Category Archives: Nourishment

Harness the Cleansing Power of Spring!


According to traditional health care systems like Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, spring is a time of transformation and detoxification. Whether you look at it through the lens of energy moving, alignment with the seasons, or the liver and kidneys stepping up their detoxification activities, it’s happening! This spring you have a powerful choice to make – partner with your body in this endeavor or no. If you choose the former, and we hope you will, you can harness this natural process and clear months and even years of toxins, sludge (called “ama” in Ayurveda or plaques and biofilms in the west), and stagnation, reduce inflammation, and set your body back to its default state is that of radiant health. When you do that, you have energy, your skin glows, your brain works, you lose weight… and you will feel amazing! It even improves your outlook on life.

To do a very simple Ayurvedic cleanse on your own, you could drink water with freshly squeezed lemon in the morning, drink lots of water throughout the day, exercise, get restorative rest, and eat a mono diet of kitchari for a few days or a week. Set the time frame you can commit to, get your supplies, and just do it! We do this version occasionally when we need a reset.

That’s just one easy example but there are many cleanses you can choose from… we know because we’ve done most of them! Some were completely insane, some didn’t seem effective, and some were way too unpalatable for our palates. Like the Buddha choosing the middle path after experimenting with the extremes, we have found that a moderate approach to cleansing that is sustainable and even enjoyable is the best approach for long term success. In our luxurious, 28-day program, we slowly transform our lifestyle and diet to create more wellness. We focus on anti inflammatory, healing, nourishing whole foods and lifestyle practices, with a powerful synergistic effect. Our cleansers have had amazing transformations in their health, reversing chronic conditions like arthritis, psoriasis, digestive issues, and more. One woman near and dear to our heart credits the cleanse with her conceiving a baby!

If you are excited about feeling happy, confident in your skin, and energized to enjoy life, join us for our group cleanse April 15th! Register here. We would be honored to support you in feeling awesome!

Image credit: Leanna Rosser

4 Foods for Love

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we thought we’d share some lesser known nutritional gems to help your heart and love life! The first three are totally fun and delicious and the last one is serious information that you need to know.

1) Valentines Day is ALL about chocolate, and happily, good quality cocoa actually is fantastic for your cardiovascular system, mostly due to its exceptionally high levels of antioxidants and its magnesium content. It’s been shown to increase the good cholesterol (HDL) and decrease oxidized bad cholesterol (LDL), as well as decreasing atherosclerotic plaques, blood pressure, and improving blood flow, which is a great thing on Valentine’s Day (if you know what we mean)! If you really want to keep your loved one’s ticker healthy, opt for dark chocolate without any dairy (milk or butter) added. Dairy has been shown to decrease the activity of the antioxidants by a significant amount (1, 2). Check out our Superfood Chocolate Bark recipe!

2) Have you ever heard of the superfood maca? According to superfood researcher David Wolfe, “Maca is widely recognized as supportive to hormone balance and fertility. It promotes virility, libido, and even has been shown to enhance sperm mobility. In the same vein, it is also known as a powerful aphrodisiac for both men and women. Maca provides sustained energy, vitality, and elevated mood. It is particularly helpful for women to promote healthy menstruation and to support the process of menopause.” Of course, none of this has been evaluated by the FDA, but there is evidence from current research and its long history of medicinal use in traditional cultures. We add a tablespoon of gelatinized maca powder to our smoothies and hot cocoa. If you’re a maca newbie, start with a half teaspoon and work up to a tablespoon.

3) You’ve upgraded your white rice to brown rice, but it may be time to take it to the next level. Black rice was once reserved for royalty and their concubines due to its high nutritional content and prized aphrodisiac benefits. In fact, it was known as “forbidden rice” because a commoner caught eating it would be put to death. When you look at the rice very closely, you’ll notice that it’s actually a deep, gorgeous purple. The purple hue comes from anthocyanins, the powerful antioxidants found in grapes and wine that are widely known to be great for your heart (and skin and brain too!). Try our Forbidden Black Rice or roll some sushi with it!

