How to form good habits

How to Form Good Habits, Even When the Going Gets Tough

How to form good habits.

Habits – we all have them! Good habits like brushing our teeth and bad ones like hitting the snooze button.

And I know you know that ALL habits can be created and broken…so why do we STILL have the bad ones?

While in New Orleans, I had the honor of hearing Darren Hardy speak on the subject and he did something pretty profound. He put up slides of generic people and how they look today and then how they could look years later after continuing with their bad habits. Made me think…”Man, I need to create an App where you can put in your bad habit or crutch and it’ll compare your picture today with a picture of you 20 years from now and the adverse effects it will have on your well-being!”

Could you imagine, if you happen to be a smoker, fast food junkie or tanning bed-aholic, how much more effective having a 20 year before and after, side-by-side, photo would be in helping you make the decision to quit that unhealthy habit?

I’ve always been a sun worshipper and I was that 20 year old slathered in baby oil. At 43, I’m dealing with the damage I did so long ago. Now I’m the crazy Mom chasing her adult children around the beach trying to slather them up with SPF 100!

What is usually so good for us, like eating the salad instead of the bread basket or having the sparkling water instead of the rum and Coke, has ZERO initial positive results. In fact, it’s the opposite. When we eat the pizza, curl up on the couch or light the cigarette, we are much happier…but only for the very short term.

Creating long-lasting fitness habits

When I start working with people on their fitness journey, one of the most common responses I get after the first week is, “I don’t know how you’ve been able to do this for so long… It’s so hard!” There are cravings and addictions that make your enthusiasm for change SO HARD to stick to.

I always respond with, “At first, it IS hard. Because you have old habits that you’re trying to break and new habits that you’re trying to create…You have a routine that’s just tough to change. But it can be done and you will wonder how you ever lived the lifestyle that you used to.”

Not only that, but I have seen it hundreds of times. When you start to really see changes in the way that you look and feel… It actually makes it easier to hang onto those new habits and never go back to the old ones, because you appreciate the NEW YOU so much more. That’s when healthy living actually becomes a habit…a habit you don’t ever want to break!

For every 20 messages that I get from people thanking me for changing their life with The MADE Diet, I will get one where people aren’t seeing quick enough success. It’s usually because they’re doing one or two mindless things keeping them from losing weight and getting lean while adapting to a higher fat, lower carbohydrate lifestyle.

Let’s talk about 3 of those common mistakes “MADE”:

#1 is still eating too many carbs. This usually happens by finishing off your child’s grilled cheese sandwich or having a few pieces of fruit with your morning omelette.

In the beginning of making this transition, it’s really important that you try to stay around 50 grams or less of carbohydrates per day. This way, you know by how you look and feel after those 7 to 10 days, if you’re insulin resistant or sensitive….which will help you gauge future carbohydrate intake long term. Just one large grapefruit has over 23 grams of sugar.

Grapefruits can be healthy but for the 27 grams of carbohydrates attached to them, I know a way better source of nutrition for those kind of carbs. We’ve got to be picky and green veggies and Shakeology are, by far, the best bang for your buck!

#2 is falling for those “fake foods” that are on the market today. When I ask people who are claiming to not be seeing results, what they are eating, they are normally incorporating some sort of low carb bread or low carb protein bar into their daily diet.

I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again… we need to eat less from the factory and more from the farm. These foods that are full of sugar alcohols and ingredients that we cannot pronounce are just not good for us and they just totally confuse the body! Our brains are savvy too…if it’s sweet (even chemically sweet), it’s going to raise insulin levels. Remember insulin is the fat storing hormone!

I know life is busy and having a quick go to food seems to be non-negotiable but I still want to implore you to only eat three large meals a day and if you HAVE to snack, grab a small handful of macadamia nuts or drink a Bulletproof coffee. More and more coffee shops are adding that to their menu. And this may be a shameless plug, but my daughter Taylor, will be offering Bulletproof coffee at her coffee shop opening next month. #proudmom

#3 – the 3rd thing might actually surprise you. Most people who eat a higher fat, lower carbohydrate diet don’t get enough salt. Not having enough salt in your diet will actually make you feel miserable and have you wanting to give up on the whole lifestyle.

