2018: MAKE COMMITMENTS NOT RESOLUTIONS!
Decide to make this your year; commit to a lifelong healthy lifestyle! Here are some tips to help with your commitment:
1/ I will do something active every day.
2/ I will ALWAYS eat a healthy breakfast (or drink a shake).
3/ I will plan ahead and be organized for my meals.
4/ I will keep my food group intake balanced; always eating lean, healthy proteins and vegetables at my meals.
5/ I will not drink more than 2 caffeinated beverages per day. I WILL NOT DRINK POP.
6/ I will take vitamin D and omega 3 daily.
7/ I will drink at least 1 litre of pure water daily.
8/ I will maintain a positive attitude. If I falter I will balance it out and proceed healthfully.
9/ I will not consume sugar laden foods or empty calories.
10/ I will smile more, laugh more, and help others whenever if possible.
The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, cholesterol level maintenance, weight loss, boosted immune system, proper digestion and regulated metabolism. It also provides relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV, and cancer, while helping to improve dental quality and bone strength. These benefits of this oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and their respective properties, such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, antibacterial and soothing qualities.
Coconut oil is used extensively in tropical countries especially India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Philippines etc., which have a good production of coconut oil. At one time, the oil was also popular in western countries like the United States and Canada, but there was a strong propaganda campaign in the 1970s spread by the corn oil and soy oil industry against coconut oil. Coconut oil was considered harmful for the human body due to its high saturated fat content until the last decade (2000s) when people began to question the claims of the propaganda. Next, let’s look into some more details of how coconut oil works in our body.
How is lauric acid used by our body?
The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which is supposedly helpful in dealing with viruses and bacteria that cause diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. It also helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and helicobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
As a result of these various health benefits of coconut oil, although its exact mechanism of action was unknown, it has been extensively used in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicinal system. The Coconut Research Center has compiled a list of potential benefits of coconut oil in both traditional and modern medicine.
Before we move on to the benefits of coconut oil in detail, we should first understand its composition.
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
Hair care: Coconut oil is one of the best natural nutrients for your hair. It helps in healthy growth of hair and gives your hair a shiny quality. It is also highly effective in reducing protein loss which can lead to various unattractive or unhealthy qualities in your hair.
Coconut oil is extensively used in the Indian sub-continent for hair care. Most of the people in those countries apply coconut oil on their hair every day after bathing or showering. It is an excellent conditioner and helps the re-growth process of damaged hair. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing and healing damaged hair. Research studies indicate that coconut oil provides better protection to hair from damage caused by hygral fatigue.
By regularly massaging your head with coconut oil, you can ensure that your scalp is free of dandruff, even if your scalp is chronically dry. It also helps in keeping your hair and scalp free from lice and lice eggs.
Coconut oil is therefore used as hair care oil and is used in manufacturing various conditioners and dandruff relief creams. Coconut oil is normally applied topically for hair care.
Heart diseases: There is a misconception spread among many people that coconut oil is not good for heart health. This is because it contains a large quantity of saturated fats. In reality, coconut oil is beneficial for the heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in actively preventing various heart problems like high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The saturated fats present in coconut oil are not harmful as you commonly find in vegetable oils. Coconut oil does not lead to increase in LDL levels, and it reduces the incidence of injury and damage to arteries and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis.
Skin care: Coconut oil is an excellent massage oil for the skin as well. It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skin, including dry skin. The benefit of coconut oil on the skin is comparable to that of mineral oil. Fortunately, unlike mineral oil, there is no chance of having any adverse side effects on the skin from the application of coconut oil. Coconut oil therefore is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. It also delays the appearance of wrinkles and sagging of skin which normally accompany aging. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections. For that exact reason, coconut oil forms the base ingredient of various body care products like soaps, lotions, and creams that are used for skin care. Coconut oil also helps in preventing premature aging and degenerative diseases due to its well-known antioxidant properties.
