Category Archives: Fat

Some Thoughts on Weight Loss

WeighYourself

This post is part of Wellness Wednesday Link-Up at Nourishing Treasures.

I have written a more in-depth series of articles on weight loss beginning here, but for the moment I want to get some of these thoughts out there and get you pondering about this topic.  Weight loss is a topic familiar to nearly everyone.  With an estimate as high as 70% of America falling into the overweight category, the diet industry has been booming and everyone seems to have a weight loss system that promises to melt pounds and inches while you sleep. The truth is conventional diets don’t work. You need to change your lifestyle permanently to incorporate the healthy eating habits that will result in not only weight loss but health gain.

Years of misinformation from well-meaning sources like the Food Pyramid have led us to believe that we are only able to lose weight if we stop eating fat. While it is true that gram for gram fats have more calories than carbohydrates, eating healthy natural fats actually helps you lose weight for many reasons, including the fact that they satisfy your hunger four or five times better than carbohydrates allowing you to feel full and content, not wanting more.

Cutting out processed carbohydrates such as chips, pretzels, M&Ms, candy, soft drinks, white bread and packaged cookies is a good place to start. These kinds of carbohydrates have nothing to offer nutrition-wise, and actually drain your body of precious nutrient reserves just to get them digested. Replace the empty carbs with vibrantly colored vegetables and fruits that are full of anti-oxident polyphenols, vitamins and minerals.  Consume this rainbow of healthy carbohydrates with plenty of butter from grassfed cows, unrefined coconut oil, lard from pasture-raised pigs, fresh avocados, fresh eggs, clean raw milk and raw cheese.  These are foods that nourish us and give our bodies energy to carry on vital processes. Along with the colorful carbohydrates and healthy fats you must eat sufficient protein to support your body’s needed repairs, fuel your adrenals and immune system, build muscle and many other projects. Meats from pasture-raised animals, wild caught fish and game have a place in a healthy lifestyle giving you the amino acids you need for good mental and physical health.

One question I hear all the time is, “How can I possibly eat all of that fat without gaining weight?” What they are not understanding is that all calories are not created equal. When you feed your body enough calories made from the right kinds of nutrients then, over time, you will find your metabolism picks up, you begin to have more energy, you aren’t sick all the time, and you will slowly lose the excess stored fat until you get to the balance point where your body should be in order to be healthy. It does not happen at once, it does not happen quickly, but it does happen. The end result is a healthier body. The lost weight is just a bonus.

You can read a 7-part series looking in-depth at issues surrounding weight loss and true health beginning with this article.

Customize Your Smoothies – Immune Boosting Superfoods

 

mango smoothie with titles

Smoothies are easy to make, healthy to eat and a great way to use fresh, seasonal fruit.  They are a tasty vehicle for your daily dose of probiotics as well as healthy fats.  Use your own homemade yogurt, kefir or coconut milk and they become quite economical, too.  What a great package! Eating in season, boosting immunity and thrifty too!

To make one generous serving gather your ingredients and a blender. I’ll show you how to make a basic version. Once you get the hang of it you can alter the ingredients to suit the season and your tastebuds.  I like to use frozen fruit or a mixture of frozen and fresh to give the end result a milkshake texture.

smoothie1Put one cup of plain whole milk kefir (coconut milk kefir for dairy free) or plain whole milk yogurt (preferably raw) into your blender.  I’ve found my hand blender works for a single serving but if I’m doubling or making more I use the large blender.  Add one frozen banana and a cup of sliced frozen or fresh strawberries.  I keep blueberries in the freezer and like to add a few of those too.  This plus an optional squirt of raw honey is all you need for a basic smoothie.

But don’t stop here – take the nutritional profile up a few notches by adding in a few other extras.  Use a half-cup of full fat coconut milk and/or a tablespoon of unrefined coconut oil in your smoothie to get some healthy medium-chain fatty acids.  Add a spoonful of flax seeds for an omega-3 boost and extra fiber. A tablespoon of raw cream gives a silky texture and more fat soluble vitamin A and D. A sliver of raw ginger adds a zippy flavor and helpful anti-inflammatory properties.  Substitute an avocado half for the banana to reduce the carbohydrate count.  Add a raw egg yolk from a pasture-raised fresh egg too boost nutrient-density with B vitamins, choline and vitamin D as well as protein for healthy nervous system and cell repair. A tablespoon of nut butter or coconut manna makes it thicker plus adds more healthy fats.  A tablespoon of plain gelatin powder adds extra protein plus collagen for healthy digestion, joints and skin.

