Nutrition Archives - ig2go

Boost Your Immunity This November with our Nutrient-Packed Menu

Intelligent Gourmet was created to take the guess work out of eating healthy. We don’t expect the average consumer to be nutrition experts That is why our menu items are carefully crafted to offer a wide range of nutrient-dense, delicious options. From hearty soups to protein-packed meals, sides and immunity boosting wheat grass shots, we’ve got the perfect options to keep you in peak condition throughout the season. Don’t let the colds get you down—enjoy the benefits of staying healthy with us.

As the days grow shorter, and temperatures drop in the evening, November signals the onset of the holiday season. It’s a time filled with gatherings, but it can also bring colds and busy schedules. At Intelligent Gourmet, we value your health, and we’re here to share valuable insights and tips on staying healthy and vibrant this November.

Keeping your immune system robust is crucial to fend off cold viruses. Incorporate these vitamin and mineral-rich foods to naturally bolster your immunity.

Vitamin C:
  • Vital for health due to its roles in supporting the immune system, acting as an antioxidant, and aiding collagen production. It also benefits cardiovascular and brain health.
  • Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits (oranges, lemons), strawberries, kiwi, bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, and more.
Vitamin D:
  • Essential for a strong immune system and for promoting healthy bones through calcium and phosphate absorption.
  • You can obtain vitamin D from fatty fish (salmon, black cod trouts, tuna), fortified dairy products, and egg yolks. Sunlight exposure is a primary source, and supplementation may be considered.
Zinc:
  • Zinc is a supplement prescribe by health care as the ultimate immunity booster. Imagine incorporating it daily  through food.
  • Zinc can be found in lean meats like pork tenderloin, poultry, beans, nuts and whole grains such as farro.
Vitamin A:
  • Vitamin A is the magic ingredient to maintain the integrity of your skin because it is involved in cell grown for your skin, and the lining of your mucus membranes, respiratory, digestive & urinary tracts. it is also important for good vision , especially in low-light conditions.
  • Add Vitamin A into your diet by eating sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach & kale.
Iron:
  • Vital for healthy blood and energy metabolism, reducing fatigue and supporting physical and mental well-being.
  • Sources of iron include red meat, poultry, fish, beans, lentils, tofu, spinach, fortified cereals, and pumpkin seeds.
Selenium:
  • Acts as a potent antioxidant, protecting cells from damage and enhancing immune function. It’s essential for proper thyroid function and metabolism regulation.
  • Foods rich in selenium include tuna, halibut, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds (great for salads), eggs (especially the yolk), and whole grains.
Intelligent Gourmet

We understand that not everyone is a nutrition expert, which is why our menu items are thoughtfully crafted to offer a wide range of nutrient-dense, immunity boosting, delicious options. From hearty soups to protein-packed meals, sides, and immune-boosting wheatgrass shots, we have everything you need to stay in peak condition throughout the season. Don’t let the colds get you down—enjoy the benefits of staying healthy with us.

 

 

Embrace Autumn’s Bounty: Healthy Food Choices in Fall

As the weather here in Florida finally has a bit of crispness in the air, we becomes aware that the fall season has come about. The fall season brings an abundance of delicious and nutritious foods. October is the perfect time to savor the flavors of autumn while prioritizing your health. Here’s a glimpse into some of the wholesome foods you can enjoy this month.

1. Apples:

October is synonymous with apple-picking season. Apples are not only a tasty snack but also a great source of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Try them in salads, oatmeal, or as a crunchy dip with peanut butter.

2. Pumpkin:

Pumpkin spice everything might be popular, but real pumpkin is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Roast it for a tasty side dish or blend it into soups for a comforting meal. Stop in and grab our pumpkin pancakes

3. Squash:

Varieties like butternut, acorn & spaghetti squash are excellent sources of vitamins A and C. They make delightful additions to soups, stews, and casseroles, adding a creamy texture and a hint of sweetness. We use spaghetti squash in our chicken Lasagna

4. Cranberries:

Fresh cranberries start to appear in October, bringing their tart flavor and a hefty dose of vitamin C. Whip up a homemade cranberry sauce or toss them into your morning smoothie.

5. Brussels Sprouts:

These small, cabbage-like veggies are at their best in the fall. They’re packed with nutrients and can be roasted or sautéed with a drizzle of olive oil for a delicious side dish. Kale and Brussel Casear is available in our deli cases

6. Pears:

Fall pears are a sweet and juicy treat. They’re an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C. Enjoy them fresh in salads and fruit bowls or poached for an elegant dessert.

7. Nuts:

October is the season for nuts like almonds and walnuts. They provide healthy fats, protein, and a satisfying crunch. Snack on them or sprinkle them over your salads for an extra dose of nutrition. We love our almond flour baked goods and the candied nuts in our fall salad

8. Sweet Potatoes:

These vibrant tubers are a fantastic source of beta-carotene and fiber. Bake or mash them for a nutritious alternative to regular potatoes. Wedges are available daily in our vegan deli case

9. Comforting Soups:

Fall is the perfect time to indulge in comforting soups. Whether it’s a hearty vegetable soup, a butternut squash, or a classic chicken, soups are a wholesome way to stay warm and nourished. A variety of specials are always in our grab n go cooler.

