Information on the Pegan Diet, and for a change of pace, comparing 5 different types of Olives from the Whole Foods Olive bar.

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This week, their were headlines about the new healthiest diet out there, discussing the merits of the Pegan Diet.

As much as it sounds like it is associated with Paganism, you don’t need to run around naked in the woods. You can I suppose, but it isn’t required.

The Pegan diet claims to be a union between the Vegan Diet and the Paleo Diet. To that end, it is not much difference between Paleo and Pegan, other than a smaller emphasis on meat. The Vegan part really only applies to the extra encouragement to eat more plants and vegetables.

Otherwise, many of the same values from the Paleo diet applies here. Avoid processed foods, don’t eat excess sugar (including too much fruit), and make sure to eat red meat in moderation.

Pegan Diet seems more like a variation on Paleo than it’s own unique diet. It calls for your vegetables to be your main source of hunger quelling nutrition, with meat being the secondary focus.

I know for myself, I focus the other way around, which probably limits how much essential vitamins I actually receive.

Overall, I’d say the you should read the article if you want them to lay out their exact game plan. Otherwise, I’d just take the general advice of adding more vegetables to my diet.

Sorry Vegans, the headline of the article seems to be misleading you. The article advocates no dairy, but fish and meat are still okay.

So now for the real intrigue of the story. The comparison of 5 olives available from Whole Foods olive bar.

I for one, cannot stand olives. I blame bad pizza as a child. I know people say bad pizza is still pizza, but olives have since been no friend of mine.

But they are a huge love of the worlds at large, so I won’t discriminate on them.

That all being said, I asked a friend of mine who loves to eat olives, pickles, and other love-em-or-hate-em foods like that for her opinion on the following selections from the olive bar.

Kalamata Pitted Olives

Kalamata Pitted Olives

  • They are different than most olives. Not as sour or tasteful as other olives. Not as firm, somewhat mushy to the tongue.

Green Pitted Olives

Green Pitted Olives

  • A nice sour taste to them, with a metallic salty after taste.

Black Cerignola Olives

Black Cerignola Olives

  • Tastes like a regular black olive. Much bigger and much firmer, and it also has a pit in the middle you need to watch out for. It’s not sour and has a salty taste.

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Mt. Athos Pitted Olives with Garlic Marinade

  • An oily garlic taste to start with, and then once you open it the olive isn’t as sour as a normal olive but with the same salty aftertaste as the green olive. Occasionally there is a nice garlic spice taste at the end of eating one.

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Mt. Athos Olives Stuffed with sun-dried Tomatoes

  • It has the sweetness of a sun-dried tomato mixed with the sourness of an olive. Very juicy and tasty.

Also among the assortment of olives where these red funky looking peppers called…

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Peppadews

  • It’s sugary sweet at first, followed by the aftertaste of a mild pepper. Why it’s hanging out in the olive bar with the olives, I don’t know, however, it looked interesting.

So there you are. Hopefully you find this breakdown of olives helpful. Leave a comment if you have a favorite olive that wasn’t compared, but needs to be highlighted.

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Now that movie season is coming back from Oscar films to action films, here is what theaters are able to provide a strict paleo diet.

I have finally caught up with seemingly the rest of the world and finally seen Black Panther.

After three weeks as box office winner, I finally had time and money to view the movie most of us have been waiting to see since it was announced or since Captain America: Civil War where we got a taste of what was to come.

As I received my tickets, I made my way to the concession line, where I realized something. I had no idea what I could eat.

Now if you are from or in Towson, we have the lovely Cinemark Towson and XD theatre on East Joppa Road. It’s almost smack dab in the middle of down town Towson.

This theater has food with which they will run out to you at your seat until five minutes to your showtime. More on that in a minute.

Their is also a quality snack bar in the lobby. A quick scan of the concessions, and a google search of the Nutrition and Allergy Information sheet presents some issues.

Popcorn, a movie theater staple snack is not paleo. It’s a grain. You cannot eat any if you are following your diet. Which saddens me to my core to say such a thing.

The only food which MAY fall under paleo guidelines is the chicken tenders, but if they are rolled in wheat flour before being served to you, we’re all out of luck. The renaming snacks either have cheese, like the mozzarella sticks and the nachos, or are made of or battered with wheat flour like the pretzels, the shrimp poppers….or the nachos.

