The Weston A. Price Way

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Coconut: For Weight Loss, Immunity, Thyroid Health...even HIV

As spring progresses and here in Virginia, summer weather descends with hot and humid fury, it's even easier to love the tropical taste of coconut. Like many others, the mix of pineapple and coconut flavors can move my day up an entire notch. And as much as I hate to say it, if you do not like the taste of coconut, this is not going to be a post for you.

In regard to coconut products, the ones that give us the most nutrient value are those that still retain their natural coconut flavor. This is one reason why I will not advocate refined coconut oil...more about that shortly. We also need to be sure not to cut corners when it comes to the fat content of coconut products. The value of coconut is found in its fat, so we need to be sure to purchase full fat coconut products.

I know that as our culture has embarked on its anti-fat campaign, the idea of fat is majorly repulsive to many. I wish I had the time to get into it deeply here, but I frankly, do not. I have read the research and am convinced that fat expert, Dr. Mary Enig and the hundreds of others in her 'camp' are teaching truth. Beyond the science that they use to prove their conclusions, as I have explained in the past, I just don't believe God would give this gift as a food source if it's poison to my body. This is why I don't camp, myself, fully in the "No-Sugar Ever Camp", either. There is sugar in fruit, and sugar cane is a plant...It is the over-indulgence in and extreme processing and genetic modification of something God made perfect in the first place,  that messes up these gifts and turns them into foods that hinder health.

Let's start today with the GOODNESS of coconut. We will refute the supposed 'evils' in a different post. I will be using "Eat Fat, Lose Fat" as my main resource for the information I'm passing along today. This is the book I reviewed earlier and gave less than a perfect my opinion, that is. The reason I did this was because of the caliber of difficulty and time to prepare many of the recipes given. If gourmet cooking is a norm for you, or if you are already familiar with traditional cooking methods, it will be fine for you. If you are new to either forms of cooking, I believe that in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed, you'll need to take the book at a much slower pace than prescribed within its pages. However, this does not usurp the quality of the information given about fats and cholesterol, or the weight-loss or health recovery methods it employs.
I will also be using "Nourishing Traditions", as this was the first place I discovered the good truths about coconut.

I do try to keep my writing as much on a layman's level as possible, as I am a layman myself and understand the frustration and irritation that comes from trying to read medical or scientific jargon without knowledge of the verbiage used. So as I write, I will do my best to explain terms that may be unfamiliar.

A very important term to understand is, 'medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs)'. Long-chain fatty acids require the gallbladder to work harder because it secretes the bile salts needed for their digestion. Medium-chain fatty acids don't require bile salts for digestion. If you have discovered that fats tend to hinder your digestion, or if you have just become convinced of your body's need for fats after having abstained for a long period of time, you will find that the medium-chain fatty acid of coconut oil doesn't hinder digestion. This makes it a perfect oil to use when reintroducing fats into your diet.

Weight Loss: Ha ha! This is a term every American understands without interpretation! You'll most likely be happy to know that the MCFA's found in coconut oil are exactly the fatty acids that use up energy during mobilization. This means they are effective as an aid to weight loss. The energy used by the body to metabolize MCFA's  is more than the amount of energy they give.. The fatty acid that oxidizes the fastest?  Lauric acid...and coconut oil is almost 50% lauric acid. There are several foods that raise body temperature. This is good for weight loss, too because this is evidence that your energy level and metabolic rate are being raised. Coconut oil 'just happens' to be one of those foods that raises the metabolic rate.

And then there's the "Thyroid Thingy". This is especially important to me as I have radioactive iodine- induced hypothyroidism. But the facts here are important to anyone with low thyroid symptoms. Thyroid deficiency affects about 12 million Americans and some endocrinologists suspect the condition is undiagnosed in millions more. All by itself, hypothyroidism causes a low metabolic rate with consequent weight gain, dry skin, depression, mental fog and lethargy. In addition to this, it can be a precursor to breast cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, and heart disease. There are no specific studies of coconut oil's affects on the thyroid gland, but it is a confirmed fact that it raises the metabolism and causes weight loss. According to "Eat Fat, Lose Fat", there are many hypothyroid patients who have been able to eliminate their medications after adding coconut to their diet. (I am not advocating this without the approval of your physician.)

Synergy: I talked about this when I spoke of fats in the last few weeks' posts. Synergy is a little like a co-dependent relationship. One can't manage well without the other. One needs the other for best function. Both work together to make it work best. Our bodies must have saturated fats to use the essential fatty acids, (Omega-3 and -6), effectively. As it so happens, the more saturated fats we consume, the less of the others are needed. This makes coconut, a natural saturated fat, a good thing, because most of us have difficulty getting enough Omega-3's and -6's, and trying to balance their intake, which is important, is also difficult. Saturated fats not only ensure that Omega-3 and -6 are used most efficiently by the body, they ensure that they are retained. Once again, the cycle comes around...Perhaps the reason we have so much trouble with maintaining adequate levels of Omega-3 and -6 is because our society has developed a brain-washed paranoia about saturated fats and therefore, strongly or even completely avoids them. The 'therefore' to that? ...Even when we consume 'The Omegas', our bodies can't use them effectively or retain them.

Lauric Acid: This is a biggie! Lauric acid is antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal. It is found in mommy's milk. Converted upon consumption into 'monolaurin', lauric acid becomes a defensive line against bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens...The main thing to remember about the lauric acid, so prevalent in coconut oil, is that it supports, reinforces and strengthens the immune system. Other saturated fats are produced by the liver, but lauric acid comes from the mammary glands in animals. It can also be found in coconut oil, palm kernel oil, or in lesser amounts, butterfat.

Interested in knowing some disease organisms fought by lauric acid? Check these out:
  • viruses: herpes, measles and HIV (Yes! HIV!)*
  • bacteria: listeria (food poisoning), staphylococcus and streptococcus
  • parasites: gastroenteritis-causing giardia lamblia. 
*According to "Nourishing Traditions", "AIDS patients and others with compromised immune system function should consume 20-25 grams grams of lauric acid/day. Approximately 12 grams of lauric acid are contained in 2 TBS coconut oil or 3 TBS creamed coconut; 10 grams of lauric acid are contained in 1/2 C. canned whole coconut milk or 1/2 C. desiccated coconut meat.