Coconut oil is very useful for weight loss. It contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. It is also easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and endocrine system. Further, it increases the body’s metabolic rate by removing stress on the pancreas, thereby burning more energy and helping obese and overweight people lose the weight. Hence, people living in tropical coastal areas, who use coconut oil every day as their primary cooking oil, are normally not fat, obese or overweight.
Coconut oil is also good for the immune system. It strengthens the immune system because it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which research has supported as an effective way to deal with viruses and bacteria that cause diseases like herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. Coconut oil helps in fighting harmful bacteria like listeria monocytogenes and helicobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
Internal functions of coconut oil occur primarily due to it being used as cooking oil. Coconut oil helps to improve the digestive system and thus prevents various stomach and digestion-related problems including Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have antimicrobial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can cause indigestion. Coconut oil also helps in the absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Coconut has been shown to prevent and even cure candida. It provides relief from the inflammation caused by candida, both externally and internally. Its high moisture retaining capacity keeps the skin from cracking or peeling off. Further, unlike other pharmaceutical treatments for candida, the effects of coconut oil is gradual and not drastic or sudden, which gives the patient an appropriate amount of time to get used to the withdrawal symptoms or Herxheimer Reactions (the name given to the symptoms accompanying body’s rejection of toxins generated during elimination of these fungi). But, in the treatment of this condition, people should systematically and gradually increase their dosages of coconut oil and shouldn’t initially start with a large quantity.
Healing and infections
When applied to infected areas, coconut oil forms a chemical layer that protects the infected body part from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria and viruses. Coconut oil is highly effective on bruises because it speeds up the healing process of damaged tissues.
Infections: Coconut oil is very effective against a variety of infections due to its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil kills the viruses that cause influenza, measles, hepatitis, herpes, SARS, and other serious health risks. It also kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and gonorrhoea. Finally, coconut oil is also effective in the elimination of fungi and yeast that cause ringworm,athlete’s foot, thrush, and diaper rash.
Coconut oil is strongly recommended for a number of other benefits that are explained below. Using coconut oils has been shown to mildly help the following:
Liver: The presence of medium chain triglycerides and fatty acids helps in preventing liver diseases because those substances are easily converted into energy when they reach the liver, thus reducing the work load of the liver and also preventing accumulation of fat.
Kidney: Coconut oil helps in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases. It also helps to dissolve kidney stones.
Pancreatitis: Coconut oil is also believed to be useful in treating pancreatitis.
Stress relief: Coconut oil is very soothing and hence it helps in removing stress. Applying coconut oil to the head, followed by a gentle massage, helps to eliminate mental fatigue.
Diabetes: Coconut oil helps in controlling blood sugar, and improves the secretion of insulin. It also promotes the effective utilization of blood glucose, thereby preventing and treating diabetes.
Bones: As mentioned earlier, coconut oil improves the ability of our body to absorb important minerals. These include calciumand magnesium which are necessary for the development of bones. Thus, coconut oil is very useful to women who are prone to osteoporosis after middle age.
HIV and cancer: It is believed that coconut oil plays an instrumental role in reducing a person’s viral susceptibility for HIV andcancer patients. Preliminary research has shown an indication of this effect of coconut oil on reducing the viral load of HIV patients (Reference).
Coconut oil and Alzheimer’s disease: The research conducted by Dr. Newport states that coconut oil is useful in treating Alzheimer’s disease. Apart from this there is no scientific evidence or traditional knowledge of coconut oil being used for treating Alzheimer’s. In fact, it is not traditionally thought that coconut oil helps in boosting the function of the brain in any form.
Why is coconut oil solid?: Unlike most other oils, coconut oil has a high melting point – about 24 to 25 degrees Celsius or 76-78 Fahrenheit. Therefore it is solid at room temperature and melts only when the temperature rises considerably. Hence, if you buy a bottle of coconut oil and find it solid, don’t immediately assume that there is some problem with it. Coconut oil is often in this form, and obviously, don’t keep it in your refrigerator.