4) Although everybody and their brother are taking fish oil to protect their hearts, accumulating research has shown that fish oil does not protect your cardiovascular system and may lead to an aggressive form of prostate cancer. A huge meta-analysis of the data confirms that fish oil supplements are likely pointless for preventing heart disease. There are much better ways for keeping your heart and prostate healthy – including eating more colorful plant foods, nuts and seeds, and decreasing your intake of inflammatory omega 6 oils like vegetable, corn, and safflower oil. Replace these oils with healthier olive, coconut, avocado, and grapeseed oils (organic, cold pressed, in a glass bottle). Most commercial dressings are made with inflammatory oils, so they actually make your healthy salad kind of unhealthy! It is so quick and easy to make your own delicious dressings with healthier oils and nuts.

Wishing you a healthy, happy heart and lots of love!

Image credit: flowmind on flickr.com

A Magic Trick: Cooking More + Having More Free Time

Cooking healthy, whole foods regularly is now a way of life for me. I love cooking and am always experimenting with new things. As you can imagine, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It’s the life of a chef!

I’m fortunate to have a flexible schedule, so I can decide in the afternoon that I want to make some particular meal for dinner, go out to the store in the afternoon and cook it up in time for dinner. But I do realize that is not the case for most people with full time jobs, young kids, and other time intensive responsibilities.

Over the years, cleansers (as well as friends, family, acquaintances… pretty much anyone that knows I’m a chef) have asked me to offer personal chef services so they can easily eat healthy, high quality, home cooked meals more regularly. Since we are always looking for ways to make the Ultimate Rejuvenation Cleanse easier for our participants, I decided to be brave and start offering prepared meals this year!

The response has been huge and I’m really enjoying making meals for our cleansers and hearing how much they loved it! Getting that kind of feedback nourishes my soul.

As I’m now cooking for many families, it’s been necessary to plan ahead and get more scheduled in my meal preparations, which admittedly doesn’t come naturally to my free spirit. However, my kitchen has turned into a bit of a store! I have all kinds of beautiful meals ready to go in mason jars. Since I always have some extra on hand, it’s like I’m taking care of myself as well. When I’m out and about, I look forward to coming home to my own house and having a selection of delicious, healthy, home cooked meals to choose from.

This past Monday I came home from the morning practice and had kitchari for breakfast, lunch was Mulligatawny Soup, and I finished the day with kale and white bean soup. Totally delicious, cleansing, and satisfying.

I’ve never experienced anything quite like this before – there is something very special about having a meal lovingly prepared for you. Seeing all the beautiful jars of healthy food in my refrigerator felt like a gift from someone else.  Although I am cooking more, it feels like I’m cooking less because of the free time my new schedule has created. I’ve been taking my dog for more walks, doing more yoga, reading, and contemplating getting a massage. Despite the fact that I’m doing more work, the advance planning makes it feel like so much less. I also feel less stressed.

This is my easiest cleanse ever, and it could be yours too!

So my recommendation to you, if you want to eat healthy and have more free time, either take a few minutes to plan/prep your meals ahead in batches, or let me do your cooking for you.

Either way, it’s a win!

To learn more about Chef Charlotte’s meal services, go to her website.

Game Plan for a Healthy Party Season

With the feast season in full force, opportunities for free-range, free-form, free-for-all face stuffing are endless. Although it’s fun and festive, there is a dark underbelly that no one is talking about. Well okay, everyone is talking about it, and it IS the underbelly. Our pants don’t like it, our dresses don’t like it, and neither do we. The only one that makes out in this situation is Spanx. So, if you are among those who are fearful of the dark underbelly taking over, we have some tips for enjoying the party season while keeping things within acceptable dimensions.

Before the party

  • Exercise at some point during the day.
  • Hydrate all day long – a mouthful of water every half hour (Bonus side effects: your skin will glow and you’ll be so energetic).
  • Eat a protein-rich meal or snack an hour before the party. A great option would be lentil soup because it’s high in protein, fiber, and fills you up.

