Powerful Palm Oil

Palm OilPalm Oil Collage

Are you using palm oil for pan frying? I am! What is palm oil anyway??? If you want to find out more keep reading!

I have been using palm oil in my skillet pan recently for two reasons- its health benefits, and its high smoke point.  Palm oil has a smoke point of 450 degrees F, compared to around 350 degrees F for coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil (my two other favorite oils :)). As you may know, heating oil to the point at which it smokes can be bad for your health, so you want to use an appropriate oil for the task at hand!

Palm oil (aka red palm fruit oil, NOT palm kernel oil)  is harvested from the palm oil tree and can be distinguished by it vibrant red-orange hue, due high amounts of beta-carotene. It also contains another carotene called lycopene. Both are powerful antioxidants that help neutralize damaging free radicals.

Palm oil is high in vitamin E as well. “ In fact, studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have shown that a natural form of vitamin E called alpha tocotrienol, which is the form found in high amounts in red palm fruit oil, can help reduce the effects of stroke by 50% by protecting your brain’s nerve cells.” Vitamin E also is good from brain health, by increasing blood flow, and can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Palm oil contains both medium-chain and short-chain fatty acids, which are good for our bodies (in moderation). These types of fatty acids actually help to increase metabolism, and are more readily used as energy. Studies have shown that incorporating palm oil into your diet can help to remove plaque from the arteries, helping to prevent blockages. It also has been shown to decrease inflammation and improve cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

In addition, palm oil “help(s) in protecting against a variety of health problems, including osteoporosis, asthma, cataracts, macular degeneration, arthritis, and liver disease. It can even slow down the premature aging processes by protecting the skin against damaging UV rays.”

(Sources: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1139-palm%20oil.aspx?activeingredientid=1139&activeingredientname=palm%20oil, http://www.doctoroz.com/article/why-you-should-give-red-palm-oil-try, http://jonbarron.org/diet-and-nutrition/healthiest-cooking-oil-chart-smoke-points#.VbUsZs7N9UQ)

Benefits of Grass-Fed Butter

Grass Fed Butter Collage

You may have read my recent post about the benefits of pasture-raised (aka grass-fed) beef, but if you happened to miss it you can read it HERE. The same principals apply to dairy cattle, as they do beef cattle- what they produce (butter, milk, or meat) is of better quality and better for us and our health if they are raised on grass as compared to conventional grain fed animals.

Being a compassionate proponent of animal welfare, I also support grass-fed products to help ensure the animal’s wellbeing and quality of life. Look at the labels of the butter in your grocery store, and if it is grass-fed it will say “grass-fed” or something similar. I use the Kerrygold brand which I can find at my local grocery store, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods. Make the switch today for your health and for the exceptional taste!


Terrific Tempeh

Tempeh Collage

Tempeh belongs the the same family as tofu, seitan, and other soy products. Unlike tofu, tempeh is actually made from fermented soy. The fact that tempeh is fermented should not be overlooked, because it actually makes the protein more easily digested. The fermentation process also increases the bioavailability and solubility of nutrients such as calcium. Tempeh is also less processed as compared to tofu, and you can see the partially compressed soybeans that make up the tempeh patty. It’s texture is “meaty,” its flavor has a subtle nuttiness, and it takes on flavors well (so you can use it in many different dishes!). Tempeh is impressively high in protein- 1 cup contains 31 grams, as compared to 10 grams in 1 cup of tofu! It also contains high levels of calcium (18% of daily value for 1 cup), iron (25%), vitamin B-6 (20%), and magnesium (33%).

You can find tempeh in the refrigerated section of the grocery store where the other soy products are located.


