Glorious, Glorious Coconut Oil – Why You Should Believe the Hype

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By Shannon Keirnan, Contributing Foodie Bitch

My love affair with coconut oil started recently, but sometimes when you find the One, you just know you’re meant to be together forever.

Coconut oil came into my life when I started making the change to eating more like a Foodie Bitch. I didn’t know why, at the time, coconut oil would mean so much to me. I just knew that it tasted fine (not like coconut meat – coconut oil’s unfortunate mother I just hate).

More importantly, it cooked food just as well as the other oils I was used to, like vegetable and canola. Usually I preferred cooking with olive oil, but I had learned shortly before that olive oil is degraded by high heat, and not only loses its healthful components but may even become carcinogenic. Olive oil and I decided it would be best for both to part ways (though I still drizzle it over completed meals now and then).

Best of all, coconut oil was inexpensive and low maintenance. A solid at room temperature, I found a little can go a long ways. I like the things in my life to be easy like that.

Plus, it tasted kind of good in my coffee.

The more I used coconut oil, the more I found myself interested. I wanted to know more. So I took to reading (Internet stalking, one might say), and everything I saw made fall a little more:

– As one of the “good fats” to ingest, coconut oil in moderation can reduce overall body fat. It can also lower the level of “bad” lipids in the bloodstream.

– Small doses of coconut oil given to Alzheimer’s patients and those with mild cognitive impairments led to improved cognitive recall. In layman’s: it can help with and help prevent memory loss.

– Coconut oil can help heal wounds by prompting accelerated skin regrowth.

– It’s also anti-fungal. Just in case you had any need for that.

– It can help control the growth of candida in the body – that lovely yeast which leads to yeast infections, gut leak, and thrush, for example.

I was hooked, and this was just the tip of the iceberg. I wanted to incorporate coconut oil into other parts of my life.

I started using it on my skin as a moisturizer – yes, I know what you’re thinking. Oil on your skin! It’s wrong, it’s not natural! But I gave in, and I’ll never look back.

I use it on my legs after shaving, on my lips, and on any zit I might have gotten too stern with (did I mention those healing properties yet?). I even use it on my face, in moderation, and around my eyes as a nightcream-eqsue wrinkle fighter.

One night, feeling adventurous, I melted some coconut oil, ran it through my hair, hit it with the blow dryer for a few minutes and (after a good shampoo) bam, I had silky-soft hair with bounce and pizazz. Even my split ends were tamed. People asked me if I had dyed my hair, because with all that added moisture it was a few shades darker.

Now, after a night out (and damaging my hair with my straightener), I’m sure to heat some oil up as a repair treatment. I even use a little during the day to hold my fly-aways down.

I discovered oil pulling around this time – an ancient Ayurvedic practice that’s lately coming back into fashion. While I was skeptical at first, my teeth are now whiter and cleaner and my gums are happier (when I remember to do it). Letting oil melt in your mouth might not be the most pleasant experience first thing in the morning, but I figure a shiny smile is worth it.

At this point coconut oil has become an indispensable part of my life. Even my pets benefit – I use a little on my dog’s dry skin during the winter… and for whatever reason my cat likes to jump up on the bathroom counter and lick the dish of solid oil I (used to!) use as a chapstick. I’ve crammed some into glass jars and passed it out to friends, telling them to give it a try, and no one comes back to me disappointed (unless it’s been licked by the cat. Sorry about that.).

Now I’m encouraging you, Friends, to let this marvelous oil find a place in your life. Give it a shot yourself – you’ll see, and you’ll fall just as deeply as I did.

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Best Ever Roasted Chicken, via Martha Stewart and Lindsey Smorch

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By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

I just love Martha Stewart – she’s so awesome!  And, of course, I just love our daughter Lindsey – she’s so awesome as well!  When I asked Lindsey if she could make dinner one night last week, she turned to Martha for guidance, channeled her “inner Martha,” and prepared, honestly, the best roasted chicken I have EVER had!

