Nutrition

What We Learned From Cats

In the 1950’s a medical doctor named Francis Pottenger, Jr. was conducting research into the endocrine (hormonal) systems of cats in an attempt to standardize dosages of hormones needed to sustain their lives.

The cats in the study were being fed a seemingly healthy diet of raw milk, cod liver oil, and cooked meat scraps of liver, muscle, and other organs.  Organ meat contains the highest quality nutrition. Cats are strict carnivores (meat eaters) so this diet was considered to be the best for them. However, the cats were not thriving and more cats had to be added to the research, straining the food budget. Dr. Pottenger ordered raw scraps of meat from a local meat plant.

The raw scraps were fed to one of the animal groups. In very short order Dr. Pottenger and his research assistants noticed that the kittens born to the mother cats being fed the raw meat were friskier and better formed than the cooked meat group.

The teeth, skeletal formation, and tone of the musculature of the raw meat group were superior to the cooked meat group. Dr. Pottenger became so interested in the evidence of nutritional superiority of the raw meat group that he began to document his findings and his famous “Cat Study” was begun.

Although Dr. Pottenger never said that cats were exactly like humans, the evidence of the importance of the quality of nutrients in physical health is too startling to be ignored. The vitamins, minerals, and protein quality of the raw meat were clearly of much greater benefit than the cooked meat.

What this says for human health is that paying attention to the source of the nutrients may be vitally important. It is pretty easy to figure out that a well-done hamburger from a fast-food chain might be of inferior nutritional quality to a hamburger from a higher end restaurant. But how about a hamburger from a fully grass-fed cow cooked rare or even served raw? Restaurants used to serve raw meat as “Steak tartare” often.  The Tatars were a warring tribe and legend has it that they did not stop to cook their meat, but preserved it under their saddles as they rode. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/60315/original-steak-tartare/

Some of the healthiest cultures in the world have eaten raw animal products. Sushi is a prime example. African tribes have been known to drink the blood of their herd animals for a meal. Native Americans cut the hearts from animals killed in hunts and served them up to the warriors of the tribes.

Perhaps one of the reasons red meat has gotten a bad rap is because we so often eat it cooked to the point of protein-death, and eat far too much at a time to be able to digest it.

If you do indulge in raw animal foods, you may have a higher number of parasites, since little critters like sushi, too. Strong stomach acid, herbal preparations, and avoiding sugar and processed foods can all help keep down the population of hitch-hikers, but everyone has some in their body. You just want to keep them from getting out of control. So, cleanses, probiotics, and herbal preparations should be part of your regular health regimen. You change the oil in your car, and doing a cleanse is just as important.

Nature does not demand that foods be cooked or processed to be nutritional. Our modern diet of processed and chemical foods is too far from a natural state to maintain the kind of robust health that makes life fun and a body disease-resistant.

Even if the idea of raw meat does not appeal, take a cue from Dr. Pottenger’s kitties and include raw foods every day. Vegetables and fruits, unrefined oils, and raw cheese are all good choices. Even raw honey has benefits, as long as it is used in moderation because of the natural sugar.

Live cells need living food. In Nature, big cats are always sleek and svelte. It is only when domesticated cats eat commercial food that they get chubby and develop Diabetes.  So we can learn something from our feline friends. Play a lot, sleep a lot, and eat plenty of raw foods. Purrrrfect!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nuts About Coconuts (Oil)

What makes coconut oil unique? At a temperature of 76 degrees or higher, it is liquid and the high saturated fatty acid content causes it to turn solid when it is colder.

Are saturated fats dangerous for your arteries? Consider the fact that our body temperatures are about 98.6. This means that coconut oil is liquid at that temperature so could not clog arteries. This is beside the fact that all fats are broken down into small bits before they are absorbed from the digestive tract. So, you don’t need to worry about natural fats, only processed or fried fats.

Coconut oil is healthy for the gut, the brain, and the skin. It will help arrest and prevent Alzheimer’s and it improves cholesterol and assists with loss of belly fat and weight.

Can you think of any other oil or fat that has the same benefits? Although there are many healthy fats, such as flax oil, olive oil, and butter, coconut oil may be one of the smartest choices.