 To get deeper details on anything I've spoken of here, I highly recommend, "Eat Fat, Lose Fat". You may order it at the top of the page, find it at the library, or purchase it through a book store or try eBay.

In the next post: "Coconut Oil: 10 More Ways It's Great!"
Upcoming post subjects: "Myth-Busters regarding Coconut's Supposed Evils", "How to get Milk from Your Coconut", "Coconut Sources".

    Thursday, May 26, 2011

    Getting to the Nitty-Gritty: What, exactly, ARE Trans Fatty Acids??

    I know I went about this a little ackbasswards, but some of you aren't really that interested in scientific principles and down and dirty details, so I saved them for last. It is my hope that you have already read my last posts on Fat Facts: "How to Avoid Trans Fats", "The Dangers of Trans Fats", "How Margarines and Shortenings are Made", and "A Week of Fat Facts".

    When I spoke yesterday of the term, "partially hydrogenated", I was speaking of the process that creates trans fatty acid fat molecules. This process rearranges hydrogen atoms in unsaturated fats, creating a 'fake fat' that becomes solid at room temperature.

    About now, I could get into a lot of scientific jargon about molecules and atoms, cell membranes and things like the 'cis configuration' and electron clouds. I have a feeling you're about as interested in that as I am. BUT if you happen to be MORE interested in this sort of thing than I am, you can click here to find more of this type of jargon. I intend to simplify what is found there... 
    As partial hydrogenation takes place, paired atoms are of the pair moves to the other side of the molecule. When this happens, a trans fatty acid is created. Believe it or not, even with the expense of processing, it costs less to use partially hydrogenated veggie oils for frying and making baked goods than it would cost to use natural, saturated fats such as butter, coconut oil, lard, palm oil or tallow.

    The nutshell? The last part of the last paragraph is THE reason why manufacturers use partially hydrogenated oils. It is THE reason why so much effort has gone into propaganda telling us some oils that aren't healthy for us are healthy for us. It is THE reason it took such a battle to shed light on the truth about trans fats in places like McDonald's. And boy, weren't we mad about that? And yet, there are those even now, who still fight against those lobbying for our health along these exact same lines. We were glad when McDonald's and others were made to reveal the truth, but we didn't know the truth was so big and now that it's IN OUR HOMES and in our favorite foods, we don't really want to know. We want to cover our eyes and our ears because it's just too much.

    Don't think for one second I don't get it. I do. I feel the same way sometimes, even now. I get tired of having to stand constant vigil over my doggone FOOD! And sometimes, I get tired of cooking. And sometimes, I get tired of eating my own cooking. Then, I hear someone sneeze and remember how I haven't been sick for a longer time than in past and recent years. Or one of you writes me and I remember that there are others out there with the same struggles and it somehow makes me feel a little stronger. So, I plug on. I hope you do, too. But if you slip... Don't fret. Don't fret. Don't fret! Get back up on the horse as soon as you feel able, and keep on riding. It's a worthwhile endeavor.

    I have barely hit the tip of the iceberg on the subject of fats here. I want to share a few links with you so you can study more deeply if you would like:

    The Great Con-ola

    Know Your Fats Introduction

    The Skinny on Fats

    Today and tomorrow mark the end of the school year for our two youngest grandchildren. Therefore, the full-time summer childcare begins for me. As many of you already know, we are also starting a new business in CPR/AED and First Aid training. I am honestly a little nervous about how we are going to manage both. And of course, my heart is here writing and sharing with you. Your prayers and patience will be much appreciated as we make our way through this transitional season of our lives. If you don't find me, know my thoughts are not far from here, even if my fingers are.

    Have a lovely remainder of the week. I'll do my best to be back next week...I really want to share the marvels of coconut with you.
    ~Many Blessings,

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    How to Avoid Trans Fats (cont. from 'A Week of Fat Facts')

    No trans fats here, folks! 

    If you haven't been keeping up, or if this is your first visit, you may want to look back to The Dangers of Trans Fats, How Margarines and Shortenings are Made, and A Week of Fat Facts before going any further. Also, I was away at a conference during the Week of Fat Facts and didn't post every day due to our intense schedule. That's the reason you'll see last week flow into this week.

    As promised, today I'll be sharing what I've learned about how to avoid trans fats. Current trends point us towards some "healthy" fats that aren't really healthy, while some fats given the reputation as "unhealthy" are actually very healthy and beneficial to our bodies. (I am personally so impressed with one of these latter fats that I will be dedicating an entire post to it at a later date.)

    So, let's get right to it.

    The only way to completely avoid trans fats is by shunning processed foods. That means a lot more food preparation at home in your own kitchen. For some, that's a major obstacle, but there are so many wise ladies out there that have met the challenge and consequently created cooking websites to help the rest of us make the journey with more ease...EVEN working-out-of-the-home moms.

    You know, I could kick myself for allowing others to imply to me that it's soooo much easier for me do this because I'm not 'working'. Um. Hello. It's the age-old balderdash, is it not? I work my BUTT off at home and happen to know at least a hundred others in my immediate circle who do the same. I fall into bed at night and crawl out in the morning...OFTEN. So, yes, it's 'easier' to do this because my work happens to be in the vicinity of my kitchen. But as far as time management and effort goes, there is little difference. Now, with starting a new home business, having my husband home 24-7, caring for four grandchildren at least part-time and as summer ensues, full-time...I have constant interruptions to the food preparation part of my day. For that matter, I have interruptions to the blogging research part of my day, the writing part of my day, the keeping in contact part of my day, the business part, the home-care part, and as I already said, most definitely, the food preparation part...should I go on? I think not. The point is, I have been on both sides of the working mom road, so I do know of what I speak.  I'll share a few links to those who have helped me much in this food journey before I close today.

    The reason we have to get the processed foods out in order to get the trans fats out is because trans fats are in all of them. In our home, we chose those items we believe are at the top of the list to rid ourselves of and went slowly from there. It is difficult and I still have some of these items in my fridge or on my shelves mainly because I am not a world unto myself. I care for children who are not used to sourdough breads, home-made crackers and probiotic 'soda'. I have had to make choices, some of them quite difficult. For the most part, we have rid ourselves of commercially made cakes, snacks, crackers, breads, salad dressings and oils, margarines and oil blends.

