What!!!!! Coconut oil makes you fat?

“Prevalence of overweight and obesity in adults aged 18 years and over has continued to rise to 63.4% in 2011-12 from 61.2% in 2007-08 and 56.3% in 1995” – www.abs.gov.au

And the Monash Obesity and Diabetes Institute research claims (http://www.modi.monash.edu.au/obesity-facts-figures/obesity-in-australia/)
– Health disorders in children like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, hypertension and sleep apnea can be directly attributed to childhood obesity.
– 14 million Australians are overweight or obese
– If weight gain continues at current levels, by 2025, close to 80% of all Australian adults and a third of all children will be overweight or obese.
– Obesity has overtaken smoking as the leading cause of premature death and illness in Australia.

So……..we’re all a lot fatter now than we were over 10 years ago and yet we still hear that a low fat diet is beneficial to our health. So is there something I’m missing here?  Am I reading the wrong studies?   Or is it possible that they (whoever they are) may have it all wrong? Statistics don’t lie.

To put something in context but simply explained (and I’m far from technical or scientific) oils and fats are known as lipids.  At room temperature if it is liquid form it is called an oil and if it solidifies it’s fat.

So lets look at my favourite – coconut oil. I add it to my green tea in the morning before I workout (5am), add heaped tablespoons to my sauté veggies which my toddler son loves too, to coffee (although just MCT oil and grass fed unsalted butter blended together is amazing – thanks Dave Asprey (http://bit.ly/18ULkHz) and when I’m travelling, I take a jar and have a teaspoon if I need an extra kick of energy.

But when people see it’s fat and that more than half of my diet consists of HEALTHY fat, they wonder how it’s possible that I walk around at 39 years old and have more energy now than ever before.   I wish I discovered this fat earlier in my life!

The problem is that it is called ‘fat’ which we associate with adipose tissue which is cellular fat (body fat).  Remember what I mentioned at the beginning about lipids?

Coconut oil contains short term medium chain fatty acids which, as a healthy form of fat, are small enough for the cells to absorb being quickly converted to energy.

Coconut oil is also almost half lauric acid which is a powerful virus destroyer and is the reason why so many people use coconut oil as the basis of so many natural cosmetic applications.

Opposing this is long chain triglycerides (LCT) found in most vegetable oils and highly consumed today.   Love your fried potato chips?  Guess what it’s cooked in!?:
– LCTs are harder for your body to break down
– Generally stored as ‘body fat’
– Strains your entire digestive system

MCTs on the other hand:
– easy for the body to breakdown
– gets sent directly to the liver through the blood stream to be converted to energy almost immediately
– promotes weight loss and thermogenesis

So the next time your cooking try coconut oil and watch those sweet cravings your probably having, go away. Just make sure it’s virgin coconut oil.

Enjoy

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Hemp and your child

hemp seedsIt’s no secret that hulled hemp seeds are renowned for being one of the most nutritionally complete foods we could eat. They have a perfect balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, better known as Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), required by our bodies for optimum health. EFAs are known to strengthen almost every system in the body, from our immune system to nourishing the skin, brain and therefore becomes an important source of nutrients for our children.

One of the more difficult nutrients to get him to eat is protein. The general macros of the right types of carbohydrates and the right fat is easy, but a solid and clean source of protein is proving difficult. Along with ensuring he gets the right micro nutrients too is vitally important. Chicken, beef, eggs, milk protein (although we’re weaning him off the milk now he’s almost 2) and the usual suspects are not working.

Then we discovered hemp seeds! Now this is an amazing natural food source of protein…….but what’s even better, it’s not just for him. I’m reaping the benefits of adding hemp to so many meals, juices and dried nut bars. For this blog lets focus just on the protein value where hemp seeds have up to 30% protein compared with the wider known sources of chicken which has approx 25%, beef around 14% and eggs 13%. Adding just 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds to your day can deliver up to 11 grams of protein. As a father wanting to set an example for my (almost) 2 year old son, my wife and I are constantly looking for new recipes and foods to try, to give him every chance to develop the best way we feel is best for him.

