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Foods For Better Skin

You are what you eat, and when it comes to your skin, it shows. It’s important to take care of your skin not only in the summer, but year round as well. Aside from using sunscreen daily, you should also pay attention to what you eat. Diets full of sugar and fatty foods will break down collagen faster, making your skin look dull and aged. Add these foods to your diet to perk up your skin and make you glow.

Papaya
You will often find that papaya is a common ingredient for skin-care products (from faces scrubs to masks) because it contains a great amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant which helps repair skin tissue and protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. It is also a key nutrient to make collagen, which is a protein that gives skin its strength and elasticity.

Avocado
Avocados contain high levels of vitamin E, which reverses free radical and oxidative damage to the skin, and healthy oils, which help maintain lubrication and hydration of the skin. It is also believed that the combination of vitamin C and vitamin E help protect against UV damage. All of these benefits will help refresh your natural skin glow.

Hemp Seeds
These seeds contain healthy oils which draw hydration to your skin and repair skin cells from damage from wind, sand and saltwater. Hemp seeds are also great for balancing out your fatty acids, as they contain alpha-linolenic acid which is a member of the omega-3 fatty acid family. Increasing omega-3 consumption also tends to better balance your skin and body.

Shellfish
Zinc is a key ingredient in sunscreen since it is great at blocking UV rays, but it is also supports wound healing and helps to prevent cell damage. And luckily, shellfish is a great source for zinc.

Cantaloupe
Aside from offering a healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth, cantaloupe is high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that helps protect against free radicals. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in our bodies, which helps the growth and repair of body tissues like the skin.

Sardines
Sardines contain DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol), which is used in skin-care products because it aids in collagen synthesis and helps draw water to the surface. Sardines are also a great source of omega -3 fatty acids and calcium.

Water
While it is not technically a food, you should drink up. Aside from obvious health reasons, dehydration can also be seen on your skin. Well-hydrated skin looks firm and healthy. Not only should you drink water, but you can load up on hydrating foods such as watermelon and cucumbers.

What foods to do you see benefit your skin? Share your favorites with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

For a delicious breakfast or lunch sandwiches, visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli! We’re open 6 days a week (Monday-Friday 7:00am-4:00pm, Saturday 8:00am-4:30pm), offer online ordering at www.BrickMarketDeli.com along with delivery via DoorDash. If you have any questions or to inquire about our catering services, please call us at 909-596-5225.

Cheat Meals: Do’s & Don’ts

While we all may manage our health and wellness differently, there is one thing we have in common – at one point or another, we like to indulge in a cheat meal. Cravings vary from person to person, but regardless of what they may be, the way they affect us depends on the way we approach it.

Whether you give in to a lavish meal, snack, or dessert, here are some things you should and shouldn’t do.

x DON’T Get Consumed By Guilt
Try to avoid using the word “cheat” as it holds a negative connotation and may make you feel guilty. When it comes to your diet, some choices are better than others, but ultimately, there are no “right” and “wrong” choices. Let go of the guilt and simply opt for a healthier choice for your next snack or meal. An occasional indulgence won’t make or break a mostly healthy diet.

  • DO Indulge Your Cravings

As mentioned, surrender to your cravings and really enjoy it. Denying your body what it really wants often leads to obsessing about the food or continuing to eat and seek out foods that won’t ever satisfy you (and can lead to over-eating). By allowing your body to have what it is craving is a way for you to treat yourself with loving kindness, something that is important in maintaining a healthy relationship with food. Be mindful of what your are eating and make sure the treat is really worth it.

x DON’T Turn A “Cheat” Meal Into A Cheat Day/Week/Month

Again, it comes down to making better choices. It is perfectly fine to indulge here and there, but it is also important to do it smartly. Choose the one thing you are really craving and fight the urge to extend the indulgences over a day or a week or longer.

  • DO Have A Small Treat Every Day (Really!)

Rather than going overboard in your indulgences, enjoy a small treat and really take the time to enjoy it. Be mindful of this indulgence by eliminating any distractions while you eat, chewing slowly and paying attention to your senses. Practicing mindful eating may even show you that you only need a few bites to be fully satisfied.

x DON’T Go Into An Indulgent Meal All-Out Starving
If you’re going out to a barbecue or happy hour, you may want to refrain from eating beforehand to save your appetite. However, this may work against you. Depending on how long you withhold from eating, you may be so starving that you want to eat everything in sight. If your plans aren’t for a few hours, maybe have something light like veggies and hummus, or maybe some fruit. This may help steer you toward a healthier option.

  • DO Create A Buffer When You Indulge

If you know you’re going to indulge, eat lighter meals before and after the main event. Listen to your body and understand when it’s hungry and full. If lunch was extra heavy, maybe you can skip that afternoon snack. Enough of this practice will train you to healthfully manage your portion sizes and find balance in your eating habits.