    We discovered that foods labeled 'partially hydrogenated' contain trans fats, so we avoid them. Yes, we have become label readers and I will admit, sometimes I don't want to read the label of something that looks especially appetizing because I am usually correct in my belief that it houses something partially hydrogenated. To make matters worse, when you have mono- and di-glycerides, or deodorized vegetable oils, like canola oil, there is no labeling to alert you to the small amounts of partially hydrogenated oil contained within.

    This is the reason for cooking yourself and knowing what's going into your food. Saturated fats that are given the 'no-no' by today's food gurus are actually the best fats to use. But there are stipulations.

    When the Weston A. Price Foundation recommends fats such as butter, lard, tallow, goose fat, duck fat, palm oil and coconut oil for baking, they are recommending them with specific guidelines. When it comes to animal fats, which most of these are, it is important to note that fat holds toxins. Therefore, we want toxic-free animals. Therefore, we don't want animals raised by conventional methods, but instead, by the traditional methods of grazing. This means they should be grazing on grass that is pesticide-free and synthetic fertilizer-free as well. (According the documentary, "Food, Inc.", if a cow raised conventionally were allowed to graze on good, toxin-free grass for a week or two before slaughter, it would be cleansed of toxins.)

    No trans fats in this home-made mayo, either!
    There are also qualifiers for palm and coconut oils. These are to be expellar-pressed at low temperatures and preferably, not shipped from their native country for packaging, which allows for rancidity to occur. They should be 'unrefined', not 'refined', in order to maintain their maximum nutrient density.

    Olive oil is a great substitute for canola and other partially hydrogenated oils. And hopefully if you've been keeping up, you want to use butter instead of margarine or spreads. Even the spreads labeled, 'low trans', should be left alone because the vegetable oils from which they're made are highly processed and more often than not, contain several additives.Coconut oil is solid at room temperature until about 70 degrees. It works well in place of things like Crisco, but beware, the best is expensive. Well worth the expense, coconut oil has a multitude of benefits and may be used in just as many ways. I hope to write about that within the next week or two.

    Clean, creamy and edible tallow from pasture-grazed beef..
    In time, you will discover, if you don't already know, that butter and tallow do contain small amounts of trans fats. The good news here is that they are the natural kind and are not harmful.

    We don't go out to eat as often as we used to and when we do, we opt for non-fried the majority of the time as most restaurants fry in partially hydrogenated oils. I was pleased to find out that Five Guys uses peanut oil, however. It's not at the top of the best list, but it is an 'okay', of course if organic, and most likely not organic at Five Guys, but it is still a 'lesser evil'. And that's what a lot of eating is about. Learning the truth of what is best and choosing as often as possible, the lesser evil.

    In order to satisfy the sweet and hungry teeth of our grandchildren, I will sometimes make smoothies with fresh fruit and home-made yogurt. Because my adult children aren't real keen on our giving raw milk to our grandchildren, I pasteurize my raw milk in the process of yogurt-making but the culturing process does at least add the enzymes back in. When the kids want milk, we have to, (sigh), give them organic from the store. But at least it is without antibiotics and hormones. In our yogurt,  I use a culture that has three types of enzymes so we're getting the best for our buck. Also, raw milk has no antibiotics or hormones added. For sweetener, I use honey or real maple syrup. When the fruit is especially ripe, less sweetener is needed. They love yogurt with fruit, too. And sometimes, it's just fruit or just cheese. Two of our grandchildren love shredded feta.

    We have become used to our lack of processed foods here. So much so, that coming home after the Las Vegas conference was especially happy because I still had home-made yogurt in the fridge and healthy oils and meats to eat on hand. While we were away healthy eating was, forgive the pun, but...a crap shoot.

    It's nice to be home where the odds of good consumption are much less of a gamble. And one last word on that: When we eat well the majority of the time, our bodies can handle the off times much more easily. I was constantly aware of those around me, on planes, in airports, at conference tables, who sneezed and coughed and hacked. I can't say, like some of my more-seasoned traditional food friends, that it didn't concern me. No, what I must admit is that each sound of sickness brought forth by a neighbor brought forth a silent prayer from my heart...If I were a better Christian, I would be able to say here that I was praying for their recovery, but the truth is, I was asking for my and my husband's protection! But God was patient with my selfishness and we have been home now since Sunday night and neither of us is suffering a cold, even with the jet lag and fatigue that ensued after a 'three-time zones away' trip. I give Him the credit as well as our 'new way' of consumption...which we both believe He led us to in the first place.

    Here are some of the fine gals out there teaching us how to make traditional food preparation easier:

    The Healthy Home Economist
    The Nourishing Gourmet 

    Mom's Frugal

    Next Post:  Getting to The Nitty Gritty: What, Exactly, ARE Trans Fatty Acids?

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Fat Facts, (cont.) ~THE DANGERS OF TRANS FATS~

    Our butter...a NON trans fat!

    Back from our conference, I am so very happy to be home! As we endeavor to build our new business, (Land to Sea Health & Safety Training), I am fairly certain I will not be able to post as often as I, and you, are accustomed...But I will do my best to continue at a pace of at least twice a week. I truly hope it will be more often than that.

    Please do go back and read my past two posts about FAT FACTS before continuing here. They will help you understand today's post better. As I was at a conference when they were written, you may be happy to know they are shorter than my 'norm'-especially when I am attempting to explain something. Here are the links to those posts: A Week of Fat Facts
    How Margarines and Shortenings are Made

    And if you'd like to really dive in and study fats, check this page: Know Your Fats
    Here, you will find several articles that delve deeply into the matter of fats, trans fats and saturated plant and animal fats. Well worth your time to peruse the page.

    The Dangers of Trans Fats

    So, in a nutshell, other than the fact that margarines, shortenings, and many other adulterated trans fats are, well...adulterated and unnatural, what's the big deal? See below.

    There's the problem with CANCER. Trans fats inhibit enzymes used by our bodies...enzymes that protect against cancer. Many studies have shown trans fat consumption to be linked to an increase in cancer rates.

