Tag Archives: cholesterol

Breaking news: Butter is back!

For all of you who have given up eating butter thinking 1. it is bad for you and 2. eating it will make you fat, take note: we, the American people , have been fed(pun intended) a whole lot of misinformation about what is good for us and what is unhealthy since around the 1970’s, maybe even earlier. As we have discussed in previous posts, it is just so confusing to know what is fact and what is fiction when it comes to healthy eating.  What is someone who needs to , and perhaps loves to , eat to do????

It just gets so confusing sometimes: how to choose healthy foods….

It just gets so confusing sometimes: how to choose healthy foods….

I guess it always comes back to basics, like most things in life. Personally, I have often been quite skeptical that food that comes from a NATURAL source and that is close to that natural state could possibly be bad for us when eaten in moderation. Honestly, how did eggs become so demonized for so long? For a long time, all we heard about in the media was that eating eggs leads to high cholesterol and heart disease. That just never made sense to me. Eggs are loaded with nutrients: one egg contains 75 calories, 5 grams of fat(1.6 grams saturated fat: the good kind, by the way), iron, vitamins, minerals and carotenoids(believed to prevent macular degeneration). It also contains disease-fighting nutrients and choline, which enhances brain development and memory. Hmmm, now how are eggs bad for you, unless you perhaps are allergic to them? Of course, we always recommend that you consume products that are organically raised and locally produced whenever possible for optimal wellness and a smaller environmental footprint.

So getting back to the butter controversy. I grew up in the 1950’s and 1960’s when margarine was all the rage. I never liked it personally and couldn’t wait to go to my Ukrainian grandmother’s apartment in Brooklyn where she kept unsalted butter on a plate in her kitchen: soft to spread and yummy to eat on her freshly baked loaves of Challah: a little slice of heaven. A far cry from margarine spread on a piece of Wonder bread or a Thomas’s English muffin(delicious but devoid of any real nutritional value). Funny thing is, my grandmother also had Velveeta in her apartment: what is that ‘cheese food product’ even made of that it can sit on a shelf unrefrigerated for years??? I did love it though as a kid: there was something almost magical about it, probably because my mom, who did stock margarine and TV dinners , would never allow us to have it at home.  A little bit of parental wisdom here: if you want your kids to eat something, make it a forbidden food: that will almost always guarantee that they will want it: the old reverse psychology trick.

As soon as I moved out on my own, I was able to make my own choices in terms of food purchases and I made the permanent switch to butter: usually unsalted because I love the flavor that comes through. And I have never given it up, despite all of the so-called research warning us of its link to cardiac disease. Again, I just didn’t buy it: it comes from milk, milk comes from a cow: and cows are animals, real live creatures, not products that are processed, wrapped up tightly and put on a shelf.

Mark Bittman, one of my favorite food writers, published a recent article in the NY Times : “Butter is Back” which does a terrific job of explaining why this is so:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/26/opinion/bittman-butter-is-back.html?_r=0

So this is great news for all of you foodies out there and those of you need help making healthy eating choices. Of course, as the article states, eat butter in moderation, especially if you are trying to achieve or maintain a healthy weight.  Always buy the best quality of food that you can afford, because quality really does matter. I always like to use Michael Pollan’s quote about who to eat in a health manner as a simple reminder: “Eat food(whole food), not too much, mostly plants”. If you follow this simple rule, not only will you achieve your optimal weight but you will feel fantastic AND know that you are enhancing your health overall.

3 old favorites: back in your diet again

3 old favorites: back in your diet again

Oh, and before I forget: another piece of wonderful news came out this week: Salt is also okay: more about that later. So I am going to feel really good when I eat my favorite TV watching snack: Freshly popped, on the stove of course, popcorn with butter and salt: I always called it my guilty pleasure but I guess I don’t need to feel so guilty about it after all.

Bon appétit!

 

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Filed under Essentials, Kyle Bell McAvoy, Whole Eating, Women's Health & Happiness

Just back from 10 days of balance…

Aloha!