  • DO Pinpoint What You’re Craving And Make It Healthier

Figure out what it is you are really craving and find something healthier that provides a similar flavor or texture. Whatever you are craving, you can likely find a healthier version with a quick internet search. For example, a grilled hummus quesadilla may be just as satisfying as regular cheesy quesadilla, while providing you with more healthful benefits.

What are your favorite indulgences? How to you stop yourself from going overboard? Share your secrets and tips with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Visit us today for a yummy breakfast or lunch. Looking for a lighter option? Try our Lentilicious (vegetarian) sandwich or build your own Veggie sandwich (both can be made vegan – just ask). View our menu online or call 909-596-5225 if you have any questions.

Counting Macros Simplified

As mentioned in our previous blog, counting calories is more beneficial when you actually evaluate where the calories are coming from. Doing this enables you to fine tune your diet and focus on specific health and fitness goals.

Rather than counting calories, you should try counting macros instead. Counting macros is simply tracking your daily intake of protein, carbohydrates, and fat (the three major macronutrients).

Counting Macros Vs. Counting Calories
When you count macros, you are essentially counting calories as well, but you are also able to see how your body responds to the same amount of calories from different sources. You will better understand what helps to make you look, feel and perform well.

Another benefit is a better understanding of your food. For example, counting calories simply tells you that you can have a bigger handful of popcorn than almonds when it comes to calories. When you look at macros, you will see that nuts are filled with healthy fats and a balance of carbohydrates and protein, rather than only fast-burning carbohydrates. Thus, a handful of nuts would be a better option to keep you fuller longer.

Macros Are Not The Only Answer
Because the main focus is macros, people worry that important micronutrients are overlooked. The easiest solution would be to add produce (especially vegetables) to your diet. Doing so will ensure that you still get a good amount of vitamins and minerals in addition to your ideal macro intake. At least 75% of your diet should come from whole, unprocessed foods in their natural states for a high-quality diet.

How To Determine Your Macro Breakdown
As expected, the “best” macronutrient breakdown will vary from person to person. The standard recommendation is 50% carbohydrates, 30% fat, and 20% protein for your daily diet. Those who want to build muscle and trim fat know that it requires more protein, and may break it down to 30-40% carbohydrates, 30-40% fat, and 30-40% protein.

If you’re trying to maintain your muscle and body fat, you want to focus on more protein, and adjust your carbohydrate and fat intake accordingly. Because protein controls hunger, if you eat more protein you are less likely to be hungry regardless of your calorie count. Also, high protein intake attributes to the success of low-carb diets for weight loss.

You should try different breakdowns to see what works for you. Some people function better with a higher carbohydrate intake while others do so with higher fat intake.

Nutrition Planning Based On Macros Needs
Once you have figured out your needs, there are a few different approaches for nutrition and meal planning based on your overall caloric goals.

If you prefer consistency and reliability, you can pick the same breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks that add up to your ideal daily breakdown and calorie total and simply repeat it.

If you can’t stand that type of monotony when it comes to food, you can pick three options for each meal and snack, put them in a spreadsheet and mix and match every day. Your individual meal macros don’t matter as much as your overall day’s worth.

Or you can try this simplified method:

  • 6-8 cupped handfuls of quality carbohydrates (starch and fruit)
  • 6-8 fist-size portions of vegetables
  • 6-8 palm-size portions of protein
  • 6-8 thumb-size portions of healthy fats

This will give you a fairly even macro intake (40% carbs, 30% fat, 30% protein) with about 2,300-3,000 calories. Based on your personal goals and needs, you can adjust accordingly. For example, if you want to lose weight, you can remove a few cupped hands of carbohydrates or thumbs of fat. And for a lower carb diet, swap some hand-size portions of carbohydrates for thumb-size portions of fat.

How To Track Macros
Once you have your macro breakdown and all the details figured out, how will you track your macros? You can do it by hand, by reading labels and Googling nutrition facts and serving sizes for your food. While this is a feasible task, it may become quite tedious.

For those who want any easier way, luckily, there’s (many) apps for that. There are various nutrition and diet apps that enable you to track your food intake. Some even allow you to set custom macro goals.

Whether you are thinking about counting macros, or if you have already adopted this method to improve your health, share your thoughts and advice with us! Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli for a delicious breakfast or lunch. We are open weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm. Stop by, call ahead, or order online. And we are now offering delivery via DoorDash!

Bad Weight Loss Advice

When it comes to health and weight loss, there is an abundance of diets, health tips, superfoods, and more circulating out there. The truth is not every diet or health regimen works for everyone, and sometimes it takes time to figure out which works for you. Although friends, family, or coworkers swear by certain things, they may not work for you or even be good for your body.

