Cabot Cheese Mystery Package

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It’s that time of year again when a package full of cabot cheese shows up at my door, leaving me completely baffled and surprised. It’s always the same time of year, same 3 cheeses, and no note whatsoever left inside. What’s particularly peculiar about this funny annual occurrence is that my blog is PALEOPRINCESS- hence leading one to assume that I do not consume cheese. Yet, every year that seems to be overlooked and I receive a noteless package of Cabot Cheese. The reason I am writing this post is to hopefully find the answer to why this mysterious cheese shows up on my doorstep. Perhaps it is a test of my self-discipline as I do love cheese and will enjoy it in moderation but do not typically keep any around the house. I will certainly not complain for the lovely three cheeses which I received as it was quite thoughtful and kind, yet I would prefer this cheese go to someone else’s craving belly, where it will be more fully embraced and enjoyed 🙂

BUT, while I’m on the topic of Cabot cheese, I owe it to them to at least discuss the benefits of their product. I mean..come on..it is really good cheese. Their cheese is all-nautral, lactose-free, gluten-free ( of-course), and is located throughout NY and New England (local!). 

Plus, Cabot also sells Greek-style yogurt rich in protein and Vitamin D. Everything about it is tasty, rich, and creamy, and when I do indulge in dairy products, I go for their cheese. For a healthy snack or dessert, you can take their yogurt and add in some honey, nuts, or fruit, and voila- yumminess in a cup!

The RD side of me knows that obtaining enough calcium and Vitamin D is essential for a healthy body, especially females, and using Cabot’s products is one great way to go about getting enough!

So, thank you Cabot for the cheese, and if anyone wants any, let me know 🙂

Brunching at Puritan & Co

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Whether it was the Napa Valley charm or the assortment of pastries laid out on the long wooden, rustic table, I felt like I was dining in my own kitchen when enjoying brunch not too long ago at Puritan and Company. Well lit, with subway tiles along the walls, bright flavorful dishes, and a knack for hitting that sweet spot with their renowned pastries,  P&C as I’ll call it, is not to be overlooked. I had the honor of joining the lovely Boston Brunchers for an afternoon out, where they (much more knowledgeable than me) quickly filled me in on Puritan & Co’s philosophy, mission, and values. Definitely a New England style menu mixed with ethnic styles and flare, combining the elements of farm to table, all within a cozy restaurant located in Cambridge. There is an excitement and passion that can be felt through the menu choices, which included Sourdough griddle cakes, wagyu steak, and a coppa ham sandwich. All of their eggs come from Pete and Gerry’s, an organic farm in NH that produces eggs that I soon discovered can’t be beat! Add in flavors such as honey butter, creme fraiche, and applewood bacon, and mmm-mmm good is what we’ve got at P&C. 

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We were first greeted with their pastry assortment, all of which we couldn’t get enough of! Banana bread, Boston Cream donuts, blondies, and a ham cheese pinwheel to name a few. I tried one of each of course and settled on the dulche de leche and coconut danish. My taste buds were more than delighted.

I ultimately went with the cheddar and broccoli scramble for my main dish seeing as brunch cannot be complete for me without some vegetable and protein. Though a little too oily and fatty to my liking, I did enjoy the side of arugula salad that came with it. It was refreshing and light and complemented the heavy scramble. I also enjoyed one of their “sunday sippers,” the Park Ave, which was just a tad too strong for my liking. I am always one for a mimosa but wanting to venture out of my comfort zone a bit, I chose this drink instead. Looking back I would have stuck to my guts and chosen the house mimosa and the Corned Beef Hash or ham sandwich, which were out of this world. The chef came over after and mentioned to us that the beef is cured in house (no wonder it was so tasty!).

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One of my favorite aspects about the brunch was the lovely toast that was served with most dishes. It was either grilled in butter or cooked with butter because it had such a nice flavor to it. I don’t indulge in white bread often, but the slices were small and too good to pass up! You can tell that Puritan & Company strives to be unique and unconventional while also mixing in the comforts of New England fare, very similar to the atmosphere you will encounter there. Their cozy, warm, and friendly environment is what allows you to feel comfortable enough to venture out of your typical culinary food and beverage preferences, once again combining the elements of new and old. 