For decades, we were told to avoid salt because we had way too much in our diets. This was when TV dinners and prepackaged foods were at their highest. That stuff is crazy loaded with sodium. But over the years, we have gotten wiser about eating less “boxed” food and processed carbohydrates so getting salt from our foods has gone down significantly. So those of us that eat a lower carbohydrate diet have actually become salt deficient.

When you’re salt deficient, you feel tired, it’s hard to focus, and headaches might develop more often. This is especially true in the first week of The MADE Diet.

A great way to test if you’re salt deficient is to dissolve half a teaspoon in a big glass of water and drink it. If you feel better within 15 minutes (maybe your headache went away or all of a sudden you have more energy) then you probably were suffering from some sort of salt deficiency. I recommend that you use pink Himalayan sea salt.

OK, I’m on my soapbox now and I have a bonus mistake for you.

People still have a fear of fat. So when they go on The MADE Diet, they have no problem lowering their carbohydrates but because of their fear, they increased their protein too much instead of increasing their fat enough.

I have also mentioned in the past the metabolic pathway called gluconeogenesis. In simple terms this means that eating too much protein on a low carbohydrate diet will cause the liver to convert amino acids found in protein into sugar. Protein is so important in our diets but eating too much can sabotage your results. How much is too much??? I help you find the perfect amount for your lifestyle in my ebook.

Perfection sucks and I wouldn’t want to be your friend if you were perfect…that’s boring! But being good 85% of the time still allows you to occasionally have a bite of the grilled cheese or some berries with your eggs. But I really encourage you not to be “less than perfect” for at least 10 days when starting this lifestyle so you can TRULY appreciate how eating this way makes you look and feel!

How to get motivated

How to get motivated (and stay that way) to reach my goals?

How to get motivated? How to stay that way and reach some insane (but achievable goals)?

That’s a pretty common question for people to ask. I even Googled it and there were almost 19,000,000 results…WOW!

Well I can share with you what has worked for me over the past 2 decades. I’m certainly no Wonder Woman and I do have setbacks, but long-term consistency is key.

5 things that have truly helped me to stay motivated

1.KNOW YOUR GOAL – The more specific you can be with it, the better. Wanting to lose weight or run faster isn’t enough. Exactly how much weight are you wanting to lose? How fast, down to the seconds, do you want to run that mile? By knowing specifics, you can then jump to #2.

2. This is something I learned from my Mentor, Chalene Johnson. Reverse engineer that goal. Let’s say you want to lose 25 lbs. Well, if you want this to be long term weight loss, you cannot lose it too quickly or it’s not sustainable. 2 to 3 lbs a week is the most you’d want to lose. With that being said, it’s going to take you about 10 weeks to reach your goal. By putting your BIG goal into chunks, you can not only focus on one week at a time, but you can also have 10 mini celebrations on your way to the big 25 lb weight loss party (without cake…opt for some berries with homemade whipped cream)!

3. Don’t try to do it alone. We are people pleasers by nature and it’s MUCH harder to let someone else down than it is to let ourselves down. If no one knows you’re trying to cut sugar out of your diet and they see you eating a Snickers Bar, there is no one to lovingly remind you of your goal. Tell those close to you your goals and better yet…ask one to be your accountability partner. Whether I have a fitness or business goal, I ALWAYS find someone I’m close to and ask them if they’d set a goal for themselves as well so we can do it together. It’s nice to have friends and/or family that want to help you be better, isn’t it?! I love those that make me want to “Level Up!”

4. Educate yourself. Now this has REALLY worked for me over the past several years. Let’s just say that I let sugar creep back into my diet (Halloween is a bugger for me I tell ya). The FASTEST way for me to stay motivated to NOT eat or drink it is to read a book, listen to a Podcast or watch a documentary on how bad sugar is for me. It’s like going to church people and you want to confess ALL your sins and promise to NEVER touch that stuff again! Hallelujah!

5. Don’t leave it to chance, organize your life. Whatever your goal is, it’s going to take action everyday…several times a day. What if your goal was to become Insta Famous? You’re hella good at applying makeup and by December 2017, you WILL be noticed and picked up by a major cosmetic brand. Good for you but without #1 posting good content everyday and, #2 researching the latest trends everyday and, #3 liking the posts and pages of those you want to be discovered by everyday and, #4 practicing creative new ideas on yourself everyday – that long term goal won’t become a reality. If you don’t set aside specific time everyday to do the above mentioned (or food prep and workout if weight loss is your goal), you will not create ‘good’ habits and old habits and favorite TV shows will creep back into your life.

