A Rotator Cuff Exercise That Provides Instant Relief

As we get older and our bodies take longer to heal, things start to catch up with us. Vision gets a little blurry and information is a little slower to call up in our minds. Some of us like myself, have physical aches from either accidents or repetitive stress injury caused by work or hobbies.

I have played guitar for most of my life. Years of a guitar strap holding a guitar have given me some pain in my left shoulder. The pain was so bad recently that I could not lift my arm past about halfway without searing pain. The pain was becoming constant as well, no matter how I held my arm or rested it.  I feared a rotator cuff injury.

Over the years I have looked for information online to relieve these pains. One quick realization I found was stretching. Simple yoga and stretches do wonder for back, arm and shoulder pain. It took a while, but I can now touch my toes after years of not being able to. This simple stretch provides a lot of relief to me. Another instant pain relief exercise was the pendulum exercise that can be found at mountnittany.org.  I do this exercise whenever I have arm pain.

Neither of these, however, were providing me any kind of pain relief from my most recent shoulder pain.  I would classify it as classic rotator cuff pain:  Aching shoulder pain,  poor sleep from lying on the affected shoulder, arm weakness and it was hard and painful to lift my arm or move it behind my back.  I recently took a vacation where I was away from my guitar and the physical demands of my work for a week.  The pain never got any better and I had resigned myself to having to go get it looked at by a specialist.

Rotator Cuff Pain Relief In An Instant

I was in so much pain one day I spent a ton of time searching the internet for some kind of release when I ran across Dr Loren Fishman’s discoveries on yoga and shoulder pain.  He basically got some relief for his own rotator cuff injury by doing a handstand.  Not all of us can do a handstand obviously and there are stretches that can mimic what’s going on during a handstand.  I found a video that teaches one of these stretches and tried it out.  Instant relief of pain.  Let me say that again:  Instant relief from the pain.

Here’s a link to the page on massagelibrary.com that I found so helpful.  There is a video that shows the technique and a downloadable, printable pdf of the exercise.

My Homemade Deodorant Problems

deodorant problems

I’m constantly trying to reduce processed foods in my diet.  In addition to not putting junk in me, I also try to not put junk on me.  I have used your basic castile style soap for years.  We use no scent laundry detergent.  We got rid of any kind of anti-bacterial soap or dish washing liquid years ago.  My household is trying to cut down on junk.

In our Twitter feed, one of our followers is a natural deodorant manufacturer.  I was checking out their webpage and was interested in their take on a natural deodorant.  Basically it was coconut oil, corn starch and baking soda.  Seemed simple enough.  It included coconut oil.  I love coconut oil.  It’s lauric acid is antibacterial and antiviral.  I searched the internet for homemade deodorant recipes that included those ingredients.  I actually had some old Muddy h2o Pit Powder that was mostly corn starch and baking soda and some coconut oil with lemon eucalyptus essential oil that I was trying out as a natural mosquito repellent (don’t bother).  I decided well, these are basically the same as the ingredients in the recipes I was seeing online so I figured I would just mix the two together and see how well this stuff worked as a deoderant.

For the first couple of weeks I had no problems!  This stuff was awesome!  I did not smell even if I had sweated profusely throughout the day.  The mixture had kind of a paste like texture that was easy to apply and the coconut oil seemed to melt/absorb into my skin and leave no greasy residue whatsoever.  I felt as if I had discovered the all natural solution to stink.  I felt bulletproof and smelled great as well.  I was so excited about my deodorant.

My Homemade Deodorant Problems

A couple of weeks go by and everything seems well until I wake up one morning with a pain in my armpit.  I was getting what looked like a pimple on my right armpit.  No big deal, my partner suggested it was an ingrown hair.  It sure looked like it. Except it was really kind of sore and painful.  And red.  Angry red.  After a few days if went along its pimply course and I thought it was all over.  The pain subsided and I figured that was the end of that.

About a week later, I was waiting for the hard mass of the pimple to go away and I woke up to the pain in my armpit again.  Upon investigation I now had two bumps/lumps/pimples/whatever they were in my armpit.  At this point I began to wonder if I might be having a reaction to what fragrances might be in the Muddy h20 Pit Powder.  It surely couldn’t be the all natural coconut oil, baking soda or corn starch.

