Much like coffee creamers, the variety of nut butters has seemed to increase almost exponentially over the past 5-10 years. I imagine that the increase in childhood peanut allergies (21% increase since 2010) has been a major contributing factor.
For those of us that aren’t stricken with that terrible affliction, deciding on whether to buy peanut butter or almond butter can be a constant struggle. Well no need to worry because this menu spotlight will tell you which nut butter is nutritional superior.
Both are a great source of monounsaturated fat, fiber and plant based protein, but almond butter has more vitamin E, iron and calcium. Just make sure the only ingredients are almonds and maybe a pinch of salt. You don’t want to negate the nutritional benefits by buying something full of sugar and additives that prevent oil separation.
Vegetables are a great source of vital nutrients. I know that’s not exactly a news flash but eating a variety of veggies is necessary to obtain a wide range of vitamins, minerals and other beneficial organic compounds.
One such group of veggies that Shannon and I try to each multiple times a week are cruciferous vegetables. The member of this veggie family, including the brussels sprouts pictured below, contain organic compounds known as glucosinolates that have been found to have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects (source).
I love roasting them in the oven, but when I’m crunched for time, I simply boil them up, cover them in spices & butter and chow down. I want to point out that eating them with a fat source, like butter, helps you absorb the tremendous amount to of Vitamin K contained in these mini cabbages.
What’s up peeps! We’ve got another exciting and informative episode of Addicted to Fitness this week. Before we jump into all our intriguing health topics, we lead off the podcast by telling you all about our awesome sponsors.
The Hemp & Coffee Exchange is dedicated to providing “high-quality consumables” like their super coffee, which combines the nutritional benefits of hemp hearts/seeds with single origin green coffee beans that they roast themselves. Do yourself a favor and visit hempcoffeeexchange.com and get 20% off your order by using our exclusive “ATF” promo code.
After giving our sponsors the love they so rightly deserve, we dive into the helpful fitness info with our training recaps.
My training recap consists of two BIG announcements. First off, starting Saturday, March 24th, I’ll be leading a group Stick Mobility (pictured above) class at Tampa Strength. If you live in the Tampa Bay Area, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn all the details about this innovative training modality.
The second big announcement has to do with this very podcast. I want to let all the dedicated listeners know that you’ll no longer get one ATF episode a week……you’ll be getting TWO! That’s right, starting this Thursday (March 22nd), we’ll be posting two episodes a week filled with useful health & fitness info.
Shannon’s week of training includes daily yoga practice, periodic HIIT workouts and dancing her socks off at our friends’ wedding. She danced so hard that she had to ice her knee for several days after the wedding. My lady goes hard on the dance floor!
After our training recaps, we do a quick overview of the effectiveness of generic multivitamins. A 2013 editorial from the Annals of Internal Medicine claimed that multivitamins purchased over the counter provide no significant benefit to preventing chronic diseases. However, several rebuttals, including one from my platonic woman crush Dr. Rhonda Patrick, claim that the scientific research used by the editorial did not tell the whole story.
The bottom line is that multivitamins can benefit certain individuals, but they are not a miracle cure. You are probably better off finding out which vitamins & minerals you actually need opposed to taking a daily dose of multiple ones and hoping it helps. Which is a perfect segue to the “unboxing” of Shannon’s personalized vitamins from Care/of.
Shannon took the quiz on the Care/of website and based on her lifestyle & health goals, she was prescribed a month’s worth of customized daily vitamin packs that included substantial info about the effectiveness of each vitamin along with links to all the research associated with them.
She spent around $50 for her monthly subscription but was able to get half off her first month thanks to a promo code from another podcast. If you want to see the entire unboxing video, head to the ATF podcast Facebook page and make sure you follow Care/of on Instagram (@careofvitamins) to learn more about their products.
Last, but certainly not least, we taste test a very unique health food. Since bringing Ella home from the hospital, Shannon has had the challenging endeavor of providing her with her exclusive source of nutrition. Yes folks, I’m talking about breastfeeding.
Shannon and I are super stoked that she has been able to feed Ella only breast milk for the first 5 months of her life. We’re introducing new sources of nutrition, but Shannon and I still want breast milk to be a large part of Ella’s diet. Which is why Shannon is willing to try anything that claims to increase breast milk production, like Booby Boons – Lactation Cookies from Stork and Dove.
These cookies are made with ingredients (nutritional yeast, oats and flax) that research suggest can help stimulate breast milk production. We both gave them a try (yes both of us) and found that they were quite tasty. You’ll have to keep listening to find out if they were effective or not.