    Then we find that Type II DIABETES is triggered by trans fats. Why? Once again, it's the interference factor. Trans fatty acids block  insulin receptors within cells.

    Lpa (altherogenic lipoprotein-a) is raised when trans fats are consumed. This is a well-known factor in HEART DISEASE.

    So much of what we discuss in nutrient-dense eating is based on building the immune system. Trans fats interfere with B and  T cell functions. These cellular functions are necessary ingredients in the recipe of IMMUNE FUNCTION.  When they are blocked, immunity is weakened.

    Yet another area of interference involves FERTILITY AND REPRODUCTION. In male animals, trans fats have been shown to decrease testosterone levels and increase abnormal sperm. Enzymes needed for sexual hormone production are inhibited as well.

    The normal nutrient density of mother's milk is compromised when trans fats are consumed by the mother because trans fats decrease the fat content of the mother's milk. Trans fats interfere with neurological and visual development in infants and can cross via the mammary glands into mother's milk.

    Not only do trans fats harm infants, they can harm the fetus because they cross the placenta. The effects of trans fats on fetal DEVELOPMENT and GROWTH comes in the form of low birth weight and abnormal brain development. This happens because of the interference in the formation of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids.

    Even when caloric consumption is the same, it has been found that women consuming trans fats weigh more than women who don't. Trans fats contribute to OBESITY.

    Notice all the points where some form of the words 'interference' or 'inhibit' are used. When attempting to explain to another the problems of trans fats, it would seem safe to say that the basic problem lies in that of normal and essential bodily processes. Trans fats INTERFERE with those processes, creating immediate and future dangers and difficulties to our health.


    Wednesday, May 18, 2011


    I started to tell you EVERYTHING about the food on this trip, but it was getting so long and then my husband began to crunch pretzels IN MY EAR while I was trying to think and I realized that I'm really super-tired and this was getting too long before I even began to write about fat...So, let's get to the facts:

    Today: How Margarines and Shortenings are Made:
    All information comes from Weston A. Price documentation.

    The cheapest vegetable oils come from canola, corn, cottonseed, soybeans and safflower seeds. These oils cost less for manufacturers to make, so they want us to want them. One great way is to push them as 'healthy'. But remember, just because the product has 'vegetable' in the label does not mean it's good for us...although there is an immediate subconscious trigger that tells us otherwise. The oils used to make margaines and shortenings are extracted at high temperatures which destroy any good they may have started with and cause rancidity.

    Because this extraction doesn't completely squeeze all the oil from one of these bases, it is then further extracted using a carcinogenic solvent called 'hexane'. (This gives a whole 'nother meaning to "Good to the last drop!"-Ugh!)

    Then the rancid oils are steam cleaned for the first time, destroying the vitamins and antioxidants that just might have survived and making the vegetable part of vegetable totally non-vegetable. Oh yeah...and the pesticides/solvents that are in these non-organic grains? They are still there.

    Then, for good measure, ground nickel is mixed in. I'm sure there's a reason, but I don't know what it is...I think it has something to do with thickening.

    The oils are then placed in a reactor. There, hydrogen gas infuses them via another process using high temps and pressure. This process actually molecularly rearranges the oil and now it's not an oil but a lumpy grey semi-solid that stinks to high heaven.

    So, it's washed. In a soap-like emulsifier. This also removes the lumps.

    But it still stinks so they steam clean it again.

    Now that the chemically caused odor is removed, it's time to bleach it because although the lumps and the stink are gone, it's still grey. at least it looks a little better, yes?

    Time to add the artificial flavors and the synthetic vitamins. (Vitamins D, A, K, and E are toxic in synthetic form.)

    And don't forget the yellow food coloring to make margarine look like...butter?? And get this, they MUST add 'natural'* yellow coloring because 'synthetic' is disallowed. Laugh. Out. Loud.

    Nothing left to do now but the packaging...Be sure to promote it to the world as a health food! And for extra good measure, demonize the real deal- butter.

    I was delighted, by the way, to find REAL BUTTER today for use on our Las Vegas HEALTH seminar pastries that were the ONLY food offered at breakfast. We are here for a HEALTH seminar. God help us. I nearly grabbed 2 packets of butter to eat without anything else. :0/

    *By the way, DID YOU KNOW that the word 'natural' is only very slightly regulated? Even MSG can be in 'natural flavorings' legally! The only requirement is that it NOT be more than 50% of the 'natural' flavoring. Don't let labels fool ya! Most manufacturers are totally aware of the loop holes and use them to the nth degree.

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    A Week of Fat Facts

    My body and mind are whacked-out tonight due to jet lag. So, while I should be catching up on my sleep, I am instead, wide awake. My husband is resting peacefully on the hotel room's sofa and I have a little time to talk with of my favorite things to do.

    I decided, after worrying myself over how to eat well this week while away from home, that writing about trans-fats while I'm here will help me stay on track a little better. (It's amazing how easy it is to fall back into old habits.)

    I have talked about butter being good for us -not just comparatively better than margarine or other spreads, but actually, good. I've also spoken of cod liver oil as a superfood, the goodness of coconut oil, (which I want to explore more deeply at another time), and the greatness of raw milk and raw milk products including kefir and cream cheese. So, if you've been following, you most likely have surmised by now that I am not at odds with all fats. And contrary to popular trends, I am not at odds with unadulterated saturated fats, either.

    But to get to the point of discussing that, I need to first delve more deeply into the subject of trans-fats.  I talked to a dear lady on the plane today and she is so interested in healthful eating, as so many of us are. But there is so much misinformation out there! I don't think any of us has everything just right, not even the Weston A. Price Foundation....Not because I've found errors in their science, but because I don't believe anyone but God knows everything about everything. STILL, I am convinced in this area of trans-fats. It didn't take The Price Foundation to get me to believe this, either... and yet, in a way, it did.

    When I came upon the WAPF, I already knew trans-fats were bad...but I didn't really know why. I had a surface knowledge and you probably did/do, too. But how did that knowledge, hidden for so long, come to the place where it became nearly common knowledge? I personally believe it was because of people like Sally Fallon Morrell and other leaders within the WAP Foundation, that this knowledge has come to us. They lobby in DC and follow Weston Price's mandate to TEACH the truth about nutrition. Even now, they continue to battle for disclosure in labeling our food products and correction of daily food requirements as set forth on the food pyramid. It is an uphill battle and those who don't want to disclose their ingredients push back hard. But that's for another day...or maybe not even then.

