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Re-Post Coconut-Flax Butter March 10, 2011

OK, so I know there are vegan options for butter in stores.  However, I don’t enjoy the taste and the “butter” I use is actually pretty easy to make and pretty healthy.  It doesn’t have refined oils and added natural flavors in it.  This recipe is from one of my earlier posts, but I’ve decided to repost because I love it that much.  I ALSO have some new information to share on it.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 cup Flaxseed Oil

Directions.  Place coconut oil in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes.  After ten minutes pour 1/2 cup of coconut oil into a tupperware container.  Then pour 1/2 cup of flaxseed oil into the same tupperware container and stir.  After that, you stick the container in the fridge.  In a few hours you should have a butter like substance you can spread on toast or put on steamed veggies.

So, why is it good for me?  Well, butter made from dairy has a heavy concentration of saturated fat.  Even though our bodies need saturated fats in order to build cell walls, dairy butter is very imbalanced between saturated and unsaturated fats.

It is true that coconut oil is high in saturated fats.  However, the saturated fats are less harmful to the body because they are medium chain fatty acids.  Unlike the saturated fat from dairy, the fat found in coconut has shown no correlation to increases in bad cholesterol and heart disease.

I’m sure everybody has heard about flaxseeds at this point.  They are a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids which are necessary for our brain functioning.  Flaxseed oil also contains Vitamin E, which is great for the skin and joints.  It’ll give you a nice glow 🙂

However, the EFA (essential fatty acids) in flaxseed oil need to be converted to DHA.  Everyone has different conversion rates.  Coconut oil doubles the conversion rates of EFA to DHA.

So this butter will give you a nice balance of fats.  It is 50% saturated fat and 50% unsaturated fat.  This is a better balance than dairy butter.

The coconut-flax butter in comparison to a product like earth balance will give your brain a better chance at absorbing and using the EFA.  The oils in earth balance typically come from soybean, canola, and olive oil.  These oils have a higher concentration of Omega 9 and Omega 6.  The American diet is already high in these two fatty acids, which is why there has been so much hype around getting Omega 3’s.  When your body has too much Omega 9’s and 6’s inflammation occurs.

Flaxseed oil and hempseed oil have a good balance of Omega 3 to Omega 6.  However, I find hempseed oil a little gross.  Well, that is pretty much my philosophy around eating this butter instead of all other butters.  It really takes very little time to make and will last for about 6 months in the fridge.

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Butternut Squash Soup & Some Important Cooking Tips January 24, 2011

This will warm you up nicely since it’s been so cold out lately.  The recipe is a bit lengthy so I would recommend doing this on a Sunday.

Ingredients:

  • one medium sized butternut squash
  • one can of coconut milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 tbsp of curry powder
  • 1 tbsp of fresh chopped ginger root
  • 1 bag of frozen peas

Directions: (about an hour and a half)

  1. Cut the butternut squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
  2. Place it face down on a baking pan in  1/2 an inch of water.  Bake at 375 for 45min-1hour.
  3. When the squash is done you should be able to pierce through the skin with a fork or knife.
  4. Scoop out the meat from the squash and put it into a blender or food processor.
  5. Also add the coconut water, curry powder and ginger root and blend.
  6. Place the mixture in a pot on the stove on a low heat (3) and add the frozen peas (or any other veggies you’d like)
  7. In about 10 minutes you should have some yummy soup!

Baking the butternut squash face down prevents it from burning.  When food is dry baked acrylamides are formed.  Acrylamides have been shown to cause cancer.  So you may be thinking to yourself…everything causes cancer these days!  Well, let me put it this way, cigarettes contain large amounts of acrylamides and we KNOW those cause cancer.

Healthy cooking tips at home:

Cook at home often because that is where you have the most control over your food.  Also it is extremely important to cook your food at a medium to low temperature.  There is no need to have the burner higher than a medium heat.  Heating food too much not only destroys the nutrients, but also causes the fats in foods restructure into transfats.

You should also only cook with coconut oil because it can withstand temperatures of up to 350 degrees without restructuring into harmful heart disease causing transfats.  Also, the medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil will actually double the rate at which omega 3 fatty acids are transferred into DHA.  DHA is a fat that is essential for healthy brain functioning.

So we all hear about how benefits of Omega 3’s.  However, we don’t hear that in order to use Omega 3 fatty acids our bodies need to convert them to DHA.  Everyone’s conversion rate differs, which is why eating small amounts of coconut can be a very beneficial addition to your diet.

However you don’t want to over do it with fat.  If you’re doing a stir-fry I would suggest adding 1 tsp per person.  If you are more active you can be a little more liberal with this suggestion.

Steaming or boiling food is the best way to cook veggies because you lose the least amount of nutrients.  However, we all like a little variety.  If you do plan on doing a stir-fry add a teaspoon or two of water and keep the heat no higher than a medium heat.  Keeping a low heat will prevent the occurrence of acrylamides and retain nutrients.  It may take a little longer, but your body will thank you for it!

