It’s been quite a busy week! So busy, time seem to have creeped up on me that I can’t believe it’s almost mid-November. Our next door neighbor already strung their Christmas lights with a big lit-up Santa to remind us only 43 days left until Christmas! Yikes, I haven’t even planned our Thanksgiving meal yet… I did make time for some light reading in the midst of writing a resume (I might have a coaching job – more on that next week!), studying to complete a Behavior Change Coaching certification and still training for a trail half marathon.
Crickets for Protein
A few days ago I received the latest issue of IDEA’s Food and Nutrition tips magazine. What immediately caught my eye was the section on food trends. I wanted to see if I was familiar with the type of food that are currently trending. Avoiding Gluten – check, Going Paleo – check, Plant-based diets – check, Crickets as Protein options!? Wait a minute…
In Asia, it’s common to find deep fried crickets sold by street vendors. I wonder if they’ve even given a thought on how much nutritional value crickets have – probably not. However, in the US it is being touted as the next superfood. Crickets have 3x the amount of protein, 5x the amount of magnesium and 3x more iron than steak. Plus it has all of the 9 essential amino acids.
I don’t think whole crickets like the one pictured above are sold anywhere here in the US. The products currently marketed are bars, cookies, and crackers made with cricket flour. The IDEA article makes a good point when it mentioned “the cricket trend will be shortlived if we focus on turning them into chips and cookies”. However, chips and cookies are more likely marketable than the actual crickets. Although these products have nutritional value, they project a ‘health halo’ that usually persuades people to consume more than usual.
The article also briefly mentioned ‘watermelon seeds’ as an unexpected source of protein. I find this interesting because in the Philippines where I grew up, it was a snack we regularly packed for school. It seems like ethnic types of food are now becoming more trendy from coconuts to seaweed to crickets!
Nick Symmonds and Run Gum
While out on a run this week, I had the chance to listen to the first episode of Jason Fitzgerald’s Strength Running podcast. His guest was elite runner Nick Symmonds, whom Coach Jason referred to as the “Brad Pitt of Running”. One topic they discussed was his new product called ‘Run Gum‘, a chewing gum with the same basic ingredients you would find in a sugar-free energy drink: 100 mg of caffeine, 40mg taurine and B-vitamins. Symmonds came up with the idea out of necessity as he was looking for a legal performance-enhancing stimulant without having to drink too much fluids that bothered his stomach. So he came up with the idea of a chewing gum as a way to get these stimulants into our system much like smokers use nicorette gum for a nicotine kick.
For an energy boost, all you need to do is chew the gum for 5 to 10 minutes and you’re good to go. Symmonds discussed in the podcast that athletes who have used them during their races have resulted in a 3% improvement in their performance. I’ve seen many articles online about caffeine’s advantageous effects on an athlete’s performance, so it not hard to believe to see a breakthrough in a race after chewing Run Gum.
I’m a coffee drinker and before my long runs, I usually have a cup of coffee. A cup of coffee contains about 95mg of caffeine. It makes me wonder if someone who is a coffee drinker like me will still benefit from Run Gum. I guess I will have to grab a pack and see?!
A Thanksgiving Culinary Trick
Are you planning to cook potatoes or rice for Thanksgiving? It’s best to prepare these dishes at least twelve hours beforehand, store them in the fridge to be cooled down and reheat for the big day. Besides being a time-saver, the process of cooking then cooling potatoes/rice changes the form of the starch to make it more resistant to digestion. This form of starch is called ‘resistant starch’. It has a number of benefits including making us feel more full but with less calories and increasing the amount of fat we can use for energy. Additional potential benefits are improved insulin sensitivity, improved digestion, and improved immunity. If you’re interested in learning more about it, check out this article from Precision Nutrition on Resistant Starch.
Bread also forms a resistant starch after it’s been frozen. A study done in 2008 by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that when you toast a piece of bread after it was frozen and defrosted, the blood glucose spike is reduced to 40% compared to eating a fresh piece of bread. For Thanksgiving, it’s been our tradition to cook a simple stuffing recipe we found in a Bon Appetit magazine years ago. The main ingredient is fresh rosemary bread. With my aim to avoid huge glucose spikes, I will make sure to buy fresh bread a few days early so I can stick it in the freezer.
Have you tried any products made out of cricket flour? What do you think of Run Gum and would you/have you tried it? Any Thanksgiving tips/tricks/hacks?