Guest Blog from the Husband!

Guest blog from the husband!

All this time I thought the husband was simply annoyed with all this talk about nutrition, and it turns out he was listening more than I realized.  My amazing husband, John, is making a guest appearance today!  Enjoy.


4 Things from Johnny C.

  1. If you want to lose weight, go talk to the meatheads in the gym.  If you want to be healthy, talk to a dietitian.  Losing weight is a side affect of being healthy….not the other way around.

 

  1. The older a food is, the better it is for you.  I don’t mean how long it’s been sitting on the counter, I mean how long it’s been in existence on the planet.  Apples….pretty good for you.  Tootsie rolls…not so much.  It’s not perfect but it’s a fair general rule.  Food items that have been around since before mass processing and preservatives are most likely more healthy than new ideas like Spam or Oreos.

 

  1. There’s nothing to eat!  We have a fridge full of nothing to eat.  It’s ok to munch of fruit when you’re watching a football game.

 

  1. Good fat, bad fat, bowl full of sat fat.  Fat can be good, and fat can be bad, but saturated fat is the latest fad.  Is good fat good, do you think we should?  Is bad fat worse, is it the worst thing in the universe?  Ok the point here is that too many people spend too much time saying dumb/cute/wasteful things about coconut oil.  Cook with it if you like the taste or lather up and get a tan if you don’t.  At least it’s a relatively natural thing.  The argument/discussion should be about balance and quantity of intake, not the specific quality of every element ingested.  Eat good natural things as much as possible; but life is short…have some ice cream.

 

It’s as cute & funny as it is true.  I like how he can simplify my thoughts yet make the same main points so clearly.

See ya again real soon!  xoxo – Casey

I’m Bringin’ Breakfast Back

the mostdeliciousand healthysnacks to eat

A while back, you may have seen a post on Facebook regarding “sweet potato toast.” Well, I’m bringing it back today. (You’re welcome.) 

It would seem that breakfast tends to be the most difficult meal for us to include balance. We are in a society that has a heavy emphasis on carbohydrate-rich foods. Thank you former, crappy food guide pyramid…ugh.

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I, myself, often have difficulty choosing a yummy breakfast that contains protein-rich foods, healthy fats, and whole grains all at once. Including balance is important, and it is doable; it’s just tricky sometimes. In swoops sweet potato toast to the rescue!

I have many other ideas for your breakfast needs, but today is brought to you by those ugly, misshapen gems that we know and love as sweet potatoes.

Please note that my “recipe” does not contain specific measurements or nutrition stats. I tend to not focus on numbers of any kind when it comes to eating; rather, I focus on finding ways to include as much nutrition into my meal while maintaining a reasonable balance of foods and listening to my body. If you have a health condition that requires you to count something, message me and I can help you out. Otherwise, please just eat food and enjoy it!

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An ideal, healthy meal will be about 1/4 protein-rich food, 1/4 whole grains OR starchy vegetables, and 1/2 non-starchy vegetables. Fruit and milk products can (and should) be included in small, creative ways. Breakfast can and should fit this profile as much as possible. I’ve recently developed a love for leafy greens with my eggs and toast. Think outside the box, people.

However, at a minimum, your breakfast should be part protein-rich foods (including some healthy fats), and a whole grain or starchy vegetable. A sweet potato would be considered a starchy vegetable, which would fulfill the 1/4 plate thing. The topping ideas below each contain some protein-rich foods and healthy fats.

All right, without further adieu, let’s get going with some deliciousness.

Tools needed:

  • Toaster
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Patience

 

Ingredients needed:

  • Sweet potato(es)
  • Toppings vary; see recipes below

 

Instructions:

  • Choose big, fat sweet potatoes so you have wide surfaces for your toppings
  • Scrub your sweet potatoes with a veggie brush and some cool water.
  • Cut slices from the sweet potato that are about no more than 1/4” thick.
  • Place slices in toaster on a high setting (higher than you use for toast)
    • Timing and setting depend on your toaster.
    • I used the highest setting (9) on mine.
    • You might have to do more than one toast cycle.
    • Be sure to check on your slices periodically until you perfect the setting/timing situation.

 

Topping idea #1: Sunflower seed butter & honey

  • I personally have greatly enjoyed a product that comes premixed with this yummy combo – see more about it here.
  • Note that you could use any nut butter and it would likely be phenomenal.
  • If you’re adding honey, go easy…less is more.

