Thursday, April 05, 2007

The 3 hidden gems I found at the Farmer's Market

Last week I attended my first Farmer's Market of the summer. Granted, it's not quite summer up here in Canada, but it's getting close.

If you have never been to a Farmer's Market, I can't stress enough how great these places are for people who are trying to eat healthy. When it comes to the benefits of a Farmer's Market, It can all be summed up in two words - Fresh Food.

Fresh produce, fresh dairy and fresh meat. And these days fresh anything is worth it's weight in gold.

You see, in the big money world of grocery super stores, one thing rules supreme and that's shelf life.

Companies go to great lengths to be innovative in their packaging and formulations in order to squeak another couple days of shelf life out of their products before they expire. Whether it's ultra-high heat pasteurization of dairy products, or the sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate found in almost all bottled drinks these days, the "shelf life wars" are changing the look and feel of our foods.

The longer they are on the shelf, the more likely you will buy them.

From milk to fruits and vegetables, the product with the longest shelf life wins.

However, my adopted Nutrition mantra of "The quicker it goes bad, the better it is for you" suggests that we should be buying and eating foods that have the shortest shelf life.

My reasoning for this is that we are still discovering the compounds in food that benefit our health, and I'm sure it will be sometime before we actually have an exhaustive list. The more we discover, the more we realize that many of these compounds degrade quickly, and what might be present in fresh foods may not be present in some of the ultra extended shelf life versions you find in grocery super stores.

And this is where summer Farmers Markets are a great tool.

Make it a priority this summer to do most, if not all of your shopping at farmers markets, paying special attention to pick the freshest in-season fruits and vegetables that you can find.

Finally, here are the three hidden treasures I found last weekend.

One- Goats Milk Yogurt

Why is this a hidden treasure? Well for one, it tastes AMAZING, but more importantly compare the ingredients to the leading off-the-shelf yogurt.

Goats Milk Yogurt: Pasteurized whole goats milk, bacterial cultures.

Leading Yogurt: Skim milk, cream, sugar, concentrated skim milk, fructose, milk and whey protein concentrate, corn starch, gelatin, modified corn starch, active bacterial cultures, natural and artificial flavors, locust bean gum, natural & artificial colors, malic acid.

Quite the difference!

Two- Grass Fed Meat

The rumors are true, this stuff tastes Great!

More importantly, these steaks come from cows which were allowed to graze on a pasture, as opposed to the beef from corn fed cows. The difference, (Other than no hormones and no antibiotics in their feed), is that the meat from grass fed cows is actually higher in polyunsaturated fatty acids than the meat from cornfed cows. Nutritious and Delicious

Three-Locally grown Produce

Almost all of the produce at Farmer's Markets are locally grown. Why does this matter? It matters because this means you strawberries didnt take a 1,000 mile drive to get to you.

And there you have it, the 3 hidden gems that will make me go back to my farmers market this Saturday.


Fasting Diet, Circuit Training

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billy said...

This post shows up empty for me. Am I supposed to find the hidden gems myself?

Brad Pilon said...

Hmmm...Should be fixed now.


billy said...

Got it now- good post!

You touched on a subject that has been in the spotlight lately- locally grown food. Time had an article about it, and a lot of environmentalists have been thinking about this for a long time.

Basically, the shorter the distance, the fresher the food, the better for you, the better for your local economy and agriculture, and ultimately better for the environment because of the reduction in travel and shipping.

billy said...

Brad, I have a question for you.

I've lost over 40 pounds to date, and I know we talked about losing muscle while dieting and your opinion was not to worry too much about it.

I've been in the gym 5 days a week, lifting heavy weight 2 days, and seeing strength gains over time. However, when I take my measurements, my bicep measurement is getting smaller. I started at 16", went to 16.125", and now I'm around 15.25".

Is it possible I'm losing muscle? Could some of it be attributed to arm fat?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Brad Pilon said...

Hi Billy,

A good question, and one that crosses most guys minds when they are losing weight.

From my experience I can say I think that it is mostly fat mass that you have lost from your arms.

When I did my first and only bodybuilding contest I dropped from 186 lbs down to 172 and my arms dropped from 16.5 inches to 15.5 inches, so I have had a similar experience to yours.

During this same diet, my lean mass only dropped by a little less than a pound, so I assume this was all fat.

I've also checked with a number of my friends who have experienced the same thing...

You can take some really, really simplified math and apply it here.

We know that the circumference of a circle can be calculated by the equation:

Circumference =2(Pi)*Radius

(I know that our arms more resemble an ellipse, but the circumference of an ellipse is a brutal equation to work with)

Using this equation we can see that the radius (the distance from the bone in the middle of your arm through the muscle and fat to the skin) of your arm was 2.546 inches when it was 16 inches in circumference and is now 2.427 inces. This is only a difference of 0.12 inches or 3 mm.

Given that you have lost an incredible 40 pounds during your weight loss program, I do not think it is unrealistic at all to think that you may have lost 3 mm worth of fat from the thickness of your arms.

If I were you I'd chalk this up to another example of your great weight loss accomplishement!


PS- To quote a bodybuilder friend of mine "A ripped 17 inch arm will always be more impressive than a fat 19 inch arm!"

PPS- I'm in the middle of reading "Mindless Eating", I'll blog about it soon, but I'm impressed enough with it already to suggest you pick it up and give it a read, I think you'll like it.


billy said...


Thanks for taking the time to respond. I guess the assumption is that there is not much fat on the arms to begin with, but the way you explain it, that makes total sense.

Thanks again!