While you figure out what works best for you, these are some old and bad dieting tips you should NOT listen to:

× Eat less and burn more calories if you want to lose weight.
If weight loss was as simple as basic math, it would be less of a struggle for us. The truth is, your weight is determined by a variety of factors aside from the calories you consume and burn. Age, gender, ethnicity, activity level and genetics all play a role in your natural metabolism (just think about that one friend who can eat massive amounts of junk food without gaining a pound).

In fact, calorie-cutting can do more harm than good. Restricting calories for weight loss actually slows down metabolism, so much so that you would have to further reduce calories to an extremely low level just to maintain weight loss. For example, if you cut your calorie intake down to 1,500 calories a day to lose weight, in order to maintain that weight loss over time, you would need to reduce your intake to 1,000 calories per day to compensate for your slowed metabolism.

Rather than looking at quantity, you should focus on quality. You may still monitor your calories, however, you should pay more attention to the sources and include foods rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats to get more nutrition. Rather than eating empty calories, you will feel fuller longer, satisfy cravings, and prevent blood sugar spikes which may contribute to fat storage.

× Fat is fattening.
The belief that eating fat makes you fat has long since existed and kick-started a demand for fat-free foods. Unfortunately, the fat that was removed in these foods was often replaced with processed sugar and salt. We now know that the right fat is essential for helping your body absorb vitamins and minerals, promoting heart health, and contributing to satiety and weight management. The problem is that not all fat is created equal, therefore you want to limit your intake of saturated fat and trans fat, both of which are associated with health problems including heart disease and weight gain.

A previous study found that women who consumed the most high-fat dairy products actually lowered their risk of obesity, while another study showed that women who consumed the highest amounts of full-fat dairy had a 46% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Instead of completely cutting out fat from your diet, try to incorporate a wide range of fats. For a diverse fatty acid profile, choose polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats as they promote heart health. Some smart fat sources include pistachios, salmon, flax, sunflower seeds, avocado, and extra-virgin olive oil.

× Don’t eat eggs because they raise cholesterol.
Eggs got a bad reputation from their high cholesterol content and the notion that foods high in dietary cholesterol were the root cause of high blood cholesterol. It is now widely known that trans fats have a far greater impact on raising bad cholesterol than eggs do. As an inexpensive, nutrient-dense, convenient source of protein, B vitamins, vitamin D, and a variety of antioxidants, feel free to enjoy whole eggs in moderation and cooked to your liking.

× Never eat after 8 p.m.
The time at which you eat does not make as much of an impact as you think. Rather, what you choose to eat makes a much bigger impact. Why do people still believe this then? It likely stems from the types of foods you tend to choose the later in the night. Your midnight cravings are more likely to be chips and ice cream than fruits and vegetables. You may also notice cravings at night because you are under eating during the day.

Rather than abiding by time restrictions and rules, make it a point to sit down and enjoy a satisfying breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus healthy snacks as needed throughout the day. If you still feel hungry after dinner, try a healthy snack that includes fiber, protein, or healthy fat (e.g. air-popped popcorn mixed with nuts and other nutritious add-ins, protein oatmeal cups).

× Eating breakfast kick-starts your metabolism.
It was always drilled into our minds that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Those that pushed this also believed that breakfast is vital to kick-start your metabolism for the day. However, new research shows that eating or not eating breakfast has no real impact on resting metabolism.

This does not mean that you should skip breakfast, it simply means that breakfast is no more or less important than lunch or dinner. Sitting down and mindfully eating a balanced meal will help to keep your brain and body fueled. Other research shows that eating breakfast may promote weight management, not because it boosts metabolism, but because it helps to prevent overeating later in the day.

Your breakfast choice makes a difference, too. Instead of reaching for that donut or croissant, aim for a mix of protein, fiber-rich carbohydrates, and fat to give you energy and keep you satiated until lunch.

Share your good diet and health tips with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!

Join us for a hearty breakfast or yummy lunch six days a week! The Brick Your Neighborhood Deli is open for breakfast and lunch weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm. Find us on the corner of East Arrow Highway and Garey Avenue in Pomona, CA, or visit BrickMarketDeli.com for more information.

What Is Candida?

When it comes to health and wellness, you may have heard some things about Candida and Candida overgrowth. If not, listen up as it may be contributing to your health woes. Simply put, Candida is a type of yeast. There are many varieties and about 20 are shown to cause problems in humans. Some Candida is naturally present on the skin and in the mucus membranes, but it can become problematic when there is an overgrowth. When overgrowths occur, the Candida can turn into a fungus and cause an infection (candidiasis). This can happen in one particular region (e.g. thrush in the mouth or throat, yeast infection) or can be systemic.

