Just what is that Liquid Coconut Oil?

Buyer Beware: I’ve been seeing ALL sorts of brands of coconut oil lately – cos it is HOT-HOT-HOT ! And rightly so: there are so many health benefits to go into, but I just really wanted to make you aware of the differences between the SOLID Coconut Oils, which we are accustomed to seeing, and the LIQUID Coconut Oils that are showing up in markets. In the tropics, where 7506886758_5fd5e94f57_zcoconuts grow naturally, the oil remains liquid due to the average temperatures being generally over 75°.    

It IS manufactured from coconut oil, but under a process (fractionating) that removes one of the healthy fatty-acid chains that makes Coconut Oil so unique. This processing allows the coconut oil to stay liquid, even refrigerated. I’m not sold on this being a good thing, but I don’t know for sure how bad it is either; it IS made from coconut oil, BUT it is highly processed. Typically, everything in its natural state is better for us than in the ways modern life imagines it to be. Read labels and dig a little deeper !

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A Quick List of Immune-Boositng Foods

sick“Cold & Flu” season is upon us and it seems that everywhere you go, you run into someone sneezing! Getting sick is not only uncomfortable, but it also impacts your productivity, your energy level and even your relationships (have you ever gotten snappy at someone because you are groggy and achy, or have a sore throat and headache just won’t quit?)

If you have kids, I am sure you can relate how hard it is not to get sick from them – they are like petri dishes on legs!

Think about this: on average, school-age kids in America experience eight to ten colds a year? (Keeping Children Healthy in Body and Mind: Birth through 10, Farooq Mirza M.D.)

Doing the math, if you have two children, and the average cold lasts for 10 days, and each parent will get half of their colds:  you end up  (8+8+4+4) x 10=240 days of someone possibly being sick in your household – that’s is more than half the year!!

How can you boost your immunity and stay healthy this fall and winter?

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to strengthen your immune system.  By adding common, yet nutritious foods to your diet, you can prevent getting sick in the first place; and certainly lessen the symptoms and duration of a cold if you do get sick.

Immunity boosting nutrients:  vitamins A, B, and C, zinc, anti-viral and/or antibacterial properties:

Immunity-Boosting Foods

  1. Yogurt (ideally organic plain yogurt as added sugar can suppress immunity) – probiotics
  1. Pumpkin seeds – zinc and omega-3, both essential for a healthy immune system.
  1. Cold water fish – good source of protein and omega-3
  2. Fresh fruits and vegetables, especially carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, tomatoes – beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A.
  1. Ground seeds, lentils, beans and whole grains – good source of B vitamins and protein.
  1. Ginger – has anti-viral properties.
  2. Garlic – has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.
  3. Honey (raw) –has anti-viral properties.
  4. Green tea –has anti-viral properties.
  5. Mushrooms (maitake, reishi, shiitake) – elevate flu-fighting immune cell activity.

Bonus Tips: avoid sugar and alcohol, both of which can weaken your immune

system.

The Health Coach Difference

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The Health Coach Difference

Health coaching is a relatively new profession, but the idea behind it is really rooted in how we, as human beings, operate. As a health coach, I help you work with your unique body, and take into consideration how everything in your life affects your health and wellness.

At the first glance, you may think what a health coach does is not much different from a conventional nutritionist or dietician, or a diet program. However, there are some subtle nuances that make our approach superior in terms of creating positive changes that last – instead of delivering a Band-Aid solution.

As a health coach:

  • I work with the concept of bio-individuality. My approach is client-driven. Instead of getting a one-size-fits-all meal plan based on a cookie-cutter approach or one fad diet, I create customized plans for my clients based on their individual circumstances, lifestyle habits, health condition and other needs.
  • I approach nutrition as “whole foods”, instead of compartmentalizing them into individual nutrients such as calories, carbs, proteins, fats etc. Why? Because the synergistic relationship among these various components when they are ingested in the form of whole foods deliver much more benefits than when they are taken as individual nutrients.
  • With my health coaching program, during which I work with my clients over several months with sessions that last 50 minutes, I am able to be with them every step of the way so that we are able to look into lifestyle choices and work on changing habits, resulting in meaningful and positive behavioral changes that last for a long time, delivering long-term health benefits.
  • My coaching is goal-, action- and result-oriented. My approach focuses on implementation and integration, so that healthy changes are integrated into your life. We live in the age of information overload – you don’t need more information, you need to know which information to use and how to make them work for your life.
  • Instead of treating the symptoms, I work with my clients to get to the underlying causes of their health concerns. We look at how issues such as stress, emotional distress, physical activities, lack of “soul nourishment” etc. affect our overall wellbeing. I help my clients cultivate the awareness to improve all areas of their lives.
  • I support my clients to work with their body on healing itself so that they can eventually reduce the amount of medication that they rely on.
  • Instead of forcing my clients to stick to some “plan” which does not work for them, I first listen to my clients’ needs and concerns, then work with them to get over blocks or resistance, making any behavioral changes they make stick.

