protein

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.

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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).

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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

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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.

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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.

 

What’s on the Menu – I can see clearly now

None of us are getting any younger. I know that’s not exactly breaking news, but I recently reached the point in my life where I’m beginning to feel the effects of aging. I cruised through my 20s with little concern every time my birthday rolled around. Now, as I inch closer to 34, I’m starting to experience issues that would have never affected me 5 years ago.

My muscles take a little longer to recover from a tough workout. It’s hard for me to be energetic the day after a poor night’s sleep and if I decide to forgo “clean eating” for a night, my digestive system is in turmoil for at least 24 hours. Fortunately, there is one bodily function that has yet to be touched by the hands of father time and I believe that has a lot to do with today’s menu spotlight.

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Whether it be in a salad I packed for lunch or Shannon’s delicious Saucy Tomato Eggs (clink link for recipe), bell peppers frequently make their way into many of our meals. Unlike their spicy cousins, bell peppers do not contain capsaicin, which is why they’re often referred to as sweet peppers. True to their name, bell peppers provide a sweet flavor and a tremendous crunch to any recipe. Even though they lack the beneficial capsaicin compound, bell peppers provide a host of beneficial nutrients that can help manage several different health conditions, including poor eye sight.

One medium sized red bell pepper contains approximately 75% of our recommended daily value of vitamin A. Research has shown that the vitamin A contained in vegetables like bell peppers not only protects the surface of the eye, but also decreases the inflammation created by specific eye conditions (source). In addition to vitamin A, bell peppers also contain high levels of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been shown to be effective in the treatment of age-related vision loss (source). Believe it or not, the bell pepper’s health benefits don’t stop there.

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Bell peppers also contain a significant amount of vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate and numerous antioxidants. This nutrient dense fruit/veggie improves immunity, reduces inflammation, promotes healthy pregnancies and stimulates collagen production. It’s important to remember that a lot of the vitamins bell peppers possess are fat soluble vitamins. Which means you need to prepare them with a fat source. Sauteing them up in olive oil or butter should do the trick (source).

I know I included the link already, but do yourself a favor and check out Shannon’s saucy tomato eggs recipe. If I had to pick only one meal that contained bell peppers to eat for the rest of my life, it would be that one.

No doubt about it.

If you have a recipe that features bell peppers that you can’t live without, please let me know about it. You can email your recipes to elementaltampa@gmail.com or post a pic of your favorite bell pepper recipe on one of our various social media channels. It’s going to be hard to beat Shannon’s recipe, but you can try.

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.

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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).

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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 – From the Vault: Active Key West Trip & Cricket Protein Bar Review

A year ago this week, Shannon and I were hosting numerous events in preparation for our wedding on April 29th. To commemorate that event, I figured I’d reach back into the ETT Wrap Show vault for our first podcast as husband and wife. Even though we start this throwback episode off discussing our wedding day, we quickly turn the conversation to health and fitness with a recap of our extremely active honeymoon in Key West.

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Bikes were are preferred mode of transportation while in Key West

All you avid Addicted to Fitness listeners know that Shannon and I aren’t ones to just lie around on vacation, and our honeymoon was no exception. We decided to rent bikes instead of a car while in Key West. This choice allowed us to stay active and explore lesser seen parts of the city. I also got a nice long run in from our hotel to the Southernmost Point, which was necessary because I was about to participate in the Mud Endeavor obstacle course race with several other ETT members. You can click here to check out another throwback episode about our performance at the Mud Endeavor.

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Image courtesy of the Exo Cricket Protein Bars Instagram Page

After discussing our upcoming mudrun and the possibility of me completing an Ironman triathlon, the episode quickly transitions to Shannon taste testing a very unique protein bar. Fans of the podcast have probably heard my former cohost, Tyler, and I taste test Exo Cricket Flour Protein bars (episode link), but I was still waiting to get Shannon’s first impression. I hate to spoil it for you guys but Shannon wasn’t grossed out by the bars made with ground up crickets. It didn’t come as much of a surprise to me being that the first 4 ingredients were almonds, dates, coconut and honey. Click here to learn more about this sustainable protein bar.

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Image created with photo courtesy of Jonathan Fanning

Hopefully you all enjoyed this throwback episode and don’t worry, Shannon and I will be back with a brand new episode next week. We also have a couple interview episodes coming your way so make sure you subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t done so already and please share Addicted to Fitness with a friend. 

