10 Reasons Why We Love Coconut Oil

 

10 Reasons Why We Love Coconut Oil

One amazing oil we love to use on a daily basis is coconut oil, and you’ll find several recipes in our book, Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen, that include this incredible ingredient.

90% of coconut oil is saturated fat – but fear not! This is not the type of fat we need to be concerned about (stay away from trans fats, instead!). Half of the fat in coconut oil is Lauric Acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that is converted into monolaurin in the body. Monolaurin exhibits antiviral, antimicrobial, antiprotozoal and antifungal properties. Many experts recommend taking up to 3 tablespoons of unrefined, virgin coconut oil each day to experience its benefits.

Read on for 10 reasons why we love coconut oil (besides the flavor!):

  1. Cooking: Coconut oil doesn’t break down at high temperatures and it has amazing nutritional properties. Great for cooking eggs, stir-fries, baked goods, and as a replacement for dairy (butter). Perfect for use in raw food recipes too.
  2. Healthy, Glowing Skin: Excellent massage oil, effective moisturizer for dry skin, and anti-aging. Use it daily for happy, glowing skin.
  3. Reduces Joint and Muscle Inflammation: Can be applied topically or consume regularly to help in reduction of joint inflammation.
  4. Hair Care: Helps provides essential proteins required for nourishing damaged hair. Try massage 1 teaspoon through hair, leave in for 20 minutes and shampoo and rinse.
  5. Heart Disease: The Lauric Acid in coconut oil helps prevent various heart problems and can lower cholesterol.
  6. Weight Loss: Coconut oil boosts metabolism and helps in taking off excess weight. In 1940, farmers tried to fatten livestock with coconut oil, but discovered that the opposite happened!
  7. Digestion: Improves digestive system by easing acid reflux and aiding in proper bowel function, helps in the absorption of nutrients and contains anti-microbial properties to help in dealing with fungi and parasites.
  8. Healing and Infections: Protects against infections, speeds up healing of bruises, antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial.
  9. Alzheimer’s Disease: 1 tablespoon of coconut oil twice a day has shown remarkable improvement for dementia.
  10. Protects against Cancer and HIV and other Infectious Diseases

3 Health-Boosting Plant Oils to Add to Your Kitchen

 

Three incredible plants oils we love for a healthy, happy lifestyle are Coconut, Hemp, and Olive. 3 Plant Oils for Optimal HealthIf you don’t already include them in your diet, you may not have know what you’re missing….until now! Read on to learn more about these oils and their benefits. We hope you feel inspired to try them out, if you haven’t already.

Coconut Oil. This nutrient-dense oil is obtained from the coconut and is high in saturated fat. But don’t be alarmed! Because of its high lauric acid content, this saturated fat is good for the body and optimal health! Coconut oil has a reputation for being one of the healthiest oils on earth when it is not hydrogenated. Look for virgin coconut oil, which is good for baking, stir frying, and as a dairy replacement for butter. It is solid at room temperature like butter, but will liquefy around 86°F. It doesn’t break down in heat or light and become rancid like many oils.

  • Maintains healthy cholesterol
  • Good for your heart
  • Helps support thyroid
  • Strengthens Immune System
  • Antiviral
  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Helps stimulate metabolism
  • Can help prevent cancer
  • Helps brain function
  • Benefits your skin
  • Higher smoke point for cooking – can safely cook at high temperatures. Smoke point is 350°F.

Hempseed Oil. This oil has one of the healthiest ratios of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fats. Most experts agree that the best ratio of dietary omega-6 to omega-3 ranges from 2:1 to 4:1. Hempseed oil has a ratio of about 3:1, or maybe slightly less. Unrefined hempseed oil has a nutty taste and a grassy-green color. It works well in a salad dressing or add a tablespoon to your smoothie!

  • Lowers risk of heart attacks
  • Lowers Cholesterol
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Strengthens Immune System
  • May offer protection against colon, breast and prostate cancers.
  • Reduces the amount of side-effects of chemotherapy
  • Anti-aging
  • Counteracts Cardiovascular Disease
  • Fights Psoriasis
  • Helps with Hormonal Balance
  • Rejuvenates hair, skin and nails
  • Good for digestion
  • Low smoke point for cooking of 330°F – don’t cook at high temperatures

Olive Oil. Olive oil is a monounsaturated (MUFA), Omega-9 fatty acid. It’s high concentration of MUFAs, promotes  “good” cholesterol (HDL) while lowering “bad” cholesterol (LDL). Olive oil is also gentle on the digestive system, and the unrefined, good quality stuff is loaded with antioxidants and valuable nutrients.

