grocery

What’s on the menu – Celiac disease or not, this gluten free item is a must

I do my best to avoid anything made with refined wheat flour. Over the past decade, I’ve heard that the overconsumption of this item can contribute to detrimental health issues like type 2 diabetes, obesity and “gastric distress” (all listeners of the podcast know what that means). BUT, I’d be lying if I said I never touched the stuff. Fortunately for me, I don’t have a pronounced sensitivity to gluten, but there are those individuals who can’t even look at fresh-baked bread without getting a stomach ache.

Individuals who suffer from celiac disease have an inflammatory response whenever they ingest the gluten protein from wheat, rye, barley and other related items. This inflammatory response can result in several side effects ranging from bloating and gas to anemia and/or osteoporosis (source).

Author and podcaster Anna Vocino described her trials and tribulations with celiac disease on a past episode of Addicted to Fitness (episode link). Living with this disease forced her develop numerous gluten free and grain free recipes which ultimately lead to the creation of her cookbook Eat Happy (link). The pantry item that Anna and other celiac sufferers seem to use as their preferred wheat flour substitute is the menu item we’ll be highlighting today.

pexels-photo-28997

Almond flour is made up of exactly what you think: ground up almonds. Usually the almonds are blanched, skins removed then finely ground.

One ingredient and minimally processed.

If that’s not enticing enough, almond flour’s nutrition facts essentially mirrors that of blanched almonds. One ounce contains 14 g of fat, 6 g of protein & carbs and significant amounts of important vitamins and minerals. Enriched (nutrients added) wheat flour on the other hand contains 0 g of fat, 3 g of protein and 21 g of carbs in the same serving size.

In addition to being gluten free, a single ounce of almond flour contains over 30% of our daily value (DV) for both Vitamin E and manganese. Both nutrients can boost insulin sensitivity which is extremely important to individuals that have problems controlling their blood sugar. Almond flour is also a good source of magnesium, which studies have shown can help decrease blood pressure (source).

I feel that it is important to mention that there is also a product known as almond meal which is made from almonds that still have their skin and is not as finely ground. I mention this because many of the sources I gathered my almond info from suggested that the skin of the almond contains many of its beneficial antioxidants (source). However, the terms “flour” and “meal” are often used interchangeably. A tell-tale sign that you’re buying almond meal is the tiny pieces of brown skin in the mixture (see below).

Menu pic 6-15

Whether you use almond meal or flour, the point is you are using a product that will have less of a damaging effect on your body than regular wheat flour. Both Shannon and I have a preferred use of both products: Shannon loves using blanched almond flour to make paleo “friendly” almond cookies, while I like using almond meal to coat baked chicken or fish.

If you haven’t tried almond flour or meal yet, give it a shot. Its mild flavor won’t overwhelm any dish you use it in. If this post inspired you to give it a try, we’d love to hear what you think of it. If you are already an almond flour user & lover, please feel free to send your favorite recipe our way. You can email them to elementaltampa@gmail.com or post them to our social media pages (FacebookInstagram or Twitter). I also encourage everyone to check out our friend Anna’s book Eat Happy for more healthy recipes.

What’s on the Menu – The epitome of finger licking good

You all know that I hold nutrition in higher regard than taste. I don’t mind choking something down if I know it’s good for me. Sardines, raw garlic or ground turmeric in my veggie & fruit smoothie are just a few examples. I will literally punish my taste buds if I believe what I’m eating will benefit me in some capacity. I assume that certain people think that today’s menu spotlight may be one of those “less than appetizing” foods, but I can assure you that it’s not.

I believe it’s safe for me to assume that you know the main ingredient of chicken liver pate is chicken liver. I can’t attest to the flavor of chicken liver by itself, but I know that when’s its used in pate, it’s delicious. If you take a look at the recipe from the New York Times (link) cooking section it’s not hard to imagine why I’m such a fan

  1. Melt butter in pan
  2. Soften onions
  3. Add chicken livers to pan; cook till brown on the outside
  4. Add contents of pan + spices to food processor
  5. Puree till smooth
  6. Store in fridge for few hours till set

Menu pic 6-7

Sounds great right? Well I can testify that it is, and the fact that the main ingredient is chicken liver makes it both delicious and nutritious. Three ounces of chicken liver contains 21 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat and significant amounts of important vitamins and nutrients. The same serving size contains 280% of our daily value (DV) of vitamin A & B12. It also contains 160% and 40% of our DVs for folate and iron respectively, both of which are extremely important to fetal development (source). We’ll discuss if expectant mothers should eat chicken liver a little later on in this post.