I stopped using the deodorant around this time and went back to my time tested Tom’s of Maine deodorant.   A few days later I had at least six bumps starting to sprout under my arm.  This was getting serious.  And painful.  These bumps were swelling up and were stretching my skin to the point that moving my arm was pretty irritating.  And pretty gross looking as well.  Just Google image search “bumps under arm” and you’ll get the point.  I was a little beside myself.  I didn’t want to go to the doctor unless I had to.  (I don’t have much faith in the medical system at this point unless I’m having an emergency or need an operation in which case I think western medicine does pretty good.)

My Homemade Deodorant Problems Solved?

I was pretty convinced that the deodorant I had made was the cause of all of this.  I started using this new awesome deodorant and got some painful bumps where I applied it.  Therefore, the paste was the cause of the bumps.  I remembered from the original manufacturer’s webpage a mention of detoxing.  Basically the idea was that some individuals had a physical reaction to natural deodorants because the natural deodorant was pulling all the poison that had accumulated in one’s body over the years to the surface and was being expelled.  Basically, it was my fault that I was having a reaction because my body was so unpure…..  Well, some searching led me to a post on lisaliseblog.com titled “Why Your DIY Baking Soda Deodorant is Causing a Skin Reaction”.

homemade deodorant problems

Huh.  Imagine that.   The post explains that baking soda has a ph of around 8.3 and most skin friendly stuff has a ph of 4.5 to 5.5.  So, it seems like I was creating a pretty bad ph imbalance for my armpits at the very least.  I had sprouted a whole family of bumps under my arm of all sizes.  The first thing I did was to keep a lemon with me and rub lemon juice on the area to try and get the ph back to where it should be.  I also hoped it would help a little if these things had any chance of getting infected.  In addition to the lemon juice I also applied coconut oil.  It helped soothe the pain and with it’s antibacterial and antiviral properties I figured it couldn’t hurt.

So….What’s The Homemade Solution?

Eventually things started getting back to normal to my relief.  The message was obvious to most except me: “just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s safe”.  As for a homemade deodorant that won’t cause you pain, there is a great looking recipe on LisaLise’s page I’ll be trying.  Go to http://www.lisaliseblog.com/2013/05/how-to-diy-deodorant-without-baking-soda.html to check it out.

 

5 Mind Blowing Books That Will Change Your Life

books that will change your life
books that will change your life

So many of us are looking for the next new thing to improve and make our lives easier.  We all want to know how to lose weight fast, how to make money easily, how to detox, how to be healthy without too much effort.  As each of us gets older we generally come to the same conclusion: all this stuff takes work, and you only get when you give.  To get anything out of life, you need to work at it.  How you work is another story.  The more information one has, the better choices one can make.  With the right choices we can maximize our hard work to achieve greater health and well being.  A good book at the right time can change how you look at the world.  Lots of us have favorite fictional books that have improved our lives.  The books will talk about today shatter long held beliefs on health, diet and finance.  They have made my life more informed and a little…easier.

The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet 

Nina Teicholz

An incredibly eye opening book on the vilification of fat in the 20th century and how small poorly designed studies by Ancel Keys helped cement dietary policy.  Nina Teicholz also documents the rise of low cost factory vegetable fats in the western diet and provides an excellent primer on cholesterol, saturated vs unsaturated fats and trans fats and the current research and findings to support the need for fats in the human diet.  The Big Fat Surprise will convince you that certain fat is in essence healthy food.

Body by Science: A Research Based Program to Get the Results You Want in 12 Minutes a Week

John R. Little and Doug McGuff

Body By Science is all about high intensity, low frequency weight resistance training as opposed to long session aerobic/cardio to build and maintain health.  The book is split into the research and data that backs up the “body by science” program as well as the program itself.  With as little as five exercises (“the big five”) and twelve minutes a day, one can build muscle while avoiding the stress and inflammation caused by repetitive exercise.

