Tag Archives: coconut oil

Coconut oil: Healthful or unhealthful? – MNT

Coconut oil has been all the rage for some time. Endorsed by a number of celebrities as a superfood, this tropical-smelling fat — often liberally applied to our skin and scalps — is a favorite of many. But the question remains: is it healthful or not?

Fat suffered a bad reputation for a long time and we were told to opt for low-fat options instead. But the tides turned eventually, prompting us to see fats in a new light.

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Our lives became simpler. We learned how to avoid bad (saturated and hydrogenated) fats and eat good (unsaturated) ones to keep our tickers and arteries healthy.

Then the humble coconut came along in 2003, and the waters were once again muddied. Seen by some as a superfood but recently labeled by the American Heart Association (AHA) as part of the pool of unhealthful fats, the controversy goes on.

So, what are the scientific facts behind the coconut oil hype, and what are the latest developments?

Secret ingredient: ‘Medium-chain’ fatty acids

Many of the purported health claims surrounding coconut oil stem from research published in 2003 by Marie-Pierre St-Onge, Ph.D. — a professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University in New York City, NY. Continue reading

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Filed under cholesterol, coconut oil, HDL Cholesterol, high cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol, medium chain fatty acids

Celebrate National Popcorn Day

I am a big fan of popcorn. It is a great snack that can be prepared in a healthy way. I avoid microwave popcorn like the plague.

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I recommend buying regular popcorn and popping it in coconut oil with a simple salt flavoring. There are a number of flavored salts available which I don’t use, but aren’t harmful to you like what you get from a microwave.

Wikipedia says, “Corn was first domesticated 9,000 years ago in what is now Mexico.[3]Archaeologists discovered that people have known about popcorn for thousands of years. In Mexico, for example, remnants of popcorn have been found that date to around 3600 BC.[4] Continue reading

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My Guilty Pleasure – Updated

I wrote about this guilty pleasure over a  year ago and have since tweaked it and, in fact, don’t indulge in it anymore in its original form. Why repeat it? Because it is still delicious and I recommend trying it for yourself.  Also, I have included the tweak for you to try.

I haven’t written a Mr. Lazy Cook post in a long time, so I thought I might get around to one. For the most part Lazy Cook posts have been simple, delicious and highly nutritious meals. This one not so much.

I happened upon this sandwich one day almost by accident. You know how creative people always say that they saw the idea elsewhere and simply improvised on it? Well, that’s what I did.

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A little history here. A hundred years ago, it seems, I was working at Reuters in the Chicago Board of Trade building. It was high pressure on the news desk and we welcomed our breaks which were often too few and too short. One of our favorite mid-morning things was to send someone across the street to a little diner and order a couple of their wonderful fried egg sandwiches. What made them so wonderful? Well, some culinary genius in the diner decided that instead of a mundane bread or toast on the egg sandwich he would substitute cinnamon raisin bread. In addition, he topped off the sandwich with melted cheese and bacon. So, it was ended up being a grilled cheese, bacon and egg sandwich on cinnamon raisin toast. My mouth is watering just remembering it. By the way, I make no claim as to the nutritional value of this creation, only its flavor. In fact, I was bumping up against the 175 pound level in those days. Continue reading

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Filed under coconut oil, lazy cook, Peanut Butter, Snacking

4 Ways to eat your way to lower cholesterol – Harvard

Following is one of those helpful email I get from Harvard from time to time. I thought you might find it interesting.

Many people can reduce cholesterol levels simply by changing what they eat. For example, if you are a fan of cheeseburgers, eating less meat (and leaner cuts) and more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains can lower your total cholesterol by 25% or more. Cutting back on saturated fat (found in meat and dairy products) and trans fat (partially hydrogenated oils) can reduce cholesterol by 5% to 10%.

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Here are four steps for using your diet to lower your cholesterol.

Stick with unsaturated fats and avoid saturated and trans fats. Most vegetable fats (oils) are made up of unsaturated fats that are healthy for your heart. Foods that contain healthy fats include oily fish, nuts, seeds, and some vegetables. At the same time, limit your intake of foods high in saturated fat, which is found in many meat and dairy products, and stay away from trans fats. These include any foods made with “partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.”

