Tuesday Tip: Use Your Stool as a Tool

For everyone’s benefit, I will abstain from including a picture for this post!

As uncomfortable as this can be for people to discuss (or even admit that they do it?), your very own stool can sometimes be a great tool for revealing the state of your health.

Ideally, though everyone is different, you should eliminate at least once a day.  Healthy stool should be brownish, not black, not green, not grey. If you have eaten enough fiber, they should be light, not dense and heavy. They should be easy to pass with not too pungent of an odor. Here are some possible and general assosiations:

Bloody or mucous-covered
Could be a sign of Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or even colon cancer. It can also be something less-severe like inflammation/irritation from hemorrhoids.

Thin, ribbonlike or flattened
Usually the sign of an abstraction like a polyp that narrow the elimination pathway. It can also be a sign of Irritable Bowel Syndrome or spastic colon.

Large and leaves a film in the toilet
Can be a sign of malabsorption, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies.

Abnormally fatty stools
Could be a sign of pancreatitis, inflammation of the pancreas that can lead to diabetes

Extremely foul-smelling
May mean you have a deficiency of “friendly bacteria” that inhabit your intestines or Candida yeast overgrowth.

Food may be moving too quickly through the large intestine (as with diarrhea) and as a result, the yellow-green bile doesn’t have time to break down completely. Also could be a simple reason like the need to cut down on sugar or it may mean you need more whole grains Possible dietary causes could be the inclusion of green leafy vegetables or green food coloring (such as in popsicles or juices with artificial food coloring) or from iron supplements.

Pale, greyish
Can be a sign of liver or gallbladder problems as it probably indicates a lack of bile and therefore a possible blocked flow of bile into the intestines.

Black, tar-like
May mean you have bleeding in your upper digestive tract, stomach or esophagus. Also could be from iron supplements, Pepto-Bismol or black licorice!

Humorously, usually the result of eating red foods like beets! If it is bright red, could indicate bleeding in the rectum.

Dark brown
May mean there is too much salt in your diet or that you are not passing your stools quickly enough (eat more fiber!)

“Forks Over Knives” Movie Critique

If you have seen the movie, you have to read this. This review was not written by me (written by Denise Minger who writes a real food blog called Raw Food SOS) but it is compelling and truly incredible. (It is also long, so do what you need to do!)

As she says at the beginning, this “isn’t a ‘review’ so much as it is a chronological critique of the scientific claims made throughout this movie.” Because we all want to know what the REAL facts are and not just see hear one part of a story.

Here’s the rest of the story…

“Forks Over Knives”: Is the Science Legit?

Incredible, Edible Eggs

High quality protein! Jeopardy fact: eggs contain just about every nutrient needed for health (they are only missing vitamin C!) and are especially high in the ultra-important vitamins A (retinol) and D. In this anti-sun age in which we live, we can use all the D we can get our hands on.  Vitamin A is vital to good health and offers resistance to infectious diseases and prevention of cancer.

You’ve heard of complete protein? Well, eggs make up almost the “perfect protein.” So much so, that they use the profile of the egg to judge the quality of protein in all other foods. They are particularly high in one amino acid (methionine) which is missing from most grains.

They are no longer being incriminated and demonized in the way they formerly were for raising cholesterol. Ironically, they actually keep cholesterol moving in the bloodstream, thanks to Choline (B vitamin).

Some sweet things about eggs:

  • They are brain food. Contain EPA and DHA, which are vital to the nervous system of infants and mental acuity in the adult.
  • Vitamin K in the yolk helps prevent bone loss.
  • They contain the kind of iron (“heme”) that is most easily absorbed in the body.

Don’t separate the yolk from the white, either. Why?

  • Protein cannot be adequately utilized without dietary fats. You cannot digest the protein in the egg white without the fat in the yolk. This is important. And don’t torture yourself by eating tasteless yucky white-ness in a bowl!
Never eat powdered eggs or anything with powdered eggs in them. This also includes anything that says “protein isolates,” whether it be soy, whey, or egg. They contain a form of oxidized cholesterol which is terrible for your heart.
The nutritional profile of an individual egg depends largely on the diet of the chicken. Grocery store eggs, sometimes even those labeled “free-range” often have an off-balance Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio and are deficient in some of the desired nutrients. Buy the best eggs you can afford and try to find pastured eggs if at all possible. When cracked into a bowl, you should see a nice dark yellow/orange-ish color, not a pale yellow yolk.
Eat as many eggs as you want and cook them in as much butter as you want. Traditional cultures have been doing this for centuries- without heart disease, atherosclerosis, heart attacks, or raised serum cholesterol levels. Do some research and enjoy your breakfast!

Where Do YOU Get Your B12?

There is a myth going around: All the protein, vitamins and minerals you need can be found in plant foods.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. I would like to take some time to dispel the myth, using one small vitamin: B12.

Exhibit A: The new poster I just got for my fridge at the local health food store. I was so excited about it… after I cut off the fats and protein section, which told me to eat no meat but soy everything. Then, my eyes landed with devastation on the B12 column. Take a gander:

Unrelated to B12, let me go ingredient by ingredient by what they suggest we eat for B12.

  • Soy. Far too high in phytoestrogen (plant hormone) to be consumed at the levels in which we consume it, not to mention the anti-nutrients and phytic acid in the soybean.
  • Cereals are extruded and made in a factory. They aren’t real food. Don’t eat cereal, it’s not good for you.
  • Margarine. Again, made in a factory. It’s vegetable oil at its worst. (Vegetable oil is also no good for you. Along with Canola oil. Don’t ever consume either.)
  • Soy “meat”. Need I say more? Why are we making “meat” out of things that aren’t meat? Do you realize the processing that goes into something like this?Avoid processed foods, especially those with soy in them.
  • Yeast Extract. We’ll get to that in a few paragraphs.)