The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles

Terry Wahls M.D. and Eve Adamson 

Part memoir, part cookbook, part explanation of a Paleo diet approach, The Wahls Protocol details the amazing story of Terry Wahls who through diet alone went from being in a wheelchair with MS to running a marathon.  Dr Terry Wahls outlines her concept of eating a low carb diet for optimum nutrition to build and restore optimum health.  I heard an interview with Dr Wahls and after hearing her speak, I was convinced to try to improve and optimize my own health as much as possible.  In the interview, she stated that all disease-autism, depression, asthma whatever-looks the same at the cellular level.  All life is based on chemical reactions and all disease appears as an imbalance in that chemical reaction.  Optimize that chemical reaction by giving the cells what they need to function through proper nutrition and most 20th century illness such as diabetes and autoimmunity should lessen.  Her story is truly inspirational.  Here’s a video of her speaking, it’s very much worth your time:

MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom

Tony Robbins

Love him or hate him but Tony Robbins has a motivating style that gets the reader excited.  In Money Master The Game, he talks about the importance of investing for the future and several ways to invest for your tomorrows.  I’m not a real big fan of Robbins but I must say this book motivated me to start doing something about investing for the future.  My big takeaways were how to look for hidden fees in business transactions and that you are never too old to start anything.

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

Michael Lewis
The Big Short is the book that is the basis for the Adam McKay written and directed movie about the financial meltdown of 2008.  The story borders on the absurd to the point where one could assume the plot is satire.  It’s not.  This happened and can happen again.  The Big Short is both entertaining and educational about the banking system, and investment in general.

 

All of these books would be a great addition to one’s library and I believe hold the potential to drastically change one’s life.  If you are interested in ordering any of these titles, you can click on the book images in this post and it will direct you to Amazon.com

Eat Real Food Bumper Stickers Available!

eat real food

We have some beautiful vinyl die cut bumper stickers available at our Etsy store! Our “Eat Real Food” design lets everyone know your commitment to healthy food and real food.  Good health starts with good nutrition.  Real, whole foods contain the most nutrition.  Eating real food daily can improve health and change our lives.  In my case, it was as simple as “eat real food, lose weight”.  Stickers are fade resistant and measure approximately 3.75″ x 4″.  Show the world how much you believe in healthy food with one of our stickers!

Our stickers are $3.00 available postage paid through Etsy or the Paypal button below.

Eat Real Food


 

Bacon Flavored Seaweed Snacks

I’d like to talk about seaweed and give you a bacon flavored seaweed snacks recipe that I love.  I’m very fond of those roasted seaweed snacks you find all over nowadays.  Annie Chun’s and Trader Joe’s are a few of the companies that come to mind who make these addictive treats. Nori, the seaweed that is wrapped around your sushi roll, is basically flavored and lightly oiled and then roasted.  Salty and crunchy, these are a great satisfying snack that has no carbohydrates, and has a pretty good nutrient profile.  Seaweed nutrition is impressive.  All types of seaweed whether it’s kelp or nori or kombu are high in fiber, low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin b12 and iodine.  Unfortunately, the added ingredients and the types of oils used when manufacturing them make most seaweed snacks less than ideal.  Google image searching “seaweed snack ingredients” will reveal some of these undesirable ingredients: maltodextrin and brown sugar are a few things I’d like to avoid.  I am trying to avoid added sugar wherever I can.  The choice of oils concerns me as well: sunflower, safflower and olive oils are omega 6 heavy and are not real stable oils.  The western diet already has too much inflammation causing omega 6 oils-one reason I try to limit added vegetable oils wherever I can. Vegetable oils tend to go rancid when heated as well.   “These roasted seaweed snacks have so much going for them besides these “junky” additives” I thought to myself.  “If only I could get them made with lard”.  “Yeah right” I told myself.  “Just go all the way and make them with bacon somehow.”

 

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What an interesting idea!  Well, I had some bacon fat in the fridge, and found a few recipes online and tried it out…

Most recipes are pretty straight forward-oil sheets of nori, season and either pan roast or roast in a low oven.  I followed the procedure detailed at maangchi.com.  For seasoning, I used a small amount of sesame oil.  I found this acceptable considering the majority of oil used in the recipe would be bacon fat. Man, I love the taste of sesame oil.

For 20 nori sheets I used a mixture of 2 tbs of bacon fat and just shy of a teaspoon of sesame oil mixed together.  Working on top of paper towels, I used a pastry brush to apply a thin layer of oil on the shiny side of the nori which was facing up:

 

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I sprinkled a small amount of sea salt and placed another sheet, smooth side up on top of the first sheet.  I continued this process until all the sheets were used up.

seaweedsnacks

At this point, I rolled all the sheets of seaweed into a roll and wrapped it in paper towel.  I let this set and rest to allow the nori to soak up the oil mixture as I heated up a cast iron skillet over medium heat.   I placed a sheet rough side down into the hot skillet and pressed it down with a spatula.