At the party

  • Most importantly, your primary goal should be to fully enjoy the party!
  • But don’t make food the focal point.
  • Position yourself away from the buffet, so you don’t mindlessly munch all night long. Hand to mouth syndrome is real.
  • Hydrate throughout night with water between drinks (your future unhungover self will thank you).
  • Enjoy a few raw carrot sticks that are usually available with some dip or hummus. It might sound boring, but you’ll feel so much more satisfied, less bloated, and refreshed!
  • Taking a page out of Tim Ferris’ “The 4-Hour Body”, when you go to the restroom, do 10 squats and 10 wall pushups! It’ll keep your muscles consuming fuel (instead the fat cells). It is also energizing, increases circulation, and helps to reduce appetite.

Après le soiree

  • Do an “intermittent fast” the next day, possibly by skipping breakfast, and not eating until you actually feel hungry. Do we even remember what that feels like?
  • Drink warm vegetable broth at any time during the day, even during the fast.
  • A green juice will revitalize you. Choose the one with the lowest grams of sugar. You can get these at Target and Starbucks even.
  • When you do eat a meal, let it be a healthy one. Eat mindfully and chew well.
  • Breathe deeply.
  • Sweat profusely.

In fact, you can repeat the après le soiree section several days a week during party season with fantastic results! You may not even need our New Year Cleanse in 2018! Although it will take you to the next level!

What are your favorite healthy party tips? Share below!

Party well, my friends.

Our Ultimate Gift Guide!

Hats off to any of you who are DONE with your gift shopping already! What a wonderful way to avoid all that stressful last minute scrambling, stay relaxed, and actually enjoy the season. You are an inspiration to the rest of us procrastinators! And for the rest of us – here are our best ideas for gifts and holiday shopping. In general, we gravitate towards experiences over material possessions. Memories can fill you with warm feelings for a lifetime and don’t take up any space. If you are going to gift a material possession, let it be one with good karma and something that can be used instead of stored.