    I stated earlier that although I knew trans-fats were bad, I didn't know why. With the help of Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, I understand it better now.

    In the years when trans fats were introduced to us, they were touted as better for us than butter. Women by the millions began to fill their refrigerators with the near-plastic substance in an honest effort to keep themselves and their families slim and heart-healthy. Unfortunately, although it's great that it is now being admitted that trans fats are bad for us, the problem of the first untruth remains without remedy. The statement you will often hear now is that trans fats are "just as bad as saturated fats", (from butter, meat fats and tropical oils). The not-so-subtle implication is that saturated fats are bad for us. Therefore, the misconception about saturated fat continues to chip away at our health.

    Today, I will hone in on the difference between trans fats and saturated fats so you can understand as I came to understand, why they should never be categorized together:

              Saturated fats...
    • have a strong and important role in body chemistry.
    • lower Lp(a)...meaning they lessen the chances of heart disease.
    • boost immunity.
    • enhance assimilation of Omega-3 fatty acids
    • aid in proper lung function
    • boosts metabolism & help with weight loss (some types)
    • (butter and meat fats) promote fertility, protect and fight against cancer
              Trans fats...
    • hinder body chemistry
    • raise Lp(a)...meaning they increase the chances of heart disease.
    • interfere with the functions of the immune system.
    • hinder assimilation of Omega-3 fatty acids
    • are often associated with increases in asthma
    • cause weight gain
    • decrease fertility and promote cancer
    Wrap your head around that for a while and I'll get back here asap to give you more of the story.

    ~Many blessings!

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    Saturday Summary...One Crazy Week!

    It's been a crazy week around here as we continue our transition from my husband's corporate job to our business, Land to Sea Health and Safety, LLC, where we'll be training in CPR/AED and First Aid for adults, infants and children. We are getting close to the line of readiness and this week, many loose ends have been tied up. But the work for both of us has been nearly non-stop.

    A pearl of great value. Or at least, that's what we're banking on.

    So, you can see why I didn't post in the exact manner as usual this week. Nothing around here was usual this week! Or last week, for that matter. In fact, I think it's quite possible that we are embarking upon a new definition of 'normal' in our household.

    We will be training on the business aspects, in particular, of our new endeavor this coming week, so I want to ask you now to be patient with me then. I will have my computer with me at the seminar, but I have no idea how much time I will be able to sit to it. It may be a 'catch-as-catch-can' week...Will you bear with me?

    Here are this week's posts if you're thinking of catching up. Hmm...Now that I think of it, if YOU are behind, you may want to spread the articles out over the next week...Just a thought. :)

    Hope your week-end is full of good things!


    Monday: Dr. Mark Haynes' "7 Secrets to Health"

    Tuesday: The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen- 2011 Update

    Wednesday: "Acerola Powder: Vitamin C..."

    Thursday: "...Go Barefoot!"

    Friday: "Can Cavities Be Healed?...I Would Have Bet Not...BUT..."

    Friday, May 13, 2011

    Can Cavities Be Healed? I Would Have Bet Not...BUT...

    Okay, so it does make sense that if a bone can heal from a break that a tooth can heal from a hole. But I just never considered it. Really, never. And since I'm among the newer of the Weston A. Price 'fans', I hadn't yet put together the ideas presented by him about cavities...Incredible stuff!

    So, when I came across this personal testimony just yesterday from one of my favorite bloggers, "The Healthy Home Economist", well you know, I just had to share it. I wrote her and let her know her story's the whole of my blog today...

    Once more, I ask that you click, read and be amazed!

    How I Healed My Child's Cavity

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    Superfood Wednesday: Acerola Powder - Natural C with Bonuses

    I know. We've been told you can't get too much vitamin C. I, personally, 'drown' myself in C tablets, C tea, C lozenges, and C foods whenever I think I'm getting cold symptoms. What can it hurt? It helps heal wounds, keeps our bones healthy, and forms muscles, blood vessels, skin and collagen.  According to the 'Superfoods Index' in Nourishing Traditions, Vitamin C is the most important dietary antioxidant. So, isn't more better?

    Vitamin C comes to us through ascorbic acid, but unfortunately, our kidneys are susceptible to damage from too much. It also can cause a deficit of bioflavinoids, which are needed to help our bodies assimilate the vitamin C.  Great. I didn't know that. Linus Pauling is credited with recommending up to 15 grams daily of pure ascorbic acid for an array of illnesses, and indeed, large doses do combat much of 'what ails us'. But then, there are those pesky side effects. We need a 'fix' to our Vitamin C fix. And of course, the fix comes in a natural packaging of food.

    First, the immediate fix is in knowing that small amounts of C found in whole foods protect us as well as large amounts of ascorbic acid and offer no side effects in the process. Acerola Powder from the acerola berry, or 'cherry', offers not only Vitamin C, but the bioflavinoids previously discussed that are erased when we take large amounts of pure ascorbic acid. Inherent within the cherry are a number of other benefits as it contains anthocyanins. This bonus helps our bodies fight free radicals that cause cancer. It also helps lower heart disease risks, protects fetal brain tissue, helps with blood sugar regulation as well as obesity problems, is anti-inflammatory and even helps out in the area of memory.

    Can one overdo acerola? Yes. You don't just run out, buy the powder and drown yourself in it anymore than I should drown myself in other vitamin C sources. Acerola contains much greater amounts of vitamin C than the typical orange...I guess you could consider it a very highly concentrated orange, and too much can cause problems. Follow your natureopathic or medical doctor's recommendation regarding dosage and be sure to alert them as to what other medications you may be taking. Acerola can interfere with the work of estrogens, (like birth control), and cause false negatives in some tests. One type of acerola cherry, when the cherries themselves are eaten, has caused intestinal inflammation and obstruction in children. Do note that this is only one of the three types of acerola cherry and that it is when eaten as a berry. has additional information on the benefits of acerola as well as the possible side effects from over-consumption.

