nutrition

What’s On The Menu – Pasture Raised Chicken: Is It Worth It?

I, like many of you, am faced with a variety of chicken choices when I go to the grocery store each week. Do I buy organic, free-range, pasture raised or conventionally raised? The choices seem to be growing by the year, but is one superior to the other?

Much like beef, I believe that chickens raised in a way that closely resembles the lives their wild ancestors live (e.g. 24/7 access to open pastures & ability to forge for insects and other food sources) provides a better animal welfare situation than that of birds caged in confined quarters.

When looking into potential environmental impacts of pasture raised chickens, the research is mixed. Some individuals contend that pasture raised chickens take more resources to produce (source) while other cite the facts that these chickens eliminate the need for fertilizer and their food sources don’t require any herbicides to produce (source).

Those aspects are important to consider when purchasing your chicken, but the main goal of this week’s menu spotlight is to determine if pasture raised chicken is nutritionally superiority to its conventional counterpart.

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Let’s take a quick look at the macronutrients contained in both pasture & conventionally raised chicken. One cup of a roasted chicken breast contains 231 calories, 43 grams (g) of protein, 5 g of fat and 0 g of carbs. It should be noted that different parts of the chicken, skin-on or skin-off, contain different nutritional values. No matter what part of the chicken you prefer, they all contain a substantial amount of protein.

To determine which one is nutritional superior, were going to have to look at their respective micronutrients. Luckily, the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association (APPPA) performed a study in 2013 comparing the micronutritional difference between pasture raised and non-pasture raised chickens. The results of their study showed that pasture raised chickens were higher in vitamin D3 and E, both of which are important to mitigating auto immune diseases.

The APPPA study also discovered that the pasture raised chicken contained an omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acid ratio of 5:1 while the standard 6:3 ratio for conventionally raised chicken is 15:1 (source). This is important because recent research suggest that foods containing large amounts of omega 6’s (e.g. vegetable oils & fast food) could lead to inflammatory disease like cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer, and more (source).

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After looking at the preliminary evidence, I have reached a verdict: pasture raised chicken is nutritional superior. Yes, a pasture raised chicken from the store or a local farmer could cost 2-3 times more than a conventionally raised chicken, but like the old saying goes “You get what you pay for.” If chicken is one of your primary protein sources, and you are interested in optimizing your nutrition, you may want to think about forking over the extra dough.

If you’re a regular consumer of pasture raised chicken, I’d love to hear some of your go to recipes. One of my favorite recipes that uses chicken, pasture raised or not, is chicken pot pie soup (recipe link). I skip the pie crust and do my best to use gluten-free ingredients, but I highly recommed you do yourself a favor and make it tonight! Feel free to send a pic of your delicious chicken recipe to us on social media (FacebookInstagram or Twitter) or you can email it to elementaltampa@gmail.com.

You can also take advantage of the complimentary fitness consultations we’re currently offering by emailing us. Whether you need advice on nutrition or just want workout tips, I’d be happy to set up an appointment with you to discuss how you can improve your fitness.

Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – Zero Calorie Beverage Taste Test

Nick and I start this week’s podcast off with a couple announcements that are likely familiar to any of our regular listeners.

First off, Nick is still offering a complimentary fitness evaluation and all you have to do is email him at elementaltampa@gmail.com.

If you enjoy our podcast and want to show some love, we have a great opportunity for you! Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay 2017 is open for voting until August 23rd and Addicted to Fitness is a finalist for Best Local Podcast (under the People, Places & Politics category).

How to Vote⠀ Visit cltampabay.com, click on Best of the Bay Banner, and you'll find ATF in the "People, Places & Politics" category under best local podcast. ⠀ ⠀ Make sure you vote for your other Tampa fav's including friends of the podcast @uscryo_tampa @sacredfloatsandgems.co @purebarretampa @spaddyscoffee @amirardebily @themikecaltashow @samwax1 @mwax10 @uniqueotto⠀ ⠀ •⠀⠀⠀⠀ •⠀⠀⠀⠀ •⠀⠀⠀⠀ •⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ #addictedtofitness #podcast #itunes #libsyn #fitness #health #exercise #workout #diet #nutrition #food #gym #fitfam #boxing #saturatedfat #coconutoil #aha #skincare #activatedcharcoal #cltampabay #hearthealth #Tampa #tampabay #tampafl #tampafitness #healthytampabay #igerstampa #southtampa #ETTampa

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In terms of our training recap for the week, Nick and I talk about a pair of group fitness classes that we were both involved in over the last week. I did my very first assisting class, which is part of the requirements for my yoga teacher training, by jumping in to help a group of 50 people of different experience levels. It was actually a terrific experience and once I got past the initial nerves, I really enjoyed helping people find proper alignment and offering some hands on adjustments to those who wanted it.

