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Posts Tagged ‘oils’

coconut_oil
Coconut oil has become a staple in my home over that past 7 years. Its health benefits, versatility and flavour far outweigh that of any other healthy fat that I’m aware of. I learned about this amazing oil while living in Nelson years ago and have had a tub in my bathroom and kitchen ever since. To say that I couldn’t live without it may sound extreme, but wait until you hear about all the ways I use it!

There are two main types of coconut oil: expeller pressed, which can be used for anything as it is odorless and tasteless, or virgin that has a coconutty flavour that’s great for cooking, baking and skincare. Always ensure you use food grade for optimal quality.

The main health benefits of coconut oil:
* Anti-inflammatory
* Antimicrobial
* Antifungal
* Antiviral
therefore it helps with…
* Improving nutrient absorption
* Killing candida fungus
* Reversing Alzheimer’s
* Type 1 & 2 diabetes
* Hypothyroidism
* Promoting weight loss
* Strengthening the hair
* Providing athletes with a natural source of energy
* 3.5 Tbsp daily can help enrich a mother’s breast milk

My favourite things to use coconut oil for in the kitchen:
* frying eggs
* drizzling on popcorn
* using in place of butter for greasing baking pans
* replacing butter or other oils in baking recipes
* frying fish or chicken
* spreading on toast to replace butter
* melting and adding to smoothies to give it a creamy, oily texture

My favourite cosmetic uses of coconut oil:
* Skin moisturizer – I use it on my face and body
* As a sun screen – it’s naturally SPF 4!
* Soothing skin after being in the sun or after a scrape or bite
* Massage therapy – I use it on my 5 month old every evening after the bath
* An all natural lubricant – the non-coconut smelling option is best

I hope this list is reason enough to purchase your own tub of coconut oil! And I bet there’s even more ways and uses for this magnificent oil, please share yours in the comments below.

Some information was referenced from the following website: http://healthimpactnews.com/2011/80-uses-for-coconut-oil/

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I was first introduced to quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) 6 years ago while working at the Kootenay Co-op in Nelson, BC. This ancient grain, native to South America, has become a staple in my home ever since. It’s versatility, nutritional value and taste make it the perfect all around superfood. When comparing quinoa to other grains, meats and white rice, here’s how it stacks up:

* great source of protein
* contains all 8 essential amino acids (not the case with any other grain)
* ideal for those who suffer from digestive disorders, wheat and gluten intolerance, Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease or colitis
* helps promote weight loss, stabilize blood sugar levels and even helps to build muscle
* can be used in both savoury and sweet dishes and takes mere minutes to prepare…15-20 to be exact!
* it’s even great cold and stores in the refrigerator for up to one week
* great for pregnancy as it contributes to a healthy baby and enhances a mother’s milk production
* contains the amino acid histadine, which is necessary for human development therefore ideal for growing children
* it’s chock-full of fiber, iron and calcium among other vitamins and minerals – necessary for children and adults alike

Not only do I enjoy quinoa for its many health benefits but also because it’s great for people who have a wheat or gluten intolerance; something I have just discovered I do. My digestive system has been compromised for several years (see my previous blog post) but I was unaware of exactly what the culprit was. A recent trip to the Naturopathic Doctor and Colon Hydrotherapist have indicated that I suffer from non-celiac gluten intolerance, and in order to heal my digestive tract, I must avoid gluten all together.

Although this news did not come as a total surprise to me, regardless if you’re prepared or not it always takes time to adjust to a new way of eating and essentially, living. If you find yourself dealing with digestive discomfort, wheat or gluten intolerance or even more serious digestive diseases, quinoa is a grain I think you will appreciate.

One of my all time favourite dinner recipes –


Quinoa and Veggie Bake (from Vegetarian Times)

1/2 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups celery tops
4-6 kale leaves, shredded
3 Tbsp. olive oil (divided)
1 medium onion
2 green onions thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill or 1/2 Tbsp. dried dill
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup grated cheese (we use white cheddar)
1 egg lightly beaten

1- Rinse quinoa in a sieve. Toast in small pot over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or until almost dry. Add 1 cup of water, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium/low and simmer covered for 15 minutes.

2- While quinoa is cooking, prep veggies and sauté onions for 6 minutes, using 1 Tbsp of the oil. Add celery and green onions and sauté for another 2 minutes.

3- When quinoa is ready, pour 1 Tbsp. olive oil into 9-inch glass pie pan. Place in oven to heat.

4- Put shredded kale in a large bowl and then cover with the cooked quinoa. Then add the sautéed veg, dill and cheese into the bowl. Stir in egg and season with salt and pepper.

5- By now the oil in the glass pie pan should be hot. Remove from oven, ensure oil is covering the bottom, and then pour entire quinoa veggie mixture into pie pan. Bake 20 minutes, then drizzle 1 Tbsp over the top and bake 20 minutes more until golden brown.

Be sure to be on the lookout for quinoa grains on your next trip to the grocery store. They come in red, black, white or golden coloured seeds as well as ground for use as a creamy textured flour.