Get more soluble fiber. Eat more soluble fiber, such as that found in oatmeal and fruits. This type of fiber can lower blood cholesterol levels when eaten as part of a healthy-fat diet. Continue reading

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10 Health benefits of coconut water

The coconut tree must be one of the healthiest plants on the earth. I am such a believer in coconut oil that I have a Page – Coconut oil – Why you should include it in your diet devoted to it. Seems that coconut water also conveys health benefits. I use some of this every morning in my breakfast smoothie.

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Tony

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Low-fat diets – a failed experiment – Harvard

I have written numerous times about the nutritional benefits of coconut oil. For starters you can check my Page – Coconut Oil – Why you should include it in your diet. But that is just coconut oil – a saturated fat – but only one kind of fat.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health nutrition expert David Ludwig says that the low-fat diet remains “deeply embedded in public consciousness and food policy.” Recent research suggests that eating a low-fat/high-carbohydrate diet—which Americans were advised to do for about 40 years—is not a good idea.

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In an October 6, 2016 CNN.com article, Ludwig, professor in the Department of Nutrition, wrote that longstanding recommendations about avoiding dietary fat—from the government and all major professional nutrition associations—were based on limited scientific evidence. Experts who touted a low-fat diet said it would help people stay lean and healthy. But, instead, rates of obesity and diabetes surged.

Experts now say that not all fats are bad—in fact, some are healthy and important in a balanced diet. Several recent studies found that high-fat diets actually produce greater weight loss than low-fat diets. And while the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans have now lifted the limit on dietary fat, “you’d never know it, because a full accounting of this failed experiment has not been made,” Ludwig wrote. He called for a rigorous examination of “the low-fat diet debacle” and for more government funding to test new ideas in nutrition.

Read the CNN.com article: Doctor: Low-fat diets stuffed with misconceptions.

As I have said previously, living a healthy life and eating intelligently is the answer, not fad diets that don’t work and often throw your body out of balance.

Tony

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Filed under fat, healthy fats, low fat diet, saturated fat

The Worst Breakfast is No Breakfast

There are lots of good ideas here. I know that in the hustle and bustle of working (career or school) folks are sometimes willing to skimp on breakfast. This shows why it is a big mistake.

I did have one small quibble with the general statement on healthy fats. I am a giant believer in coconut oil, a saturated fat. Check out my Page – Coconut oil – Why you should include it in your diet. I start every morning with a spoonful of peanut butter dipped in coconut oil. I eat it; I love it; I recommend it.

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I couldn’t resist sharing this.

Tony

Athletic Performance Training Center

Breakfast[1]I always enjoy traveling to different schools and organizations to discuss Strength & Conditioning, Speed & Agility, and Nutrition.  Invariably, when discussing nutrition, we touch upon the importance of breakfast.  When I tell the audience that any breakfast is better than no breakfast, I usually get a few sarcastic responses like, “what about donuts?” or some other sweets or junk food.  Although I differentiate between a healthy, nutritious breakfast and a less sensible option, the point is this:  Eat something — anything — within 30-90 minutes of waking.  It will set the tone for the rest of your day.  It’s not that the quality of what you eat is unimportant, but the benefits of eating breakfast are indisputable:

  • Improves physical and mental health
  • Improves behavior and performance
  • Kick-starts your metabolism
  • Improves your mood
  • Boosts your energy level
  • Helps to minimize daytime hunger

Like any other meal or snack, the…

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5 Top anti-aging foods – Infographic

Here are some good examples of the kind of fuel we should be using to get through the day. Regular readers know I am a total believer in the health benefits of coconut oil. I start everyday with a spoon full of peanut butter dipped in coconut oil. Wonderful fast energy source. Check out my Page – Coconut oil – Why you should include it in your diet for lots more information on its value.

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Last, but not least, don’t forget that the organic machine that you live in – your body – needs exercise every day. Not just good fuel.

Tony

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Foods for a Leaner Body – Infographic

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Some folks don’t advocate avocados because of calories and fat considerations. I think that is a mistake. Check out my post – Are avocados good for you for much more info.

Also, while olive oil is healthy, I prefer the much-maligned coconut oil. You can read my Page – Why you should include coconut oil in your diet to find out why.

