Posts Tagged health

Best Cooking Oils?

You should know that good fats (like saturated fats) are not bad for you. Which oils are best to cook with? You need to look at how stable it is when it cooks. Vegetable oils are very unstable at a high temperature so you should never cook with them. Also see if the oil is saturated (solid at room temperature) They are usually more stable than liquid oils.

These are the best  oils to cook with:

Tallow

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is a great cooking oil because it is saturated and very stable a high temperature.  It is a white solid at room temperature(below 76 degrees F) and has a yummy coconuty taste. It comes from coconuts of course. Many people around the world, especially in India, have used the oil for thousands of years. Coconut oil does not become rancid too quickly so food cooked in it won’t become stale.

In the 1940’s farmers tried to use coconut oil to make their animals fatter. Guess what? The became leaner and healthier,  had a better appitite and they were more active. Then they tried corn and soy, and that made the cute piggies and cows fatter. The same thing would happen to us.

Other health benefits of coconut oil are good saturated fats called lauric acids help us fight many diseases including HIV and cancer. It helps with weight loss and is 92% saturated,6% monounsaturated and only a good 2% polyunsaturated!

Coconut oil is great with meat and fish, and some veggies too, like sweet potatoes.

Ghee(clarified butter)

When you don’t want a coconuty taste to your food you can use ghee or butter  for cooking also. Ghee is a very nutritious fat even though it’s technically dairy. The reason to avoid dairy is because of lactose and some gut iritating properties. Ghee is purified to the point where it has no lactose in pure form, unlike butter  which has a little(0.5% to be exact). Ghee also is stable at high temperatures and is also highly saturated(good).

Ghee is great for cooking but also has other benefits as well. It is high in vitamin A and D, and can be supportive for eye and bone health. And Of course it is saturated and helps absorb fat soluble vitamins, like other fats.

Ghee is great to cook all foods in my opinion.

Animal fats

You know, lard, duck fat, tallow… Those are excellent for cooking. All animal fats are very stable at high temperatures and mostly saturated fat(if the animal was healthy and not fed grains. Grains raise polyunsaturated fat in the animal which is mostly omega-6. The lack of omega-3 in the fat will ruin our 1:1 omega-3: omega-6 ratios, which is really bad).

The other benefits of saturated animal fat are that it’s good for your bones, it makes up at least 50% of the cell membrane, and it enhances the immune system too. Those are just a few of the proven benefits of animal fats.

To be honest I’ve never tried food cooked in animal fats, I’m just gonna guess that its good in sweet potato/ zucchini chips and meat, maybe veggies, but I’m not sure.

So now you should know how cook paleo style. Make these the main fats you consume and cook with, and live healthily.

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Nuts: Healthy or Not?

Nuts are a praised paleo/primal snack. They can be used in many paleo cereals, not-oat-meal, breads or just simply eat them are they are! Many people eat a lot of them. They are loaded with helpful and essential nutrients, and some studies show that they might help with weight loss. There are some things that are not so great too.

Phytic Acids

Phytic acids are in nuts so they don’t sprout before the right conditions but in our digestive system they bind to other vitamins and minerals, including iron and magnesium so we can’t absorb them. Some nuts, like almonds and cashews, have them in high amounts. Chestnuts have one of the lowest amounts of phytic acid.

Lectins

Remember lectins from my other post about grains and why they suck. I mentioned that lectins cause gut irritation that is the bases for autoimminity and other ‘fun’ stuff. Well, they’re back again. Lectins are in large amounts in many nut but the lectins in them do not outweigh the beneficial  nutrients nuts  contain. But too many nuts will cause problems, especially if you have digestive problems, so keep it to a hand-full a day

Other Anti-nutrients

Nuts do have a few other anti- nutrients besides lectin. They are not in big amounts, but for the sensitive people it can be an issue.

Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids(PUFA)

Another issue with many nuts are the amount and ratios of PUFAs. They are the main fat in most nuts and mostly in the form of omega-6 and omega-3. The problamatic part about this  is that most nuts have too much omega-6 and close to none omega-3. Our omega-3: omega-6 ratios are suposed to be between 1:1 and 1:2, and now the average is 1: 10, thanks to grains, processed food an legumes. Most nuts will not help either.

These are omega-6 and omega 3 ratios, I copied this whole section from Paleodietlifestyle.com. It’s really helpful info about nuts and ratios:

Almonds

Almonds are moderately high in PUFA, with a total of 12.1 grams per 100 grams, most of it in omega-6. They are a good source of manganese, copper, magnesium,  vitamin E and riboflavin. Wild almonds are highly toxic with a compound that breaks down to cyanide, but modern domesticated almonds don’t contain that compound.

PUFAs in almonds Almonds

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Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts are low in total PUFA compared to other nuts, with a total of only 1.5 grams per 100 grams and most of their fat being monounsaturated. The amount of total PUFA is low enough that the omega-6/omega-3 ratio is not a concern. They are a good source of thiamine, copper and manganese. Macadamia nuts are also very low in antinutrients like phytic acid. They are healthy even in higher amounts.

PUFAs in macadamia nuts Macadamia nuts

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Pistachios

Pistachios are moderately high in PUFA, with a total of 13.2 grams per 100 grams, most of it in omega-6 fat. They are a good source of copper, thiamine, manganese and vitamin B6.

PUFAs in pistachios Pistachios

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Walnuts

Walnuts are very high in PUFA, with a total of 47.2 grams per 100 grams, with a fair amount omega-3 fat. They are often praised for their high omega-3 content, but are way too high in total PUFA and still have a bad omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. They are a good source of magnesium. manganese and copper.

PUFAs in walnuts walnuts

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Pine nuts

Pine nuts are very high in PUFA, with a total of 34.1 grams per 100 grams, most of it in omega-6 fat. They are a good source of manganese, copper and magnesium.