There is also some small type at the bottom which says, “It is important to ensure a good dietary source from fortified foods (3 mcg/day) or a supplement (10 mcg/day). Reduced amounts for children. Chew tablets.”


Really. God really made our bodies to need vitamin companies and cereal manufacturers to fortify our foods so that we aren’t B12 deficient? So you’re telling me that for the last however many thousands of years of human history, man was destined to suffer B12 deficiency because the fortification and synthetic vitamin science hadn’t yet been developed????

Let me tell you one bit of handy vital information: Usable B12 is found ONLY in animal foods. Let me rephrase in case you missed it. If you want to thrive, you need B12. If you want B12 in your body, you have to eat B12. You can only get B12 your body can use by eating animal foods. It is simply not absorbed from plant sources.

Why is B12 important?  It is needed:

  • for healthy blood (needed to prevent anemia)
  • for a properly functioning nervous system
  • to maintain fertility
  • to promote normal growth and development.
The skeptic or Vegan may now argue: B12 is found in plant forms. Spirulina, algae, tempeh, miso and tamari and nutritional yeast all contain B12. However, did you know that when blood tests were done on individuals eating these products, their B12 blood level showed no increase*? Also, nutritional yeast is a good source for the B complex– all but B12. For some reason, our bodies do not use B12 from plants.
B12 is also destroyed by pasteurization. So a vegetarian that drinks milk still needs to find another source of B12. Another reason it is so important to use Raw milk.
B12 is absorbed through the cells in your stomach. Vegans are often deficient if no supplementation is given. Even meat-eaters may sometimes become deficient because the ability to assimilate the B12 declines with age. Many elderly suffer from B12, even while continuing to eat meat.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can present itself in many forms. Some examples: depression, multiple sclerosis, dementia, Alzheimer’s, psychiatric disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolarity, anemia, cancer, and heart disease.

Early signs of deficiency include fatigue, tingling in hands and feet, sleep disorders and a tendency to irrational anger (one of the first clues).

Best sources: Liver, sardines, mackerel, herring, salmon, lamb, Swiss cheese, eggs, haddock, beef, blue cheese, halibut, scallops, cottage cheese, chicken and milk.

Go get some B12! And no, I don’t mean from the health food store. Unless that is where you buy your meat.

*from James F. Scheer, Health Freedom News

Activators for Kids Health

“Activation is supplying the body with herbal remedies and foods which give the body’s energy a boost so that it will be able to complete the healing process. …we merely supply raw materials and an environment which supports the body in doing its own healing.” —The ABC Herbal by Steven H. Horne

When my kids are starting to show signs of possible sickness, we do a few things to help their little immune systems fight off whatever is attacking it. One of these things is using “activators.” There are many different ones you can use, but some of the easiest and least “hippie-ish” are: peppermint, elderberry, chamomile, ginger, cinnamon, and garlic.

Peppermint: Straight peppermint is an excellent activator and children can drink it as a tea, warm or cold. Buy bulk peppermint at the health food store and make into a tea. Strain and add a few drops of stevia or honey (optional). You can also use some Peppermint Essential Oil or Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castile Soap in a hot bath or shower and make sure you lather it on their lymph nodes- under their armpits, on their chest, on the neck (making sure not to get it in their eyes…. oh does it burn…) and leave it on for a little bit until it “feels cold” as my child says. This can clear up congestion once it sets in and even prevents it from ever forming into anything significant at all!
Ginger: Great as a “tea,” same as with peppermint. Grate or cut off a few small pieces, put in boiling water and add a few drops of honey.
Elderberry: Of course you can always make your own glycerite, but if you’re not into that, you can buy Elderberry tincture or Elderberry syrup at the health food store. Or buy the whole elder berries and add to oatmeal, pancakes, etc…
Chamomile: Helps to settle the stomach and calm the nerves.
Cinnamon: Add to foods
Garlic:  add to foods (guacamole), crush, mince and swallow with water or honey on a spoon (just a little at a time to prevent a tummy-ache). Do a garlic enema (Puree a clove of garlic in a little water. Strain it into an emptied out disposable enema bottle. Use enema, repeat as necessary. Easiest way to get raw garlic into a kid when they are sick and/or constipated!)

To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate: References

Vaccinations. I know this is a super HOT topic as of late. Not many other topics, maybe besides Jesus and politics, cause such division between friends and family! Most people have strong opinions on the matter and are polarized on either side of the debate. It is VITAL to be informed on all sides, knowing the risks as well as the benefits, what Dr.’s and health experts say, what the side-effects and long term consequences are, and what your rights and responsibilities are as a parent. Also in some of these books is information on adult vaccinations (tetanus, flu shots, etc…)

After much personal research, we have chosen not to vaccinate at all, ever. Here are a few of the books I used as my guide (and still use as reference and re-reading material):

Vaccinations, a Thoughtful Parents Guide

This book was pretty good for those who are on the fence. Gives  a middle of the road approach. Good for information on both sides of the debate when you’re just starting out.

Vaccines, Are They Really Safe and Effective?

The best book for short and sweet answers to each vaccine and their potential problems. Also shows charts and graphs of disease rates declining before vacinnes are introduced. My #1 recommendation for parents just entering the vaccine controversy.

