Clean Eating Archives - ig2go

Sugar, sweets, and sugar substitutes

Just a spoonful of sugar helps the…muscles and body experience a boost of energy, and then likely crash shortly afterward. You know it, we know it, we’ve all experienced a sugar crash once in our lives. Today we’re diving into the sweet stuff to figure out if we really need to be so concerned with sugar, how much we should be including in our diets, and some great sources of natural sugar and natural sugar substitutes.

First off, what is sugar?

When you hear the word “sugar” you probably envision the refined white sugar crystals we all know and love. That would be correct, but more specifically that sugar is called sucrose, and it is also a type of carbohydrate. There are many different types of carbohydrates/sugars, Including Sucrose (refined table sugar), Lactose (found in milk and dairy), Fructose (found in fruit), and Glucose the simplest form of sugar. When you consume ANY carbohydrate, your body breaks it down into glucose, which then enters the bloodstream and provides energy to every cell in your body. Without glucose, your body’s primary functions can’t do their job, and this can quickly lead to life-threatening complications.

So needless to say, sugar is an important part of a functioning diet. That being said, not all forms of sugar are created equal.

As we mentioned, glucose is the simplest form of sugar your body can process. Your body doesn’t have to expend any extra energy to get it into the bloodstream. But the more complex the sugars and carbohydrates get, the more energy it takes to break them down into the basic building block of glucose. This is why you hear so many nutritionists vouch for “Complex Carbs”. These carbs are long complicated chains of molecules that take energy and time to break down. Complex carbs are found naturally in most whole plant foods we consume, such as beans, grains, vegetables, and fruits. So although we don’t usually think of grains, or vegetables as being “sugary” or “sweet”, they actually contain sugars, and you can meet your daily glucose requirements by eating these whole foods. the length of time it takes to break the foods down into glucose also helps mitigate the sugar crash. Rather than your body accessing a bunch of glucose (energy) all at once, that same amount of glucose is slowly released into the bloodstream over a longer stretch of time, providing a stable and consistent flow of energy to the body.

Why is sugar sweet?

So we’ve determined what sugar is, and how important sugar is to a healthy and happy body. And we can see that we don’t need refined simple sugar to meet our body’s needs. But our attachment to sugar goes beyond just our desire to fuel our bodies. There’s something about simple sugars specifically that our taste buds tend to get really attached to. So what makes refined sugar “sweet”?

The sweetness of refined sugar is the result of a chemical interaction between the sugar molecules and the taste receptor cells in our mouths. That specific chemical reaction creates a signal in our nervous system that tells our brain we are experiencing something “sweet”. Studies have shown that our brains are wired to release certain chemicals, such as Serotonin when we consume something sweet. Some theorize this is because it was a high-value food that was beneficial to seek out as humans were evolving before it became such a huge and easily accessible commodity. Either way, there are a number of reasons your body can crave sweet things, including:

  • Mineral deficiencies
  • Blood sugar imbalance
  • Nostalgia and triggered memories
  • Cultural norms and routines

Although we are huge supporters of listening to your body, giving into these cravings too often can be detrimental to your health. Sugar is necessary, but too much of anything is rarely a good idea. If you feel that you are craving sugar more often than normal, it would probably help to talk to a doctor or nutritionist about it, and dig a little deeper in case there is an underlying reason for it.

Sugar Substitutes

The good news is that there are some great sugar substitutes available that we can use in place of table sugar when we’re craving something sweet. Some of our favorites that we use in our recipes are:

  • Xylitol – A natural sugar alcohol found in many fruits and vegetables and contains about 1/2 or 1/4 fewer calories than table sugar. Although this is still technically refined sugar, it doesn’t raise blood sugar levels so it doesn’t count towards ‘Net Carbs’ from a nutrition standpoint. Xylitol also reduces levels of decay-causing bacteria in [saliva](http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/what-is-saliva), so it doesn’t cause the same tooth decay that table sugar does.
  • Monk fruit – Another natural sugar extracted from a small round fruit native to Southern China. The extract can be 150-200 times sweeter than table sugar, so less is needed when you are using this as a replacement in a recipe. Monk fruit sweeteners are made of compounds called mogrosides, which aren’t digested in the upper gastrointestinal tract, so it has no caloric value.
  • Agave – Agave is often sold as a thick syrup or nectar, and comes from the Agave plant native to Latin America. Agave is primarily fructose, and although it provides a wonderful sweet flavor, fructose doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. It is important to note that your liver can get overloaded if you consume too much fructose, so as with everything it’s still important to moderate how much agave you consume.
  • Honey – Likely the most well-known sweetener on this list, honey is produced naturally by bees and has many health benefits that make it a good substitute for table sugar. Although honey is primarily Sucrose, it also contains trace amounts of other minerals and antioxidants Honey also has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, while at the same promoting the health of good bacteria in the digestive tract.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, you need some form of sugar to function, but it’s best to limit refined table sugar, and hidden simple sugars in heavily processed foods. We love each of our listed sugar substitutes for different reasons, and they all have a specific purpose in our recipes. It is important to pay attention to what you eat, but it’s also important to enjoy it. Life should be sweet! and we hope this deep dive into sugar has inspired to you appreciate what sugar and carbs provide for our bodies, and we hope we’ve inspired you to explore some sugar substitutes for your own sweet recipes.

Should You Worry About Hormones In Your Food?

Hormones are chemicals that our bodies produce to regulate the activity of cells. Hormones are also found naturally in food and balancing our hormones is an important part of managing our mood, metabolism, and sleep patterns.

Some of the most important hormones are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Estrogen is the hormone that regulates the menstrual cycle and helps to maintain a woman’s bone density. It also has some role in brain development, mood, and memory. Progesterone is necessary for maintaining pregnancy and for regulating the menstrual cycle. Testosterone is responsible for male sexual characteristics and muscle development.

Vegetables contain estrogen-like compounds called phytoestrogens, which are plant-based sources of estrogen that mimic its effects in the body. Soybeans are a major source of phytoestrogens in our diets; they contain compounds called isoflavones that bind to estrogen receptors on cells throughout our bodies.

However, not all hormones are created equal. Many are hesitant to eat food that has been artificially modified, or injected with hormones.

The use of hormones in cows has been a controversial topic for decades now, with the main reason being that they are used at low levels to increase milk production. It has been shown that these hormones are safe and effective in increasing milk production, which makes them a good option for farmers looking to maximize their profit margins. The use of hormones in cows has been banned in Europe since 1989. Despite that, the US is one of the few countries that still allows it.

However, it has been found that these hormones can increase the risk of cancer in humans.

A study was done on over 13,000 women who were breast cancer survivors and the results showed that those who consumed high amounts of hormone-treated milk had a higher risk of breast cancer recurrence.

As for Chicken and Pork, is it illegal to use growth hormones within the US. Therefore, the claim “no hormones added” cannot be used on the labels of pork or poultry unless it is followed by a statement that says “Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones.”

Soy, which is naturally high in estrogen, has also been the subject of much research and study, with the majority of studies indicating that soy consumption has a positive effect on health.

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that soy consumption is associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Another study found that soy consumption is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer.

So what’s the verdict, are hormones in food good or bad?

Our answer is complicated. We certainly think naturally occurring hormones are unavoidable, as almost every food has some trace amount of hormones. But artificially injected hormones may not be the healthiest solution for our bodies, the animals, or our ecosystem as a whole. The best solution is still to stick to organic, hormone-free, and sustainably raised livestock.

We take all of this into consideration when we curate our recipes, or stock our grab-and-go coolers. At Intelligent Gourmet, we always use Free-range, Organic, Hormone-free, and Locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. From our prepared-to-order dishes to our standard provisions including organic eggs, butter, milk, and plant-based milk alternatives, we value the quality of the options we provide because we believe they taste better and are better for us.