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The whole experience was truly something special and I enjoyed chatting with the bloggers. Whether we had been here or not before, we all seemed to appreciate their attention to detail, flavor, and color combinations on the plate. Located in the Inman Square area of Cambridge, Puritan & Company’s menu truly fits the description of that neighborhood in being diverse and community-oriented. Oh- and you can’t overlook the eccentric bathrooms, with the sinks being located side by side OUTSIDE of the restrooms! Talk about unconventional. 

 

Special thanks to Puritan & Co. for providing this brunch free of charge to the Boston Brunchers. All opinions are my own. 

Isagenix: Diet Fad or Healthy way of Life?

Over the past few years, I have had friends/family/clients, approach me about the Isagenix 30 day weight loss program. As an RD I think it is important to educate others about different diet fads so that they are properly informed. I can only provide what the research supports to date, but as this diet has picked up in popularity, I only find it necessary to break it down for you and in my opinion I have mixed reviews on it.

The Isagenix products contain a plethora of vitamins and minerals which your body needs to function properly. The system is equipped with bars, snacks, supplements, and protein powders for their shakes. It may help you lose weight yes. It may be a great way jumpstart weight loss but is a quick fix. It does not teach you anything about nutrition! I do like the isalean shake as it has protein and is just a protein powder supplement and we know how great protein is at sparing muscles and keeping our metabolism revved. New research suggests that we should shoot for at least 20g of protein at each meal for satiety and weight management (Paddon-Jones D, Westman E, Mattes RD, Wolfe RR, Astrup A, Westerterp- Plantenga M).

On the contrary these products lack natural vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables and you also get no fiber unless you opt for their fiber snacks (but of course you have to pay extra for that). Most Isagenix packs cost between $250-500 for 30 days, when you could be spending those dollars on real food (http://www.ewg.org/goodfood/index.php). In terms of fiber though, You need 25-30 grams of fiber a day at least, so you may find yourself severely lacking in fiber with these products. I also worry about the high vitamin and mineral content of these products. The Ionix that comes in the 30-day pack has 2000% of your b12! Yes b12 is water soluble but if you continually take megadoses of vitamins you can end up with some serious side effects that you should be aware of. If you’re routinely taking megadoses, for instance, too much Vitamins C or zinc could cause nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Too much selenium could lead to problems including hair loss, gastrointestinal upset, fatigue, and mild nerve damage. The biggest and first side effects though will be brain fog, nausea, and diarrhea so be aware of these if you do decide to purchase isagenix.

Additionally, looking at their snacks I noticed that their IsaLEAN bars are somehow supposed to make you lean with 16 grams of added sugars! There’s a solid body of evidence that links excessive sugar consumption to heart disease and other ailments, such as type 2 diabetes. A study recently published in Jama Internal Medicine found that excessive added sugar, more than 20-25grams for females or 6 teaspoons, and 35-40 grams for males (9 teaspoons), led to an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Please understand we are not talking about naturally occurring sugar we find in dairy and fruit, but sugar that has been added to foods and beverages, like it has in this Isalean product.

And if that’s not enough bad news already, you will also be severely lacking in Omega 3’s, which are omitted from their shakes as well or at least lacking sufficiently. If you want to obtain these, you will have to purchase ,for an additional cost, their IsaCrunch product or be sure to consume plenty of nuts, avocados, olive oil, salmon, etc that contain heart healthy fats.

So basically, if you want a well-rounded diet you will have to purchase most, if not all of their products (that contain a plethora of ingredients I never want to put into my body), for a hefty price, so I really hope you have a thick wallet if you decide to jump on the Isagenix bandwagon.

