Welcome to my blog where I plan on chatting about food and nutrition related stuff that you may or may not find interesting. It will be my goal to keep you all engaged. I’m not always going to focus on Paleo, I hope that doesn’t offend anyone. I won’t be pushing grains or anything but there are so many great Paleo blogs out there already. Really I am hoping to talk about what you all want to hear about so please come up to me with questions and topic ideas. I love doing the research!
I am a Registered Dietitian and am passionate about nutrition and what I put into my body. I won’t say that I’m perfect though….far from it. I have my ups and downs and struggles too. It’s all about recognizing when you are off track, getting your butt back in gear, and not beating yourself up about it. Because of my background I tend to want to know why things are the way they are. I don’t like taking or eating foods just because somebody said to. I want to know what exactly it is doing in my body. So, as much as I HATED HATED HATED chemistry….did I stress that I hated chemistry??? I will delve into it a bit now and then. Our bodies are one giant chemistry set, and food is a major factor. If this bores the living youknowwhat out of you, please tell me. I want to know what you guys want and need!
More and more products containing coconut are appearing on store shelves. Is it all just a fad or is there scientific evidence to back up these products?
Coconut water is growing in popularity as a sports drink. Similar to popular sports drinks, coconut water is a good source of electrolytes (contributing at least 10% of the daily value for a nutrient) and provides some carbohydrates. The electrolyte content is more than double that of traditional sports drinks with about ½ the carbs. These are exactly some of the nutrients and minerals that are beneficial to optimal recovery and replenishment of muscle energy stores (glycogen) after strenuous physical activity. In addition to electrolytes and carbohydrates, coconut water contains other elements that prove beneficial to health including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids. The nutrient content is highest in young coconuts and becomes less as the coconut ripens. Most commercial coconut water is extracted from young coconuts for that reason.
The amount of scientific research and studies supporting coconut water is limited. The studies that have been conducted so far have shown that coconut water has the same rehydrating properties as a traditional sports beverage. So it is looking good for coconut water. Keep in mind that those “traditional sports beverages” often contain high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, artificial colors, and a slew of ingredients that you can’t even pronounce. If the rehydrating outcome is similar, wouldn’t you rather put real ingredients into your body? Nature usually gets it right the first time, and we just screw it up through processing. It’s time to go back to the basics and READ YOUR NUTRITION LABELS.
Here is where many people get confused. Coconut oil contains saturated fat, which people tend to think is always bad. The difference is that coconut oil is comprised mostly of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA). The majority of fat in our diet consists of long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). The body responds differently to these fatty acids depending on their size. MCFA’s do not have a negative effect on cholesterol and actually help to lower the risk of both atherosclerosis and heart disease. MCFA are easily digested and absorbed directly from the intestines into the portal vein and sent straight to the liver where they are, for the most part, burned as fuel much like a carbohydrate and put to use nourishing the body. Unlike other fats, they put little strain on the digestive system and provide a quick source of energy necessary to promote healing. Other fats require pancreatic enzymes to break them into smaller units and then they are bundled and transported throughout the body. Cholesterol, saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat are all packaged together into lipoproteins and carried throughout the body in this way. In contrast, medium-chain fatty acids are not packaged into lipoproteins but go to the liver where they are converted into energy and not stored to a significant degree as body fat. Of course keep in mind, everything in moderation. If there is a large excess of anything then your body will store it as fat, even sugar.
Eating foods containing MCFA will help your body perform better because it has more energy and greater endurance. Because MCFA are easily absorbed by the energy-producing organelles of the cells, metabolism increases. An added benefit of coconut oil is that MCFA can improve endurance exercise performance. Increasing consumption of MCFA’s lowers the amount of carbohydrates that are burned during exercise. This has two important advantages: first, glycogen stored in the muscles and liver is spared, which allows the athlete to perform longer before fatigue sets in; second, because carbohydrates are spared, fat becomes a primary source of fuel, which helps athletes to maintain a lean, healthy body weight.
Coconut oil also has antiviral and antibacterial properties which strengthen the immune system. This is very important for athletes who are putting stress on their bodies and needing repair daily.
Make sure you USE ONLY: Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
1. HYDROGENATED COCONUT OIL – It does NOT possess health benefits
2. RBD COCONUT OIL – This is a refined, bleached, deodorized Coconut Oil. RBD Coconut Oil is subjected to high heat, filtered through clays to remove impurities, and processed with sodium hydroxide to prolong shelf life.
One of the ways that I have been getting my MCFA is through coconut milk. Now you can buy it by the half gallon and use it where you would normally use regular milk. It tastes great. I love the brand “So Delicious.” It’s in most grocery stores now and definitely at Whole Foods. If you go to this website: http://www.turtlemountain.com/products/coupon.html you can print off a coupon for their products. They have everything from milk to yogurt, creamer, and ice cream.
I put coconut milk in my coffee and tea, grind up dried coconut in my coffee grinder to make coconut butter, add dried coconut to my trail mixes, make my protein shakes with coconut milk, and drink coconut water. I love coconut curries and pretty much all that is coconut.
I tried to keep this blog simplified and not sound like an organic chemistry class. There is so much chemistry that is involved and if you understand a little it all makes a bit more sense. I would encourage you to do your own research also, but be careful what you read. I came across a website that covered the info in more detail if you are interested. Normally I stay away from .com information and look for reputable sources, but the reason I like his information is that he cites all his sources so that if you wish to go to the origin of the research he has the original source right there. That is key! And, he has some great RECIPES on there, though not all are paleo.