I recently read an article that hit a nerve with me. This article was about the benefits of full fat dairy products. Now you may or may not know that I work a few hours a week at one of the local coffee shops, so when I read this article I had to shake my head. Whenever I work, I see it time and time again, people asking for low fat milk or some other milk substitute thinking that they are making a healthier choice (but please keep all of the sugary syrup!).
I will confess however, that there was a time that I too was part of this low fat camp about 15 years ago, but as I learned more about the benefits of whole foods and how necessary the components of them are for health, I began to switch over. Part of the main reason for my switch to a nutrient dense diet was to manage my multiple sclerosis. I truly believe that through a nutrient dense diet of primarily whole foods and consistent physical activity, I have been able to not only keep my MS from progressing, but I have been able to do so while discontinuing the use of any disease modifying medications.
Check out the article, it's a quick read, and consider switching out some of your dairy for whole fat versions. I don't drink a lot of milk, but I do drink a lot of coffee and half and half is my go to for that. My other favorite dairy products are whole fat cottage cheese (on tomatoes) and whole fat yogurt that I make myself. So go ahead, treat yourself, your taste buds, and body, will thank you.
Still Think Low-Fat Dairy Is the “Healthy Choice”? Think Again!
It's that time of year, and it seems to have hit us rather rudely with what seems like a good dose of extra cold air. As much I enjoy watching the snow fall outside of my window and coat everything with a lovely white blanket, I certainly don't enjoy how the cold dry turns my skin into a dry, itchy, flaky nightmare.
Topical lotions and oils provide some relief, but that is usually short lived. My hands are particularly vulnerable and I have often suffered from painful split and cracked finger tips. Wearing gloves, even to just go from home to the car, does help as well. A couple of years ago, I stumbled across a supplement that has kept my winter skin problems at bay. It's an unusual oil that you have probably never heard of, squalene. Within about 10 days of taking it, my cracked thumb was completely healed! I have kept taking it ever since, even in the summer, and I have not had a repeat of many of the dry skin problems that I was usually plagued with. I purchase mine from Wellness Resources and you can check it out here.
Of course, proper nutrition is essential for healthy skin and no matter how much you apply to the outside, healthy skin begins on the inside. This article can give you a quick overview of what can contribute to dry skin issues as well as some the nutrients that are needed by the body to keep skin healthy from within. The supplements and nutrients that you are taking will be best utilized, and you will get the most of the money that you spend, by making sure that your digestive tract is healthy and functioning well so that you are able to absorb what you consume. Fats especially can be poorly digested if the G.I. tract is not functioning optimally.
So check out the article, and then if you aren't sure about the rest, check with Lacey and see where else you might be lacking.
Dry, Flaky Skin? Nourish from Within
There is always lots of talk about the types of oil that you should use to cook with, what is good and what is bad. But how often have you thought about what you are using to cook your food in? In this article I cover the two types of cookware that you what to avoid and why.
Hands down, one of the most important tools in a healthy kitchen is quality cookware. It’s a purchase that you’ll hopefully make once in a lifetime, yet we often go for what’s cheap and easy. Spoiler alert — nothing cheap or easy will ever benefit your pocketbook or health. In this article we’re going to cover the two types of cookware you’ll want to avoid, and which options are going to be the best long term investment for your kitchen and your body.
The most popular, yet arguably the most toxic option people purchase is non-stick cookware with a plastic coating like Teflon. When Teflon is manufactured, a man-made chemical called Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), also known as C8, is used in the process. PFOA is the most persistent synthetic chemical known to man and is found in the blood of nearly every person tested 1. Toxicologist Tim Kropp, Ph.D., a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group, finds the situation alarming. He exclaims, “[PFOA] doesn't break down -- ever…It would take your body two decades to get rid of 95% of it, assuming you are not exposed to anymore. But you are.” Further, PFOA has been linked to birth defects, increased cancer rates, and changes to lipid levels, the immune system, and liver. It is likely a human carcinogen and it is highly persistent in the environment 2.
