Thursday, July 21, 2011

Deep-Fried Foods: The Ultimate Killer

OK health's my fourth and final installment on hydrogenated oils.  I'll move on to other interesting topics now.  We cook a lot with coconut oil (stored in a jar in the fridge as a solid), and butter.  Read on to learn more about what to eat and what NOT to eat! 

Fried Food
Fortunately, this information is beginning to penetrate the public consciousness. Recently, a news special covered the subject. The reporter got some of the details wrong, but the general message was right on the money. And the one surprising tidbit of information in the report was the fact that most of the deep-fried foods served in fast food joints are fried in partially hydrogenated oils!

Now, deep frying all by itself is pretty bad. After all, you are applying a lot of heat. But if that heat is applied to a saturated fat, there is a limit to how much harm it can do. A saturated fat doesn't have a "business end". There is no part of it that is chemically active. It's inert. Your body can burn it for fuel, but it can't use it to carry out any of your metabolic processes.

A saturated fat is inert, so it can't be hurt much by heat. However, it's not all that good for you, but it's not terrible either. So if you're going to fry, fry in a fully saturated fat like lard, or coconut oil. Or, use butter, which consists mostly of short-chain saturated fats that are easily burned for fuel, plus conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which improves health (Bruce Fife, Detox, 68). And butter tastes great. It's so good, in fact, that you don't even need to use very much to get a lot of flavor. So at home you can fry with butter to get gourmet-quality food that is also healthy.

Even better, you could fry with coconut oil -- which consists of medium chain fatty acids that contain 2/3's the calories of long-chain saturated fats. They're also metabolized differently, so they're burned for energy instead of being stored as fat. And if that's not enough, 50% of coconut oil consists of lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that's anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungus, and anti-yeast. (For more information, see Coconut Oil and Palm Kernel Oil: Miracle Medicine and Diet Pill.)

For commercial deep frying, though, butter is prohibitively expensive. Things were better when foods were fried in beef tallow and coconut oil, because they had a lot of flavor and the saturated fats aren't harmed by the heat. But all that saturated fat sounds bad, so restaurants switched to partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. One "healthy" Mexican restaurant even advertised that they fried in vegetable oil. That would be somewhat better than partially hydrogenated oil -- assuming that they weren't using partially hydrogenated vegetable oil in the first place -- but subjecting the unsaturated fatty acids contained in a vegetable oil to the high heat of a deep frying vat is deadly, especially when the oil is used and reused all day long. The result would be the same kind of trans fats that you get in the hydrogenation process!

But the absolute worst commercial frying is done by the fast-food chains, who almost uniformly do their deep frying in cheap, deadly partially hydrogenated oil. Any fats that escaped being transmogrified in the hydrogenation process are now subjected to the deep frying process. It's a miracle that any of the unsaturated fats escape being transmogrified, if any of them do.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Partially Hydrogenated Oils Make You Fat!

OK - this post is a continuation of the two previous posts, with one more on the way. Let me iterate once again, I did some online research, and found a TON of material.  I then consolidated it all into one long article, rewriting it here and there....and then broke it down into bite-sized pieces (4 separate postings).  So, I'm posting info that wasn't exactly written completely in my own words, but why bother when it's already been done.  If you go looking, like I did, you will get the same info and learn a bunch along the way. Read below to get an idea of why hydrogenated oils can make you fat.

Her goes...

Partially hydrogenated oils will not only kill you in the long term by producing diseases like multiple sclerosis and allergies that lead to arthritis, but in the meantime they will make you fat!

You Eat More

It's not like you have any choice in the matter. Remember that the essential fatty acids are vital to every metabolic function in your body. You will get the quantity of essential fatty acids that you need to sustain life, no matter what. You will not stop being hungry until you do.

If you are consuming lots of saturated fats, you really have no choice but to become fat, because saturated fats contain only small quantities of the polyunsaturated fats that contain the essential fatty acids you need. The key to being thin, then, is to consume foods containing large amounts of polyunsaturated oils. (Those foods include fish, olives, nuts, and egg yolks.) Over the long term, those foods remove your sense of hunger.

Partially hydrogenated oils make you gain weight the same way that saturated fats do -- by making you consume even more fat to get the the essential fatty acids you need. But partially hydrogenated fats are even worse. Not only do they produce disease over the long term, but they interfere with the body's ability to ingest and utilize the good fats!