In the meantime, please visit the ATF podcast Facebook page and leave us a comment, which we’ll feature in a future Listeners Talk Back segment. We’d also appreciate you giving us a rating & review on iTunes. May not seem like a big deal but it’s a quick, easy task that can really help us reach more people.
Besides nutrition and exercise, coffee has to be the most popular subject matter on elementaltampa.com. I took a quick look and I’ve written 3 blog posts and recorded 3 Addicted to Fitness podcasts that discuss the benefits of my favorite beverage. This week’s menu spotlight will be yet another ode to one of my beloved coffee beverages.
If you listen to this week’s ATF podcast (episode link) you would have heard that we’ve been fortunate enough to partner with an awesome company called The Hemp & Coffee Exchange. THC_exchange produces a
Super coffee blend of intelligently sourced hemp seeds, hearts, and green coffee beans.
If that product description sounds familiar to our longtime followers, it’s because we interviewed the creators of The Hemp & Coffee Exchange earlier this year for an episode of ATF, which I encourage you all to go back and listen to (episode link). I learned from that interview that their hemp-coffee blend is not only delicious but offers more nutritional & environmental benefits than the coffee you can buy at the grocery store.
Jeremy & Brett, creators of The Hemp & Coffee Exchange
The health benefits of coffee have been mentioned numerous times on this blog, but I think they always deserve repeating. Several of the positive health benefits associated with coffee consumption include:
Two or more cups of coffee could prevent alcohol induced cirrhosis by up to 66% (source)
Studies have shown that drinking coffee can result in a significant reduction in prostate cancer (source)
Studies have shown that the caffeine in coffee can improve performance in endurance events (source) FUN FACT: caffeine was considered a performance enhancing drug by the Olympic drug testing agency until 2004
Studies have linked coffee consumption to the reduction in the development of both Alzheimer’s disease and dementia (source)
THC_exchange uses high quality coffee beans, which they roast themselves, to produce their product, but the health benefits of this “sustainable super coffee blend” don’t stop there. The incorporation of hemp provides numerous important water-soluble nutrients like omega 3 & 6 fatty acids (specifically gamma-linolenic acid), amino acids and several important vitamins and minerals (source). The use of hemp is also important to another tenet held by the creators of THC_exchange, sustainability.
During our interview, THC_exchange creators told us that they believed that hemp could revitalize the United States agricultural industry. Not only is it a phenomenal cover crop, but it also re-introduces nutrients to the soil, takes minimal water & resources to maintain and has numerous industrial uses (e.g. livestock feed, textiles, building materials, etc.). Unfortunately mass production of non-psychoactive hemp is currently illegal in the United States, but products like THC_exchange coffee demonstrate its benefits and importance.
All these nutritional & environmental benefits aren’t even the main reason why I love this hemp-coffee blend so much. I can say without hesitation that it is one of the most flavorful ground coffees I’ve ever had. You all know how much I love coffee. I post a coffee pic on social media almost every day!
If THC_exchange’s coffee tasted crappy, no amount of health or environmental benefits could make me drink it, let along recommend it to others. Both varieties of their hemp-coffee blends have unique flavor profiles and they even offer a no hemp, whole bean option for those who aren’t ready to add a little hemp to their morning coffee.
I encourage you to head to THC_exchange’s website (link) to learn more about their values and products. If this post has compelled you to try one of their hemp-coffee blends, please use the code “ATF” at checkout to get a 20% discount. Let me know what you think and please feel free to share a pic of your cup of THC_exchange coffee with us on social media (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter).
When celebrity fitness trainer Vinnie Tortorich came on the Addicted to Fitness podcast (click here to listen to entire episode) last year, he made a statement that really resonated with me. He said
The worse thing about dietary fat is that it’s called FAT!
That one statement inspired me to look into the low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) lifestyle to determine if it suited me better than the not so low carb lifestyle I was participating in at the time. After subtracting certain items that contain refined carbs from my diet and adding more items that were high in healthy fats, I started feeling fuller, longer and was no longer hangry two hours after a meal.
There is one particular “fatty” food item that has been a part of my diet well before my shift to LCHF. I’ve been hearing about its health benefits for well over a decade and its versatility has made it a staple in Shannon and I’s kitchen. It can be used as a cooking oil, salad dressing, finishing sauce and even a skin care product. The multi-talented food item I’m referring to is olive oil and it’s this week’s menu spotlight.
Olive oil is a broad category of oil made from pressed olives. I realize that isn’t “breaking news,” but I wanted to mention that because the different types of olive oils at the supermarket can be quite overwhelming. If you’re looking for the variety that provides the most health benefits, you’ll want to stick with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Any other variety may use solvents to extract the oil or partially consist of cheaper, inflammatory oils.