I couldn’t get over how good it was.  I think what is key to this recipe (and any recipe, for that matter) is using good-quality ingredients.  She used an organic chicken from a local farm, Pasture Prime (Summerfield, Florida), organic lemon, pasture butter (the last of our pasture butter for the season), locally grown onion, and organic garlic.

Check out Martha’s recipe here.

The only difference is that Lindsay really loaded on the butter.  The recipe calls for 2 Tbsp. to be rubbed into the chicken, but she used more like 4 Tbsp.  Also, we didn’t have any fresh thyme on hand, but we had some dried  in the pantry, so she used that instead (2 tsp.).

Also, she added about 1/2 to 1 inch of water in the roasting pan, so she didn’t need to use any of the chicken broth at the end.  The juices from the roasting along with the water were enough for a sauce/gravy for the chicken (and the potatoes she made with it).

I was amazed at how much flavor the chicken had and how tender it was.  It was a HUGE hit with all of us – except Frankie, of course, since she’s a vegetarian.  I thought we might have had her converted that night, but she stood strong (honestly, if she doesn’t cave in with all the bacon we make, and that pulled pork we made the other day, she’s never going to cave in!).

I can’t say anything more than that – other than next time, I think we will be making two whole chickens instead of one.

If you are ever looking to roast a chicken, look no further than this recipe.

Thank you, Martha!

Thank you, Lindsey!

Bulletproof Executive, Dave Asprey, on Butter

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

I’ve been following Dave Asprey, The Bulletproof Executive, for a few months now, and have enjoyed listening to his podcasts, reading his Facebook posts, and using his products.  I actually use his Bulletproof Activated Charcoal when I’m traveling in case I have to eat and my options are limited and I’m not sure of the quality of the food.  I also use his Upgraded MCT Oil in my Bulletproof Coffee, when I drink it.  And sometimes I will use his Upgraded Glutathione Force (you may recall I talked about glutathione in a previous post relating to inflammation and antioxidants).

I love his passion about biohacking his own biology and how he digs really deep into his research and applies everything to himself to test results.  I also love how he shares what he learns and how he shares his conversations with other biohackers.

Peruse his site and see for yourself!

This interview is about his use of butter in biohacking.  It’s really quite interesting and, of course, I love the information he gives because I love butter.  I don’t do other dairy, but I’m fine with butter.  I wasn’t OK with eating butter years ago.  I, like most of the population, feared butter.  Then a friend of mine shared some of her butter that she bought from an area Amish farmer and I fell in love!  I had never tasted anything like it.  I couldn’t believe I was able to eat it just plain – no crackers, bread, veggies – just plain!  I know some of you are probably cringing at that thought, much like my husband was at the time.

The thought of butter being fattening is so engrained in our brains that many still have a hard time letting themselves enjoy it.  They are worried they will get fat.  More and more people are coming to the realization that good fat doesn’t make you fat – too many processed carbohydrates make you fat.

I’m sure there’s a lot of you out there that don’t do butter.  All of our bodies are different and we need to listen to our bodies and notice what works and what doesn’t.

But at any rate, check out Dave Asprey’s interview and the full article here, and decide for yourself.

Developing a Health-Promoting Mindset

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By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

Have you stood back lately and observed the way our society thinks about health lately?  There are many tangents I could go off on here, but the one I am thinking about recently is how, as a society, we have a mindset that is more focused on disease management rather than disease prevention.  Actually, I’d like to take that even a step further and say health promotion.

“Health promotion” is a term that we started to throw around when I was in high school (at the risk of dating myself – the mid-80s!).  That was back in the day when corporations were just starting to think about incorporating some type of wellness or health promotion program to ensure the health and productivity of their employees.  Many companies were even installing on-site fitness centers.  This is actually when I started to get really excited about the area of nutrition, health promotion, fitness, healing… etc.

This concept seemed to work for a while.  People were on board and excited about taking back their health.  Health food stores started to pop up.  The food industry jumped on board and created all kinds of “healthy foods” for the public, in an effort to capitalize on this trend.  People talked a lot about eating healthy, exercising, and dieting.