Our Best Ideas

  • Massage. Massages not only feel amazing, but have numerous health benefits, including improving muscle tone, circulation, and reducing stress. Who doesn’t need some of that? Just be sure that the recipient actually likes massages. There are actually some puzzling people out there who don’t.
  • Facial. I am now a convert since I got some rejuvenating facials at the Whole Body Spa! Cheryl uses all natural products that smooth and nourish your skin. Sun spots actually got lighter! She also has a microcurrent instrument like they use in PT that stimulates facial muscle tone, resulting in an uplifted look. Check out her platinum facial here. Friends help friends look younger!
  • The Ultimate Rejuvenation Cleanse. If you’ve got a friend or family member in need of support and inspiration to start eating in a more healthful way, our cleanse covers all the bases and has been life changing for many people. We’ve never offered this before, but graduate cleansers can apply their discount for up to 3 New Year cleanse gifts. If you’re a grad and want to do this, contact us for the special link. Friends who cleanse together have exponential success!
  • Meditation. We’ve been doing the Oprah and Deepak meditation series for years now, and they are wonderful. In each 21-day series, both Oprah and Deepak share some wisdom, and then you meditate with a mantra and soothing music for about 15 minutes. After every single meditation, I feel more at peace and centered. These two are our favorite: Hope in Uncertain Times and Making Every Moment Matter. There are CD and streaming (through their free app) options. Friends who meditate together have really excellent conversations! Seriously though… we often text each other something along the lines of, “Day 5! OMG!” And then we discuss.
  • Yoga/Pilates/Fitness gift certificate. Regular exercise and diversity of movement are one of the pillars of excellent health, feeling great in your body, staying young, and a positive mental outlook. There are so many styles and classes available to suit every need and preference. If you need help choosing a location or class, comment below for suggestions. We can recommend many wonderful studios, teachers, and class types.
  • Comedy show tickets. In terms of importance, laughter is right up there with healthy food, mindfulness, and movement! Many of us could use a few more belly laughs. Find a comedy show and go with your friend or loved one.
  • Danielle LaPorte candle. If you are partial to candles, these are probably the best I’ve ever tried! I really can’t believe how wonderful they smell. They have no toxic synthetic fragrances or lead in their wicks. Instead, they scent the candle with essential oils, which have beneficial effects on your health and emotional state. Get one for yourself too!
  • Gift baskets with goodies from health food store. Instead of one of those premade baskets filled with sugar, rancid fats, and chemicals, why not fill a basket with your favorite healthy goodies? You could do a theme or just an assortment of your favorites. Some ideas that everyone should have in their cupboard: Super healthy teas (we love Throat Coat, Oolong, and Matcha), Dulse flakes, Organic, free trade, dark chocolate (what’s a food basket with no good quality chocolate?), vitamin D drops, Vega smoothie mix with some smoothie recipes, hemp seeds, ground flax seeds, Brazil nuts, almond butter, pure maple syrup, local honey, organic, cold pressed olive, coconut, or sesame oil in a glass bottle, probiotics, nontoxic personal care products, nontoxic candle…). We talk about the benefits of these products (and more) in our cleanse. But if you need some background info, comment below!
  • Nourishing body oil. Ayurveda teaches us that daily self massage with high quality oil is one of the keys to staying healthy, balanced, and young! We love this oil from Sarada. You can even use organic cold pressed olive, coconut, sesame, or jojoba oil.
  • Juice Plus. Most people find it difficult to get the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day, including my family. So I was thrilled about 10 years ago when I found out about Juice Plus, which is concentrated fruits and vegetables in capsule or a chewie – kind of like “Jetson” food! Juice Plus is made with the juice powders from 17 fruits and vegetables. What stood out to me about Juice Plus compared with other supplements are the 30+ published medical studies that demonstrate the many ways it improves the markers for cardiovascular health, immune system, skin, and more. It’s also guaranteed to be free of pesticides and other contaminants, which is a major concern in the supplement world. Check here for more information and contact Lisa if you’d like to learn how to get a free supply for a child (aged 4-college age).
  • For anyone struggling with eating healthy meals, how about healthy food delivery or personal chef services? We love the food from our very own Charlotte Ott, TB12, and Purple Carrot.

Bonus Tips for Shopping

As we say in yoga, “It’s not what you’re doing, but how you’re being.” Let’s transform the usual hectic shopping trip to moments of generosity and peace.

  • Smile and thank the person who helped you in the store. In an interview I recently heard, customers tend to unload all of their stress and frustration on the people ringing them up! Let’s truly embody the spirit of the season, even as we shop. Every moment and interaction we have is an opportunity to practice being more authentic, compassionate, and joyful.
  • Let go of attachment to a close parking spot. Go to the outer edges of the lot, and take the first spot you find. With this approach, you get a few more “steps” in, feel more peaceful, get some more fresh air, and save gas.
  • Breathe and relax. Take many pauses throughout the day to center, take a few deep breaths, and let go of accumulated tension, in your face, jaw, neck, belly, and mind.
  • Shopping while dehydrated and low blood sugar is no fun and you definitely increase your chances of being unpleasant to the staff and other shoppers. Be sure you have water with you and eat a healthy meal or snack before you go.

Well, that’s our list! What are your favorite gifts to give or receive?

Image credit: Honey and thread on flickr.com

How to Optimize Digestion in the Winter

Guest Post by Ayurvedic Consultant, Emmie Stamell

Ayurveda, India’s traditional medical system and a sister science to Yoga, has taught for thousands of years that food is medicine for the body, mind and spirit. What we eat gets absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract, is assimilated and provides nourishment to the bodily tissues, mind, and emotions. While what we eat is important, Ayurveda highlights that how we eat is even more important.