The majority of the information presented in this blog was taken from the cookbook “Quinoa – The Everyday Superfood 365” by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming. This book is amazing! It’s filled with all kinds of great recipes that use quinoa as the main event for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacking options. Enjoy!

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I received a comment from a subscriber shortly after my Thanksgiving post, Giving Thanks…Organically. It has been the driving force behind writing about fats.

In the past, whenever I heard the word fat things like deep-fried foods, butter, shortening and baked goods always came to mind.  Over the years I have become better educated about fats (lipids) and now know that “good fats” actually exist and are crucial to our well-being. Fat is our body’s primary source of energy during rest and exercise. It also protects our internal organs, transports fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E & K), helps to maintain cell function and provides texture and flavour to food. I hope after reading this post that you too will have a better understanding of the difference between “good and bad fats”.

Your intake of fats should be between 25-30% of your diet. If we look at our diet as a pie and separated each section, 10-15% should be protein, 55-60% should be carbohydrates and the remainder should be fat. Thought carbs were the enemy too? See my post Who’s afraid of the big bad carb.

Lipids take many different forms depending on their molecular shape. The healthy lipids are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated and the worst lipids are saturated, trans and hydrogenated. Sterols, also known as cholesterol, can be part of a healthy diet if less than 200mg is consumed per day.

Essential fatty acids
are broken down into three categories: omega 3 (linolenic acid), 6 (alpha-linoleic acid) and omega 9. To promote good health and maintain proper balance, you should aim to consume a 2:1 – 4:1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3. Omega 6 is found in things like evening primrose oil, sunflower oil and rapeseed oil. The best sources of omega 3 come from fish, flaxseeds, nuts, eggs and avocado. Olive oil, other plant-based oils as well as animal oils are the most abundant source of omega 9.

BE AWARE…diets high in saturated and trans fatty acids can increase your risk for heart disease and related illnesses.

Another key thing to note is that each gram of fat is equal to 9 calories. Fat provides the most calories per gram of each of the classes of macronutrients (protein=4 cals/g, carbohydrates=4 cals/g). Although you love those fresh bakery cookies or that bag of Doritos on your lunch break, be cautious and aware of your daily intake of fat.

I would like to let you in on a little secret- coconut oil is one of the best fats I have come across. It is so versatile and amazingly healthy. It can be used to replace all other oils during cooking, tastes great on toast instead of butter and on popcorn too. It is wonderful for your skin (including your face) and it’s great for after-sun exposure! I have two tubs of coconut oil, one in the kitchen and the other in the bathroom. Oh, and did I mention how great it smells?


By changing the way I view fats, and ensuring I get the right amount of essential fatty acids, the difference is clear to see. My nails, skin and hair are strong and vibrant and my cardiovascular system is purring!

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The Myths…

Myth#1 – “To loose belly fat do more sit-ups”

There’s no such thing as spot training.  Believe it not, in order to achieve successful weight loss in the abdomen you must do cardiovascular activities like jogging, biking, swimming and hiking at least 3-5 days per week, for a minimum of 30-45 minutes each time, along with a strength training regimen including sit-ups.  The human body is made up of many intricate systems that work together to perform daily functions.  By introducing a cardiovascular and weight training program into your daily routine, over time you will decrease your risk for injuries, increase your strength and cardiac abilities as well as experience a sense of overall well being, not to mention improving your overall health and longevity.  Before you know it, that stubborn belly fat may even start to melt away!

Myth #2 – “Fat makes you fat”

Although there is some truth to this expression, overeating in general regardless if it comes from carbohydrates, protein or fat will cause you to gain weight.  The major misconception is that eating “fat-free foods” will help you loose weight.  The truth is that most foods claiming they’re fat-free supplement the fat with extremely harmful chemicals like aspartame or mono sodium glutamate (MSG).  These are two chemicals that our bodies cannot metabolize and are therefore are destructive once ingested.  It’s very important to read the labels on pre-packaged food to decided whether or not there healthy choices.  A good rule of thumb is if it’s processed and pre-packaged it’s not healthy!  In order to function at optimal levels our bodies require 25-30% of our daily food intake from fat, not the deep fried saturated kind either!  Flax, fish, olive, coconut, evening primrose and hemp oils as well as the fat present in nuts, seeds and avocados are all great sources of omega 3,6, and 9.  These oils are very important for cardiovascular health, lubrication of  the joints, skin, hair and nails, as well as helping with brain function and concentration.

Myth #3 – “Skinny = Healthy”

The fact is that just because someone is thin doesn’t make them healthy.  Take models for example, they barely eat, are extremely skinny and give us the misconception that they’re healthy.  Living a healthy lifestyle is more than just what’s visible to the naked eye.  A person who eats a well balanced diet, exercises regularly and does some form of stress reduction like yoga, is still considered healthy even if there 10 lbs overweight, according the standards and norms.  Obviously carrying extra body fat puts unnecessary stress on our joints, heart and body overall, therefore it’s best to maintain a healthy body weight but remember, thin doesn’t always mean healthy.

Remember in order to live a healthy life our bodies need exercise, good meal choices, anti-stress techniques and everything in moderation.  Have a healthy week!

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