By focusing on these seasonal ingredients, you can create a menu that’s not only delicious but also packed with essential nutrients. As the days grow shorter and the temperatures begin to cool off, these fall foods will keep you energized, warm, and feeling your best. So, fall in love with as many of these as possible and enjoy the healthful benefits of the season.

Meal Prep for Busy Professionals: Balancing Nutrition and Work

According to recent studies, an alarming number of busy professionals find it increasingly challenging to maintain a nutritious diet amidst their demanding work schedules.

Long hours, tight deadlines, and frequent business meetings often leave little room for healthy eating choices, leading to compromised well-being and reduced productivity. But what if there was a solution that allowed you to balance nutrition and work seamlessly? Enter meal prep, the key to reclaiming control over your diet and optimizing your overall health. Today, we’ll explore the transformative power of meal prep for busy professionals, shedding light on its importance and how it can significantly impact your well-being and productivity. By adopting meal prep practices, you can unlock a healthier lifestyle that harmonizes with your professional demands.

For many of us, time has become a precious commodity, leading many to resort to quick and convenient options like fast food or pre-packaged meals. These choices, while providing immediate convenience, often contain over-processed ingredients and high levels of unhealthy fats or sodium. They also lack the essential nutrients needed to fuel the body and support optimal health. The impact of a poor diet can manifest in various ways, particularly affecting energy levels, mental focus, and overall well-being. Relying on processed or unhealthy food options can lead to energy crashes, leaving people feeling drained and lethargic throughout the day. Moreover, a lack of essential nutrients can impair cognitive function, affecting concentration and productivity. All of this combined can contribute to weight gain, increased stress levels, and a higher risk of developing chronic health conditions. Recognizing these consequences emphasizes the significance of addressing nutrition challenges faced by people who opt for prepackaged meals and foods to get them through the day.

How does meal prep help?

By dedicating a few hours each week, you can save valuable time by minimizing daily food preparation. It is also a cost-effective approach, reducing reliance on fast food or frozen meals, and saving money in the long run. With meal prep, you have full control over the ingredients, portion sizes, and nutritional balance of your meals. This control allows you to align your eating habits with your specific dietary needs, whether it’s focusing on macronutrient ratios or catering to dietary restrictions. By consistently adhering to a healthy eating routine, even during busy periods, meal prep establishes a sense of consistency and promotes overall well-being.

So we’ve established the benefits of meal prepping, but where do you start? Begin by creating meal plans in advance, developing shopping lists, and allocating dedicated time to streamline the process. Investing in appropriate meal prep tools and containers enhances efficiency and storage. Portable options allow you to enjoy healthy meals at the office or while traveling. Additionally, adopting batch cooking and freezer-friendly options allows professionals to prepare meals in bulk, dividing them into portioned servings that can be conveniently frozen and enjoyed later.

Need an even easier option?

Let’s say you are a busy professional, but maybe you don’t want to spend your weekend meal prepping, maybe you’re not confident in your cooking skills, or you simply don’t enjoy it. That doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the benefits of meal prepping.

At Intelligent Gourmet, we offer a noncommital meal prep service that gives you the convenience, nutritional benefits, and simplicity of meal prep while saving you all that planning and prepping time.

Imagine having customized meals, freshly made with local ingredients, ready to go whenever you need them. We offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner options that can be tailored to your dietary needs, whether you’re gluten-free, sugar-free, or prefer to avoid vegetable oils. The best part? You have complete control and flexibility. Simply let us know what you need a minimum of 2 days before, and swing by at your convenience to pick them up. No more worrying about grocery shopping, spending hours in the kitchen, or trying to come up with nutritionally balanced recipes. Our meal prep service takes care of it all, so you can focus on what matters most to you.

Whether you’re a busy professional lacking the time for meal planning or someone who simply doesn’t enjoy cooking, this service is a game-changer. It’s like having a personal chef without any long-term commitments. So, if you’re looking to streamline your mealtime and enjoy delicious, made-to-order meals that support your dietary needs, give us a call or email us at info@intelligentgourmet.com to get started.

The Superior Loaf: Unveiling Science and Nutrition of Sourdough Bread

When it comes to choosing the right bread, sourdough stands out for its unique taste and health benefits. This guide aims to demystify sourdough bread, uncovering the science behind its fermentation process and explaining why it might be a healthier choice compared to other breads. We’ll explore its nutritional advantages, delve into its characteristic tangy flavor, and shed light on why it’s worth choosing at your local bakery or café. Whether you’re a health-conscious consumer or a food enthusiast, understanding the benefits of sourdough can help you make more informed decisions about your diet.

What is Sourdough Bread?

Sourdough bread has a rich and storied history, tracing its roots back thousands of years. It’s believed to be one of the oldest forms of grain fermentation in the world, with evidence suggesting that ancient civilizations in the Middle East were making a form of sourdough as far back as 5000 BC. This traditional bread-making method then spread through Europe, becoming a staple in cultures from France to Germany to Italy.