How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor

This book just touches on the vaccine issue and delves into many other issues, as well. A great one to keep on the shelf for reference when it comes to your child’s health. Written from a pediatricians point of view, it is helpful to hear what he saw in his years of actually giving vaccines and what he, as an MD, thinks is necessary and what you should pass on.

Raising a Vaccine Free Child

Despite the truly terrible book cover, this was the most informative, comprehensive book! Though not written by a doctor or health professional, she is a parent and researcher who chose not to vaccine BEFORE there was mainstream controversy over the issue… and in another country where diseases were prevalent. Once we had decided not to vaccinate, this was the mortar to fill in the cracks.

Do you have any favorites??

A Closer Look: GARLIC

We are a garlic family. When we are sick, our first go-to remedy is garlic (and yes, we stink when we use it… but at least we’re not sick often!). When our son is sick, or becoming sick, we have him swallow raw crushed and minced garlic (we call it “hot honey”- we coat it in honey on a spoon and he swallows it). We have been doing this since he was 1 and it has proven to shorten the life of many colds and most times even stop them before they really start! We use it in many different medicinal ways. It is an incredibly complex and underestimated herb that the Creator God has given us for our benefit and our pleasure (after all, what would cuisine be without it?!).

Garlic is an antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, antiparasitic, antiprotozoan, antiviral, antifungal, anthelmintic, immune-stimulating, hypotensive, diaphoretic, antispasmodic, and a cholagogue.

Garlic is a well-known culinary herb. It is the most powerful herb for the treatment of antibiotic-resistant disease (followed by Grapefruit Seed Extract). No other herb comes close to the multiple system actions of garlic, its antibiotic activity, and its immune-potentiating power.

When the bulb is bruised or crushed, garlic produces a byproduct compound called allicin. Allicin is not in an untouched clove of garlic. The amino acid in an ordinary clove, alliin, comes into contact with an enzyme, allinase, and produces a conversion to allicin. Allicin is produced when garlic is finely chopped or crushed. The finer the chopping and the more intensive the crushing, the more allicin is generated and the stronger the medicinal effect. Allicin starts to degrade immediately after it is produced, so its medical effectiveness decreases over time. It should be consumed within an hour of crushing.

Clinical studies have repeatedly shown that garlic is active against strains of bacteria that are highly resistant to antibiotics. Unlike many herbs, garlic is directly effective against viruses. Garlic is perhaps the most extensively tested herb in the world; in vitro, in vivo, and human trials have shown its powerful effectiveness against bacterial and viral infections agents.

For stimulating immune function and for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol counts, garlic works well either raw, cooked, or encapsulated. For treating active bacterial infection, garlic should be consumed either in uncooked whole form or as juice.

Raw garlic or its juice kills bacterial infection in the gastrointestinal tract as soon as it comes into direct contact with the organisms. When used as a douche, the garlic juice (or even a garlic clove inserted) will kill bacterial infection. When used in nose drops, the garlic covers the surface of the nasal passages and sinus and kills off infection there. When used on athlete’s foot and surface skin infections, its action is sure and rapid.

Garlic successfully treats the four strains of bacteria that cause most of the world’s dysentery. It is also effective against meningitis and viral encephalitis. Garlic activates the immune system to help protect the body from infection and when infection occurs, to stimulate the immune system to attack invading bacteria more effectively. Beyond this, it has also shown repeatable and impressive clinical results in the treatment of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, stress, fatigue and aging.

If only one herb could be used to combat an epidemic spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, this would be it.

How to take it: 

  • Fresh cloves: Eat 1 clove up to 3x a day for prevention. The cloves may be crushed, then minced, and mixed with honey for palatability and to reduce nausea.
  • Fresh juice: Juice the bulbs as needed. Take 1/4 to 1 teaspoon as needed. (Though an entire bulb produces little juice, it is exceptionally potent. The best approach is to start with 1/4 tsp. in a full glass of tomato or carrot juice and work up from there. This amount, each hour is a good way to get a large quantity of garlic juice into the system.)
  • Capsules: 3 capsules 3x a day as preventative. During acute episodes: up to 30 capsules a day. (Some practitioners feel that garlic in capsule form is as effective as fresh or juiced cloves. Others insist that it is most effective when using fresh, either raw or as juice. We prefer to use fresh- it is cheap and I am confident that it is the most potent it can be.)
  • Tincture: 40 drops up to 6x a day.
  • Food: Lots of it in everything. Increase during acute episodes.

Side Effects and Contraindications: 
Nausea, vomiting. Caution must be exercised; the quantities used should be small (repeated often) and increased only as the body shows no signs of adverse reactions (nausea). You won’t die if you take too much, but you will want to.

FAT Is Your Friend, Pt. 3

Note: This is part 3 (of 3) in the “FAT Is Your Friend” series.

Let’s now talk about actual foods that contain fat that is beneficial to your body.  Don’t cut the fat off your beef, don’t use low-fat yogurt and buy lots and lots of butter!

Butter: High in vitamins A and D which is valuable in respect to growth, healthy bones, proper development of the brain and nervous systems, and normal sexual development.  Many studies have shown the importance of butterfat for reproduction; substitutes based on vegetable oils have led to infertility.