Tony

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What About Emu Oil?

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

I stumbled across this strange substance while in the dog park. Despite the expression, “What happens in the dog park stays in the dog park,” I am going to share my experience  with you.

There was a Doberman that had the most beautiful coat I had ever seen on a dog. This dog’s coat epitomized the word lustrous. The Dobe just stood out from the other canines. I asked the owner what she used to produce such a gorgeous coat. She said that she rubbed it with emu oil.

Not recognizing the word, I asked her to spell it. E-M-U. Okay, when I got home I went to work on the computer and learned from the Maple Springs Website: “Emu oil comes from the rendered and refined fat of the emu bird. The emu is similar to an ostrich, a member of the ratite family. Most of…

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Why You Should Not Cut Fats From Your Diet

A little knowledge is dangerous. Cutting out fats from our diets because they are ‘bad’ is a perfect example of that.

Not all fats are bad, according to the American Heart Association.

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Proper dietary guidelines say that fully 30% of our daily food calories intake should be in the form of fats. Also, 30% should be protein and 40% carbohydrates. So, fat is equally as important to us as protein.

Granted there are good fats and bad fats. The good fats serve important functions in our bodies. Life Clinic says, “Fat is the body’s major energy storage system. When the energy from the food you eat and drink can’t be used by your body, the body may turn it into fat for later use. Your body uses fat from foods for energy, to cushion organs and bones, and to make hormones and regulate blood pressure. Some fat is also necessary to maintain healthy skin, hair and nails, so you shouldn’t cut all fat out of your diet.”
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My Guilty Pleasure

I haven’t written a Mr. Lazy Cook post in a long time, so I thought I might get around to one. For the most part Lazy Cook posts have been simple, delicious and highly nutritious meals. This one not so much.

I happened upon this sandwich one day almost by accident. You know how creative people always say that they saw the idea elsewhere and simply improvised on it? Well, that’s what I did.

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A little history here. A hundred years ago, it seems, I was working at Reuters in the Chicago Board of Trade building. It was high pressure on the news desk and we welcomed our breaks which were often too few and too short. One of our favorite mid-morning things was to send someone across the street to a little diner and order a couple of their wonderful fried egg sandwiches. What made them so wonderful? Well, some culinary genius in the diner decided that instead of a mundane bread or toast on the egg sandwich he would substitute cinnamon raisin bread. In addition, he topped off the sandwich with melted cheese and bacon. So, it was ended up being a grilled cheese, bacon and egg sandwich on cinnamon raisin toast. My mouth is watering just remembering it. By the way, I make no claim as to the nutritional value of this creation, only its flavor. In fact, I was bumping up against the 175 pound level in those days.

So that is the origin of my guilty pleasure.

Here is how my ‘creation’ came about. First of all, I love peanut butter. I start every morning with a spoon full of peanut butter dipped in coconut oil before I set off on my bike ride. First thing in the morning I like to get out on the bike as early as possible, so I just fuel up with that. That way I don’t have to stop for breakfast or hang up my body digesting when it should be driving the pedals on the bike. Often, before walking the dog at midday, I will stick a tablespoon into the peanut butter jar and take one for an energy snack.

So, my guilty pleasure starts with peanut butter.

Here it is on toasted cinnamon streusel bread

Here it is on toasted cinnamon streusel bread

I was thinking about raisin cinnamon bread while at Costco recently and stumbled upon Kirkland Cinnamon Streusel. I had heard of streudel, but not streusel. What the heck, I took a chance. I have found that you can’t go too far wrong trying something you never had from Costco.

My girlfriend and I enjoyed toasting up the streusel in the ensuing days.

As an old eater of PB&Js,  I wondered how peanut butter might taste on that toasted streusel without the jelly. The sweetness of the streusel might work with the peanut butter. Turns out it did.

So, I was on my way to my guilty pleasure with toasted streusel and peanut butter melting on it. Yum.

But wait … how about adding coconut oil to it? I have learned over the past couple of years of consuming coconut oil pretty much every chance I get, that it adds a nice little under-flavor of coconut to dishes.

Here is my guilty pleasure. I toast up a slice of streusel, slather it up with coconut oil and spread peanut butter on top. It literally melts in my mouth. Magnificent. I often have it for lunch after a bike ride. It is also sweet enough to double as dessert.

