Healthy Fats

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By Jenn Bruer

Many of us still falsely hold on to the misconception that fat has led us to the obesity epidemic. This is true when talking about the evil trans-fat and, of course, it’s close friend vegetable oil! But I want to tell you about some healthy fats.

NO I am not referring to margarine, people! Margarine touts it’s omega 3 content as being a “heart healthy” addition to your diet; omega 3 is great for heart health, yes, but margarine is often made from canola oil and in the extraction process canola oil needs to be heated at VERY high temperatures, sometimes in excess of 500 degrees! Yet omega 3 is a very unstable fat and oxidized easily under heat. That’s why, when you see fish oil in the stores, it is kept in a dark bottle and stored at room temp or cooler! Margarine should really be stating “a source of oxidized omega 3”. Can they really tout omega 3 if it’s been heated? Insane,I know!

I am cautious about “low-fat” food products, not only because my cells and brain NEED fat, but also because manufacturers often replace fat with sugar. These products can also contain more additives which are used to aid in the artificial removal of fats naturally found in foods. Low fat diets are usually high in simple carbs which means they are rapidly digested and lead to sugar highs and lows-bad news for the obesity epidemic. Sugar highs can lead to diabetes and heart disease over time. Low-fat, high carb diets can also lead to elevated cholesterol levels.

FAT is the new superstar! It aids in the absorption of vital minerals and fat soluble vitamins. Fat satiates and lowers the glycemic load of meals and snacks. Our brain, bones, organs, cells, and nervous system all depend on fat and cholesterol to work properly.

There are many doctors, medical professionals, writers, journalist, and other plain ole good people, like me, debunking the “low-fat myth”; you just need to look around and listen, folks.

Fat is good but still, don’t over-do it; fat is still high in calories and while the types of calories matter more than the sheer number of calories, we still need to be mindful of our caloric load (personally, I NEVER count calories, or anything for that matter, it’s just not realistic).

Okay, so hopefully by now you get that I don’t like sugar and I love fat 🙂 What fats do I eat? I am glad you asked! I use coconut oil, grass-fed butter, ghee, olive oil (but only raw-don’t cook with it), tallow (beef fat), lard (pork fat), palm oil is also a safe fat but I haven’t used it yet.

  • Coconut oil- (an oil extracted from coconuts, duh!) is heat stable and slow to oxidize, which means it’s safe for frying at high heat. Coconut oil has anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties (that’s why I don’t consume coconut products within 2 hours of my probiotics, just in-case it kills the good guys) Coconut oil is very good for you and can be used on the skin too. Make sure you get organic, virgin oil though to avoid toxins. Yes, Costco sells this too 🙂 Yay Costco!
  • Olive oil- cold pressed, organic olive oil (sold in a dark bottle please) is very healthy for you as it is a powerful anti-oxidant. DON’T cook with olive oil, just consume it raw. When olive oil is heated it changes the molecular structure to something not-so-healthy. If you choose to cook with it keep your heat as low as possible. Don’t over-do it though because too much omega 6 is not good for inflammation.
  • Lard, duck fat, and beef tallow (fat from beef) are all healthy fats and can be “rendered” -or saved for later. These fats add amazing flavour to meals like soups, stews, and stir fries. Don’t balk at it until you’ve tried it!!! Remember the gross feelings you get about fat need to be un-learned over time. It will take some time to go from demonizing fat, and being grossed out by it, to, hopefully, demonizing sugar and grains 🙂
  • Butter- yep butter! Make it grass fed if you can, and if you can’t don’t stress about it. If you can handle  dairy, butter is an awesome choice. Butter is rich in vitamins like A, D, E and K2!  It also contains minerals, fatty acids, and CLA. It helps keep joints from stiffening and helps keep calcium in your bones instead of in your tissues! CLA also has anti-cancer effects.
  • Ghee- a good choice for those who cannot tolerate dairy. Ghee is just a fancy word for butter with the milk solids removed. I like frying on high heat with ghee because it has a high smoke point, unlike butter which burns easily.

There are many other oils to speak of but these are the most main-stream healthful ones that I include in my diet. To be clear, I stay away from margarine, vegetable oils, and trans-fats!!! When I want to know if something contains trans-fats I look for the word “modified” that’s a good clue.

…now go add some butter to your steamed veggies would ya?!


