Saturday, February 28, 2009

What Oil do you use?

Friday while shopping at our local natural foods grocery, I found several sizes of Organic Virgin Coconut oil on sale, with an article on its use by the store nutritionist.
I'd begun using some for cooking & massage recently, so picked up the largest bottle. Several years ago I'd read with interest the 'new opinion' on Coconut oil - that it's really good for us!
(The blue bottle is olive oil, which I use uncooked.)

Why did we think Coconut & Palm kernel oil were 'bad oils?' basically - bad for US business (& here I am, trying to buy more 'locally,' sigh! But I did just sign up for a CSA membership :)
. . . In the 30s & 40s, they were used widely in commercial baking, but WWII limited access, then in 1987, a conscious 'smear campaign'
by the ASA (American Association, a farm organization), which attempted to block competition by trying to persuade lawmakers to introduce legislation against cholesterol-raising saturated fats. . . .

Beatrice Trum Hunter writes: "Palm and coconut oils resist oxidation and are highly stable. They do not require hydrogenation, and are trans fat-free. However, many of the domestic oils are predominantly polyunsaturated, which makes them quite unstable and subject to oxidation. To make them more stable, they need to be hydrogenated. A major portion of soybean oil, for example, is hydrogenated."
(PLUS: a large percentage of SOY is also GM - genetically modified, requiring use of chemicals such as Round-up for 'optimum' growth. If soy in any form is not marked Organic, it's probably GM.)

Checking online, I found a lovely article by Dr. Mary Newport in Florida, (a neonatalist) whose 58 year old accountant hubby was suffering from dementia - about 5 years into it. They were using various pharmaceutical controls, & taking fish oil, etc. "What if there was a cure for Alzheimer's Disease . . . ?"

Dr. Newport, & her husband Steve were looking into a vaccine (Elan) for the dementia. He went for his annual screening, & scored at 12 one day, 18 the next, 4 1/2 hours after starting the coconut oil (he needed to score at least 16 to be accepted for the vaccine.)
The second day of his tests & screening, she'd picked up some coconut oil, & stirred a couple of tablespoons into his morning oatmeal before taking him for more tests. He began the day as 'forgetful' as ever, the test was ~ 4 1/2 hours after eating the oatmeal with coconut oil, & he knew it was
spring, it was Wed, & both the town & county they were in - (he could only recall the town the day before!)
This was a 'chance' finding for Mary, who was researching one of the possible Alzheimer's drugs on-line, & found it contained 'Medium Chain Triglyceride' (MCT) - oil, with one mention that the source was coconut or palm kernel oil! (Breast milk is high in MCTs.) So they picked up some coconut oil (60% MCT) & began using it, starting the AM of the second test.
Dr Newport writes: "In 2003, George F. Cahill, Jr. and Richard Veech authored, “Ketoacids? Good Medicine?” and in 2004, Richard Veech published a review of the therapeutic implications of ketone bodies. These articles are not found in journals that the average physician would read, much less the lay public. Unless you are researching the topic, it is unlikely that you would ever randomly come across this information."

Two Months later
, having continued to use several tablespoons of coconut oil daily, in addition to his other treatments, Steven was still 'better' - was happy & chatty in the morning, (he'd been depressed), could converse more normally, etc. He remembered names of family members when they went to visit (couldn't before) & interacted socially with more finesse & animation.

Mary writes:
"Until very recently, I didn’t see anything regarding the potential use of medium chain triglycerides (MCT oil), or ketone bodies (also called ketoacids,) the end product of their metabolism, which may not only treat, but also prevent Alzheimer’s disease."

One of Steven's 'tests' at the clinic was to draw a clock on a sheet of paper - the first just has the numbers 9 - 12 on the L side of the sheet, with 4 rough circles on the right, & no circle around. (he later told her he couldn't really picture a clock at that time.)
His wife had him try again 2 weeks & a month later: he drew a circle, made 'pie' lines (without prompting - not all lined up, & more than 12 - still like a kid's drawing) with all the correct numbers in their correct places around the wheel.

Dr Mary Newport: " Further, this is a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), drug resistant epilepsy, brittle type I diabetes, and diabetes type II, where there is insulin resistance.
"Ketone bodies may help the brain recover after a loss of oxygen in newborns through adults, may help the heart recover after an acute attack, and may shrink cancerous tumors. Children with drug resistant epilepsy sometimes respond to an extremely low carbohydrate ketogenic diet. MCT oil appears to be useful as an aid in weight loss and body builders use it already to improve their lean body mass."

"The Philippines has one of the lowest incidences of cardiovascular disease in the world. Studies have shown that total cholesterol to HDL ratio improves with non-hydrogenated coconut oil. The people in this part of the world also eat fish regularly, providing them with omega-3 fatty acids, which probably contributes as well to the lack of cardiovascular disease. My nurse friends from the Philippines tell me that many of their relatives back home cook everything in coconut oil and have coconut in one form or another at nearly every meal."

-- Dr Dickson (an ND at our clinic) is big on 'ketosis' for weight loss - coconut oil reacts in the body in a way that promotes the ketones in the blood, without restricting carbs (of course focusing on whole grains, etc, too :) & at the same time, stabilizes blood sugar.

