Friday, December 27, 2013

Amazing Benefits of Fermented Cod Liver Oil

I have been hearing about the benefits of Fermented Cod Liver Oil for quite some time and when I found out about the possibility of it helping to heal my teeth I decided to stop procrastinating and try it!

Friends then began to ask me about the specifics of it and I decided that I had better get my facts straight so I could share accurate information.  What follows is a summary of my findings...

Fermented Cod Liver Oil / High Vitamin Butter Oil
for the prevention and treatment of…

Auto-Immune disease
Behavioral disorders
Bipolar syndrome
Bone pain
Colds (respiratory tract infections)
Crohn's disease
Diabetes, type 1 and type 2
Ear Infections
Hair loss
Heart disease
High cholesterol
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Irritable bowel syndrome
Learning disabilities
Multiple Sclerosis
Memory loss
Tooth decay

Some of the benefits of Fermented Cod Liver Oil…
• Thins the blood
• Protects arteries from damage
• Inhibits blood clots
• Reduces blood triglycerides
• Lowers LDL blood cholesterol
• Lowers blood pressure
• Reduces risk of heart attack and stroke
• Eases symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
• Reduces risk of lupus
• Relieves migraine headaches
• Fights inflammation
• Helps regulate the immune system
• Reduces risk of respiratory tract infections and colds
• Inhibits cancer
• Soothes bronchial asthma
• Combats early kidney disease
• Reduces heart disease
• Reduces infant development abnormalities
• Maintains soft skin and minimize wrinkles
• Builds strong bones in children
• Prevents osteoporosis in adults
• Aids development of the brain and nervous system
• Improves brain function,
• Improves memory
• Improves stress response
• Improves muscle strength
• Improves glucose response
• Improves retina health
• Promotes absorption of calcium and magnesium

Cod Liver Oil nutrients include…
elongated omega-3 fatty acids
preformed vitamin A
vitamin D
may also naturally contain small amounts of vitamin K.

Major Roles of Vitamin D in Your Body - Video - Major Roles of Vitamin D in Your Body


Monday, August 26, 2013

Apple Butter { no added sugar }

When my CSA farm offered FREE apples (because they were bruised and 'imperfect') I jumped at the opportunity!  This is what arrived...

About 6 or 7 pounds of lovely, yummy, organic apples.  They just needed some tlc and a purpose.  The farm suggested that they would make for great "pie apples" but I decided to go in a different direction... APPLE BUTTER!

Now, I know apples are not considered a low-sugar or low-carb food so I wanted to create a recipe that would not add in any additional sugar or carbs.  I began my research, reading many different recipes and methods for creating apple butter.  I decided on the crock-pot method.  Seeing some common themes in spice choices and the different opinions for how much sweetness should be added, I came up with my own version of this classic.

But before getting to all those details, we must first prepare the apples! Every apple needed to be quartered and then seeds and stems removed.  Of course all bruises, blemishes and unwanted bits needed to be eliminated.  The apples were then rinsed and cleaned in cool water.

I made quick work of slicing the apples with the slicer attachment of my stand mixer.

6-1/2 pounds of sliced apples are placed into the waiting crock-pot.

I tried to keep my recipe simple.  Besides the apples, I add only 7 additional ingredients.

At this stage 6 of them are placed in a bowl...

... and combined...

The mixture is poured over the apples...

and carefully mixed in...

The mixing can be tricky because the crock-pot is so full.

Set the crock-pot to "low" and...


Check on it and stir occasionally.  This is what it loos like after 5 hours...

This is at 10 hours...

Now to add the last ingredient.  Vanilla.  You could use three whole vanilla beans and open them to scrape the pods of their seeds or you can use pure vanilla extract from your pantry.  I choose to use Ground Vanilla Bean.  It gets me closer to that fresh from the pod flavor with less cost and hassle.  When I buy this (from Amazon) it comes in a plastic zip-type bag.  I transfer it to a clean jar.

Sprinkle in the vanilla and stir it in...

Continue in crock-pot set on "low" UNCOVERED for another 2 hours.  Then it will look like this...

To get a smooth, silky, buttery consistency I used an immersion blender...

This batch went into 6 glass jars.  I filled them about 3/4 full to leave room for expansion when frozen...



6-1/2 lb.     sliced apples
192 grams  100% Pure Erythritol (1 cup)
48 scoops  organic stevia extract
1 Tbsp.      ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp.       ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp.       ground cloves
1/4 tsp.       sea salt
1 Tbsp.     Ground vanilla bean or extract

1. Place the apples in a slow cooker.
2.  In a medium bowl, combine sweeteners, cinnamon, nutmeg cloves and salt. 
3.  Pour the mixture over the apples and mix well.
4. Cook in slow cooker on low for about 10 hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and dark brown.
5. Uncover, stir in vanilla and continue cooking uncovered on low for about 2 hours.
6.  Use an immersion blender to puree the apple butter until smooth.
7.  Spoon the mixture into sterile containers, cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks or freeze.

