Sunday, November 17, 2013

Coconut Oil

Pat Summit is someone I greatly admire. She is the former ladies’ basketball coach for the University of Tennessee. However, more importantly, and the greatest reason I find her admirable is because she is a fighter. After, being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s she wanted, with assistance, to continue to do what she loved to do--coach basketball. She shortly after she did feel that it was probably best for the program if she did retire. Although Coach Summit was and is able to carry on normally with her life, Alzheimer’s can prevent people from doing normal activities. Steve Newport is an example of this. In 2011, doctors asked Steve Newport to draw a clock. The drawing on the page ended up looking like anything an average toddler would draw. There were a few circles, but the rest looked like chicken scratch. One doctor pulled his wife aside and told her that her husband was on the verge of severe Alzheimer’s. She was devastated by the news and wanted to help her husband in any and every possible way. 2 weeks later he was asked to draw the clock again. The doctors were stunned. He drew a large circle and put numbers inside the circle. Although it was crooked and he still had a ways to go, they were surprised by his fast and great improvement. Twenty-three days later the doctors gave him the clock test again. It was still slightly lopsided and it wasn’t in perfect proportion, but it was clearly a clock. The doctors were amazed. His wife was pleased with the results because she had been adding coconut oil to his diet to see if it helped his
It is believed that coconut oil slowed and even reversed Alzheimer’s in Steve Newport’s life.

In the health realm Coconut oil has become a more recent craze. It has been classified as a “super-food” because of its numerous health benefits. However, it’s been around since coconuts existed. It’s made by squeezing coconut milk from the coconut meat of a coconut. As the milk is drained and sits, it begins to settle. The liquid is coconut milk and the solid at the bottom is coconut oil. Adam and Eve had the means and could have made coconut oil in the Garden of Eden. It is all natural, so it is a great choice for those with dietary restrictions. It’s simple to cook with. It can be substituted for butter and other oils in most recipes and it is able to cook in high temperatures, unlike Olive Oil which oxidizes. If you went to a supermarket and bought a jar of coconut oil, you would notice that it’s solid on top. However, it becomes liquid at seventy-two degrees Fahrenheit. It contains anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial acids, so it aids in reducing inflammation and killing harmful small organisms in our body. It also contains Vitamin E& K. Vitamin E is great for our bodies because it is an antioxidant and helps protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are compounds that form in our bodies when our food is becoming energy. People are also exposed to free radicals in the environment. Vitamin K is also very good for our bodies because it helps regulate normal blood clotting and is good for getting nutrients to our bones.

These are three of the many reasons I find coconut oil to be the best oil that is out there today
First it is good for our skin and hair. It’s good for our skin as a moisturizer. Some people even use it as an overnight face masque because they see it help their skin’s appearance. It can also be used as an all natural sunscreen because it can protect our skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. For hair, it can help moisturize it and help repair damaged ends. It can restore our hair of nutrients it may be lacking. Some people use it as a hair masque before they wash their hair. Others wash their hair with coconut oil and then use shampoo as normal. It has anti bacterial elements so it can be used on cuts and scrapes too. For a moment, think about what we apply to our skin. It ultimately is absorbed and goes into our bodies. When we use coconut oil, its positive effects also go into our bodies. Coconut oil is healthy for our skin, but it can also improve our overall health.

Coconut oil also has many health benefits. Earlier I mentioned that it has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial uses and contains Vitamin K and Vitamin E. However, like I Mentioned earlier, doctors have done research and believe it can reverse Alzheimer’s and stop it from becoming more severe. It is antifungal and antibacterial. Because of this it can help our body get rid of bacteria, pesticides and other harmful organisms. These harmful organisms usually result in indigestion. It helps fight off these harmful diseases. It also helps in letting our bodies absorb great nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and it boosts our immune systems. Another benefit of coconut oil is it increases LDL (the good cholesterol). 
Probably the greatest health benefit though, is the effects it has on the brain. Ketones are made of a carbonyl group and two carbon atoms. In other words, they are healthy fats.  Ketones are found in coconut oil and studies show that ketones can help our brains work better. Doctors prescribe diets that are high in fat, low in carbohydrates and low in protein for patients with seizures because their brains tend to function better. Although the brain does need glucose to work, it also needs ketones. Studies show that ketones help our genes that encode energy metabolism and enzymes. It also increases the amount of mitochondria in the area of the brain that is associated with memory. The ketones allow our brains to function in a better state. Coconut oil has many good health benefits for overall body, however the way coconut oil can stimulate the brain is probably the most significant.