20160102_142144  The nori will shrink and curl as it gets hot, hence the spatula to flatten it out.  After about 20-25 seconds, I placed another sheet, rough side up on top of the sheet in the pan.  I then flipped the two sheets so the new piece was rough side down on the pan and roasted it for another 20 or so seconds while I repeated this process with the remaining sheets-each time making sure the rough side would be the side that touches the pan.

At this point your’re done.  Let them cool and cut into squares.  I went a little heavy on the oil when I prepped the sheets.  Because of this, they were a little greasy and I ended up blotting the sheets on paper towels-much like as you would bacon.  Place in an airtight container and store in the freezer for maximum crispness.

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These taste pretty amazing.  They have a strong blast of seaweed and bacon with a nice peppery finish.  You know they must be pretty good because I’m describing the taste as if I were talking about a fine wine.  And I don’t have to think about excess sugars or rancid oils as I pig out on them!

Other recipes call for roasting in the oven.  In the future I will try this method as well.  I believe the real trick however you make these is to keep the oil on the light side.  Next time I’ll be wiping the oil mix on with a paper towel and see how that goes.   The tip to store in the freezer from maangchi.com is spot on-these were still crispy a week later.

DIY roasted seaweed was pretty easy overall with pretty awesome results.  I was looking for an easy to make, great tasting snack that is pretty much guilt free.  I’ll be experimenting with the choice of oil and seasonings as well.  Coconut oil, clarified butter, onion powder, garlic powder, powdered mushrooms….who knows what else?  If you want to make a suggestion of your own, why not contact us on our Facebook page and let us know!

Jicama-The Prebiotic Superfood

Most people are aware of “superfoods”-vegetables or fruits that are so healthy consuming them might actually combat disease.  Spinach, blueberries and the current golden child, kale are some examples that we try to force into our diet.  I’ve recently included a new vegetable in my diet that can be considered a superfood.  Jicama.  You might have heard of it, even seen it in the grocery store but have you tried it?  It’s crisp and has the texture and crunch of a raw potato but a mild flavor reminiscent of apples.  Where most superfoods are touted as having extreme amounts of a certain vitamin or phytonutrient as in the case of anthocyanins, jicama has multiple benefits from vitamins to antioxidants and most importantly, it’s a kind of prebiotic.

What Is Jicama?

jicama facts

Jicama, known as Mexican yam bean, Mexican turnip, or just yam bean is the large tuberous root of the legume  Pachyrhizus erosus.  Only the roots are eaten as every other part of the plant includes rotenone, a toxin used in pesticides and insecticides.  After the dark fibrous outer skin is peeled away, the resulting crisp flesh is eaten raw or cooked.

Jicama is a low calorie food with only 38 calories in a 100 gram serving.  That 100 gram serving is also low on the glycemic index making it an ideal food choice for diabetics.  In terms of jicama nutrition, one serving of jicama also includes a whopping 33% of the suggested daily intake of vitamin c, and decent amounts of the minerals potassium, magnesium, and iron.

One of the most impressive benefits of jicama is its fiber content.  That 100 gram serving contains 19% of the recommended daily intake of dietary fiber.  Benefits of fiber in the diet are pretty well known from helping to keep you “regular” to assisting in weight loss from the feeling of fullness after digestion.  Fiber can also help to control blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of sugar.  Fiber may also aid in lowering cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and inflammation.(1)  Most amazing is the presence of oligofructose inulin-a type of insoluble fiber that is known as a prebiotic.

What Is A Prebiotic?