Even though EVOO, purchased from a reputable producer, doesn’t contain any protein or carbs, it’s still highly nutritious. One hundred grams, which is about 7 tablespoons, of EVOO contains 72% of our recommended daily allowance (RDA) for Vitamin E and 75% of our RDA for Vitamin K (source), both of which can contribute to preventing cardiovascular disease. The micronutrients contained in olive oil are impressive but it’s the type of fat it contains that really sets it apart from other cooking oils.
EVOO consists primarily of monounsaturated fat. This type of fat is more heat-resistant, which means it is less likely to oxidize when used in cooking applications. This is one aspect of EVOO that makes it superior to other cooking oils like canola or even flax-seed, which consist primarily of polyunsaturated fat. Less oxidation means less free radical production, which can cause inflammation that may researchers believe is responsible for chronic health conditions like atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Oh, and EVOO contains a ton of anti-inflammatory phenols and polyphenols to further combat those previously mention conditions (source).
As you can imagine, I frequently use EVOO to saute veggies and as my go-to salad dressing (2 parts EVOO + 1 part vinegar). I also use it to make my baked sweet potatoes fries nice & crispy, add extra flavor to my fried eggs and add even more monounsaturated fat to my daily avocado snack.
I mentioned it quickly earlier in this post, but it is very important that you purchase your EVOO from a reputable producer to get the optimum amount of health benefits. There are two great books, Extra Virginity& Real Food / Fake Food, that describe some of the deception associated with olive oil.
A couple quite tips I’ll give you in regards to purchasing EVOO are buy imported and make sure the container it comes in is NOT clear (light can cause oxidation over time). If you have a brand of EVOO that you swear by, I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to share it with us via email (email@example.com) or snap a pic of the bottle and share it on our social channels (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter) and don’t forget FAT DOESN’T MAKE YOU FAT!
Most foods produce a distinct smell while cooking, but there is only a select few that elicit the “that smells awesome’ response from me while being prepared. The items that bring my olfactory senses to their figurative knees include:
Bacon: I know vegans that even enjoy the smell of cured pork bellies.
Coffee: Shannon didn’t drink caffeinated coffee while pregnant, but she loved smelling the beans.
Bread: We have a Cuban bakery in our neighborhood that makes me want to go on a carb binge every time I drive by.
Shallots: Doesn’t matter what meal is being prepared. If shallots are being used, I’m salivating and THAT’S one of the reasons why they are today’s menu spotlight.
Shallots belong to the Allium genus of vegetables, which also includes onions, leeks, garlic, etc. I’ve already declared my love for garlic in a previous menu spotlight (click here to check it out), and I often cook garlic & shallots together to double up on the mouth-watering aroma. As much as I would like Yankee Candle to carry a shallot scented candle, its perfume isn’t the main reason I love it so much.
By weight, shallots contain more vitamins and minerals than its larger cousin the onion. Approximately one cup of shallots contains a significant amount of our recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, copper and iron. They also contain more antioxidants, by weight, than any other Allium vegetable (source). Research suggests that one particular antioxidant possessed by shallots can mitigate the damaging effects of several chronic health conditions.
When you chop or crush a shallot, you cause an enzymatic reaction that produces the sulfur containing antioxidant known as allicin. In specific scientific studies (source), this antioxidant has been shown to:
Combat viral, bacterial and fungal infections.
Lower blood pressure.
Protect against certain forms of cancer.
Regulate blood sugar levels in diabetics.
Who would have thought that the onion mini-me would possess so many health benefits. Honestly, shallots taste & smell so good that I’d still use them even if they didn’t have all the health benefits.
One recipe I frequently add shallots to is my breakfast bowl (pictured above). Besides shallots, the breakfast bowl includes dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, chard, etc.), mushrooms, mini sweet peppers, several eggs and diced tomatoes. I make sure to chop my shallots first because more allicin is produced the longer a chopped/crushed shallot goes uncooked. Next, I saute the mushrooms and peppers till soft (3-5 minutes), chop up a few tomatoes in the meantime, then throw in the greens & shallots for about a minute till the greens wilt.
Using the same pan I cooked the veggies, I fry up several over easy eggs in coconut oil. After the eggs are done, I slid them onto the cooked veggies, add the tomatoes & crushed red pepper and VOILA! Breakfast, lunch or dinner of champions.
If you’re a frequent shallot user, I’d love to hear about which dishes you add them to. Send your favorite recipe that features shallots to firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to us on social media (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter). I don’t think it will be better than my breakfast bowl, but there’s no shame in being runner-up.