Here are some simple tips to help you digest what you’re eating well:

  • Bless or express gratitude for your food before eating
  • Sit down to eat in a calm environment
  • Chew thoroughly, paying attention to the taste of each bite
  • Eat until you are 75% full
  • Stay seated restfully after you’re done eating for 5-20 minutes
  • Take a gentle walk to encourage good digestion after meals

In terms of what to eat in the colder months, Ayurveda understands that our internal metabolic fire, or agni in Sanskrit, increases in the colder months to allow us to digest heavier foods. When agni is strong we are able to digest fats, complex carbohydrates and protein which are more prevalent in winter foods (like root vegetables, nuts, meat, grains, dairy products). These foods help us sleep longer, move more slowly and gain a few pounds for a bit more insulation, which are all natural wintertime occurrences.

That said, be careful to avoid too many sweets or too much dairy, which tend to dampen agni, thus weakening our digestion and causing imbalances such as lethargy, indigestion, poor circulation, congestion, low energy or depression, even achy joints. Any of these symptoms are an indication that digestion is impaired to some extent.

One easy (and tasty!) way to keep agni robust during the cold months is to use warming spices. Many spices from the mint family like thyme, rosemary, oregano and basil are wonderful for stoking the digestive fire. Other great choices include mustard seeds, pepper, and all of the “chai” spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and clove.  Turmeric is also warming internally has myriad health benefits including boosting immunity!

Charlotte and I are looking forward to our upcoming workshop December 16th 2-4pm at The Arlington Center when we will be talking in depth about right diet, lifestyle practices, yoga and breathing techniques for strong digestion and immunity during the cold season.

For further reading, here are some recommended books on Ayurvedic diet, recipes and more digestion info:

May your agni be strong this season, and grace you with all the benefits of a healthy metabolism: mental clarity, physical stamina, and strong immunity!

Image credit: Hans Pama on Flickr.com

3 Benefits of Fall Cleansing you’ll LOVE

In our many years of leading group cleanses, we’ve noticed that people tend to come in droves to the New Year and Spring Cleanses, while only the die-hard cleansers show up for the Fall Cleanse. That’s probably because everyone is so motivated to lose weight for New Year’s resolutions in January and bathing suit season in the spring. In the fall… not so much.

Well, if weight loss is one of your motivations for cleansing, consider this… Using advanced logarithms, we calculated that that summertime is twice as bad for indulgences than the holidays. Not only is the season twice as long, but there is so much variety – the vacations, fried food on the beach, ice cream stands, margaritas, and more. By September, our shorts are a bit tight and we’re reaching gratefully for our sweaters and jeans. So we have this extra summer padding courtesy of summer fun, and BAM! we’re into Halloween and the holidays, piling indulgence on top of indulgence. It is a wise strategy to cleanse in the fall to clear out the summer excesses, and then face the holiday season from a place of thinner peace. Not only will you feel much better and look your glowing best, but also you’ll avoid being one of the statistical Americans that steadily gain weight every year. #NotGonnaDoIt

Whether or not weight loss is important to you, a good fall cleanse also supports immune function and boosts energy. Your immune system gets suppressed by sugar, dairy, and toxic food. During a cleanse, we give ourselves a break from all that, and deeply nourish our entire body, including the immune system. Then you’ll be confidently entering cold and flu season with a strong and resilient immune system. #Bulletproof

One of the greatest benefits of cleansing is how much energy you feel after. It’s pretty amazing! We need lots of energy during the holidays, not only to tackle the endless to do list, but also to actually enjoy and savor the celebrations with family and friends. #Celebrate

If thinner peace, robust immunity, and loads of energy sound good to you right about now, we’re starting our gentle group cleanse this Sunday!

The BEST Salad You’ll Ever Make

Fall Roasted Beet and Fennel Salad

This salad has been described as “the best salad I ever had”! It might seem like a bit of prep for just a salad, but it’s quicker than it seems, so don’t be intimidated. It’s also something you can confidently make for guests. They are guaranteed to love it (or your money back)! This recipe makes 2 larger salads or 4 side salads.

  • 4 medium size beets (ideally 2 golden and 2 red)
  • 2 tsp sea salt, divided
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bulb of fennel and a few sprigs of fronds (the feathery ends)
  • ½ handful of micro greens
  • 1 Tbsp basil, finely chopped
  • 1 small orange
  • juice of ½ lime

Preheat oven to 400.  Scrub beets and trim the ends.  Place in a deep baking dish filled with ½ inch of water. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.