Positives: You dont have to schedule meals or plan, you can simply drink the shakes. Super easy and convenient.
Downside: No guarentee on taste, may get sick of this real quick, doesn’t teach the knowledge behind making healthy choices when cooking and eating out, is essentially a processed product, may not fill you up.

Great to jumpstart- but I always recommend real food and obtaining the knowledge necessary to make a lifestyle change.

Resources:

Quanhe, Yang et al. “Added Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality Among US Adults”. JAMA Intern Med. Published online February 03, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13563

Paddon-Jones D, Westman E, Mattes RD, Wolfe RR, Astrup A, Westerterp- Plantenga M. Protein, weight management, and satiety. Am J Clin Nutr 2008; 87: 558S-61S.

Yes I eat Donuts

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A few weeks ago I went on vacation to visit my family, a much needed trip away from this cold and terrible winter in Boston. If there is anything though that you need to know about my family though it’s that we like to eat, and we eat a lot…not even like nutritious fare..just downright coat your arteries and pack on the pounds type of food. I tried running a few days while I was there, but  I drank too much, ate too much, and allowed myself one too many indulgences.

We arrived in Florida on my birthday, and when my boyfriend and I got to the house my parents were staying at, we were immediately greeted with the infamous handmade donuts, crafted by the donut shop down the street. Most of the car ride was filled with mouth-watering stories about the fried croissants (yes- basically fried butter!) and of course these donuts. So, naturally, by the time we got to the house, over-tired and gross from the plane-ride, I was itching for a donut. I have a terrible sweet tooth and I know it! I ate about half of one of the donuts and part of a croissant, reveling in each bite. 

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Not too long after, my dad had the idea to make bacon pancakes. Yup- pretty much bacon cooked into a pancake – eek! It was god-awful and so gross, but I did try one. All I have to ask is are you getting the picture of the types of food I grew up on yet? 

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The rest of the trip was filled with buttery fish, fried oysters, and the like, and when I got back to Boston I couldn’t be happier to get back on my daily food routine. You see, even as a Dietitian, I am not perfect nor should I be. I enjoyed my vacation and all of the foods in moderation. I certainly didn’t gorge myself but did allow myself to try foods I would’t normally have. When I told a friend at Crossfit about my weekend, her response was “Shelby eats donuts?!” And all I can say is, yes, yes I do 🙂 

Should you be Gluten Free?

Gluten-free seems to be the latest diet craze and I am down right sick of it. It first started to get under my skin when a few running friends went gluten free, believing that gluten made them feel better and helped their runs. Now, I see clients on a weekly basis (weekly!) who have jumped on the gluten free bandwagon. And quite frankly, they need to be educated. I have come across people claiming to be gluten free, for x,y,z reason, though they have not officially been diagnosed. It finally hit a button in me, when yesterday, while on Facebook, a young gentleman was arguing that gluten raised blood sugar (not glucose but yes he meant gluten). It troubles me that people are avoiding an abundant amount of food groups and therefore possibly missing out on essential nutrients, because they are misinformed. Because they think gluten free will allow them to lose weight (wrong!), because mentally they feel better, etc. The list goes on and on and people really think they have a gluten intolerance, when they don’t. Well let me tell you folks, gluten free is NOT something you want to follow, unless you HAVE to.

The symptoms of gluten intolerance, also known as celiac, involve the following:

Stomach Pain, bloating, gas, vomiting, sever rash, skin problems, iron deficiency, seizures, diarrhea, and weight loss to name a few. What happens internally is that the villi (small protrusions lining the small intestine) are destroyed. Villi allow nutrients from food to be absorbed through the walls of the small intestine into the bloodstream. Without healthy villi, a person becomes malnourished (http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/celiac/). Celiac disease is thus an abnormal reaction to gluten, that cause an immune or inflammatory reaction as well as a malabsorption condition. It is detected via blood test as well as an intestinal biopsy.