The last reason I find coconut oil to be the best oil is because it is a saturated fat. When a fat is saturated it just means each carbon atom is attached to a hydrogen atom. This is what allows coconut oil to be able to sustain such high temperatures. Because each and every available carbon atom is attached to a hydrogen atom, there is so way for it to be spoiled by oxidation.  Fats that are not saturated can be oxidized and then, if consumed, free radicals can cause a multitude of health problems. Our cell membranes are mostly composed of, you guessed it, saturated fats. It’s similar to the need for water. Our bodies are mostly made of water, so it essential that we consume it. In the same way our cells combined make bigger parts of our body. The cell membrane needs saturated fats, so it is very important to get into our bodies.

People may disagree with what I have said so I would like to clear up what I find to be the most common misconceptions people have regarding coconut oil.

First, I said it is a saturated fat, which is healthy for us. However, the health industries marketing and advertising always seem to say that an item has no saturated fat, and saturated fat actually is really good for you. As I stated earlier, when a fat is saturated it just means each carbon atom is attached to a hydrogen atom. Over time, people have begun to mindlessly believe that saturated fats are bad for them. This is because all too often, saturated fats are partners with hydrogenated oil and trans-fats. However these are unstable and their bonds are open so they can cause a multitude of health problems. Our bodies actually store excess carbohydrates in the form of saturated fats and this is how our body wants to function, on saturated fats. Saturated fats free of trans-fats are pure energy. Coconut oil is all natural, so it does not contain hydrogenated oils. It also contains no trans-fat, just saturated fats.

Second others may think that their food will taste exotic and resemble the taste of a coconut. However, it will not. It is actually quite tasteless. Since it is a great source of energy if I am feeling a little tired, I eat a spoonful. It really has no taste. It just feels like an oily consistency in my mouth. In most recipes, it can be used as a substitute for butter and other oils. I use it in a skillet to sauté veggies. Some people especially prefer it in baking, because they feel it makes the goodies taste richer. Coconut oil will not alter the taste of foods.

Last, others may be asking, “Well, what about canola oil or olive oil?” Canola oil first of all is short for “Canadian Oil Low Acid.” It comes from a Canadian plant, rapeseed which has had to be genetically modified over the year because it can cause many problems. Anything genetically modified has been injected with chemicals that rob the plant of nutrients. The plant is then not able to give our body all of the essential nutrients. It would be like telling a girl who has taken dance class for thirteen years to quit because she is slightly less advanced than a few others in the class. This is ridiculous. Why should she have to quit and why would we allow things, in this specific case canola oil, which have low nutrients into our bodies? Canola oil is also very processed and oxidized. By the time it hits supermarket shelves, there is no nutritional content in that bottle. Olive oil is a better choice and it does have many benefits similar to some found in coconut oil. However in 1 tablespoon it only has about one sixth the amount of saturated fats that coconut oil has in a tablespoon. Olive oil also does not have the same brain beneficial side effects that coconut oil. I am not trying to say that coconut oil is bad. I am simply trying to say that coconut oil is the best choice.

Next time you are at the store think about grabbing the coconut oil. Ditch the unhealthy oils and ...Live Healthy! Be Happy!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Juicy Days

Juice Cleanses seem to be increasingly popular these days. After a friend mentioned the topic to me, I did some research and planned to do one; so, I am writing a post about juice cleanses and my experience.

Juice Cleanses are seen by many people as an excellent way to lose weight. It may indeed cause people to lose weight; however, it should be seen as a "reset button." What I mean is that a juice cleanse should be seen as a detox, instead of an efficient way to lose weight. During a Juice Cleanse, an individual drinks fresh juices. These can either be found at a store made specifically for a juice cleanse or one might choose to make the juices with fruits and veggies in a juicer(not a blender). Since the person is drinking juice and not consuming fibers, the body pushes everything else out of the system quickly. The body is able to more easily retain vitamins, minerals and nutrients and leaves the body feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. Juice cleanses can last anywhere from 2-60 days.