The second cookware option you’ll want to avoid is aluminum. While aluminum is the most abundant metal in the earth's crust and occurs naturally in soil, water, and air, its use is also widespread among many consumer products. You can find aluminum used and distributed in cookware, antacids, astringents, buffered aspirin, food additives, antiperspirants, and cosmetics. Specifically, aluminum cookware has been shown to leach a significant amount of aluminum into food during cooking, which could pose a toxicity threat. In humans, high levels of aluminum in the body have been shown to cause brain and bone disease, while studies in animals have shown that the nervous system is a sensitive target of aluminum toxicity 3. The EWG has placed aluminum on their “watch list” due to its extensive use and the uncertainty surrounding this metal and its long term, cumulative health effects 4. For these reasons, avoiding aluminum exposure in your cookware is generally a good idea.
Now that we’ve covered the two types of cookware to completely avoid, let’s move onto the two types of cookware you want to have in your kitchen. Oh, and if you’re wondering how to cook your morning omelet without major sticking…we’ll cover that too.
Your first option is going to be stainless steel. Stainless steel is easy to maintain, heats up quickly and evenly, can be put in the oven, and will last a lifetime. If the financial commitment of a new stainless steel set is too steep, simply start by purchasing the pieces you use the most and build your perfectly curated collection overtime. The most common complaint with stainless steel cookware is the fact that foods stick. This could happen if you don’t have the proper technique! To ensure a perfect non-stick surface be sure to heat the pan first, add your healthy fat or oil, and then the food. With some practice, it’ll become quite easy, promise! You can also season your steel skillet by giving it a light coating of oil after washing and drying it. Avoid soap if possible and that will also help to season it.
The second option is cast iron. The first known use of cast iron cookware was during the Han Dynasty in China, around 220 A.D. Casting techniques became widespread in Europe by the 16th century, and since then, this versatile equipment has been a staple in households all over the world 5. Cast iron is non-stick, easy to clean, very inexpensive, basically indestructible, will last a lifetime, and is visually appealing. Well maintained cast iron can be passed down for generations making this not only healthy for you but a better way to create a healthy legacy in your family! Cast iron does require maintenance and care through proper “seasoning” to keep them rust-free and non-stick, but this process is quick and easy. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's guidance on how to do this!
There we have it — the two pieces of cookware to avoid and the two to go out and purchase today! Happy cooking.
1. DeNoon, Daniel J. “Is Teflon Chemical Toxic? EPA Seeks Answers.” WebMD,WebMD, 13 Jan. 2005, www.webmd.com/cancer/news/20050113/is- teflon-chemical-toxic-epa-seeks-answers#1.
2. Ewg. “New Study and New Dangers of the Old Toxic Teflon Chemical.” EWG, www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2009/01/new-study-and-new-dangers-old- toxic-teflon-chemical.
3. “Toxic Substances Portal - Aluminum.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 21 Jan. 2015, www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=1076&tid=34.
4. “Food Additive ‘Watch List.’” EWG,www.ewg.org/research/ewg-s-dirty- dozen-guide-food-additives/food-additive-watch-list.
5. Bomberger, Sabrina. “The History and Resurgence of Cast Iron Cookware.”WebstaurantStore, WebstaurantStore, 6 July 2016, www.webstaurantstore.com/blog/2072/history-and-resurgence-of-cast- iron-cookware.html.
I first heard this guy on a podcast a couple of years ago and what he said made a lot of sense to me. While I haven't suffered from foot problems, I don't want to either. I have tried to implement as much of his advice as fits my lifestyle, mainly walking barefoot when possible and making better choices about my everyday shoes. This article is a bit lengthly, but if you are interested in learning more about the health of your feet and what you can do to keep them healthy, it is an interesting and informative read.
Healthy People = Barefoot People