Simply stated: stay motivated by knowing exactly what you’re after, breaking it into smalls goals, finding an accountability partner or group, strengthening your ‘why’ by educating yourself and organizing your day by prioritizing what’s important first. By doing this (and yes, it’ll be challenging at first), you will crush those goals like Grave Digger crushes old Buicks!

Are you feeding your machine (aka your body) with real food?

Is Your Plate Full of Real Food?

Are you feeding your machine (aka your body) with real food? 

When I overhear, “I’m hungry, let’s get a burger or pizza” I die a little inside!

It’s obvious that we eat to stay alive but because something has the label of ‘food’ doesn’t mean that’s really what it is. Food is meant to be fuel…it’s supposed to help, not harm, us.

The food that we eat actually gives our bodies information. We are made up of millions and millions of cells, and the nutrients in food are what tell these cells to do what they’re supposed to do.

No nutrition -> lack of function = big problems!

The hunger pangs…

When we get legitimately hungry, our bodies are telling us we are missing nutrients that help us function properly. Ingesting a cheeseburger and fries does not “feed” us and certainly doesn’t allow us to perform as we should. In fact, eating such processed foods (if you even dare to use that word), creates more harm than skipping that particular meal altogether. There is so much damage control your body has to tend to after eating that Extra Value Meal at lunch.

Real foods have certain phytochemical properties that help prevent and combat cancer, stop inflammation and provide us with antioxidants that will keep us living long lives. Remember, it is these Big Food companies’ jobs to make the MOST profit off of their sales. They will do whatever they can to cut costs. That includes creating a chemical derivative blueberry- “like” substance to put in their muffins, bars and pancakes – you know, instead of actually using a real blueberry!

Food should NEVER be a problem to our health, it’s supposed to help us remain healthy. But if we keep abusing it and eat too much from the factory packaged in a fancy wrapper, then disease runs rampant and our health suffers greatly.

You cannot trust labels and you cannot trust companies out there making highly addictive and incredibly insubstantial “food” for us. They’re best friends with the pharmaceutical companies and keeping us sick is highly profitable. Instead, eat food without labels or wrappers. Crazy, I know but it can be done and it can taste amazing!

What are good fats?

Not all Fats are Made Equal: The Truth about Good Fats.

Not all fats are made equal: what are good fats?

Admit it, when a friend tells you that they’re considering going on a high-fat low-carb diet, you instantly want to warn them that it’s common knowledge that eating plenty of fat means eating saturated fat and saturated fat means heart disease and heart disease means you die! Right?!

Won’t you also admit that human breast milk is the most perfect food for a human being? Would it surprise you to know that just one cup of breast milk has 11 grams of fat, and 5 of those grams come saturated fat?

We’ve been afraid of fats for decades now. And I’m here to tell you it’s ok to fear some fat… But not the fat you’re probably thinking of.

Saturated fats: good or bad??

We’ve been told to steer clear of saturated fats, like butter and coconut oil, that these were the fats that were causing our rapid health decline.

But it’s the man-made fats, the artificially saturated fats or trans fats, that are the real villains. Margarine was our Lex Luthor!

I don’t think too many people would argue with you if you stated that trans fats are very bad for us but the problem is, is that people just hear the word fat and come to the conclusion that ALL fats are bad.

But what about my heart?

If you put google to good use and check the more recent studies, probably in the last five years, they show that the percentage of saturated fat you eat really has no correlation to heart disease. It’s been shown that people who eat a lot of saturated fat (from healthy sources) don’t get more heart disease.

It’s actually kind of silly to me to think that, at least my parents thought, that man-made fat was healthier for us then God-made fat. We’ve been eating saturated fat since the beginning of time, but when man-made fat was introduced into our diets is also when, coincidentally, all of these new and life debilitating diseases started to pop up.

The good fats to eat

Now, you’re not getting permission from me to eat a 24 oz ribeye steak every single night but if the fat that you’re getting in your diet is from a healthy source, then it’s probably the least of your worries when it comes to your diet.

Instead of picking food apart so much, maybe what we should be thinking about is, where did the food come from? How healthy was the source that it originated from? Was it in the factory or the farm?

