Monday, December 12, 2016

Healthy Broccoli & Parmesan Hash Brown Bake

Hey, hey!

You guys remember my Hash Brown Breakfast Bake, right? I mean, how could you not?! It’s one of the tastiest breakfasts ever and if you haven’t made it yet, you absolutely need to! Seriously, get on it! 🙂

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Ok, so the Hash Brown Breakfast Bake is, no doubt, a delicious dish, but it’s not very healthy. In fact, we’ve tried to use it again and again in our Designed to Fit Nutrition meal plans, but it never quite fits. (It’s really high in fat from all of those hash browns!) Even still, I make one of these breakfast bakes just about every week because they’re so friggin’ good. (Mal typically eats the majority of it, but I’ll have a piece or two.) I usually have a couple of hash brown patties leftover, so I decided to make my own (lower fat) version.

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I actually created this healthier recipe about a month ago (you may have seen it on Instagram already) and continue to make it week after week, so I decided that it needed its own blog post. It’s definitely a staple recipe in our house nowadays! It’s so easy and perfect for busy weekday mornings… just reheat! I also like taking a piece and putting in between a toasted English muffin for a quickie breakfast sandwich. It’s so darn good and (mostly) healthy, so I hope you try it!

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Broccoli & Parmesan Hash Brown Bake

Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs (or 3 eggs + 1/2 cup liquid egg whites – I ran out of eggs the other day and this worked)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup broccolini, chopped broccoli, or riced broccoli
  • 2 hash brown patties (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
  • garlic/onion powder, salt, and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine ingredients, except hash browns, in a mixing bowl. Pour mixture into a 8×8 square baking dish. Cut hash brown patties into 16 pieces and then place on top. Bake for 35 minutes. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings

Macros: P 13 C 7 F 10 (5 egg version)



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Dear Mark: Protein Powder Dangers, Fermented Polyphenols, Whole Foods’ Farmed Salmon, and K-Cup Bone Broth

Inline_Protein_Powder_DangersFor today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering four reader questions. First, a recent NY Times article makes some scary claims about protein powder—and protein in general. Should you worry? Next, what does a study about probiotics and polyphenol absorption mean for probiotics in general? Third, what do I think about Whole Foods’ new farmed salmon, which purports to be way healthier and more sustainable than other farmed salmons? And finally, I discuss K-cup bone broth.

Let’s go:

Article I saw in the NY Times and thought I would pass it along. Curious to hear from Mark the concerns around protein powders. I still take Primal Fuel 4-5 times per week for breakfast and believe in Mark’s company so hoping the quality is better than the rest.

There are a lot of things to unpack from that article.

First, the heavy metal content of protein powder. A few reports have come out in the last half decade about protein powders showing elevated levels of lead, cadmium, mercury, and other metals you don’t really want to consume. The raw ingredients undergo extensive testing for heavy metals and microbial contamination before being released for manufacturing, so you’re safe on that front.

Second, the idea of “excessive protein.” The article repeatedly mentions a “recommended intake” of 46 grams per day for women and 56 grams per day for men, but that’s misleading. Those figures are the bare minimum to avoid gross protein deficiency. They aren’t optimal.

They reference a study in which men aged 50-65 who ate a high protein diet were more likely to die from cancer. That same study also found that in ages 50+, a high protein intake had no association with all-cause mortality (the most important endpoint), while in ages 65+, high protein was downright protective against death. The only consistent positive association across all ages is with death from diabetes.

They characterize protein consumption as oppositional to eating other foods. Protein isn’t a neutral food. It’s “robbing” us of important macronutrients found in fats, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Or something.

Hi Mark, so the probiotic / polyphenol study creates a few questions. Does this mean that all polyphenol rich fermentations like red cabbage kraut, black tea kombucha, or beet kvass are even better sources of polyphenols than we originally thought, or would this just be limited to polyphenol spikes yogurt?

Or should we just aim to take a probiotic capsule with a serving of blueberries? Will you reformulate your primal probiotic based on this idea?

  1. Totally! This study (where taking probiotics increased the absorption of polyphenols, almost as if the two are “meant” to arrive together) suggests that whole food ferments are probably more effective than standalone probiotic or polyphenol supplements. We know, for example, that the red wine fermentation process produces entirely new polyphenols.
  2. I’d expect a probiotic capsule to be more effective with a source of polyphenols. Vice versa, too.
  3. Probably not. If you guys are doing the diet right, you’ll already be eating plenty of dense sources of polyphenols every day. You could say that my faith in Primal Probiotics assumes regular consumption of foods like tea, coffee, berries, greens, spices, and brightly-colored produce.

How do you feel about Whole Foods new farm raised salmon discussed in the links below? Is it a reasonably healthy alternative when wild salmon is not available? I find it tastes better than wild salmon (likely because it’s fattier).
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Look decent.