Customize your smoothies with your favorite fruits and change them with the seasons. Melons and ginger are refreshing for summer, pumpkin puree and a dash of cinnamon and spice keep things lively in autumn, you can even add a handful of parsley or kale for some super-green nutrition any time. Experiment and find your own favorites. I love pitted fresh/frozen cherries and a scant tablespoon of raw cacao powder or vanilla extract for a chocolate cherry or cherry vanilla treat. Or get that island feel with mango, pineapple and fresh coconut.

Customize Your Smoothies - Immune Boosting Superfoods
 
Author:
Recipe type: smoothie
Serves: 1 serving
 
smoothies are an easy, delicious way to pack a lot of nutrition into a portable meal
Ingredients
  • 1 cup plain full fat kefir, yogurt, or coconut milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen berries
  • 1 Tblsp raw honey (opt.)
  • Optional additions:
  • 1 Tblsp extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 Tblsp flax seed
  • 1 Tblsp plain gelatin
  • ½" slice fresh ginger
  • 1 egg yolk from a pasture-raised egg
  • 1 Tblsp nut butter or coconut manna
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy.
  2. Optionally - substitute a half an avocado for the banana to reduce carbs.
  3. Customize with your favorite fresh or frozen fruits such as chunks of melon, sliced mango, pineapple chunks, peach slices, pitted cherries, etc.

Share your favorite flavor combinations or your best superfood add-ins in the comment smoothie2section! We love trying new ideas!

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Fat is Not the Enemy!

What if I told you that you never had to eat another vegtable again and could still maintain good health?  There are probably some kids out there who would jump up and down for joy if they read that. As far-fetched as it might sound, the truth is there have been people throughout  history, thousands of people, who have done just that.  How can this be possible? Am I really recommending this today? NO! I am not recommending you start skipping the produce aisle or replace your vegetable garden with a koi pond, but I will tell you how it worked for certain populations and how you can use this knowledge to the benefit of your own health and that of your family.

butterFirst of all it is important to understand that all fat is not the enemy.  My goal is to get you to realize some fats are essential.  The best way to illustrate this is to tell you about the research of Dr. Weston Price. For those of you unfamiliar with Dr. Price, he was a dentist living and practicing in the first half of the 1900s.  The bulk of his research was between roughly 1920 and 1940.  Just because it is nearly 100 years old in no way negates the importance of what he discovered.  This is because his research was conducted on specific groups of people who, for the most part, no longer exist today as their cultures have been assimilated by the encroaching civilization around them. Studying the research, especially the photographs and physical examination notes he left, gives us a unique insight on the lives of those special people.

Weston and book

Dr. Price and his book

It all started when Dr. Price was examining his own dental patients and noticed that his adult patients who had the most tooth decay often also had serious health problems in other areas of their bodies such as arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, intestinal disorders and chronic fatigue.  When he examined children he began to notice that the children with pronounced overbites, crowded and crooked teeth and narrow facial structure were much more likely to also have frequent infections, allergies, asthma, wear glasses or have behavioral problems.  Through these observations he concluded that dental problems and deformities were nothing more than physical manifestations of more serious physiological problems.  He began to look for a reason as to why some people would have these problems and others would not.  This led to ten years of world travel for Dr. Price and his team of researchers and culminated in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, still available and worth reading today.  They studied what they called “primitives” who were living in remote communities completely separated from the “civilized society” of that day.  These “primitives” lived only on what they made, hunted, gathered or grew themselves.

Dr. Price and his team began in a Swiss village high in the Alps where the people ate mainly swiss-alpshigh-fat dairy products from cows they tended in the mountain pastures.  Picture little Heidi and her friends frolicking happily in snow and sunshine.  The community lived on unpasteurized whole milk, raw butter and cream, cheese they made themselves and some very dense sourdough rye bread they made from grain they grew. This along with homemade bone broths made up the bulk of their diet.  Once a week they might eat some meat, and in the summer they grew some vegetables in their household gardens. It was remarkable that in a time period when tuberculosis was raging all over the rest of Switzerland there was never a single incidence of tuberculosis in the entire history of that small community.