Picture it like this. The trans fats are now the guards along the watchtower. The essential fatty acids (the support troops) are waiting outside to get into the fort (the cell), so they can be distributed along the watchtower (the cell wall). But the guards won't let them in! So they have to find someplace to stay in town. Over time, more and more troops are finding lodging in town. So new houses (fat cells) have to be built to keep them in. The town grows more and more swelled with troops (fat), and it gets bigger and bigger (fatter). It's not a pretty picture at all, when you realize that the town is your belly, buns, face, and neck.

Your Metabolism Slows

Worse, most partially hydrogenated oil is partially hydrogenated soybean oil. That's a problem, because soybean oil depresses the thyroid--which lowers your energy levels, makes you feel less like exercising, and generally makes you fatter!

Of course, soybeans have been used for centuries in the Orient--but mostly as the basis for soy sauce and tofu. Asians didn't have soy milk, soy burgers, soy this and soy that. Most of all, they never used concentrated essence of soybean, in the form of soybean oil. And they didn't hydrogenate it, and they didn't use it in everything.

Walking down supermarket aisles in America, you find product after product with partially hydrogenated oil--often in products you would never expect. But why not? After all, it's cheaper than butter. And it's not illegal. Yet, when you eat out, restaurant breads and fried foods are loaded with stuff.

As a result, Americans are consuming soybean oil--partially hydrogenated soybean oil--in virtually everything they eat. It's no wonder that America is experiencing epidemic levels of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Avoid Hydrogenated Oils! You have to read the labels...

You know - you really ARE what you EAT!  We are comprised of trillions (lots) of cells. They all need the same thing to live, and guess what - it happens at the cellular level.  Vitamins, minerals, fats, simple sugar.  Did you ever stop to think that what you eat gets broken down to the most basic level and fed to your body, on the inside?  I'm fascinated by the biochemistry that goes on inside us, and it really makes me think about what society considers worth eating.  Why would you put junk inside you if you knew it was bad for you?  Why?

Why is this junk created, researched, marketed, and promoted to the unsuspecting public?  Profit! These companies need to make money to stay in business.  Coca Cola, Nabisco, Campbells (they still put MSG in their soups, and that's another blog post coming up).  We crave what is bad for us, fat, sugar, alcohol? Isn't that weird?  So, these junk food producers are catering to our cravings.  Guess what else? This junk has to get transported distances, and then sit on the shelf until you buy it, and then sit on your shelf till you eat it. Hydrogenated oils prolong shelf life...

Avoiding Hydrogenation

When you start reading food labels, it is astonishing how many products you will find that contain partially hydrogenated oils. In the chips aisle, there are maybe two brands that don't. Then there are the cookies and crackers. Most every single one does. About the only cookie that doesn't is Paul Neuman's fig newtons. Among peanut butters, the all-natural brands don't. Ever wonder why the oil never separates out of the cheaper brands? They are LOADED with hydrogenated oil to keep the oil from separating. “Choosey mothers choose Jiff!” Really?  Wow!!!

The more labels you read, the more surprised you will be at the variety and number of places that this insidious little killer shows up. Do read the labels. Do recoil in disgust, and do throw the product back on the shelf.

And it's not just partially hydrogenated oils, anymore...
What's going to happen when consumers begin to become aware of the dangers of partially hydrogenated oils? Are manufacturers going to stop using it? Unfortunately, no. They would probably just give it a new name. Well, it appears that the worst may have come to pass. Manufacturers are now using mono- and di-glycerides--which are also hydrogenated oil products.

What You Can Do
For starters, read food labels and avoid anything that contains the words "hydrogenated." That means partially hydrogenated oils, hydrogenated oils, or anything of that kind (and mono-diglycerides, as well). One more thing, the FDA permits food companies to say 0% trans fats on the packaging.  Really?  Then why are hydrogenated oils in the list of ingredients?...drum roll...becuase if it's below a certain percent, they can lie!  Go look at tortillas next time you're shopping.  I can't find one company that doesn't use them.  Every now and then, I do, and they are usually the whole wheat ones.

The Legal Outlook
With any luck, the first lawsuits against "food" producers will begin in the next 10-20 years. The scientific knowledge has been available since the early 1990's, at least, so there is no doubt they are fully aware of what they are doing. They have been ignoring the health effects for the sake of profit. Such behavior is both unethical and immoral. With luck, some day it will be illegal, as well.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What's Wrong with Partially Hydrogenated Oils?