As Dr. Shanahan so poignantly said, “Nature doesn’t make bad fats, factories do.” If you’re eating fat from the factory, it’s not going to be good for you…no matter what else they add to it!

What are your thoughts on Good Fats!

Don’t Stop at Calories and Macros: How to Read Food Labels

Don’t Stop at Calories and Macros: How to Read Food Labels

It’s not easy to read food labels, unless you know what to avoid…

Don’t tell me when you see a new and promising “healthy” product on the grocery store shelf, that you don’t flip it over and immediately scan the calories, fat, carbohydrate and the protein content … Right?!

We have been trained to look for this stuff. You ask why?? Well, let me enlighten you!

The Big Food Companies want you to care about that because it’s VERY easy to market “Low Fat,” “High Protein,” “Low Calorie” and now “Low Carb.”

We are made to believe THAT’S what’s important! But let me go against these guys (again) and tell you that it’s what’s under the ingredient list that is way more important.

Here are a few examples why:

You find some yogurt to have in the morning (to replace that cereal) and look at the calories, fats, proteins and carbs – they all look good. You think, “SCORE!” However, that yogurt has high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in it, which has been proven to pack on the pounds faster than any other ingredient. It also increases your LDL cholesterol levels and contributes to the development of diabetes and tissue damage. That more than undoes the good of replacing that cereal. Look at the ingredient list for yogurts without HFCS, they’re out there!

You go for a nice run and feel really parched afterward (nice job pushing yourself). You decide to reach for a sports drink, because if all those athletes you admire drink it too…it has to be good for you, right? If you check the ingredients list, you’ll see there’s Blue #1 and Blue #2. These food dyes are banned in Norway, Finland and France. It’s been thought to contribute to behavioral problems in children and lead to a significant reduction in IQ. Animal studies have linked food colorings to cancer. It’s also believed it may cause chromosomal damage. Again, there are some sports drinks without the crap, but you’ve got to look at that ingredient list to know for sure!

I could go on but the point is this: Continue to scan the macronutrients of your food (paying close attention to the trans fat and sugar content up there), but don’t stop until you look at the ingredients and make sure you don’t see any of these included in there:

  • HFCS
  • Corn oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Soy protein
  • Refined wheat flour
  • Maltodextrin
  • Corn or wheat starch
  • Soy lectin
  • Mono and diglycerides
  • Dyes
  • Sodium nitrate
  • Potassium bromate
  • BHA/BHT
  • Propylene glycol
  • MSG

I’m not trying to make eating complicated, because in fact, healthy eating is very simple. But I want you to remember that the government is about profit and not people. Many of these ingredients have been banned in other countries because they are harmful to our health, but we are left not knowing this. My job, my calling, is to just share what I learn in my own research. Copy this list and keep it on your phone for the next time you go shopping… Or better yet, just do what I always say… Eat more from the farm!

I stand for freedom this July 4

I Stand for Freedom (Literally!) this July 4th

Why I stand for freedom…

Your freedom and my feet… How on Earth do those two things relate? Let me explain…

Since we are coming up on Independence Day, I always think about the freedom that we have and how blessed we are. My father served in Vietnam and during that time, he was exposed to Agent Orange.

Ironically, Agent Orange hibernates in your fat cells. It sat there in my Dad’s beer gut until he wanted to become a helicopter pilot in the Army. But to be accepted, he needed to lose some weight.

He went on a crash course diet and in that process, he lost that gut but also introduced the stored Agent Orange back into his system. It was during this time that I was conceived.

Nine months later, my mom gave birth to me. Although I was an 8.5 pound baby, they incubated me immediately and took me away from my mom. It was obvious I had severe birth defects in my feet and the doctors were afraid that this was just one sign of more serious complications, like brain and organ deformities.

To make a long story short, they came to the conclusion that the only defects I had were in my feet.

My parents battled with many doctors to save my feet because most wanted to have them amputated. Thank goodness they were both incredibly stubborn because they never gave up the fight for me, and they eventually found a doctor that said he would do his best to save my feet. Multiple surgeries later, I still have them. They’re not pretty… But they’re still there!

While on active duty, patrolling the North and South Korean border by helicopter, my dad was shot down and killed right before my sixth birthday. At that point, the doctors still didn’t know that it was Agent Orange that caused my birth defects. My mom always shares with me how glad she was he never knew.

