• Salmon, Woolly Mammoths, and Bacon

    NUTRITION AT A GLANCE Salmon is a great source of healthy fats like omega-3s, especially when wild-caught. Omega-3 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. Farm-raised salmon has been shown to have a higher fat content than wild-caught, but notably less usable omega 3s. It has also been shown to contain higher levels of omega-6 fatty acids relative to omega-3s, which can result in a pro-inflammatory response. Greek yogurt has about twice as much protein per serving as regular yogurt. Because the whey is filtered away from Greek yogurt, its protein comes primarily from casein.
    salmon tarragonI have not been making many fish-based recipes recently, but it often seems that before a competition, when I am looking for a clean source of flavorful protein to compliment starchy carbohydrates, salmon fits the bill. It may also be that before competing, on a subconscious level, I am thinking of any way I can get a dietary, nutrient-based placebo edge, and take it on faith that a few extra omega-3s can only do some good. Fat is all the rage these days. It seems that more and more the diet trends being adopted by active people are skewing towards a higher fat intake, and the once demonized macronutrient is becoming the energy source of choice. I even came across a somewhat elite local crossfitter who claims to eat 1-2 pounds of bacon per day because, we all operate much better on fat, proclaiming that this is not a guess, it is history. We have been living for millions of years on fatty animals (woolly mammoths). Personally, I wasn't around when woolly mammoths were roaming (and last I checked, modern humans emerged around 200,000 years ago, so I'm not sure who exactly was eating mammoths millions of years ago), so it'd be impossible for me to verify the ratio of mammoth-to-other food that was being consumed. Fat is energy-dense, sure, though 2 pounds of bacon a day may be slightly over-interpreting the notion of fat as fuel. Either way, this guy is either a genius and is about to school us all, or will be a very useful data point for cardiologists to study in a few short years. You can read more of his amusing dietary philosophy here. The point of that sidetracked thought is that fat is an important nutrient for humans. Call me a traditionalist, but I'll look for it in moderation from mainly unsaturated sources, as well as sources with a balance of omega 3s and 6s. Salmon is well-reported to be a great source of omega 3s, which act to reduce inflammation in the body. But be conscious of where your salmon is coming from. Farm-raised salmon has a much lower percentage of usable omega 3s than wild caught.
    Salmon with Tarragon Greek Yogurt Sauce
    Author: Casey Weaver
    Prep time:
    Cook time:
    Total time:
    Serves: 4
    Ingredients
    • 4 six ounce salmon filets
    • 2 T fresh tarragon, chopped
    • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts
    • 1 T olive oil, plus more
    • 1 T fresh lemon juice
    • 2/3 cup water
    • salt and pepper
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Combine tarragon, yogurt, garlic, hazelnuts, a tablespoon of olive oil, 2/3 cup water, and lemon juice in a blender and blend until smooth.
    3. Transfer to a skillet and simmer over very low heat about 10 minutes.
    4. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.
    5. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Season the salmon filets with salt, and place skin-side up in heated skillet.
    6. Cook about 2-3 minutes, then flip and transfer to heated oven. Bake until done, about 7-8 minutes.
    7. Remove from oven and top with tarragon-yogurt sauce.
    Another thing to keep in mind is that although healthy fats are absolutely essential and do provide fuel during low-intensity exercise, it has been very well documented that as exercise intensity increases, percentage of carbohydrate utilization increases as well. When the body is working near its maximum capacity (something like a 6 to 20 minute maximum effort of mixed resistance and aerobic training), the exercise is being fueled almost entirely by carbohydrates.
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