(Sources: http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Difference-Between-Tofu-Tempeh-1034188, USDA.org, http://www.caloriecount.com/calories-tempeh-i16114, http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=126)

Amazing Almond Milk

Amazing Almond Milk Collage

Almond milk is an excellent dairy milk alternative for those who are lactose intolerant or vegan, but that is not why I choose it regularly as my dairy milk substitute! It does taste great, better than cow’s milk, and works well in almost every recipe I have attempted that may have previously required dairy milk. Here are some of the reasons that I reach for almond milk over any others:

  1. Its very low calorie, only 60 calories per cup!
  2. Contains omega fatty acids which are great for you, and has no cholesterol or saturated fat.
  3. contains 30% of your daily recommended calcium requirement, and 25% of your vitamin D requirement, for healthy strong bones.
  4. It has 50% of your daily requirements for vitamin E, which is great for your skin.

(Sources: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/benefits-almond-milk.html, http://time.com/3677300/almond-milk-nutrition/)

Commendable Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil Collage

Lately there has been a ton of hype surrounding coconuts! If I recall it seems to have started with coconut water making its strong debut a few years ago, being touted for its electrolytes and rehydrating qualities. After coconut water took the world by storm, other coconut products followed suit. Coconut oil has recently gained a strong foot hold as well(which can be measured by it making the shelves of your local Trader Joe’s- a great marker or popularity!), and rightfully so. It can be used in so many ways- as a makeup remover, as an ingredient in lotion for soft supple skin, as a shaving cream, on scrapes and cuts, and so many more, but I would like to focus on its use in food. Here is a quick list of why you should consider using coconut oil next time you bake:

  1. Although coconut oil is mostly made of saturated fats (which many of us thought were bad for us), more specifically coconut oil is comprised of medium-chain triglycerides. MCT’s are metabolized by our bodies differently than long-chain triglycerides.  MCT’s are processed by the liver into ketones, which are used by our bodies primarily for energy.
  2. Coconut oil contains a high amount of lauric acid which is a natural antiseptic, killing harmful bacteria and viruses to help prevent infection.
  3. The MCT’s can not only increase your energy levels but also keep you feeling full and satisfied longer, which has linked coconut oil to aiding in weight loss.
  4. Coconut oil is beneficial for cardiovascular health, reducing total cholesterol and LDL, while increasing HDL levels, as shown in several studies.*

Don’t miss your chance to check out my favorite coconut oil, too!

If you wan to know know more about the health benefits of coconut oil check out this article from Jen Reviews.

Here is a great link to check out: 150 Uses for Coconut Oil


(*Sources: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19437058, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15329324, http://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil/)

Benefits of Pasture-Raised Beef

Pastured Beef Benefits Collage2

You may have read a previous post where I mentioned I used to be a vegetarian! Yes, that is true, and mainly do to my love and compassion for animals. I never felt very healthy when I was a vegetarian, as I would feel hungry all the time and crave unhealthy foods with empty carbs and LOTS of sugar. I would wake up in the morning thinking “I NEED icecream NOW!” I thought I just had a crazy strong sweet tooth, that I couldn’t control, but my body was trying to tell me something different. I wasn’t getting enough nutrition, primarily protein, and my body was craving sugar and carbs to try to make up the energy deficit. I decided to gradually start introducing meat back into my diet, starting with fish and poultry, then eventually beef (I still do not eat veal or lamb). As I began to learn more about food and nutrition I became increasingly interested in how my meat had been raised. First, I was mainly concerned for the animal’s well-being and wanted them to graze in lush green fields of grass, with room to roam, before they ended up on my dinner plate! Then as my research progressed I found out how much HEALTHIER naturally raised meat and eggs are for you. A chicken who forages and a steer who sustains on high quality grass have different nutritional makeups than cows and chickens that are fed grain (which, by the way, is not a natural diet for them). Have you ever compared a deep golden colored egg yolk from a pastured chicken to a pale yellow conventional egg yolk?  You can actually see (and taste) the difference! For more details take a look at these articles if your interested:

American Grass Fed Beef

Pastured Egg Benefits

Recipes featuring Pasture-Rasied Beef:

Bacon & Cheddar Stuffed Sliders

Grilled Steak & Veggie Pasta Salad

(Sources: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/expert-answers/grass-fed-beef/faq-20058059, http://www.americangrassfedbeef.com/grass-fed-natural-beef.asp, http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/eggs-zl0z0703zswa.aspx)

Healthful Hemp

Hemp Collage Correct


Hemp seeds do come from the cannabis plant, but from a different variety than the one that is used to make marijuana, so no need to be alarmed (no THC)! Hemp seeds are completely safe to eat, and in fact are VERY good for you!