Supplements I Take

Supplements

By Jenn Bruer

Besides what I eat, one of the most common questions I get is “what supplements do you take?”. Before you try to do any of the things I do, check with your own doctor.

While I prefer to get my vitamins and minerals from food, that isn’t always possible and we are living in a time where we are exposed to greater toxins than ever before, so we need to be even more vigilant about our health. Also because I ate unhealthy grains for my whole life until recently, I am fighting against the damage and inflammatory response that still exists in my body. Here is what I take:

  1. VITAMIN D. I see this as the single most important supplement I take. Why? Because it reduces my risk of…well nearly anything that could go wrong with me! Like cancer, depression, arthritis, and MS to name a few! In the winter months, I take 3000 IU of vitamin D per day and 5000 IU if I am sick. In the summer I can take less because I am getting natural vitamin D from the sun. Ideally I should not be blindly taking vitamin D, I should be taking a blood test (30-50 bucks because it isn’t covered by OHIP anymore) and then supplement accordingly. OK I am going to get on that right now! Since I am blindly taking vitamin D there is a good chance that I should be taking EVEN MORE.
  2. Probiotics- I take these everyday. These help aid in digestion, keep fungus and yeast at bay, and help my body produce vitamin K-2 which keeps my bones strong. Probiotics also keep my immune system strong and help alleviate depression over time. The benefits of having a healthy gut are truly enormous are still being discovered.
  3. Multi-vitamin- I take a whole food source multi-vitamin every other day just to be sure I am getting enough (I like Now liquid caps and Vitality liquid multi-vitamin). I could take this everyday but I sometimes forget.
  4. Omega 3- that’s a given right?! Omega 3 protects my heart, my joints, lowers inflammation and makes my skin glow. I like Auum Omega-3 and you can contact me to find out how to get some. I also like Ascenta Nurti Sea products.
  5. Magnesium- I take anywhere from 150mg- 600mg of magnesium per day depending on my level of activity and whether or not I have taken an epsom salt bath (which is a form of magnesium absorbed through the skin, or transdermally). Magnesium helps to keep my bones strong. It also helps keep me calm and relaxed. Magnesium also helps keep my muscles from getting too tight after workouts or from daily stress.
  6. Chlorella. I take about 1g of Chlorella per day. I’d like to take more but I take enough as it is! I take Chlorella because Chlorella is a very efficient mercury binder (it removes mercury from the body) as well as other unwanted toxins.
  7. Korean ginseng- I take this because I am asthmatic and this has shown to aid in lung tissue regeneration
  8. Turmeric- this is a spice that I just don’t get enough of and it is a very powerful anti-oxidant so I take it in capsule form each day about. I take 370mg twice daily.
  9. Milk Thistle- I take 1000mg of milk thistle three times a day
  10. Cinnamon- I take cinnamon capsules each day with my milk thistle which helps protect and heal my liver from the damage of a high sugar diet that I used to consume. Cinnamon and milk thistle work synergistically (they kind of help each other out).
  11. Vitamin C- I take about 1000mg of C perday but I only do this when I am “low-carbing” because I avoid fruit for many months of the year. When I am not avoiding fruit I don’t take C. I like Ester-C as it’s more “bio-available” then asorbic acid.

Only when “low-carbing” do I take additional 1000mg of Calcium and 100mg of  Potassium.

Why as a woman over 35 do I NOT take Calcium (other than when I am low-carbing) even though I don’t eat dairy? Well because I get enough calcium from green vegetables, from salmon patties from the bones-in, from nuts and seeds, and from bone broths. What I think is key to healthy bones is optimizing vitamin D, A, and magnesium levels- all of which help the body put calcium where it belongs- in the bones. If I ingest calcium but I don’t have optimal vitamin D and magnesium then the calcium can actually build up around my arteries! That can increase my risk for heart attack. Another important player in calcium assimilation is vitamin K-2 (which in my opinion doesn’t get nearly as much press as it should!). Vitamin K-2 is a vitamin produced by the bacteria living in our gut! I know awesome right!? Vitamin K-2 is also found in foods like: cheese, egg yolk, butter, chicken liver, salami, chicken breast, and ground beef. Interesting that these are almost all foods that have been FALSELY DEMONIZED.


