vegan

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.

Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – Crutch Foods & How To Avoid Them

We were working late again on this week’s podcast, which is pretty evident straight off the bat as poor annunciation (listen for the excellent “recrap” instead of “recap” moment) led to some pretty funny moments amidst our discussions.

Our first point was serious praise for all you listeners who have truly stepped up in the recent weeks and are leading the podcast to some exciting milestones. Keep up the sharing and listening as we work to make the podcast better than ever!

In our look back on our past week of training, Nick called out his most recent accomplishment – taking his first barre class at Pure Barre in South Tampa. You’ll be hearing more about this experience in the future, but for now here’s a little taste…

Me at barre

I’ve never felt so uncomfortable at a bar

Meanwhile, I got back on the Peloton cycle and had to make some decisions of my own, reevaluating my fitness goals and identifying the changes I needed to make. We’ll go into it more in the future, especially the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) parameters that you can use to set successful goals.

One of the biggest areas of health and fitness goal setting is diet, which brings us to this week’s main podcast topic – Crutch Foods.

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Any of these items your crutch food?

The first question we seek to answer is what is a crutch food?

Nick’s definition of crutch food included more of an emotional aspect = food that elicits a pleasurable feeling, or rather comfort foods.

My definition focused more on it being the habitual use of comfort foods so that it becomes an unconscious addition to almost every one of your meals. You don’t eat the food item for its nutritional value, but rather it takes over as a reliant go-to.

For me, my recent crutch food was an old friend/foe – breads and carbs – but I have also used cheese and dairy as a crutch food in the past, thus the reason I was a vegan at one point in time.

Nick’s crutch food is coffee. Though he’s not currently drinking an unhealthy amount he drinks it regardless of whether he needs the benefits it provides or not. It has become something he leans on, like a crutch.

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A diet of whole & seasonal ingredients can lead to better health

This brings us to how do you shake or avoid crutch foods.

Though it may come as a surprise, a great resource recently came out in the April 2017 issue of  Martha Stewart Living. Since Nick is as big of a Marth Stewart fan as I am (which we have a good laugh about – though he denies just how much he loves her), we talk through the article “The New Way to Eat” and the 12 principles it outlines to put the focus back on whole, seasonal foods.

The 12 Principles:

  1. Expand Your Food Horizons – be adventurous and explore different types of whole foods; incorporate more in your diet
  2. Get Satisfaction – Remove distractions while eating to fully ensure your focus is where it should be
  3. Let Things Simmer – Embrace some crockpot-style cooking to capitalize on the benefits
  4. Be Smart About Starch – Carbs aren’t the devil and some like starches can be a smart part of your diet
  5. See Seafood Differently – Get some of the original smart food: seafood (avoid large predatory fish – high in mercury)
  6. Wine is Fine – Studies show that some wine, especially the antioxidant-rich dark reds, can have some added benefits in moderation
  7. Go for Full-Fat – Though some can’t handle dairy, those who can, will see benefits from full-fat dairy which is actually easier for our bodies to digest than processed, low-fat versions
  8. Fill Up On Fiber – Fresh produce has more than vitamins; it’s loaded with fiber which is vital to our digestion
  9. Finish Strong – Use herbs as a way to pack a tasty and satisfying punch to your meals
  10. Eat Sweets with Intention – A zero-tolerance policy doesn’t work when it comes to desserts so indulge wisely with the utmost intention on enjoying quality in your sweet treats.
  11. Take the Spice Route – Spices pack more than a punch of flavor, some have incredible anti-inflammatory and brain-benefiting powers, so use them when you can
  12. Lock It In For Life – Focus on real food, not just for a day, but every day to create lasting impact

Nick and I break down each of the principles and talk about how they can be used to formulate a good diet and strong lifestyle. Many of the principles are ones we already subscribe to, but it’s easy to forget just how important healthy eating is. The article provides an important reminder.

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Thanks again for making March our best month yet. Keep listening and sharing the podcast and if you have time please give us a rating and review in iTunes. Be sure to keep connected with us and feel free to send any feedback via our social channels or email elementaltampa@gmail.com.