Hulled hemp seeds have a nutty flavor that make them a super addition to yogurt, smoothies, cereal, or salads. Three tablespoons contain 10 grams of protein, and they contain all the essential amino acids, so they are great source of complete protein. They also contain 48% of your daily requirement for magnesium, which is an important mineral that is often not consumed in adequate amounts by most Americans.

They have the “perfect” ratio of 3:1 omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids, and have high levels of gamma linolenic acid. GLA has numerous health benefits including decreasing inflammation and helping to prevent cancer. It also plays a role in maintaining the reproductive system and brain function health, as well as regulating metabolism. Who couldn’t benefit from hemp seeds, right!? I even put a spoonful in Cricket’s homemade dog chow!

…..SO sprinkle these little nutty seeds onto your breakfast today!

Recipes with HEMP SEEDS:

Coconut Honey Granola

Check out the kind of hemp seeds I feed my family!

(Sources: umm.edu;jn.nutrition.org;draxe.com;shape.com;purehealingfoods.com)

Benefits of Blue (fruits and veggies that is!)

Blue Benefits

Fruits and veggies come in so many beautiful deep and vibrant hues that range the color spectrum. You may have heard that the more color in your fruits and veggies, the more nutritious they are, and that is true! We can incorporate more nutrients into our diet by adding colorful varieties, and it makes eating that much more enjoyable! Dark greens such as spinach and kale is a better choice than iceberg, and colorful potatoes, such as red or blue, are superior to the average white potato. So next time you are at the grocery shop with your eyes and pick out the vibrant colors!

“BLUE” recipes:

{Lighter} Mashed Potato Bacon Cheese Bombs


The Amazing Ch-ch-ch-Chia Seed

Do you remember the CHIA PET?

Chia Pet

Not only is the chia seed used to create that fluffy green tchotchke that used to adorn your windowsill back in the 80’s (or maybe still does!?), but now you should EAT them too!

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are small black and white seeds from the Salvia Hispanica plant. They are tiny nutritious powerhouses that are easy to incorporate into your diet. Just sprinkle them on you morning breakfast, put them in a shake, or on a salad, or even bake with them (as I often do), to get these little guys into your super food line-up. They actually expand and form a gel like consistency when soaked in liquid (i.e. water/milk, etc.) which can create a good binding agent when you don’t want to use eggs in baked goods, or if you want to make an easy and healthy fruit-chia jam, or a chia pudding! (fyi -it is not advised to eat them dry by the spoonful because they absorb so much liquid very quickly)

So here’s the nutritional breakdown:

Amount Per 1 oz (28.4 g) (2 tablespoons)
Calories 138
(% Daily Value*)
Total Fat 9 g 13%
Saturated fat 0.9 g 4%
Polyunsaturated fat 7 g
Monounsaturated fat 0.7 g
Trans fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 5 mg 0%
Potassium 115 mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 12 g 4%
Dietary fiber 10 g 40%
Protein 4.7 g 9%
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 17% Iron 12%
Vitamin B-12 0% Magnesium 23%

As you can see they are a great source of protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids (4.9g omega-3), and a super source of fiber!

You will find them in these recipes:

Blueberry Coconut Overnight Oats

Coconut Honey Granola

You can also see my favorite brand of chia seeds to use for my family!

(*Sources: www.authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds/,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvia_hispanica, USDA,