Blue Circle Foods, one of Whole Foods’ partners in the salmon endeavor, explains how the feed is made. They use trim from wild-caught fish like mackerel, capelin, herring, and cod that would otherwise be discarded, rather than whole fish. This makes a more sustainable fish feed with less impact on wild fish stocks.

The feed is very efficient. Compared to standard farmed salmon, where it takes 1.6 pounds of feed to produce a pound of finished salmon meat, a pound of this new salmon feed produces more than a pound of finished salmon meat.

Wild salmon is definitely ideal. But let’s not act like farmed salmon is useless. It’s higher in omega-6 fats, but still has about 4x as many omega-3s as omega-6. Studies show that eating farmed salmon increases blood levels of DHA, even in pregnant women.

But farmed salmon is a major source of contaminants like PCBS and dioxins, having about 8 times as many PCBs as wild salmon. Since these contaminants are bound to the salmon fat, producers of this new Whole Foods’ salmon feed separate the fish oil from the solids, remove most of the contaminants, and combine it back with the solids to form the fish feed.

My biggest worry is how they remove the contaminants: by heating the oil to 200°C. Now, for more robust oils like EVOO or avocado, that’s okay. They can withstand the heat. And farm-raised salmon actually has a lot of monounsaturated fat and saturated fat, both of which are stable in the presence of heat. But the omega-3s—the fat most people are looking for when they buy salmon—are very susceptible to oxidative damage. It’s unclear how oxidized the feed fats are, and whether it affects the finished product.

Overall, it looks like a good option. Better than other farmed salmon, at least. I haven’t tried it but will keep my eyes open.

What’s the deal with K Cup Bone Broth? Is this stuff for real?
Thanks, Groktimus

It’s pretty weird.

The idea of super-hot liquid passing through plastic en route to my open mouth doesn’t appeal to me. Yeah, yeah, it’s probably BPA-free, but what’s replacing the BPA? Plastic tends to contain endocrine disruptors as a rule, no matter how “non-toxic” it is. I prefer to limit my exposure to heated plastic.

Other than that, it’s a fine product. It’s not really bone broth, as the ingredient list indicates that it’s just beef collagen with dried beef and spices, but that’s okay. Collagen is why bone broth is so helpful, so these K cups will provide similar nutrition.

I wonder if it gels up when cooled or reduces down to a viscous pan sauce. Probably not, as they’re probably using a collagen hydrolysate to improve dissolution into hot water. Intact gelatin clumps up when added directly to hot liquid (unless you bloom it first). That would make the bone broth K cups good for drinking but not for cooking.

That’s it for today, folks. Thanks for reading and be sure to help out with your own input down below!

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The post Dear Mark: Protein Powder Dangers, Fermented Polyphenols, Whole Foods’ Farmed Salmon, and K-Cup Bone Broth appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.



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How to Survive the Season of Overindulgence

’Tis the season for overindulgence — holiday parties, family gatherings, piles of cookies and candy all over the office. And while it can be difficult (if not downright impossible) to avoid all those temptations, you can help offset some of the negative health effects of straying from your normal healthy diet. The secret weapon? Exercise.

A 2013 study found that just one week of eating 50 percent more calories than normal can impair insulin sensitivity. But that research was based on people who were sedentary. So researchers at the University of Michigan decided to test the same scenario — but this time using lean, active adults as subjects. “In conditions of excess food, there is more circulating fat interfering with the normal function of tissues that are not supposed to have fat (like muscles and the liver),” explains Alison C. Ludzki, first author on the study. But if you stay active, you may ameliorate some of that damage.

During this study, the subjects consumed 30 percent more calories than normal for a week, but continued their normal exercise routines — getting at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise and at least six days of exercise during that week. The subjects had their glucose tolerance and abdominal fat measured before and after their week of overindulging. What the researchers found is that “overeating didn’t increase the protein content of the markers of adipose tissue inflammation or C-reactive protein,” says Ludzki. “Exercise seems to reduce inflammation.”

So as you head into the holiday eat-a-thon, the best thing you can do is keep your sneakers as close as the cookies. “The effects of exercise on insulin sensitivity and glucose control are fairly short-lived, so getting moving as often as possible would be beneficial when faced with holiday treats,” says Ludzki. “Even if it means squeezing in a shorter session.”

Sally Wadyka is a Boulder, Colorado-based journalist who writes about nutrition, health and wellness.



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All In Again

Guest post written by: Mike Flagler

 

It was the best of days; it was the worst of days. It was a day very much like today.

It started poorly. I overslept. I had gone to bed with some work unfinished. As I was getting dressed, I realized that my poor food choices these past couple of months required me to buy a bigger pair of shorts for work. For the 1st time in 3 years, I had to upsize.

