_Coconut oil is a saturated fat which means that the fat molecule is has all possible links to its filled with hydrogen atoms. Animal fats from meat, eggs and dairy products are also saturated fats.
According to some sources, mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats are considered healthier than saturated. They say saturated fats are associated with weight gain, heart disease and raising bad cholesterol (LDL—low density lipoproteins). Other sources say its the opposite, with saturated animal fats being beneficial woth no link to heart disease and weight gain, suggesting its the predominance of high sugar and starchy carbohydrate that is to blame.
Coconut oil is not a source of bad cholesterol, in fact it helps to raise our good cholesterol levels (HDL– high density lipoproteins). Coconut oil is also a medium chain fat (versus the saturated fat from animals that are long chain fats). Because it is shorter it is digested and metabolised by the body quickly and efficiently into energy. In fact, coconut oil can actually aid weight loss because its fast metabolism helps raise our metabolism.
_Chia seeds originate from the ancient Aztecs, where they were so revered they were used as currency.
Chia have the highest known plant source of omega 3 fats which are known as essential fatty acids (EFAs), meaning we need them to be supplied by our food. EFAs are essential for our nervous system and brain, our cardiovascular system, skin and also our joints. Chia has 8 x the omega 3 that salmon has.
Unlike flax/linseeds and fish which also contain these fats, chia is very stable due to its high antioxidant value. Ground flax seeds and flax oil must be kept strictly refrigerated and used very quickly (in 1-2 weeks) or it goes rancid. Chia has 4 x the antioxidant strength of blueberries and the black chia seeds will have more antioxidants than the white.
_Quinoa & Amaranth are actually seeds that originate from ancient South American times. Quinoa originates from the Incas and Amaranth from the Aztecs. The seeds are extremely versatile and can be used as an alternative to rice in whole form and flakes can be used to make porridge. They also come puffed for breakfast cereal, can be sprouted, and also ground into flour.
Quinoa, pronounced ‘keen-wa’, comes in different varieties including:
-White is the mildest in flavour and the best multi-purpose quinoa
-Red is a slightly larger seed, having a stronger, nuttier flavour, great for soups and salads
-Black is smaller with a husk that stays firm with cooking, creating texture and providing fibre++
Amaranth is a tiny seed that apparently has different coloured varieties; however the light brown seeds are found commercially.
_Spirulina, chlorella, AFA (Alphanizemenon Flos-Aquae) and MPP (Marine Phyto-Plankton) are all single cells organisms that have similar nutritional profiles with key differences.
They all boast a similar abundance of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, 60% or greater protein, all essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, RNA and DNA, and antioxidant pigments (namely chlorophyll). They also have reported immune boosting properties being anti-bacterial/fungal/viral in nature. In addition they are said to improve mental capacity, are cancer fighting, detoxifying, anti-inflammatory, blood building and are 90-100% able to be assimilated by the body.
_We all know what seaweed is; and that is it abundant along many beaches and rock platforms. However it is not a commonly eaten food other than the nori you might eat wrapped around your sushi roll. This is a shame because seaweeds or sea vegetables, have 10– 20 x more bio-available vitamins and minerals than land vegetables. They are amazing for us nutritionally and they are very tasty!
Sea vegetables have all of the minerals found in human blood including potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron. Such minerals make sea vegetables an alkaline food source so they are healing, calming and nourishing for our bodies.
_Lemon juice contains citric acid and is acidic to taste, however, lemons are considered alkaline forming. This means that the effect on the blood is alkaline versus milk that don't taste acidic, yet has acid forming properties in the blood.
Acid is anything below a pH of 7, 7 is neutral, and above 7 is alkaline. Our blood must stay between a pH of 7.35 and 7.45 which is slightly alkaline. There is a greater tendency to head towards acidosis i.e. too much acid in the blood, due to diet and lifestyle factors that are more prone to acid formation. Minerals such as calcium and magnesium that are required for strong bones, are alkaline minerals and are frequently needed to bring our blood back to neutral. Hence diets that are too acid forming (especially high protein and fried foods), can lead to conditions such as osteoporosis.
_There is no regulation for either wholefoods or superfoods, however the general consensus with wholefood is that they are foods that are as close to the natural state as possible with nothing added, or nothing taken away. E.g. milk straight from a cow, versus the processed, homogenised, pasteurised milk sold in cartons today.
Superfoods are considered to be super-nutritious, not just with one or a few nutrients but very many. There are many varied opinions about superfoods from dubious websites touting ice-cream and bacon as superfoods, through to supreme superfoods like maca, noni, mangosteen and blue-green algae.
_Beetroot is a well loved vegetable especially in Australia. Mostly known in the pickled variety in cans, most people would have also eaten it roasted or in a dip. The most nutritious way to eat beetroot is raw because the betalin pigments that give its amazing colour, are reduced by the cooking process.
Beetroot is a source of carbohydrate and fibre. It is a good source of Vitamin C, Iron and Magnesium. It is an excellent source of Folate and Manganese. Iron needs Vit C present to be absorbed properly so its convenient that beetroot contains both. Manganese is an essential trace mineral that is important to activate many enzymes in the body and aids the absorption of B and C vitamins. Folate is a B vitamin that is widely known as extremely important during pregnancy to prevent birth defects. It is also important for the formation of red blood cells, and for neurological health. Folate also reduces homocysteine levels in the blood (see below).
_Easter Sunday may seem like a weird day for my hubby and I to start a detox, however it was meant to be Friday, then Saturday, then we settled on Sunday. We still had food to be eaten you see and we don't like to waste our precious food items. So some eggs and some gorgeous little chat potatoes had to be cooked! We eat pretty well already but still feel like we are about due for a good clean out.
_I recently went camping for 4 days, and in my usual fashion I can't help but observe the eating habits of those around me. This is not unlike my interest the shopping trolley contents of strangers in supermarkets.
The family next to us had 4 kids with them, three of their own and their son's friend. They were all significantly overweight and the father obese. Over the four days I observed a lot of white bread, tinned spaghetti, takeaway like fish and chips, bacon, cheese and rotisserie chicken. I saw snacks of chips, ice-creams from the shop and soft drink cans in hand.
By the end of the fourth day, it hit me when the young teenage girl at 9.15am, took a swig of soft drink after breakfast, that I had not seen any fruit, any vegetables (not counting potato) and no water. Everyone brings in big containers of water to this camp site and they had none, just soft drink.
With the epidemic that is obesity and type II diabetes, not to mention the rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer. This way of eating and drinking makes me sad and makes me cross. Why is it so? Do people not care, are they just lazy or do they not know better? Surely there is enough good marketing of healthy eating options at schools and in the media to offset the barrage of junk food advertising that still prevails. Sure adults have a choice, but to feed your children and diet that is a recipe for incredibly premature diseases of syndrome X, is just frightening. Is this just me that feels this way?