Crock-Pot Apple Butter Nutritional Information

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Facts About Cholesterol


Ask any American what causes heart disease, and 99% of  the time the answer will be “high cholesterol.”  You see, cholesterol has been vilified and is now regarded as a “scary scary” substance that must be lowered at all costs. However, if you speak with gerontologists that specialize in elderly medicine, you will quickly find that almost all of the most elderly patients have “high” cholesterol levels (according to the supposedly “normal” standards). But these patients are still alive and many of them are in very good health and are very active for their age.

Believing all of these cholesterol myths, Americans decreased their intake of good fats and oils (like coconut oil, fish oil, olive oil) and started consuming more vegetable oils and margarine (a “trans fat”).  This diet has caused thousands of deaths from heart disease, as have the statin drugs which supposedly prevent heart disease, but in reality have numerous deleterious effects.

Statins are considered to be “HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors”, that is, they act by blocking the enzyme (HMG-CoA reductase) in your liver that is responsible for making cholesterol. There are over 900 studies proving the adverse effects of statin drugs, including anemia, cancer, chronic fatigue, acidosis, liver dysfunction, thyroid disruption, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and even diabetes!

Statins have been shown to increase your risk of diabetes through a few different mechanisms. The most important one is that they increase insulin resistance, which contributes to chronic inflammation (the common element of most diseases) and actually results in heart disease, which, ironically, is the primary reason for taking a cholesterol-reducing drug in the first place!

Perhaps most importantly, cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease.  Your body needs cholesterol.

What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all the cells of our body. It has a hormone-like structure that behaves like a fat in that it is insoluble in water and in blood. Cholesterol travels through your bloodstream in small packages called “lipoproteins” which are made of lipids (fats) on the inside and proteins on the outside.

The cholesterol percentage of each lipoprotein varies depending upon the specific type of lipoprotein. Cholesterol comprises 20% of high density lipoproteins (HDLs), 46% of lipoprotein (a), 46% of low density lipoproteins (LDLs), and 22% of very low density lipoproteins (VLDLs).  If your primary care giver is treating you for high cholesterol and does not know these facts, then you should find another primary caregiver.  It is imperative for your health that your care giver completely understands all of the ramifications of the treatment as well as the cause for cholesterol blocking your vascular system in the first place.  Once again we must stress that treating the cause rather than a symptom is needed to maintain health.

What you are almost never told is that cholesterol supports many extremely important functions in the maintenance of good health.  Below is a small list of cholesterol’s functions.

Biological Functions of Cholesterol

Perhaps one of the most important functions of cholesterol is acting as an essential precursor to all of our steroid hormones, which play a crucial role in our health and without which we cannot live. Even low levels of these hormones can cause serious health problems. The fact is that when cholesterol levels fall below 160 mg/dL, cholesterol deficiency symptoms may begin to be severe enough to be noticed. One of the first problems often noticed is adrenal insufficiency, which may cause allergic reactions (that have never occurred before) to foods or plants. Sex hormones may also become detrimentally affected, thus causing the person to become hypo-gonadal or to have severe imbalances (ratios of testosterone to estradiol) and have very low DHEA levels. All of these may lead to more serious diseases, some of which may be life threatening.

Optimal serum cholesterol levels actually help to prevent some types of cerebrovascular diseases and suboptimal cholesterol levels have been associated with an increased risk of cerebrovascular diseases.  Cholesterol is also an essential component of cell membranes and, helps maintain the integrity of cell membrane fluidity (which is constantly changing do to fluctuations of dietary fat consumption). Cholesterol also plays a particularly important function as a major constituent of the myelin sheath, which acts as insulation of neurons. It should be noted that cholesterol is so important to bodily functions that the cell membranes actually manufacturer it in direct response to the body’s demands.

Cholesterol also creates many valuable byproducts that are required for complete digestion. These byproducts include cholic acid, chenodeoxycholic acid, and deoxycholic acid, all of which are essential components of bile, which is needed for fat digestion and their absorption into the intestines.  Cholesterol plays a large role in the function of the immune system; low cholesterol levels may increase the risk of several types of cancer. Cholesterol is actually secreted by glands in the skin which help protect the skin from infections from detrimental bacteria and fungi. Cholesterol also acts as an antioxidant and possesses powerful antioxidant properties.

It has also been shown through several studies that optimal cholesterol levels are required in order to prevent aggressiveness (excessively low cholesterol levels increase the incidence of aggressiveness). It would have been interesting if the studies had analyzed sex hormone levels as well, since cholesterol is required for testosterone synthesis and it is well proven that low testosterone levels also increase aggressiveness. We realize that most physicians (and most of the public) have bought into “‘roid rage” theory, implicating excess testosterone with rage. However, science and peer reviewed studies have proven the exact opposite to be true.  Aggressiveness increases when testosterone drops below normal levels or when the ratio of testosterone to estradiol becomes low.