I am Your Health Advocate

As your Health Coach, I support you to live your life to the fullest. Working with me, you will get:

  • A plan of ACTION that is realistic, practical and actionable
  • GUIDANCE to implement changes that work with your lifestyle
  • SUPPORT to course correct and stay on track
  • ACCOUNTABILITY that leads to success that lasts a lifetime

What is Not Taking Action Costing You?

Chances are, if you invest in your health and wellness, you will recover your investment and more through savings in medications, doctor’s visits, unnecessary supplements, fad diets, ineffective treatments, as well as increased productivities and fewer sick days.

Plus, who can put a price on more vitality, less stress, better relationships, and a happier existence?

To find out if health coaching is right for you, I invite you to a Buzz Session, during which we will discover how I can support you for a healthier, happier life.

coachcarolyn@myownfit.co

Don’t Avoid Avocado!

This small blurb on avocados making you fat got me kind of angry the other day.WP_20140225_005

I found it in Health magazine (the March 2014 issue). It’s a small, 1/12 page size square, tucked into the bottom corner of another article; not too obvious, but just conspicuous enough to get MY attention anyhow. So I am sure other people noticed it too.

What gets me, is the misrepresentation of the health benefits that avocados do have despite their high fat content. Not to mention the type of fat content is has, and that’s why the avocado is such a neat thing to add to your diet, not shy away from!

OK, so the author does mention that avocados are healthy, and that some people might disagree with what they have to say. That’s honest, and fine, I guess; but I still didn’t think it told the whole story.

There are so many nutrients packed into avocados: vitamin E, B-9 (folate) and vitamin K,  potassium and vitamin C; 18 of the all important amino acids (those protein building blocks) and healthy fats, of course. Oh, and fiber (lets not forget the fiber!)

Healthy eyes, skin and hair; Improved blood glucose levels and lowered cholesterol and protection from heart disease; Nerve function and blood cell health. From very obvious outward signs of being healthy to smaller, imperceptible inner health, the avocado is a rich source that should be included in a diet – even if you are just starting a weight loss plan.

Consider this: no one is saying to eat a whole avocado in one sitting, or really to eat a whole avocado everyday.

Think about how most “whole-food” diets recommend you to eat: a variety of different foods, daily; and according to general portion/serving sizes that meet daily goals for different food categories.

So, the high fat avocado,  when eaten “responsibly”,  it can be in appropriate amounts of calories and fats consumed in proportion to what your “daily guidelines” should be. Ugh, that makes it sound so clinical and calculating; but it isn’t that way at all!  It’s about  knowing what your basic needs are to begin with, and being wise enough to eat appropriately; and you don’t really have to get too technical.

As for not being satisfied by just having one piece….well, that is a whole other topic -COMPLETELY! And that ties into so many other food issues, that we should not pin on the innocent avocado! Those issues won’t continue to be issues when you make the switch to eating the healthy whole foods…hint, hint!

More on just eating,  real whole-foods and letting go of calorie counting to come!

 

What is Healthy Cookware ? and other thoughts on cooking

In light of the recent shedding of my microwave, I also have undergone re-evaluating the rest of my cookware collection.

Like many of you (or at least some of you!) I have an interesting collection of incomplete sets of frying pans, sauce pots and stock pots; different pieces from various sets, purchased from throughout the years, mismatched lids in some cases; and the smallest sauce pot that cannot be gotten rid of because it was from my mother’s collection  at our summer home on Long Island when I was a kid. But whether or not it has sentimental value, I am going to rate each piece I have, for its long term impact on actual cooking and affect on food, and my family and I. I’m not going to scrap everything today, and hit the stores for completely new sets (but wouldn’t that be fun!?); just to be mindful of what I DO have and what is becoming “more than gently used”.

There is plenty of information out there on what non-stick materials are composed of (PTFE-polytetrafluoroethylene, silicone or silicone polyesters, coated, and hard anodized varieties) and what they can do to your overall health (harmful fumes emitted  from high heating, and possible ingestion of scraped and pitted linings can be questioned as safe or not as well). There is much debate over all this, just like over the microwave.