The cultural significance of sourdough bread cannot be overstated. It was a key staple for pioneers and miners during the American Gold Rush, while indigenous cultures in Canada and Alaska also utilized natural fermentation techniques to create their own versions of sourdough products. Today, sourdough bread is appreciated worldwide for its unique flavor and artisanal nature.

In its simplest form, sourdough bread consists of three basic ingredients: flour, water, and salt. What differentiates sourdough from other breads is not the ingredients themselves, but how they’re used. The secret lies in the sourdough starter, a fermented mixture of flour and water teeming with wild yeast and bacteria.

The Science Behind Sourdough

When you mix the starter with more flour and water to make your bread dough, the yeast and bacteria get to work. The yeast ferments the sugars in the flour, producing carbon dioxide gas. This gas gets trapped in the dough, causing it to rise and resulting in the airy texture we associate with bread.

But it’s the bacteria in the sourdough starter that truly set sourdough apart. These bacteria also ferment the sugars in the flour, but instead of producing carbon dioxide, they produce lactic and acetic acid. These acids are what give sourdough bread its distinctive tangy flavor.

The lactic acid bacteria found in sourdough starter belong to the same family of bacteria that ferment other foods like yogurt, cheese, and sauerkraut. However, in sourdough, they create a unique flavor profile that’s not found in breads leavened with commercial yeast alone.

Comparatively, most commercially produced breads use cultivated yeast for a faster, more predictable rise. These breads lack the complexity of flavor that comes from the fermentation process in sourdough. Moreover, they don’t benefit from the acids produced by the bacteria, which not only contribute to flavor but also act as natural preservatives, giving sourdough bread a longer shelf-life.

So, while the ingredients list on a loaf of sourdough and a loaf of commercially produced bread might look similar, the processes used to make them, and their resulting flavor, texture, and shelf-life, are vastly different. It’s the fermentation process, the presence of wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria, and the time required for this natural leavening to occur that make sourdough bread truly unique.

The Benefits of Natural Yeast Fermentation

Choosing sourdough bread over commercially produced breads can offer several nutritional advantages, many of which stem from the natural yeast fermentation process.

One of the key benefits of sourdough bread is its potential for easier digestion. The lactic acid bacteria present in the sourdough starter pre-digest some of the flour during the fermentation process. This means that your body has less work to do to break down the complex carbohydrates found in the bread. It’s also believed that these bacteria help to degrade gluten, the protein in wheat that can cause digestive problems for some people.

The natural fermentation process that occurs in sourdough bread can also have significant benefits for gut health, particularly when it comes to nutrient bioavailability. Bioavailability refers to the body’s ability to absorb and use nutrients. During fermentation, the lactic acid bacteria in the sourdough starter break down some of the phytic acid found in wheat. Phytic acid can bind to certain minerals in the gut, such as iron, zinc, and magnesium, and reduce their bioavailability. By breaking down the phytic acid, sourdough fermentation can potentially improve the bioavailability of these important minerals, aiding their absorption and utilization in the body.

Another nutritional advantage of sourdough bread is its lower glycemic index (GI). The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly a food causes your blood sugar levels to rise. Foods with a lower GI are beneficial as they result in a slower release of glucose into the bloodstream, which can help to maintain more stable blood sugar levels. The lactic acid produced during the fermentation process can modify the structure of the starch in the bread, resulting in a lower GI compared to breads made with commercial yeast.

Beyond these nutritional benefits, the natural fermentation process also enhances the shelf life of sourdough bread. The acidic environment created by the lactic and acetic acid helps to prevent the growth of mold, meaning that sourdough bread tends to last longer than other types of bread without the need for preservatives.

For individuals with certain dietary restrictions or sensitivities, sourdough bread may also be a more suitable choice. For example, some people with sensitivities to gluten find that they can tolerate sourdough bread better than other types of bread. However, it’s important to note that sourdough is not suitable for those with celiac disease, as it still contains gluten.

Sourdough: A Versatile Delight

Sourdough bread is a versatile staple that can elevate a variety of meals, thanks to its unique flavor and texture. Its hearty nature and tangy taste make it a perfect companion to a wide range of foods.

Starting with breakfast, a slice of toasted sourdough paired with avocado and a sprinkle of sea salt makes for a nutritious and satisfying start to the day. Or consider it as a base for a classic eggs Benedict, where its tanginess can balance the richness of the hollandaise sauce.

Moving on to lunch, sourdough is the ideal bread for sandwiches. Whether it’s a classic tuna melt, a BLT, or a vegetable-packed hummus sandwich, sourdough’s sturdy texture holds up well, ensuring your sandwich doesn’t become soggy.

When it comes to dinner, sourdough can be an excellent side to a hearty soup or stew, perfect for dipping and soaking up broths. It’s also ideal for bruschetta, topped with fresh tomatoes, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil.

But sourdough’s versatility doesn’t stop at savory dishes. It can be used in sweet applications too. Think French toast, where sourdough’s firm texture allows it to soak up the egg mixture without falling apart, or bread pudding, where its tang can balance the sweetness of the dessert.