Due to its role in the digestion and absorption of nutrients, Candida overgrowth in the intestinal tract can lead to a variety of digestive disturbances. The overgrowth breaks down the intestinal wall which results in the release of toxic by-products into your system (often referred to as “leaky gut syndrome”). In short, it seriously disrupts your gut microbiome. Because symptoms like fatigue, digestive problems, brain fog, and depression can be related to a variety of conditions, systemic Candida infections can be hard to diagnose.

What Causes Candida Overgrowth?
As mentioned, Candida lives in the gut and plays a role in digestion. Thus, the foods we eat can make a big difference. Sugar feeds the yeast cells, allowing them to grow and spread, and contributing to Candida overgrowth. Inflammation has also been shown to be an underlying cause, so avoiding foods that cause inflammation is beneficial. And a diet that supports a healthy gut microbiota is important as well.

There are foods that should be avoided as a preventative measure and to help heal candidiasis. Avoiding sugar is key, so nixing candy, cookies, pastries, and sugar-sweetened drinks goes without saying. Some foods known to be healthy can actually promote Candida overgrowth and be detrimental to the healing process for candidiasis. If you are trying to heal your gut and want to discourage overgrowth, keep these foods out of your diet.

Agave
This sweetener may be touted for its low glycemic index, however, it is still a concentrated source of sugar, mainly made up of fructose. Other sweeteners to avoid include honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrups, and any other sugars by a different name.

Xylitol
You may think that artificial sweeteners would be a good alternative, but that is definitely not the case. They are no good for your digestive system, making it hard to maintain a healthy gut environment. Other artificial sweeteners to avoid include aspartame, sucralose, sorbitol, and stevia.

Excessive Amounts Of Fruits
Fruits do provide important vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, however, some also contain lots of sugar. You will want to avoid bananas, dates, grapes, mangoes, and dried fruits and, instead, opt for lower-sugar fruits like berries. And as far as nutrients go, lots of vegetables offer great nutrition without excessive amounts of sugar.

Green Juice
These seemingly healthy elixirs are often made with lots of fruit. If you must drink your greens, omit the fruit and toss in some ginger or lemon juice to balance the flavor while adding an anti-inflammatory boost.

Grains
While grains do provide essential vitamins and minerals, those carbohydrates break down into sugar in the body. In addition, the gluten in grains like wheat, barley, and rye can also trigger inflammation in those who are sensitive and can impair gut integrity. A great alternative would be cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles.

Wine
Alcohol is off-limits because it contains yeast, and the sugar in wine and carbohydrates in beer do not help either. And, in general, alcohol is tough on the gastrointestinal system and can affect sleep and impair our immune system.

Kombucha
Fermented foods, like kombucha, provide probiotic bacteria that support a healthy environment in the gut that may help protect against candidiasis in the long run. However, if you are actively trying to treat an overgrowth, you will want to avoid these as these beneficial bacteria in excess can act as food for the Candida cells. Try sparkling water infused with citrus or cucumber or your favorite herbs as an alternative.

Share your tips to maintain a healthy gut or heal candidiasis with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Visit The Brick Your Neighborhood Deli for breakfast or lunch – we’re open weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00-4:30pm. Order online, call ahead, or come on in! We are located on the corner of Garey Avenue and Arrow Highway in Pomona (next to Johnny’s).

Improve Your Digestion & Health

Poor gut health and digestion can affect your whole body. When digestive issues arise, pain and discomfort can cause you to lose focus and may interrupt your day. Improve your health and digestion by eating the right foods.

Move Your Bile
Made in the liver and stored in the gallbladder, bile helps with digestion by breaking down fats into fatty acids which can be taken into the body by the digestive tract. These foods will keep bile moving, thus keeping you regular and consistent.

  • Chia Seeds & Flax Seeds

These seeds contain essential fatty acids that lubricate the intestinal wall while nourishing the microbes that support intestinal health and function. High fiber foods create bulk that puts pressure on the intestinal wall, resulting in an urge to move bowels. They also carry bile out of the body, which signals the liver to produce more bile.

  • Raw Beets & Apples

Both of these are high in fiber and ideal for healthy digestion. Mix freshly grated raw beets and apples sprinkled with lemon juice for a tasty and quick snack.

  • Green, Leafy Vegetables

These are high in fiber and magnesium, both of which support healthy muscular contractions (peristalsis) in the large intestine.

  • Legumes

Beans, peas, lentils, and other legumes provide bulk and improve bile flow for healthy digestion.

  • Prunes

Aside from being high in fiber, the skin of prunes contains dihydrophenylisatin, which is a mild laxative that boosts intestinal contractions.

Move Your Lymph
The lymphatic system is part of the circulatory system and plays an important role in the immune system. A high concentration of lymphatic vessels can be found in the lining of the intestines. The villi and lacteals within and the lymph nodes surrounding the outside of the intestines constitute about 70-80% of the body’s immune system.