Strangely enough in Australia consuming hemp seeds is still illegal because of it’s reference to marijuana although they are cultivated differently and completely different. Hemp seeds do not induce a psychoactive effect. Australia is one of the last western countries to legalise hemp seeds consumption! So if you are reading this form Australia, be sure not to consume hemp seeds, but keep a note if you travel overseas and looking for a healthy food source.

A quick take away snack is to mix equal parts hemp seeds, chia seeds, strawberries and raisins with some water and let it sit for a few minutes until the chia turns to a jelly like texture………kids love it! So here are just 5 reasons why you should include adding hulled hemp seeds to your child’s dietary intake

  • one of the highest and most complete sources of natural protein. If you’re living a vegan lifestyle then it probably doesn’t get much better than this
  • high source of fiber
  • contains all 9 essential amino acids that our bodies cannot naturally produce
  • a great source of zinc, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and iron
  • higher source of fatty acid (Omega-3 & 6) than flax or any other seed oil

There will come a day when he will make his own decisions as to what goes into his body and many of those times I cannot control. But what I can do is start him on a path of nutritional greatness……then it’s all up to him and by then…..hopefully hemp seeds will be legal to consume in it’s natural source in this country.

Enjoy

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Kangaroo Stir Fry

Living in Australia is awesome and made even better when you have access to fresh kangaroo meat.  This took less than 15 minutes to make and is a great post workout meal.

200gm kangaroo

1 x green pepper
1 x small onion
2 x large mushrooms
2 x small squash
1 x clove garlic
1 tbs coconut oil
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add coconut oil to the wok until melted
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add all ingredients except Kangaroo
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cover on low/medium heat for 6 minutes.
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add kangaroo, stir, cover and cook for another 4 minutes.
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Done!   Beautiful colours and super healthy post workout meal
Enjoy
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The effect of sugar on the brain: video

I was thinking about writing a whole blog on the effect sugar has on the brain, but I think this Ted talk spells it out perfectly.

However I’ll put together some information soon as feedback on a recent documentary testing sugar against fat.

In the meantime, check this out.

Enjoy

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Is that tattoo healthy?

I like to think I live a healthy lifestyle, standing up against the consumption of processed food because of the chemicals being put in the human body.  Fresh, clean and as close to its original source is what I’m looking for and am passionate about.  I use coconut oil as a moisturiser, don’t use toothpaste because of the chemicals, steer away from unnecessary medications like ibuprofen, no cooking in olive oil and so on.

Photo 8-02-2014 12 00 42
I also love tattoos and have a few myself, as does my wife.  When we met I didn’t have any and she had 2 small tattoos but now has many more……she was beautiful when I first met her and she’s getting even sexier with each new tattoo inked on her body.  Some of the sexiest people in the world have tattoos and for those that don’t, they’d be even sexier if they did.  I’ve met the nicest people who have tattoos and as it’s said “people with tattoos don’t care that other people don’t have tattoos”.

Then one day my ever intuitive mother-in-law asked a really interesting question….”If you’re so concerned about what you put into your body, then isn’t getting ink permanently applied to your skin going against everything you believe in?  Isn’t that a chemical?”

Naturally I wanted to go on the defensive, with a straight forward response to justify my tattoos, but nothing came out.  Silence!  I didn’t have an answer to such a logical question (although I think it was more of a statement).   So off I went to try and prove her wrong, but more so to put my own mind at ease as I never really thought about it as deep as I needed to in order to give an educated response.

The first thing I did was ask everyones good friend, Google.   Wow what a plethora of information.

  • Tattoos are fine & healthy stated some
  • They’re full of chemicals said others
  • Depends on who the manufacturer of the ink is
  • What is the tattoo parlour like
  • ………and so on and so on

Not one clear and precise answer.   So I dug a little more and asked my own tattoo artist.  But apart from knowing the technique and that the ink she used was water based, she wasn’t 100% sure.  So I asked for some sample bottles to go check out myself.

At a really basic level of understanding that I have, a tattoo is a permanent mark where pigments are inserted through pricks into the ‘top layer’ of skin.  Depending on the artists choice of needles, which could be one or more, each piercing inserts tiny ink droplets.