How to use coconut oil?: If you are using coconut oil for topical purposes, especially hair care, just melt the oil (if it is solid) by keeping the bottle in the sun or soaking it in warm water. You can also take some coconut oil out and put it in a small bowl and heat the bowl over a flame (don’t use a microwave). Then, take the oil on your palm and apply it to your hair. If you want to use it for internal consumption, simply replace butter or vegetable oils with coconut oil in your recipes. Remember, you don’t need to completely switch to coconut oil, because then you will lose the other benefits of more traditional oils and dairy products.
Can I use coconut oil for cooking?: Yes, in most of the tropical coastal regions, people use coconut oil for cooking.
Varieties of Coconut Oil
There are primarily 6 varieties of coconut oil that you will find on the market. These are pure coconut oil, refined coconut oil, organic coconut oil, virgin coconut oil, organic virgin coconut oil and extra virgin coconut oil.
Pure Coconut Oil: This oil is our most well-known old friend. It is extracted from dried coconut kernels, which are also called copra. It is crude, unrefined and without any additives. It is mainly extracted by compression of copra in a mill, either driven by bullocks or by power. However, the variety extracted by bullock driven oil mills is preferred. Pure coconut oil has multiple uses such as edible oil, massaging oil, hair oil, cosmetic usage, as well as medicinal and industrial use.
Refined Coconut Oil: This is sometimes also called the RBD coconut oil, which is an abbreviated form for refined, bleached & deodorized coconut oil. As the name suggests, this type is obtained by mechanically and chemically refining, bleaching and deodorizing the crude coconut oil, to make it thin, colorless, odorless and without any type of particle (such as proteins) suspended in it. What we then get is only pure saturated fats.
Virgin Coconut Oil: Virgin coconut oil is derived from the milk obtained from fresh coconut meat, and not from copra, by processes like fermentation, centrifugal separation and enzyme action. Care is taken to use no or as little heat as possible in the extraction of this oil. Produced in this way, the oil tastes and smells the best and is laden with antioxidants and medium chain fatty acids. It also has remarkable anti-microbial properties. This is one of the most respected and trusted varieties of coconut oil.
Organic Coconut Oil: The coconut oil that has been extracted from coconuts obtained from coconut palms raised only on organic manure and no synthetic fertilizers or insecticides. The production of organic coconut oil is also completed without involving any chemical in its extraction or processing. This is another well-respected variety of coconut oil. Organic coconut oil forms an integral part of a number of organic cosmetic products such as organic soaps, organic skin creams and lotions, organic snacks and thousands of other similar products. Organic Virgin Coconut Oil: This type of oil is basically virgin coconut oil produced from the organic coconuts, in an organic way. This is perhaps the best and purest form of coconut oil one can imagine, but it is rare.
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil: Among all the varieties of coconut oil, this is the most challenged and controversial variety, as its very existence is doubtful and the name hardly makes any sense. Furthermore, there are no set standards for virginity of coconut oil. Moreover, reputed firms and governmental bodies are still hesitant to say anything on the matter, nor are they selling it. Basically, further research is definitely required.
The properties of coconut oil do not differ much with their varieties and remain more or less the same. So, think well and make a wise decision before you decide to purchase one of the varieties.
Buying Coconut Oil
First of all, you need to decide why you need coconut oil and where you are going to use it. Your choice should be based on your need, like whether you want it for edible purposes or as a carrier oil to be used in aromatherapy, for massaging, for weight loss, or for medicinal purposes. As mentioned earlier, there are different varieties for different purposes. Their properties do not differ much, unless they are mixed with some base or additives that do not contain 100% coconut oil. Below is a list of such purposes and the type of coconut oil to buy.