Because the lymph circulates throughout the body and removes cellular waste, body movements (ex. stretching, exercise) and proper hydration are recommended to keep your lymphatic system healthy.

  • Eat Red

Antioxidants are great for the lymphatic system. Foods that would dye your hands red are great lymph movers (ex. berries, cherries, cranberries, pomegranates, beets).

  • Green, Leafy Vegetables

Highly alkaline foods, including spring and summer harvests, support lymphatic drainage. The winter harvest is primarily acidic, which is nature’s way of rebuilding.

  • Fennel

Fennel is known for stimulating and moving lymph. You can add fennel to your meals or enjoy tea made from fennel seeds. As a tea, it is effective for gas and bloating, and supports the function of intestinal lacteals (which help absorb nutrients and fats).

Feed Your Microbiome

  • Seasonal Organic Foods

Plants attract certain microbes from the soil which become a part of our microbiome when we eat them. Organic produce provides a significantly greater source of microbes, thus, choosing seasonal, organic foods will better support bodily functions.

  • Fermented Foods

Yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, and miso are great microbial sources. Fermented foods are made from a process called lacto-acid fermentation, which makes them very acidic. In general, they should be eaten in moderation.

Cleanse Your Liver

  • Bitter Roots

Before, dandelion root, burdock root, Oregon grape, and golden seal (among others) were a standard part of the American diet. These days, these liver-cleansing and bile-moving staples are lacking in availability and consumption. If you cannot dig these up or purchase them fresh, you can get them in capsule form. However, always choose an organic, whole herbal root form rather than an herbal extract, as most of the good microbes are killed during the extraction process.

  • Other liver-cleansing & bile-stimulating foods:
  • Beets
  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Radishes
  • Artichokes
  • Olives
  • Fenugreek

Boost Stomach Acid
Once we have addressed the aforementioned aspects of healthy digestion, we can increase the stomach’s production of hydrochloric acid (HCl):

  • Chew fresh, raw ginger root or drink ginger tea before and during a meal.
  • Vinegar is acetic acid, which boosts HCl (Apple cider vinegar works even better because it is safe for high acid conditions).
  • Drink a large glass of water a half hour before a meal to pre-hydrate the stomach’s natural buffer layer, signaling the stomach to produce more HCl. Adding a little salt and pepper to your water will also help.
  • A fermented food appetizer will help to kick-start the digestive process.
  • Sip hot water with lemon before or during your meal.
  • Spice your foods with fennel, cumin, coriander, ginger, and cardamom.

Do you have any diet and digestion tips to share? Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Stop by the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli in Pomona for a delicious breakfast or yummy lunch. Take it to go or enjoy your meal in our dining area or patio seating. Call 909-596-5225 or visit BrickMarketDeli.com to order now!

The Importance Of Potassium

Potassium is an important electrolyte and interacts with sodium to perform various functions including balancing fluids and mineral levels within our bodies. It is found within all our cells and its levels are controlled by our kidneys. It is necessary for numerous cellular functions including regulating heartbeat rhythms and nerve impulses, muscle contractions, preventing muscle aches, supporting digestive health and boosting energy levels.

The recommended daily intake of potassium is as follows:

  • Infants 0-12 months: 400-700mg/day
  • Children 1-8 years: 3,000-3,800mg/day
  • Teens 9-18 years: 4,500-4,700mg/day
  • Adults 19 and older: 4,700mg/day
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding: 5,100mg/day

Some people, such as athletes, require even more potassium because of their higher muscle mass. Their bodies rely on effective blood flow to carry nutrients to vital organs, bones and broken-down muscle tissue.

Low levels of potassium can be dangerous and life-threatening. It is estimated that all groups in the U.S. are getting less than the daily recommended amount. The USDA reports that the median intake of potassium by adults in the U.S. is approximately 2800-3300mg for men and 2200-2400mg for women.

People most likely to have low potassium levels include:

  • Those who take diuretics in order to treat high blood pressure or heart disease
  • Anyone who frequently takes laxatives
  • Anyone who has recently had an illness that caused vomiting and diarrhea
  • Those with certain kidney or adrenal gland disorders
  • Alcoholics
  • People with uncontrolled diabetes
  • Athletes who exercise for more than 1-2 hours a day
  • Anyone on a very low-calorie diet

Symptoms of moderately low levels of potassium include:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Greater risk for heart disease, especially suffering from a stroke
  • Increased salt/sodium sensitivity
  • Higher risk of kidney stones
  • Fatigue and trouble getting good sleep
  • Poor concentration and memory
  • Higher risk for diabetes and insulin resistance
  • Reduced bone formation due to higher levels of calcium being excreted in urine
  • Muscle weakness and spasms
  • Joint Pain

Very low levels of potassium can result in severe potassium deficiency (hypokalemia). Symptoms are serious, and even deadly, and include cardiac arrhythmias, muscle weakness and glucose intolerance. This condition is usually caused by other factors such as complications due to kidney function, diuretic use, or being very sick and losing fluids.