How to Use Food to Rock Your New Year’s Resolutions, All Year Long

This post is NOT about losing weight. In fact, that resolution isn’t even going to be mentioned, because you know why? I’m SICK OF IT! Aren’t you? Of course, you can use food to lose weight (studies show it’s more effective to control your diet than increase exercise if you have to choose), but let’s dig a little deeper this year and go after what we really want to maintain your New Years Health goals.

1. Resolution: Be Happier 

It’s a simple one, but it’s what we’re really after with all the other resolutions isn’t it? Even when you have a great family, work you love, and live in a beautiful part of the country that hovers between 60 and 80 degrees in the dead of winter – you can still feel down more often than you’d like. Stop punishing yourself for being ungrateful – that’s not it. Unless you need to make real changes in your life (maybe you do!), these downtimes are chemical. And that means you can lift yourself back up with food. 

There was an interesting study on PBS recently that linked inflammation with depression. This means that an anti-inflammatory diet could significantly help symptoms of depression. Two especially powerful anti-inflammatory foods (or supplements) you can try are: 

  • Turmeric (curcumin) 
  • Omega-3 (fish, or fish oil) 

2. Resolution: Be Healthier 

Boost energy and fight disease this year by incorporating these 5 foods into your daily life. Yes, daily.

  1. Lemons – Anti-inflammatory, inhibits cancer cell growth, increases “good” cholesterol levels, vitamin C.
  2. Broccoli – Anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting rock-star, vitamin K & vitamin C combo builds healthy bones.
  3. Dark Chocolate – 1/4th oz daily reduces blood pressure & bad cholesterol, and improves your mood!
  4. Salmon/Fish/Flax Seeds/Walnuts – Omega-3 fatty acids help the brain work better, reduce bad cholesterol, and reduce the risk for heart disease. 
  5. Spinach – Anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting, and eye-health-improving. Toss a handful in with your eggs every morning! 

3. Resolution: Spend More Time With Loved Ones 

Invite some friends over to cook a healthy meal together – and schedule these dinners as often as you’d like.  We’re all so busy that if we don’t schedule in time with friends and loved ones, it never happens. So put a few dinner dates on your calendar. Here’s an idea: Make a game of it by inviting a friend to walk through your local farmer’s market with you, choose some “mystery” ingredients, and see what you can do with them when you get back! 

Don’t like to cook, but still want the healthy dinner? We’ve got you covered. Just serve everyone Intelligent Gourmet! 

Share your new years health goals with us! What are your favorite tools and healthy habits?

5 Juice Ingredients That Reduce Inflammation & Bloating

Have you ever woken up and felt bloated? If you answered yes to this question, then you have probably had this happen more than once. While this problem may be familiar, the treatment is often lesser-known. A lot of people tend to look up ways to feel better online, and there are usually some bizarre remedies on different websites that people try, even if they don’t make sense! What many don’t realize is that it is easier to treat bloatedness or inflammation than you think. One way to improve how you feel on a daily basis is to visit a juice bar nearby. At Intelligent Gourmet, your health is important to us and we are dedicated to serving you healthy yet delicious drink options that offer many health benefits, like those that offer digestive relief.

5 Juice Ingredients That Reduce Inflammation And Bloating

Do not be fooled by the internet. You do not need to do anything crazy to feel better when you are bloated or inflamed. There are natural and affordable options to staying healthy, such as eating and drinking properly, so you obtain all of the energy you need throughout the day. Some juice ingredients that can reduce your bloating include

Ginger- This spicy ingredient is a potent anti-inflammatory that reduces the pain associated with osteoarthritis and other inflammatory issues.
Turmeric- Protects fats against oxidation during cooking and shields the body against oxidative stress.
Celery- There are more than 20 anti-inflammatory compounds in celery and celery seeds.
Cucumber- Cucumbers can lower the inflammatory response in the body and can potentially reduce the risk of certain diseases.
Cayenne- Cayenne has a very powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient called capsaicin.