Moreover, the variety of flavors and textures achievable with sourdough is impressive. By using different types of flour in the sourdough starter and dough, bakers can create a range of flavors from nutty to sweet. The length of fermentation can also impact the flavor, with a longer fermentation resulting in a tangier bread. The crust’s texture can vary from a delicate, thin crust to a thick, chewy one, while the crumb (the bread’s interior) can range from dense and moist to light and airy.

Local is always better

At Intelligent Gourmet, we are passionate about providing our customers with high-quality, flavorful, and healthful food options. That’s why we are thrilled to work with Gulf Coast Sourdough, an artisan bakery that shares our commitment to quality and innovation. Based in Tampa, a hub of sandwich innovation, Gulf Coast Sourdough crafts unique and at times surprising flavors that elevate any sandwich to a culinary delight. They combine old-fashioned baking techniques with modern tastes to produce loaves that are full of flavor, texture, and character – qualities we feel are often missing in commercial baked goods. Furthermore, their use of natural sourdough starter and unbleached, unbromated flours aligns with our commitment to health and wellness. From traditional tangy sourdough to cutting-edge flavor combinations like turmeric and black pepper, their breads not only pair well with a variety of dishes but also contribute to a more nutritious and satisfying meal. We are proud to carry and use bread from Gulf Coast Sourdough, bringing the benefits and joy of sourdough to our community.

Grab a loaf of Gulf Coast Sourdough next time you’re in our shop, or stop by their store to see everything they offer!

 

 

 

The Miraculous World of Microgreens: A Powerhouse of Nutrition

In the vast universe of nutritious foods, there’s a group of tiny powerhouses that often gets overlooked – microgreens. These miniature versions of familiar plants pack more than just a visual and flavorful punch; they bring a substantial amount of science-backed nutritional benefits to the table. With their vibrant colors and distinct flavors, microgreens are scientifically fascinating and nutritionally potent, offering a surprising advantage for those seeking a healthier diet. Let’s take a closer look at these small but mighty heroes of nutrition.

 

What are Microgreens?

Microgreens, as their name suggests, are miniature plants, specifically the young seedlings of vegetables and herbs. They represent the early stages of a plant’s life, just after the germination of seeds, when the first true leaves begin to develop. This is a period of intense growth and development for the plant, a stage that’s captured and delivered to your plate in the form of microgreens.

The term “microgreens” is not just a fancy word for sprouts, and they’re not quite baby greens either. They occupy a unique place in the plant life cycle. Sprouts are typically harvested just days after the seed begins to grow, often while they’re still root systems with tiny leaf buds barely visible. On the other hand, baby greens are harvested later when the plant is small but well-developed, usually a few inches tall.

Microgreens are the in-betweeners. They are allowed to grow for approximately one to three weeks after germination, reaching a height of about one to three inches before they’re harvested. At this stage, they have developed cotyledons, or the plant’s first leaves, and sometimes even a set of true leaves, the ones that come after the cotyledons. This makes them larger and more developed than sprouts, but younger and smaller than baby greens.

 

The High Nutritional Density of Microgreens

Their small stature, however, does not limit their flavor. Microgreens are known for their strong and distinct flavors, often more intense than their mature counterparts. But in addition to stronger flavor, researchers at the USDA Agricultural Research Service found that microgreens often contain higher concentrations of vitamins and antioxidants compared to their mature counterparts. This counterintuitive finding makes sense when you delve into the biology of plant development. In the early stages of growth, a plant focuses its resources on building a strong foundational structure to support future growth. As part of this process, it accumulates a high concentration of nutrients in its tissues, resulting in a nutrient-packed seedling.

The “micro” stage of greens represents this peak moment of nutritional accumulation, a time when the plant’s reserves of vitamins and antioxidants are concentrated in a small package. This explains why a handful of microgreens can deliver an equivalent or even higher amount of nutrients compared to a larger serving of the same plant in its mature form.

For instance, studies have found that red cabbage microgreens have five times the amount of vitamin C and sixty-nine times the amount of vitamin K as the mature red cabbage. Similarly, garnet amaranth microgreens were found to have eight times more vitamin C, three times more vitamin E, and forty times more vitamin K than mature amaranths. The list goes on, making it evident that the “micro” in microgreens stands not for their nutritional value, but merely for their size.

From the peppery bite of radish microgreens to the sweet nuttiness of sunflower microgreens, each type offers a unique taste experience, elevating the simplest of dishes to gourmet levels. The combination of their nutritional density and taste profile make microgreens a truly remarkable addition to any diet.

 

Will microgreens replace mature vegetables?

Hearing all this, it may be tempting to get all your veggies in the form of microgreens, but it’s important to remember that variety is always going to be beneficial when it comes to a healthy and fulfilling diet. Mature vegetables offer much more fiber, and versatility than microgreens, which are both important to your overall wellbeing. We believe a combination of microgreens and mature vegetables is the best option for a nutritionally diverse diet, and you should simply consider adding in microgreens for a vitamin boost to whatever vegetables and dishes you’re already eating, rather than replacing anything.

 

Showcasing a Variety of Microgreens

The microgreens family is incredibly diverse, featuring members from all sorts of plant families. While this diversity makes the world of microgreens exciting and colorful, it’s important to know which plants make great microgreens and which ones you should avoid.