After the remote Swiss village, Dr. Price traveled to many other places all around the world. He studied Eskimo tribes who ate only fish, fish roe and other marine animals including seal oil and blubber. He saw how the Eskimo mothers gave birth to one sturdy baby after another and how the tribe was without health problems or tooth decay. He studied tribes in Africa such as the Masai who ate no plant foods at all, just meat, blood and milk from the cattle they carefully tended. They grew tall, strong, straight people with clear eyes and broad smiles.

Dr. Price did find communities of “primitives” in all climates that ate many plant foods. Tropical climates produced people who ate plenty of coconut, root vegetables and fresh fruits; the outer islands of Scotland produced people who ate mostly fish and oats. Without exception all around the world in every community where he found superlatively healthy people Dr. Price found some things in common. The foods eaten were whole, natural and emphasized fats as being of primary importance.  When meat was eaten it was eaten along with the fat. Organ meats were delicacies to be savored, milk was always full-fat and never pasteurized, grains were whole not refined.  No one ate white sugar, refined flour or any kind of refined vegetable oil.  What was noteworthy was a laboratory analysis of these foods from all around the world showed these people consumed up to ten times more vitamins and minerals than the modern diets of Price’s time period.  The “primitives” also made the vitamin and mineral content of their food even more available for digestion and assimilation by using special preparation techniques with grains and beans such as fermenting, sprouting, soaking and sourdough.

You can see some of the photographs Dr. Price took of the beautiful teeth and wide smiles from the people he met here at the Price – Pottenger Foundation website. http://ppnf.org/about-ppnf/about-drs-price-and-pottenger/dr-price/price-research-details

Back home in the laboratory Dr. Price carefully analyzed his findings, samples, data and photographs.  He discovered that the fat soluble vitamins in particular acted as catalysts – he called them “activators” – in the assimilation of protein, minerals and other vitamins.

What are the fat soluble vitamins and where are they found? They are vitamins A, D, E, and K. The only source for these vitamins fully formed is from animal foods. You might think that carrots and other orange vegetables are good sources of vitamin A but they are actually good sources of beta carotene which a healthy adult body can convert into vitamin A. this conversion process is complex, require special enzymes and fat to be done, and cannot be done efficiently if you have certain physical conditions. Infants and children cannot make the conversion at all.

The foods that Dr. Price’s “primitives” considered to be essential all contained high amounts of A, D and E and the most important foods in these cultures, some were even considered to be sacred by some tribes, were very high in vitamin K2. According to Dr. Price’s research without these important foods in our own diets all the other nutrients we eat may go to waste as our bodies cannot utilize them effectively.  These “sacred” foods were cod liver oil, fish eggs, organ meats and the deep yellow spring and fall butter from cows eating the rapidly growing grass of those seasons. grass

Nowadays getting braces, wearing glasses, taking medications for behavioral problems, dealing with asthma and allergies, and many other of life’s difficulties are considered just part of a normal childhood. Truth is … it is NOT!  There are families who are taking back the vital, strong, health of these “primitives” by following their dietary examples.  Independent research is currently being conducted to see how these serious health trends are being reversed without medication.

So to bring this into practical terms for our own well fed families, we can look at Dr. Price’s studies and realize that our first focus needs to be on finding sources for these important vitamin-rich foods. We know conventional animal feeding operations are unhealthful, and we can see that what made the foods in these communities Dr. Price studied so healthful for the “primitives” is still true for us today. Animals living in fresh air and sunshine eating foods they were designed to eat produce the highest quality eggs, butter, meat and fat.  Fish living in wild, clean water eating food they find themselves produce the highest quality fish oil, roe and meat. It is important to seek out sources for animals raised in this way. It is important to include one or more of these vitamin-rich foods in our diets every day. To use your money wisely spend more for these crucial components of your diet and not on the high priced but low nutrition “all natural” packaged foods like chips, crackers or cereal.  The exciting part about all of this is that these nutrient-dense foods are delicious and satisfying!  The vibrant, healthy “primitives” knew nothing about low-fat, high-fiber, bland, tasteless meals.  It’s all about real food from real animals living a respected life on real farms giving us delicious, nourishing meals at home everyday.

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