So even though I had my two God-given feet, doctors warned my mom early on that I would most likely never walk or wear shoes.

Well being just as stubborn as my parents, I had to prove those doctors wrong. At 14 months, with a cast on both legs, I took my first steps.

But now that I was walking, the doctors were telling my mom and dad that if I wasn’t very careful, I would be in a wheelchair by the age of 35. Sports were never an option for me growing up.

Again, I had to prove those doctors wrong and I’m still walking on my feet (8 years later than they predicted) and have been a leader in the fitness industry for over 18 years.

I’ve always wanted to tattoo “I Stand For Freedom” on my feet because that’s exactly what I do. My father dedicated his life to giving us freedom and the stubbornness of my parents made it so I could stand on my own 2 feet!

Besides, I do believe that all I’ve been through has given me the heart to help others with struggles of their own.

Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny… ~C.S. Lewis

Bloated stomach

3 Tips for a Bloated Stomach

Suffering from a bloated stomach?

Ever feel like you could apply to be a fellow float for the Macy’s Day Parade? Especially after eating what you thought was a healthy meal?

Bloat…not a very sexy word, is it?! Well it happens to the best of us, probably even more so to the healthiest of us!

Bloat, usually referred to as a Food Baby, is caused most times by excess gas, too much food at one sitting and/or a disturbance in the movement of the muscles in the digestive tract.

Bloating can be quite painful and not the same thing as water retention even though you will hear those two interchanged often.

Bloat is a pretty common feeling amongst people…up to 30% of us report experiencing it regularly. Sometimes it could be caused by a serious medical condition, but most likely it’s caused by diet and habits. If you’re part of the 30% that experience it regularly, here are 3 tried and true tips on how to reduce or eliminate it:

  1. Do an elimination test to see if you have an intolerance or allergy to certain foods. This is just simply avoiding a certain food (or food group) for about a week to see if your bloat cuts back or goes away altogether.    For me, even though I do not have a nut allergy, almonds cause me to seriously bloat up. Enough so that if I overdo them (you know, that mindless popping in the mouth and before you know it, the whole bowl is gone sort of thing), I double over in pain and I am NOT someone you want to be around for the next several hours! A good place to start with eliminating some foods are dairy products, fructose, eggs and foods containing gluten. Remember to eliminate one at a time so you can pinpoint the exact cause. Why eliminate eggs if they don’t bloat you, right?!
  2. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is probably the most common digestive disorder out there. There are numerous studies that have shown that indigestible carbohydrates, called FODMAPS, can really make matters worse…especially those with IBS.   FODMAP stands for Fermentable, Oligo, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols (phew, those are a mouthful). A diet that is low in FODMAP has been shown to dramatically reduce bloating. Here are some common high FODMAP foods: Wheat, onions, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, artichokes, cabbage, beans, apples, watermelon and pears. If you have a very important day coming up, I would suggest avoiding these for a bit to make sure bloat is not what you see in your pictures.
  3. Are you trying to cut sugar out of your diet? AWESOME, I’m proud of you but be careful of sugar alcohols because some may cause digestive issues (or gas if we’re being real here). Try to avoid xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol. However, for some people, erythritol has shown to be better tolerated but ANY of these in large quantities will certainly have your belly blowing up like a latex balloon at Party City.

Some very beneficial ways to help combat bloat (besides the above) is to supplement with a quality probiotic and use peppermint oil.

I know when trying to eat well and exercise to look your best, it’s discouraging to feel like a first cousin to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. But I promise with some special attention to your diet you’ll find those “trigger foods” to avoid and start to see that flat belly you’re working so hard to achieve! Now pass the nuts…just not the almonds!

What are macronutrients?

To Protein or Not To Protein…(and what are macronutrients anyway?)

What are macronutrients?

All 3 macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat and protein) have been the topic of MANY blogs lately.

When you read one telling you to just reduce carbs, you’ll find another one telling you to cut them out altogether.

You’ll read a blog telling you fat will kill you, while the next one you read tells you fat will save you!

And then lastly, you’ll hear that you should literally eat your bodyweight in protein to lose weight while another person is telling you too much protein is bad for you.