We are learning more about the needs of a healthy brain. Alzheimer’s is considered to be Diabetes Type 3. The good news is that this gives us a prevention and treatment path. Keep blood sugar in balance, limit the various forms of sugar, such as high fructose corn syrup, alcohol, and refined sugar, and protect your brain function. The brain operates well using ketones, instead of sugar, for fuel. Ketones are produced in the liver from fats, only when sugar consumption is low. http://healthimpactnews.com/2016/study-how-ketones-as-brain-fuel-can-prevent-alzheimers-disease/

Many people have mentioned that their memory seems to be getting worse, or they feel foggy. Decreasing sugar and starchy carbs, and increasing good fats like coconut oil would be worth trying as a remedy.

Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids. There are four different types of fat in coconut oil, and each has benefits. Lauric acid is a fat that may help balance hormones, with benefits for men and women.

The medium chain fatty acids seem to be processed differently in the body, so they encourage lean muscle and fat loss. Belly fat may be reduced with long-term consumption. Keep in mind that you have to reduce sugar and starches to enjoy this benefit.  http://dailyhealthlifestyles.com/20-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil/4/

MCT oil (medium chain triglycerides) has been making the news in the Paleo world for making bullet-proof coffee. MCT is processed coconut oil, so it is missing some of the all-around benefits of raw unrefined coconut oil. Is MCT better for lean muscle? Check out the bullet-proof website to see what they have to say, but be sure to use high quality no matter if you want to try it. https://www.bulletproofexec.com/what-is-mct-oil-vs-coconut-oil/ Here is a more complete description of the benefits of MCT. https://www.tipsbulletin.com/mct-oil-benefits/

A high-fat low-carb diet was used at Johns Hopkins Hospital to treat epilepsy in children with dramatic results. High-fat low-carb has been used to starve cancer cells, and may be an exciting alternative for treating brain tumors. https://healthimpactnews.com/2013/using-the-ketogenic-diet-to-heal-brain-tumors/

Bacteria does not seem to like the fats in coconut oil, so it is good for the immune system and for gut healing if you have already taken too many antibiotics, or suffer from gastric distress. Inflammation is naturally reduced with the fats in coconut oil. Again, reducing sugar consumption is key. Also, experiment with reducing dairy and wheat/grains, which seem to be inflammatory for many people.

As you can see the list goes on and on. Adding coconut oil to your morning smoothie, spreading it on veggies, or using it for cooking, has internal benefits. As a hair and skin conditioner, coconut oil is healing and moisturizing for every member of the family from a babe in diapers to acne-prone teens, and age-conscious adults.

Coconut water and cream can also be a healthy addition to your diet. I use grass-fed butter and coconut cream in my tea and coffee for a delicious alternative to dairy. I learned to drink tea with milk when I lived in England and none of the milk alternatives did the trick for me. But coconut creamer and butter make the tea taste just right.

If you have been using canola oil, or other vegetable oils, it is time for an oil change. Coconut oil is better than butter or olive oil for higher temperature cooking.

But the real benefits come from using raw, organic coconut oil. Enjoy it on skin and hair for its beauty benefits, or add it to your diet for its health benefits. Inside or outside, you can go nuts for coconuts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Skinny on Cooking With Oils

 

What kind of oils are you cooking with? If you are using Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, you are over-paying for oil that should only be consumed in its raw state. Heating oil changes it, altering and destroying the healthy compounds called phenols. Phenols are beneficial for liver detoxification and immune support.

There is a point where heated oils lose their health benefits. This is called the “smoke point.” The oils not only lose their benefits, they also become harmful to consume. 

There are some oils that can be safely heated to high heat for cooking and their rich flavor will hold up. Avocado, extra-light olive oil and ghee are good choices. Ghee is butter that has been simmered so the milk solids caramelize with the fat.

Medium high heat is used most often for cooking vegetables and browning meat. The best oils for medium heat are virgin (not extra-virgin) olive oil and nut oils, like macadamia, almond or hazelnut oils.

For cooking with medium heat, unrefined coconut and sesame oils work well.

Extra-virgin olive oil and flaxseed oil can be used for salad dressings. Flavorful oils like pistachio, sesame and walnut oils can be used to drizzle over salads and foods for extra flavor and nutrients.

If you have never experimented with nut Oils, like Walnut, Macadamia or Hazelnut,

you are in for a treat. These oils are wonderful for making unique salad dressings.  Try mixing with lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar, and adding a touch of aged or reduced balsamic vinegar, along with herbs you like. You can buy reduced balsamic vinegar at Trader Joe’s. I like to drizzle it on top of a salad for extra flavor.