I interact with people while grocery shopping...shoppers, cashiers, whoever.  I'm always amazed that most people don't know or care about hydrogenated oils!  Please read this post that I've created by borrowing content from other listings.  Hydrogentated oils are poison to our body.  Read the labels of everything you eat - especially the cookies, crackers, cereals, breakfast bars, microwave popcorn, etc.  It's in everything, but not in the food I eat. If it's on the label, it stays in the store where it belongs!

By the way, margerine is a stick of hydrogenated oil.  Eat butter - it's the real thing!

Why Fats are Important

The first thing to understand about fats is that the essential fatty acids they contain are truly essential. They are the "active ingredient" in every bodily process you can name:

·         brain cell function and nervous system activity:
o    hormones and intra-cellular messengers
o    glandular function and immune system operation
o    hemoglobin oxygen-transport system
·         cell wall function:
o    passing oxygen into the cell
o    passing nutrients into the cell
o    keeping foreign bodies out of the cell
·         digestive-tract operation:
o    assimilating nutrients
o    blocking out allergens

In short, the essential fatty acids (contained mostly in polyunsaturated oils) are the most important nutrients there are -- more important than vitamins, minerals, or even proteins - because without them, there is no life. They are the substance and foundation of life energy.
What is Hydrogenation?
Hydrogenation is the process of heating an oil and passing hydrogen bubbles through it. The fatty acids in the oil then acquire some of the hydrogen, which makes it more dense. If you fully hydrogenate, you create a solid (a fat) out of the oil. But if you stop part way, you obtain a semi-solid partially-hydrogenated oil that has a consistency like butter, only it's a lot cheaper.  Because of that consistency, and because it is cheap, it is a big favorite as a butter-substitute among "food" producers. It gives their products a richer flavor and texture, but doesn't cost near as much as it would to add butter.
Until the 1970's, food producers used coconut oil to get that buttery flavor and texture. The American obesity epidemic began when coconut oil was replaced with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil -- most often soybean oil.

What's Wrong with Hydrogenation?
Unlike butter or virgin coconut oil, hydrogenated oils contain high levels of trans fats. A trans fat is an otherwise normal fatty acid that has been "transmogrified", by high-heat processing of a free oil. The fatty acids can be double-linked, cross-linked, bond-shifted, twisted, or messed up in a variety of other ways.  The problem with trans fats is that while the "business end" (the chemically active part) is messed up, the "anchor end" (the part that is attached to the cell wall) is unchanged. So they take up their position in the cell wall, like a guard on the fortress wall. But like a bad guard, they don't do their job! They let foreign invaders pass unchallenged, and they stop supplies at the gates instead of letting them in.

In short, trans fats are poisons, just like arsenic or cyanide. They interfere with the metabolic processes of life by taking the place of a natural substance that performs a critical function. And that is the definition of a poison. Your body has no defense against them, because they never even existed in our millions of years of evolution -- so we've never had the need or the opportunity to evolve a defense against them.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon with Mary G Enig, PhD

My mother bought several copies of this book and gave it to each of us kids (myself, brother, and sister), about 12 years ago when my first daughter was born.  She said - "Read it!"  I did.  It is an incredible reference book and resource for nutritional wellness, and great recipes. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about nutritional do's and don'ts.

Excerpt from web site:
This well-researched, thought-provoking guide to traditional foods contains a startling message: Animal fats and cholesterol are not villains but vital factors in the diet, necessary for normal growth, proper funciton of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels. Sally Fallon dispels the myths of the current low-fat fad in this practical, entertaining guide to a can-do diet that is both nutritious and delicious.
Topics include the health benefits of traditional fats and oils (including butter and coconut oil); dangers of vegetarianism; problems with modern soy foods; health benefits of sauces and gravies; proper preparation of whole grain products; pros and cons of milk consumption; easy-to-prepare enzyme enriched condiments and beverages; and appropriate diets for babies and children.

Sally Fallon is the Founder of A Campaign for Real Milk ( and President of the Weston A. Price Foundation ( She is the editor of the Foundation's quarterly magazine Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts and has published articles in a number of alternative health publications including Nexus Magazine, The World & I and the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients. A resident of Washington D.C., she is the mother of four healthy children. Mary G. Enig, Ph.D., of Silver Spring, Maryland, is an expert of international renown in the field of human biochemistry and lipids.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Brewer's Yeast - It's REALLY good for you!!!

One morning, while in the kitchen getting ready for school, I witnessed my father eating a large piece of Blueberry Pie.  I said, “Mummy, can I have pie too?”  She said YES – on one condition.  You need to have some brewers yeast too.  Being 7, I thought – no problem.  Let me just say, I have an acquired taste for it having started drinking it so long ago.  Mothers are so sneaky aren’t they?!  I had pie for breakfast from then on whenever I wanted, and always drank my yeast.  Here’s the question (dating myself) – how did she ‘know’ way back then…it had to be about 1969?