Low potassium intake causes problems, one of the biggest being that your body is not able to neutralize acids as well. Non-carbonic acids are generated during digestion and metabolism of both plant and animal proteins (meats, dairy, and grains). Potassium balances these acids in order to keep the body at a proper pH, and low potassium can mean the body becomes too acidic.

Fruits and vegetables have built-in acid-neutralizers, but meats, most grains, and other animal foods do not. Because we often have a tendency to eat diets rich in animal proteins and grains and low in fruits and vegetables, more people build up a high amount of acid in the blood. This can result in poor digestion, impaired cognitive abilities, frequently fatigue, lower immunity, poorer heart health and many other potential risks.

Although this maybe alarming, fret not! You can increase your potassium intake naturally from whole, potassium-rich foods.

Potassium-Rich Foods

  • White Beans: 1 cup, cooked = 1,004mg
  • Lima Beans: 1 cup, cooked = 955mg
  • Avocado: 1 whole = 690mg
  • Broccoli: 1 cup, cooked = 458mg
  • Sweet Potato: 1 medium = 438mg
  • Bananas: 1 medium = 422mg
  • Salmon: 3 ounces = 416mg
  • Peas: 1 cup, cooked = 384mg
  • Sardines: 1 can/3.75 grams = 365mg
  • Grapefruit: 1 whole = 354mg
  • Raw Milk: 1 cup = 260mg
  • Grass-Fed Beef: 3 ounces = 237mg

Health Benefits of Potassium

  • Lowers Blood Pressure & Supports Heart Health

Potassium helps to control the electrical activity of the heart that regulates blood pressure, circulation, and heart beat rhythms, and, in combination with other minerals (calcium, magnesium), prevents fluids from building up in cells. A buildup of fluids in cells is what causes elevated blood pressure and can result in heart palpitations, narrowed arteries, scarring and poor circulation. In addition, low potassium can contribute to an irregular heartbeat, chest pains and cardiac arrest when the situation becomes worsened over time.

  • Supports a Healthy Metabolism

Because it is partially responsible for breaking down carbohydrates, in the form of glucose, from the food we eat and turning them into usable energy, potassium is necessary to maintain and even boost metabolism. Potassium also helps the body use amino acids in order to form proteins that build muscle and can help to balance minerals that are important for the growth and maintenance of muscles and bones.

  • Prevents Muscle Spasms and Pain

Potassium helps muscles to relax by balancing fluid levels. Low potassium can result in muscle spasms, cramps, and general pains. It can also cause a breakdown of muscle mass, fatigue, trouble exercising and can even contribute to weight gain.

  • Helps Maintain Bone Health

Potassium forms conjugate anions (ex. citrate) that are converted to bicarbonate. Low potassium levels are associated with reduced bicarbonate precursors that are needed to neutralize acids that are present in commonly eaten foods, especially animal proteins.
Sulfuric acids enter the body in the form of amino acids found in meat, poultry, and other high-protein foods. Because low levels of potassium mean low levels of bicarbonate precursors, bones are not properly buffered from the effects of sulfur-acids and can become demineralized, weak, and porous, increasing the risk for osteoporosis and fractures.

  • Supports The Nervous System

Potassium is involved in thousands of cellular functions and is crucial for nerve impulses and electrical signaling that brain functions rely on. Deficiency can cause fatigue, poor concentration, trouble learning and remembering, mood changes. One of the biggest signs of low potassium is “brain fog” or the inability to focus and keep a clear-headed, upbeat mood.

  • Needed For Proper Digestion

Potassium helps to balance water, fluid, and sodium levels within the digestive tract. Thus, low potassium can contribute to bloating, constipation, or abdominal pain due to fluid buildup which can cause imbalances in minerals. In addition, potassium is partially responsible for balancing the amount of acid in the stomach, healing the gut and keeping the body at the optimal pH level – allowing healthy bacteria to thrive and kill off harmful bacteria.

  • Prevents Kidney Disorders

Thanks to the inverse relationship with calcium, low potassium levels are associated with an increased risk of kidney stones. People prone to kidney stones usually have diets higher in sodium and lower in potassium. When potassium levels are low, more calcium is excreted from the body through urine, which must pass through the kidneys. In many instances, kidney stones are actually calcium deposits. Reducing calcium in the urine is one way to combat painful kidney problems.

Which potassium-rich foods are your favorite? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Whether you’re looking for breakfast or lunch, we’ve got plenty of choices to please your taste buds. Visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli for your yummy sandwich fix! Join us weekdays from 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm.