Purpose————–Preferable Type to Buy
Cooking————–Refined Coconut Oil
Weight Loss———Virgin Coconut Oil ( I use this type for everything, including cooking)
As a Carrier Oil—–Virgin Coconut Oil, Fractionated Coconut Oil
Good Health———Virgin Coconut Oil, Organic Coconut Oil
Massaging———–Pure Coconut Oil, Refined Coconut Oil
Hair——————–Pure Coconut Oil, Refined Coconut Oil
Medicinal uses—–Virgin Coconut Oil, Virgin Organic Coconut Oil
Furthermore, before you buy coconut oil, you should keep in mind that for edible and therapeutic uses, refined coconut oil is the best as it is hygienic and clean. Unrefined coconut oil is good for external applications like hair care and skin care.
(Recipe for 2 servings)
|Haddock, cod or hake, raw||16 ounces|
|flour, sprouted||1/3 cup|
|Salt, table||1/2 tsp|
|Oil, olive||1 tbsp|
|Bouillon, chicken||3/4 cup|
Mix flour and salt. Rinse fish in water and pat dry with paper towel. Dredge fish in flour mixture.
Heat oil in skillet. Brown fish bout 2 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
Add chicken broth, lemon juice and 1/4 c capers to skillet, scraping any brown bits from pan and stirring them in.
Simmer to reduce sauce to almost half.
Place fish back into pan and simmer about 3-4 minutes.
When you consider the 5,000 additives actually added to food along with the additional 5,000 that leech into food from packaging, we are regularly exposed to 10,000 food additives in the US—the bulk of which have never undergone any safety testing. And, almost none have been tested for the way in which they impact the body in combination. Given these factors, it is difficult to choose the 12 worst food additives to avoid, but here are my selections:
Since the medical journal the Lancet first published a study on the effects of artificial colors being linked to hyperactivity, groups like the Center for Science in the Public Interest—a consumer advocacy group—has called for a ban on the use of artificial dyes in food. Yellow 5 or tartrazine, is derived from coal tar, and blue dye number 1 and 2 have been linked with cancer in animal tests, while red dye number 3 causes thyroid tumors in rats. Green dye number 3 is linked to bladder cancer, and yellow dye number 6 is linked to tumors of the kidneys and adrenal glands. Check out my blog “The Dark Side of Food Colors.”
Not only has aspartame been linked to headaches, according to Lynne Melcome, author of Health Hazards of White Sugar, aspartame’s effects can be mistaken for Alzheimer’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, epilepsy, Epstein-Barr virus, Huntington’s chorea, hypothyroidism, Lou Gehrig’s disease, lyme disease, Meniere’s disease, multiple sclerosis, post-polio syndrome and sensitivity to mercury amalgam fillings. Aspartame is now known as Neotame or NeoTame. It is considered a cancer-causing ingredient that is added to many foods, particularly diet foods. It has also been linked to premature puberty in girls and blood sugar imbalances that lead to obesity.
BHA is an artificial flavor. It stands for butylated hydroxyanisole and is a suspected carcinogen and hormone disruptor.
According to research at the Georgia State University Institute for Biomedical Sciences, this emulsifier alters microbes in the gut, which contributes to the risk for colorectal cancer. Dr. Viennois, head of the study identified that a key feature in colorectal cancer is the presence of altered intestinal microbes that create conditions for the tumors to develop.
Bottom of Form
HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP
While it is difficult to pin our overweight and obesity problem on just one food additive, high fructose corn syrup would be it. That’s because HFCS has been linked a wide variety of serious health concerns, many of which are linked to weight gain, including: diabetes, fatty liver disease, reproductive disorders, cancer, obesity, cellular energy depletion (adequate cellular energy is essential to all bodily functions), chronic inflammation, learning impairment and high blood pressure and heart disease. Check out my blog “9 Reasons to Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup like the Plague.”
MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE (MSG)
This chemical is a well-established neurotoxin, meaning that it is damaging to the brain and nervous system. Most fast food companies simply list “Spices” in their ingredients as they are not required by law to actually list this harmful ingredient outright. As a result, there is no way of knowing which companies use MSG or not based on their ingredient lists. Because the ingredient is so ubiquitous it is highly likely that most fast food burgers contain MSG. Monosodium glutamate is frequently used in laboratories to create obese animals for testing. Here are two examples of this practice. Additionally, research links MSG consumption to initiating or aggravating fibromyalgia symptoms.