I may be guilty of propagating a myth about one of our nation’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin. In the Instagram post (link) promoting this week’s menu spotlight, I suggested that the wild turkey was in a race with the bald eagle to be on our nation’s seal.
I recall hearing that historical tidbit from a reliable source and when I went to find supporting research, I found a source that seemed to confirm my statement. Upon further research, it appears the idea of Franklin championing for the wild turkey to be our nation’s symbol way back in the 18th century isn’t entirely true.
According to excerpts from a letter authored by Franklin, he did believe that the wild turkey was a “bird of courage” more likely to chase off an intruder than the bald eagle, but did NOT suggest that the turkey should be a part of our nation’s seal. It appears that Franklin was somewhat apathetic to the idea of having a bird on our nation’s seal altogether (source). Regardless of the turkey’s moral character, the fact that it provides both significant macro & micronutrients is 100% accurate.
You won’t find these types of turkeys at your grocery store
The turkey you pick up at the grocery store looks very different from the turkeys Benjamin Franklin was talking about. They may look different but their macronutrient content is very similar. Three ounces of turkey breast, without skin, contain 2 grams (g) of fat, 0 g of carbs and 26 g of protein (source). Not a great source of healthy fat or carbs, but a definite protein powerhouse. No surprise that you find turkey on a lot of meal plans for individuals looking to put on muscle.
Much like other animal-based protein sources, turkey is high in B vitamins, B3 & B6 in particular. B3, also known as niacin, is critical for the conversion of dietary macronutrients into usable energy including the production of glycogen. For those unfamiliar with glycogen, it is an animal starch stored in our muscles as fuel for future physical activity (source). This particular function of B3 is most likely why bodybuilders ingest supplemental forms of it to help them maintain their rigorous workout schedule.
Turkey also contains a significant amount of important dietary minerals. Zinc, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and iron are several minerals you’ll absorb eating turkey, but the mineral most abundant in turkey is selenium. A 4oz serving of turkey contains 62% of our DV of selenium, which is known to be a powerful antioxidant. With that said, it should come as no surprise that the consumption of turkey, and other poultry, has been shown to reduce the risk conditions/syndromes caused by oxidative stress like pancreatic cancer (source).
Turkey doesn’t contain the amount of fat I normally prefer in my animal protein, but that’s an easy problem to fix. Shannon and I love using ground turkey (which does have added fat) to make burgers and I throw a couple slices of avocado on them to up their fat content. The combination of the protein from the turkey and the fat from the avocado makes for one satiating meal.
If you have a go-to turkey recipe that you think trumps my turkey burgers, please feel free to share it on our social media channels (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter). You can also email it to us at email@example.com.
Email is the best way to find out more about Elemental Training Tampa’s online training program. Get that personal training you’ve always wanted at a price that you can afford.
I apologize for the brevity of this post. I had a full blog written, with funny anecdotes and informative nutrition details about this week’s menu spotlight. Bbbbbbbuttttt, when I woke up yesterday morning to do the final edit, I discovered that I didn’t save it.
My reaction when I realize I didn’t save this week’s blog
I don’t want to leave you all hanging this week, so the following is a short summary of why you need to start incorporating more tomatoes & tomato products, besides ketchup, into your diet.
Tomatoes’ macronutrient content isn’t anything spectacular – 1 medium size tomato contains no fat, 1 gram (g) of protein and 5 g of carbs; its carbs consist of mainly simple sugars & insoluble fiber (source).
Tomatoes’ micronutrient content is what really sets them apart – they contain a significant amount of vitamins (C, K & B-complex), minerals (molybdenum, potassium & copper) and antioxidants (lycopene, rutin, beta cartoene & many more – source).
The consumption of the micronutrients contained in tomatoes has been shown to mitigate certain health conditions – The vitamins, minerals and antioxidants contained in tomatoes have been shown to help with the treatment of high blood pressure, heart disease, degenerative vision conditions, depression and more (source). Lycopene, which tomatoes contain a significant amount of, has been shown in epidemiological & animal studies to lower the risk of certain types of cancer (source).
Shannon makes the best tomato dish EVA! – Some may say this is an opinion, but if you’ve had Shannon’s Saucy Tomato Eggs, you would know it’s a fact. Do yourself a favor and click here to check out the recipe.
Hopefully the wizards at WordPress can work some magic and recover the previous blog. If they do, I’ll update this one with any additional info.
In the meantime, please feel free to send us your favorite tomato recipes. Doesn’t matter if you like’em raw, stewed or smashed into a paste, send those recipes to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also send us pics of your go-to tomato dishes on social media (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter). Shannon and I will pick the most tasty looking one and repost it on all our channels.