The drink menu is filled with sugary sodas, which is a no go for paleo. The lemonade and the tea sound lovely, but the minute maid tea has 28 grams of sugar for 8 ounces of lemonade and the tea is no better at 22 grams of sugar for the same 8 ounces of tea.

Compared to Coca Cola, 8 ounces of that has 26 grams of sugar. I think we should go with the bottle of water.

The menu also has pizza, which is cheese and dough, so it’s off limits. Their are hot dogs on standby for your movie. Hot dogs are not known for their quality meat, but I can’t seem to be to picky.

The rest of my snacks seem to comprise of cakes, candy, or ice cream. So what is their for me to do?

Towson Cinemark has their reserve menu, which has more dinner like food for which I can enjoy. Their are two appetizers that will hopefully fill your snacky needs. An Arugula Salad, hold the cheese, will satisfy your dietary needs while also tasting good. I’m not a salad guy, so I would probably take the sweet potato fries as my snack food of choice to wolf down as I watch trailers.

The entrees are mostly comprised of sandwiches and wraps, which if you feel like picking apart, is an option. But that seems to messy to do in the dark while trying to watch explosions.

And the remaining menu follows an assortment of breaded delights and cheesy goodness sure to make your stomach explode and your stomach feel queasy.

My advice is two-fold. Go before the movie, eat a lovely dinner at one of the nearby restaurants who will probably fill you with your precise choice of food, and then go to the movies, full and a little sleepy, with the knowledge you ate correctly.

The other option is to go to the movies, get what you want knowing that you may feel a bit sick later, but that this is a once in awhile event and you eat well the rest of the time so you can enjoy moments like this. And maybe schedule some extra sit ups at your next workout.

Still struggling to find dairy free yogurt after Vegan yogurt revealed to have dairy in it.

Tucked away at the bottom of my plastic pokemon lunchbox, next to my ham sandwich and my apple slices would be my metal spoon and my personal sized package of yogurt.

As a child, yogurt was a staple food for a home-made lunch. If only I had understood the value of the fruits tucked into the bottom of my least favorite yogurts, instead of demanding the sugary swirled Trix yogurt that I enjoyed so much.

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I can’t find a good yogurt to fill the void when I need a snack now because the dairy makes me sick, however, there was hope in the form of a vegan yogurt without dairy to fill my need for something to pass the time between lunch and supper.

And now these hopes are dashed because the company COYO had to recall their yogurt because their vegan yogurt contains dairy.

SIGH.

Well, now I have to see what this is all about.

After a quick visit to my local MOM’s Organic Market, I have found that they have no more COYO yogurt, which a help desk employee said was due to very limited supply.

So I bought one of every non-dairy yogurt MOM’s had since COYO cannot fill the non-dairy yogurt itch.

First Yogurt, Green Valley Orgaics

This first sampling I tried was Green Valley Organic‘s Lactose-Free Yogurt. It tastes exactly how I picture vanilla yogurt to taste, so if you are just trying to find a replacement for dairy yogurt, here you are. Green Valley Organic offers milks, cream cheese, sour cream, butter, as well as a few different yogurts. These products don’t qualify for vegans but should help those of us who are lactose intolerant.

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Next I opened a cup of Kite Hill almond milk yogurt. If I’m honest, I don’t know what I expected here. It is very sweet, and if I wasn’t expecting yogurt I think I’d really enjoy it. It’s dairy free and soy free so you won’t have to worry as a paleo or a vegan dieter. However, if you have a nut allergy, this isn’t going to help you out.

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Third, I had Daiya deliciously dairy-free yogurt with Strawberry because they are delicious and because I couldn’t keep eating vanilla yogurt all day. It’s gluten-free and soy-free. This tub of yogurt is specifically dairy-free as well. Now, a few weeks ago, I had the Daiya cheese-free pizza, which hit the spot. This yogurt is not, however, hitting my yogurt spot like the pizza had. This strawberry yogurt would fall in line with Paleo diets, gluten-free diets, dairy-free, and vegan diets. So it’s a choice that should please almost everyone.