Non-Dairy Calcium-Rich Foods

Calcium is an important mineral which improves bone health, muscle function, nerve transmission, and hormone secretion. Because it is necessary for so many significant functions, we need lots of it. Most adults (ages 19-50) require 1,000 mg daily while women over 50 need 1,200 mg daily. A lack of calcium can result in a variety of health problems, including osteoporosis.

If you’re not getting enough calcium, your first instinct may be to drink more milk. Milk (offering about 300 mg of calcium per 8 ounces), along with other dairy foods, are excellent sources for calcium. However, if you dislike dairy or have trouble digesting it, you will need to find other sources. Luckily, these calcium-rich foods are great alternatives.

Almonds
You can get 320 mg of calcium from a ¾ cup serving of almonds. Aside from calcium, you also get a great source of fiber and vitamin E. Have them as a snack during the day, or swap your peanut butter for almond butter.

Dried Figs
1½ cups of dried figs will supply you with 362 mg of calcium. Because of their sweet flavor, you can slice them up and add them to anything from oatmeal to yogurt to salads.

Kale
You can obviously enjoy kale raw, however, the calcium content is heightened when cooked. Two cups of cooked kale will provide you with 359 mg of calcium. Enjoy it as a side or incorporate it into your favorite cooked dishes.

Canned Salmon – With Bones
Usually when eating fish, it’s best to avoid the bones. However, the canning process softens fish bones so they are nearly impossible to detect. A mere 6 ounces of canned salmon with the bones provides you with 366 mg of calcium and 930 IU of vitamin D. Dress it to your liking and use it as a salad topper, or add it to pasta or rice bowls.

Tofu
In order to curdle soymilk, some companies use calcium sulfate, which results in tofu’s firm texture, but also added calcium content. Typically, firm or extra firm tofu provides 300 mg of calcium per 6 ounce serving. Keep in mind that soft/silken tofu requires less calcium sulfate, and will typically have less calcium than firm tofu.

Bok Choy
A two cup serving of this Chinese cabbage offers 316 mg of calcium. Choose regular or baby bok choy, chop it up and add to a stir fry or even try it roasted.

Calcium-fortified Orange Juice
Eight ounces will provide you with 350 mg of calcium, just be sure to shake it first – the calcium can settle at the bottom. Other calcium-fortified foods, like cereals, can help to supplement your intake.

What’s your favorite food source for calcium? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Enjoy a delicious breakfast or yummy lunch at the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli 6 days a week. You can find us on the northeast corner of East Arrow Highway and Garey Avenue. Check out our menu online and call 909-596-5225 if you have any questions.

The Healthful Egg

Eggs get both good and bad raps, but here’s why you should incorporate eggs into your diet in moderation. Most of us know eggs are protein rich (each 85 calorie egg packs 7 grams of protein), however, they are also loaded with amino acids, antioxidants, and iron. And if you think only consuming egg whites will cut it, keep in mind that some nutrients are only found in the egg yolks.

You do want to steer toward organic eggs whenever possible. These are certified by the USDA and are free from antibiotics, vaccines, and hormones. The color of eggs is up to personal preference, and simply varies based on the type of chicken (both have the same nutritional value).

Here are a few reasons why you want to include eggs into your daily diet:

Boost Immune System
One large egg contains 22% of your recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of selenium, a nutrient which helps support your immune system and regulate thyroid hormones. Adding an egg or two to your diet can make a difference, especially for children and adolescents. A deficiency of selenium can result in Keshan disease and Kashin-Beck disease, conditions that can affect the heart, bones, and joints.

Improve Cholesterol Profile
We all know that high cholesterol is not good, however, there are good and bad kinds of cholesterol (HDL and LDL, respectively). While it is true that eggs contain plenty of cholesterol (one large egg has 212 mg), this does not necessarily mean that eggs will raise “bad” cholesterol levels in the blood. Research has shown that eggs can actually improve your cholesterol profile as they seem to raise HDL cholesterol while increasing the size of LDL particles.

Reduce Risk Of Heart Disease
Speaking of LDL particles, they transport their fat molecules into artery walls and drive atherosclerosis (the narrowing of the blood vessels due to cholesterol plaque build-up). And when it comes to these particles, size matters. Those with predominantly small, dense LDL particles have a higher risk of heart disease than those who have mostly large LDL particles. Eggs tend to raise LDL cholesterol in some people, however, as mentioned previously, they also change the particles from small and dense to large, lowering the risk of cardiovascular problems.

More Energy
One egg contains about 15% of your RDA of vitamin B2 (riboflavin). This is just one of eight B vitamins which help to convert food into fuel to produce energy.

Better Skin & Hair
Aside from vitamin B2, eggs also contain B5 and B12. These B-complex vitamins are also necessary for healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver. They also help to ensure the proper function of the nervous system.