We’ve already received some feedback from the “homework” we gave you listeners on last week’s show (click here if you missed it), but we’d still love to know what time during the week you reserve for listening to Addicted to Fitness. Please send any and all feedback to elementaltampa@gmail.com or drop us a line on social media. Thanks for helping us set another download record this month. Stay healthy this week peeps!

Links to this week’s episodes

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/from-vault-active-key-west-trip-cricket-protein-bar/id1121420986?i=1000384709561&mt=2

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

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/from-the-vault-active-honeymoon-shannons-cricket-protein-bar-taste-test

 

What’s on the Menu – The Raw Bar May Have What You Need to Live a Happier Life

Before I became immersed in health & fitness, I spent a significant amount of time working in bivalve aquaculture.

For all of you who are wondering what bivalve aquaculture is, it’s essentially the captive breeding of shellfish like clams, oysters and/or scallops for either species restoration or commercial purposes. Sounds a lot like agriculture right? Well that’s because it is.

Aquaculturists create “seeds” by spawning mature animals, caring for and feeding the immature “seeds” until they are big enough to be “planted” in a body of water, where they can further develop. This prior experience taught me the importance of shellfish, not only to our environment, but also to our health.

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Shellfish are truly some of the most nutritious foods on the planet. I’ve been lucky enough to have access to a lot of fresh shellfish in my life, but temporal and geographic limitations can make that an impossibility for many people.

That’s why canned shellfish, like whole cherrystone clams from Trader Joe’s, are a godsend. I enjoyed the canned clams in a salad but you could always to do a low-carb version of linguine and clams by using zucchini noodles.

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The can pictured above contains 1g of fat, 2g of carbs and 12g of protein. These canned clams also contain almost 40% of our recommended daily allowance of iron, a significant amount of vitamin B12 and several other hard to get minerals.

According to a prominent nutrition specialist (who I’ll get into more about in a minute), these nutritional benefits can also prevent several chronic health conditions that are affecting more and more people each year.

Functional medicine practitioner and ancestral nutrition expert Chris Kresser outlined in a recent episode of his podcast (link) that nutrients in clams and oysters, particularly zinc and several B vitamins, can help prevent health conditions like anxiety and depression. He even suggests that those on mostly plant-based diets should consider having two servings of shellfish like clams and oysters a week because their diets are usually deficient in the previously mentioned nutrients.

Even though I agree with this recommendation based on potential health benefits and bivalves perceived inability to suffer (no brain or central nervous system), I’m not going to tell people what they should and should not eat. I want people to be as a healthy as possible, but individuals’ dietary choices are their own. I’m simply here to provide you with knowledge about certain foods that you may not have been aware of. What you do with that knowledge is your decision.

If you are someone that incorporates animal protein into your diet, consider adding canned clams or oysters to your grocery list. If you are already a fan these shellfish feel free to send your favorite recipes to elementaltampa@gmail.com. If there is anyone out there with a oyster Rockefeller recipe, please send it my way!

What’s on the Menu – Office Friendly Seafood Snack

I claimed in the title, and on Instagram, that this week’s menu spotlight can be an exception to the “no fish” rule that most office lunchrooms advertise. I make that claim for two reasons: smoked salmon does not have to be warmed up in the microwave to be enjoyed and I’ve never worked in an office before. Which is why you should take my office friendly claim for smoked salmon with certain level of skepticism.

One thing I can tell you with the utmost certainty is that smoked salmon is a FANTASTIC healthy snack food. Two ounces of wild caught sockeye smoked salmon from Trader Joe’s contains 6g of fat, 12g of protein and zero carbs. I always harp on the fact that you should try to eat foods that provide a significant amount of protein and/or fat because they’ll keep you fuller longer, which will prevent you from forging for snacks during the day. Not only does smoked salmon provide both those macronutrients, but the fat contained in smoked salmon is not only healthy, it’s essential.

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This bear knows whats up

Essential nutrients are nutrients that are body is incapable of producing on its own, which means we must obtain them through diet or supplementation. One such essential nutrient that all types of salmon (fresh, smoked, canned, etc.) is high in is omega 3 fatty acids. Research has shown that consuming omega 3 fatty acids on regular basis has been linked to decreased inflammation, lowered blood pressure and improved function of the cells that line your arteries (source). These benefits are uber important since according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the leading cause of death worldwide for last 15 years has been heart disease. Can you see why I’m such a fan?!

