Friday, June 19, 2009

Soak Your Oats!

Oatmeal is a wonderful food - it is heart-healthy and high in vitamin B, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. But, the oats are also very high in phytates/phytic acid - a form of phosphorus that inhibits the absorption of many of those healthy vitamins and minerals, and over the course of time can cause deficiencies.

All you need to do to maximize the health benefits of your oats is soak them in warm water with an acid base during the night and they will be ready to eat in the morning. You will find that soaking them makes them cook almost as quickly as instant oats.  Suggested acid bases are - whey, yogurt or other fermented dairy products, or if you're allergic or intolerant to dairy you can use lemon juice or vinegar.  Add 1-2 tablespoons to your bowl of water and oats.

The same should be done for all grains, nuts, legumes and beans to maximize vitamin and mineral absorption.

I have to admit that I am really bad about doing this, because it requires planning ahead, and that isn't one of my strengths. But it is so important to do, as studies are showing that the buildup of phytic acid is causing vitamin deficiencies in many people. Remember that most of the processed foods on the grocery store shelf that contain grains, nuts, beans and legumes are not soaked!



Fallon, Sally. Nourishing traditions the cookbook that challenges politically correct nutrition and the diet dictocrats. Washington, DC: NewTrends Pub., 1999.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How Safe Are Your Cosmetics?

Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database

The above link is to a cosmetic database that ranks each product on a scale of 1-10 and categorizes by low hazard, moderate hazard and high hazard. It also lets you know what the ingredients are and if they are linked to cancer, developmental/reproductive toxicity, allergies/immunotoxicity, irritation and whether there are violations, restrictions & warnings out against the product. Alternative, safer products are also listed for you.

We discovered a few months ago that the expensive, "non-toxic" soap we were buying for the boys scored in the moderate category. So much for "all-natural"!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Olive Oil

Have you ever noticed how sometimes when you are cooking with olive oil it ends up smelling and tasting funny? You could be using it incorrectly. Extra virgin olive oil has become a staple in most kitchens and on shows like Rachael Ray you can see her frying just about everything up with EVOO. What these shows fail to tell you is that cooking with olive oil at too high of a temperature makes it less healthy and possibly rancid.

Olive oil is decently healthy - on the nutritious fats/oils list it falls somewhere in the middle - at the bottom of the good list (ranked from best to worst):

  1. Ghee and butter
  2. Duck fat
  3. Chicken fat
  4. Lard
  5. Beef tallow
  6. Coconut oil
  7. Palm kernel oil
  8. Palm oil
  9. Olive oil
  10. Safflower oil
  11. Sunflower oil
  12. Cottonseed oil
  13. Peanut oil
  14. Corn oil
  15. Canola oil
  16. Soy Oil

The bottom four are pretty much unfit for human consumption, which is ironic because if you pick up any processed food item in the store you can pretty much bet it will contain one of them. Soy oil is found in 70% of store bought food. And you may be thinking "she's just saying that because she can't have soy", but if you think about it - why are these oils used in all of our food? They are the cheapest. And why are they so cheap? Because they are genetically modified and less nutritious than the other fats and oils. Also, their extraction process makes them rancid. But I'll save that for another post.

Like I said, olive oil is decently healthy. It's high in antioxidants, omega acids, oleic acid, vitamin E and enzymes. But in order to reap these benefits, you must use it correctly.

Different types of olive oil:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil - oil from the first cold-pressing, that is made without chemical or high temperature extraction methods. Has an oleic acid level of <1%.
  • Virgin Olive Oil - also from the first cold-pressing and made from the same extraction methods as EVOO. Has an oleic acid level of <2%.
  • Pure Olive Oil - blend of VOO and refined olive oil. Same acidity as VOO.
  • Light Olive Oil - contains very little if any EVOO.

Don't let the "light" labeling fool you - all of these oils have about 125 calories per tablespoon.

So, what's the point of all of this? If you are buying extra virgin olive oil because it is better for you than the other types of olive oils, but then using it for high-heat cooking or baking, you are basically paying more for the oil but then defeating the purpose. You are paying extra to make your oil rancid and less nutritious.

How the different oils should be used:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil/Virgin Olive Oil - use as a salad dressing, marinade, or sauce. Add to your food after it has been cooked.
  • Classic Olive Oil - use for sauteing and grilling.
  • Light Olive Oil - use for baking and high-heat cooking.



Feister, D.O., Wayne A. "Fats and Oils." Weston A. Price Meeting. Lima.

"Types of Olive Oil." Explore Crete, guide for real Crete. 08 June 2009

Fallon, Sally. Nourishing traditions the cookbook that challenges politically correct nutrition and the diet dictocrats. Washington, DC: NewTrends Pub., 1999.