The non-stick convenience (always with the convenience factor, eh?), the quick cooking, the easy clean up, and not to mention the fact you can cook with using less fat. Now THAT would catch the US population’s attention, wouldn’t it? Our fat-phobic society, always creating new ways to avoid an otherwise healthy small dose of a daily required nutrient!

And then there is the instruction: a lot of care instruction, out there too. Making sure you know how to care for this kind of cookware, so it will last longer and be less of a health threat if/when the coatings start to show signs of wear-and tear and deteriorate  is important. Basic tings we have all heard: Low to medium heat is best, not high; never use metal utensils or scrape the surface; read the specific manufacturer’s inserts/information for washing, as some cannot be put into the dishwasher. And of course, get rid of it, when the surface becomes worn and the coating begins to come undone.

But I think, it suffices to say at this point, that there are better choices for you pots and pans. If you have take special care to avoid potential damage which could possibly be a health threat, why continue to use it? I’m in the process of replacing the pots and pans as needed. Personally,  I like the cast iron skillets, and the stainless cookware for the stovetop. I am leaning towards the glass and enamel coated pieces for my bake ware.

As for cleanup and adding fat: I haven’t had problems with either. Watch your cooking times, and you wont have burnt messes (usually!) and clean up right away. The feeling of dirty dishes lurking in the kitchen overnight isn’t a good feeling, so I have been trying to get through the kitchen cleanup right after meals, and guess what, I have a more relaxed evening!  There is no reason to fear using a small amount of “cooking fat”.  Use a small amount, measure it out, let it coat the pan so you know there is “just enough” and watch you food cook! Cooking is fun, and it is interactive. Don’t just throw stuff in a pan and walk away. The more you pay attention to it, the more enjoyment it will give back to you, not just in the form of nutrients! I mean mindful satisfaction….more to come on that aspect of food and cooking!

Things to look for in your cookware:

Stainless Steel: One of the standards, it is actually a blend (18/8, steel mixed with 18% chromium and 8% nickel, or 18/10 respectively)  is the considered one of the best and safest types of cookware around. Harsh abrasive cleaning pads should be avoided as there can be scratching and pitting eventually, which could be troublesome to those allergic to nickel.

Cast Iron: It is a thick and heavy material that has great high-heat, and even-heating capacity. It is actually, I am sure you’ve heard, a source of getting iron into the diet. It needs to be cleaned carefully (NO abrasives) and light detergents are fine. And be sure to wipe it dry! You don’t want to let the rust have a chance at ruining the surface! Also, regular seasoning of this kind of pan is recommended to maintain it in prime cooking (no rust!) condition. (just a coating of cooking oil rubbed into it, nothing difficult or fancy!)

Ceramic or  Enamel Coatings: You can find iron and steel coated cookware that is now lead free; it HAD been an ingredient in the coatings in the past.  Again, because it is an “applied” surface, you should not use metal utensils, and any signs of these coatings becoming chipped should be monitored. These coatings are generally non-reactive and non-stick when in good condition.

Aluminum: The thing about aluminum is that it has been found to  react with cooking  foods to form aluminum salts and cause aluminum toxicity after some time. This has been associated with impaired visual motor coordination and Alzheimer’s disease, anemia, decreased liver function, and calcium deficiency. Anodized aluminum is one type of aluminum cookware that supposedly hardens the metal so there is no leeching and health risk is minimized.

Titanium Coated Aluminum sets are supposedly a good choice if you want non-stick, as the titanium is a good scratch resistant material and is non-porous so the aluminum wont leech out, and the inner aluminum core provides good, even heat transfer. Also, no added oil or water in necessary for cooking…all the low-fat cookers can breath a sigh of relief!

Some recommended sites for choosing your own cookware:

http://environment.about.com/od/healthenvironment/a/safecookware.htm

http://www.consumersearch.com/cookware/review

http://chriskresser.com/the-best-and-worst-cookware-materials

A Microwave Dilema

ImageI have been NOT using my microwave for a long time. I haven’t had microwave popcorn in years; I haven’t outright cooked anything in it since the days when I was living at home and my parent’s got their first one! 

The micro-nuker has become something of a staging area next to my stove: a line-up of spices at my ready, a station for cutting boards with chopped veggies enlisted to got into the pots-n-pans on the cook top. I’ve stored things in it; small pots, storage containers and the likes. I use it on the rare baking day when I soften-up butter quick (cos I forgot to take it out earlier!)  And its most frequent use is, the ever popular, simple reheating function (that second cup of “Johan”, dinner, soups …etc.)

It does get in the way. I could use the space for something more useful, (my juicer? blender?) truthfully.