When I decided to do a juice cleanse, I did it when i had a few "dead(er) days." I had just gotten home from a month of traveling. While I was traveling, everything I ate was actually pretty yummy. However, everything also was being cooked in bulk. That makes me nervous about what exactly was in my food. At the end of this adventure, I had three days where I saw a juice cleanse would be perfect. I only did one for three days because I was still a little skeptical of the entire idea. I juiced veggies in a juicer. For my three days, all my fruits and veggies cost less than $20. (If you have trouble finding good prices, Find your local farmer's market and GO! They usually have excellent prices.) The first day I was not hungry until I smelled BBQ. I hate pork, but my stomach started growling as I smelled it in the hallways of the office building. I drank a juice for breakfast, and then while I watched everyone eat their BBQ, I drank another juice. For dinner I had another juice.  If I wanted to continually sip on a juice, just as a snack, I would add water to them and make them last longer. So I drank juices. I would save the pulp because I felt guilty throwing it out. (I have made pulp muffins for breakfast recently. If you have a sweet tooth, top them with all natural honey and you are set.) It was also very important to stay hydrated so I drank lots of water, coconut water and organic herbal teas. During a juice cleanse a person should not have caffeine, so I gave it up. That was huge for me. I definitely think the second day was the hardest day. I woke up with no energy. I should have added lemon to a juice and ginger to more juices so my metabolism got going. I learned my lesson the hard way.

One of my favorite recipes was beets and grapes.  Beets and grapes sound weird together, but let me tell you that was one of the best juices I had. My other favorite was an apple, lemon and orange. I found recipes online and then I would tweak them, depending on what I had.

The first day after my juice cleanse, I took it easy on foods. My body had stopped taking in as many calories as it was used to so my diet was mainly fruits and veggies. After just having a grapefruit for breakfast, I felt satisfied and energized. I think one thing I learned after the juice cleanse was portion control. I hear this all the time from nutritionists and now I see it playing in my own eating habits. You don't have to finish that meal. Throw it out or throw it in a Tupperware, refrigerate it and pop it in the oven for a few (if it needs it) the next day. Do not even get me started on my microwave rant. That's another post for another day. You should not eat meats for a day or two. So, I stuck to fruits and veggies the first day. the second day I made muffins with the leftover pulp I had. Before my juice cleanse I had had trouble with running a steady pace for more than 8 minutes. A few nights after my cleanse I ran close to 30 minutes at a steady pace and I think the juice cleanse really helped that. I have also not had the need for caffeine in the morning. I have been more energized throughout my days. There have been times I have actually craved juices, instead of food.

A question I have been asked a lot is:Did you lose weight? The answer is: I am not sure, and I really do not care. Someone, not knowing I had done the juice cleanse asked if I had lost weight. I told them about the juice cleanse and said maybe. However, like I said earlier, I wanted to press the "reset button." My main goal was not to lose weight.

Definitely want to do another juice cleanse in the futurer to detox. So thankful for the lessons it taught me.

Live Healthy. Be Happy.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Pigs say oink. Some pigs become pork. What are we doing to our bodies when we decide to eat pork?

Anybody remember the Middle Ages Black Plague? The rats on the ships are thought to have spread it. We are doing something similar when we get our pork imported. China is the largest importer of pigs, and over 100 viruses in the United States have come from dead pig meat (pork) from China. We all know about the huge "swine flu" epidemic that happened a few years ago. Some believe it is from the big, but the evidence does not seem to be concrete. However, there are other diseases to fear if you eat pork.

For a moment, stop and think about what pigs do all day. They roll around in mud, eat mud, eat anything in the mud, and eat what is basically trash by human standards; and we are putting that into our bodies? The human body is not a garbage disposal. The pig's digestive system works in a rather fast and sloppy manner. Unlike many other animals eaten by humans, it takes about 4 hours for a pig to digest his/her food. Pigs also have no amount of sweat glands. Consequently, many of the toxins are left in the tissue that later end up in the bodies of those who consume pork.

Pigs also are carriers of many parasites. Even once the pig is cooked, the parasites may not be killed. The leading disease caused by these parasites is trichinosis. This happens when the larva of a trichinella worm is eaten. The trichinella worm decides the best place to live is in the pigs muscles and can sometimes end up in the human body. This disease and its varying symptoms can last for weeks or even months. There are many other parasites too that can cause harm to the body and an effort should be made to not cause harm to our bodies.