Prebiotic is a general term to refer to chemicals that induce the growth or activity of microorganisms (e.g., bacteria and fungi) that contribute to the well-being of their host”.(2)  In the case of insoluble fiber, it is fiber that does not get digested in the small intestine and makes its way to the large intestine where it is broken down by the bacteria that reside there.  There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that the bacteria in our body influence digestion, how fast we gain weight, and our moods.  There are about 10 trillion bacterial cells in the body outnumbering human cells 10 to 1.  Poor diet and the overuse of antibiotics (get rid of that antibacterial soap!) can contribute to this web of bacteria being out of balance, i.e. the ratio of the different species of bacteria is out of proportion.  In fact, research is showing that this “microbiome” being out of balance can cause and contribute to allergies, autoimmune diseases, obesity and diabetes.(3)  So what is inulin and how does it affect the microbiome?  Specifically, inulin feeds the Bifidobacteria species in your gut.  When that inulin is broken down by the bacteria they produce short chain fatty acids.  Acetic acid and propionic acid can be used as fuel for energy by the liver.  Butyric acid has major anti-inflammatory effects, is thought to fight cancer and helps maintain the gut/blood barrier to avoid leaky gut syndrome.(4)(5)  Sounds like inulin fiber is a good addition to the diet just to feed these guys.  Eating prebiotics also assist in the absorption of vitamins and minerals and aid immune function. By helping to keep healthy levels of good bacteria in the gut, inulin supports overall health.  Prebiotic foods include garlic and onions, chicory root, and our new favorite superfood jicama.

Jicama Recipes

Jicama is eaten raw or cooked.  It can be substituted for water chestnuts in cooked dishes since it retains its crunch after cooking.  I like eating it raw and chopped, some people like to add a squeeze of lemon or lime and a dash of chili powder.  You can find a lot of recipes for jicama coleslaw on the internet, it seems like one of the more popular uses for the vegetable.  It goes real well in salads with it’s refreshing texture and crunch.  Choose firm jicama, never waxed.  It should keep in the fridge for at least a month.

While not exactly a recipe, here’s my favorite jicama salad:

Jicama Mango Avocado Salad

  • Greens (I like arugula and cilantro)
  • One Avocado
  • One Mango
  • One Medium Jicama
  • Onion
  • Fixings for a vinaigrette….vinegar, oil, herbs, citrus juice etc…

I like a lot of contrasting flavors,  and this salad starts out with a bed of peppery arugula and cilantro.  I like to take some spanish onion, slice it thin on a mandoline and let it soak in some balsamic vinegar for at least ten minutes.  This will tame the heat of the onion while adding more flavor.  Cut the jicama in half and with a sharp small knife remove the dark brown fibrous skin as if you were peeling string cheese apart.  Julienne the jicama into matchsticks.  Peel and dice the avocado and mango.  Plate your salad with these ingredients, maybe add some toasted almond slivers on top.  For a dressing, I like to do some variant of a lime vinaigrette.  Start with 2 parts oil (olive, avocado) to 1 part lime juice.  Add a little salt, pepper and maybe some minced garlic.  Adjust to taste.  Sometimes I’ll add some chopped cilantro or a little honey.  Perhaps the zest of that lime I just juiced.  Whatever strikes your fancy. Mix and enjoy!

jicamasalad

While researching this post, I stumbled upon the phrase “jicama diabetes”.  No, there is no jicama diabetes.  Jicama is good for you if you have diabetes.  It’s also fun to say 5 times fast.  Go on…say it…jicama diabetes…

 

 

Egg Nutrition And The Health Benefits Of Eggs

food-316412_1280Eggs are an extremely dense source of nutrition you should consider.  They are quick,convenient, and can be prepared many ways.  With the recent suggestion of the  Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee,  the myth that eggs are bad for you can start to fade into the past.

Egg Nutrition And The Health Benefits Of Eggs

Let’s start out with eggs nutrition and then we’ll get to the calories in an egg.  The protein in eggs is outstanding at 6.3 grams for one large egg.  This egg protein is also quickly absorbed by the body (1.5 to 3 hours) and contains over 17 amino acids.  Eggs score pretty high in vitamins D, A, Riboflavin and B12 .  They are high in minerals as well with one egg providing 28% of the DRI of selenium and 18% of your daily iodine needs.  There are approximately 78 calories in one egg.

Eggs are very high in choline.  One large egg contains up to 35% of the Daily Recommended Intake suggestions.  Choline is considered an essential nutrient.  It was once thought the body manufactured all the choline it needed, but current research is proving we need additional choline supplementation to our standard western diet.  Choline is a methyl donor, meaning it helps support methylation-one of the most basic processes of life. Building DNA, nerve signaling, and liver detoxification are just some of the body’s activities that use methylation.  Choline helps keep cell membranes fluid.  Choline is also the precursor of acetylcholine which is responsible for basically powering your nervous system.  It keeps your heart beating, and is necessary for telling the muscles in my fingers to contract so I can type this post.  A study posted in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition basically stated that  higher choline intake is “related to better cognitive performance”.  Choline intake has the ability boost your memory and learning as you age.

