerful antioxidant. With that said, it should come as no surprise that the consumption of turkey, and other poultry, has been shown to reduce the risk conditions/syndromes caused by oxidative stress like pancreatic cancer (source).

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Turkey doesn’t contain the amount of fat I normally prefer in my animal protein, but that’s an easy problem to fix. Shannon and I love using ground turkey (which does have added fat) to make burgers and I throw a couple slices of avocado on them to up their fat content. The combination of the protein from the turkey and the fat from the avocado makes for one satiating meal.

If you have a go-to turkey recipe that you think trumps my turkey burgers, please feel free to share it on our social media channels (FacebookInstagram or Twitter). You can also email it to us at elementaltampa@gmail.com.

Email is the best way to find out more about Elemental Training Tampa’s online training program. Get that personal training you’ve always wanted at a price that you can afford.

Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – Charcoal: Health Solution or Trendy Gimmick

This week’s episode Show Notes brought to you by Shannon.

A couple quick announcements…

First, if you haven’t already taken Nick and ETT up on the amazing opportunity, send Nick an email today at elementaltampa@gmail.com to schedule a free fitness consultation (online, phone or Skype – you don’t have to be local!). Because who doesn’t need a little motivation and inspiration on their health and fitness journey?

Second, we’re thrilled to be able to announce the voting for Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay 2017 has officially opened! Simply visit cltampabay.com/botb2017, log in and you’ll find ATF at the top of the list for Best Local Podcast in the “People, Places, Politics” category. You can vote every day if you want, so feel free to show your support!

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Now, let’s get into it.

Training for Nick and I this past week included Nick returning to jiu jitsu classes and also kicking off training with Spanish from 102.5 The Bone for the Mike Calta’s Punchout – a local radio show event that Nick’s been involved with for the past few years as a trainer for on-air personalities. We’re both cheering on Spanish, who has already been putting in some great training time.

I meanwhile have been just trying to stay active whenever I can (we all have those weeks, right?). We quickly touch on how being pregnant has made even some of my go-to exercises, like my beloved peloton rides, a bit more challenging, but I’m keeping after it!

As for today’s title topic, we’re getting into that health trend that has appeared across numerous industries – skincare, food, supplements, even dental care – and that appears on more and more peoples’ Instagram feeds, charcoal. Specifically, we talk about activated charcoal, which is what the charcoal products we’re discussing include.

Now, don’t worry. This isn’t the briquettes you use in your grill or what you may possibly used in high school art class, this is a bit different. A wonderfully simple description of activated charcoal was included in this nice overview article in Real Simple magazine, which summarized as a byproduct of burning coconut shells, wood, or other plant materials. It’s considered “activated” due to its negative charge, which gives it the capability to bond with positively charged ions (like chemicals).

You’ve likely seen or heard at least one of the following claims that activated charcoal is supposed to do, but Nick and I take a closer look to see whether these claims are real solutions or just marketable ploy.

  • Skin Care Claim – Removes Impurities:
    • Does it really pull all the gunk out of your skin though? Don’t be suckered in by some products that promise miracle results. Though charcoal masks with activated charcoal can provide a lovely facial, they’re not an instantaneous win for skin. Be smart about what you purchase and beware that there are a lot of gimmicky goods to sift through. Nick asked my personal opinion, as I’ve tried a number of these skin care items, and I recommend the Origins Charcoal MaskIMG_8513
  • Dental Claim – Whitens Teeth:
    • Does black charcoal paste produce pearly whites? Well, as it turns out, no. One dental expert in a recent Guardian article pointed out the complete lack of evidence that activated charcoal whites teeth. Plus, the expert points out that charcoal is abrasive, which could remove the enamel on your teeth if used too frequently. Eek!
  • Diet Claim – Detoxifies:
    • The science proves that activated charcoal does bind to certain substances in the stomach when you ingest it. However, activated charcoal shouldn’t be taken in large amounts because it doesn’t discriminate against what it attaches to and carries out of the body through the digestive tract. It will remove good things like calcium, potassium, iron, zinc and even some medications. Plus, it can attach to water molecules and cause dehydration, leaving some with a bad case of constipation (oh no!).
    • One recent article by The Refinery went into a further look at the risks involved with consuming too much activated charcoal.
  • The Hangover Claim – Will Cure Your Hangover:
    • This is just a flat out myth, but even Nick admitted to having heard this before. Sadly, there’s not much truth at all to it. Activated charcoal doesn’t bond with alcohol, so even in larger amounts (which you should only get at the hospital), it can’t help. Plus, it only helps to limit absorption in the stomach, and alcohol gets absorbed into your bloodstream long before the onset of a hangover. Perhaps some people use activated charcoal to purify their booze, but it’s not going to help shake the headache and stomach aches that follow a night/day of alcohol overindulgence.
  • Poisoning Cure Claim – Prevents Poisons From Being Absorbed
    • This is a scary topic regardless, and one of the oldest actual medical uses for activated charcoal. There are written records going back to Ancient Greece, that describe charcoal being used to decrease the impacts of some poisons. Even the Mayo Clinic lists activated charcoal as a type of treatment for certain types of poisons, but only in emergencies situations. However, they mention that it does nothing for poisons like corrosive agents or strong acids. Large doses can be used for specific cases, but activated charcoal should not be taken that way normally.

We finish off this week’s episode with a new segment – Straight from the Headlines – where we reference a timely health/fitness article that deserves a callout.

You likely remember our recent podcast on Coconut Oil and an especially damning article that USA Today published citing the American Heart Association (AHA) and its recent “presidential advisory” which basically vilified all saturated fats, including coconut oil. It created quite the buzz as we’ve been told in the recent past that not all saturated fats are created equal, and scientific studies had been disproving what the AHA had been pushing for years.

Well, Nick dug into it during that recent episode of ours, and is now backed up by an op-ed written by an excellent investigatory journalist, Nina Teicholz (article link). The piece details how Teicholz examined all the data and sources that were cited in the aforementioned article and deduced that it was primarily driven by “long-standing bias and commercial interests” more than sound science.  Afterall, the AHA needs to reaffirm the “heart healthy” advice it’s been saying for nearly 70 years, all the while being conveniently funded by some commercial companies whose interests don’t lie with saturated fats in almost any form. As I summarized so nicely – it’s mostly PR fluff from the AHA. Very well-placed fluff, but still.

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That’s really it for this week’s episode! Thank you for listening and please give us a rating and review if you haven’t already – it means so much to us.

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Links to this week’s episode

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/charcoal-health-solution-or-trendy-gimmick/id1121420986?i=1000390482279&mt=2

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/nick-burch-702220833/charcoal-health-solution-or

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/charcoal-health-solution-or-trendy-gimmick