    A good source for quality acerola powder is Radiant Life.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    The Dirty Dozen & Clean 15, 2011: EZ Pesticide Reduction

    One way to be sure it's pesticide-free?
    Grow your own!
    This is "Joi choy".
    You don't really mind if I go a bit out of the box today, do you? I know I have been reserving Tuesday for book reviews, and there is one I am reviewing now to share with you...but today, I'd really like to pass on some information you most likely will need right now, before diving into U-Pick Farms and the delectable aisles of spring and summer produce at the grocery store.

    I have good news, bad news, and great news. I'll start with the great news: You don't always have to buy organic to be pesticide-safe. Did I just hear your bank account breathe a sigh of relief?

    We have all lived with pesticides for so long that some roll their eyes as if to say, "Not THAT subject again!" But the truth is, pesticides have become stronger due to resistant pests and some of the foods we eat are even genetically modified, using pesticides, in greater and greater amounts for the same reason. (America's two greatest crops that are genetically modified are soybeans and corn.) We will tackle the extensive subject of GMO's at a later date, but if you're curious, check out the "Fresh, Inc." tab at the top of this page. Then, get the video and watch it. This documentary has been described as 'dark' because the information held within is not totally happy information. I would prefer to describe it as 'light' because of the revelation knowledge it shares regarding American food sources. It is valuable information that will spur the most reluctant among us into action, even if only within our own household.

    We have people working for consumer safety and the Environmental Working Group is one of our strongest advocates. For eight years, the EWG gathered information from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, (nearly 89,000 tests), pertaining to pesticide residue on fruits and vegetables. Their full list of 49 fruits and vegetables tested, as well as further details, can be found here.

    Don't be lured into a sense of false security by the word 'residue'. Just because it's residual doesn't mean it's not dangerous. Today's scientists agree that infants, children, and fetuses are especially harmed by pesticide/chemical  residue. The damage can be permanent. Therefore, they advise we downsize pesticide consumption. I'm good with that. How about you?

    Unfortunately, as innocents push to fortify health via the route of five fruits and veggies each day, they may be consuming more harm than good. The EWG has determined that if this consumption comes from the foods on the "Dirty Dozen" (most contaminated), list, we are including on average, 10 pesticides each day. Everything on the "Dirty Dozen" list tested positively for at least 47 chemicals, and at most 67 chemicals. Some have dubbed eating non-organic foods from this list as consuming a 'chemical cocktail'. Good analogy. However, if we consume foods, (they don't have to be organic), from the "Clean Fifteen" (least contaminated) list, we eat less than 2 pesticides each day, or reduce pesticide intake over the chemically charged varieties by up to 80 percent.

    You may be, as I am, using a special rinse for your veggies, and that's not bad. But unfortunately, rinsing doesn't get rid of all the pesticides. Many of us already realize that pesticides reside mostly on the skins of our fruits and veggies, and so we peel what we can to eliminate that problem. Unfortunately, as we skim the skin, we skim nutrient-density as well, and finances spent on feeding our family well land in the trash along with our peelings. (The information gathered by the EWG was gathered from produce after it was either washed, rinsed or peeled.)

    If you can't buy organic, but must have that food on the 'dirty' list, then by all means, wash, rinse or peel it in order to reduce pesticide intake. Every little thing we do helps our health. Because organics cost more, downsize the price by buying in season and locally. You'll help your budget and the local economy.

    The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Lists for 2011 
    1. Celery
    2. Peaches
    3. Strawberries
    4. Apples
    5. Domestic blueberries
    6. Nectarines
    7. Sweet bell peppers
    8. Spinach, kale and collard greens
    9. Cherries
    10. Potatoes
    11. Imported grapes
    12. Lettuce
    The Clean Fifteen
    1. Onions
    2. Avocados
    3. Sweet corn
    4. Pineapples
    5. Mango
    6. Sweet peas
    7. Asparagus
    8. Kiwi fruit
    9. Cabbage
    10. Eggplant
    11. Cantaloupe
    12. Watermelon
    13. Grapefruit
    14. Sweet potatoes
    15. Sweet onions
    Copy or print the list and carry it in your wallet for easy grocery reference.

    It's the time of year when we love to go to U-pick farms. A word of caution. Ask before you pick. Unfortunately, berries are defenseless when it comes to pesticides. To my current knowledge, Cullipher Farm in Pungo, VA is the only Virginia strawberry-picking farm offering pesticide-free strawberries. That doesn't mean other farms in VA are all laced with pesticides, however. ASK. 

    There is a growing resistance among small farmers in regard to being 'certified organic'. These farmers have opted out of government certification for organically produced foods, not because they are non-organic, (most have higher standards than the government when it comes to pure food), but because the process of becoming certified organic through our government is lengthy, costly (and that cost is passed on to the consumer), and the government regulates so many of the ins and outs of their business. Farmers I know and have spoken with at length who have 'opted out' have open-farm policies, allowing anyone to visit and watch how they conduct business. They use compost teas for fertilization and organic means of pesticide riddance. They are innovative and passionate about cleaning up our food. They often use creative approaches that would be fraught with red-tape hassles if they had to wait for government approval. And none of those approaches bring harm to the consumer.

    On the other hand, when seeking organics in the supermarket, the organic certification label is of prime importance.

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    Dr. Mark Haynes, DC: The 7 Secrets to Health and Better Healing

    In our continuing journey towards better health, my husband and I were happy to accept an invite to a presentation given by Dr. Mark Haynes, DC, (doctor of chiropractic). We were fortunate that the event took place at Five Points Community Farm Market in Norfolk, VA because we were fed wonderful, healthy and whole, pesticide-, antibiotic- and hormone-free foods by the fabulous cooking staff at the cafe there. (And you should really click on that link because you're going to see some surprises on the price list!)

    But beyond the food, we found and heard a caring chiropractor who treats patients like family. Dr. Haynes gets choked up relating the story of a woman left without hope by modern medicine, who quickly regained full health using the 'alternative' medicine of chiropractic with a congruent change in lifestyle practices. While admittedly beyond the norm in regard to recovery time, she is not beyond the norm in regard to the effective works of a caring chiropractic.