PUFAs in pine nuts Pine nuts

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Chestnuts

Chestnuts are very low in total PUFA, 0.9 grams per 100 grams, low enough that the omega-6/omega-3 ratio doesn’t matter. They are also low in antinutrients like phytic acid. Chestnuts are considered a real nut and are starchy instead of fatty and this is why they are low in PUFA. Unlike other nuts, they can be roasted at higher temperatures without problems. They are a good source of vitamin C, copper, manganese and vitamin B6. They are the only nut with an appreciable amount of vitamin C.

PUFAs in chestnuts Chestnuts

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Pecans

Pecans are high in PUFA, with a total of 21.6 grams per 100 grams, most of it in omega-6 fat. They are a good source of manganese, copper and thiamine.

PUFAs in pecans Pecans

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Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts, also known as filberts, are moderately low in PUFA, with a total of 7.9 grams per 100 grams, most of it in omega-6 fat. They are a good source of vitamin E, thiamin, copper and manganese.

PUFAs in hazelnuts Hazelnuts

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Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts are high in PUFA, with a total of 20.6 grams per 100 grams, most of it in omega-6 fat. They are an extremely good source of selenium, with 774% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) per 6 nuts. Selenium is an extremely important nutrient that’s lacking in many people’s diet. It’s a crucial antioxidant and is very important for the well functioning of the thyroid gland. Selenium is so important that it could be wise to eat a few brazil nuts regularly even though they are high in total PUFA. Keep in mind however that selenium becomes toxic in high amounts and that 2 or 3 brazil nuts per day should be more than enough. They are also a good source of magnesium and copper.

PUFAs in brazil nuts Brazil nuts

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Cashews

Cashews are moderately low in PUFA, with a total of 7.8 grams per 100 grams, most of it in omega-6 fat. They are a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese.

PUFAs in cashews Cashews

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Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are high in PUFA, with a total of 20.9 grams per 100 grams, most of it in omega-6 fat. They are a very good source of magnesium, a mineral that lacking in most people’s diet. They are also a good source of copper, manganese, iron and phosphorus.

PUFAs in pumpkin seeds Pumpkin seeds

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Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are high in PUFA, with a total of 23.1 grams per 100 grams, most of it in omega-6 fat. They are a good source of vitamin E, thiamin, magnesium, copper, manganese and selenium.

PUFAs in sunflower seeds Sunflower seeds

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Sesame seeds

Sesame seeds are high in PUFA, with a total of 21.8 grams per 100 grams, most of it in omega-6 fat. They are a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium. copper and manganese.

PUFAs in sesame seeds Sesame seeds

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Flax seeds

Flax seeds are high in PUFA, with a total of 28.7 grams per 100 grams, most of it in omega-3 fat, contrary to other nuts. Even though they are high in omega-3 fat, the omega-3 is in the ALA form (alpha-Linolenic acid), which is a short-chain form that need to be elongated to EPA and DHA to be useful for the body. The body’s mechanisms to elongate ALA to EPA and DHA are very inefficient and ALA forms of omega-3 fats are not good sources of omega-3 for us. Unless you enjoy them, don’t go out of your way to eat them as they are not a great choice to get more omega-3 compared to fatty fish and grass-fed ruminant meat.They are a good source of thiamin and manganese.

PUFAs in flax seeds Flax

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That’s some good info. By the way peanuts are NOT nuts, they are legumes. Don’t eat them. They have some harmful stuff that can also be found in grains.

Soaking Nuts

The amount of phytic acid, lectins and many other antinutrients can be lowered by soaking the nuts in water for 4-12 hours, and then drying them. This process ‘washes away’ the anti-nutrients.

In conclusion, nuts are healthy in very small amounts. They have plenty of important nutrients. Avoid too much because of phytic acid, lectins and other anti-nutrients, and bad PUFA ratios. Soaking the nuts can lower some of these, but not all. The healthiest nuts are cestnuts, for its low phytic acid content and Macadamia nuts because it has more monounsaturated fats and they both have a more-than-average omega-3 amount. Flax is tasty, but if you want lots of omega-3 meat and fish are the answers. Keep the nuts down to a  handful a day(or less) and you will be fine.

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The Barefoot Lifestyle

Have you guys ever heard of the barefoot runners in India or have you ever watched the video Born To Run? It’s a great video, I  really recommend it  because it explains why running can be important and why shoes are not the answer. Lots of people on the paleo diet also change the way they live, and one of those ways is moving around barefoot. Walking on your bare feet can be very beneficial to your health.

First of all, say goodbye to aching feet. There has been many experiences of foot pain that won’t go away, people just kick off they’re shoes for a few days and guess what? No more aches. (That is until they start wearing shoes for long periods of time again, especially heels and flats). Also, have you heard about injuries during running? Probably. So many runners get injuries now and then, and sometimes  they’re even permanent injuries. Why so? Could it be the precious, $200 running shoes? That’s usually the problem.

Shoes also cause other troubles as well. There are certain muscles in the foot that are not being used when shoes are on your feet. And that’s not good. You know what happens when muscles are not being used, they get weak. Even if it’s the tiniest muscle on your foot, it’s ‘begging’ for exercise. That’s why many  runners have started running barefoot(also for the lower amount of injuries).

Walking barefoot on the streets in your neighborhood may get you thinking “ouch that’s gonna hurt.” This is not the case. When you get used the hard, uneven surfaces, walking barefoot doesn’t hurt, it’s actually quite relaxing. When you walk barefoot you get more chi(also called qi)which is energy flow though out the body.

Barefoot walking, as odd as it seems,( not really, we have been doing it for millions of years, shoes are really the odd ones) can be very kind to you and your feet.

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