Over the years, I've read the label on cans of yeast you buy in health food stores, and remembered most of what you need to know.

Here's what I remember, and know:
- B Complex (vitamins), all of them, and in ratios balanced by mother nature, as they were intended and needed
- All the 'essential' Amino Acids (see below for more)
- A bunch of minerals like Selenium, Chromium, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Copper, Zinc...
- Protein (I recall something like 25% of your daily requirement)
- I recall a tingling sensation on the back of the neck back in college when I took it then, and researched it.  Histamines are released from the Riboflavin, and you feel it on your neck as a sudden hot flush.  After taking yeast regularly for a few weeks, this slowly passes. Today, it doesn't happen to me at all, but may happen to you.

I purchase my Brewer's Yeast in bulk at the local Health Food store, as yeast flakes - dissolves better than powder.  I store it in a metal can, and put two heaping tablespoons full in water-diluted juice.  I also include a tablespoon of powdered greens (another blog)...and drink it right down. 1-2-3...DONE!  C'mon, after reading this, so far, don't you want to run out and get some?  Just so you know - I can't get my kids to drink it.  Then again, there's no blueberry pie sitting around to bribe them with!

Health Benefits from Google Search Results
1. Being an excellent source of chromium, an essential trace mineral, brewer’s yeast serves as an antioxidant, ridding the body of harmful toxins and free radicals. This promotes healthy cell renewal and regeneration.

2. Brewer’s yeast also has an organic compound called glucose tolerance factor or GTF, which helps the body in maintaining normal blood sugar levels. It aids the body to make use of insulin more efficiently. This is why many individuals who have diabetes use health supplements made from brewer’s yeast.

3. It also strengthens the body’s immunity against illnesses and diseases. This is primarily because brewer’s yeast is a good source of selenium, another essential trace mineral which is known to be effective in improving the functioning of the immune system and in the stimulation of antibodies.

4. The selenium in brewer’s yeast can also help in making the thyroid function more efficiently, preventing hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and goiter.

5. Brewer’s yeast has also been recommended as a natural supplement for boosting fertility, especially in men.

6. The B complex vitamins in brewer’s yeast is effective in enhancing an individual’s physical appearance as they can improve the condition of the skin, hair and eyes. These vitamins also help in breaking down fats, carbohydrates and proteins. They are also essential in maintaining the healthy functioning of the digestive and the nervous systems.

7. The high amount of protein found in brewer’s yeast contains all the essential amino acids needed to build and repair tissues, bones, muscles and cartilage. The protein in brewer’s yeast can also help in enzyme and hormone production.

8. Studies have shown that brewer’s yeast can lower the levels of bad cholesterol or LDL while raising the levels of good cholesterol or HDL in the body. This can help in reducing the risk of several diseases such as hypertension, strokes and heart attacks.

I like this stuff:
Amino acids are critical to life, and have many functions in metabolism. One particularly important function is to serve as the building blocks of proteins, which are linear chains of amino acids. Amino acids can be linked together in varying sequences to form a vast variety of proteins. Twenty-two amino acids are naturally incorporated into polypeptides and are called proteinogenic or standard amino acids. Of these, 20 are encoded by the universal genetic code. Eight standard amino acids are called "essential" for humans because they cannot be created from other compounds by the human body, and so must be taken in as food.

Blog ideas - let's see....which one next?

Here's the thing...I wrote down a list of ideas on a piece of paper, and that piece of paper has been floating around in my briefcase.  So as not to misplace or lose it - it is now electronic for easy referral. Please tell me which topic you would like to see covered next!

Blog Topics:
1. Juicing - Overall Benefits, and various blends for health benefits (one of my favorites is melons)
2. Avocados
3. Brewer's Yeast
4. Organic
5. Hydrogenated Oils
6. MSG - horrid stuff~!
7. What does "All Natural" mean, really?
8. Refined Foods in your diet
9. Eat Healthy - what does that mean?
10. Portion Control
11. Timing is everything
12. The Master Cleanse
13. Nutritional Supplements
14. Importance of a Gluten Free diet
15. Corn Sugar - what's wrong with it?
16. Diabetes - the new American epidemic

I'll start with Brewer's Yeast - that's near and dear to my heart.  My mother introduced it to us kids when we were all very young (I was 7).