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Second to last, is the Forager Creamy Dairy-Free Cashewgurt yogurt, with Lemon! It was okay, with an interesting aftertaste. It does taste and look like yogurt and acts like yogurt. It isn’t as runny as some of the others. Probably good for vegans and paleo, being that is is lactose-free and soy free, but watch out if you have a nut allergy.

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Finally, for the final Yogurt dairy alternative, we have SO Delicious Dairy Free Coconut milk yogurt, with peaches. It has peaches mixed in rather well upon opening. It tastes like a real yogurt. It’s vegan and gluten-free, and it doesn’t use dairy so it’s also paleo, except maybe the sugar. Pretty good.

All in all, they are all good for your individual diet preferences. I am going to get more SO Delicious yogurt.

If you have a hankering for some yogurt in the Towson area, and you have to keep dairy free due to diet or health reasons, you have options.

You don’t need to be afraid of buying dairy-free yogurt that accidentally has dairy in it.

If you have any other yogurt alternatives, tell us about it in the comments below.

After finding a worm in your fish steak, maybe it’s time to discuss meat options.

The nightmare scenario occurred this week for a woman in Fredrick, Maryland, when she found a whole worm in the fish she had bought from the super market.

Can I just say for everyone else, ew!

I am now afraid of eating fish for probably the next week or two if I’m honest.

This seems like a good time to discuss what the different meats mean. And I don’t mean steak is cow and pork chop is pig or something basic like this, but how the different meats get from pen to plate.

So for most of us who grew up with school lunches, all meat is interchangeable. You got chicken, which was always fried or broiled, you have your steak which just means cut of cow, and the general pork chop.

When we got older, we found you could serve these in more unique ways as we discerned the differences between styles of cooking. Italian or Japanese cooking styles using several of the same ingredients but resulting in very different end points.

Well now we are older, and we are cooking for ourselves and we are trying to cut out the junk foods,the added sugars, and the chemicals. However, we also need to make sure that this extends to our proteins.

Chicken
Is your mouth watering? My mouth is watering, and I just finished eating.(Photo by Ben Laing)

Chicken meat has many labels slapped onto it, and deciding if you want free range or caged or organic means different things. I’ll leave up to you.

What you need to keep in mind is however unhealthy, not to mention unhappy, your food was raised will effect the quality of food you get.

Chickens tend to get a lot of hormones injected into them that forces them to grow large muscle for more food per bird. These hormones are getting passed on to you, and they may or may not have an effect on you and your growth and health.

If you don’t want your food to be injected with enough hormones to make a bodybuilder jealous, then you probably want your food to grow muscle naturally.

Which means they need to get outside and exercise like everything else. So you want to look out for grass fed chicken. Remember that if your chicken has been eating grain, then those nutrients get passed onto you.

I’m you are not following Paleo or the Whole30 diet, then you don’t need to worry about that.

Meat
Mmmmm. You can almost smell it. (Photo by Ben Laing)

I know wehave been talking mostly about chicken, but the main factors stretch across to almost all other meat. Cows and pigs get pumped full of hormones to make them bigger, to make more meat to keep the price down.

Again, you’ll want to look for the grass fed label, to indicate that your food grew up healthy and got to see the sun and live a life.

If you love pork I have some bad news. Pigs are rarely raised in a healthy environment. They tend to be raised only for meat, unlike cows and chickens, so they tend to be overlooked healthy living wise. There will tend to be less abundance of grass fed pork.

Other protein like duck, deer, and bison tend to have more healthy options because their demand isn’t high and so they tend to be raised better.

Fish
I don’t know if that is a good deal, and I don’t think I wanna argue. (Photo by Ben Laing)

As for fish. You need to look at what catch you have. Is it freshly caught? Is it farm raised? Are you eating fish who eats garbage and crud it’s entire life? These things all effect your fish, and eventually you.

Although finding creepy crawlies in your fish is still gross, the general belief is that as long as you cook your fish correctly, any “parasites will die off and should not be a health hazard” based upon the health spokeswoman that Fox 5 found.

Truthfully, that isn’t encouraging enough for me. Let us add another week to our weeks off from fish.

Deli
Oh, deli meats. You are salty and so nice on my sandwiches and my party platters.(Photo by Ben Laing)

Finally, be mindful of deli meat. Like most people, I was raised on deli meat sandwiches. But what I had not known was the amount of preservatives that are used to keep the meat good for longer. So protein is protein, but try and limit your chemical additions to your meal to a minimum.

