vegan

What’s On The Menu – The Vegans Got This One Right

My dietary preferences are broad to say the least. Animals, plants, fungi and even bacteria are all menu options for yours truly. That means that all wholesome food options, whether they be paleo, keto or vegan, are literally on the table for this omnivore.

One such vegan item that I’ve been putting on pretty much everything as of late is this pesto from Trader Joe’s. It has a short list of whole ingredients and is high in that oh so important macronutrient, FAT.

If I could change anything in it I would substitute the cashew butter for walnuts & nutritional yeast. Shannon is a former vegan and we’ve made a lot of vegan pesto. I can say with the utmost confidence that adding nutritional yeast gives it a much more “cheesy” flavor.

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Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – What is the Pegan Diet?

We lead off this episode of the ATF podcast with the announcement of an important milestone.

We finally have a website solely dedicated to podcast!

Visit addictedtofitnesspodcast.com and check out all of Shannon’s recent handy work. We’ll still post show notes here until we get all the content transferred to that site, but go ahead and bookmark it now.

Listeners Talk Back

Our listeners are noticing the new changes on the website and Facebook page because we’re getting lots of thumbs up on the new podcast logo and cover photo.

Our recent episode featuring the lactation cookie taste test is also eliciting a response from people. One listener asked me in person about how they tasted and the company that produces them, Stork and Dove, told us how much they enjoyed the episode on twitter. They even shared it on their social media.

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New ATF content can now be found on our WEBSITE!

Training Recap

Shannon has not done much more than her daily morning yoga routine and doesn’t feel guilty about it. However, she did get a stand-up desk at work, which has allowed her to incorporate periodic compound & isometric exercises, in addition to standing while she works. These movements are important because recent studies show that standing can be just as bad as sitting. Check out this article to find out ways you can properly use a standing desk.

I’m pretty stoked by the fact that I officially enrolled in the June Stick Mobility certification course. In order to hone my stick skills, I’m leading a Stick class at Tampa Strength every Saturday at 1030 AM (message me if you’d like to attend).

I’m also stoked about the new weekly ATF episodes that dropped last week. I don’t want to give too much away about the episode that will be dropping this week, but I will tell you that it has a lot to do with mindfulness. If you haven’t listened to the first Thursday episode with certified personal trainer & mobility specialist Alexis Rivera, download it today!

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Contact Nick to learn more about Stick training

Pegan Diet

Shannon recently discovered an article on Well+Good describing the benefits of a paleo, vegan hybrid diet. This approach to nutrition is championed by Dr. Mark Hyman, author of Eat Fat, Get Thin (which I’ve listened to on audible) and Food: What the Heck Should I Eat. 

Dr. Hyman believes that Peganism combines the best practices from both diets. He’s quoted in the article saying “A pegan diet is low-glycemic, high in plant foods, low in sugar, and includes adequate protein for appetite control and muscle synthesis.”

He also adds that each person should tweak it to fit their own particular health conditions, preferences, and needs

“If you’re vegan and don’t want to eat anything with a mother for moral or religious reasons, then that’s perfectly okay. But it’s critical to get omega-3 fatty acids, and not just ALA (or alpha-Linolenic acid) found in plants you need pre-formed DHA, which is what most of your brain is made from. The good news: You can get it from algae.”

I’m a huge fan of the idea of peganism. I feel the majority of our food should come from whole vegetables and fruit. I also know that animal products are high in important nutrients like heme iron, vitamin B12, and the aforementioned DHA. If you want to be fully optimized nutritionally, without having to rely on supplementation, I think the Pegan diet is an attractive approach.

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If you already subscribe to the Pegan diet, let us know on the ATF Podcast Facebook page how it’s working for you. While you’re there, please leave us a rating & review, which we’d also appreciate if you could do in iTunes. It only takes a few minutes and really helps us reach more listeners.

We also strongly encourage you visit hempcoffeeexchange.com and read about their delicious & nutritious sustainable super coffee. When you decide to purchase some of their tasty product, don’t forget to use our exclusive promo code “ATF” at checkout to get 20% off your order.

Links to this week’s episode

iTunes: https://goo.gl/XHHCrZ

Soundcloud: https://goo.gl/PyAEQX

Website: https://goo.gl/JbQjwd

Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – An Interview with Personal Trainer & Mobility Specialist, Alexis Rivera

THE DAY HAS FINALLY COME! The inaugural Thursday edition of the Addicted to Fitness podcast has arrived. These episodes will be dedicated to conversations with professionals, experts and compelling individuals from the world of health and fitness.

The first individual I have the pleasure of speaking with is personal trainer, certified Precision Nutrition coach and Stick Mobility & FRC specialist Alexis Rivera. Alexis and I chat about his past struggles with body image, the benefits mobility training can have for all fitness levels and how “small victories” can be the key to a successful nutrition plan.

Listen to the entire episode for more useful health info from Alexis and check out his awesome Instagram feed @the_holistic_hipster (love that handle). If you’re interested in utilizing his online personal training services, click here to contact him directly.

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We’ll be bringing you interviews with health & fitness pros each week, which means we’d love to hear your suggestions on who we should have on ATF. Send your recommendations to TheATFpodcast@gmail.com and don’t forget to rate, review and share the podcast.

Links to this episode

iTunes: https://goo.gl/NW6Nxr

Soundcloud: https://goo.gl/qxxBN6

Website: https://goo.gl/GLWkUH

What’s on the Menu – Goes Together Like Peas & Coffee

A few weeks ago I shared my favorite dairy coffee creamer, but I want to let all you know that I’m also a fan of nondairy creamers. As mentioned in the previous post the variety of nondairy choices you have to choose from is borderline overwhelming.

Soy, almond, and coconut are probably the most popular (besides the uber processed coffemate), but there is one that is starting to show up more in stores that I believe provides the most nutritional benefits.

Ripple Foods produces “milk” made up primarily of pea protein. Eight ounces contain nearly 5 g of fat and 8 grams of protein. It doesn’t have as short of an ingredient list as I’m use to, but it’s much more nutritious than almond milk.

Too much dairy wreaks havoc on my digestion so I like to add this and some unsweetened coconut milk to one of my daily coffee concoctions.

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What’s On the Menu – Too Good To Let Go To Waste

Let’s be honest. Guacamole is the best “dip” there is. Don’t bring your hummus, spinach & artichoke or salsa in my kitchen. NOT UP IN HERE!

Between the taste, nutrition and ease associated with preparing it, every thing else is playing for second place. Which is why I had to act fast when I had several ripe avocados at the house last week.

Instead of letting them go bad, I decided to make guacamole with whatever ingredients I had available. I ended up using 2 avocados, cherry tomatoes, shallots, fresh lime juice and salt. The heart healthy monounsaturated fat contained in the avocados was too good to let go to waste. ⠀

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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.

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 – 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.