One thing I certainly know is the pain is tolerable but at times the pain can be significant.

The biggest problem I found during my research was that ink manufacturers do not need to reveal their ingredients and some recipes may even be proprietary.  Without full disclosure of ingredients, it is impossible to know for sure what is in tattoo ink. Added to this, each colour and each brand of ink has completely different ingredients.

Pigment colours can be from having heavy metals such as mercury (red), zinc (yellow, white), copper (blue, green) and nickel (black) to name a few.  I even found some people getting homemade tattoos with pen ink, dirt and blood!  Ouch!

Pigments are carried from the needle into the skin where these “carriers” act as a solvent.  Carriers keep the ink evenly mixed and is generally either ethyl alcohol or water, although there is also the use of denatured alcohol, methanol, rubbing alcohol, propylene and glycerine.  When alcohol is used it tends to increase the skins permeability, transporting more chemicals into the bloodstream.

I’m so relieved from just finding out about carriers that that my tattoos have been used with water as the carrier.

So I guess from what I could find there isn’t a clear answer, but I still raises the question as to whether a tattoo is healthy.  It’s not a view as to whether you will have an allergic reaction or infection as you should always follow the rule of ensuring you are aware of these risks.  It’s a view as to whether it is deemed healthy to have colour injected into my skin, considering I strongly believe in treating your body with respect.

Am I now a hypocrite for tattooing my body? Or am I just getting this thought process wrong?   Obviously I feel the latter, but it has created an interesting conversation with myself, who I’m slowly convincing it is ok to have tattoos.  But doubt still lingers.

In 2010, 25% of Australians under the age of 30 had tattoos .   In 2013, The Australian Tattoo & Body Art Expo which boasts some of the best tattoo artists in Australia and from around the world had over 40,000 visitors.

There is no real benefit of getting a tattoo except to please yourself and some are getting cosmetic tattoos such as permanent makeup. Others may actually even envy your tattoo. Tattoos are very much in fashion today, in fact some may say it is mainstream and popular but remember, once it is there, it is very expensive (and apparently painful) to get removed.  Tattoos can cost thousands of dollars and considering it will be with you for the rest of your life, you want to be sure.

So next time I’m asked whether I think a tattoo is healthy, I will respond with ‘that of course depends on what carrier is used to inject into your skin, in the same way you can buy a food name being organic, processed or GMO’.

But for the time being, I think I might just completely ignore my mother-in-laws question and change the subject immediately.

Enjoy

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 620 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 10 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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30for30. 9.79! Not at all what it seemed.

9.79!

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Your Brain on Coffee

Effect of Coffee on the brain

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What example am I setting for my son?

Every parent wants to teach their kids the right way, in the best way we know, especially when it comes to health. As a new father of just 2 1/2 years I wonder if I should be as strict as I ‘try’ to be or whether I should let him experience everything. I’ve eliminated refined sugar, highly processed food, dairy (except for butter), eat grass-fed meat only, no bread or soft drink and more than half of my calories from healthy fat. So should I do the same for my little man?

I do try to apply what I practice and it’s one of the toughest things to do with a little boy that loves something one day, only to scream at the sheer mention of it the next.

By denying all the things kids are associated with eating, I’m afraid of creating that child at kids parties that is hovering at the food table shovelling every sugar coated item available.

pickle

Rather than stress about all the food I do (or don’t) want him to eat, I have decided on a few guidelines:
– look for creative ways of presenting and combining food. There are so many options when I ask Google.
– make sure he sees me eating and share as much of it as I can, or that he will accept. Sometimes this means we eat off the same plate.
– when we eat out let him choose what he wants. It generally is the most colourful thing on display, but it teaches decisions.
– if he wants to play outside and eat the dirt, then so be it. He’s in a time in his life when he’s developing and building his immune system, so I feel it helps strengthen it by introducing new (but not dangerous) elements of the earth.
– No soft drink
– No fast food restaurants.
– Add healthy fat where I can. He loves macadamia nuts so it’s a good snack. Avocados are hit and miss.
– I boil up eggs and leave them in the fridge and have made a game out of him cracking and peeling the egg himself so it’s fun.
– He can have the same chocolate as I do (no less than 80% cocoa)

So I made a decision to go with the flow and always give the first option in line with what I would have, but ultimately, the decision becomes his. Some me say if he is hungry enough he will eat what I give him, but I’m not at that stage yet. My view is that I want him to eat the foods that I feel are best for him, but that if he absolutely does not want my option, then I want him to at least eat something. It does end up that he’s eating a plate of chicken nuggets and chips!

