Wednesday, February 25, 2015

For the Love of Bacon

Otto in my I love bacon blanket
I do love me some good bacon, which I think most of you will agree with me. Salty, a touch of sweetness, crunchy, or chewy, fatty, and the smell... I can taste it's yumminess as I type. But wait, aren't the nitrites and nitrates really bad for you so you should avoid bacon?

Lets break it down and see if we really need to fear nitrates and nitrites.
Did you know your body actually makes nitrites? Yup, it does. You produce more in your salivary glands than you could ever consume from food. Either nitrites must be healthy for us or you need to stop swallowing your spit.
Vegetables contain far far more nitrites than any cured meat, including hot dogs. Things such as a single serving of kale, celery, beets, Swiss chard can have more than 10 times the amount of nitrites as a single serving of bacon. You consume most of your nitrites from food from your veggies. These have to be worse for you than bacon and cured meat!
When meats say "naturally cured" they use celery seeds due to the enormous amounts of nitrites in them to cure the meat.

Here is one way in which these are healthy for us:

  1. You consume nitrates 
  2. On the back of your tongue is beneficial bacteria, do not kill these off with too much alcohol based mouth wash 
  3. When the nitrates hit the saliva and the bacteria, they are converted into nitrites
  4. Down the hatch this goes into the stomach, which should be good and acidic, keep that stomach acidic
  5. Once the nitrites hit the stomach acid, some of this turns into nitric oxide. Why is this important? We use nitric oxide to build muscles. You can take supplements for this. It is beneficial to the heart. It is important for cellular signaling and many more things
I hope you can see nitrites and nitrates are actually very good for us and something we need. They are naturally occurring. Not something to fear. For more in depth information on the topic, here is a great article from Chris Kresser

Saving the world one stick of butter at a time and some yummy bacon.
God bless,

Friday, February 13, 2015

What Fats Are Best for Cooking?

5 gallon bucket of coconut oil
Here are some of the best cooking fats and why.

  • Butter and Ghee, not only is butter great for all of the reasons I talked about in my post on butter, it is a fantastic, stable cooking fat up to medium heats Although ghee can be cooked much higher. Butter is a saturated fat, meaning all available bonds are taken with hydrogen, so it is solid at room temperature. This stability of all the bonds being filled, gives any saturated fat the ability to not go rancid at higher temperature cooking. Some saturated fats are better for medium heats, due to the other types of fat found along with the saturated fat.  
  • Coconut oil, another saturated fat is also heat stable. One of the biggest reasons I do not cook everything with coconut oil is the taste, there are some dishes coconut just does not taste good in. It is wonderful in baked goods, most Primal/Paleo recipes call for coconut flour and some coconut milk, so the oil just adds moisture and healthy benefits. Unrefined extra virgin coconut oil should be for baking and light cooking.
  • Bacon grease, yeah I said bacon grease. When cooking bacon we save the fat and use it in cooking, almost anything tastes better with bacon grease. If you are concerned about nitrites and nitrates, there is a future post coming dedicated to them, hold onto your horses. 
  • Bone broth fat, my first batch or two always gives more fat to my broth than I need. So, I take some off and keep it in the fridge, to add to my later batches and for cooking. This is a pretty neutral flavor, it does not effect the taste of cooked foods like coconut oil or bacon grease. As a side note, this also does wonders for the dry, winter hands. I like to rub it in, especially any extra dry spots, allow it to sit for some time and then wash it off. Your hands will be silky smooth and the dead skin, gone.
  • Palm kernal oil can also be a good fat. Just be sure to find a good quality one, read the ingredient list to be sure there is no hydrogenated oils.
  • Lard, tallow or any rendered animal fat, not only do they provide many vitamins and minerals, they are perfect for medium to high temperature cooking. You do not want to buy lard that is sitting on a store shelf though. This has been hydrogenated to be shelf stable. Hydrogenated oils should be avoided at all possible costs. These oils cause inflammation in the body, lead to heart disease, diabetes, cancer arthritis, weight gain and many more health issues. A post on hydrogenated oils will be in the near future as well. Look for these types of fats in a health food store, from a local butcher or render your own.
Olive oil is NOT a high temperature cooking oil. I know it has been touted as such, but nothing could be further from the truth. Most of the fat in olive oil is monounsaturated. This is not a stable cooking oil, at medium and higher temperatures, it will break down and turn into a hydrogenated oil. Olive oil is best for cold uses, salad dressings and dipping sauces, or for low heating. Many olive oils you find on store shelves are not true olive oil. They might have some in them, but they are combined with other oils to be cheaper to sell. The oils they are combing them with are hydrogenated oils, which we are avoiding. Good, high quality olive oil is expensive. Not something you want to dump into a dish in high quantities to cook with. You want to savior it, taste it, use it sparingly. Do not cook your olive oil.