Thinly slice fennel bulb.  Massage fennel with 1 tsp of sea salt and 1 Tbsp of oil.  Spread on small baking sheet and bake at 400 for 10 minutes.

Peel and slice orange into bite sized pieces.

Allow beets to cool slightly and remove skin. Cut into bite sized pieces and place into a small bowl with 1 tsp of sea salt. Add orange pieces and lime juice to the beets. Top with roasted fennel, micro greens, basil and fennel fronds.

To see Charlotte making this salad in her island kitchen, click the picture below!

Health & Wealth

 

Do you have to be wealthy to stay healthy? Many people believe they can’t afford healthier options because at first glance, organic produce, higher quality prepared foods, and alternative health modalities appear more expensive. But fiber rich, nutrient dense food is almost always the best bargain for your health and wallet. For example, the plant based option in restaurants is always less expensive than the meat and fish, sometimes by half. When cooking at home, you can feed your whole family for a few dollars with delicious, infinite variations of beans, rice, and veggies.

Not only that, but healthier choices are becoming less and less expensive as they become more mainstream and widely available. There are so many organic products at discount stores like BJ’s, Target, Cosco, and Walmart making it more affordable than ever to eat abundant whole, plant foods. You can get fresh pressed, unpasteurized green juices in most Target stores now! Also, alternative health care modalities like chiropractic are getting better coverage by insurance companies.

Families that embrace good nutrition and natural health save big time on copays and medical bills. In our families, we can count on one hand the times we needed over the counter or prescription medication or went to the doctor for anything besides well checkups and the occasional sports injury. We also save time, miss less work and school, and most importantly, enjoy feeling our best!

Not only do you save money on the usual pesky annoyances like colds, flu, ear infections, cavities, etc, but you save long term by avoiding the big chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. Reams of studies have proven beyond a doubt that nutrition and self care make a huge impact on disease risk. Check out inspiring health documentaries like Forks over Knives, Food Matters, Hungry for Change, What the Health, or Fed Up. Most are available on Netflix or YouTube.

In the US, kids at younger and younger ages are getting the chronic diseases previously associated with old age. Children as young as 10 are getting Type 2 diabetes (previously called “adult onset” diabetes) and atherosclerosis. So US children are going to become patients at a much earlier age, requiring expensive drugs and medical interventions for many more years than ever before. No matter what insurance system we end up with, this is unsustainable from a broader perspective. It may be our patriotic duty to care for our health at this point!

One last thought… It’s interesting that many people who are reluctant to spend a couple extra dollars on organic produce don’t bat an eyelash for expensive {unhealthy} restaurant meals, alcoholic beverages, daily Starbucks, etc. Is there an overall trend in your spending that could be shifted towards healthier options? You could upgrade some choices (for example, getting the veggie stir fry instead of the steak) or set some parameters to limit spending on unhealthy options (for example, getting Starbucks once a week instead of five days a week). Let’s invest in our health rather than subsidize illness!

Photo credit: Rachael Mair

Confused by the Coconut Conundrum?

Like millions of other coconut lovers, you may feel utterly confused about recent media coverage of coconut oil. For some years now, it’s been revered as a skin saving, metabolism boosting, brain building, teeth whitening, virus killing, hair conditioning, fountain of youth and health. But in the last few weeks, we’ve seen respectable news sources telling us that coconut oil is not in fact good for us, and not only that, but it never was. They said it’s full of saturated fat and raises your bad (LDL) cholesterol! Before you pull out your well conditioned hair or grind your pearly white teeth, let’s discuss.

Having studied this for a few decades now, the one thing I can say with complete certainty is that with regard to human nutrition, things are always infinitely more complex than they appear on the surface. Even things that everyone seemed to agree on, like saturated fat and LDL cholesterol. As it turns out, not all saturated fat or LDL cholesterol is bad.