2013 has found me traveling hither and yon: first to NYC for an annual functional medicine conference, then to  Sacramento to visit my husband Joe while he tackles a new career assignment, then on to Dallas for a gala and fun family wedding,  and most recently to the big Island of Hawaii( I can still hear the tropical birds’ symphony in my dreams and almost feel the warm breezes and the scent of plumaria in the air…ahhh, heavenly!).  Although I enjoyed ALL of my travels, my time in Hawaii with Joe and 2 of our closest friends truly was 10 days of relaxation, sunshine and attention to balanced living. Joe and I both vowed to leave work behind so that we could truly take in the aura of the island and adapt to the slowed down pace, savoring each moment of island living.

Due to the proximity to the equator, Hawaii has shorter daylight hours in the spring than we do in Oregon: sunrise at 6:15, sunset at 6:30 pm, so the rhythm of the day is quite different. People tend to get up with the sun(which definitely works for me!) and get a lot of living in during the daylight, but are often in bed tucked away snugly earlier than I am used to, often as early as 8:30 but certainly no later than 10:00 PM.  I found myself getting almost 8 hours of sleep almost every night, which is quite different for me, as I am used to getting by with 6-7 hours of sleep most nights at home. It was lovely to adopt this rhythm and my body felt so nourished by all of the rest. As always after some time away from our normal routines, I came home determined to pay more attention to my resting hours.

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We also were surrounded by fresh, flavorful and abundant tropical produce. I have never seen such large avocadoes and papayas: they were HUGE!! and so affordable: at the farmers’ markets ripe and yummy papayas sell for 5 for $2(sometimes even less), so we ate a ‘rainbow’ of fruits and veggies at every meal. I even tried some blue sweet potato chips with guacamole. freshly made at a market: Wow, is all I have to say about that combination!

Avocadoes and mangos aplenty: fresh fruits and veggies in abundance make' eating a rainbow' effortless

Avocadoes and mangos aplenty: fresh fruits and veggies in abundance make’ eating a rainbow’ effortless

My friend Susie and I went to an avocado festival last Saturday and learned that avocadoes  pack some pretty amazing nutritional punch. First of all, I thought there were 2 types of avocados( as that is all I have ever seen sold on the mainland): apparently there are about 40 different types, which was news to both of us. I have always loved to eat these green fruits(technically this is what they are, although often prepared like a vegetable. Due to the festival , we learned just how healthy these “alligator pears” really are. Originally believed to possess aphrodisiac qualities by the Aztec Indians, we now know that they actually provide a broad spectrum of health benefits:

1. Cancer prevention: avocadoes contain certain compounds which help to not only identify but destroy cancer cells while sparing healthy ones and contain high levels of oleic acid, which can help to prevent breast cancer.

2. Support eye health, as they contain extremely high levels of carotenoid lutein, which protects you from macular degeneration and cataracts

3. Help to lower cholesterol , as they are high in ‘beta-sitosterol’. One study demostrated a 17 % reduction in cholesterol levels after eating avocadoes daily for only one week!

4. High in folate, which protects against heart disease and strokes.

In addition, avocado oil is amazing for your skin and hair and in South Africa, avocados are mashed, mixed with honey and lime, to use as a face mask and for after-sn’ treatment. One avocado contains more potassium than a banana as well as  2.5 grams of protein;  all in all, one nutritiously packed ‘veggie fruit.

Enjoying the sunshine and the avocado festival on 'the big island'

Enjoying the sunshine and the avocado festival on ‘the big island’

Of course, now I am back in Oregon, the weather distinctly cooler…farmers markets still waiting to open(I guess that is not a problem in Hawaii, where the season seems to be perennial summer!). I have made a point of buying avocados, incorporating them into salads, shrimp tacos and guacamole.  I would love to hear some of YOUR favorite ways to use avocados, some of YOUR favorite recipes for including these wonderful veggie-fruits into your diet. Please share your recipes with all of us! I know that in South America, avocado ice cream is quite popular: I have yet to try it but it sounds yummy.

Oh, and back to whether avocados contain aphrodisiac qualities: apparently the jury is out on this, but one thing we DO know for sure: eating a whole foods based diet, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep and managing your stress clearly all contribute to hormone balance, and in turn , this does support healthy sexual functioning. So don’t forget to eat some guacamole on a regular basis and share some of your favorite recipes with all of us.

Bon appétit and Mahalo……

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Filed under Essentials, Kyle Bell McAvoy, Whole Eating, Women's Health & Happiness, Women's Work/Life Balance