For starters, avoid plants that are toxic in their early stages or have parts that are poisonous. This includes plants from the nightshade family such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and potatoes, which contain solanine, a harmful substance especially concentrated in their leaves and stems. Similarly, rhubarb microgreens should be avoided as their leaves contain high levels of oxalic acid, which can be harmful if consumed in large amounts. You likely won’t find any of these sold as microgreens in stores, but we advise you not to try growing these yourself at home.

Moreover, plants with hard, thick seed hulls like corn may not be suitable for microgreen farming because they can be challenging to grow and may not yield as much edible product.

That still leaves plenty of options of plants that are suitable for microgreens. For instance, most leafy vegetables and herbs can be grown as microgreens. Some of the popular ones include:

  • Brassicas: This family includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and radish. Brassica microgreens are known for their vivid colors and slightly peppery taste.
  • Amaranths: Amaranth microgreens, especially the red varieties, are loved for their striking colors and slightly earthy flavor.
  • Legumes: Pea microgreens are sweet, crunchy, and have a flavor similar to fresh peas. They are larger than most microgreens and are excellent for stir-fries and salads.
  • Grasses: Wheatgrass is a well-known example in this category. It’s usually juiced rather than eaten whole.
  • Herbs and Spices: Many herbs and spices like cilantro, basil, dill, and fenugreek can also be grown as microgreens.
  • Sunflowers: Sunflower microgreens are large, crunchy, and have a pleasant, nutty flavor.

 

Incorporating Microgreens in Your Daily Diet

Incorporating microgreens into your diet is a surprisingly simple process, providing an effortless way to boost both the flavor and nutritional profile of your meals. Despite their gourmet appeal, using microgreens doesn’t require any sophisticated culinary skills – they can be added to dishes as easily as any other fresh herb or leafy green.

One of the simplest ways to enjoy microgreens is to sprinkle them over salads. Their bright colors and distinct flavors add a new layer of complexity to a traditional salad, and their crunch provides a satisfying texture contrast. Plus, the nutrient-dense microgreens help elevate a basic salad into a superfood-rich meal.

Blending microgreens into your smoothies is another practical way to increase your daily nutrient intake. Microgreens like spinach and kale blend seamlessly into fruit or green smoothies, adding a surge of vitamins and antioxidants without overpowering the taste. They can be an excellent addition to your morning routine, starting your day off on a healthy note.

Wraps and sandwiches can also greatly benefit from a handful of microgreens. Replace the regular lettuce in your sandwich or wrap with microgreens for a nutrient-packed crunch. Varieties like radish and mustard microgreens add a spicy kick that can elevate your lunch game.

Moreover, microgreens can be used as a beautiful and tasty garnish for soups and main dishes. Imagine a butternut squash soup topped with a scattering of arugula microgreens, or a plate of pasta primavera accented with a sprinkle of basil microgreens. They add a touch of sophistication while enhancing the overall flavor of the dish.

Even your favorite pizza can get a microgreen makeover. Once your pizza is out of the oven, add a layer of microgreens like sunflower or broccoli for a unique twist. The warmth of the pizza slightly wilts the greens, melding the flavors beautifully.

Microgreens are a versatile ingredient that can find a place in virtually any dish. Their vibrant color, unique flavors, and crunch can add a fresh and gourmet touch to everyday meals, while significantly enhancing their nutritional value.

 

Finding local Microgreens

Now that you know the power of microgreens, why not try them for yourself? We are thrilled to announce that we have started carrying microgreens from ‘Sow Good‘, a small local grower based right here in Tampa. Varieties they are currently growing include Broccoli, Radish, Sunflower, Pea, and a spicy salad mix made up of Broccoli, Kale, Kohlrabi, Arugula, Red Cabbage & Mustard. We have been loving everything we’ve received from them, and we highly encourage you to stop by Intelligent gourmet to pick up some greens for yourselves!

 

 

Farm-to-Table: Embracing Local Produce in Your Summer Meals

Picture yourself on a warm summer evening, savoring a plate of vibrant, flavorful dishes made with the freshest ingredients. The secret to such culinary delight? Farm-to-table dining. We invite you to dive into the world of local, sustainable agriculture and explore the wonders of embracing local produce in your summer meals. From the benefits of farm-to-table dining to inspiring recipes and practical tips, save this guide for a  delicious journey.

Benefits of Farm-to-Table Dining

Farm-to-table dining is more than just a trend—it’s a conscious choice with cascading benefits. To start, a lot of grocery store produce has to be picked before it’s ripe so it doesn’t spoil by the time it actually makes it to the store. And sure, a lot of produce can still ripen artificially, but it’s never quite as good as when it’s picked fresh. By sourcing ingredients directly from local farms, you can get your hands on produce that was picked at its peak flavor, and trust us when we say the difference is noticeable. Beyond taste, choosing local produce also means supporting small-scale farmers, promoting sustainable agricultural practices, and reducing the carbon footprint associated with long-distance transportation.