Cholesterol is also required to deal with stress, so you can see its importance in our Western society. Cholesterol accomplishes this task by being an essential constituent of all adrenal gland hormones. These hormones include adrenaline, cortisone, and cortisol which are released by the body in response to stress in order to counteract its effects.  It should also be noted that excessive stress causes production of high quantities of endogenous cholesterol. Remember that cholesterol is the precursor in the formation of all steroid hormones.

In the presence of sunlight, the body can use the photolytic action of UV light on the cholesterol in the skin cells to make vitamin D (specifically vitamin D3), which is essential for our immune system and also maintains the balance of calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D3 has also been shown to protect against several cancers as well as being implicated in aiding in the prevention of Rickets, bone loss, cancers, and numerous other illnesses. For more information on vitamin D, please visit

Perhaps most importantly, cholesterol is an essential component in the machinery that triggers the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. Mother’s milk is especially rich in cholesterol and contains a special enzyme that helps the baby utilize it. Babies and children need cholesterol-rich foods throughout their growing years to ensure proper development of the brain and nervous system.  Cholesterol is very concentrated in the brain, where it contributes to the functioning of “synapses” (tiny gaps between cells which allow nerves to communicate with each other). Cholesterol may also help to prevent depression, since low cholesterol (under 160 mg/dl) is associated with an increased risk of depression. Once again, remember that cholesterol is the precursor of testosterone and testosterone has been shown to be one of the most effective antidepressants for both men and women.




Friday, April 5, 2013

Did you Get your Fiber Today?

I have everyday healthy eating/fitness habits that keep me on track.  You probably know some of the basics:  drink plenty of water!  get plenty of movement (exercise)!  eat within target calorie range... the list goes on.

 One of my most important habits is one that I think is overlooked by lots of people.  It has to do with FIBER intake.

Can I let you in on a little secret? ...



OK, OK!  I guess that really isn't such a secret!

One strategy that I discovered is that I can eat more food without gaining weight (fat) by eating more FIBER... A LOT MORE FIBER !!

According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) the minimum daily recommended fiber intake is 38 grams for adult men and 25 grams for adult women.  They list the functions of dietary fiber as follows:
"Improves laxation, reduces risk of coronary heart disease, assists in maintaining normal blood glucose levels."
The IOM goes on to discuss whether too much fiber would be dangerous...
"Dietary fiber can have variable compositions and therefore it is difficult to link a specific source of fiber with a particular adverse effect, especially when phytate is also present in the natural fiber source. It is concluded that as part of an overall healthy diet, a high intake of dietary fiber will not produce deleterious effects in healthy individuals. While occasional adverse gastrointestinal symptoms are observed when consuming some isolated or synthetic fibers, serious chronic adverse effects have not been observed. Due to the bulky nature of fibers, excess consumption is likely to be self-limiting. Therefore, an Upper Limit (UL) was not set for individual functional fibers."
In other words, YOU CAN'T EAT TOO MUCH FIBER!  But if you are not accustomed to a high fiber diet I recommend that you make gradual daily increases to prevent possible discomfort.

I try to get at least 50 grams of fiber per day and really push for closer to 100g.

Today I ate over 71 grams of fiber.  Looking through my food diary, I found the sources of those 71 grams came from these foods...

12.00 g  Gnu Foods Cinnamon Raisin Fiber Bar

6.50 g    20 g Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
6.00 g    1 lb Fresh Strawberries

1.70 g    14 g Almonds
0.35 g    ¼ tsp cinnamon
0.14 g    2 dash allspice

1.00 g    ThinkThin Creamy Peanut Butter High Protein Bar

12.00 g  Gnu Foods Blondie Fiber Bar
13.61 g  12 oz Broccoli
00.33 g  60 g Honey Mustard Dressing


6.50 g    20 g Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
6.25 g    150 g Fresh Blueberries
3.07 g    1 Banana
2.06 g    22 g Peanut Butter
0.20 g    21 g Raw Protein Powder

I am always learning something new! 

My nutrition scorecard at FitClick was telling me my total fiber number but as I glanced through my foods I couldn't figure out where 14 of the grams was coming from.  So I looked closely at each and every food in my journal and was really surprised that the "missing" fiber came from COCOA POWDER!!  I was aware that cocoa powder was keeping my iron levels up but had not realized what an excellent source of fiber it is also!

I Perceive These Benefits of Keeping my Fiber Intake High...

helps control my food cravings
 ---probably because it is helping to stabilize my blood glucose levels

allows increase in my calorie intake
 ---probably because of the "net carb" effect  ...
[total carbs] minus [fiber] = [net carbs]
  ---and the "net calorie" effect...
[total calories] minus [fiber calories] = [net calories]  
helps me to feel full and satisfied between meals
PLUS the other obvious benefits *wink wink*

Challenge yourself...

Try keeping a diary of your daily fiber intake. 
What number do you get?  
Is it close to the minimum recommendations? 
Set a fiber intake goal and a reasonable timeline of gradual increase.
Google "high fiber foods" or "good sources of fiber"
--- here is a good link: healthaliciousness foods high in dietary fiber
What foods can you incorporate to reach your goal?