Protect Your Brain
The essential nutrient choline is a component of cell membranes and is required to synthesize acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter).  A lack of choline has been linked to neurological disorders and decreased cognitive function, and, surprisingly, more than 90% of Americans eat less than the RDA of choline. Luckily, choline can be found in egg yolks.

Save Your Life
There are 20 essential amino acids that your body needs, 11 of which your body can produce. The other 9 must come from a food source, and eggs contain all 9. A lack of these 9 amino acids can result in muscle wasting, decreased immune response, weakness, fatigue, and changes to the texture of your skin and hair.

Less Stress & Anxiety
A deficiency in the 9 amino acids can also have effects on mental health. A 2004 study found that lysine (an amino acid) can significantly reduce anxiety and stress levels by possibly modulating serotonin in the nervous system.

Protect Your Eyes
Lutein and zeaxanthin, both antioxidants found in eggs, have powerful protective effects on the eyes. They significantly reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts (which are among the leading causes of vision impairment and blindness in the elderly). But if you’re only eating egg whites, don’t expect to reap these benefits – these antioxidants are found in the yolk.

Improve Bones & Teeth
Vitamin D aids the absorption of calcium and eggs are one of the few natural sources of this. Calcium is not only important for the health and strength of your bones, but is also crucial for a healthy heart, colon, and metabolism.

Satiation
Because eggs are such a great source of protein, all other sources of protein are measured against them.
High-protein foods affect your appetite in that they allow you to feel fuller while eating less. With that being said, eggs score high on the Satiety Index, a measure of how much foods contribute to the feeling of fullness. And because of their satiating power, eggs have also been linked with fat loss.

What’s not to love about eggs? Share your favorite way to cook and eat eggs with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Get your egg fix at the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli! Join us for breakfast starting at 7:00am (8:00am on Saturdays). Hope to see you bright & early!

Tips For Slow-Roasting Meats

When it comes to slow-roasting meats, time, patience and attention to detail are a must. Careful timing and planning goes into cooking the perfect slow roast; this is not a meal you want to just toss together. In order to get it right, here are some slow-cooking tips to help you get the tastiest piece of meat. The end result will be well worth the wait.

Butcher
A well cooked piece of meat starts with the quality of the cut. There are endless resources online to tell you how long to cook certain meats, but no one will give you better insight than your local butcher. Share your plans and your butcher can steer you toward the best cuts of meat, along with the appropriate cooking times and temperatures for the cut of meat you’re getting.

Bone-In
When deciding between cuts, bone-in is the way to go when slow-roasting. When you cook bone-in meats, the fibers and cartilage break down while roasting, keeping the meat moist.

Embrace The Fat
Another way to keep the meat moist is to leave the fat on. By keeping the fat, you can help hydrate the meat as it cooks, helping to ensure your meat turns out juicy and tender.

Brine
For maximum flavor, brine the meat first. It helps keep the moisture in and combats under-salting. Brining the roast will season the meat the entire way through and keep it flavorful with each bite.

Sear First
Slow-roasting slowly breaks down the meat and creates very tender bites. By searing your meat first, you are creating a caramelized outer layer that will permeate the meat as it cooks, providing a delicious crust in contrast to the tender meat.

The Right Tools
The risks with slow-cooking are over-cooking, resulting in dry meat, or not cooking the meat enough at lower temperatures. Luckily, a timer and a meat thermometer can be your saving grace. The weight, thickness, and type of cut (bone-in or not) will determine the time and temperature at which to cook your meat. For lower temperatures, use the thermometer to make sure your meat is done. For higher temps, you will want to check back sooner than later to ensure your meat isn’t drying out.

Herbs & Spice
Don’t be afraid to use herbs and spices as they can really enhance flavors and textures. Try adding a sprig of fresh thyme (not dried) to the oil before you sear your meat. Add the same sprig to the pan to cook with the meat for a subtle but special flavor boost.

Drink Pairing
If this much care is going into your meal, your drink of choice should be given some thought as well. Richer meals are great with more robust drinks, while lighter main courses need a softer-tasting brew. For example, if you are slow-roasting pork, you can try an amber ale, which will cut through the fat, or choose a citrusy beer to add a fruity element. On the other hand, savory ribs are better paired with the richness of stouts and porters.

Serve With Vegetables
Don’t let the flavorful juices from the meat go to waste. Whether you are using a roasting rack or pan, place a layer of thick-cut vegetables underneath your meat. Both the meat and vegetables will take in flavors from each other, but the vegetables will also soak in the juices that drip down, creating incredibly flavorful veggies for you to enjoy.

Inspired to try slow-cooking? Let us know how it goes! Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Visit The Brick Your Neighborhood Deli for breakfast or lunch – we’re open weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00-4:30pm. Find us on the corner of Garey Avenue and Arrow Highway in Pomona (next to Johnny’s).