Nick on the other hand actually got thrown into leading a section of a kickboxing class at Title Boxing in Tampa, where he’s been looking into the possibility of teaching classes. Minus being completely new to the Britney-Spears-headset, he admitted that he got right into the 30-min drills on the kickboxing bags that he led. Stay tuned for whether he’ll be debuting his training skills at Title Boxing in future!

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For this week’s episode, Nick had told me that he really wanted to do a taste test, which was just fine with me! We took on a taste test of zero calorie “naturally” sweetened beverages.

You’ll have to listen for the full initial reactions and reviews on each of the three drinks we tried, but here’s a quick recap:

  • Perrier with Lime – Classic mineral water with loads of bubbles and a clean, refreshing lime flavor. We both agreed it was a win, with its natural flavors, if you like bubbles. I even suggested it might make a good mixer for the bar!
  • Zevia – The Mountain flavor was sweetened with stevia and smelled a lot like Sprite. The taste, however, was all stevia. Neither Nick or I could really get past the “blanket mouth” aftertaste that it left behind.
  • Steaz – A half-and-half green tea, lemonade combo that mentioned its zero calorie benefit three times on the front of the can (clearly they wanted to get the point across). Not nearly as bubbly as the other two, this beverage was a hit for both Nick and I. The major sweetener was erythritol, which we’d explored in a previous podcast (check out Episode 29 – the interview with CEO of Swerve, Andress Blackwell).

There are loads of other zero calorie drinks on the market, but these were just a few that we thought would be good to review. Please let us know if you’re a fan of a particular beverage in this category so we can give it a try.

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Also, we called it out early on in this week’s episode but always end with an invitation to share your feedback and ideas for future podcast episodes with us. Message us on social media (FacebookInstagram or Twitter) or email. We’d love to hear from you!

Until next week’s episode, have a great one!

Links for this week’s episode

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/zero-calorie-beverage-taste-test/id1121420986?i=1000390742956&mt=2

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/nick-burch-702220833/zero-calorie-beverage-taste

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/zero-calorie-beverage-taste-test

What’s On The Menu – More Than Just The Freshmaker

How did mint become the go-to car air freshener scent? Was it good marketing? Did people like how that green leaf looked hanging from their rear view mirror?

It’s visual appeal could be a possible reason but I think it has more to do with how the scent affects our biology. A study performed in the early 2000s found that the smell of peppermint actually affected the amount of anxiety, fatigue and physical demand experienced by drivers on prolonged trips in the car. The study suggested that “periodic administration of (peppermint) odors over long-term driving may prove beneficial in maintaining alertness and decreasing highway accidents and fatalities” (source). Cognitive benefits are just the start to the positive health benefits of this refreshing herb.

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I constantly tell you about the high antioxidant content of certain fruits and vegetables, but I don’t seem to give as much recognition to herbs. Shame on me because mint, which is a broad term for 15-20 different species, contains one of the highest antioxidant capacity of any food. One particular antioxidant contained in mint, rosmarinic acid, has been shown to be an effective natural treatment for seasonal allergies. Also, if you already have the sniffles due to the common cold, menthol contained within mint plants has been long regarded as a natural decongestant because of its ability to break up phlegm and mucus (source).

The benefits of mint not only alleviate cold like symptoms, they can also help prevent you from getting a cold or some other type of infection. Peppermint oil has been shown to stop the growth of certain types of fungus and bacteria including the nasty MRSA. It’s also a good source of vitamin C, which can help improve the performance of our immune system (source). Speaking of performance, mint may be the PED all athletes can use without fear of getting busted.

I already mentioned one study that demonstrated how peppermint enhanced the performance of drivers, but can it do the same for athletes? A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine in 2013 discovered that individuals that ingested a minute amount of peppermint essential oil displayed improvements in exercise performance, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and several other related categories. The researchers believe that these improvements were due to the herb’s ability to relax bronchial smooth muscles, increase ventilation & brain oxygen concentrations and decrease blood lactate levels (source). That means that if you can run and chew gum at the same time, you may have a leg up on your competition.

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I always try to chew gum while working out, except for disciplines that require me to wear a mouthpiece (e.g. kickboxing, grappling, etc.). I’m sure it helps me concentrate but I use it mainly to prevent dry mouth. I use the crappy sugar-free stuff you get at the grocery store, which is peppermint flavored but I doubt has any real peppermint in it. Maybe I’ll perform a little experiment on yours truly to see if ingesting peppermint essential oil has a beneficial effect on my workout performance. Stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, I’d love to hear how you like to incorporate mint into your diet. I enjoy throwing a handful of mint leaves into a tall glass of club soda with lime, essentially making a non-alcoholic mojito. Please feel free to share your minty fresh recipes with us on our social media (FacebookInstagram or Twitter) or email them to elementaltampa@gmail.com.