There are multiple forms of saturated fat – some are long molecules, some are short, and some are just right. Coconut oil has medium chain triglycerides, which has been shown to boost metabolism, enhance fat burning, reduce appetite, improve digestion, create energy, boost endurance, bolster brain function, benefit hormone levels, improve cardiovascular health, and like all fats, help absorb fat soluble nutrients. So, some forms of saturated fat are beneficial. Also, not all LDL is bad. There are “fluffy” forms that appear not to be harmful, unlike the smaller, denser form of LDL, which is actually the damaging form. Research has shown us that coconut oil raises the unharmful, fluffy form of LDL.

Dr Mark Hyman reports, “Studies show saturated fat raises LDL (your so-called “bad” cholesterol) but it improves the quality of the LDL and increases its size making it less likely to promote heart disease. It also raises HDL (“good” cholesterol). On the other hand, sugar lowers HDL. Ultimately, the ratio of total to LDL cholesterol and particle number and size are a far bigger predictor of heart attacks than LDL itself.”

The fact that coconut oil is mostly saturated fat makes it a better oil to cook with than other oils. When you expose unsaturated oils to heat, the bonds break down and they form a highly destructive oxygen species called “free radicals”. Free radicals cause oxidation, which results in accelerated aging, break down of cells and tissues, inflammation, and chronic disease. This is exactly why we need antioxidants. So you will expose yourself to fewer free radicals when cooking with a stable, saturated coconut oil than even olive oil.

What trends do we see in people who routinely eat coconut oil? Well, traditional populations have been consuming coconut oils for centuries without any adverse effects. In fact, the 1978 Demographic Yearbook of the UN reported that the death rate due to ischemic heart disease in Sri Lanka was 1 in a million. Other countries reported much higher numbers, between 38 and 188. Guess what dietary oil Sri Lankans eat the most of… You guessed it! Coconut oil.

With all of this evidence of the benefits of coconut oil, we may be left wondering why the American Heart Association would have recommended that we avoid coconut oil. Let’s first consider their track record. They not only recommended for years that we consume margarine, until the FDA actually banned it, but they are currently recommending foods that are shown without a doubt to be harmful to human health, like foods loaded with sugar, inflammatory, highly processed omega 6 oils, and carcinogenic deli meats (also full of saturated fat). They even put their seal of approval on Lucky Charms. Can we really trust anyone that encourages us to buy Lucky Charms?

The authors of the AHA report rake in millions of dollars from canola oil companies, the beef association, drug companies, and the big food companies bringing us all these unhealthy, processed foods. The AHA is unfortunately not doing the job they have been tasked to do – protect the cardiovascular health of Americans. Could their funding be influencing their recommendations? Share your thoughts below!

One finer point we should discuss is that oil (no matter what type) is not a “whole food”, meaning that it was extracted from a food, and is missing the fiber, protein, carbohydrates, etc. Our goal should always be to make our diets more “whole” – focusing on foods the way nature provides them, with nothing artificially added or removed. When you eat primarily whole foods, you don’t have to worry so much about getting enough of this or that, or too much of this or that. For this reason, oil in general should be minimized. But when you do use an oil to create your many fabulous recipes, enjoy coconut oil knowing that it is one of the best choices available.

Also, coconut oil is a wonderful beauty product. You can use it:

  • As a deep conditioning treatment. Just rub a teaspoon or so into your hair and let it soak in for an hour or more. Wash well.
  • As a skin conditioner. Using it as a lotion/cream makes your skin feel so velvety. It also provides a little sun protection! I use it primarily on my body. It is a little heavy for my facial skin. See where it works for you!
  • As a teeth whitener. In the morning, let a couple teaspoons of coconut oil melt in your mouth. Then swish it around for 5 – 20 minutes, as you take care of your morning cleaning up. Spit it out in the trash, not the skink, since it can clog the sink over time. After a couple weeks of doing this daily, you will notice whiter teeth. It also is good for dental health.
  • As an eye makeup remover. Smooth a little bit on your eyelashes and gently wipe off with a tissue. Rinse with water, and gently wipe again.