A gluten-free diet includes not eating foods that contain wheat, rye, and barley. This is because gluten is the protein component of wheat, giving bread the ability to rise properly. Many doctors and studies claim that it is the gliadin component of wheat that causes weight gain and triggers disruption in the intestinal barriers, not necessarily gluten. Keep in mind that not all gluten-free foods are actually wheat-free! Yes, some contain ingredients that are originally derived from wheat but have been processed to remove the gluten. So, please do not get gluten and wheat confused.

Anyways, celiacs can consume a variety of nutrient rich foods and flours such as potato, rice, soy, amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat instead of wheat flour. Most other proteins such as fish and meats, beans, fruits, and vegetables do not contain gluten, so people with celiac disease can eat these foods. Some things to be mindful of though is that those with celiac are at an increased risk for nutritional deficiencies due to malabsorption and low intake.  Thiamin, Riboflavin, B12, Calcium, Iron, and folate are a few of the common deficiencies.

So, let me set you straight:

Gluten itself doesn’t really offer any nutritional benefits- does it impact blood sugar? there are not sufficient studies to date.

Many of the whole grains that contain gluten are rich in nutrients.

Studies show that whole grain foods, as part of a healthy diet, may help lower risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that half of all carbohydrates in the diet come from whole grain products.

Meeting the dietary guidelines can be quite tough if you are eliminating foods.

Gluten free can be more expensive.

Remember, just because something is labeled gluten-free doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Many products that are gluten-free contain refined flours and tons of sugar!

If you are already gluten free for no reason at all or considering it, please be wise and do your research. If it makes you feel better physically because psychologically you think it makes you feel better then go for it. But, please don’t think going gluten-free will magically make you healthier or more nutritious…because it won’t. And if you think you really are gluten intolerant or wheat or gluten sensitive get tested ALWAYS!

Jerry Remy’s NEW Paleo Menu Review

Located in the heart of Fenway, Jerry Remy’s is your quintessential sports bar and grill, with a menu full of standard “sports bar” fare..ie. burgers, sandwiches, and fries. So, when my cross fit box, CF Southie, was invited to try out a sampling of some of their paleo-friendly options, I was psyched! A lot of restaurants are beginning to “up” their game with gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian options and Jerry Remy’s certainly isn’t falling behind.

We had the chance to sit down with General Manager Don Bailey while he informed us of his new menu, the purpose being to offer athletes healthy fare while dining out! Come- on, just because they train hard does not mean they eat junk or want to eat junk all of the time! As a CF athlete my diet is one of my #1 priorities during training and I appreciate places like Jerry Remy’s making an effort to combine the fun aspect of a sports bar with healthy, delicious food.

His servers then graciously began serving us some of the soon to be menu options. Of course, with any great manager and chef, the opinions of the consumers must first be considered. Is this stuff athletes and cross fitters would really eat?

We started out with the Paleo options first, which included a grilled chimmichuri steak served over a healthy bed of grilled vegetables, honey roasted pork belly tacos wrapped in lettuce leaves, and herb seared atlantic salmon finished with a balsamic glaze and again over grilled veggies. The salmon was impeccable! I don’t know what seasoning they used for the grilled vegetables but it was delicious!

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The steak was also cooked to perfection, and the tacos could have used just a tad more seasoning or sauce!

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For those looking to get their vegetarian on, we were then served the grilled tempeh burger with arugula, soy mozzarella, and fresh avocado. Probably one of my favorite sandwiches of the night. Oh! And did I mention it was served on a Gluten-free bun? I don’t eat Paleo 100% of the time so this would be a nice option to have if I was in the mood for healthy bar food.

Next came the Kale and Crisp Apple salad, a vegan option. Unfortunately, this was me least favorite dish of the night. It was super bland and could have definitely used some seasoning and maybe even some pine nuts for a tasty addition. Oh well- this was the point of this dinner! To provide feedback and make some changes before rolling out the menu to the rest of the public.

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Our last dish was a cashew avocado sandwich that was also just incredible. The flavors blended so well together and I had to apologize to the rest of the table for not sharing!

