Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Many Benefits of Coconut Oil

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Coconut oil can be used for a lot of things.

You can cook with it not only does it tastes delicious and the health benefits are astounding!

Coconut oil is great in showers. It is a great cleanser as well as a moisturizer.  You can also keep it on your nightstand as a moisturizer.  There is a lot to be said for anything that is chemical free that we can use on our bodies.  There are some people who use coconut oil on their faces.

Coconut oil is great to massage into your scalp.  It is nice for the hair and the skin.

Coconut oil is great in raw food recipes:

  • You can use 1 tsp of coconut oil daily in my morning smoothie.  It gives it such a nice texture and it is so good for you. (below)
  • You can use coconut oil in raw protein bars. It gives them a lovely texture, flavor and holds them together nicely.
  • You can use coconut oil in treats, i.e. chocolate, mushroom, chia pudding (for immunity and strength) with a teaspoon of coconut oil in to add smooth creaminess too.
  • You can add coconut oil in hot tea with a pinch of raw cacao for a special treat as well.
  • You can even use coconut oil with cashews and stevia to make a delicious frosting.

There are a lot of ways to use coconut oil there are even more reasons why you should.

Coconut oil has lauric acid, caprylic acid, capric acid.  These acids give it antimicrobial, antifungal, antibacterial and antioxidant abilities.  It is mostly saturated fat, 92% with a small percentage being mono unsaturated and poly unsaturated.  Coconut oil is a healthy fat.

Some of the benefits that are attributed to coconut oil include (but not limited to):

  • Weight loss
  • Heart disease
  • Immunity
  • Healing and infections
  • Digestion
  • Candida
  • Kidney stones
  • Liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Bone loss
  • Tooth decay
  • Alzheimers
  • Hormone regulation

“Coconut oil has fewer calories than any other fat source. Unlike the high-calorie, cholesterol-soaked, long-chain, saturated animal fats found in meat and dairy products, coconut cream and coconut oil are made of raw saturated fats containing mostly medium-chain fatty acids that the body can metabolize efficiently and convert to energy quickly.”(Wolfe, 2009)

Coconut oil also helps to regulate blood sugar.  It is one fat that diabetics can eat without fear.

I’d like to share a funny story about coconut oil and weight loss is from the 1940′s. Coconut oil was used by some farmers to help fatten up their cows however; the opposite happened the cows actually became leaner.

Coconut oil is useful for bone and dental health because it improves calcium and magnesium absorption. This is good for dental health.  It is especially beneficial to women who are at the age to develop osteoporosis.

When you go to order or purchase your coconut oil this is what you should look for:
organic-raw-extra virgin-cold pressed.

There is also coconut water, shredded coconut and coconut butter!

One of my all-time favorite ways to use coconut oil is in oil pulling.  Have you tried it?  It’s amazing!!!

HOW TO DO OIL PULLING:

Put 1-2 teaspoons of organic coconut oil into the mouth

Swish for 5-20 minutes

Spit oil into the trashcan

Rinse well with warm sea salt water to release all the bacteria and toxicity in your 
mouth

Brush your teeth

Add coconut oil to your household, you will not be sorry!

 

 

Fat – The Whole Truth… Or At Least a Lot of Opinions

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Fat

In the book, Engine2 Engine, written by Rip Esselstyn, his assertion that we should avoid all fats, good or bad, because they have so many calories can get a little confusing.

Everything I have read about having a higher metabolism, balanced diet, good skin and antioxidants is that we need that good fat.

Dr. Hyman says…

“We should obtain the bulk of our antioxidants from food – namely whole, real, unprocessed plant foods. And we should take antioxidants as a team, not individually.

Whew! That’s a lot of biochemistry and physiology, and I really would go into so much detail if it weren’t so important.”

So here’s what to do to protect your mitochondria and prevent rusting.