As butter consumption in America has declined, sterility rates have increased. Although long demonized by the vegetable oil industry, butter is one of the healthiest fats on the planet. It has a perfect fatty acid profile. Most of the fats in butter are saturated or monounsaturated, making it very stable. You can saute foods in butter, even at relatively high temperatures, and it will not break down. Butter contains medium-chain fatty acids, although in lower amounts. Uniquely, butter contains short-chain fatty acids with immune-stimulating and antimicrobial properties. Butter also contains the right amount and the perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Feel free to spread butter (ideally organic and grass-fed) to vegetables. Spread it on sprouted whole-grain bread or crackers. Add it to meat dishes and sauces. This will help ensure proper assimilation of the minerals and water-soluble vitamins in the vegetables, grains, and meat you eat–and also make your food satisfying and great tasting!

Whole Milk: Glycosphingolipids, fats that protect against gastrointestinal infections, especially in the very young and the elderly, are found in whole milk. Diarrhea occurs at rates 3-5x greater than children who drink whole milk. Real milk–full-fat, unprocessed, and from pastured cows–is a fully “self-sufficient” food, containing numerous enzymes that, when exposed to the specific pH of the intestinal tract, become active and assimilate the milk’s various components, making it easy for you to digest.

Eggs: Contain every nutrient the body needs except vitamin C. The whites provide the highest=quality protein of any food, and the yolks provide special fatty acids necessary for nerve function and if raised on pasture, provide generous amounts of vitamin D and A. Also supply choline and long-chain fatty acid DHA, both important for nerve function.

Since eggs contain high levels of cholesterol, various authorities promulgated the hypothesis that eating eggs raises cholesterol levels and thus contributes to heart disease. However, during the period when egg consumption in the US went into decline, rates of heart disease and other chronic diseases soared.

Contains lecithin, which assist in the proper assimilation and metabolization of cholesterol and other fat constituents and trace minerals.

The common denominator  among Eggs, Beef and Lamb, and Butter is cholesterol, which the body needs to produce a variety of steroids that protect against cancer, heart disease, and mental illness. It is the precursor to the sex hormones, stress hormones, bile salts, and vitamin D. Mother’s milk is high in cholesterol because it is essential for growth and the development of the brain and nervous system. No research has ever shown that cholesterol in natural foods causes heart disease. 

Oxidized cholesterol, on the other hand, can cause arterial damage. Heat and oxygen can damage cholesterol just as they do fats. Damaged, or “oxidized” cholesterol can injure arterial walls and lead to a pathological plaque buildup in the arteries. Both of these changes can results in heart disease. AVOID foods that contain damaged cholesterol, such as powdered eggs and powdered milk (which manufacturers add to reduced fat-milk, yogurt, and other dairy products to give them body– without stating this fact on the label.) Ironically, when you choose reduced-fat milks in order to avoid heart disease, you consume the very form of cholesterol that can cause heart disease.
Other very healthy fats:

Coconut Oil: Queen of saturated fats. High in lauric acid (antifungal agent that is also found in mothers milk), high in EFAs!

Cod Liver Oil: Critical for redressing the widespread deficiencies in vitamins A and D in the modern diet. Unless you have access to whole dairy products from pastured cows and also eat liver several times per week, you will not be getting the levels of fat-soluble vitamins that you need.

Beef and Lamb: Omega-6 and omega-3 EFAs occur in nearly equal amounts in the fat. The fat of pasture-fed beef and lamb, as well as butter made from pasture-fed cows, contain something called CLA which has strong anti-cancer properties. IT also encourages buildup of muscle and prevents weight gain. CLA disappears when cows are fed even small amounts of grain or processed feed.

Nuts: An extremely nutrient-dense food, supplying high levels of minerals, as well as B vitamins, some protein and lots of fat. The fat content of nuts ranges from 40-70%, most of it monounsaturated. A few varieties, particularly walnuts, are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. They are very satisfying and make a great snack food, but be warned: they are calorie-dense and their monounsaturated fats can contribute to weight gain. Nuts are great if you lead an active life or don’t need to lose weight (or even need to gain weight), but they’re not for you if you need to take pounds off. Note: nuts need to be prepared correctly in order to be the most nutritious and to get rid of toxins. Soak raw nuts in salt water for 6-8 hours, then drain and dehydrate in a warm oven or dehydrator until completely dry and crisp.

Let’s examine the other dietary fats and oils to determine their usefulness and appropriateness in food preparation:

  • Duck and Goose Fat: Semi-solid at room temp. 35% saturated, 52% monounsaturated, 13% polyunsaturated. Omega-6 to Omega-3 proportion depends on what the birds have eaten. Stable and able to be used for frying.
  • Chicken Fat: 31% saturated, 49% monounsaturated, 20% polyunsaturated, most of which is omega-6 linoleic acid, although the amount of omega-3 can be raised by feeding chickens flax or fish meal, or allowing them to range free and eat insects. Inferior to duck and goose fat, but may be used for frying.
  • Lard: 40% saturated, 48% monounsaturated, 12% polyunsaturated. Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio will vary according to the diet of the pics. In the tropics, lard may also be a source of lauric acid if the pigs have eaten coconuts. Stable and a preferred fat for frying. Widely used in America at the turn of the century. Excellent source of vitamin D. (side note: Some researchers believe that pork products should be avoided because they may contribute to cancer. Others suggest that only pork meat presents a problem and that pig fat in the form of lard is safe and healthy. Investigation into the effects of pork consumption on blood chemistry has revealed serious changes for several hours after pork is consumed. The pork used was organic, free of trichinosis, so the changes that occurred in the blood were due to some other factor, possibly a protein unique to pork. In the laboratory, pork is one of the best mediums for feeding the growth of cancer cells. The prohibition against pork found in the Bible thus may derive from something other than a concern for parasite contamination or Jewish spiritual separation. However in fairness it must be noted that many groups noted for longevity, such as the people of Soviet Georgie and Okinawa consume pork meat and lard in their diet on a daily basis.)
  • Beef and Mutton Tallows: 50-55% saturated, about 40% monounsaturated and contain small amounts of polyunsaturates, usually less than 3%. Suet, which is the fat from  the cavity of the animal is 70-80% saturated. Suet and tallow are very stable and can be used for frying. Good source of antimicrobial palmitoleic acid.
  • Olive Oil: 75% oleic acid, the stable monounsaturated fat, along with 13% saturated, 10% omega-6 linoleic acid and 2% omega-3 linolenic acid. The high percentage of oleic acid makes olive oil ideal for salads and for cooking at moderate temperatures. Extra virgin olive oil is also rich in antioxidants. It should be cloudy, indicating that it has not been filtered, and have a golden-yellow color, indicating that it is made from fully ripened olives. Olive oil has withstood the test of time; it is the safest vegetable oil you can use, but don’t overdo it. The longer chain fatty acids found in olive oil are more likely to contribute to the buildup of body fat than the short- and medium-chain fatty acids founds in butter and coconut oil.
  • Flax Seed Oil: 9% saturated, 18% oleic acid, 16% omega-6 and 57% omega-3. Flax seed provides a remedy for the omega-6/omega-3 imbalance so prevalent in America today. New extraction and bottling methods have minimized rancidity problems. It should always be kept refrigerated, never heated, and consumed in small amounts in salad dressings and spreads.
  • Tropical Oils: More saturated than other vegetable oils. Lauric acid, found in large quantities in both coconut oil and in mother’s milk, has strong anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties. Stable and can be kept at room temp for many months without becoming rancid. Highly saturated tropical oils do not contribute to heart disease but have nourished healthy populations for millennia.
  • Peanut Oil: 45% oleic acid, 18% saturated fat and 34% omega-6 linoleic acid. Like olive oil, peanut oil is relatively stable and therefore appropriate for stir-frys on occasion. But the high percentage of omega-6 presents a potential danger, so use of peanut oil should be strictly limited.
  • Sesame Oil: 42% oleic acid, 15% saturated fat, 43% omega-6 linoleic acid. Similar in composition to peanut oil. It can be used for frying because it contains unique antioxidants that are not destroyed by heat. However, the high percentage of Omega-6 militates against exclusive use.
  • Safflower, Corn, Sunflower, Soybean and Cottonseed Oils: All contain over 50% omega-6 and, except for soybean oil, only minimal amounts of omega-3. Safflower oil contains almost 80% omega-6. Research continues to accumulate on the dangers of excess omega-6 oils in the diet, whether rancid or not. Use of these oils should be strictly limited. They should never be consumed after being heated, as in cooking, frying, or baking. High oleic safflower and sunflower oils, produced from hybrid plants, have a composition similar to olive oil and are more stable than traditional varieties.  However, it is difficult to find truly cold-pressed versions of these oils.
  • Canola Oil: 5% saturated fat, 57% oleic acid, 23% omega-6 and 10-15% omega-3. The newest oil on the market, canola oil was developed from the rape seed, a member of the mustard family. Rape seed is considered unsuited to human consumption because it contains a long-chain fatty acid called erucic acid, which under some circumstances is associated with fibrotic heart lesions. Canola oil was bred to contain little if any erucic acid and has drawn the attention of nutritionists because of its high oleic-acid content. But there are some indications that canola oil presents dangers of its own. It has a high sulphur content and goes rancid easily. Baked goods made with canola oil develop mold very quickly. During the deodorizing process, the omega-3 fatty acids of processed canola oil are transformed into trans fatty acids, similar to those in margarine and possibly more dangerous. A recent study indicates that “heart healthy” canola oil actually creates a deficiency of vitamin E, a vitamin required for a healthy cardiovascular system. Other studies indicate that even low-erucic acid canola oil causes heart lesions, particularly when the diet is also low in saturated fat.

“Fat Is Your Friend” Pt. 2: Cholesterol and Heart Disease

This is Post 2 in our “Fat is Your Friend” series. 

This post contains valuable information and may turn everything you once thought you knew about diet on its head. If you think you know about cholesterol, read this. If you know nothing, read this. If you have been educated about it by schooling or your Dr. or any vegan, vegetarian, or low-fat book on nutrition, read this!!! This is long, but well worth it… trust me.

First, a history on cholesterol:

The theory– called the lipid hypothesis– that there is a direct relationship between the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet and the incidence of coronary heart disease was proposed by a researcher named Ancel Keys in the 1950’s. Numerous subsequent researchers have pointed out the flaws in his data and conclusions, but the experts assure us that the lipid hypothesis is backed by scientific proof. Most people would be surprised to learn that there is, in fact, very little evidence to support the contention that a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fat actually reduces death from heart disease or in any way increases one’s life span. Consider the following:

  • Before 1920 coronary heart disease was rare in America; so rare that when a young internist named Paul Dudley White introduced the German electrocardiograph to his colleagues at Harvard University, they advised him to concentrate on a more profitable branch of medicine. The new machine revealed the presence of arterial blockages, thus permitting early diagnosis of coronary heart disease. But in those days clogged arteries were a medical rarity, and White had to search for patients who could benefit from his new technology. During the next 40 years, however, the incidence of coronary heart disease rose dramatically, so much so that by the mid-1950’s heart disease was the leading cause of death among Americans. Today, heart disease causes at least 40% of all US deaths. If, as we have been told, heart disease is cause by consumption of saturated fats, one would expect to find a corresponding increase in animal fat in the American diet. Actually, the reverse is true. During the 60 year period from 1910 to 1970 the proportion of tradition animal fat in the American diet declined from 83% to 62%, and butter consumption plummeted from 18 pounds per year to 4. During the past 80 years, dietary cholesterol intake has increased only 1%. During the same period the percentage of dietary vegetable oils in the form of margarine, shortening and refined oils increased about 400% while the consumption of sugar and processed foods increased about 60%.
  • The Framingham Heart Study is often cited as proof of the lipid hypothesis. This study began in 1948 and involved about 6,000 people from the town of Framingham, Mass. Two groups were compared at 5-year intervals– those who consumed little cholesterol and saturated fat and those who consumed large amounts. After 40 years, the director of this study had to admit: “In Framingham, Mass., the more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower the person’s serum cholesterol… we found that the people who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most saturated fat, ate the most calories, weighed the least and were the most physically active.” The study did show that those who weighed more and had abnormally high blood cholesterol levels were slightly more at risk for future heart disease, but weight gain and cholesterol levels had an inverse correlation with fat and cholesterol intake in the diet.
  • In a multi-year British study involving several thousand men, half were asked to reduce saturated fat and cholesterol in their diets, to stop smoking and to increase consumption of unsaturated oils such as margarine and vegetable oils. After 1 year, those on the “good” diet had 100% more deaths than those on the “bad” diet, in spite of the fact that those on the “bad” diet continued to smoke!!! But in describing the study, the author ignored these results in favor of a politically correct conclusion: “The implication for public health policy in the UK is that a preventive programme such as we evaluated in this trial is probably effective…”
  • While it is true that researchers have induced heart disease in some animals by giving them extremely large doses of oxidized or rancid cholesterol — amounts 10 times that found in the ordinary human diet– several population studies squarely contradict the cholesterol-heart disease connection. A survey of 1700 patients with hardening of the arteries, conducted by the famous heart surgeon Michael DeBakey, found no relationship between the level of cholesterol in the blood and the incidence of atherosclerosis. A survey of South Carolina adults found no correlation of blood cholesterol levels with “bad” dietary habits, such as use of red meat, animal fat, fried foods, butter, eggs, whole milk, bacon, sausage and cheese.
  • Mother’s milk provides a higher proportion of cholesterol than almost any other food. It also contains over 50% of its calories as fat, much of it saturated fat. Both cholesterol and saturated fat are essential for growth in babies and children, especially the development of the brain. Yet, the American Heart Association has recommended a low-cholesterol, low fat diet for children!

Numerous surveys of traditional populations show that the lipid-hypothesis is just NOT TRUE. Of course, none of these studies are mentioned by those urging restriction of saturated fats:

  • A study comparing Jews when they lived in Yemen, whose diets contained fats solely of animal origin, to Yemenite Jews living in Israel, whose diets contained margarine and vegetable oils, revealed little heart disease or diabetes in the former group but high levels of both diseases in the latter. (The study also noted that the Yemenite Jews consumed no sugar but those in Israel consumed sugar in amounts equaling 25-30% of total carbohydrate intake.)
  • People in northern India consume 17 times more animal fat but have an incidence of coronary heart disease 7 times lower than people in southern India.
  • The Masai and kindred African tribes subsist largely on milk, blood and beef. They are free from heart disease and have low cholesterol levels.
  • Eskimos eat liberally of animal fats from fish and marine animals. On their native diet they are free of disease and exceptionally hardy.
  • An extensive study of diet and disease patterns in China found that the region in which the populace consumes large amounts of whole milk had half the rate of heart disease as several districts in which only small amounts of animal products are consumed.
  • Several Mediterranean societies have low rates of heart disease even though fat– including highly saturated fat from lamb, sausage and goat cheese– comprise up to 70% of their caloric intake. (Why isn’t anyone on THIS Mediterranean diet?)
  • In Okinawa, where the average lifespan for women is 84 years– longer than in Japan– the inhabitants eat generous amounts of pork and seafood and do all their cooking in lard.
  • The good health of the Japanese, who have the longest life span of any nation in the world, is generally attributed to a low fat diet. Although the Japanese eat few dairy fats, the notion that their diet is low in fat is a myth; rather, it contains moderate amounts of animal fats from eggs, pork, chicken, beef, seafood and organ meats. With their fondness for shellfish and fish broth, eaten on a daily basis, the Japanese probably consume more cholesterol than most Americans. What they do NOT consume a lot of is vegetable oil, white flour or processed food (although they do eat white rice). Also, those who point to the Japanese statistics to promote the low fat diet, fail to mention that the Swiss live almost as long on one of the fattiest diets in the world. Tied for 3rd in the longevity stakes are Austria and Greece– both with high fat diets.
  • As a final example, consider the French. The French diet is notorious for their saturated fats in the form of butter, eggs, cheese, cream, liver, meats and rich pates. Yet, the French have a lower rate of coronary heart disease than many other western countries. In the US, 315 of every 100,000 middle-aged men die of heart attacks each year; in France the rate is 145 per 100,000. In the Gascony region, where goose and duck liver form a staple of the diet, this rate is a remarkably low 80 per 100,000. This “phenomenon” has been dubbed the “French Paradox”. (The French do suffer from many degenerative diseases, however. They eat large amounts of sugar and white flour and in recent years have succumbed to processed foods.)
Most fat in our bodies and in the food we eat is in the form of triglycerides. Elevated triglycerides in the blood have been positively linked to proneness to heart disease, but these triglycerides do not come directly from dietary fats; they are made in the liver from any excess sugars that have not been used for energy. The source of these excess sugars is any food containing carbohydrates, particularly refined sugar and white flour.

