Monthly Archives: February 2012

Not Bacon!- Good Fats in Your Diet

Oh Bacon, how I wish your nutritional properties matched your magnificent taste. 

Sadly, and as much as it pains me to say, bacon is not a “Good” fat in your diet.  Research, fortunately, has shown us some healthier alternatives.

Recent research has shown:

Many still believe that saturated fats like coconut oil are “fattening” and bad for your heart, but indeed some are GOOD! – some may even help you attain your weight loss goals as well.

For cooking: Tropical oils such as palm and coconut oils (and even animal fats such as butter) are best for cooking… they have very little polyunsaturates and are mostly composed of natural saturated fats which are the least reactive to heat/light and therefore the least inflammatory in your body from cooking use.

Consuming lots of olive oil lowers your risk for stroke, according to a recent analysis of more than 7,600 people conducted by French researchers. People who used olive oil lowered their risk of stroke by 41 percent when compared to those who never used olive oil, according to the study.

Remember, however, olive oil has 120 calories per tablespoon, which people tend to forget when drizzling it over salads or dabbing it with a chunk of bread. Realize that could turn your 50-calorie salad into a 350-calorie salad, and that’s no good.

As you already know, your waist size is not only a matter of your outward reflection on the world (the way you look), but also an indicator of the build-of fat around your internal organs which is strongly linked to 2 of America’s Top Health Concerns: Diabetes and heart disease.  It’s actually more accurate than your body mass index (BMI). The greater the waist circumference, the higher the chances are for diabetes.

If you want to determine if your waist size is in a healthy range, use a tape measure to figure the distance around the smallest area of your abdomen below your rib cage and above your belly button. Then compare your measurements to this general guide:

  • For men, between 37 and 40 inches is overweight and more than 40 inches is obese
  • For women, 31.5-34.6 inches is overweight and more than 34.6 inches is obese

In other words, if you can’t see your toes, get to Meijer and start cooking with Coconut Oil…It’s a good first step.           

Many of coconut oil’s benefits may be due to its content of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), rather than the long chain fatty acids (LCFAs) found in vegetable oils like soybean oil and animal fats (bacon…damn) and lard.

Additionally, many LCFAs are from genetically engineered vegetable oils that are loaded with omega-6 fats.  Not only do you want to avoid the genetically engineered foods, but even if they were organic these vegetable oils should be avoided as they are high processed and also distort you fragile omega 6/3 ratio.

Vegetable Oils (including soybean oil) and lard:

-are difficult for your body to break down

-cause more strain on your pancreas, your liver and your entire digestive system.

-are predominantly stored in your body as fat.

-when oxidized, can deposit within arteries, contributing to both blood vessel inflammation and plaque build-up.

Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, REAL Butter (not margarine):

-are smaller and more easily broken down

-are easily digested, thus putting less strain on your digestive system. This is especially important for those of you with digestive or metabolic concerns.

-are sent directly to your liver, where they are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as fat.

-can actually help stimulate your body’s metabolism, leading to weight loss.

Additionally, a very exciting discovery is that coconut oil may even serve as a natural treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

Whether you’re trying to lose weight or not, using coconut oil as your primary cooking oil is important because it is the only one that is stable enough to resist heat-induced damage. Extra-virgin olive oil, while great as a salad dressing or for other non-heated uses, should not be used for cooking. Due to its chemical structure, heat makes it susceptible to oxidative damage.

And polyunsaturated fats, which include common vegetable oils such as corn, soy, safflower, sunflower and canola, are absolutely the worst oils to use in cooking. These omega-6 oils are highly susceptible to heat damage because of their multiple double bonds.

Coconut oil is far superior to any other cooking oil and is loaded with health benefits, not to mention flavor. Make sure you choose an organic coconut oil that is unrefined, unbleached, made without heat processing or chemicals, and does not contain genetically engineered ingredients.

I still think bacon should be one of the four basic food groups, but I have to go with the research on this one, try to maintain my girlish figure, and stick with the coconut oil for cooking and olive oil for my salads.  Though, I will be dreaming of bacon tonight.

Health & Happiness,

Dr. Mik

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Occupy Survival Guide

 

Here in West Michigan we see slight flurries to road-covering, knee-high, drifting, blowing lake-effect snow but snow doesn’t have to be the enemy.

Latitudinally-challenged people like the Eskimos build their places of residence (igloos) from the fluffy white nectar of the sky. But likely, you’re no Eskimo– 20,000 folks in a small area sure can cause a lot of problems… so how do you survive?  For those Occupy Wall Street/Grand Rapids/Lansing protesters about to embrace their first lake-effect, ice-ridden winter the way a hedge fund manager embraces his bonus check, here are a few tips to keep you and your fellow freedom-fighters from sickness and freezing to death.

The bacteria swimming around all those people is pretty much like the cantina scene in Star Wars… you never know when a green alien is going to jump out and blast you.  So? What do you do? Let’s face it, most of us are not MacGyver, and if you went through Med School, you probably wouldn’t be sleeping in a tent in the middle of a city.

There are a few things you’re going to need to defend yourself.

Let’s start with occupying some clothes: Remember, cotton kills-it pulls heat from the body and doesn’t insulate well and is highly absorbent.  If you’re looking for natural fibers, wool is a much better option.  Wool can insulate you – even when wet – up to 1/3 saturation.  Obviously, go inside and warm up when possible but be aware that if you’re sweating when you leave and return to the frozen tundra, you run the risk of hypothermia and even death. Some wool has the ability to take moisture away from the skin, leaving you drier and better protected. 