Exploring the Summer Bounty

Summer is a bountiful season, generously offering a colorful palette of fruits and vegetables. Imagine crisp cucumbers, succulent berries, and the undeniable sweetness of summer melons. By embracing the flavors of the season, we celebrate the natural cycles of the earth while nourishing our bodies. In our kitchen, we showcase the best of summer produce, elevating classic dishes and creating innovative recipes that showcase vibrant hues and distinct flavors.

Creating Summer Delights: Recipes and Menu Ideas

Let’s explore some tantalizing recipes that showcase the best of summer’s bounty. From refreshing salads to mouthwatering main courses, these dishes are designed to awaken your taste buds and nourish your body. Here are a few ideas to incorporate into your summer menus:

1. Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad

Indulge in the juicy sweetness of ripe heirloom tomatoes, paired with creamy mozzarella, fragrant basil, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. The vibrant colors and vibrant flavors of this classic salad capture the essence of summer on your plate.

2. Grilled Vegetable Skewers

Thread skewers with an array of seasonal vegetables—think zucchini, bell peppers, and mushrooms—lightly brushed with herb-infused olive oil and grilled to perfection. The smoky char adds depth to the vegetables’ natural sweetness, creating a delightful medley of flavors.

3.Berry Bliss Parfait

Layer fresh summer berries with Greek yogurt, granola, and a drizzle of local honey for a delightful, nutritious dessert. This parfait is a symphony of textures and flavors, offering a cool, refreshing treat on hot summer days.

Tips for Home Cooks

Farm-to-table dining is not limited to restaurants. Here are some tips to bring the spirit of local, seasonal eating into your own kitchen:

  1. Visit Farmers’ Markets: Explore your local farmers’ markets and connect directly with growers in your area. It’s an opportunity to discover unique produce, learn about farming techniques, and support local agriculture. Not sure where your closest market is? Check out these lists to see whats in your area and when to go:
    1. https://tampabaydatenightguide.com/guide-tampa-area-farmers-markets/
    2. https://tampamagazines.com/farmers-markets/
  2. Join a CSA Program: Consider joining a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, where you can subscribe to regular deliveries of fresh, locally grown produce. It’s a fantastic way to enjoy a variety of seasonal vegetables while directly supporting local farmers. Check out these local CSA’s to get started:
    1. https://www.sweetwater-organic.org/membership/
    2. https://www.meachamfarm.com/
    3. https://www.tampabayorganics.com/
  3. Get Creative with Recipes: Experiment with new recipes that showcase the flavors of the season. Explore cookbooks or browse reliable online sources for inspiration. Allow the natural sweetness and vibrant colors of local produce to shine in your dishes.
  4. Start a Home Garden: If you have space, consider starting a small garden in your backyard

 

We invite you to join us in embracing local produce in your summer meals. Visit your nearby farmers’ markets, engage with local farmers, and experience the joy of selecting seasonal ingredients firsthand. Explore new recipes that highlight the flavors and colors of the season, and get creative in your own kitchen. And of course, we would be delighted to welcome you to Intelligent Gourmet to experience the farm-to-table philosophy firsthand, where our culinary team transforms the freshest local ingredients into delightful, wholesome dishes.

Together, let’s celebrate the beauty and abundance of summer produce, support our local farmers, and indulge in the flavors of the season. By embracing farm-to-table dining, we not only nourish our bodies but also make a positive impact on our communities and the planet we call home.

 

 

Common Cravings and What Your Body is Really Trying to Tell You

As humans, we all experience cravings at some point in our lives. It’s the sudden desire to indulge in a specific food or drink that we may not typically consume. Whether it’s a sudden craving for chocolate or an insatiable desire for salty snacks, cravings can be difficult to ignore.

Many people often associate cravings with a lack of willpower or self-control. However, cravings can also be a way for our bodies to communicate with us about our nutritional needs. In other words, our cravings may be a signal from our bodies telling us what nutrients we may be lacking.

We want to be clear that we do not believe in demonizing any food, and that if you want cake, you have every right to eat that cake. Cutting out foods you enjoy can lead to cravings getting worse, and an unhealthy relationship with food. At our Intelligent Gourmet, we specialize in wholesome, nutritionally dense foods, and we believe in the power of listening to our bodies and understanding what our cravings may mean.

Here are some common cravings and what they may indicate about our nutritional needs:

  1. Chocolate One of the most common cravings is for chocolate. While it may be easy to dismiss this craving as a mere sweet tooth, chocolate cravings may indicate a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a role in many bodily functions, including muscle and nerve function, blood sugar regulation, and blood pressure control. Good sources of magnesium include leafy greens, nuts, and seeds.
  2. Salty Snacks Do you often crave chips, pretzels, or other salty snacks? This may be a sign that your body needs more sodium. Sodium is an electrolyte that helps regulate fluid balance in the body, and it’s essential for proper nerve and muscle function. However, it’s important to note that most people consume too much sodium in their diets, which can lead to high blood pressure and other health problems. Instead of reaching for processed, high-sodium snacks, try incorporating whole foods like avocados, nuts, and seeds, which are naturally rich in sodium.
  3. Red Meat If you find yourself craving red meat, it may indicate that your body needs more iron. Iron is an essential mineral that helps transport oxygen throughout the body, and it’s especially important for women who are of childbearing age, as iron deficiency can lead to anemia. Good sources of iron include leafy greens, legumes, and fortified cereals.
  4. Sweet Treats Cravings for sweet treats may indicate that your body needs more glucose, which is the primary source of energy for the body. However, it’s important to note that consuming too much added sugar can lead to a host of health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Instead of reaching for sugary snacks, try incorporating whole foods like fruits, sweet potatoes, and whole grains, which are naturally sweet and provide a host of other nutrients.