Fast forward nearly 30 years and, as a population, we are in way more overweight (in the midst of an obesity epidemic, even!), have a higher amount of diabetes and heart disease, and are more depressed than ever!

What happened???

In my opinion, many things have gone wrong.  But aside from the obvious (or, not-so-obvious to many) degradation of our food (chemical laden, factory farmed, antibiotic filled, pesticide covered, GMO filled, nutrient deficient – wow!), I feel we have surrendered to the assumption that our body can’t heal itself and needs drugs and other people to “fix” us.

It’s as if we have given up and just expect that we are going to get sick… so why even try?

Not to get all conspiracy-like here, but I do feel that companies and organizations have spent millions of dollars and and have made huge efforts to provide food that we think is healthy but really is not, and is contributing to the demise of our health. They also happen to be right there providing a medley of drugs and procedures to fix what ails us – be it an actual ailment or a perceived ailment.

Also, statistics are being thrown around all of the time to remind us of this.

1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime.

If current trends continue, 1 in 3 U.S. adults will have diabetes by the year 2050.

According to this website, “One man in 7 will get prostate cancer during his lifetime. And one man in 36 will die of this disease.”

And, an estimated 5.2 million Americans will have Alzheimer’s disease in 2014.

You get the point.

It’s no wonder that many think of aging, or even life in general, as, “I wonder which disease is going to take me down?”  or “I’ll probably develop diabetes by the time I’m 60.” Or, “I sure hope I don’t get cancer.”

I understand, that it is easy to get sucked up into these thought patterns.  I have been there at various points in my life.  But I have found that it is EXTREMELY CRITICAL to be in control of the information you are exposed to, as this has a huge effect on your mindset.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.  A while back, I was watching TV with a friend, and a commercial came on for a drug for some sort of anxiety.  The commercial went through the usual list of behaviors you should look for to see if the drug is suited for you:  fear of new situations, ups and downs in mood, nervousness in large social gatherings, sweaty palms when talking to people.  If you experienced any of these symptoms, you were encouraged to talk to your doctor about prescribing this particular drug for you.  Oh, and the flip side, after the patient was on the medication, were scenes of them smiling, laughing, and confidently interacting with a group of people.

My friend looked at me and said, “Maybe that’s what’s wrong with me.”

After smacking the shit out of them (kidding – I only threw a pillow), I realized, first hand, the danger of allowing drugs to be advertised.  People could be living their lives, being nervous, experiencing the ups and downs of emotions – all of which is perfectly normal – and then have someone, or worse yet, an entire industry, tell them that there is something wrong with them and that a certain pill will “fix” them.

How about we take back our minds?  How about we take back our bodies?  How about we become reacquainted with the fact that our bodies are designed to heal themselves?  How about we get back to the basics in terms of good-quality food?

We don’t have to accept the current statistics and medical state as true for us.

I am a firm believer that with a mindset of health promotion we can debunk the trends.  Even though our environment has made it really easy to eat like shit, to not exercise, to become isolated, and to become spiritually depleted, we can make a conscious effort every day to make choices that move us towards health and healing.  Eat organic (when possible) fresh fruits and vegetables.  If you choose to eat meat, know the source and make sure it is hormone and antibiotic free.  Move your body!  It doesn’t have to be exercise at a gym.  It can be working in a garden, cross country skiing, a walk on the beach, or even jumping on a trampoline.  Reach out and connect with others.  There’s never been a time where we have had such a huge population, but felt incredibly isolated – change that!  And finally, take time for some form of spiritual practice – whether that is meditation, prayer, yoga, silence, or walks in nature – just something that connects you to the bigger picture.

Let’s defy the trend!  Let’s defy the laws of probability!  Let’s change the rules of this healthcare game!  Let’s not wait for others to change it for us.  We can do it one step at a time.  We’ve all got too much to do while we’re here on this earth.

Decide how you want to live and then forge on!