And now, its broken. It wasn’t even acting up, or showing signs of physical damage. It just stopped spinning the plate, and making awful grinding noises as the entire mechanics of it sounds like its going to blow-up.

A few days have gone by, and I am honestly on the fence about replacing it.

I love the convenience; and let’s face it, it really is a staple piece of equipment when it comes to convenience! I sound like the “Most Interesting Man in the World” commercials, rationalizing my microwave usage: I don’t use it much, but when I do, it’s for something really important.

But the rest of the sentence could be replaced with “its for something I could do just as easily on the stove, with other pots, pans and utensils I also happen to own”.

If I think about it, method of cooking seems questionable…somewhat….possibly? The “bombarding” of food with electromagnetic radiation just doesn’t sound good. But this just causes the water molecules to rapidly vibrate, causing friction and heat, and thusly, cooking!

How is it, that the denaturing of proteins by direct or indirect heat just doesn’t seem to sound as bad? They both are outside forces that change the internal structure the food, rendering them “cooked”.  (not to mention the debate of the possible cancer causing browning of meats by other methods of cooking)

Is it just that cooking is bad in general ? ( Is back to researching and playing with the raw food diets!?)

I think the issue I am having really lies in the fact that we live in a disposable society. When something has just outlived its warranty, have you noticed that it just seems to stop working, or break and fall apart? Its cheaper to buy new to replace something, rather than fix things.

So then I think that everything is just cheaply made to begin with. One could wonder about the general safety of parts and construction of all sorts of things. And, in the microwave’s case,  how much earlier than its actual “break-down” does it become unsafe to use? We don’t even know when, because we cant see, hear or smell “it”.

I did find a site on-line that walks you through diagnosing and repairing your own microwave…really? If the thing I am using has a capacitor, I sure I’m calling “Doc Brown” to put it back into that DeLorean!  Seriously though, I don’t think most people are ready to “break into” microwave and change out parts. What if the casing, that protective shell, becomes compromised? And now you have it working, but emitting the electromagnetic radiation.

Reasons to NOT get a new one: I don’t rely on it, it takes up space that could be use otherwise, everything I do use it for can be done “traditionally” in a less potentially harmful way, and it will save energy and my carbon footprint will be smaller. All logical, and feel-good reasons. Agreed.

BUT, I am not above admitting I really do like the convenience. That is the only logical reason I have to replace my microwave.  (Here comes “Dos XX”-talk again: It would just be to reheat things, and soften butter and coconut oils.)

Its a fine-line here; and in today’s busy world with so many advantages and conveniences that carry hidden dangers, we have to pick and choose our battles. We each have to decide for ourselves if the benefits outweigh the costs. It isn’t right or wrong to have a microwave, that’s for sure! It depends on you, and what is right for you.

At the present moment, I have not decided. I am going to mull this over some more. I don’t think I am missing it too much, and may not replace it. It will give me a chance to go through the rest of my kitchen cookware and gadgetry and upgrade those items to more permanent pieces as well.

Coming soon….other Healthy Cookware Choices.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microwave_oven

http://www.health-science.com/microwave_hazards.html

http://www.doityourself.com/stry/repairmicrowave#.UwoJsISUOM8

 

 

 

 

Back to the Beginning..and the new ‘myownfit’

My first post: 

I have been an avid exerciser with varied results for what seems to be my whole life. I have been in great shape, good shape and bad shape. Learning to be fit for the sake of overall wellness and happiness, and NOT just the reflection in the mirror, has made it easier for me to stay in great shape and keep working towards even more fitness goals.

I feel that everyone has their optimal fitness style, and level of fitness, at different times of their lives. Finding “YOUR FIT” should be fun. It isn’t about matching what others can do or look like. It’s about making YOU the healthiest, strongest, most confident YOU that YOU can be by doing things that inspire you.

I hope to encourage and lead you to new fun, fit and healthy goals for your lives.

Being fit, to me, means my whole being, not just body. And through exercise, mental “activity” and nourishment (jeeez, that sounds way more bookish than I want, but it’s what I mean!) I feel wholly fit. And that is why I am beginning this segment of my fitness with trying my hand at something new. ..THIS! I find that branching out and doing something new keeps me “on edge”, learning and motivated.

It is a work in progress; it is a continual learning process; it is fun and should be entertaining for all! Stick around!”

In a split second, back in August,  I went from previewing a new life of health coaching, to becoming the one who needed the coach, and couldn’t even keep up with my own intentions! Being injured in such a way for such a long time, really knocked me off-track; but was a great learning experience, too.

Now, I am so close to beginning again, and I am so excited! 

I will be posting here as to the where’s and what’s will be going on in the coming weeks.