NITRITES AND NITRATES
The World Health Organization classified bacon and other processed meats as “Group 1” carcinogens, along with cigarette smoking and asbestos. Group 1 carcinogens are those that have what the WHO describes as “sufficient evidence” on humans that the consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer. The common link between bacon and processed meats are the presence of the preservatives known as nitrites and nitrates.
It sounds like a harmless mineral, but don’t be fooled: this ingredient is added to most of the commercially-prepared baked goods and breads, including many “freshly-baked” breads available in grocery stores and some bakeries. It has been linked to cancer in animal studies.
Potassium sorbate has been shown in human studies to be both genotoxic and mutagenic, meaning that it damages our genetic material which can lead to genetic mutations that are linked with disease. It is also a suspected carcinogen.
These nanoparticles are associated in animal studies with brain cell death and brain inflammation and have been shown to, not only gain access to the brain, but to deposit themselves in the frontal cortex of the brain. It has been linked to liver damage when used in medications.
The Lancet also found that a commonly-used preservative, sodium benzoate, is linked to hyperactivity in children, suggesting the chemical has neurological effects. Sodium benzoate is known to form benzene in the body in the presence of vitamin C. Benzene has been linked to leukemia.
TBHQ is a petroleum-based, butane-like (yes, that’s lighter fluid!) ingredient used as a preservative in vegetable oil used for frying. I think it goes without saying that maybe we shouldn’t be eating lighter-fluid-like chemicals.
Keep in mind that there are many other chemicals to avoid but these are my top picks for the dirty dozen to avoid at all costs.
Keep your eating as clean as possible to avoid an over worked liver and immune system. You will lose weight more efficiently, and be healthier overall. Another reason to buy local and eat clean unprocessed foods!
Check out the “exercise and stretching” page to find great You Tube 5-20 minute workouts. Try to alternate body parts at least 4 x per week. Whether you do 5 or 20 minutes, you are doing SOMETHING!!
Planning meals is crucial to healthy eating. It does not have to be a multi ingredient recipe or anything high maintenance.
No matter how easy the meal, it must be thought of in advance; you need to take something out of the freezer, and also need to be sure you have the starch and veg to go with it. NEVER plan a meal without vegetables. They are the easy part. You can always keep frozen green beans or California mix stocked. Fresh broccoli is quick and easy. Carrots and turnip last weeks in the fridge.
Slowcookers are must for the busy working mother. Get it all ready the evening before and plug it in in the morning. Always use the low setting if it’s going to be on for 8 hours, or it will be overcooked.
A take out night or two is ok! Make it a cooked roast chicken with baked potato and a garden salad, or a low fat Sub or wrap.
Below are some easy ideas for meals:
Roast a chicken or turkey on the weekend; you will have leftovers for lunches and possibly Monday night supper if you start with a large enough bird/roast.
Pita or flatbread pizzas. Protein will be cheese and chicken or burger.
BBQ’d burgers on silver hills buns with salad or coleslaw/broccoli slaw or salad.
Simple bbq’d or broiled cuts of meat with veg and baked potato.
Shrimp or scallop stir fry with arctic garden stir fry frozen veg. (of course you can use chicken or meat, but the fish can be thrown in from frozen if you haven’t taken anything out of the freezer in advance)
FISH like haddock is so quick and easy, always have some in your freezer.
Tacos/fajitas…leftover or precooked breasts, sliced peppers, onions etc and salsa and a bit of grated cheese and low fat sour cream! Add a salad or some slaw!
Recipes; there are many, if you have planned properly you will have ingredients to at least 2 for the week (chicken pot pie, sheppards pie…)
Slow Cooker: recipes such as cabbage roll casserole or lasagna to name just a couple. OR, just cook your meat, and do the veg and starch when you get home.
Keep in mind that it doesn’t need to be complicated or fancy. Can be basic and easy. Just PLAN IT!!