All of these ingredients offer benefits that your body can appreciate. Some juice options that are offered at Intelligent Gourmet that may reduce your inflammation are Healthy Body, Bottled Sunshine, and Cucumber Julep.

Other Ways To Reduce Inflammation

Juicing is a great way to detox your body, and with a juice bar nearby in Tampa, you have plenty of options when it comes to choosing which ingredients you prefer to reduce your bloating and inflammation. Along with with juice options that offer very healthy ingredients, there are other ways to help reduce your inflammation:

Eat more plant based, nutrient-dense foods.
Focus on gut health.
Make sure you always have plenty of rest.
Reduce the toxins in your food, home, and personal care products.

These are just some of the ways to help reduce your inflammation or bloating. Make sure that when you are researching online, you choose the healthiest options to detox your body. Do not put your body in harm’s way with out of the box remedies.

Contact Us

When you are looking for a juice bar nearby in Tampa, come into Intelligent Gourmet today! We have a variety of juices that can help reduce your bloating and inflammation. Do not follow crazy remedies you find online! There are much healthier and safer ways to lower inflammation. To find out more about the juices we offer call us today at (813) 287-2253 or visit our website! https://www.ig2go.com/.

Juice Your Way Into the New Year

Resolutions… Goal setting… Intentions… Sometimes, these words hold too much weight at the dawn of a New Year. Let us put those aside and juice your way into the New year!

Our goal is not to lose weight or change your diet – but instead, share with you why adding juicing to your diet can lead to a happier & healthier year.

Resolution: Be Happier

It sounds so simple, but this is one resolution that we would all like to obtain! Even if everything adds up – your family dynamic is great, your work is your passion, and live somewhere with plenty of sunshine, we can still feel down more often than we would like. There is no need to punish yourself for feeling down – oftentimes, it is what is inside of you that does it. Typically, these downtimes are chemical and that means you can lift yourself back up with good-for-you food.

There was an interesting study on PBS recently that linked inflammation with depression. This means that an anti-inflammatory diet could significantly help symptoms of depression. Adding both of these two foods (or supplements) to your diet or throwing them into your daily juice or smoothie is very easy, and are very powerful, anti-inflammatory foods:

  • Turmeric (curcumin)
  • Omega-3 (fish or fish oil)

Resolution: Be Healthier

Boost energy and fight disease this year by incorporating these 5 foods into your daily life. Yes, we really do mean, daily! Upping your juice game by adding a couple of these to your daily creation can add so many benefits to your diet.

  • Lemons: Tart but delicious, they are anti-inflammatory, can inhibit cancer cell growth, increases “good” cholesterol levels, and have a good amount of vitamin C.
  • Broccoli: These little trees are anti-inflammatory and are cancer-fighting rock-stars. Plus, they are packed with Vitamin K & Vitamin C; this combination can help build healthy bones.
  • Dark Chocolate: Only a fourth ounce, enjoyed daily can reduce blood pressure and bad cholesterol. Bonus, it can improve your mood!
  • Salmon, Fish, Flax Seeds, & Walnuts: All of these hold Omega-3 fatty acids, which can help the brain work better, reduce bad cholesterol, and reduce the risk for heart disease.
  • Spinach: Just call us Popeye! Spinach is an anti-inflammatory food, cancer-fighting, and help with improving your eye health. We suggest tossing a handful in with your eggs every morning

Cooking not your thing, but still want a healthy dinner? At Intelligent Gourmet – we’ve got you covered! Stop in today, enjoy some of our fresh juices & grab a few of our favorite dishes to go, #gourmetontheGO.