Dr Newport: "Instead of storing all MCTs as fat, the liver converts them directly to ketone bodies, which are then available for use as energy. Oral and intravenous administration of MCT oil produces hyperketonemia, or circulating ketone bodies, which are then available to the brain for energy, in the absence of glucose and even in the presence of glucose. In addition, hyperketonemia results in a substantial (39%) increase in cerebral blood flow, and appears to reduce cognitive dysfunction as-sociated with systemic hypoglycemia in normal humans."

V. Potter writes: I am just now jumping on the coconut oil bandwagon (about three weeks now) and I’m really starting to feel GREAT! I have suffered from severe migraines for the past 25 years, the last 15 becoming increasingly severe, coinciding with the addition of soy and the "low-fat mentality" to my diet. Nothing helped! I should be experiencing my pre-menstrual migraine by now and instead I feel like I could climb Mt. Everest! Also I wondered if it decreased the waist to hip ratio because mine has gone from 7.2 all my life to 7 (or something like that). I think I had the sluggish thyroid too, with a low body temperature of between 96 and 96.8. Now it’s starting to climb for the first time in years. Thank you... Sincerely, V. Potter

Dr Newport: "If you are using any type of hydrogenated vegetable oil or any oil with trans fat, do not use any more and get rid of it! Extra virgin olive oil, butter and other natural, non-hydrogenated oils are okay to use along with the coconut oil. It is possible to use coconut oil in place of all other oils, however, since it contains no omega-3 fatty acids, it is very important to eat salmon twice a week or get enough omega-3 fatty acid from other rich sources such as fish oil capsules, flax meal, flax oil (not for cooking) or walnuts."

-- I make my own flax meal by grinding it with sesame seeds in a seed grinder & FREEZING it (small ~ 3 day batches), & sprinkle a Tbsp. or so on my morning granola (homemade, now with coconut oil. I bake it at 320* for 20 minutes, a mix of OG rolled oats, some shredded (OG) coconut, flax seeds, a few tablespoons of oil & one or two of honey.

Another author writes: "Researchers have known for quite some time that the secret to health and weight loss associated with coconut oil is related to the length of the fatty acid chains contained in coconut oil. Coconut oil contains what are called medium chain fatty acids, or medium chain triglycerides (MCTs for short). These medium chain fatty acids are different from the common longer chain fatty acids found in other plant-based oils. Most vegetable oils are composed of longer chain fatty acids, or triglycerides (LCTs). LCTs are typically stored in the body as fat, while MCTs are burned for energy. MCTs burn up quickly in the body. They are a lot like adding kindling to a fireplace, rather than a big damp log."

-- Anyway - I'm trying it!! I already use olive oil pretty exclusively for dressings & such, & had begun using the coconut for cooking, have always loved 'real butter' & read of the dangers in margarine years ago. When I was 9 & my dad got his 'Good' Post office job, I remember him telling my mom "We can afford butter now - no more margarine!" She still baked with Crisco, & cooked with Wesson oil (which she kept in the cupboard), & we had hydrogenated peanut butter, I always preferred the butter :)
He would often complain at the artificial coffee creamer on the table at our Grange Hall, & their use of margarine - "We're supposed to be a farm organization - we need to use the real thing!"

Today I cooked the brown rice: sauteed a leek & a few OG white mushrooms with the brown & some red rice, in a Tbsp of coconut oil,'till the rice turned opaque.
I added a piece of Kombu (kelp) & my Herbes de Provence mix (from my own herbs), simmered in veggie stock for ~ 20 minutes; then added the leek tops, a couple of sliced garlic cloves, 1/2 cup Quinoa & 2 Tbsp Teff (African millet) & simmered 20 min more. My dau & son-in law loved it! Said it tasted a bit sweet - way yummy :)

Oh, & check your salad dressings!
Many marked 'Olive Oil' often have that as the third or forth oil, after peanut, soy, corn, &/or canola, (& if they're not marked OG, they are also prob. GM) . . .
I just make my own with olive oil!! & there are some fun recipes using coconut oil for dressing as well.

cheers! & happy March :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

the Wedding

Hard to believe a couple of weeks have passed since I wrote here!

My daughter's wedding on the 31st of January was LOVELY - Bride was beautiful, kids were adorable (my 4 grandkids plus a couple of cousins & friends), harp music delightful :) The weather was brisk, but sunny - all in all, a pretty perfect day! The church was filled with well wishers, I had fun posing for a photo with 4 girlfriends (from HS on) & my daughter was shining.

We took the 'girls' to get manicures (& my dau-in law & I got pedicures) Friday, then my daughter's hair dresser came Sat AM to straighten her hair, & do ringlets on all the little girls.

After the reception, the bride & groom headed off for the beach for several days, & the girls & I settled down, . . . well, the 8 year old & I settled down. The 4 year old was still buzzing with energy, & must have decided those curls were too much - off they came!! WOW!

& on Monday the girls & I joined the 'honeymooners' at the beach for some more lovely, blue sky weather. It was a great weekend, & they are having fun settling in to married life.

Over the last few weeks I've heard a lot of stories about other 3 or 4 year olds who decided to cut their own (or a sibling's!) hair - I'm so glad she waited till after the wedding; & it's really pretty cute -

& doesn't take very long to run a brush thru this clip :) (I 'prettied' it up a wee bit - she actually really did do most of that herself!)