It’s crazy how we look at the list of ingredients and focus on what they add up to taste-wise. I took a really close look at what components make up this month’s (June) selections from your favorite Pizza of the Month Club, and found so much more to “chew on.”

Our Italian Beef Gourmet Pizza wouldn’t be possible without the Giardiniera. In addition to the healthy carrots, celery, cauliflower and gerkins, it’s literally ‘peppered’ with bell and serrano peppers, as well as crushed red pepper flakes. Not too many plants can grab the attention of our tastebuds like spicy peppers. An easy-to-grow, low calorie summer veggie, peppers are the fruit of the Capsicum plant. Rather mild red bell peppers are actually aged green peppers, and have more nutritional value because of their longer growing time. Serranos demand respect, as they rival jalapeños in heat.

Lemon drenched shrimp top our Shrimp Zest Gourmet Pizza, with a bit of added pepper to give it ‘zest.’ Shrimp are protein-packed crustaceans that rev up our calorie- and fat-burning ability. What do you get when you eat 10 to 12 medium sized shrimp? 99 calories, 24 grams of protein, less than 1 gram of fat, and 0 potentially harmful mercury. You will benefit from spirit-lifting tryptophan; heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and sterols to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels and reduce inflammation; leptin and iodine which stoke your metabolism and optimize your thyroid function; and the antioxidant B12, that keeps your mind sharp and alert. (And that squeeze of lemon adds a shot of vitamin C.) Healthy never tasted so good!

When I focused on Popeye’s Special Gourmet Pizza, I was pleasantly surprised at the dietary goodness I found. Spinach, Popeye’s favorite vegetable, is laden with lutein and zeaxanthin. These phytochemicals help prevent the leading cause of blindness in adults, age-related macular degeneration — not to mention the plethora of minerals and vitamins spinach offers. Did you know you can save 200 calories by substituting three ounces of 85% lean ground beef for one cup of minced mushrooms in recipes? Bonus: We can’t get too much of the key nutrient Vitamin D. Mushrooms are one of the only food-based sources of it. Eating healthy never tasted so good. Enjoy!

Check out the best pizza in America and learn more about our Pizza of the Month Club!

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