  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Decreases risk of heart disease
  • Helps in Cancer Prevention
  • Aids in Digestive Health
  • May help prevent gallstones soothe ulcers
  • Supports overall Bone Health
  • Improves Cognitive Function
  • The smoke point for cooking olive oil ranges from about 200 to 438°F, depending on the quality of the oils. The more refined it is, the higher the smoke point. Extra virgin oil, for instance, is best kept for uncooked uses, as it becomes carcinogenic when heated at even low temperatures.

 

 

References:

http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/surprising-health-benefits-coconut-oil

http://www.livestrong.com/article/522893-will-coconut-oil-shrink-my-cancer/

http://www.naturalnews.com/030971_coconut_brain_function.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/coconut-oil-benefits_b_821453.html

http://hempworld.com/hempworldhotels_com/htms/Health/Therapeutic_Hemp_Oil.html

http://www.veria.com/herbs-supplements/hemp-oil-good-for-so-many-things

http://www.livestrong.com/article/137249-benefit-hemp-oil/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/439679-does-hemp-oil-have-all-the-omega-3/#ixzz2ScjL89Na 

http://www.naturalnews.com/029202_olive_oil_smoke_point.html

http://www.ehow.com/facts_5883617_hemp-seed-oil-cancer-treatment.html

http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/olive-oil-benefits-uses-460609

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberry Mango Sorbet – for Your Kiddo and You!

 

[Kendall] As a mom to a 19 month old, I’m finding that I have to be a little tricky when it comes to getting good, whole foods into that little belly of his. He loves food, but there are certain things that he doesn’t want to eat as a toddler – like carrots, zucchini, beans and avocados! – he loved these as a baby. The only veggies I can get him to eat these days without hiding them in something else are peas, squash, sweet potato, and sometimes cherry tomatoes…and that’s about it. Of course, being a huge fanatic of leafy greens, I’m always finding ways to sneak those in. I also want to make sure he gets plenty of healthy fats (so important for adults too!), and of course, proteins.

And I’ve read about how if you start your kiddos on good whole foods, real veggies, etc., they’ll want to eat them. They won’t be picky eaters. While I’m sure that’s true to some extent, I think that when you’re dealing with a toddler who just wants to declare his independence, you may just be SOL (sh*t out of luck) sometimes. I’ve also heard that it often takes eight times of trying a certain food before your child will like it and want to eat it. I’ve found this to be true in some cases, but there are just some foods that he doesn’t like. At least, for now (or just on certain days).

I’m sure this will change in time. I don’t want mealtimes to create any pressure for my little guy or me, so I give him the healthy whole foods he will eat, try some others at different times (the majority of which get spit out and tossed on the floor), and then sneak in the rest.

I also don’t make a separate “special” meal for my kiddo. He eats what my husband and I eat with some modifications, mostly to make it easier for his little hands and fewer teeth. We aren’t a strict vegan or vegetarian household, but do eat a plant-based diet, so he is exposed to some quality animal food. Interestingly, he isn’t much of a meat-eater (but neither am I).

The result of all of this is a mama who has turned into quite the creative toddler food chef! Interestingly, many of these concoctions I’ve come up with are things I enjoy quite a bit myself. It’s also gotten me to make raw veggie juice every day. I used to juice maybe a few times a week. Now, its daily because it’s the easiest way to get some good veggie nutrients into my little guy – he gulps down my juices! I also make smoothies packed full of healthy stuff: avocado, hemp seeds, chia seeds, nuts and nut butters, kale, spinach, carrots, coconut, and a banana or some applesauce to make it more palatable for picky little taste buds. I hide pureed veggies in sauces or scrambled eggs, make chia pudding (he loves it!), and hide good stuff in pureed soups.

My latest concoction turned out to be super yummy, mucho easy to make and of course, Healthy 4 ingredient Strawberry Mango Sorbethealthy-healthy: Strawberry-Mango Sorbet! The little guy loved it! Only four ingredients in the food processor: avocado, strawberries, mango, and hemp seeds. I would say that next time, I would also add a little baby spinach or kale to get some greens in.

Avocado: Considered to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet because they contain in excess of 25 essential nutrients, including vitamin A, B, C, E, & K, copper, iron, phosporus, magnesium, and potassium. Contain fiber, protein, and several beneficial phytochemicals, which may protect against various disease and illness. Anti-aging properties, fight cancer, anti-inflammatory, regulate blood-sugar levels, help maintain a healthy heart and much more!