    We spoke with Dr. Haynes after the presentation and asked if I might use some of his information in this post. He could have said, "No, I would really prefer that people come to my presentations." But he didn't. He could have told me I could only use this or that part or phrase, but he didn't do that either. Instead, Dr. Haynes told me I could share his information in any way I deemed fit...and sent me the entire slide presentation!

    I am so excited to share his information...(those of you who've been around awhile know how excited I get about sharing good news)...and I feel everything he shared was important. So, I'm not only making it easy on myself today, I'm passing along a gift. Although without his presentation of the points, this may seem just a tad 'dry', I hope you will believe me when I tell you the passion with which it was delivered was far from that.

    Don't make the mistake of thinking all chiropractors have this same passion, because the unfortunate truth is that there are those who don't. Not all daycare workers want to care for children. Not all plumbers want to care for plumbing. Not all doctors want to doctor. But when we need a service and find those who have a passion for offering that service, we feel we've hit a gold mine. When you decide chiropractic is for you, be choosy, do your homework and look before you leap. Interviewing the doctor is just as important as them interviewing you.

    Read, learn, and be inspired to make changes that count. We are. Although we have made many changes in our eating habits over the past year, and in other areas as well, including re-adjusting some of our thinking, we haven't done so well in the exercise area. We have renewed an old commitment, and started walking so the nutrition we are working hard to maintain can be processed into optimum energy for our bodies. Now, if we can just maintain that commitment!

    We are also getting our spines checked this week.

    ~Many Blessings,

    When you click the link below, it will take you to the slide presentation. You will see arrows at the bottom left. Click on the right-hand arrow to take yourself through the slides at your own pace.

    The 7 Secrets to Health and Better Healing 

    And one last word of free advice passed on to us via Dr. Haynes: Cullipher Farm in Pungo is family owned and the ONLY organic U-Pick strawberry farm in Virginia. Strawberries, by the way, are 3rd on the 'dirty dozen' list, a list that tells the 12 fruits/veggies that need to be purchased organically due to consistently testing for the highest amounts of pesticides.

    Sunday, May 8, 2011

    Sunday Funnies

    A big-city lawyer was representing the railroad in a lawsuit filed by an old rancher. The rancher's prize bull was missing from the section through which the railroad passed. The rancher only wanted to be paid the fair value of the bull. 

    The case was scheduled to be tried before the justice of the peace in the back room of the general store. 

    The attorney for the railroad immediately cornered the rancher and tried to get him to settle out of court. The lawyer did his best selling job, and finally the rancher agreed to take half of what he was asking. 

    After the rancher had signed the release and took the check, the young lawyer couldn't resist gloating a little over his success, telling the rancher, "You know, I hate to tell you this, old man, but I put one over on you in there. I couldn't have won the case. The engineer was asleep and the fireman was in the caboose when the train went through your ranch that morning. I didn't have one witness to put on the stand. I bluffed you!" 

    The old rancher replied, "Well, I'll tell you, young feller, I was a little worried about winning that case myself, because that durned bull came home this morning." 

    Saturday, May 7, 2011

    Saturday Summary...Have Time to Catch Up?

    You can congratulate me...or maybe better, my husband. He just finished training me, (not the world's best closed-mouth student), in First Aid after re-training and re-certifying me in CPR/AED. The whole process took several days because of little interruptions, and I earned a pulled back muscle as a prize...but at last it's done AND I passed the tests with no misses! Yay! Next I train in Wilderness First Aid and as an instructor...Then off to 'boot camp' in Vegas.

    We are in a major transition in our lives. I think it's a good one. I'm expecting it to be a good one. But you know how transitions are. Sometimes you'd rather just cut to the chase and forget all the adjustments that naturally come along with transitioning.

    I want you, dear readers, to be aware of this because I just can't promise that I will be super-consistent with posting. Oh, I want to be, believe me! I have such a passion for 'revelation living'! (Re-adjusting thinking and living according to what is being or has long been revealed as truth in our spiritual, food/diet, health/medical and eco- systems.) It's what the world calls 'holistic', but for us, it's just realizing that being who we claim to be as followers of Christ, is less about going to church on Sunday and more about how we live out our claims in every other corner of our existence.

    I fail more than I want you to know. But I haven't quit yet. I have quit some things, some thought patterns, some activities, and even some wishes and dreams. But I haven't quit Jesus. I hope I never do.

    It's not the easy road, that's for sure, but for whatever reason, we've never quite gotten our feet used to that path. Seems like we're always traveling the road a little less traveled. Sometimes I wish it weren't so-I think sometimes folks feel threatened by people like us and that can make us have to work extra hard to show that we LOVE them. We do not condemn those who eat differently, don't like chickens, forget their reusable bags at the grocers...No, we don't and never will. (I can't help but wish that worked both ways, though.)

    We do get angry at those who know the truth, make money from the lies and propaganda, have the power to fix it-stop it even-and won't.  Oh, well, we've tried doing things 'normally', but it just never quite works out. We're too old now to keep asking what's wrong with us, and I believe we've learned to just do what we believe God's showing us to do. I know that can sound a little weak in the face of all those who have hurt others with the excuse that God told them to, and I'm certainly not here to debate about that... Oh, I grow so weary of such useless discussions...Can we not find ground on which we can all love one another? I mean it. It is the most wonderful and yet hardest of all things, this loving truly. We really want to, don't we? But we all fall short. In my beliefs, no...convictions, it is here that I fall heavily upon God's grace and thank Him much for it.

    I am grateful, at least, that we are kindred spirits, my dear Jim and I. I knew nearly from the start of our knowing one another, before I even knew Jesus, that Jim and I were meant for one another-that he was a precious gift to me, one I never deserved. He says the same of me. But I'm more right in this than he is.

    Okay, I know you didn't come here expecting to hear that...Believe me, I didn't come here expecting to write it!