Occupy your head, hands, feet and ears. Your extremities are the first to feel the pain.  Your body naturally will divert blood flow away from the limbs in order to keep protect your brain and internal organs.  As for the proper foot attire, stick with something waterproof and unventilated. And allow for some “wiggle room.”  If you lace up too tight, you restrict even more blood flow to the toes and the feet stay cold.  Blood flow keeps you warm. 

Remember, when you’re not awake, you’re asleep.  When winter occupying, you must beware if snow completely envelopes your tent because breathing eats up all the oxygen and replaces it with carbon monoxide, a poison. Yes, breathing can kill you. Take shifts dusting snow off of the tent (perhaps using a tire boot and parking tickets) and make sure to keep it ventilated.

Also, remember the earth sucks…the body heat out of you through conduction, so protect yourself by using a raised cot, sleeping pads, 3-liters of moon mist, pizza boxes – whatever you can find. You need to occupy yourself a good sleeping bag: -20 degrees is fitting for this side of the state.

 

Hand Sanitizer… you’re going to need to occupy a lot. Don’t stock up on that cruddy alcohol based sanitizer like Purell. You need something hardcore with what they call, “persistence.” Look for Triclosan or PCMX in the active ingredients. Persistence doesn’t just mean you’re going to occupy some space until people listen to you, or hitting on someone in a bar until they give up their digits. It means the good guys in the sanitizer are going to kill the bad guys… for a lot longer than the alcohol could.

Speaking of persistence… let’s talk about that odor issue that’s going to be occupying YOU! Don’t be the homeless guy who walks around, talking to himself, regarding his own personal hygiene.  You want people to see you when you’re out protesting, not run away from the rank stench that could knock a turkey vulture off a telephone poll at 100 yards. What do you do?  One of the ways is with a shower wipe. This can help you get the dirt, gunk, and stank off in absence of running water. I’d recommend going with something delicate, like a cucumber and aloe… which can also double for toilet paper… if you can actually find a toilet someone is going to let you use.  And, look after your mouth!  Save yourself a trip to the dentist and go out to buy some Wisps. No water needed, brush, pick, toss… and SHARE.

Money… you’re going to need at to occupy least $1000 cash for a couple of reasons. You’re probably going to need to post bail when you get arrested for continually using the Starbucks toilet without buying coffee… or… you’re just going to have to buy a LOT of coffee. Yeah, I know, $1k is a lot of dough, and you may have issues putting all that money in your skinny jeans, but people that take bribes? Well… they don’t take American Express.

If you’re not tweakin’ for the weekend on triple skinny carmel macchiato with 4 shots of espresso, you’re going to need to occupy some hydration. Protesting is a tough job, so you don’t want to go passing out and end up handcuffed to a hospital bed, or falling over when they turn the fire-hose on you. I’d say go get a Camel-Bak and fill it up with some cold water; it’s like a backpack and a water-bottle all in one.

Nutritionally? Okay, so you’ve survived the night and now it’s time for breakfast. Dunkin Donuts, for example, are high in calories, which are good, but they lack complex carbohydrates, which break down slowly, keeping you warmer longer. Staple junk foods like donuts and bagels (mmm…bagels) are loaded with simple sugars (mmm, simple) so the energy burns up quickly, leaving you like a low-blood sugar, mush-brain, with little to no mental capacity for decision making.  So stick to the complex-carbs.

What about booze?  Alcohol makes you feel warm, but in reality it makes you colder.  Cigarettes are equally unhelpful at providing warmth.  Both alcohol and cigarettes cause constriction of the blood vessels, especially to the hands and feet, limiting the blood flow to those areas=COLD. 

You’ll probably want to occupy an acoustic guitar. It’s not that “Stairway to Heaven” and every Pearl Jam song ever made get old after hearing them 100 times… but you can also smash the guitar and use it for firewood. Depending on how you play, you might actually make more friends that way.

 

Bring a tent big enough for 2 to occupy. You never know when you’re going to meet that special protester that dots their “i’s” with a heart on their placards. In that case, you had better occupy some condoms as well. Sharing body heat to keep from getting hypothermia has been a long standing way to stay warm in harsh times. If you don’t smell like butt-crack and tacos, there’s probably a higher possibility of that.

Occupy some duct tape. It’s got 1001 uses, right? When your shoes and clothes become raggedy tatters flapping in the wind like Donald Trump’s hair piece on a speed boat, your faith in your cause isn’t going to hold them together… duct tape is!

Move it or lose it!  Sedation is the enemy.  Sitting around will make you more susceptible to cold.  Break up the day with jumping jacks, push-ups, free-style running or cold yoga.  Blood is your body’s thermoregulator, so it’s essential to keep it flowing.  I’ve personally never seen a hippy do a push-up, but I am confident in their ability to do so (even if it’s hard to do push-ups in skinny jeans).

Following these simple and brief tips in this article may be the difference between life and death for many of the protesters out there this winter.  Otherwise, toilet paper is always an option.

If you ever have any health questions or concerns/comments please email me at dr.mik@healthylife4me.com

 

Health & Happiness,

Dr. Mik