You can also take advantage of the free fitness consultations I’m currently offering by emailing me.

Last but not least, we’d really appreciate it if you vote for Addicted to Fitness for the “best local podcast” in the Creative Loafing Best of the Bay contest. Click the following link to cast your vote. Thanks!

 

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.

Hopefully, you’ll vote for us in CL’s Best of the Bay, and if you already have or are about to we deeply thank you!

Until next week, please stay in touch via email or on social media (FacebookInstagram or Twitter). We love hearing from you!

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

 

 

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 Fruit that Tells You It’s Summer

We discussed the optimum growing seasons for produce in a recent episode of the Addicted to Fitness podcast (click to listen), but we didn’t discuss which produce best REPRESENTS each season. My “season appropriate produce” list is as follows:

  • Fall – Pumpkins, squash and other gourds
  • Winter – Kale and Apples
  • Spring – Berries and Asparagus
  • Summer – Corn and Watermelon

I’m OK with people disagreeing with me on most of my choices, but for those who don’t agree that watermelon is the most summer produce there is I say FOR SHAME.

I can’t be the only one who attended summer cookouts where the giant green melon was used for the appetizer, main course and/or dessert. I’m sure if you go back and look at your family photos, they’ll be a picture of you standing next to a sprinkler with a giant wedge of watermelon in your hand. The fruit’s optimum growing season is May through September for PETE’S SAKE. Anything else go on between May and September?

How bout a little thing called summer break.

I rest my case.

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Now that I’ve established the fact the watermelon is THE summer produce, let’s discuss whether or not it’s healthy. One cup of watermelon contains less than one gram (g) of fat & protein and 11 g of carbs, 9 of those grams coming from sugar.

Not terribly uncommon for a sweet fruit, but somewhat of a departure from the items you’d usually see on this weekly blog. The relatively high sugar content translates to a rather high number on the glycemic index (GI), 76. However, unlike its GI, watermelon’s glycemic load (GL) is only 8, which is considered low. In layman’s terms, a serving of watermelon can cause a blood sugar spike but only for a short period of time, which translates to a minimal insulin response (source). With that said, if you are obese or a type 2 diabetic, I’d suggest asking your physician if it’s OK to add watermelon to your diet.

If you are fortunate enough to include watermelon in your diet, expect even more benefits than just its delicious flavor. In addition to a host of important vitamins (A, B6 & C), minerals (copper & magnesium) and amino acids, watermelon contains a significant amount of the phytonutrient lycopene. This carotenoid is not only responsible for giving watermelon its red color, it also provides the fruit’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. Recent research also suggests that lycopene can be very important to our cardiovascular and skeletal systems (source). Both of which are super important when you’re 30 something year old going head first down a homemade slip & slide.

I mean it is summer after all.

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Watermelon is also one of those fruits that pairs well with a wide variety of other foods. Shannon and I are big fans of watermelon salad with feta cheese and reduced balsamic dressing. If you have any other mouthwatering dishes that feature watermelon, please share them with us on social media (FacebookInstagram or Twitter).

Before I wrap up this menu spotlight, I want to give you a friendly reminder about ETTampa’s free fitness consultations. If you are looking for a little guidance, whether it be for exercise, nutrition or even accountability, send me an email at elementaltampa@gmail.com.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – From the Vault: UFC Date Night & How You Like Your Eggs

Every so often, Shannon and I like to share an episode from the earlier version of the podcast known as the ETT Wrap Show. These throwback episodes act not only as an audio time capsule, but also share pertinent health & fitness information with our current audience. This episode from the ETT Wrap Show vault kicks off discussing our upcoming group workout on the Tampa Riverwalk (link).

Outdoor workouts, especially in a safe environment, are extremely beneficial because of the exercise involved and the fact that they get you outside. Remember, vitamin D, which is important to bone density and hormone regulation, is obtained by soaking up a little sun. If you have any parks, green spaces and/or riverwalks in your city, you should definitely think about incorporating them into your fitness routine.

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Locations like the Tampa Riverwalk provide a great opportunity to incorporate outdoor training into your fitness routine

After singing the praises of the Tampa Riverwalk, Shannon and I discuss our experience at our first UFC Live event. I doubt I even have to say this, but the UFC is the largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion in the world. I’m sure most of you probably already know that due to the upcoming boxing match involving the biggest personality in UFC history, Conor McGregor.

We didn’t get to see Conor at the event we attended, but we did see his next potential MMA opponent, Khabib Nurmagomedov (yes that’s his real name). Shannon was especially impressed by Khabib superior takedown skills and his luxurious headwear. Click the link to learn more about this special hat and see a picture of UFC announcer Joe Rogan wearing it.