It’s clear that chicken liver is nutitrious, but what about chicken liver pate? According to the MyFitnessPal website, 2 ounces of my preferred store bought chicken liver pate (pictured below) contains 19 grams of fat (6 grams saturated) and only 5 grams of protein.

It’s a downright switch-a-roo of the macros compared to chicken liver by itself. The pate also contains 30% DV of vitamin A and 10% DV of iron (source). Plenty of fat, which you know I’m a fan of, but a little lacking in the protein department. Still a nutritious snack, in my opinion, but I’d definitely be better off just eating liver. Another aspect I need to factor in for the pate is source of the liver.

pexels-photo-197058

As we’ve discussed in previous menu spotlights, where and how an animal was raised affects its nutrition. My Trader Joe’s chicken liver pate was produced in the U.S. and inspected by the Dept of Agriculture, but it is very possible that it didn’t live the most optimal life. Now that I know how easy pate is to make, I should acquire chicken livers from my local farmers and just make my own. Stay tuned for that future post!

Before we wrap up today’s post I just want to address two issues. First, I’m happy to inform you that livers are NOT a storage facility for “toxins.” The liver’s job is to send the toxins to the systems responsible for expelling them or storing them. Also, certain studies suggest that pregnant women can eat liver without worry of vitamin A toxicity affecting their fetus (source). ONCE AGAIN, I’m not a doctor, just a reporter of data. If you are pregnant, I’d consult a health professional before eating liver.

I may not be a doctor, but I am a lover a feedback. Which is why you should feel free to send any feedback, liver related or not, to elementaltampa@gmail.com. We love pics, recipes and even videos of you doing something fitness related. Don’t forget to connect with us on social media (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter). We’d love to know if you’ve tasted the yummy goodness of chicken liver pate.

 

Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – Benefits of eating seasonal produce

This episode of the Addicted to Fitness podcast is dropping on the unofficial start to summer, Memorial Day. Cookouts, pool parties and summer vacation for students & teachers are all great reasons to love this holiday. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention why we celebrate this holiday in the first place. Memorial Day is the day we pay tribute to the men and women of the armed forces who gave their lives to protect our country. I know military action may be a contentious issue, but I will always show my respect to those individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect this country and its citizens. Thank you to all the members of the armed forces, past and present.

Alright, on with the show notes!

sunset-flag-america-fields

This week’s training recap doesn’t really contain a lot of training. Shannon is quickly approaching her 6th month of pregnancy, which means her workout clothes, specifically her pants, no longer fit. The pants she had were so uncomfortable that she was dreading her beloved Peloton cycle rides.  This prompted her to splurge on specialized maternity workout pants, which she wore while we recorded the podcast. Judging by her reaction, she really enjoyed them. She encouraged all ladies, pregnant or not, to purchase fitness wear that is functional and comfortable. It will make workouts much more enjoyable.

My portion of the training recap included a discussion of the lab results from my recent trip to the functional medicine doctor. The only test results that were issues of concern were my LDL cholesterol and vitamin D levels. After discussing my diet with my doctor, he believes that my family history and certain dietary choices are contributing to my high cholesterol levels. He suggested substituting mass produced beef & pork for sheep, lamb or game meat and incorportating more small fish (sardines, achovies, mackeral, etc.) into my diet. He also prescribed red yeast rice and vitamin D supplements to address both areas of concern (check out our past podcast on vitamin D deficiency link).

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-5-00-33-am

Image courtesy of foundmyfitness.com

I was super pleased by how thorough my doctor was. I’m very happy that I sought out a certified function medicine practioner (click link to learn more). I’ll make sure to keep you updated on any future doctor visits and test results.

After our training recap we get into a timely discussion on seasonal produce. The optimal growing conditions of spring & early summer usually result in a a wide variety of produce at the grocery store and your local produce stand. We use an article from the Feeding South Florida website (link) to discuss the health & environmental benefits of eating seasonal produce. We also consult the seasonal produce list from the USDA (link) to find out which season you can expect to find certain produce items. You can also click here to find out when certain produce items are in season in your state.

Podcast pic 5-29

We love supporting local businesses and we couldn’t think of a better one to promote than local produce stands. Both Shannon and I have fond memories of ours growing up, and I’m sure you do too. We’d love to hear what you look forward to getting when you visit your local produce stand. Feel free to send your responses to elementaltampa@gmail.com or send us a message on any of our social channels (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter). We’d love to hear from you all.

One last thing, we’ve got another interview episode of Addicted to Fitness coming atchya next week. I don’t want give too much away about our guest, so I’ll just say two words: Coach Fury.