“STOP THE INSANITY!!” OK, extra bonus brownie points if you can comment below the fitness trainer who coined that phrase in the early 90’s!

Alright, back to my point. I KNOW this can be SO frustrating and trust me, I deal with it WAY more than you probably do. I make it my mission to share my opinion but to also ALWAYS back that up with medical research, University studies and my own personal self-experimentation. I’m never tying to change your mind for you; I just simply want to give you the facts so you can make the best decision for yourself.

What’s all the fuss about protein?

Let’s put protein under the microscope for a minute here. How much is enough? How much is too much?

In my book, The M.A.D.E. Diet, I purposely give formulas for protein intake because I absolutely do not think “One size fits all” works here. Same thing with carbohydrate consumption but we’ll deal with THAT BEAST another time.

Protein is absolutely essential to life. We need it…period. Protein is basically long chains of amino acids that are linked together, like beads on a necklace. There are 9 essential amino acids that we have to get from our diets, and 12 non-essential amino acids that the body can produce on it’s own.

According to the same people that brought you “MyPlate,” men need 56 grams per day and women need 46 grams per day. Now that amount WILL keep you from having a deficiency but I also think those trying to improve their body composition need more than that.

However (awe come on…you’d knew I’d have a however!) I feel TOO much protein puts undue strain on some of your most important organs, the kidneys. Now quite honestly, you’ll find Bro Science that will tell you this is false, that only people with kidney disease should worry about this. Their “logic” is that the kidneys are always under stress…it’s their job. So adding the stress of too much protein is no big deal!

I would love to ask these guys, “Hey, have you ever run up a steep hill? Stressful, right?! Well, have you ever run up a steep hill with a backpack full of rocks? More stressful, right?!” I mean, come on…which one’s going to break you down faster? Do you want your kidneys to wear themselves out faster too? I didn’t think so.

How much protein?

So now the burning question you have for me is, “Melissa, how much protein should I have?” If I gave you a pretty precise percentage (ah-hem, like the MyPlate people), I’d be doing you a disservice because without knowing YOUR lifestyle and goals, I could be completely wrong!

But I CAN tell you that I believe, through all of my schooling and research, that anywhere between 15-35% is good. I personally stick between 30-35%. I know, I know…that’s so vague but I AM more specific in my lil’ ebook…feel free to check it out. I saved a copy just for YOU!

What are macronutrients?

Bacon Bacon Bacon

Bacon! Bacon! (Free) Bacon!

Bacon! Bacon! Bacon!

Does that word make your mouth water too? I love it and have so much fun with the mugs, t-shirts and memes out there about it.

But the question I get asked is, can I (or should I) eat it everyday?

I love bacon, the salty crunch definitely does it for me, but sadly to say, most of the bacon out there is actually very unhealthy for you. I know, I died a little inside writing that…but it’s true.

40 years ago, it was common knowledge that bacon was like the WORST food on the planet to eat. But the reasoning back then was because of the high salt and saturated fat content. Well today, we are a bit more salt conscious (by eating fewer processed foods) so its ok to have a little more in our natural foods AND we’ve come a long way in learning that saturated fat isn’t the villain we thought it was.

The real story behind bacon…

So why are you still telling us we can’t enjoy bacon every morning? Well unfortunately, pigs raised for pork here in the US have got to be the most poorly treated, fed and raised animals in our farming system. It’s heartbreaking. Their diets (which are essentially our diets) are horrible and since the pesticides and hormones these animals are given are stored in their fat…we eat it in the bacon.

The good news is (you were hoping I’d say that, I know you were), that there ARE ways you can have bacon. There are companies out there that offer pastured, organic, family farmed bacon…but you’re going to pay for it. But I see this as a very good thing, here’s why:

  1. With it being pretty expensive, you’ll savor each bite and not overdo it. There’s no need to have 6 pieces of bacon with your omelet, 1 or 2 is plenty.
  2. It should sit well with your soul to know that these animals have been raised happy and humanely. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be vegan than support conventional farmers who abuse their livestock.
  3. By it being an occasional (1 to 2 times a week) part of your diet, you allow yourself to eat more variety, which also means more variety in your micronutrients.