Here is the nutritional breakdown:
Streusel – One slice. Calories 210, Fat 5 grams, Cholesterol 5 grams, Sodium 190 mg, Carbs 37 grams, Sugar 16 grams, Protein 4 grams

Peanut Butter – 2 tablespoons. Calories 190, Fat 17 grams, Sodium 140 mg, Carbs 7 grams, Sugar 3 grams, Protein 7 grams

Coconut Oil – one tablespoon. Calories 117, Fat 14 grams, No Sodium,  No Carbs, No Sugar, No Protein

I have broken the nutritional facts down in this way in case you want to try one yourself with a different bread, wrap, whatever. You can substitute your own nutritional breakdown for that. If you do substitute or try mine, please share your impression.

Buon appetito!

UPdate: 24 December – Here is a nutritional breakdown for Pepperidge Farm Raisin Cinnamon Swirl in case you would like to try this sandwich with a lower calorie bread. One slice. Calories 80, Fat 1.5 grams, Cholesterol 0 grams, Sodium 100 mg, Carbs 15 grams, Sugar 5 grams, Protein 2 grams.

Tony

 

 

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What About Creamy Vs. Crunchy Peanut Butter? – Infographic

As regular readers know, I love peanut butter. I start every morning with a fork full of crunchy peanut butter dipped in coconut oil. I love the taste of this and know that it provides me with energy for my morning bike ride. If you aren’t familiar with the benefits of coconut oil, check out my Page – Why You Should Include Coconut Oil in your Diet.

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Tony

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Trans Fats, Not Saturated Fats, Linked to Greater Risk of Death and Heart Disease

“For years everyone has been advised to cut out fats. Trans fats have no health benefits and pose a significant risk for heart disease, but the case for saturated fat is less clear,” said de Souza.

Regular readers know that I have been beating the drum for the saturated fat – coconut oil for some time. Check out my Page – Coconut Oil – Why you Should Include it in Your Diet to read more about it.

Tony

Cooking with Kathy Man

A study led by researchers at McMaster University has found that that trans fats are associated with greater risk of death and coronary heart disease, but saturated fats are not associated with an increased risk of death, heart disease, stroke, or Type 2 diabetes.

The findings were published today by the British Medical Journal (BMJ). The lead author is Russell de Souza, an assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics with the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

“For years everyone has been advised to cut out fats. Trans fats have no health benefits and pose a significant risk for heart disease, but the case for saturated fat is less clear,” said de Souza.

“That said, we aren’t advocating an increase of the allowance for saturated fats in dietary guidelines, as we don’t see evidence that higher limits would be specifically beneficial to health.”

Guidelines currently recommend…

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20 Ways to Use Coconut Oil for Your Skin – Infographic

Regular readers know that I am big fan of coconut oil. I start every morning with a tablespoon of peanut butter dipped in coconut oil before I ride my bike. To learn more health benefits of consuming coconut oil please check out my Page – Coconut Oil – Why You Should Include it in Your Diet.

This infographic has external uses – not just for women.

A note on Number 17 – Shaving Gel: The photo shows a woman about to shave her legs. I happen to be a male ‘wet shaver.’ That means I shave with a razor blade. I have to confess that I had grave misgivings this afternoon when I shaved with only coconut oil. Incredibly, it seems, I got an excellent shave. I had to make two passes, but I normally do when I lather up, anyway, so there was no loss. I do miss the fun of lathering though. It is really neat to create a lather, not just a bunch of soap bubbles to brush on my face. Anyway, men, feel free to give coconut oil a try shaving and let me know how it works for you.

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7 Ways to Cut Your Alzheimer’s Disease Risk – Infographic

Regular readers know that I have a special sensitivity to Alzheimer’s and dementia as I have lost several family members who were afflicted. There are no guarantees about preventing Alzheimer’s, but this infographic presents some good techiques for reducing your risk. In addition, please check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise) for details on how much the brain benefits from exercise.

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Regarding the first point about saturated fats, organic coconut oil is an exception. Please check out my Page – Coconut Oil – Why You Should Include it in Your Diet. I start every day with a tablespoon of peanut butter dipped in coconut oil.

Tony

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