Cravings can be a way for our bodies to communicate with us about our nutritional needs. By understanding what our cravings may indicate, we can make informed choices about what foods to consume. We encourage you to reach for wholesome, nutritionally dense foods that nourish your body and satisfy your cravings in a healthy way. 

 

 

What’s in Season: 7 Spring Fruits and Vegetables and Their Nutritional Benefits

Who doesn’t love spring? Every season has its own charm, but there is something so inspiring about spring—with the fresh blooms and new life everywhere you look. One of the best ways to enjoy the season is by indulging in the fresh produce that becomes available during this time. Here are some of our favorite fruits and vegetables along with all the nutritional benefits they can add to your diet.

  1. Asparagus: Asparagus is an excellent source of vitamin K, which is essential for bone health, and folate, which is important for pregnant women. Asparagus is also a good source of vitamin C and is a particularly rich source of glutathione, which has been shown to have detoxifying properties and protect against certain kinds of cancer. Asparagus is delicious when steamed, sauteed, or grilled, and can make an easy side dish with minimal effort.
  2. Artichokes: Artichokes are a good source of fiber, which can help regulate your digestive system. Artichokes are also high in antioxidants, which can help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals, and help improve liver function. Both the artichoke leaves and heart can be eaten and steaming or baking are the most popular ways to prepare them. You can also stuff artichokes for an extra special presentation.
  3. Strawberries: Strawberries are one of the most popular spring fruits. They are a good source of vitamin C, which we all know is great for your immune system.  Strawberries are also high in antioxidants and can help reduce inflammation in your body. Polyphenols found in strawberries can also help improve insulin sensitivity in nondiabetic adults. Strawberries are delicious on their own, but we also love to add them to smoothies, yogurt bowls, oatmeal, or even sliced and added to water for a refreshing spring beverage.
  4. Peas: Peas are really excellent for eye health and can help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. They are also high in coumestrol, which helps prevent stomach cancer, and the high fiber content is excellent for digestive health. In addition, magnesium, potassium, and other minerals found in peas can lower your risk of high blood pressure. Peas can easily be added to pasta dishes that use light sauces, added to salads or simply steamed and lightly seasoned for a quick and healthy side dish.
  5. Radishes: Radishes are crunchy and refreshing spring vegetables that can help with liver and kidney function, and the glucosinolate and isothiocyanate can help to regulate blood sugar and reduce the risk of diabetes. Radishes are also excellent for overall blood and heart health because they are rich in antioxidants and minerals like calcium and potassium. incorporate radishes into your spring meals by adding thin slices to salads for a peppery crunch, roasting them with garlic and olive oil, or making your own pickled radishes to enjoy all year long.
  6. Apricots: We generally find apricots as dried fruit, and although those are tasty, we love to enjoy fresh apricots in spring when they are in season. Apricots are sweet and juicy spring fruit that are high in vitamin A, which is important for eye health. They are also a good source of fiber, which can help regulate your digestive system. Beta carotene, also found in apricots can help make your skin more resistant to sunburn, which is super helpful for our sunny climate. Like strawberries, apricots are delicious when eaten whole and do really well in salads and smoothies. You can also make some super tasty spring desserts like apricot tarts, and apricot crisp. 
  7. Rhubarb: Rhubarb is a unique spring vegetable that is often used in desserts. Only the stalks are edible, and you’ll see the best Rhubarb become available in early April. Rhubarb is a good source of vitamin K, which is essential for bone health, and vitamin C, which can help boost your immune system. Rhubarb is also high in antioxidants, which can help protect your cells from damage and reduce inflammation. The high fiber content is of course also excellent for overall digestive health. Get your fill of rhubarb by making pies, or your own chutney that can be whipped out and added to other dishes all year long.

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is essential for maintaining a healthy diet. During the spring season, there are many delicious and nutritious options to choose from. By incorporating these seasonal foods into your meals, you can take advantage of their health benefits and enjoy the flavors of the season. We encourage you to shop local and find these spring fruits and veggies from local farms if available.

Do you have a favorite on this list? Or a favorite recipe incorporating other spring fruits and veggies? Drop a comment below, or tag us on social media! We would love to hear what you enjoy this time of year.

 

 

What is a Mediterranean Diet and why is it so popular?

In recent years, the Mediterranean diet has gained worldwide recognition as a healthy and delicious way of eating and has been consistently ranked as one of the best diets by health experts. The popularity of the Mediterranean diet is for good reasons. The diet emphasizes the consumption of whole, plant-based foods, healthy fats, and lean protein sources and besides being healthy, it’s delicious too. 