Hempseed: According to Nutiva, hempseed “is considered by leading researchers and Strawberry Mango Sorbet ingredientsmedical doctors to be one of the most nutritious food sources on the planet. Shelled hempseed ispacked with 33 percent pure digestible protein and is rich in iron and vitamin E as well as omega-3 and GLA.”

Strawberry: Rich in vitamins C, B5, B6, K and have been found to increase anti-cancer agents in the body. Adds some sweetness for Mr. Picky Eater.

Mango: Aids in digestion, helps improve concentration and memory, high in antioxidants, iron, fiber. Also sweet.

RECIPE:

1/2 cup frozen mangoes

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

1 avocado, peeled, pit removed strawberry mango sorbet in food processor

2 tablespoons hemp seeds

Allow strawberries and mango to soften and thaw a bit by setting out at room temperature for 30 minutes. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Add water, a teaspoon at a time to help ingredients blend, if necessary. Serve sprinkled with hempseeds on top if desired.

Note: Best served immediately to maintain sorbet-like consistency. Can store in freezer and let thaw, then stir a bit before serving. Also, can store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, but be aware that the color will change as the avocado loses its greenness due to exposure to the air. Still tastes great!

Healthy 4 ingredient Strawberry Mango Sorbet

 

Easy Homemade Brazil Nut Milk Recipe (Non Dairy)

 

If you want to avoid large amounts of (or any) dairy, but still enjoy using dairy-like foods in your Brazil Nut Milkcoffee, baking, cereal, smoothies or any other food creation, it’s very helpful to know how to make your own dairy-free nut milk. While non-dairy milks are available in health food stores and most grocery stores, they often have other ingredients added that may be potentially harmful to your health, or just aren’t whole foods. Carrageenan, for example, is a popular food additive made from seaweed, in degraded form, that has been shown in studies to cause malignancies, inflammation and gastrointestinal problems. Carrageenan can be found in many non-dairy milks (you can learn more about carrageenan here on Dr. Weil’s site).

As always, if you can make it at home, you control what is going into your food. Non-dairy milks that you can purchase are convenient, but making your own milk is pretty darn easy too! We include two simple non-dairy milk recipes in our book, Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen – and now, here is one more for you!

For this nut milk recipe, we use Brazil nuts. Coffe with nut milkBrazil nuts are full of amazing nutrients, including a large amount of selenium, which is helpful in preventing certain cancers, liver cirrhosis, and coronary artery disease. They are also an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, which help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Brazil nuts are also an excellent source of B vitamins, as well as a good source of magnesium, zinc, potassium and iron (and so much more!).

If you enjoy drinking your coffee with some dairy cream or milk, you will love the creaminess of this Brazil nut milk. Especially fresh from the blender, it creates a nice froth – almost like a latte! Yum! You can save your nut milk in a pitcher in the fridge for about a week. Make a large batch and use wherever you would use dairy milk.

Brazil Nut Milk

Makes about 3 1/3 cups milk

1 cup Brazil nuts (soaked in water 4 hours or overnight)

3 cups water

Optional: cinnamon, vanilla, dates

Drain and rinse Brazil nuts and add to a blender. Add water and any optional ingredients as desired. Dates will sweeten and vanilla and cinnamon add additional flavor, but you don’t need anything besides the nuts and water to make your milk).

Blend at high speed for one to two minutes until mostly smooth. Pour through a fine mesh strainer, collecting the liquid in a container. Use the liquid as your milk!

Note: You may wish to save the Brazil nut meal collected in the strainer for use in baking.

 

Go Minty Green for St. Patrick’s Day!

photo credit: ilco

photo credit: ilco

Get your Green on and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a delicious way this weekend with our delicious Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie.

Who knew something posing as a creamy, minty treat could be good for you? Enjoy – and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie

Yield: 20 ounces

Ingredients:

1 frozen large banana, very ripe

1 tablespoon cacao nibs

10 drops pure peppermint extract

11/2 cups coconut milk

1/2 cup baby spinach, packed

1 tablespoon raw cacao powder

1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey

Mint leaf sprigs

Directions:

Add all ingredients to blender and mix at low speed for 30 seconds, then medium speed for another minute until smooth. Add three to four mint leaves if desired and blend for a few more seconds. Pour into a glass and garnish with sprig of mint leaves.