There are many wonderful websites willing to ship healthier bacon right to your door. I just want to really stress to my fellow bacon lovers out there that where your bacon comes from REALLY matters. I want you to avoid it like the plague if it’s from a source like Oscar Meyer! Your quality standards have to be especially high with pork but once you’ve found a source to get it from (look for pastured, organic, sugar, hormone, pesticide and nitrate free), then by all means, have a little bacon!

Here are a few places I trust to get some healthier bacon:

Grassland Beef

No such thing as a free lunch??

Free, delicious (uncured and sugar-free bacon), plus $15 off your first order, using this link from Butcherbox

You’re welcome!

 

 

 

 

Coconut Oil Isn't Healthy

Coconut Oil Isn’t Healthy – The Cold Hard Green Truth

After reading USA Today’s article from the American Heart Association “Coconut Oil isn’t Healthy – it never was” , I had to write a response:

First, let’s address the fact that they say coconut oil raises LDL.

What’s interesting, is that 50% of people hospitalized because of heart attacks have “normal” cholesterol levels. Over the past several years, it’s been proven that elevated insulin is what puts you at a greater risk of heart disease. Carbohydrates raise your insulin levels, fats do not. Old science only talked about good and bad cholesterol but new science has found that there are two types of LDL – large, fluffy ones and small, dense ones. Only the dense ones are associated with arterial plaque and can increase the risk of heart disease. Next time that you get your blood work done, have them determine your ratio of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol. If the ratio is less than 2, you have predominately large fluffy LDL particles that won’t do you much harm. If the ratio is greater than 4, you have a lot of small dense LDL particles that can elevate the risk of heart disease. A rise in LDL by saturated fat, like coconut oil, does not necessarily mean an increased risk for heart disease.

The Author behind “Coconut Oil Isn’t Healthy”

Now let’s address the author of this article, Dr. Frank Sacks. It didn’t take much research on my part to find where Dr. Sacks has received multiple payments from pharmaceutical companies. The biggest one being Pfizer, the makers of Lipitor…a cholesterol lowering medication. In 2016, the American Heart Association received over $12,2000,000 from AstraZeneca, an antibiotic company bought by Pfizer. That’s just one of many pharmaceutical companies I found that contribute financially to the AHA.

Now what really gets my goat is their suggestion of us using vegetable oil instead of coconut oil. I shouldn’t be surprised though since many vegetable oil’s are made from soy bean and corn which is extremely profitable for our government and great job security for the pharmaceutical companies. But in case you were buying into the hype that vegetable oil is healthier for you than coconut oil, let me give you a brief explanation as to how it is made:

Step 1: Genetically modified ingredients are picked.
Step 2: Heat the ingredients to unnaturally high temperatures so that they oxidize. Oxidation is lethal to your body.
Step 3: Process with a petroleum solvent to extract the oil from the ingredients.
Step 4: Heat up some more and add some acid to remove any wax solids that formed during the first processing.
Step 5: Treat the oil with more chemicals to improve the color.
Step 6: Deodorize the oil to mask the terrible smell from the chemical processing.
Step 7: Then you can even hydrogenate it so it becomes a solid. Now you have margarine and all its trans-fatty goodness.

Everyone knows trans fat wreaks MAJOR havoc on our health – but “Coconut Oil isn’t healthy”. Cold pressed coconut is still considered a raw food. Not much processing going on there. More from the farm people and less from the factory! And then to add insult to injury, polyunsaturated vegetable oils are highly unstable and they oxidize easily. These kind of oxidized fats cause inflammation and mutation in cells. It’s linked to all sorts of issues like cancer, endometriosis, PCOS and heart disease (duhhh!)!

Why is the AHA recommending them??

Oh yeah, PROFIT! What saddens me the most is that doctors, teachers and organizations, who probably started off with our best interests at heart, have resorted to putting money above all else. It seems like our once trusted health care educators and providers are now being completely seduced and won over by the very rich and persuasive pharmaceutical Don Juan. All I can ask is that you don’t take these sorts of articles and information as iron clad because with just a little bit of research done yourself, you’ll find an ulterior motive…one that probably has lots of dollar signs attached.

So when you ask me what I think about the article that says “Coconut Oil isn’t healthy”, I’d tell you take all “scientific research” with a pinch of salt, and check money and influence isn’t corrupting the author. (I’ll continue using my Coconut Oil 😉 )

 

Sources

https://projects.propublica.org/docdollars/doctors/pid/232644

 

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