How to Use Food to Rock Your New Year’s Resolutions, All Year Long

This post is NOT about losing weight. In fact, that resolution isn’t even going to be mentioned, because you know why? I’m SICK OF IT! Aren’t you? Of course, you can use food to lose weight (studies show it’s more effective to control your diet than increase exercise if you have to choose), but let’s dig a little deeper this year and go after what we really want to maintain your New Years Health goals.

1. Resolution: Be Happier 

It’s a simple one, but it’s what we’re really after with all the other resolutions isn’t it? Even when you have a great family, work you love, and live in a beautiful part of the country that hovers between 60 and 80 degrees in the dead of winter – you can still feel down more often than you’d like. Stop punishing yourself for being ungrateful – that’s not it. Unless you need to make real changes in your life (maybe you do!), these downtimes are chemical. And that means you can lift yourself back up with food. 

There was an interesting study on PBS recently that linked inflammation with depression. This means that an anti-inflammatory diet could significantly help symptoms of depression. Two especially powerful anti-inflammatory foods (or supplements) you can try are: 

  • Turmeric (curcumin) 
  • Omega-3 (fish, or fish oil) 

2. Resolution: Be Healthier 

Boost energy and fight disease this year by incorporating these 5 foods into your daily life. Yes, daily.

  1. Lemons – Anti-inflammatory, inhibits cancer cell growth, increases “good” cholesterol levels, vitamin C.
  2. Broccoli – Anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting rock-star, vitamin K & vitamin C combo builds healthy bones.
  3. Dark Chocolate – 1/4th oz daily reduces blood pressure & bad cholesterol, and improves your mood!
  4. Salmon/Fish/Flax Seeds/Walnuts – Omega-3 fatty acids help the brain work better, reduce bad cholesterol, and reduce the risk for heart disease. 
  5. Spinach – Anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting, and eye-health-improving. Toss a handful in with your eggs every morning! 

3. Resolution: Spend More Time With Loved Ones 

Invite some friends over to cook a healthy meal together – and schedule these dinners as often as you’d like.  We’re all so busy that if we don’t schedule in time with friends and loved ones, it never happens. So put a few dinner dates on your calendar. Here’s an idea: Make a game of it by inviting a friend to walk through your local farmer’s market with you, choose some “mystery” ingredients, and see what you can do with them when you get back! 

Don’t like to cook, but still want the healthy dinner? We’ve got you covered. Just serve everyone Intelligent Gourmet! 

Share your new years health goals with us! What are your favorite tools and healthy habits?


New Years Health | How to Use Food to Rock Your New Year’s Resolutions, All Year Long

Juice Your Way Into the New Year

Resolutions… Goal setting… Intentions… Sometimes, these words hold too much weight at the dawn of a New Year. Let us put those aside and juice your way into the New year!

Our goal is not to lose weight or change your diet – but instead, share with you why adding juicing to your diet can lead to a happier & healthier year.

Resolution: Be Happier

It sounds so simple, but this is one resolution that we would all like to obtain! Even if everything adds up – your family dynamic is great, your work is your passion, and live somewhere with plenty of sunshine, we can still feel down more often than we would like. There is no need to punish yourself for feeling down – oftentimes, it is what is inside of you that does it. Typically, these downtimes are chemical and that means you can lift yourself back up with good-for-you food.

There was an interesting study on PBS recently that linked inflammation with depression. This means that an anti-inflammatory diet could significantly help symptoms of depression. Adding both of these two foods (or supplements) to your diet or throwing them into your daily juice or smoothie is very easy, and are very powerful, anti-inflammatory foods:

  • Turmeric (curcumin)
  • Omega-3 (fish or fish oil)

Resolution: Be Healthier

Boost energy and fight disease this year by incorporating these 5 foods into your daily life. Yes, we really do mean, daily! Upping your juice game by adding a couple of these to your daily creation can add so many benefits to your diet.