 

Orange Sesame Ginger Dressing October 12, 2010

I’ve been student teaching and teaching a course at SU, so I haven’t been able to post much.  But, I just made this dressing last night.

Ingredients:

  • juice of 1 orange
  • 2 tbs of tahini
  • 1 tbs miso
  • 1 tbs flax oil
  • 1 tsp ginger root powder

Mix ingredients in a bowl and you’re done!  I typically use flax oil in my salad dressings.  This really should be the only oil used on a regular basis because it contains EFA (essential fatty acids).  More specifically flax oil contains Omega 3 fatty acids which are hard to find in the standard american diet.  We are bombarded with Omega 6’s which compete with the Omega 3’s for room in our cells.  Omega 3 fatty acids are known for their ant-inflammatory properties, whereas Omega 6 has inflammatory properties.  This is why it is important to have an ideal ratio of the two.

Many people use olive oil in their salad dressing, but this and the use of all other oils should be limited.  If you are not an active individual, then even the monounsaturated fat is being stored along the waistline.  In fact to be more specific, 97% of the monounsaturated or saturated fat that you eat is being stored along the waistline.

 

Good Fat, Bad Fat and Weight Loss August 10, 2009

Filed under: FAT,Health Facts and Concerns,Health Tips — Yvette @ 4:06 pm

First I do want to apologize for slacking on my posts, life gets busy!

So, I’m sure you’ve all heard at some point in your life that there are good fats and bad fats.  Some people are afraid of fat altogether, but for proper brain functioning we need a good amount of fat in our diet.  Our brains are composed of 60% fat and it needs to be replenished daily.   There are three basic categories unsaturated fats, saturated fats, and transfats.

Transfats should be avoided at all costs (see my post on Hydrogenated fats and Transfats).  These types of fats do not occur naturally and cause a whole slew of problems such as heart disease, cancer and obesity.  As for saturated and unsaturated fat, in general you would want to eat more of the latter.  Neither are harmful to the body, unless they come in large quantities.

Many people avoid fat in general because of weight gain.  The problem with a lot of the fat we ingest is that it is cooked fat, when food is cooked the enzymes die.  Why do we care if the enzymes die?  The enzymes are needed to break down the fat in a way the body can use.  When the enzymes are not present the body pulls enzymes from the pancreas, but it can not always obtain enough so the undigested fats are stored along the waistline.  When you consistently eat cooked fats more and more fat will be stored along the waistline and other fatty areas of the body.  Raw fats contain the enzyme (lipase) needed to break down fat.  Not only will these raw fats break down the fats in the food you are currently eating, but the extra lipase enzymes will break down any stored fats.  So eating raw fats will help counter-act the effects of eating cooked fats.

Some sources of raw fats would be avocadoes, sun-dried olives, raw nuts and seeds.  If you are going to eat cooked fats, then it is a good idea to add one of the foods listed above so there are some lipase enzymes present in your stomach and intestines during the meal.  This will aid your body in digesting the fat and help you not gain weight!

 

Hydrogenated oils & Trans fats February 23, 2009

At some point in time we developed a hierarchy of fats, saturated fats being the worst, then unsaturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated.  Research showed that high consumption of saturated fats can lead to heart disease and cancer.  Instead of getting people to eat healthier and move away from a high fat diet, the food industry developed ways to mimic saturated fats using unsaturated fats.  This is when hydrogenated oils were introduced, not to just mimic foods like butter, but to extend shelf life.  I’ll remind you here that anything that extends shelf life is nutritionally deficient.  Vegetables and fruits rot because they are living and full of vital nutrients.  Where products with HFCS, hydrogenated oils and other preservatives can lay on shelves for years because there is little food in the actual product.

Hydrogenated oils are obtained by adding a hydrogen molecules to unsaturated fats.  These fats become hardened promoting longer shelf life and extended use in frying foods.  Hydrogenation does not completely transform the unsaturated fat into a saturated one, but it does produce trans fatty acids.  These fats behave like saturated fats and are linked to heart disease and cancers.

Partially hydrogenated oils are just as bad as hydrogenated oils.  The reason for the use of partially hydrogenated oils is because the trans fat content can be less than 1 gram per serving.  By USDA standards this is not a sufficient amount of trans fat to be reported on a label.

Please be aware that these man-made fats are extremely harmful to your health.  These ingredients can be found in candy bars, margarine, tub butters, baked goods and much more.  Be conscious consumers and read your ingredient labels.

 

Avocados October 28, 2008

Filed under: FAT,Health Facts and Concerns,Health Tips,Protein,Superfoods — Yvette @ 3:26 pm

Avocados are easily my favorite food.  A lot of people shy away from them because they are known to be very fattening.  But, don’t be afraid of all fats, some fatty acids are essential to healthy brain functioning.  Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids are found in avocados.  If you need potassium and hate bananas, avocado are actually a better source of potassium.  They have tons of vitamins and dietary fiber, which is why most people call them a superfood.  Last, but not least, my favorite fact is that an avocado has more usable protein than an 8 ounce steak. Mmmm so yummy!