Links for this week’s episode:

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/crutch-foods-how-to-avoid-them/id1121420986?i=1000383159057&mt=2

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

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/crutch-foods-how-to-avoid-them

 

 

 

What’s on the Menu

If you’ve been following this blog for an extended period of time, you are probably privy to the fact that I’m a devout omnivore. That devotion is what inspires me to order the “charcuterie board” whenever I see it on a restaurant’s menu.

Meat and cheese may seem simple, but the variety of flavors that can exist within those two food categories appears to be endless. Which is why when Shannon asked me what we should have for a mid afternoon snack on Christmas I almost involuntarily responded, “charcuterie!”

I’ll admit right now that I had no idea that my request would result in the picture you see below.

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(Vegan Cheeze Dip in the top left corner)

As you can see the board contained a variety of meats and cheeses, but it also contained Shannon’s vegan cheeze dip. I know what you’re thinking “How the hell can cheese dip be vegan?” Fortunately, the answer to that question is ridiculously simple. Check out the recipe from her blog to see why:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cup Raw Cashews
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 3 tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • pinch of Cayenne Powder
  • pinch of Turmeric

DIRECTIONS:

Dump all the ingredients into a food processor and blend till creamy.

This recipe is perfect for everyone! It doesn’t contain any dairy, the cashews are full of healthy fats (source), the nutritional yeast has a surprising amount of protein (source) and the vast majority of its carbs come from fiber.

You make this dip for you next big party and I promise you’ll be having people asking you for the recipe. Just make sure you tell them you got it from elementaltampa.com!

An Interview with the Lean Green DAD, Cory Warren

Thirteen hours a week. That’s the minimum amount of training time needed to prepare for an ironman triathlon. I learned that during my interview with the Lean Green DAD, Cory Warren. Cory was training for triathlons when he discovered that a plant based diet helped him recover faster and helped his wife manage her auto-immune disease. Since that point, he and his family have been advocates for the plant based lifestyle. Whether it be in his blog, YouTube videos, or on his podcast, Cory promotes the benefits of incorporating more plants into your diet. During our interview, Cory and I discussed supplements that are necessary on a vegan diet, how to motivate your kids to eat more veggies and an app he’s developing that will change the way you shop for groceries. Cory is dedicated to helping people and I feel privileged to have him on the Addicted to Fitness podcast.

In addition to our interview with the Lean Green DAD, Shannon and I discuss a pair of upcoming ETT events on this week’s episode. First on November 12th, ETT member Carmin will be competing in the main event of the Mike Calta Punchout. Even though this event is more entertainment than sport, Carmin has been training like a real fighter, which is why I believe her fight will easily be the fight of the night. The next ETT event Shannon and I discuss this week is the next ETT group workout on the 19th of November. Once again, if you live in the Tampa Bay Area, come join us for this free workout. All workout participants receive a 15% discount at one of Tampa’s best coffee shops, Spaddy’s Coffee.

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Earlier this week, I noticed that we had surpassed the 2000 download mark. I never thought anyone would even listen to this podcast, let alone it be downloaded over 2000 times! Thanks so much for your continued support. You all keep listening and we’ll keep putting out fun and engaging health & fitness news on a weekly basis. If you haven’t done so already, please rate, review and share the podcast. Thanks for the continued support and stay healthy this week peeps!

Links for this week’s episode

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/interview-lean-green-dad-cory/id1121420986?i=1000377569626&mt=2

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

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/an-interview-with-the-lean-green-dad-cory-warren

What’s on the Menu

Let’s face it, proper nutrition is one of the key components to losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. People frequently ask me what I eat and what better way to share that with people then participating in the weekly trending topic #whatieatwednesday. One of my menu items that I recently highlighted were collared greens. Shannon let me know that this dark leafy green was one of her go-to’s when she was a vegan. Not surprising since 1 cup of boiled collared greens has 5 g of protein, not to mention a ton of vitamins & minerals like vitamin A and calcium. FYI – the collared pictured below are definitely not vegan friendly. I cooked them in butter, garlic and diced ham 😊. You can stay up to date with my weekly #whatieatwednesday posts by following me on Instagram under the handle @ettampa.

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