There are many helthy alternatives to pork. However do your research and carefully consider your meat before buying and consuming.

Remember: Live Healthy. Be Happy.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Gluten Is Not Bad..But Watch the Flour.

When you read this title you think, "BREAD!" You now probably want to eat buckets and buckets of bread. After much research, I have found that gluten really is not all that bad for you. The only reason to go gluten free would be if you have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, or if you are very sensitive to it. If that's you, I truly am sorry!
While gluten alone doesn't contain health benefits, many whole grains that have nutritious vitamins and minerals also have gluten. If you remove the gluten, you eliminate the whole grain and then you no longer have the nutritious vitamins and minerals. Studies are showing the vitamins and minerals in these whole grains might indeed help lower your risk for heart disease.
Going gluten free can be risky. There are endless choices of gluten free foods. Not only are they pricy, but they can have negative nutritional benefits. The most common are high calories, high saturated fat and/or high cholesterol.

So gluten is not bad for you. Eating it has indirect health benefits. Now my favorite part is the flour, enriched bleached flour (EBF). At the grocery store it can be found packaged all by itself and in other foods. My heart was broken when I found out it was in almost every kind of roll that come in the tin pan, the ones you heat in the oven and then serve.
When people see the word "enriched" they think:"Oh, hooray! Healthy." Not in this case. Sorry(?)! The flour in this case has been deprived of its original nutrients, and unfortunately what has been added back is toxic. There is iron in this flour, metallic iron that is. You are not supposed to eat that, and the human body is not supposed to be able to digest that properly.
When EBF is consumed, the human body recognizes it as a starch. Therefore, the energy is not absorbed and not able to be used over a long period of time as grains are able to do. Your body reacts to starch in the same way it reacts to sugar. EBF is made up of refined carbohydrates. Refined carbohydrates can contribute to obesity. You  do not need those lying around in the pantry. Carbs should come from natural sources such as fruits and veggies, not what is bad for you.

Some alternatives can be whole wheat flour, almond meal and rye flour,

Learn how to say no to the bad carbs and as always...

Live Healthy. Be Happy.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Santa, Beware the Milk!

The Holidays are upon us. This means in the kitchen there is often something cooking and the entire house smells delightful.

However, when you are baking, often times you use milk. The stuff that comes from a cow. You've been drinking milk since you were born. It's human nature. Now if you are lactose intolerant, HOORAY! Avoid these next words until you see the word soy (or keep reading if you wish). However, if you are constantly by the gallon purchasing pasteurized or unpasteurized cow's milk, read carefully. Most mammals drink milk from their mother. In the same way, cow's milk was made for calves. A calve is usually born at about 100 punds and usually gain up to 700 more pounds. The nutrients in the milk are what calves need for their proper growth. Humans are the only species on the planet that drink milk from another animal. Strange? Yes. So how did this start? According to archaeological finds, this can be traced back as far as the Sumerian civilization. That was about 4,000 years ago. Yet, somehow we do not still mummify humans like the Egyptians did. Go figure. Another minus of cow's milk is the lie that people believe of cow's milk making bones strong.. Yes, the LIE! Cow's milk depletes calcium in the bones. (Gasp. Shocking I know.) Here's the proof: The animal proteins in the milk go into the body and raise the pH level in the body and the blood is more acidic. Then, the bones release calcium because of the acidity and the calcium goes away. A study done at Harvard showed that those who drank cow's milk were more likely to fracture bones than those who did not. If the milk is being depleted from your bones then that leads to osteoporosis, pain and costly prescriptions. So you think to switch to SOY milk. Goodness, NO! Soy is bad for your body. This is a recent proves study that the effects of soy on the brain can cause it to not function properly. Soy can also cause imbalanced hormone levels. Don't me a meanie cat! Rice milk has also been suggested as an alternative to milk, but the calcium level is low. So I recommend almond milk. the brand I buy has the 50% daily serving of calcium in 8 ounces. Almonds are good for the brain and packed full of antioxidants which are amazing for the skin. The other plus of almond milk is you can cook with it. You use the same amount called for. You can also make it yourself. However, that can become interestingly difficult. It's a little more expensive but you are saving your bones. it's so worth it. The flavors it comes in are awesome too.