“Shorts for work? WTF are you complaining about?!?!?”

I know. Flagler problems are not as serious as third-world starvation or the existence of dangerous pronouns like “his” and “her”.

After about a year of weight stability right around 200 lbs (I’m 6’3″, 43 years old), I threw away everything over a 32 inch waist.  I arrived at my 3-year paleo/primal anniversary on September 29 feeling pretty good about my accomplishments.

After half a lifetime of illness, my low carb, whole foods diet had eliminated all symptoms of obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, gingivitis, chronic colds, flus and respiratory infections, regular heartburn, sleep apnea and a tendency to have a productivity crash around 2:00 every afternoon.  I was stronger, faster, leaner, and healthier than I was 20 years ago in my supposed prime, and I felt such passion about the enjoyability and sustainability of paleo diet principles.

Enter life.

In early October, we took an 8 day vacation and pretty much ate like crap the whole time. In late October, I got uber busy at work, and I ended up eating on the road one or two times a day, six days a week. Work was good for the first time in awhile, so when I cashed the checks, the first thing I did was treat my starving family to meals out, pizza, beer, etc.

I’m embarrassed to report that today, for the first time since 2013, I bought a pair of shorts with a 34 inch waist. So I could breathe while I do my job.

F#!%’s sake, I found ancestral health and totally embraced it so I would NOT feel this way about my body or my health.  I’ve helped a lot of people get started and stay on track through my example and my support.  Family, friends, random Facebook strangers who like my posts in diet groups…  I feel like I’ve dropped the ball in a big way, even though I know in my mathematical brain I’m making this a much bigger deal than it really is.

Maybe some of you find yourself in a similar place and feel the same way. If you do, don’t wait until January 1. Another month is too long to waist (sic intended), especially if you know what works and what doesn’t work.  The holidays are not a good time to be feeling like shit, fighting a cold and spending your Christmas cash on fat clothes for yourself.  It’s a time to feel awesome.

When I was 300 pounds with a 44 inch waist, the thought of walking into JC Penney for a pair of 34 inch waist shorts sounded pretty good. But that was a long time ago. Buying 34’s now just pisses me off.  So I’m all in again right now. I’m back in black today, and I’m not going back to the store even if that means I have to wear the same damn pair of pants every day for two weeks until I get back in the zone.

If you were three weeks in, and you ate like I ate yesterday, I would tell you that today is now Day One. If you were three years in and ate like I have for the last two months, I would tell you that today is Day One.  It kills me to say it, but today is Day One for me. I did well. I ate eggs and bacon and turkey and chicken thighs and asparagus. No need to ask me how my Day One went. I have plenty of experience being a stud on Day One. I blew day 1093. And 1094. And 1095. In a lot of ways, this feels worse than blowing it in the beginning.  After 3 years with such wonderful results, you’d think eating meat and vegetables and staying away from things I haven’t eaten in years would be easy enough.

I had all my monthly weigh ins from Sept 29, 2013 to July, 2016 on my dresser mirror.  It represented the journey for me and served as a daily reminder of why I do this.  I erased all that today because I blew it. Day one. The only number on the mirror now is 225.4, because Mike is on Day One. Mother f#$&ing Day One.

I guess I’m okay with that. I had a good Day One, and I’m stocked in the fridge for Day Two. It is what it is. Maybe I should just be glad I caught it before it got too out of hand.  I’ll take Day 1093 more seriously next time.

 

Mike Flagler

St. Augustine, FL

 

Left at 300 lbs.  Right at 204.

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Silver Bells, Wedding Bells

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^^I need this framed photo for my house!! #26.

Happy holiday Monday! Christmas is coming so fast. So is 2017. I did a lot of dining out this weekend, and am excited to do a lot of cooking this week. I am putting extra mindfulness on my weekdays knowing I have so many fun things happening on the weekends this time of year.

I met my friend Erin for lunch on Friday at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. We shared this yummy platter, and each had a salad and mint tea!

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Friday night was super cold, and I had a date night in with some take-out Miso Sweet. Loving this new-to-me restaurant! We watched the movie Sugar Mountain. Not recommended…

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Saturday morning breakfast was eggs, grapefruit, and toast!

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I took Mazen to the gym and did a sweaty stairmaster workout.

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Saturday afternoon we headed to King Family Vineyard for a wedding! It was frigid outside, but inside was cozy as can be with a fire going. The rustic details were so pretty.

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The food was outstanding, especially those shrimp and grits!

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Sparklers!

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On Sunday Mazen and I hunkered down on a gray day and watched movies and played Batman games.

Breakfast was a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich.

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And I had leftover Miso Sweet for lunch. Plus some chips!

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Dinner was a Blue Apron meal that I’ll be sharing later!

All of my Christmas shopping is complete. Is yours?!

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