Generally, it is better to go for unrefined, raw oils. Heat-treated, lose their health benefits. You can use heat treated oils like toasted sesame oil to add rich flavor to salads or Asian dishes, but be sure to eat plenty of unrefined oils for the benefits of the essential fatty acids. EFA’s are vital for heart, brain, skin and general nutrition. Processed oil such as Canola, Soy or Corn Oils should be avoided altogether.

 

Adding plenty of healthy oils to your diet can help with weight loss, because rich-tasting foods are more satisfying and will keep your blood sugar balanced, curbing appetite and giving you sustained energy.  Don’t settle for chemical bottled dressings-carry your own to work.

 

Here is a quick guide to cooking with oils:

High heat, 450-650°                         Avocado Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Pecan Oil, Ghee (or clarified        

                                                          butter, Extra-Light Olive Oil (not Extra-Virgin Olive Oil)

Medium-High Heat 375-449°         Virgin Olive Oil, Almond Oil, Hazelnut Oil, Macadamia Nut

                                                         Oil, Refined Coconut Oil

Medium Heat 324-374°                   Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Lard, Butter, Unrefined Coconut Oil

Medium-Low Heat 250-324°          Unrefined Sesame Seed Oil, Unrefined Walnut Oil

Low Heat 225-249°                          Pistachio Oil

 

Now you can cook smart and delicious!

 

 

What is Your Quality of Life?

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important."

Quality of Life. Noun: the general well-being of a person or society, defined in terms of health and happiness, rather than wealth. 

You may agree that the state of health can determine happiness. If you feel unwell or have pain, it is hard to feel happy. You may feel grateful for loved ones and circumstances in life, but being ill, or having uncomfortable or unwanted symptoms, can severely curtail the very activities that bring happiness.

Our current medical system is not geared towards health or happiness. When drugs alone are used to manage symptoms, there may be some temporary relief. But the side-effects alone can wear down the body and produce weakness in the organs and immune system that lead to further distress or foster disease. 

As a Naturopath my job (and my great passion) is to help determine which factors are the barriers to the body's innate ability to heal. And it is such a joy to witness those healing powers on a daily basis. 

Recently one of my long-term patients experienced a true medical miracle. Diagnosed with a blood/lymph cancer a couple of years ago, this brave lady set out on a journey to heal. She changed her diet, studies alternative treatments, and traveled to Europe twice to seek knowledgeable health professionals. All the while she also came to me for supplements and natural medicine to boost her immune response and supply the building blocks for healthy cells.

Many of you watched the "The Truth About Cancer", the series of videos that presented alternative treatments and survivors' stories from around the world. Based on what I learned from that program, I suggested adding Frankincense Essential Oil to my patient's regimen. She put it on her tongue and massaged it into the tumor, which was visible as a large lump on one side of her throat. Two weeks later, on her next visit, I asked how she was doing and she requested that I look at her throat, as I had done twice monthly for the past couple of years.

This time, there was nothing to see. The tumor had completely disappeared. Instead, I saw pink, healthy, and normal-looking tissue in the place of the tumor. I might not have believed that something could change so rapidly if I had not seen it with my own eyes.

Would the Frankincense Essential Oil have triggered the miracle on its own? We will never know. Perhaps it was just the final burst of support that the body needed for the immune system to slay the dragon. Certainly the patient needed to make the dietary changes she made, and she used many other intelligent and researched treatments-all of them alternative and all designed to support correct cell formation and restore the balance of health. 

And now that her health is restored, she is happier and busier than she has been in a long time. Her quality of life is greatly enhanced.

This is the power of natural medicine. We have been led to believe that natural medicine is not enough, that we need the chemicals and invasive treatments provided by Big Business Medicine. And sometimes we do and I am grateful for those treatments when they are correctly provided.

But there is a great deal of power in plant medicine, in nutrition, and in the loving support of our family, friends and dedicated practitioners. My first professor in Holistic Nutrition told us that our job was to help people find their own medical miracles. What I really prefer is helping you ensure that you never need one. 

Like Martin Luther King, Jr., I have a dream. I dream of a day when holistic medicine and conventional medicine are prescribed according to the needs of the person, without regard to bottom line of corporations. I dream of a day when yearly check-ups involve testing to see what is needed for prevention of disease and improvement in quality of life, and not to test whether you have a disease and are ready to take your turn on the medical Merry-go-round. I dream of a day when all kids have access to fresh, healthy, organic, non-GMO foods every day, at a price that is affordable for families. 

I hope you share my dream because we can make this happen. Meanwhile, let us know how we can help improve the quality of your life, as well the lives of your family and friends. What part of your health is preventing you from pursuing your own path to happiness?

 

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