Eggs are fairly high in cholesterol, a fact that led many to believe that limiting your egg intake would help lower cholesterol levels in the body.  Eggs were fairly stigmatized until recently when in early 2015 the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a government panel that meets every five years, dropped the recommendation that Americans limit intake of dietary cholesterol such as eggs or shrimp.  They changed the recommendation based on research that states that dietary cholesterol has little or no effect on blood cholesterol for most.  In an article on the New York Time’s blog: 

““For many years, the cholesterol recommendation has been carried forward, but the data just doesn’t support it,” said Alice H. Lichtenstein, the vice chairwoman of the advisory panel and a professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University.

Dr. Krauss said that some people experience a rise in blood cholesterol after eating yolks and other cholesterol-rich foods. But these “hyper-responders” are such a minority — roughly a few percent of the population — that they do not justify broad restrictions on cholesterol intake.”

Add to this the fact that the human brain is 60% fat with around 25% being cholesterol.  Cholesterol is also used to insulate nerves much like the insulation on copper wires prevents wires from shorting out.

In addition to the committee’s recommendations are other studies that are reporting that there is insufficient evidence for dietary fat guidelines put in place in the UK and the United States.  Eggs contain omega-3 fatty acids, inflammation busting fat that is low in the western diet.

Fresh Eggs vs Store Bought

Check in most grocery stores and you’ll find some high omega-3 eggs for sale.  Basically the hens that lay these eggs are fed feed high in flaxseed which is high in omega-3 fatty acids.  Factory farming of egg laying chickens is not necessarily the ideal environment to produce a quality egg.  In fact, because of the poor conditions of egg “factories”, most workers have to wear masks to avoid breathing dust contaminated with bacteria and feces.  Store bought eggs tend to have more bacteria on the eggshell than a fresh one.  Its not a stretch of the imagination to question the freshness of flaxseed (which is apt to go rancid because of its high oil content).  This isn’t going to produce the highest quality egg.  It’s unnecessary as well.  All eggs have omega-3 fatty acids.  In fact, [Tweet “…eggs from home raised or pastured chickens contain two to ten times more omega-3 than store bought”]  They also contain 2/3 more vitamin A, twice as much vitamin E and three to six times the vitamin D of store bought.  Pastured eggs are the way to go if you are looking for optimal nutrition.  Local farms, farmer’s markets and even health food stores are great places to purchase pastured eggs.  You might even consider raising your own.  Raising chickens for eggs in an urban setting has been rising steadily for years.  They are fairly easy to keep and the thrill of a morning fresh egg is one of life’s simple pleasures.

Cooking Eggs

There are so many ways to cook eggs from simple frying and scrambling to fancy frittatas.  One of my first ways to perfect eggs was how to hard boil eggs:

Place eggs in a pan with cold water an inch above the eggs.  Heat on high until the water boils.  Remove from heat, cover and let sit ten minutes.  Transfer the eggs to cold water or pour cold water in the pan to stop the cooking process.

Another favorite way to prepare eggs is baked eggs.  Here’s my take on the popular baked egg in an avocado.  You get all the health benefits of eggs plus fiber and additional omega-3s from the avocado.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Halve an avocado, remove the pit.  Remove a small amount of flesh to accommodate an egg.  I like to mush the bottom of the avocado slightly so it has a flat spot to rest on in the pan.

bakedegg

Crack an egg into a small bowl and pour into the hole in your avocado.  I like to place some onion and pepper I sliced thin with a mandoline in the hole before the egg.

I usually top with a little cheese since everything goes great with cheese.

bakedeggcheese

Place in an oven safe pan, dish, whatever and bake for 10 to 15 minutes-basically when the white sets to your liking, its ready.

bakedeggcheesedone

Eggs are pretty incredible when you consider the health benefits they pack into their high nutrients and the many delicious ways to prepare them.  From helping to reduce inflammation to boosting your memory, eggs are food for health.