Enjoy!

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Coffee + butter. Is it just a fad?

It’s probably changed the way I drink coffee forever and starting to get a little more attention in the public domain. Those that know about it are aware that the Tibetans have been adding it to their tea for years and the paleo community want to keep it as their little secret. It received a name called Bulletproofcoffee from – Dave Asprey – who named it after his own brand of coffee. Although Dave didn’t invent the mix, after appearing on an episode of the Joe Rogan show (ep #275), the idea exploded.

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It sure has had a huge impact on the way I now have my coffee (turned me into somewhat of a coffee snob) which is interesting because I only started drinking coffee about 3 years ago. Dave talks about mycotoxins in most coffee, but it’s yet to be proven as most high grade organic coffee is mycotoxin free. In fact some mycotoxins are actually beneficial, but that’s beyond my understanding and there are smarter people out there that can educate you on that.

People still turn up their noses when I tell them I add butter to my coffee, which then generally follows with the question of “Why?!”.

Well aside from it being absolutely delicious, there are some health benefits:
– As a morning drink it kick starts the body into burning fat for the day with energy for hours by getting the body to burn fat for energy instead of sugar.
– CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), found in grass-fed butter has been shown to reduce body fat mass, especially in obese people.
– Provides healthy fats as the short-chain fatty acid Butyrate, is anti-inflammatory, helping with heart disease.
– Grass-fed butter has the best ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (which reduces body fat) and has the right fats that regulate cholesterol, not add to it.
– Grass-fed butter is a good source of vitamin K, helps in the deposit of calcium in places like bones and teeth, preventing it from where calcium doesn’t belong such as the soft tissues.

I go a little further and add a little turmeric for the well known health benefits, where the main compound found in turmeric (curcumin) has anti-inflammorty effects and is a good antioxidant. Curcumin is also fat soluble so adding it to my coffee with butter is a perfect combination. A little cayenne powder is added to promote digestion and gives that extra little kick to the day.

So my coffee blend looks like this:
– 2 scoops of freshly ground organic (single origin) coffee. I prefer a medium roast.
– 500 ml water
– 60g of grass-fed butter
– 2 tbs mct oil
– turmeric, cayenne powder to taste

It’s my preferred start to the day, which usually begins at 5am and I’m not hungry or needing food until around 1-2pm. I do intermittent fast so the smooth energy release from the morning coffee is perfect for me. I’m fairly active and when I’m in ketosis I can train early in the day with more than enough energy to get me through.

My wife has hers with at least 21grams of collagen (minus the turmeric and cayenne) as it helps her stay satiated for longer, yet it has the opposite effect on me. When I add protein to my coffee, I don’t seem to be able to go as long without eating. I’m sure there are some studies to this, but I haven’t looked into it any deeper.

It should come with a warning though as my morning coffee has some serious calories in it (500+), but I do live a fairly healthy lifestyle. You can’t have a big coffee full of fat and high calories, then continue to have a poor choice of foods, as you are effectively adding a lot of extra calories to your day. I don’t count calories myself, but I am in tune with what does and doesn’t work for me. I only have it in the morning and it took a few attempts to find the right blend of butter / mct oil before I came to the ratios above. At one stage I had gone right up to 80g of butter and 3 tbs of mct oil.

Is it just a fad that will be later replaced by some other crazed idea? Possibly! But I can’t deny the feeling I have when I drink it, the hours of energy and most importantly how damn delicious it is. But make sure you blend it so it emulsifies, otherwise you’ll just be having a very oily cup of coffee.

Enjoy!

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