Always, always, always, read your labels because as we have seen with gluten free labels and organic labels, labels tend to get slapped on more things as healthy options become buzz words. So businesses will start fudging the truth to try and catch your attention.

Good news for those of us who are tempted from our paleo diet by alluring pizza and devious chocolate milk.

This week marks the announcement of two new options for those of us trying to eat cleaner. A California based dairy, Clover Sonoma, launched nationwide their new milk. It is a lactose-free milk that is the first Non-GMO in the United States. Finally, I can enjoy a glass of chocolate milk without having to worry about bloating from a lactose allergy. You’ll need to worry about sugar, but you take the good with the bad.

This is for most of us just another alternative milk to add to our huge list of options. Knowing that I can have a glass of milk that isn’t made from almonds or cashews, soybeans, or wheat(yes, I was surprised too) or filled to the brim with growth hormone’s that my high school chemistry class did not accurately prepare me for. I get to eat like I’m five again with all the lack of worries that being five entails.

For some people, this is amazing. If you are trying to eat cleaner or you have a tree nut allergy, there wasn’t really another option. You could switch all your dairy needs to soymilk, but that opens up health concerns about the amount of estrogen you are drinking. I guess now you have the option of wheat milk, but if you are avoiding carbs this doesn’t work either.

The press release didn’t have an exact date of when Clover Sonoma would have a wide release, but a quick car ride to my local Safeway and Wegman’s revealed they did not have any in stock, so make sure to keep your eye on that.

Now I’m sure most people are not that fussed about getting a cold glass of chocolate milk as they are about filling the void of the staple food source, pizza. Oh, pizza, you taste so good but you have every food irritant in you that my paleo cookbooks warned me about.

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The restaurant doesn’t have a lot of parking out front, but there is plenty of parking in the surrounding area. (Photo by Rew Laing TU Student)

A restaurant called Coal Fire Pizza offers a pizza with daiya dairy-free cheese alternative as an alternative to the usual mozzarella cheese that forbids pizza from us hungry few who shouldn’t or cannot have dairy.

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The pizza was personal sized and very filling. (Photo by Rew Laing TU Student)

When you couple this with their gluten-free crust, it seems to be the best pizza option for those people trying to stay paleo or vegan or whatever food path you’re following. Luckily for us, Coal Fire pizza is based in Maryland and Virginia, and one is only a short drive from Towson University. It is situated in the Hunt Valley shopping center.

You have the option of sitting down and dining at their establishment, which is more similar to a standard restaurant than a fast-food place like Chipotle or Five Guys. Or if you are a recluse who doesn’t want to be eating pizza alone at a restaurant, then a ten-minute wait is all the separates you from your dairy free, gluten free, greasy pizza perfection.

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Plenty of tables with a bar in the adjacent room. (Photo by Rew Laing TU Student)

So fear not my fellow paleo Towson residents, we are marching toward a day when we aren’t required to schlep our meal prepped tupperware to ever event and work day. We are reaching a time when we can go out to dinner with friends without being “that guy” who complains that there aren’t any options for us.

 

One in 22,000: The Teacher with music running through her veins.

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Marielle Davis is a second year Towson Student.(Photo by: Ben Laing)

Marielle Davis is a native Marylander from Willard MD. She has grown up with music her whole life, from a father who was always in a band, to piano lessons at seven. Now she plays six instruments from string to brass, and she is studying at Towson University towards becoming a teacher for children. But she plans to keep music as part of her life.

Towson Student Marielle Davis keeps music in her heart as she studies to become a teacher.

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Marielle Davis in her dorm between classes.(Photo by: Ben Laing/TU Student)

Marielle Davis lugs her backpack off her shoulder onto her dorm room sofa. She kicks off her shoes, and plops into an armchair. Another class done. Satisfied that she is done school for the day, she reaches under the armchair and pulls out a guitar case.

Her shoulder strap is set just for her, but she doesn’t use it. Marielle checks the tightness of the shoe string she tied to the guitar is still secure. It gives her guitar character.

Then she starts to strum a tune, while letting her mind wander. Continue reading “Towson Student Marielle Davis keeps music in her heart as she studies to become a teacher.”