Spaghetti and meatballs. I feel like those two have been perpetually linked since the beginning of time, or since pasta has been a thing. Fortunately, we’ve discovered that meatballs don’t always need a refined carb counterpart. This week’s look into Shannon and I’s menu features turkey meatballs paired with garlic sautéed baby bok choy instead of pasta. Bok choy is a great pasta alternative because it’s a cruciferous vegetable that is loaded with vitamins A, K, and C and contains over 70 antioxidants, which is why some researchers believe it can aid in cancer prevention (source). Expanding our food choices, especially when it comes to vegetables, is crucial to optimizing our health and developing as a species (source). The next time you go grocery shopping, forget the box of barilla and go for the bok choy. If you are already a bok choy fan, let us know what dishes you incorporate it into. We’re always looking for new recipes.
Being a Maryland native, I’m predisposed to like crab cakes. It’s in my blood. In my opinion, the blue crab should be the state animal. Do states even have state animals? Anyways, I love this delectable seafood dish and depending on the ingredients, a crab cake itself can be rather healthy. My grandmother would use a little bit of flour as her binding agent, but the prominent ingredient, and rightly so, was the crab. Three ounces of cooked blue crab contains 15g of protein and almost half of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin B-12. The naughtiness of this awesome dish usually arrives with the addition of a sauce or a bun if you have it as a sandwich. The version you see below, created by my talented wife Shannon, is the gluten free version of a crab cake “sandwich.” The crab is held together with egg, mayo and gluten free breadcrumbs and the “bun” is a portobello mushroom. I can tell you it would make my grandmother proud. If you’re sticking to a strict low carb diet you can ditch the potatoes for another vegetable. Trust me, you’re going to want to add this dish into your weekly meal plan.
Today’s #whatiatewednesday post is a slight departure from what you normally see from me. I was doing some research for an interview that will be featured on an upcoming episode of the Addicted to Fitness podcast and I came across this chart from 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Every five years, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) puts out a comprehensive report about what Americans are eating, how it’s affecting our health and somewhat educated suggestions on how to reverse some scary health trends. I believe that one of the reasons we’re seeing ever increasing rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes is due to the massive amount of grains, specifically refined grains, we eat on a daily basis. If you look at the chart below, you’ll see that some age groups are eating more than 1.5 times the daily recommended amount of refined grains. If you need a frame of reference for what 1 ounce of grain looks like, it’s equivalent to approximately 1 piece of bread. But bread isn’t the only culprit. Cereal, bagels, tortillas, grain-based dessert and numerous other refined grain products are contributing to several of the current health problems we as Americans face nowadays.
Please don’t take my word for it. Do yourself a favor and check out research done by much smarter people than me like Nina Tecicholz, Dr. Mark Hyman and Dr. David Perlmutter (his book Grain Brain is enlightening). You can also listen to registered nurse and certified diabetes educator Nicole Recine on the upcoming episode of the Addicted to Fitness podcast. She, along with the other people I listed, do a great job explaining the detrimental effects of excess carb intake.
This week’s #whatiatewednesday post is meant to help those who’d like to add a little flavor to their food without adding empty calories. It’s true, sauces can sometimes be a stumbling block to healthy eating. Whether it’s preservatives or added sugar, something as simple as store bought tomato sauce can be detrimental to your quest to eat better. That’s why I wanted to highlight a sauce that in my opinion, and according to the label, seems legit. Publix Greenwise’s roasted garlic tomato sauce contains only 4g of sugar per 1/2 cup and has an ingredient list that I could recreate at home if I were so inclined. If you do use it, I’d suggest sticking to the serving size or less and use it to add a little flavor to veggies, not pasta.
This week I have a bite(s) size edition of #whatiatewednesday for you. Snacking healthy can be difficult but with a little forethought, it can be a breeze. There are plenty of great healthy snack options like hard boiled eggs, olives or hard cheeses (if you can handle dairy). Take this snack I pack in my lunch everyday. A small Tupperware of walnuts (heathy fats + protein), raisins (glucose for immediate energy) and dark chocolate (caffeine + theobromine for a coffee like pick me up) is the perfect afternoon health snack. The fish oil supplement in the pic is not required to complete this snack but can be beneficial if you don’t eat enough fatty fish.
I’m back with another #whatiatewednesday post for you all. If you haven’t been living under a rock the last few years, someone has probably told you that avocados are good for you because they contain “healthy” fats (monounsaturated & polyunsaturated to be exact). But you may not know that 1 avocado has more potassium than a banana and 4g of protein with all 8 essential amino acids (source). They also include other important micronutrients like vitamin A, C, iron and calcium (source). These nutritional facts make them an important component of anyone’s diet, especially non-meat eaters. As you can see I like to dress mine up with a little red pepper & olive oil. I’m pretty fancy.
This week’s #whatiatewednesday post features a food sold at most grocery stores that has been found to be anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic superfood. The root, that looks a lot like a worm, I’m referring to is turmeric. Turmeric contains a compound known as curcumin that is believed to have the same pain relieving effect as medication like ibuprofen, but without the negative side effects. Curcumin inhibits the same enzyme ibuprofen does that causes inflamed areas of the body to become painful (source). I’m not quite sure the best way to unlock it’s beneficial properties, but for now I’m peeling, chopping and tossing several pieces into a seeping bag to create a powerful afternoon tea time. To get your daily dose of curcumin you can buy ground or whole turmeric and add it to food, or you can buy curcumin supplements. Supplemental forms of curcumin can contain mega doses, which is why you should consult your physician before taking them.