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Whole eggs, egg white or egg yolks. Which do you prefer?

After recapping the UFC fight, we move onto a discussion about my favorite whole food of all time: EGGS! One whole egg, yolk & whites, contain 5 g of fat, 6 g of protein and no carbs. Essentially the perfect no-carb snack that will keep the pesky hunger hormones leptin and gherlin at bay, IMO. We go on to describe the different nutritional profiles for egg whites and egg yolks on their own. How you like your eggs is a question we know can vary widely from person to person based on which version they believe is the healthiest.

We put the call out to our listeners to tell us what type of eggs they thought were the healthiest. Much to my delight the overwhelming response was the whole egg. I’m pleased by this because it wasn’t too long ago that everyone believed that eating eggs increased the cholesterol in your blood. However, according to a 2015 press release from the Mayo Clinic (link), dietary cholesterol, which whole eggs are high in, does not raise cholesterol in our blood. HOORAY!!

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We hope you all enjoy these throwback episodes as much as our normal episodes. If you do, please let us know by giving us a rating & review in iTunes (link). Also, we’d really, really, REALLY appreciate it if you vote for Addicted to Fitness as the “best local podcast” in Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay contest. Voting will be opening in a few weeks so bookmark their website (link) now and check back at the end of July to vote.

To show our appreciation for all the support you give us, I encourage you to take advantage of our current free fitness consultation offer. If you are looking for a little guidance, whether it be for exercise, nutrition or even accountability, send me an email at elementaltampa@gmail.com. Let’s make your fitness a top priority

Links to this week’s episode

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/from-the-vault-ufc-date-night-how-you-like-your-eggs/id1121420986?i=1000389968387&mt=2

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/nick-burch-702220833/from-the-vault-ufc-date-night

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/from-the-vault-ufc-date-night-how-you-like-your-eggs

 

What’s on the Menu – The beneficial aspects of being bitter

I think I can count the number of sugary sodas I’ve consumed over the last 5 years on two hands and still have a few fingers to spare. I’m sorry if you feel that I’m gloating but after recent research suggested that sugar, specifically sucrose, may be more addictive than COCAINE, I’m OK tooting my horn a little bit (source). I’m not trying to alienate any individuals currently addicted to sugar because we’re learning more about how legit that dependency can be.

I get it. Water is boring. Sure, all living things need it to sustain life, but as an animal with approximately 10,000 taste buds, we enjoy our beverages with a twist of flavor. With the information about the detrimental effects of sweetened beverages coming out seemingly on a weekly basis, what options do we have left?

Thankfully, mother nature provided us with such a well know flavor enhancer that restaurants are just giving it away!

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Picture courtesy of Shannon’s blog (adashofsparkle.com)

Lemons belong to the citrus genus that include other fruits like grapefruit, oranges and limes. The beneficial aspects of citrus were first documented in the late 1700s when James Lind discovered that they effectively treated scurvy, which is caused by a Vitamin C deficiency. One lemon contains approximately 50% of our daily value (DV) of this important nutrient. Research shows that the symptoms of the common cold, anemia, asthma and ischemic stroke may be significantly reduced by the consumption of foods high in Vitamin C, but the health benefits of this nutrient don’t stop there (source).

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is needed for the creation of numerous bodily structures including bones, muscles, skin, ligaments and more. In order for our bodies to produce collagen, it requires Vitamin C. Being that Vitamin C is an essential nutrient (one we must gather from food or supplementation) consuming foods that are high in it, like lemons, may increase our collagen production. Increased collagen production could increase muscle mass, reduce pain associated with osteoarthritis and minimize skin lines and wrinkles (source).

Let’s recap – consuming more Vitamin C could allow you to gain more muscle, reduce soreness and look younger?! Let’s all go suck on a lemon.

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Ok, maybe I’m being a little bit over zealous. Sure you could eat a lemon to get that precious Vitamin C OR you could add the juice of a lemon (1 oz = 23% DV of Vit C) to salad dressing, fresh fish or that water bottle you carry around all day.

See what I did there? I brought it all back around to how we started this post. If you’re trying to kick that sugary soda habit and plain water isn’t cutting it, add a twist of lemon to your water. Better yet, add an ounce of lemon juice to soda water. You still get your carbonated beverage fix without the damaging sugar.

If you have a recipe that incorporates lemons or lemon juice, please feel free to share it with us. You can send a pic of your tart recipe to us on social media (FacebookInstagram or Twitter) or you can email it to elementaltampa@gmail.com.

You can also take advantage of the complimentary fitness consultations we’re currently offering by emailing us. Whether you need advice on nutrition or just want workout tips, I’d be happy to set up an appointment with you to discuss how you can improve your fitness.