Lastly, what meal would be complete without a little booze? Us cross fitters like to drink too ya know! We were served FIVE drinks to round out the night. FIVE!. We were first served two varieties of blood mary, one with a celery salt rim (yummy) and the other with a chili flake rim (holy hotness!). I am not a bloody mary fan and these set my mouth on fire. What was cool about them though was there unique names: Bloody Grace and Bloody Fran (name after cross fit workouts)…hehehe. Then came the Paleo Bellini (peach puree and Prosecco).  I could have had about 3 more of these it was that good. The peach puree was such a nice touch and really added some smoothness to the drink. Next came the “Stairclimber Margherita,” a Paleo-guru’s fave. Tequila and lime, that’s all we need! A little too alcoholic for my liking but nonetheless pretty darn good!

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And finally, my favorite drink of the night! The “Not-A-Colata.” White rum, coconut water, and coconut milk round this drink out, making for a dessert-like experience. I am already dreaming of when I will consume this drink again.

Anyways, all in all, we had such a great time an Don and is staff were so gracious to us. We walked away having had a wonderful experience and will definitely be back! It was nice being able to dine out at a place where we could order a few things without any modifications needing to be made. That was a real treat!

Train Gum Product Review

Let me start by saying that I have been a chronic gum chewer since about the 8th grade. I’m talking 3-4 packs (yes whole packs) of gum A WEEK! EEK!  Do I even know what’s in gum? Of course I do! Fake sugars, some natural sweeteners/flavor, softeners, flavorings, and some other things. However, xylitol may help reduce cavities and plaque build up, plus who doesn’t love fresh minty breath post meal?

Anyways, being someone who tries to be healthy via my eating habits and exercise, my gum habit likely ruins that reputation a bit. I try not to consume processed foods or foods loaded with ingredients I cannot pronounce. And being an RD and cross fitter, I am very health conscious! So why shouldn’t  I also care about what’s in my gum? That’s where Train Gum comes in! I started following Train Gum on twitter and was delighted to read on their website that their gum only contains 5 ingredients: chicle, sugar, natural oils, stevia, and rice flour. When they offered me a sample, I didn’t hesitate to say yes, recognizing that this could be a health conscious alternative to all of the artificial chewing gums I consume. 

Sam Singer founded Train Gum in 2012 with the idea that many athletes are health conscious and gum has been shown to potentially increase reaction times. But most importantly, he realized that even something so basic as gum should have ingredients that you can pronounce and that you can feel good about. Train gum was born! The gum company went back to the original gum roots using chicle from the sap of the sapodilla tree. Chicle, while it won’t last as long as regular gum when it comes to chewing, is all natural and used to be the base for all chewing gum until synthetic gums bases were developed. 

As far as caloric intake, sugar is the only one of the 5 ingredients with any calories. The use of sugar is mostly for consistency purposes and not for sweetening purposes, so in each piece of gum, there are 0.05 teaspoons of sugar or 0.8 calories per piece. 

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Thus far this is the only gum, next to Glee Gum, that I have come across making a commitment to use all natural ingredients. Plus I just love the packaging it comes in! I felt like with each piece I was opening up a tiny present. It also comes in muslin bio-degradable bags. The gum has kind of a cinnamon taste to it even though no cinnamon was used and has a unique flavor to it with somewhat of a bitter aftertaste. But overall, the gum was pretty impressive and Train Gum hopes to put out lemon and raspberry flavors soon too in addition to their current peppermint and grapefruit flavors.  

Train Gum is based right here out of Somerville, MA and is currently in 6 retail store locations:

  • Fit to Eat, Portland ME
  • HWS College Store, Geneva NY
  • Formaggio Kitchen, Cambridge MA
  • Spirited Gourmet, Belmont MA
  • Gordon’s Fine Wine and Liquors, Waltham MA
  • Volante Farms, Needham MAY

Not located near one of these places? No worries! You can also order online and each bag will include 8 pieces of individually wrapped gum. 

Disclaimer: I received this product free to sample and review for my blog. I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.