Topping idea #2: Peanut butter, real maple syrup & chopped pecans

  • Peanut butter rule: read the ingredients. Peanut butter needs only two ingredients: peanuts and salt. If your peanut butter has additional ingredients, please note they are not necessary and sometimes harmful.  If you have a super-strong blender or food processor, you can make your own peanut butter in about 3 minutes…
  • Go easy on the maple syrup, and I only recommend the real stuff (not Aunt Jemima corn syrup with brown coloring).
  • You can buy pecans that are already chopped. They are usually either in the baking aisle or sometimes in the produce section somewhere.
  • A dash of cinnamon adds further delightfulness to this already amazing creation.
  • This is kid and baby-approved (pending any unknown food allergies…proceed with caution…)

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Topping idea #3: Mashed avocado & scrambled eggs

  • Pretty self-explanatory. If your avocado is ripe (gives slightly when gently squeezed), it should mash beautifully.
  • I like to put on the avocado first, then “sprinkle” the scrambled eggs on top
  • Tip for avocados: once they are ripe on the countsweetpot2er, that is the perfect time to place them in the refrigerator. You can lengthen their life by about an extra week using this method.

I hope you enjoy these ideas. Be adventurous! If you find other great topping ideas, please feel free to comment and share the love!

Until next time, [wipes sunflower seed butter off face], be sure to check out the archived articles (found on the bottom of this page) for more fun-filled nutrition guidance.

xoxo – Casey

The Devil Uses Coconut Oil

www.lettucetalk.blog-2

Just kidding.  Coconut oil isn’t “bad.”  The devil probably eats white-bread-JIF-peanut-butter-and-crappy-jelly-sandwiches.

An article from USA Today demonizing coconut oil has essentially gone viral on social media. So, although my Saturday to-do list is a mile long, I feel ethically and morally compelled to write a little something about it [the article].

Sigh. So many things wrong with this I don’t even know where to start…

  1. The article being referenced reviewed ONLY SEVEN trials. SEVEN. If you are unfamiliar with research and/or literature reviews, this is NOT ENOUGH evidence from which to make a solid stance regarding anything…ANYTHING.
  2. Yes, coconut oil is mostly saturated fat; and yes, saturated fat will raise your LDL-cholesterol. However, they seemed to be shy to mention that it (saturated fat) also raises your HDL-cholesterol. Therefore your total cholesterol will go up, but you are not at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) or mortality.
  3. The most current ACC/ACH (American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association) guidelines—a reputable doctrine by which clinicians set therapeutic targets for lipid management—state that the ratio of non-HDL:HDL is far more predictive of CVD risk and/or mortality than focusing on lowering LDL alone.
  4. When LDL increases secondary to increasing saturated fat intake, it does not automatically “clog your arteries.” Rather, this type of saturated fat actually increases the “large fluffy” LDL particles in your bloodstream. Large, fluffy LDL are relatively resistant to oxidation (the process that leads to plaque formation and artery clogging).
  5. When LDL increases secondary to a high consumption of refined carbohydrates (white bread, sugar, etc.) and/or trans fat (Crisco, JIF peanut butter, etc.), it increases “small, dense” LDL particles. These small, dense LDL particles are the most likely to oxidize in your arteries and collect in damaged areas (aka clogging).
  6. The real problem in artery clogging is that people with CVD often have a high degree of systemic inflammation. Many lifestyle and nutrition factors influence the degree to which systemic inflammation occurs. However, saturated fat does NOT INCREASE INFLAMMATION. Some things that do increase inflammation are refined carbohydrates (sugar, white flour products), trans fat (anything with hydrogenated oil in the ingredients list), smoking cigarettes, and many more.
  7. I actually laughed out loud at the comment “it is almost 100% fat.” No shit! So is olive oil! DUH…I can’t even…
  8. By far the most powerful section of this article is, the following excerpt:
    1. “Before you trash your coconut oil, know that saturated fat is a loaded term. While the AHA warns against it, people who cut saturated fat out of their diet might not necessarily lower their heart disease risk, a 2015 BMJ review suggested. That’s because some people fill the void with sugar, white flour and empty calories. Also, some fat is important to help bodies absorb nutrients from other foods. Many have said butter has gotten a bad reputation.
      (visit https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/06/16/coconut-oil-isnt-healthy-its-never-been-healthy/402719001/ for the full article)

To summarize, please visit my previous post on dietary fat. But the best types of fat to use are canola oil, extra-virgin olive oil, peanut oil, butter, and coconut oil. Any “added fat” is second only to whole foods (fatty fish, nuts, etc.) first. Extra-virgin olive oil is actually best for you when NOT heated (i.e. homemade salad dressing, drizzled on cooked veggies, etc.). For actual cooking/heating, the other oils are better.

Also, although this deserves an entire post in itself (stay tuned), the MORE IMPORTANT factor here is reducing trans fat (it’s in lots of things, including JIF peanut butter and microwave popcorn), reducing refined carbohydrate intake (swap white bread for 100% whole grain and reduce the amount), and reducing added sugar intake (soda, desserts, nearly every packaged food, etc.).