  • Lemons: Tart but delicious, they are anti-inflammatory, can inhibit cancer cell growth, increases “good” cholesterol levels, and have a good amount of vitamin C.
  • Broccoli: These little trees are anti-inflammatory and are cancer-fighting rock-stars. Plus, they are packed with Vitamin K & Vitamin C; this combination can help build healthy bones.
  • Dark Chocolate: Only a fourth ounce, enjoyed daily can reduce blood pressure and bad cholesterol. Bonus, it can improve your mood!
  • Salmon, Fish, Flax Seeds, & Walnuts: All of these hold Omega-3 fatty acids, which can help the brain work better, reduce bad cholesterol, and reduce the risk for heart disease.
  • Spinach: Just call us Popeye! Spinach is an anti-inflammatory food, cancer-fighting, and help with improving your eye health. We suggest tossing a handful in with your eggs every morning

Cooking not your thing, but still want a healthy dinner? At Intelligent Gourmet – we’ve got you covered! Stop in today, enjoy some of our fresh juices & grab a few of our favorite dishes to go, #gourmetontheGO. 

Reasons to Incorporate Fresh Juice into your Diet

It’s no secret that there are many reasons to incorporate fresh juice into your diet. Today, we are sharing five reasons why you should add juicing to your everyday

Reasons to Try Juicing for Health

Keeps you Hydrated: As part of a balanced diet, it is important to keep up with your intake of water, fruits, and vegetables. Conveniently, fruits and vegetables with higher water concentrations are found in our juice recipes because of the high amount of water they contain. Due to the nutrients in fruits and vegetables, you are getting both water and other important nutrients – this helps your body stay hydrated.

Strengthens Bones: It is important for us to consume minerals, such as calcium, in order to maintain healthy bones and teeth. One easy way to increase your calcium intake is through the foods you eat and drink. Two easy veggies that are high in calcium, and so easy to add when juicing, are kale or spinach. They are a staple to so many of our juice recipes! 

Boost Energy: While caffeine and energy drinks are great for a kick, they can cause us to crash and burn. However, when you treat yourself to a natural, long-lasting energy drink filled with fruits and vegetables, you will be giving your body the combination of nutrients it needs to keep going all day long.

Reduces Stress: Giving your body the proper nutrition it needs will allow it to regulate itself and keep your stress levels down. The more vitamins and antioxidant dense foods you consume, the more easily you will be to cope with stress. Eating certain foods, such as blueberries or leafy greens can help your diet – make it super easy and add them to your juicing routine. 

Better Sleep At Night: You are more likely to feel more relaxed at night when your body has the power it needs to get through the day. Juice can help give your body what it needs to fall asleep naturally at night. Fruits, such as pineapples, bananas, and oranges contain melatonin naturally, a hormone that helps to regulate sleep cycles.

Looking for Healthy Food Near Me? We welcome you into Intelligent Gourmet today to try some of our juice combinations. Juicing is an efficient, yet simple way to get in your helping of fruits and vegetables; in one serving of our juice, you can get multiple servings of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and phytonutrients in one serving. Often times, juicing is easier for the body to digest, compared to solid foods and makes it easier for the flow of fluid to run through your system. There are so has many benefits to juicing – stop in and see our juicing menu, we would love to help you find the perfect recipe to match just what you are looking for.

If you are looking to incorporate juicing for health into your diet, reach out or stop in Intelligent Gourmet in Tampa, FL. We have many recipes for you to try and can easily become your favorite “healthy food near me” lunch destination.

In the Kitchen – How to make an IG Taco Bowl

This recipe is a great way to make a quick, flavorful meal that’s packed with vitamins, protein, & flavor.

Healthy St. Patrick’s Day Dishes on C10 News


See original video here

We’re honored to have been invited on Channel 10 News to share some of our favorite healthy St Patrick’s day dishes! It’s time to drop the belief that holidays are synonymous with unhealthy eating. Get festive without the guilt with our IG Bangers and Mash, and IG Shamrock Shake.

Hosting a holiday get together? Check out our Catering Menu! We’ll take care of the feast, while you enjoy the festivities.