Anthocyanin Rich Foods-A Visual And Healthy Treat

anthocyanin rich foods

Anthocyanins are the phytonutrients that give fruits and vegetables their deep red blue and purple colors.  They are extremely powerful antioxidants.  There is evidence to suggest that blue colored fruits and vegetables “possess anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic activity, cardiovascular disease prevention, obesity control, and diabetes alleviation properties, all of which are more or less associated with their potent antioxidant property”.<1>  I’ve been aware of the blue pigment in foods since the blue corn craze of the 1990’s.  I still love the Garden of Eatin’ Red Hot Blues corn chips.  Lately I have been trying to limit those carbs from the corn and get my “blues” from other anthocyanin foods such as dark colored fruits and vegetables.  The benefits of eating fruits and vegetables are well known.  They provide vitamins and minerals necessary for proper cell function, fiber for intestinal and gut bacteria health, and contain many other phytonutrients that are contribute to overall health and well being.  You won’t find many phytonutrients in the processed foods most developed countries consume. But they’re abundant in fruits and vegetables.  And anthocyanins are among some of the most promising phytonutrients.  Here’s a table from Wikipedia that lists the anthocyanin content of high value fruits and vegetables.

Food sourceAnthocyanin content
in mg per 100 g
Açaí320
Blackcurrant190–270
Aronia1,480
Eggplant750
Blood orange200
Marion blackberry317
Black raspberry589
Raspberry365
Wild blueberry558
Cherry122
Queen Garnet plum277
Redcurrant80–420
Purple corn (Z. mays L.)1,642
Purple corn leaves10x more than in kernels
Concord grape326
Norton grape888

As you can see from the table, grapes contain high levels of anthocyanin.  Because of this, the anthocyanins in wine made from such grapes can help contribute to the overall health effects of enjoying that glass of wine with dinner.

Purple fruits are great, but as I had stated earlier, I’m trying to lower my carb intake, and fruits are pretty much straight fructose with a little fiber.  So its a trade off for me between the health positives of the phytonutrients vs the drawbacks of consuming those extra carbs.  Nowadays I don’t really worry too much about eating fruit since my overall daily intake of carbohydrates is much lower than before.  But there is a quick workaround in the form of new blue and purple vegetables.  These vegetables obviously contain far lower levels of sugar.  Universities and growers have been introducing heirloom and hybrid vegetables high in anthocyanin for several years now.  Some of these like the blue potato, you might find in your local health food store.  But if you like to grow your own vegetables or have a grower’s market near you, you can enjoy purple corn, carrots, radishes, tomatoes and cauliflower, beans, asparagus, and many more unique blue colored vegetables.   I just pulled a few of my purple carrots for this post:

purple carrot

These are the Purple Haze carrots that I purchased through Territorial Seeds.  I also have some seeds for their Purple of Sicily cauliflower and Bora King radish.  In addition to the carrots, I also grew purple beans this year.  Gardening is great hobby/pastime that pays in beautiful, organic food that will help you achieve and maintain good health and well being.

Homemade Lard

homemade lardIn my quest to eat cleaner and healthier, I was looking to get rid of those liquid vegetable oils you might use for high heat frying.  Soybean oil, corn oil, mixed vegetable oil etc.  All byproducts of farming with pesticides.  Hell, cottonseed oil comes from a crop that isn’t even grown for human consumption. And manufacturing these oils involves heating them and exposing them to solvent extraction.  Vegetable oils that contain polyunsaturated fats…these fats are chemically unstable,  meaning its very easy for them to break down, or go rancid.  Air, light and heat cause oils to go bad.  Rancid oils contain free radicals that can damage your body on a cellular level. Vegetable oils are exposed to air, light and heat when they are manufactured.  Remember, these are byproducts of crops usually produced for feed.  They are not manufactured with human health in mind, these oils are manufactured to monetize the leftovers of grain production.  They are manufactured the cheapest way possible.

Olive oil is good for your health, but its low smoke point can damage the oil at frying temperatures destroying those great health benefits of the monounsaturated fat it contains.

I just wanted to roast some potatoes without freaking out about the health hazards of cooking in toxic oil….