  • Eat less processed, junk food, sugar and empty calories. In fact you should really avoid them altogether.
  • Detoxify – get rid of environmental and internal toxins
  • Address inflammation
  • Balance your hormones

Here are things to boost and protect your mitochondria:

  • Exercise – interval training increases the efficiency and function of the mitochondria, and strength training increases the amount of muscle and number of mitochondria
  • Eat whole real, colorful plant food – 8-12 servings of fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains every day full of antioxidants and phytonutrients
  • Take mitochondria protective and energy boosting nutrients such as acetyl-L-carnitine, alpha lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, n-acetyl-cysteine, NADH, D-ribose, resveratrol, magnesium aspartate
  • Increase omega 3 fats to help build your mitochondrial membranes

Brendan Brazier says…

How important are fats, what forms should you be consuming and in what quantities? It wasn’t long ago when then medical community was advocating the avoidance of all fat, even in the form of nuts or an avocado. Long gone are the days of neglect and dismissal when it comes to fat. We have made great progress drawing more clear lines between raw plant based sources that are good for you, even anti-aging, and those that are harmful such as cooked, animal based, and processed saturated and trans fats.

Bad Fat

A deficiency of healthy fat runs prevalent throughout the modern day North American diet with the majority of people consuming too many of the detrimental bad fats including saturated fats in meat and dairy, and processed polyunsaturated fats or hydrogenated trans-fat from cooking oil and margarine used in processed foods. Consuming too many of these and not enough of the good fats contribute to stroke, heart attack, chronic inflammation, cognitive impairment, allergy, auto immune diseases and ultimately premature death.

Many of the oils we think are doing our bodies well are in fact causing further damage. The processing of oil can be the difference between good and bad. Some extraction methods for cheaper oils involve high heat, which can actually cause the oil to convert to trans fat. Other extraction methods use chemical solvents to separate the oil, usually done with low-grade oils.

Good Fat

The health benefits of consuming a sufficient amount of fat in the right forms and proper proportions has been shown to be immensely important in an endless number of areas impacting the state of body and mind. Among other things, it can strengthen the immune system, enhance brain and nervous system function such as mood, intelligence and behavior, greatly reduce cardiovascular disease, increase energy and performance, grow healthy skin, hair, and nails, regulate body weight, and improve organ and gland function.

Essential Fatty Acids

Omega-3 and Omega-6 are the two essential fatty acids (EFAs), “essential” meaning that the body cannot produce them — they must be ingested, by eating foods rich in EFA. EFAs are a type of fat known as long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and an important dietary component of overall health. Lending support to the healthy function of the cardiovascular, immune, and nervous systems, they also play an integral role in promoting cell health. Repair and regeneration of the cellular membrane is vital for keeping the body biologically young and enabling it to retain mobility and vitality throughout life. Contributing to our cells’ ability to receive nutrition and eliminate waste, EFAs help keep the cellular regeneration process moving. Our body’s ability to fight off infection and reduce inflammation is in part dependent on having an adequate supply of EFAs in the diet. In fact, healthy and efficient brain development in children has been linked to a diet rich in EFAs.

In addition, a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 EFAs are vital for skin health. Dry skin is commonly treated topically with a moisturizer, leaving the cause of the problem unaddressed. A diet with adequate EFAs will keep skin looking and feeling supple.

The present day American diet contains an excess of omega-6 by10 to 25 times with almost no omega-3. This imbalance among other things has been shown to contribute to stroke, heart attack, chronic inflammation, cognitive impairment, allergy and autoimmune diseases. Excellent sources of omega-3 to help restore the natural balance are flaxseed and hemp oil as well as walnuts.

GLA

Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is a difficult to attain omega-6 EFA with potent anti-inflammatory properties via production of hormone-like substances called eicosanoids. These help soothe skin, promote healing and regulate water loss. GLA’s anti-inflammatory properties expand blood vessels enabling better blood flow. It is known as an immune booster, cancer fighter, cholesterol reducer, arthritis reliever and supple, beautiful skin. Evening primrose, borage and hemp seed oils are the best sources of GLA.

MCTs

Another healthy yet underrated fat are Medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, found in large amounts in coconut oil. They are unique in that they are a form of saturated fat, yet have many health benefits. Their digestion is near effortless and, unlike other fat, MCTs are utilized in the liver and are easier on the pancreas, liver, and digestive system. Within moments of MCTs being consumed, they are converted by the liver to energy which make it an excellent source of energy during an intense workout or race. It has been shown to promote heart health, a strong immune system, a healthy metabolism, weight loss and youthful skin.