Our blood vessels can become damaged in a number of ways– through irritations caused by free radicals or viruses, or because they are structurally weak– and when this happens, the body’s natural healing substance steps in to repair the damage. That substance is cholesterol. Cholesterol is a high-molecular weight alcohol that is manufactured in our own liver and in more human cells. Like saturated fats, the cholesterol we make and consume plays many vital roles:

  • along with saturated fats, cholesterol in the cell membrane gives our cells necessary stiffness and stability. When the diet contains an excess of polyunsaturated fatty acids, these replace saturated fatty acids in the cell membrane, so that the cell walls actually become flabby. When this happens, cholesterol from the blood is “driven” into the tissues to give them structural integrity. This is why serum cholesterol levels may go down temporarily when we replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated oils in the diet.
  • acts as a precursor to hormones that help us deal with stress and protect the body against heart disease and cancer; and to the sex hormones like androgen, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone.
  • is a precursor to vitamin D, a vital fat-soluble vitamin needed for healthy bones and nervous system, proper growth, mineral metabolism, muscle tone, insulin production, reproduction and immune system function.
  • Bile salts are made from cholesterol. Bile is vital for digestion and assimilation of dietary fats.
  • acts as an antioxidant. This is the likely explanation for the fact that cholesterol levels go up with age. As an antioxidant, cholesterol protects us against free radical damage that leads to heart disease and cancer.
  • needed for proper function of serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is the body’s natural “feel-good” chemical.
  • maintains the health of the intestinal wall. Low-cholesterol vegetarian diets can lead to leaky gut syndrome and other intestinal disorders.
Cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease but rather a potent antioxidant weapon against free radicals in the blood, and a repair substance that helps heal arterial damage (although the arterial plaques themselves contain very little cholesterol). However, like fats, cholesterol may be damaged by exposure to heat and oxygen. This damaged or oxidized cholesterol seems to promote both injury to the arterial cells as well as buildup of plaque in the arteries. Damaged cholesterol is found in powdered eggs, powdered milk (added to reduced-fat milks to give them body… not to mention so many packaged foods) and in meats and fats that hae been heated to high temperatures in frying and other high-temperature processes.
High serum cholesterol levels often indicates that the body needs cholesterol to protect itself from high levels of altered, free radical-containing fats. Just as a large police force is needed where crime occurs frequently, so cholesterol is needed in a poorly nourished body to protect the individual from a tendency to heart disease and cancer. Blaming heart disease on cholesterol is like blaming the police for murder in a high crime area.
The scientific evidence, honestly evaluated, does not support the assertion that “artery-clogging” saturated fats cause heart disease. Actually, evaluation of the fat in artery clogs reveals that only about 26% is saturated. The rest is unsaturated, of which more than half is polyunsaturated.
So what is the probable cause of heart disease?? I will tell you what has not caused it: animal fats and cholesterol! Rather, a number of factors inherent in our modern diets, including excess consumption of vegetable oils and hydrogenated fats; excess consumption of refined carbohydrates in the form of sugar and white flour; mineral deficiencies (especially low levels of protective magnesium and iodine); deficiencies of vitamins, particularly of vitamin A, C and D, needed for the integrity of the blood vessel walls, and of antioxidants like selenium and vitamin E, which protect us from free radicals; and finally, the disappearance of antimicrobial fats from the food supply, namely, animal fats and tropical oils. These once protected us against the kinds of viruses and bacteria that have been associated with the onset of the plaque that leads to heart disease.

Prevention of heart disease will not be achieved with the current focus on lowering cholesterol– either by drugs or by the diet they recommend– but by consuming a diet that provides animal foods rich in protective fats and vitamins B6 and B12; by improving thyroid function through daily use of natural sea salt (good source: Real Salt), a good source of usable iodine; by avoiding vitamin and mineral deficiencies that make the artery walls more prone to ruptures and the buildup of plaque; b including antimicrobial fats in the diet; and by eliminating processed foods containing refined carbohydrates, oxidized cholesterol and free-radical-containing vegetable oils that cause the body to need constant repair.

“Fat Is Your Friend” Pt. 1: [Saturated] Fats Are Good For You

This post is Part 1 in the “Fat is Your Friend” series. 

I have heard so many say, “fats are good for you, you just have to eat the RIGHT kinds of fats.” When they say this, they are most of the time referring Olive Oil and nuts and avocados, but they are almost NEVER referring to Saturated Fats.

Well, I am here to say: Nevermind popular opinion… Saturated fats are good for you!” Good for you and your heart! Do your own homework and you, too, can find the same conclusion. Here is my homework in a nutshell: (most of this is taken from the book, Nourishing Traditions and the book, Eat Fat, Lose Fat.)

Fats from animal and vegetable sources provide a concentrated source of energy in the diet; they also provide the building blocks for cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances. Fats as part of a meal slow down nutrient absorption so that we can go longer without feeling hungry. In addition, they act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Dietary fats are needed for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption and for a host of other processes.