Saving the world one stick of butter at a time.
God bless,

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Amazing Coconut

On to the next healthy fat, coconut, in all of it's glorious forms, flour, oil, milk and cream.
It is hard not to know at least some about coconut, it is all over the place these days, the oil for it's fat lose abilities, skin conditions and so forth, the flour for everyone who is celiac or gluten free for whatever reason and the milk and cream in place of dairy.

Let's break it down:

  • It is full of saturated fat, mainly in the form of MCT's, medium chain fatty acids. These provide energy to the body quickly and effectively. This energy is converted to ketons in the liver and ketons are a preferred energy source for the brain, heart and the body in general.. Provides fats for cell walls. Helps protect the heart from heart disease and arteriosclerosis, hardening of the arteries, this is due, in part, to decreasing total cholesterol and blood pressure as well as other types of fat that are present. 
  • Beneficial in Alzheimers, time will tell in prevention with more people eating it. In treating, there are already very promising signs of benefits. This is due to the keton production, which helps the brain to function optimally, this will also help with brain fog. Additionally, a high fat, very low carb diet, fat ketosis, is used to treat epilepsy, coconut in various forms are a very large portion of this diet.
  • Due to the antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic properties of coconut oil, it strengthens the immune system and helps fight off viruses and bacteria. Due to these properties, it works wonders on the skin for things such as acne. It also helps rid the gut of bacterial, fungal and parasitic over growths, these over growths can lead to things such as candida (yeast) infection, SIBO, bacterial over growth and parasitic infections. Coconut oil will help the body fight these off.
  • Coconut oil is great for the skin in general when taken internally as well as applied topically. The health of your skin begins in your gut, when it is healed, your skin will reflect this. It helps ward off signs of aging, keeping the skin moist and well hydrated. It helps with things such as eczema, psoriasis, and many other skin condition. It is a great massage oil, I will let you think further about that one. Helps protect against the sun, a mild sunscreen. 
  • Heat stable fat for cooking at higher temperatures. Use coconut oil in place of vegetable oils and olive oil, vegetable oils should not ever be eaten and olive oil should be used as a cold oil, salad dressings and drizzling over food after cooking. I use coconut oil to cook many dishes. There are some however that we do not like the taste of the coconut oil in and those I use butter, bacon grease or fat from my bone broth instead. You will find the meals you like coconut oil with and those you do not.
  • A very potent antioxidant. 
  • Provides Vitamins E and K as well as iron
  • Used in hair care products for deep conditioning and scalp issues. You can also make your own shampoo with coconut milk.
  • Helps stave off hunger, helping with weight lose. Coconut also increases your metabolism, fat burning. Can help put you in fat ketosis, which is a powerful fat burning state. Coconut oil has been shown to decrease the dangerous abdominal fat.
  • Coconut flour is high in  protein, healthy fats, and fiber.
  • Coconut water is full of health benefits as well. This is a great recovery drink from a hard workout or a hangover, replenishing electrolytes in the body and fluids. Can aid in digestion.
This is a long, but a very short list of benefits to coconut. As a side note, do not be afraid of the saturated fat content of coconut. The lipid hypotheses has largely been discredited, to the point in some science circles to be a laughing stock. The fat in coconut will help ward off heart disease at many different levels. Have no fear and enjoy!

Ways of adding more coconut into your diet and life:

  • Use as a cooking oil
  • Bullet coffee, have you realized my love of this yet?!  
  • Use on your skin daily
  • In baking use the flour and oil in place grain flour and shortening
  • Oil pull with coconut oil, on both your face and teeth
  • Drink the milk and cream or use both in cooking and baking
  • Can be used for making your own deodorant
  • Eating it straight for increased energy, keton bodies and help grain cravings 
  • Use it on dried chapped lips, for extra moisture try on top of honey
  • Use as a carrier oil for essential oils 
  • As a deep conditioner for hair, you can also make your own shampoo with coconut milk
  • Help with acne and cold sores
  • Give your significant other a relaxing massage.....
  • Can be given to your pets, eaten or on skin aliments, mine two dogs LOVE coconut, helps sooth their itchy skin as well
  • Make up remover 
  • With some understanding of this amazing food, anywhere you can think of, use it
As you begin incorporating coconut oil into your eating, be sure to begin slowly. It is a fat and does have powerful antioxidant properties, so it will clean you out. Start slow and increase as you go.

Still saving the world one stick of butter at a time.
God bless,