What Is Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet is a traditional diet that is popular in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece, Italy, Spain, and Turkey. This diet primarily includes plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts, with moderate amounts of fish, poultry, and dairy and limited red meat and sweets consumption.

In addition, the Mediterranean diet also includes healthy fats, such as olive oil, as the primary fat source. 

Why Is Mediterranean Diet So Popular?

There are so many reasons for the increasing popularity of the Mediterranean diet. Here are some of the most important reasons why you should start the Mediterranean diet: 

Improves Your Health 

When you start the Mediterranean diet, it will help you avoid several health issues, including a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. This diet only includes healthy fats and plant-based foods while avoiding unhealthy processed foods, which improve your health significantly. 

Helps In Weight Loss

The Mediterranean diet can help with weight loss because it contains whole, nutrient-dense foods that are naturally low in calories and high in fiber. The high fiber content of the diet helps to increase feelings of fullness and satiety, which can help you avoid unhealthy junk food cravings. When you cut down the total number of calories of consume per day, it will help you lose weight quickly. 

Easy to Follow and Customize 

The Mediterranean diet does not require counting calories or following strict rules, making it easier for people to stick to in the long run. Besides being easy to follow, you can customize it easily by adding your favorite foods to your diet plan, as you get a lot of healthy options. 

Provides Long-term Results 

When you follow the Mediterranean diet, your body changes internally. It has many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients that will heal your body internally and thus provide long-term results. 

Tips for Making Your Mediterranean Diet Effective 

Here are some tips that you should remember to make the Mediterranean diet effective: 

  • Don’t consume many high-fat foods, such as yogurt, cheese, and processed foods. 
  • Reduce your consumption of red meat and opt for lean proteins like fish, poultry, eggs and plant-based sources like beans and tofu.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day and limit sugary beverages.
  • Take your time when eating, savor your food, and be aware of your hunger and fullness cues.
  • Try to be physically active if you want to see the results of your diet quickly. 

Bottom Line 

The Mediterranean diet is not a short-term diet but a lifestyle. You’ll have to be consistent and patient to see the positive results. You can visit Intelligent Gourment to make delicious and healthy food choices for your Mediterranean diet plan! 

 

 

Probiotic vs Prebiotic Foods – How to Incorporate Them Into Your Diet

Gut health affects your overall wellness, and what you eat plays a major role in determining the status of your gut health. Recently, probiotic and prebiotic foods have gained popularity as the savers of your gut health. But what’s the difference between these two, and how can you incorporate them into your diet? 

In this post, we’ll explore the difference between probiotics and prebiotics and give you practical tips on how to add these superfoods to your diet.

Probiotic and Prebiotic Foods – What’s the Difference? 

Probiotics and prebiotics foods are not the same. Probiotic foods contain live microorganisms that improve or maintain the number of beneficial gut bacteria in the body. Prebiotic foods contain non-digestible carbohydrates that serve as food for the beneficial bacteria in the gut.

In short, probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that improve the beneficial microflora in the gut, and prebiotics is the food that gut microflora consume, helping them to grow and thrive. Together, probiotics and prebiotics help support a healthy gut microbiome that is essential for the healthy functioning of the gut. 

How to Incorporate Probiotic and Prebiotic Foods Into Your Diet? 

When you’re taking sufficient probiotic and prebiotic foods, you’ll see significant positive changes in your gut health. If you have no idea which foods are the best to get a good intake of probiotics and prebiotics in your diet, here are some of our favorites:

Sources of Probiotic Foods 

  • Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and tempeh are good sources of probiotics.
  • Try adding a spoonful of miso to soups, sprinkling kimchi on your rice, or having a serving of yogurt with fruit and honey to boost probiotics in your diet. 
  • Probiotic drinks, such as kombucha, water kefir, and coconut water kefir, also contain a high amount of probiotics. 
  • You can also snack on probiotic-rich foods like probiotic granola bars or probiotic crackers.

Sources of Prebiotics Foods 

  • Fiber-rich foods, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, are excellent sources of prebiotics.
  • Root vegetables like garlic, onions, and leeks also provide a high amount of prebiotics.
  • Foods like legumes, green bananas, and cooked and cooled potatoes can also be consumed to increase the levels of prebiotics in your diet.

Processed foods are low in fiber and often high in sugar, which can harm the beneficial bacteria in your gut. So, it’s crucial to minimize highly processed foods from your diet if you want to experience the positive effects of probiotic and prebiotic foods.

Tips for Adding Probiotics and Prebiotics Into Your Diet 

Here are some tips that you should remember when you start adding probiotics and prebiotics into your diet: 

  • Aim for various probiotic and prebiotic foods in your diet rather than relying on a single source.
  • Gradually incorporate these foods into your diet to allow your gut to adjust.
  • Be mindful of the serving sizes and pay attention to how these foods affect your body.
  • Always consult a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your diet, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.

Bottom Line 

Excited to flourish your gut bacteria using these probiotics and prebiotics foods? Pin this post as a reminder, and come visit Intelligent Gourmet to enjoy wholesome food that will help you improve your gut microflora with tasty organic meals. 

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