Links for this week’s episode

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/benefits-of-eating-seasonal-produce/id1121420986?i=1000385914079&mt=2

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

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/why-you-should-visit-your-local-farm-stand

Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – An Interview with the CEO & Founder of Growing Rootz, Carlen Garmon

We’re bringing you another interview episode of Addicted to Fitness this week. Before we get to our interview, Shannon and I discuss a pair of upcoming fitness related events we’re looking forward to. Shannon has another yoga immersion weekend for her Bella Prana teacher training program coming up and I will be starting a new morning boot camp at Tampa Strength. If you live in the Tampa area and want to start your morning off with fun & effective workout come check out the Rise & Grind Boot Camp (link).

After our fitness updates, we jump into my interview with the CEO & Founder of the organic grocery delivery service Growing Rootz (link), Carlen Garmon. Carlen began her pursuit of optimizing her health when she was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (link) and hyperinsulinemia (link) in her early twenties. She decided to go off her medications once she became pregnant and instead used a diet of whole & organic foods to help treat her conditions. This shift in nutrition was a driving force behind the creation of Growing Rootz.

Growing Rootz provides customers in the Tampa Bay Area with organic quality produce, pastured & grass fed meat, free range eggs, raw dairy, bone broth and other wholesome goodies. Carlen believes that these types of products allow our bodies to function at an optimum level which is one of the main ideals that she incorporates into her holistic health coaching. I’m always skeptical when I hear a person label themselves as a health coach, but as you’ll hear, Carlen has a lot of personal experience dealing with health conditions that a lot of people struggle with.

Podcast pic 5-15

Interviewing professionals in the field of health & fitness is one of the main reasons why I began the Addicted to Fitness podcast. Even though all their stories are different, they seem to have one similar quality:

A situation arose in their lives where they had to make a decision on whether or not to make their fitness & health a top priority, and they did so.

I hope that this podcast can help inspire some of you to make a similar choice. This podcast is called Addicted to Fitness because we know how beneficial being obessesed with your health can be. If you agree please let us know. Feel free to email us at elementaltampa@gmail.com or hit us up on social media (FacebookInstagram or Twitter). We’d also really appreciate a honest rating and review in the iTunes. Thanks again for all the support & stay healthy this week peeps!

Links to this week’s episode

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/interview-ceo-founder-growing-rootz-carlen-garmon/id1121420986?i=1000385437699&mt=2

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

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/an-interview-with-the-ceo-founder-of-growing-rootz-carlen-garmon

 

What’s on the Menu – Grass vs. Grain

Today’s menu spotlight will focus on the nutritional differences of grass fed and grain fed beef. Before I get into the nutritional research I gathered, I want to quickly touch on the environmental & animal welfare aspects of both types of beef. Even though the production of both types of cattle can vary widely based on current regulations, I feel comfortable stating a few generalities about both. Grain fed cattle tend to live the duration of their lives in indoor feed lots and consume grain products like corn and soy. Grass fed cattle live the majority of their lives in pastures feeding on the grass available to them. Based on these points, the lives of grass fed cattle are more similar to that of their wild ancestors than grain fed cattle.

I want to reiterate that these are generalities. The USDA has not yet set a standard that all grass fed beef producers must follow (hear more about that here), which means the conditions grass fed cattle are subjected to can vary from one producer to the next.  If you choose to buy grass fed beef, research the producer. The more you know about the beef your buying, the better. Alright, on to the nutritional comparison.

Screenshot 2017-05-11 at 12.46.33 PM

Image courtesy of American Grassfed Association (link)

Can food and environment actually affect the nutrient composition of a species? You bet it can!

A 2010 study determined that grass fed beef can have up to 5 times more omega 3 fatty acids than grain fed beef. This is important because omega 3’s reduce inflammation and lower the chance of us acquiring insidious health conditions like heart disease and dementia (source).

In addition to fatty acids, grass fed also contains a different saturated fat composition than grain fed. While the amount of saturated fat in both types of beef is relatively similar, grass fed contains a higher proportion of stearic acid than grain fed. This component of saturated fat has been determined NOT to raise blood cholesterol levels, meaning that grass fed can have less of an effect on your cholesterol than grain fed (source).

Grass fed also contains more vitamin E and beta-carotene than grain fed. Our body uses these nutrients to help prevent the production of free radicals, which have the ability to create damaging health conditions like arthritis and cancer. These particular antioxidants also work together to prevent nutrient degradation during the beef’s journey from farm to table (source).

Menu pic 5-11

Even though I’m a big grass fed cheerleader, weird visual, both types of beef are highly nutritious in regards to macronutrients. Three ounces of 85/15 (lean meat to fat ratio) ground beef contains 13g of fat, 22g of protein and no carbs. But when you factor in the environmental impact and animal welfare differences, along with its micronutrient superiority, spending a extra cash on grass fed seems like a no brainer. Plus, your purchases can help revitalize the small farm industry, which I believe is key to changing our current industrialized food system.

