Oil Pulling

Oil pulling appears to be the new hype.  It’s yet another home remedy brought to you by  coconut oil, nature’s answer to so, so many things.  If you’re not in the know, here’s a brief video to explain oil pulling…

Scoop out some coconut oil, about a teaspoon, and swish it around in your mouth for at least 15-20 minutes.  If you don’t have coconut oil you can also use other plant-based oils like sesame oil, sunflower oil, or olive oil.  Oil pulling is great for oral hygiene. It may take a couple times to get used to it, but I’d definitely say after the first 10 minutes it’s no big deal.  The first time I tried it I probably took too much coconut oil, so the taste and texture were overwhelming and I had to spit it out.  The trick is to distract yourself while you’re doing it, like have a tv show ready, or power through 20 minutes of work.  It takes your mind off the time.

Oil pulling  began in India and has been used for centuries as a natural way to whiten teeth and clean teeth and gums.  The oil cuts through plaque and removes toxins and bacteria, but it does take at least 15-20 minutes to be effective.  You’ll notice while you’re doing it that your mouth becomes filled mostly with saliva after awhile, and by the time you spit it out it should be a creamy, white color.  When you’re finished, spit into the trash can, not the sink, and rinse your mouth out with warm water.  Try not to swallow the coconut oil, since it’ll should be filled with your bacteria.

There are various oral health benefits from oil pulling, like smoother, whiter teeth and better breath, but some people report feeling overall improvements in their health.

Whenever I oil pull, I do feel like my teeth and smoother and shinier.  Try it for yourselves!

Sources: WellnessMama.com

October Unprocessed Month- Can You Do It?

october-unprocessed-2014

This idea might seem completely laughable to some people, but October is the month to step up and take the challenge of eating only unprocessed foods.  The concept certainly can seem a bit unnerving.  A whole month without anything processed, how will we do it?

Our society has become so accustomed to eating packaged, processed foods that the idea of going a whole month without them seems totally daunting.  Health blogger, Andrew Wilder, started this challenge in 2009 and by 2013 had 15,000 people sign the pledge and take part.  Through the challenge Andrew found three ways to cut back on processed foods by following these three steps:

  1. When you eat grains, eat only 100% whole grains.
  2. Don’t eat high fructose corn syrup.
  3. Don’t eat hydrogenated oils, trans fats, or anything that’s been deep-fried.

Since starting my health coach training back in July, I’ve already made huge steps toward eliminating processed and fried foods.  It truly is amazing how much better your body feels and how quickly you’ll shed some pounds.  It became more noticeable how crappy I felt after eating french fries, pizza, or Milano cookies (some of my favorite junk foods) and how happy I felt after switching to healthier, unprocessed foods.

The goal isn’t to have the perfect diet, because that can become stressful and is just setting yourself up for failure.  In fact, Andrew even makes a point to say that if you need to make an exception that’s ok.  Just make sure the choice is deliberate and not out of habit.

However, there are so many delicious recipes out there, that why not treat your body better and try home cooking for yourself instead? Andrew has lots of healthy recipes to try on his site, so browse through and challenge yourself!

Click here for recipes

(Source: https://eatingrules.com/)

Eat Seasonally

I can’t believe it’s fall already.  Personally, I love the fall, the change in weather, the holidays, the layered clothes… I also enjoy of fall’s foods.  Time to finish up the last of the cold, refreshing fruits and veggies, like watermelon and corn, and to stock up on the produce seasonal to fall.

Eating with the seasons is important for our bodies.  Those fruits and vegetables that keep us cool during the hot summer months are not what we need during the fall and winter.  Historically, our ancestors ate with the seasons, consuming warm, meaty meals to keep their body temperatures up during the colder months.  Modern food processing makes us forget that we were never meant to eat certain foods in each season, although sometimes we do start to loose our cravings for particular foods as the seasons change.Fall produce

Fall is meant for warming, grounding foods, like sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, and garlic.  Also focus on warming spices, like ginger, peppercorns, and mustard seeds (Source: WhFoods).  Not only will foods taste better, but by eating what’s fresh and in season, we also get the most nutrients from our food.  There are less pesticides needed to produce in-season foods, and the prices are reduced for the produce that’s in abundance.

Here is a full list of foods that are in season during the fall months:

-Artichoke

-Beets

-Beet Greens

-Bell Peppers

-Butternut Squash

-Carrots

-Cauliflower

-Chard

-Corn

-Eggplant

-Garlic

-Potatoes

-Radishes

-Spinach

-Sweet Potatoes

-Wild Mushrooms

-Almonds

-Apples

-Chestnuts

-Cranberries

-Limes

-Pears

-Plums

-Pomegranate

-Rasberries

-Tomatoes

Meats in season:

-Duck

-Lamb

-Lobster

(Source: EattheSeasons)

Here are a few recipes to enjoy in the next few months:

Chicken Pot Pie

Curried Carrot, Sweet Potato, and Ginger Soup

Easy Artichoke Recipe

Good Fats vs Bad Fats

Not everyone realizes there’s a distinction between fats that are good for us and fats that are not.  In fact, some fats are essential to our diets and we can’t live without them.  The word “fat” has a negative connotation, especially when well marketed products influence us to buy “diet,” “non-fat,” “light”/”lite,” or “low fat” foods.  The truth is, these “diet” foods aren’t any better for us, and compensate with processed sugar to still taste okay.  Sugar and processed foods, not so much fat, is the real problem with our diets.

To break it down, there are four different types of fat.  Two of these types are “good fats” and the other “bad fats.”

Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are good for us. They benefit the heart, cholesterol, and overall health.

Saturated fats and trans fats are bad for us.  They increase the likelihood of disease and high cholesterol.

Beneficial fats are found in the following foods:

healthy-fatsMonounsaturated Fats:

-avocados

-nuts (almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, peanuts)

-olives

-oils (olive oil, canola, sunflower, peanut, sesame oil)

-Peanut Butter

Polyunsaturated fats:

-walnuts

-soymilk

-tofu

-flaxeed

-oils (soybean, corn, safflower)

-sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds

-fatty fishes (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines, trout)

-flaxeed

Saturated Fat:

-chicken with the skin

-fatty cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork)

-whole fat dairy products (cream, milk)

-butter

-lard

-cheese

-lard

*A note about saturated fat-  there has been controversy surrounding the argument that all saturated fat is bad for our health.  It’s true that substituting saturated fats for polyunsaturated fats is much healthier.  Use olive oil instead of butter, for example, but do not replace your saturated fats with processed food, like a muffin or bagel in the morning instead of bacon. Just don’t eat bacon all the time.

There are also newer studies that argue whole fat dairy products may actually keep us lean and decrease the chances of obesity.  One possibility is that whole fat dairy products keep us fuller longer, thus lessening the amount we consume.  That doesn’t mean go out and eat tons of whole fat dairy, especially for those of us who already have high cholesterol levels. (Source: NPR: The Full Fat Paradox)

fats 

Trans Fat:

-stick margarin

-packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips, cookies)

-commercially baked pastries (doughnuts, cookies, cakes, pizza dough)

-vegetable shortening

-fried foods

-candy bars

(Source: HelpGuide.org)