    If you still want to catch up to this week's posts, have at it:

    Sunday Funnies: German Shepard, Panther & Squirrel

    Sail-Away Monday: Making Sweet Cream, Cultured, Honey and Herb Butters

    Tuesday Book Review: "The Lost Art of Real Cooking"

    Super Food Wednesday: Bee Pollen and Amalaki to Beat Allergies

    Eye-Opener Thursday: Soy, Sex, What Next? Learn, Laugh and Love Better with Dr. Kaayla Daniel

    Sustainable Friday: Little Things Mean a Lot

    Happy Reading and Many Blessings!   ~xoxo~

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    Sustainable Friday: Little Things Mean a Lot

    A simple string hung from side-to-side above our sink area
    is working as a bag reusing 'station'.
    There are the bigger things, like raising backyard chickens, and then, there are the little things that add up to something bigger.

    Plastics made their debut all the way back in 1862. In the beginning, plastic was organic. Yes. Then someone wanted to make something instead of ivory for billiard balls, added camphor from the laurel tree. Still not so bad. But as time progressed, science added synthetic chemicals, then more, then more...anyway, you pretty much know where we are now, but if you want more information on the history of plastics, look here.

    I will save the discussion of chemical concerns in plastics for another day...but today I want to focus on cutting back on it's use. And there are some very simple ways we can all help lessen the load on dumps, save the soil, and save more than a little pocket change in the process.

    Ready? Let's begin.

    Save your baggies. Wash them well with soapy water and hang 'em to dry. Use them again. Wash them well, hang 'em, use again. See? Some sustainability practices really are just that easy.

    Another way to help is by cutting back on eating processed foods and make some of the easier things at home, storing them in glass storage containers, (even Rubbermaid is making them now!)...or as I and many of my friends do, in canning jars. Okay, not quite as easy as saving baggies, I know, but if you're ready to take a bigger step...  Our trash can used to overflow by the time trash day came. Now, it's rarely full. We don't realize just how much we use until we make some changes. It really surprised us.

    And bringing us back to the bags...little sandwich bags aren't the only plastics we can be more careful about. It seems all the grocers across America are getting some free advertisement by stamping their name on reusable shopping bags. Many chains now have a recycling bin in their stores for returned plastic shopping bags as well. The most difficult thing for me in this has been my memory. I buy the bags, use them for my groceries, hang them up until the next trip and repeatedly walk out of the house without them. Ugh! Makes me really mad at myself when I get to the cashier. But my repeated failings in this area are slowly training me to do better and hopefully, it will be a simple habit before much longer. In the meantime, I have some really pretty bags and some really cool ones, (Trader Joe's has a retro surfboard scene I love), for carrying things to friends and family, as well as for beach and picnic trips. I don't have any problem remembering to use them for things like's just that taking an empty bag out to the car is foreign to me.

    Speaking of foreign, an English friend of mine was pointing out to me recently that we Americans are so wasteful. She said that to us, it's such a novelty to take a bag to the store, but in England, they look at you like you're crazy if you don't because taking your own bags to market is a matter of course.

    There is a lot of controversy about recycling plastics. It's so difficult to distinguish between this right guy and that right guy...So, I think the best answer is to reduce and reuse as much as possible before recycling.

    Reduce by using less processed foods, by carrying your own bags, and when you don't, by saying, 'No, thanks" to bags that carry things you're getting ready to use, eat or put in your pocket, by watching the baggers and asking that they put more in bags rather than less, and by telling them they don't need to bag the big, carry-able items, like the laundry detergent bottle.

    Reuse by, well, by reusing. Be creative and don't be ashamed to use a shopping bag in your small trash cans or as a lunch tote. We've used them to stuff between breakables in transit. I've even used them to give to the grandkids to carry their own 'set of supplies' to the beach or park. And they're wonderful take-alongs in the car trunk. Use them to protect car seats from wet bathing suits when leaving the beach. Or to carry wet bathing suits and sandy shoes. I know I'm honing in on summer activities, but it's getting really warm around my area. Still you get the idea...What about baggies for airplane trips? ...They want to be able to SEE your cosmetics now, you know. You could go to the drugstore and buy another plastic bag for five bucks or more, or you could spend zilch by reusing what you already have.

    It's the little things and I do know we all know it already. We just have to train ourselves to do it. I helped create the problem. As with most, I just didn't consider the problems I was helping to create. I'm still far from 'there', if there even is a 'there'. But I'm starting to do little things. All I really have to do to work up some incentive is look at and consider the futures of my grandchildren. That's reason enough for me.

    Thursday, May 5, 2011

    Soy & Sex-What Next? Learn, Laugh & Love Better with Dr. Kaayla Daniel

    I know I have written recently about the dangers of soy, but Dr. Kaayla Daniels with her extensive knowledge and ability to communicate, does it so much better than I, that I just have to point you in her direction. She does not lean towards 'preachiness' as I know I tend to do, (sorry about that), but especially in her writing, comes across with educational illustrations that will at times elicit true gut-laughter.

    In this video, Dr. Daniel, "The Naughty Nutritionist", is quite serious, but her writing portrays a lighter side as she uses humor, sometimes a little bit of naughty humor, to zing across the truth about what soy is doing to our babies, children, and our men & women's ability for intimacy, desire for intimacy, and even commitment levels. I am going to give several links, among them, links to her articles. These do not have profanity, but they do sometimes have suggestive phrases. It's not something you'll want to read aloud to your children, and yet, the Christian reader will surely see yet another tactic against the human race by the enemy of our souls. The non-Christian may not see that deeply or even agree, (and Dr. Daniels does not speak of this at all, it is my personal observation), but will still come away much enlightened about the detriments of soy...processed, non-fermented soy in particular. (Which is what we mostly find and in more foods than many of us realize.)

    If you don't know of Dr. Kaayla Daniel, PhD, CCN, and comedienne/entertainer/writer extraordinaire, hang on to your hats...or maybe I should say, knickers. I don't think I could ever bring attention to the problem of soy to the extent this lady does...and from a SOLID base. Here's her bio, and you won't hurt my feelings if you just want to dance around her website for a while...Just remember who sent ya!

    Dr. Daniel's book, The Whole Soy Story, has won the global accolades of  medical doctors, nutritionists and scientists who know she speaks the truth. See more about it here.

    ...And her 'Rated PG' articles here. (My rating.)

    Dr. Daniels is now on World of Women Radio as 'The Naughty Nutritionist'.

    See my other, more extensive post about soy: Soy, Babies and Beyond.

    ~Happy ...
    ...Oh, well, guess we'll just leave it at that... ;)