Bone Broth

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By Jenn Bruer

Listen, I know this is going to gross some of you out but we have to talk about bone broth. Yep it sounds delicious right?! No it sounds repulsive, it’s bone juice! But just think of it as soup okay? Bone broth is something I want to tell you about because I’ve recently discovered that this is a super-food! Yes the act of simmering bones for several – 24 to 48 – hours and saving the water that is left over is very healthful. It’s good for your skin, bones, hair, digestive tract, and much much more. This is because bone broth contains highly available and easily absorbed nutrients like: collagen, gelatin, proline, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur and potassium (just to name a few).

Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride who wrote the GAPS diet (gut and psychology syndrome) swears by bone broth with every meal. She suggests that sipping on a small amount of bone broth with every meal aids digestion and calms an inflamed intestinal tract (which many of us have without even realising it).

To make bone broth (because you’re going to now, right?) roast your bones first for 30 minutes on 375, this will add colour and flavour to the broth. You can use chicken, beef, a ham-bone or any other bones you can get your hands on. We buy beef bones from the meat section at the grocery store, they cost about $4.50/kg (recently I bought bones from grass-fed cows, read this to find out more). Simmer your bones in water and add an onion, couple stalks of celery, 2 bay leaves, salt and pepper, and an ounce of vinegar (your choice of vinegar is fine, this is to add some acid which helps pull the minerals out of the bones). Add more water when the water level goes down, just like when you make soup. Simmer for 24-48 hours, strain everything and voila bone broth! This broth will last in the fridge for about two to three weeks. You can do this in a slow cooker, a pressure cooker, or as I like to use a pot 🙂.

Use this broth anywhere you would use broth, in soups, stews, to make rice (no but don’t make rice because grains are to be avoided, aren’t you listening!?), or just as a cup of soup which is how my family likes to consume it. This soup is healing to us all and I hope you will consider making some for you and your family.


Diet Sugars

By Jenn Bruer

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Sorry to say, but we’ve been misled for years! Misled about artificial sugars, by our food regulating companies! Until a couple of years ago I falsely believed that fake sugar, like aspartame, was a good alternative to real sugar. Sugar is something we have to be mindful of, but we can’t have-our-cake-and-eat-it-too, so to speak. For years, I would for-go real sugar for the fake ones in order to watch calories and with the hopes of lowering my “glycemic load”. I bought “zero” yogurt instead of real whole yogurt sweetened with fruit, and of course I bought Diet Coke (especially when I went to the drive through to order a Big Mac and small fries!) all the while thinking I was making “good choices”.  All with good intentions, but the truth is, artificial sweeteners are not healthy OR safe for any of us. Fake sugar can increase your appetite, increase cravings for carbs, and stimulate weight gain! Even more alarming, fake sugars WORSEN insulin resistance; not to mention aspartame is a neurotoxin! Avoid chemical fake sugars like your life depends on it.

I avoid fake sugar, even in my chewing gum. I still chew gum but I look for gum sweetened with sugar alcohols like: xylitol, glycerol, sorbitol, maltitol, or mannitol. I like stevia which is a natural based sweetener extracted from an herb, although I am still cautious when using stevia since it’s been extracted (like juice) and isn’t found that way in nature. I use stevia to sweeten my coffee but I limit my use of these products as much as possible, limiting to chewing gum and coffee only. I like these sugar alternatives because they don’t cause a sugar spike which is bad news.


Grass-Fed, Pasture Raised, Ethically Treated- Meat

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By Jenn Bruer

Did it ever occur to you that cows weren’t supposed to eat grains!? Think about it for a second; we manufacture food for cows. Isn’t that odd? What would cows eat if we weren’t mass producing grains for them? The answer is GRASS. Cows eat grass, they prefer grass. Just as we shouldn’t eat grains because it causes our bodies to be sick and inflamed neither should cows. Here’s the scoop as to why my freezer is full of grass-fed beef….

Grass-fed beef is healthier, it contains up to a third less fat per serving than grain-fed beef. The fat in grass-fed beef is also far more beneficial: it contains almost double heart- and brain-protecting omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These cows have fewer bouts of illness too which means they’ve been given less medication. Grass-fed cows have twice the conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) per serving. Recently I read about a study that has linked higher CLA levels with easier weight loss and a reduced risk of heart disease as well as certain types of cancer!

These fun stats and facts aside, I want to eat animals that were raised as naturally as possible, that were able to get fresh air and eat what they were meant to eat! It seems to make simple sense. A stressed and inflamed animal surely can’t provide the same nutritional benefits as a happy healthy one……right?