PHYTONUTRIENTS

Healthy fats like raw unprocessed plant based oils also carry hundreds of phytonutrients such as chlorophyll, phytosterols, Carotenoids, Lignans (Phytoestrogens), tocopherols, tocotrienols, Flavonoids (Polyphenols) among others. Flax oil, for instance, when extracted properly can retain high levels of cancer fighting lignans, while hemp oil is rich in many phytonutients, in particular receiving a lot of attention for its high levels of immune boosting, alkalinizing, and cleansing chlorophyll.

Antioxidants

Plant based oils can also be a great source of antioxidants. Chlorophyll found in hemp oil has antioxidant like properties while berry seed oils are packed with antioxidants in a highly concentrated form. Raspberry, cranberry, and pomegranate seed oils are among the best. They can be hard to find in stores and are expensive, but they will deliver an extra dimension to a high-quality oil blend. A mixture containing all these oils is the ultimate essential fatty acid and antioxidant combination.

What to Look For:

A good fat should generally come from an organically grown plant based source with minimal processing to preserve their “raw”, nutrient rich state. Look for oils that are cold-pressed and have not undergone a distillation or purification process. Also try to avoid those that are exposed to heat and light as they can result in oxidation.

Hemp oil is a great base for salad dressings, sauces, shakes and many other recipes that do not require cooking at high heat. This is because hemp offers exceptional flavor and nutrition. Using only hemp oil as your primary oil source is a good way to go; however, a blend of about 80 percent hemp oil, 10 percent flaxseed oil, and 10 percent pumpkin seed oil is an optimal balance of essential fatty acids. Fats play a pivotal role in one’s health and longevity.

Hemp seed oil, flax seed oil, antioxidant oil blend (green tea seed oil, pomegranate seed oil, black cumin seed oil, black raspberry seed oil, blueberry seed oil, cranberry seed oil), pumpkin seed oil, coconut oil.

 

Dr Caldwell Esselstyn says…

Oils and Fats

Along with cutting out animal-based foods, this diet recommends eliminating all oils, including olive oil and canola oil. You also need to avoid nuts and avocados since these plant sources contain high amounts of fat. Dr. Esselstyn explains that these oils and fat sources may contribute to high cholesterol levels, which in turn, may increase your cholesterol levels. You do require some amount of fat in your diet, and the diet recommends having 1 tbsp. of flaxseed each day. This provides heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, offering the amount of fat your body needs to function properly.

Dr. Esselstyn is the father of Rip Esselstyn (Forks over Knives and Engine 2 Engine) he is a cardiologist who has had great success with patients eating his plant based diet.  Rip is a firefighter who has adopted and is doing a real good job of promoting his dad’s diet plan. He says; no avocados, nuts, olive oils all the things that we have been told produce health.  I am more confused.  I think that my decision for me will be to limit my healthy fat.  Make sure that I have that tbsp of flaxseeds every day and curtail the rest.  I will have to go back and check some more.  It seems like it is the cardiologists who have the most rigid and controversial diets.  Adkins, Esselstyn and Agatson are three of those Dr’s and they all have different approaches.

 

Karen Davis, Holistic Health Practitioner says…

Trust your gut.  What feels right for you?  Personally, I eat avocados and peanuts butter almost everyday.  I sometimes cook my vegetables in coconut oil and I love to grab a handful of my homemade trail mix (nuts, berries, seeds and dark chocolate) when I need a mid-day snack.  I suggest you try adding in “healthy” fats and removing some of the “unhealthy” fats and see how you feel.  If you don’t feel an improvement, then begin removing the “healthy” fats as well.  Feel any better?

Be well & inspired!

Karen ~ Your Wellness Warrior

http://www.LifeofICoaching.com

Organize Your Kitchen

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This is my favorite room to de-clutter!  This room accumulates things that don’t belong there more than any other room in the house!