I know cost is one reason why people choose not to buy grass fed beef, but I’d like to hear if there are any other reasons. Feel free to send us an email at elementaltampa@gmail.com or contact us on social media.

All you grass fed lovers can hit us up too! Send us a pic of your favorite meal featuring grass fed beef. We’d also love to see pics of the local farm you pick up your beef from.

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

Mobility sticks

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.

Screenshot 2017-04-16 at 7.20.08 PM

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.

Podcast pic 4-17

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

What’s on the Menu – Superfoods in my Backyard

The Florida Strawberry festival takes place every year in the small, rustic town of Plant City. The event has been going strong for over 80 years, and it continues to grow each year with the addition of rides, livestock contests and popular music acts like Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts and Elle King (one of Shannon’s personal fav’s). The vast majority of the food at the festival is typical fair food; deep-fried and/or covered in sugar. However, the festival’s namesake is readily available and it when it comes to nutrient rich foods, it’s hard to beat strawberries, or any berries for that matter.

Strawberry shortcake

I consider myself pretty lucky to live in an area that has access to substantial berry crops every year. The farms in my area plant over 10,000 acres of strawberries annually, along with other berries like blueberries and blackberries (source). You best believe that when berry season rolls around, Shannon and I stock up on a weekly basis.  Not only do they taste delicious, but they’re often considered a superfood because of their nutritional benefits.

Possible health benefits associated with eating berries include reduced disease susceptibility, increased insulin sensitivity and improved arterial function. They are also high in essential nutrients (ones our bodies can’t make) like vitamin C, K, manganese and folate (source). I’m a huge berry fan, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention strawberry’s regular appearance on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Dirty Dozen List.

Wish farms berries

Organic berries from Florida’s Wish Farms

Since 2004, the EWG has been creating lists of the dirtiest and cleanest produce in regards to pesticide contamination. Strawberries often find themselves at the top of the “dirty” list, most likely due to year round production brought on by high demand. According to EWG’s website, Americans individually eat an average of 8 pounds of strawberries a year. Even though we’re still discovering what negative side effects eating foods containing pesticides can have on our health, the EWG recommends that you buy organically grown strawberries whenever possible. If you like to check out what other produce made it onto EWG’s lists, head on over to their website.

Menu pic 3-30

I believe the reporting of high contamination levels in produce like strawberries will help increase the demand for organically grown produce. The overuse of pesticides and the negative effect its had on our agricultural industry is a discussion for another day.

Whether you buy organic or conventional berries, I want to hear how you prefer to enjoy them. Do you throw them into a smoothie, add them to yogurt, or just eat them by the handful like I do? However you enjoy them, please feel free to let us know by leaving a response in the comment section below or emailing it to us at elementaltampa@gmail.com.

What’s on the Menu – Grocery Shopping Prerequisite

We’ve all done it. It’s a mistake that I’m sure grocery stores are happy people make week in and week out. No, I’m not talking about forgetting your reusable grocery bags. I’m talking about going to the grocery store HUNGRY.

We seemed to be focused on grocery shopping this week on elementaltampa.com, and for good reason. The choices you make at the grocery store can have a significant effect on how you look and feel. You may not realize it but those choices can be influenced by the level of hunger you have before you step into the grocery store. In as 2013 study, researchers found that individuals that went grocery shopping while “hungry” were more likely buy high-caloric unhealthy foods (chips, candy, etc.) than those that ate before shopping for groceries. Another study confirmed these findings by documenting individuals that went grocery shopping before dinner time, 4-7pm, buying more unhealthy foods than those people that went shopping after lunch, 1-4pm (source). The “feast or famine” mentality left over from our primitive ancestors may want us to eat everything in sight when we’re hungry, but there are certain steps we can take to prevent us from bringing home a barrel sized container of cheese balls.

Shannon and I have discovered several ways to prevent impulse buys while grocery shopping, but none work as well as eating before you go. A couple of our go to pre-grocery shopping snacks are raw cashews and/or cured meat with cheese. Both snacks are nutritious (cashews: 6g fat, 4g carbs, 2.5g protein per ounce; genoa+provolone: 26 g fat, 21g protein, no carbs per package), shareable, portable and most importantly satiating. I’ve, and some scientific research, found that foods containing a significant amount of protein and/or fat will help you stay fuller longer and hold back that pesky hunger hormone gherlin.

Hopefully you are already practicing this pre-grocery shopping ritual. If so, send us pictures of your pre-grocery shopping snacks. We’re always looking to expand our repertoire.

cashews-salami