Enter lard.  Yup, lard.  Lard is solid at room temperature…that’s because the chemical bonds in the saturated fat are very stable.  Less breaking down, harder to go rancid.  Consider the french confit:  meat (usually waterfowl) is basically salted and braised in its own fat as a means of food preservation.  The confit entry on Wikipedia states:” After salting and cooking in the fat, sealed and stored in a cool, dark place, confit can last for several months or years. Confit is one of the oldest ways to preserve food, and is a specialty of southwestern France”. Can last for even years.  Lard has a high smoke point, making it ideal for high heat.  It is low in omega-6 fatty acids which the American diet is pardon the pun, saturated with.  It’s great.  But don’t buy it from the store.  The junk in the store is….you guessed it…the byproduct of animal manufacturing that is manufactured in the cheapest way possible.  They add a lot of preservatives and hydrogenate the oil to  make it last longer on the shelf.  Bad stuff man.  Luckily, making your own lard isn’t that hard.  It will keep for a long time in your fridge.  It will also make your food taste great.

Making Homemade Lard

I followed the process outlined on the healthyfoodie.com.  It’s very complete and in depth. Basically you start with some high quality pork fat, as natural as you can get.  My butcher sells only natural meats including some of the nicest pork available in the country.  I asked if he had any pork fat.  The most common types of used are the back fat and the fat from around the kidneys also known as leaf lard.  James didn’t have any leaf lard, but he did have back fat.  Next, I cut the fat down, eventually into small diced pieces:

back fat

Everything goes into a stock pot on medium heat, and you wait.  And stir.  And wait.  And eventually, the fat will melt and become liquid.  Continue to heat and stir.  Maybe pour some of the melted fat off as you’re waiting for the rest of the fat to melt.  Because it’s off the back, back fat has a small amount of skin attached to it. Theses small pieces of meat/skin get cooked in the fat and were the last thing in the pot as I strained off the fat.  I transferred these “lardons” as they are called to a cast iron skillet and finished them off:

lardons

These things are seriously better than bacon..soooo  good.  Pour the oil into jars, let cool and keep in the fridge:lard

Reach for the lard any time you are needing to cook with high heat. Especially potatoes.   Potatoes roasted with lard instead of oil come out flaky and crispy on the outside.

The whole process of making lard was inexpensive, didn’t take a whole lot of time, and was fun (lardons!).  And I’m not so concerned that I’m poisoning myself next time I roast some vegetables.

Delicious No Bake Lime Coconut Bars

coconut lime bar

Can you lose weight with coconut oil?  When eating healthy and following a low carb diet it’s very possible.  Today’s recipe is a tasty treat that is low in sugar and carbs, and includes everyone’s favorite healthy fat.

I don’t eat paleo.  I’m more paleo-ish.  I try to limit my intake of simple and complex carbohydrates.  I also try to limit eating gluten.  That said, I am more than happy to have a cinnamon roll from the local bakery now and then.  Especially if it’s my new favorite bakery that gets all their ingredients locally and uses local honey for sweetening.  But I also go days without eating wheat or rice.  I also go days without eating any sugar.  I feel its healthier and makes me feel better.

Coconut oil is hot nowadays for it’s almost magical medicinal qualities.  It contains antibacterial and antiviral lauric acid, helps you feel full when you eat it, and can even lower bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol.  It can even help you lose weight.

Coconut Oil For Fat Loss

Coconut oil contains medium chain tryglycerides.  These are medium chain fatty acids that when consumed, get processed immediately in the liver and are converted to energy.  These are fats that the body burns for fuel.  They don’t make more fat like one would assume.  They give you energy. Sugar will however,  make you fat.  Especially if you eat a lot of it.  The American diet contains tons of hidden sugars in our processed foods alone.  Eating fat makes you feel full and satisfied.  Eating sugars like fructose cause resistance to the hormone leptin.  This is the hormone that tells you are saiated and makes you feel full.  So, if you limit your intake of sugar and snack on these coconut bars instead when you get a sweet tooth, you will be burning fat for energy and on the way towards possibly losing some weight as well.

No Bake Lime Coconut Bars

  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 tbs virgin unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Truvia packets
  • zest and juice of one lime (just shy of 2 tbs of juice)

Mix the coconut, salt and lime zest well.  I like to heat the remaining ingredients slightly in the microwave to help the oil liquefy. Lets say 30 seconds in the microwave, stir to dissolve the Truvia and help melt the oil.  Then you combine the wet and dry ingredients and press everything into a suitable container.  Refrigerate one hour or 15 minutes in the freezer.  Cut into bars and enjoy.

Occasionally I like to omit the lime juice and zest and substitute cocoa powder to taste instead.  You could also substitute lemon zest and juice for the lime as well.