The kitchen and food preparation used to be in a separate room, hidden in the back of the home and food was transported to the dining area.  Today the kitchen is often the heart of the house, open to the living room, sunroom, dining room and even play area.  The kitchen is a source of total nourishment.  We gather there, we cook and we eat there.  Regardless of whether your style is ultra-modern or an old country kitchen, they still have the same needs for uncluttered, clean space with adequate lighting and ease of movement.

In the kitchen especially, the food, storage methods and tools all contribute to your health and the health of your home.  I will address health practices in the kitchen in a later blog and today I will discuss organization as it relates to healthy living.  If you are wealthy, you have a staff who can keep your kitchen organized.  Many of us need fundamental and automatic organization because we do our own cooking and serving.  An organized kitchen can save plenty of time as well.

Furniture that functions well is essential to an organized kitchen.  Cabinets, dresser and armoires can add surface and storage space to a kitchen.  Walk in pantries are wonderful but we don’t always have the space.  This is when those pieces can really come in handy.  The top shelves can hold special ingredients along with measuring cups and food preparation staples.  The bottom can be used for towels and dishcloths, place mats and food wraps.

Tables work for food preparation, casual dining area and storage or display.  If the table has shelves, all the better.  Taller 42 in. tables can be used for a quick breakfast.  Counter stools are handy for the quick breakfasts and also to sit while you chop vegetables and fruits.  Step stools, especially cute and original ones like a library ladder or a vintage look are always nice in a kitchen.  Folding chairs can be stored in a nearby closet, pantry or hallway by hanging them on the wall and offer additional emergency seating.

To de-clutter your kitchen begin by following these steps:

  • Clear your counters
  • Leave the coffee pot, toaster, canisters and salt and pepper shaker
  • Evaluate everything and if you do not use it daily (like the waffle iron), put it away
  • Mount your television set if you watch it.  Put it in a different room if you do not.
  • Find a cubby hole for mail and school papers and establish a weekly ritual to sort and disburse.
  • Make sure you wash your dishes immediately after eating, run your dishwasher nightly.  Empty your dishwasher first thing in the morning before dirty dishes can stack up.
  • Designate containers.  Cooking utensils, fruits and vegetables all can be placed in baskets and stored on the shelves of an island or bakers rack that is open and can easily be seen.
  • Clean as you go while cooking.
  • Place several garbage bags at the bottom of the can so you don’t have to search when you empty the garbage.
  • Rotate your dishes so you don’t use the same dishes over and over.
  • Write the purchase date on your herbs and spices.
  • Hanging cookware on the wall can be attractive and save time.
  • Have twin trash cans for easy recycling.
  • Add a bookcase to the kitchen for your favorite cookbooks.
  • Place a magazine rack near the kitchen table for breakfast reading and establish a ritualized time to empty it out.
  • Fruit stands and cake stands are handy for storing fruit decoratively.
  • Hang some of your collections on the wall.  Cookie cutters, platters and cups all double as display.

Don’t just throw things on top of your refrigerator, it is okay to put things there, but plan it so it looks nice, like baskets, flowers, boxes, something that looks nice besides a hodge podge of whatever you need to get off the table tops.

Convert a kitchen closet into a pantry.  If the kitchen is small, put a glazed glass door on to open up the space.  Other options for the door are screen or to paint a door with chalkboard paint and leave notes or allow children to create art for you there.

Your pantry should have good lighting.  Under cabinet lighting works nicely in a pantry. Use the pantry floor for storage space too.  Basket, paper towels, jars and water bottles can utilize this space that is often ignored.

There are so many clever ways to add organization and storage to a kitchen.  You are almost always rewarded with time saved and frustration avoided when you know where to find something and everything is in its place!

I’d love to hear your results after you get cleaning and organizing!

Be Well!

~Karen , Your Wellness Warrior

Big Bonus Time!

While you are in the kitchen…

Get rid of processed foods!  Yes, you heard me…everything with a label on it! This will get the most harmful clutter from your kitchen.

My ideal kitchen would be without a microwave, bpa’s, gmo’s and anything processed! 

 

Now, go take a look at your kitchen!  What can you throw in the dumpster to make your kitchen work for you?

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