smoothie

What’s on the Menu – A Review of Arbonne Protein Shake Mix

I always promote the theory that a huge component of healthy eating is the utilization of whole ingredients. Whether it be fruits, vegetables, nuts or meat, I believe that the more wholesome you can be with your diet, the better.

However, I know that our go-go society makes eating whole foods somewhat difficult. Being a personal trainer that caters to clients in multiple locations requires me to frequently eat on the go. Unfortunately, whole foods aren’t always the most travel friendly.

I regularly bring tupperware containers full of whole foods with me whenever I can, but sometimes situations arise where having a portable meal replacement option available can be a godsend. I believe that’s one of the main reasons why protein shake mixes and meal replacement bars have risen in popularity over the past 5 years (source). Unfortunately, this rise in popularity has also led to market saturation, in my opinion.

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Ate this “breakfast” in the bank parking lot

The number of meal replacement bars & shakes you have to choose from nowadays is almost overwhelming. Also, most of these items are marketed as “health foods” while certain ones are no better than items you can get at a fast food restaurant (source).  These are the reasons why I love sharing my reviews of “meal replacement” options whenever I try them.

I was recently asked by a friend to try out a protein shake mix from a company called Arbonne (website). Arbonne is based out of Switzerland and it distributes a wide range of beauty & health products. According to their catalog, all their nutrition products are vegan, gluten-free and free of artifical sweeteners & flavors. I want to state that I am not a Arbonne distributor and currently have no plans to be one in the future. Right now, I’m just a taste tester.

Now that my disclaimer is out of the way, here’s my review of Arbonne’s vanilla protein shake mix:

  • Nutrition stats: 1 packet (~1/4 cup) contains 160 calories, 3 g of fat, 14 g of carbs and 20 g of protein; contains numerous vitamins & minerals, most noteably vitamin B12 (17% RDA) & vitamin E (16% RDA). Click here for more nutritional info on this product.
  • Taste: mixed half the packet with just water – dissolved well, not gritty or chunky – good vanilla flavor & not overtly sweet but I definitely got the stevia aftertaste; mixed remaining powder in a blender with frozen spinach & blueberries – created a super creamy smoothie, but I preferred it with just water.

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Overall, I was pretty impressed by the protein shake mix from Arbonne. The ability for it to dissolve completely in water is a huge bonus and the single serving packets are easy to transport. Sugar cane is the second most abundant ingredient according to the label, which I’m not thrilled about, but it wasn’t super sweet. I would probably add a little full fat coconut milk to my water to get a more satiating “meal”. Either way, if I were in the market for a vegan protein powder, I’d definitely consider Arbonne.

As previously mentioned, I’m not an Arbonne distributor, but if you’re interested in their products, I can connect you with someone who is. You can always contact me via email, elementaltampa@gmail.com, or give us a shout on social media (FacebookInstagram or Twitter). If you do reach out, and I hope you do, make sure to include any suggestions on the next product you’d like me to review.

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What’s on the Menu – Should we believe the hype?

Kale seems like another one of those foods that has gained a ton of popularity in recent years. I was exposed to it at a young age because my Dad grew it in our garden, but I don’t recall seeing it on restaurant menus or in grocery stores like I do today. After doing a little research, it looks like my assumption isn’t totally unfounded.

Statistics from the Department of Agriculture show that the number of farms that produced kale between 2007 and 2012 increased by 60% (source). Farm to table restaurants, veganism and “food porn” (definition) are just a few trends that surely contributed to kale’s recent popularity, but the cruciferous veggie’s superfood status is what keeps its hype train a rolling.

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Kale belongs to the Brassica genus, which includes other nutritious veggies like collard greens, cabbage and turnips. The macronutrient breakdown for kale is pretty unique as far as veggies go. One cup of raw kale contains 7 grams (g) of carbs, 3 g of protein and almost 1 g of fat. May not seem like much but kale’s 3 g of protein is three times more than spinach and 30 times more than iceberg lettuce. Also, the nearly 1 g of fat contains 121 mg of the omega 3 fatty acid alpha linolenic acid, which certainly contributes to kale’s ability to improve cardiovascular health (source).

Kale’s effect on cholesterol is extremely interesting to someone like myself who has high LDL cholesterol, which is currently thought of as “bad” cholesterol¹. A 2008 study demonstrated that the daily consumption of kale juice could raise HDL (good) cholesterol while lowering LDL cholesterol. Kale also contains bile acid sequestrants which help lower the amount of total cholesterol in our bodies (source). However, the way you prepare kale can have a major effect on which of its nutrients you end up absorbing.

¹ – Recent research suggest that LDL particle number is more important to predicting heart disease than LDL cholesterol (source)

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Both raw and cooked kale contain a significant amount of micro & macronutrients, but the latter appears to allow for better absorption of those nutrients. Not only does steaming kale enhance its cholesterol lowering abilities, it also greatly reduces the oxalic acid contained in the plant. Oxalic acid can bind to important nutrients like calcium and iron rendering them useless to us and lead to kidney stones in certain individuals (source). However, I want to be clear that after researching the potential detrimental effects of eating raw kale, its beneficial aspects still out-weight any possible hazards.

You can see above that one of Shannon and I’s preferred kale preparation methods is a casserole that combines kale with sausage, butternut squash and liberal amount of shredded parmesan. If you’d like the recipe to this mouth-watering dish, feel free to email me at elementaltampa@gmail.com. We could also setup your first FREE fitness consultation. Let ETTampa help you optimize your life by improving your fitness.

The Return of the Macros Game

In my opinion, we have a lot of silly holidays in the United states, but Labor Day is not one of them. Labor Day is a celebration of the decades of hard work American laborers put forth to make the United States an economic powerhouse. Hopefully you get to enjoy a paid holiday thanks to all that manual labor, and what better way to spend your holiday than listening to a new episode of the Addicted to Fitness podcast. NOW THAT’S A SEGUE!

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We kick off this week’s episode talking about the recent weather event we had to deal with. Hurricane Hermine screwed with several ETT personal training sessions, but luckily we were able to complete most of them without incident. We also discussed my new favorite Peloton cycle instructor Jessica King (pictured above) and get into a pair of nauseating smoothie stories. The smoothie stories are especially troubling because one deals with people catching Hepatitis A from contaminated fruit sold at a national smoothie chain. We go into more detail in the episode but if you’re looking for more information about this story check out this news article from the CDC.

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Last but certainly not least, everyone’s favorite nutritional trivia game makes it’s long awaited return to the podcast. That’s right! The Macros Game is back, and we’ve got a special Labor Day edition for you. Shannon quizzes me on the macronutrient content of several Labor Day cookout staples. Make sure you play along at home and send us your scores. In addition to your scores, we would really appreciate you all giving us a rating and/or review on iTunes. Help us spread the good word of fitness and share the podcast with anyone and everyone. We appreciate the support and stay healthy this week peeps!

Links to this week’s podcast

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-return-of-the-macros-game/id1121420986?i=1000374926964&mt=2

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

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/the-return-of-the-macros-game

 

Green Is The New Black

I never thought it would be hip to eat a dark leafy green vegetable, but I think kale has reached that status. Whether it’s a kale entrée at a trendy restaurant or a kale smoothie from Panera, it seems like you can get kale pretty much anywhere nowadays. Regardless of how trendy kale may be currently, the truth is that it’s extremely good for you. However, eating kale raw is not exactly appetizing. Check out the video below for a tasty kale & fruit smoothie recipe that will have you reaching hipster status in no time.