Simple Smoothie Tips for the Newbie

Smoothies are a great way to get lots of nutrients into your beautiful body. They’re easy to make, can pack a powerful punch and you can blend so many different combinations, you’re bound to find plenty you love!

If you’re going through cancer treatment, sometimes solid foods are tough to get down for various reasons. Smoothies were our go-to food during chemo and after surgeries – liquefied, power-packed goodness to help ensure you are getting good stuff into your body, especially during cancer, when you need it most!

There are so many ways to make your smoothie work for you. Flavor, nutrients, texture, consistency, temperature – experiment and come up with your favorite concoction.

  1. Not a fan of leafy greens? Hide your kale, collards and spinach in a smoothie with other flavors you like.
  2. Thick or thin? Add more liquid for a thinner smoothie or to thicken add 1/2 an avocado, 1 banana, 1 tablespoon chia seeds or 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds.
  3. What’s your temperature? The easiest way to make a colder smoothie is to add ice cubes.
  4. Add some protein. Nuts, seeds, nut butters, spirulina – all great smoothie additions.
  5. Sweetness. Sweeten with whole foods like dates, banana and berries.
  6. Superfoods anyone? Try out some maca, spirulina, cacao, hemp seeds, sea veggies.
  7. What else can you add? Try cucumber, mango, coconut, coconut oil, cinnamon, carrot, pureed pumpkin or squash, and more!

 

Pumpkin Chia Seed Pudding – A Power-Packed Treat

Chia seeds are very rich in omega-3 fatty acids and rich in antioxidants – so much so, that the seeds can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. Unlike flaxseeds, they can be eaten in whole form, rather than grinding, and still have their nutrients available to the body.  Chia seeds provide fiber, calcium, copper, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, niacin and zinc.

Chia seeds help stabilize blood sugar, are highly energizing, promote weight loss, support heart health, are anti-inflammatory, support the brain and help detoxify the body.

Originally grown in Mexico and the Southwest, chia seeds were a main component of the Aztec and Mayan diets in pre-Columbian times. They were the basic survival ration of Aztec warriors during long conquests. Chia is a member of the mint family. Both black and white seeds exist and both are highly nutritious.

One easy and delicious way to include chia seeds in your diet is by making a chia pudding. Try our Chia Pumpkin Pudding!

1/4 cup chia seeds

1 cup coconut milk (or water)

1/4 cup pureed pumpkin

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 pinch nutmeg

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well and refrigerate.
  2. After 10 minutes, stir again then cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Serve and enjoy.

 

 

Getting Krazy with Kale

You may be used to seeing kale as a garnish on your dish in a restaurant, but this leafy green veggie is much more beneficial when it IS your food, rather than simply decorating it. This nutrient powerhouse has been repeatedly shown to have powerful antioxidant capabilities as well as offer protection against certain types of cancer. Like broccoli and cabbage, kale has the ability to activate enzymes in the liver, which detoxify cancer causing substances, reducing their ability to damage cells. It’s also an excellent source of vitamins K, A, and C as well as the carotenoids that are important for good vision and the prevention of cataracts. It’s also rich in calcium.

If you aren’t familiar with kale, it’s time to get friendly with it! It’s an easy veggie to add to any meal as a side dish (but make it a BIG side dish!) or tossed right in with other food. Kale can be steamed, sauteed with a little garlic, olive oil and sea salt, eaten raw in a salad, added to soups, rice or pasta dishes or baked into crispy chips. Once you begin eating kale and other leafy greens on a regular basis, you’ll begin to feel the difference and you’ll likely notice that you begin to crave not-so-healthy foods less.

Here is a tasty and easy kale recipe to try (from Integrative Nutrition):

Massaged Kale and Raisin Salad
Serves 4


1 bunch kale

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup diced red onion

1/3 cup raisins

3/4 cup diced apple (about 1/2 apple)

1/3 cup sunflower seeds, toasted

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons unfiltered apple cider vinegar/red wine vinegar

  1. De-stem kale by pulling leaves away from stems. Wash leaves. Spin or pat dry. Stack leaves, roll up, and cut into thin ribbons. Put kale in a large mixing bowl. Add salt and massage it into the kale with your hands for 2 minutes.
  2. Stir onions, raisins, apple and sunflower seeds into kale. Dress with olive oil and vinegar.  Taste for salt and vinegar, adding more if necessary. This salad will keep for several days and improve with age.