So make the switch and save Santa! Merry Christmas!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Going Green

This is NOT about recycling and reusing. (However, please do be kind to the earth.) This is about another substance that I am currently obsessed with, green tea.

Now there are many different types of tea and I love many kinds of tea, but I am zeroing in on green tea.

The first thing we need to understand is that the studies on green tea are limited. However, studies of people who drink green tea tend to be healthier overall than those who don't. Now probably one important aspect of green tea is that it is considered one of the "negative calorie foods." By "negative calorie food" I mean that it takes more energy to process it than some other foods you would normally eat. Therefore, your body is burning off some calories that are needed to help process the green tea. Another important aspect is that it is packed full of antioxidants, which makes it good for your skin. Antioxidants repair the tissue in your skin and leave you with the skin most people crave, and it's all natural too. Another positive element of green tea is that it is known to reduce the risk of serious issues, such as heart disease and many forms of cancer. These include stomach cancer, esophageal cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer pancreatic cancer, lung cancer and colorectal cancer. However, the last element I issued is where these studies are limited. Also green tea has natural caffeine. It's a great way to start a morning. Now some people take green tea extract. However, in labs, scientists and nutrition specialists are not quite sure what or what combinations of things produce the healthy results. Some people say though that the taste is disgusting. To this of you that this applies to, I encourage you to find a way with NATURAL flavorings and sweeteners (honey is a good one) to find ways to make it healthier for you. Please do not go crazy with the sweeteners though. Keep this treat healthy. When I first started drinking green tea I used sweeteners. However, over time I have been able to reduce the amount of sweetener to none, and I actually enjoy it! This is how I and some friends of mine start our mornings.

Please treat yourself to a cup of green tea. It's worth the results. Live healthy! Be happy!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Sports Love

How do I start my first blog post? Many people do a hello and their current phase of life, career, Alma mater etc. However, I decided for my first blog post I would talk about 1 of my 2 obsessions. I love food. It is one of the most wonderful things on the planet, but today I am gonna talk about sports. That is right! I said sports. I am a girl, and I said sports. Believe it or not, some Saturday mornings consist of waking up and turning on Sports Center, but that is beside the point. 

So anyway, what is my favorite sport? Oh this is hard  (sarcasm). It's definitely football. I love it because it is so unique to America and the game contains so many different varied elements. Now I will talk teams. So my favorite college team would be the Tennessee Volunteers! Coach Derick Dooley had a disappointing season last season, but please cut the guy some slack. A few of his best players were hurt and it's not like he was not trying. He still has nightmares about the final game of the season against the Kentucky Cats. So, I have confidence about Dooley's skills this year (as I always have) and that our team will have an unapologetic, orange and white, well fought season. Looking forward to kickoff and our September 1 game against NC state. 29 days people. 29 days. Now, my favorite NFL team is the Dallas Cowboys. That's how I've grown up cheering for the cowboys on Sundays. Thank you Father. I owe that one to you. 

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying those are the only sports I like. It's London 2012 and the variety of sports I can watch thrills me! However, I also like other non-olympic, multinational sports. Basketball is probably my second favorite. 

Now do I do sports? I run. I'm not on a team but the feeling I get when I'm  running is a great feeling. I love in the winter, stepping out into the chilly outdoors and pouring in sweat by the end of it. It's that feeling of accomplishment and I did it. HIIT is great exercise too, but I'll have to rant and rave about that another time.

So my question to you is are you participating in sports or just sitting on the sidelines? Are you taking action in your health and making it a priority? I believe health is a HUGE concern stressed much, but not enough. If it were stressed more, wouldn't we see change? Wouldn't we see numbers dropping of people dying from illnesses due to their weight? I am not saying skinny is fit Fit is healthy and many health percentages and numbers would change for the better. C'mon people. You can't only eat the right stuff (Although that is important and I'll discuss that too in another post). You must also take a stand and move. Maybe find creative ideas online about different exercises ideas during commercials so you don't have to miss your favorite show.

One excuse many use is the "Oh! It's not important and I don't have time." Saying exercise is not important is sating that you are not important. This is your health and ultimately your life we are talking about.

So take some time for yourself. Treat yourself to a workout and let it be good and full of burning calories!