There are three types of fatty acids:

  1. Saturated- These do not normally go rancid, even when heated for cooking purposes. They form a solid or semi-solid fat at room temperature. Found mostly in animal fats and tropical oils. Your body also makes them from carbohydrates.
  2. Monounsaturated- Your body makes these from saturated fatty acids and uses them in many ways. Tend to be liquid at room temperature. Like saturated fats, they are relatively stable, do not go rancid easily and hence can be used in cooking. The monounsaturated fatty acid most commonly found in our food is oleic acid, the main component of olive oil as well as the oils from almonds, pecans, cashews, peanuts and avocados.
  3. Polyunsaturated- The two most frequently found in our foods are omega-6 and omega-3. Your body cannot make these fatty acids and hence they are called “essential.” We must obtain our essential fatty acids or EFAs from the foods we eat. These remain liquid, even when refrigerated. They are highly reactive, go rancid easily (particularly omega-3 linolenic acid) and must be treated with care. They should never be heated or used in cooking.

Politically Correct Nutrition is based on the assumption that we should reduce our intake of fats, particularly saturated fats from animal sources. Fats from animal sources also contain… da da dum… cholesterol, presented as the twin villain of the civilized diet. (I will talk about cholesterol in a later post… for now… FAT!)

The politically correct guys tell us that polyunsaturated oils are the ones we want- the ones that are the best for us- and that saturated fats cause cancer and disease. This misinformation has caused profound changes in western eating habits. At the turn of the century, most of the fatty acids in the diet were either saturated or monounsaturated, primarily from butter, lard, tallow, coconut oil, and small amounts of olive oil. Today, however, most of the fats in the diet are polyunsaturated, primarily from vegetable oils derived from soy, as well as from corn, safflower and canola. Bad, bad, bad. But do you notice that you still hear about heart attacks ALL THE TIME? Usage of animal fats and saturated fats in general has gone down, but heart disease has increased. So does it make sense that they keep blaming saturated fats? Let’s use our brains (and start nourishing them with healthy saturated fats!).

Excess consumption of polyunsaturates has been shown to contribute to a large number of disease conditions including increased cancer and heart disease, immune system dysfunction, damage to the liver, reproductive organs and lungs, digestive disorders, depressed learning ability, impaired growth, and weight gain. One reason they cause all of these problems is that they tend to become oxidized or rancid when subjected to heat, oxygen and moisture as in cooking and processing (extraction, hydrogenation, homogenization).

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that most polyunsaturates in commercial vegetable oils are in the form of omega-6 with very little omega-3.  Deficiencies of omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with asthma, heart disease and learning deficiencies. For the optimal production and balance of prostaglandins (hormones that act locally, within the cells), you need a good balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, with no more than 2-3 times more omega-6 than omega-3. In the modern diet, the ration is more like 20 to 1, as a result of the high consumption of vegetable oils containing mostly omega-6 fatty acids. (Good sources of Omega-3’s: Wild Salmon, egg yolks (from pastured chickens) and flax oil in small amounts.)

But back to saturated fats, which Americans are always trying to avoid. They are not the cause of our modern diseases. In fact, they play many important parts in body chemistry.

Fats and Your Brain

60% of the brain is composed of fat. Phospholipids (which contain about 50% saturated fats) help make up the brain cell membranes. They contain 2 fatty acids and one protein-like component. Thus you nourish your brain cells when you eat saturated fats, and when you don’t eat enough saturated fats, the chemistry of your brain may be compromised. In a recent study, rats given vegetable oils low in saturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids had more strokes and shorter life spans.

Fats in the Cells

Every cell membrane is ideally made up of about 50% saturated fat. When we eat too much polyunsaturated oil and not enough saturated fat (or carbohydrates that the body turns into saturated fat), our cells don’t function correctly. The cell membranes need to be saturated for the cell to have the necessary “stiffness” or integrity and to work properly. If they don’t get enough saturated fat, they actually become “floppy” and cannot work properly.

Fats in Your Bones

For calcium to be effectively incorporated into the skeletal structure, at least 50% of dietary fats should be saturated. This is one of the reasons osteoporosis has become such a problem these days.

Fats and Your Liver

Saturated fats protect the liver from toxins like alcohol and Tylenol. Today liver problems have become more common.

Fats and Your Heart

Saturated fats provide energy to the heart in times of stress. Saturated fats are the hearts preferred food and there is a concentration of saturated fat in the tissues surrounding the heart.

Fats and Your Lungs

Lungs cannot work without adequate saturated fats in the diet. The fatty acids in the lung fluid are normally 100% saturated. When people consume a lot of partially hydrogenated fats and vegetable oils, trans fatty acids and polyunsaturated oils are put into the phospholipids where the body normally needs saturated fatty acids. As a result the lungs cannot work effectively. Notice the rise in asthma, especially in children.

Fats and Your Kidneys

Omega-3 fatty acids, saturated fats, and cholesterol all work together synergistically to maintain normal kidney function, which is critical for managing blood pressure and filtering toxins from the body.

Fats and Your Hormones

Hormones are the body’s messengers, acting on the brain, nervous system, and glands and affecting thousands of bodily functions. They require the right kinds of fats. Your body cannot make stress and sex hormones without vitamin A, provided exclusively by fatty animal foods such as liver, shellfish, and cod-liver oil. In contrast, the wrong kinds of fats (trans fatty acids, etc..) inhibit the production of stress and sex hormones, leading to problems with glucose balance, mineral metabolism, and reproduction.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the “Fat is Your Friend” series: Cholesterol and Heart Disease