Let’s review: Salmon, specifically smoked salmon, doesn’t have a pungent fishy smell, IMO; it contains a significant amount of protein, which will help prevent additional snacking; it contains omega 3 fatty acids, which can help you avoid the #1 leading cause of death worldwide! The only problem I see is that a 4 oz package cost almost $9. But honestly, it’s a fair price to pay for a food that is packed with life saving nutrients.

I can eat it straight from the package but I know lots of people love adding some cream cheese and capers (yes, I purposely left out the bagel). Let us know how you enjoy your smoked salmon. We’d also love know what “nutritional powerhouse” foods you snack on. Leave your feedback in the comment section below and hit us up at elementaltampa@gmail.com.

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Addicted To Fitness Show Notes – A Conversation with the Creators of the Hemp & Coffee Exchange

I go into each podcast with a general outline of what topics I want Shannon and I to address, but we rarely stick to our outline. I’m not complaining because these seemingly scheduled detours lead to great conversations. Which is why it was no surprise to me that this week’s episode of Addicted to Fitness unfolded in a way that I could have never imagined.

We took the podcast on the road this week to meet with the creators of an innovative coffee beverage. Jeremy Denny and Brett Schwencke are the owners/operators of the Hemp & Coffee Exchange, which focuses on providing “sustainable and progressive products to the conscientious consumer by focusing on renewable hemp merchandise and high quality consumables.” Their premier “high quality consumable” is a super coffee that combines the nutritional benefits of hemp hearts or seeds with single origin green coffee beans that they roast themselves. I was first turned on to their product by seeing a bag of it at my local coffee shop. This discovery led Shannon and I to take a trip out to Jeremy’s “Tiny Ranch” for a taste test of their products. What we got was an experience of a lifetime.

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Before we sat down for the podcast, Jeremy showed us around his small estate, introduced us to his four legged friends and demonstrated his affinity to a sustainable lifestyle. After our tour, Shannon and I sat down with Brett and Jeremy and began going over the history of the The Hemp & Coffee exchange. Jeremy’s extensive culinary experience combined with Brett’s knowledge of the hemp industry allowed them to create a unique product that meant both of their ridiculously high standards. Jeremy explained how combining hemp with coffee can provide additional macro and micronutrients not normally found in coffee like omega 3 & 6 fatty acids and fiber. Brett informed us that not only is hemp nutritionally beneficial, but farming it in the United States, where it is currently illegal to mass produce, could help rejuvenate our dwindling agriculture industry. Shannon and I were sold on the nutritional and environmental aspects of the super coffee, but what about the taste?

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The first blend we tasted was a combination of hemp seeds and coffee. Our first immediate reaction was that it tasted very similar to tea. We were both drinking it black and were surprised by how subtle the flavor was. Shannon normally can’t handle black coffee, but she had no problem with this blend. We then tasted the combination of the hemp hearts and coffee. Right away I could tell that I preferred this one. The hemp hearts provided a creamy and nutty flavor similar to that of my non-dairy bulletproof coffee. Interesting enough, Jeremy and Brett stated that their hemp coffee provided the same nutritional benefits, if not more than that of bulletproof coffee. Take that Dave Asprey!

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Jeremy and Brett from the THCexhange

I hope I’ve conveyed the fact that this episode is much more than just a taste test or interview podcast. You really have to listen to the episode to get the full scope of the discussion. Our conversation with Jeremy and Brett was not only educational, it was inspirational. Meeting and speaking with like minded people that are focused on sustainability, whether it be environmentally or nutritionally, is one of the main objectives of the Addicted to Fitness podcast. Do yourself a favor and order a bag of super coffee on the Hemp & Coffee Exchange website, and connect with Jeremy and Brett on their various social channels (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).

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We really hope you enjoy episodes like this. If you do, please let us know. You can send us feedback at elementaltampa@gmail.com or leave us a rating and review in iTunes. We hope you enjoy the podcast as much as we enjoy producing it. Thanks again for your support and stay healthy this week peeps!

Links to this week’s episode

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/conversation-creators-hemp-coffee-exchange/id1121420986?i=1000381428238&mt=2

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

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/a-conversation-with-the-creators-of-the-hemp-coffee-exchange