A Day (Diet) In the Life of Kelly

It has been awhile since I have posted my daily food intake and since moving my food options have varied be remain to be primal choices. Enjoy this observation and let me know if you have any questions.

Brekkie

  • Paleo pancakes – 2 free range eggs, lots of cinnamon, Himalayan sea salt, tablespoon or so of coconut flour, 1/8 cup of almond unsweetened milk, cocoa nibs (for texture, flavor and health benefits) and coconut oil (to grease the pan).
  • Black coffee
  • Water
  • 2 probiotics, 2 fish oils, 4,000 IU vitamin D

Side note on why I choose the above – I prefer coconut flour over almond meal/flour. Almond meal/flour is tasty but it is a huge intake of nuts, which have antinutrients. Nuts are a great fuel source but should be consumed in moderation.

I do not put any honey or sugar in my paleo pancakes simply because they are so good and do not need it.

The noted supplements are usually consistent day to day but my vitamin D dose with vary with my activities and recent time spent outside. I prefer cod liver oil but while traveling it is not as conducive.

Lunch

  • Mixture of 2 soups I had in the refrigerator – one was freshly made, which is very similar to the known Weight Watchers cabbage soup and the second is a similar tomato-based soup made with sausage.
  • Handful of pecans, as a side.
  • Water

Snack – dill pickle half

Dinner

  • Bowl of cabbage soup
  • Grilled chicken – shredded it and heated it in my soup
  • Water

(All leftovers I had around)

Snack – Homemade gluten free cookie with a teaspoon of almond butter on top, Water

If I were to be a self-critic I would view this day and suggest I did a pretty good idea. Is it perfect? No. But if I were to striving for perfection with what I ate, I do not think I would have enjoyed it as much and there would present an extra layer of stress; which we do not need in our busy day. I would however, suggest more raw food. I could have easily thrown in some of the garden peppers into my salad and to be honest, I didn’t because I was lazy. On to a new day with the new opportunity to succeed.

Cheers to you and good health,

Kel

See You Later Hypertension

Last fortnight I was asked to participate in an online interview (article originally published on: http://www.bloodpressurecharts.net/kelly-o-connell-interview.html) about natural ways to manage high blood pressure. Not only was this request interesting but it is a topic that needs more coverage. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a silent killer. I hate to be so blunt but there is no way around it – one in four adults (US data) have hypertension. Untreated hypertension can get ugly causing kidney damage, stroke, heart disease, dementia and more. However, with most things related to health, you can turn it around for the better. If hypertension is something you deal with personally, consider the below to incorporate with your daily routine. As always, if you need some help, feel free to contact me.

  • What supplements/foods do you recommend people with high blood pressure try, to help lower their blood pressure?

Before advising someone on what to eat and what to supplement with, I first need to understand if there is anything else going on with their health, such as diabetes, kidney disease, etc. I also want to know what medication they are taking.

Generally speaking though, I advise eating a moderately high protein and fat diet, with moderately low (less than 150 grams per day) carbohydrates. Carbohydrates should be mainly sourced from vegetables, legumes/lentils, tubers and fruit.

Important foods to consider are those rich in potassium (bananas, avocado, herbs, cocoa, nuts, and tomatoes), magnesium (pumpkin, squash, cocoa, nuts, fish), vitamin C (citrus fruits, broccoli, bell peppers, cauliflower, cabbage, celery) and vitamin E (almonds, herbs, olives), omega 3 fatty acids (fatty fish like salmon or sardines) and flavonols (red wine, grapes, cocoa). Do you see a trend? I am a believer in dark chocolate/cocoa nibs and consume cocoa in one shape or another daily.

However, more important than knowing what to eat is knowing foods to cut back on, including foods high in fructose and processed foods (chips, deli meat, bread, pastries, cookies, desserts, etc).

Fructose, simply put, is a type of sugar. It is under a lot of scrutiny causing detrimental things to our health including hypertension. While the jury is still out, there is a true consensus that fructose does more harm than good. The important take away is to know what foods are high in fructose i.e. candies/lollies, cold breakfast cereals, desserts such as ice cream, cake, muffins, salad dressing, breads, pizza,crackers, canned fruit and juices with added sweeteners and more.

My recommended supplements include high-quality fish oil, a strong probiotic, magnesium twice a day, Himalayan sea salt and CoQ10. Food always comes first.

  • What are your thoughts on salt and high blood pressure? Should we be limiting salt intake or is the salt thing all blown out of proportion?

You may be surprised to hear that I do not stress salt restrictions. Processed foods should certainly get more vigilance in this space. I think overall sodium claims are blown out of proportion and certainly, I strongly advise the use of Himalayan sea salt. Overall, individuals need to self-assess how salt makes them feel. If the consumption of salt makes someone retain fluid or make their heart palpitate/speed up, then a reduced salt intake should be implemented. However, I think there are far more important actions to take than demonizing salt. Focus should zero in on stress levels, adequate sleep, exercise, eating whole foods (this does not include whole grains) and maintaining a healthy weight.

  • Not necessarily specific to high blood pressure, but what are your top 5 healthiest foods we should all be trying to eat more of, and why?

Grassfed/free range meat – protein is essential and free range meat, ideally, beef, has an optimal fatty acid ratio, up to 6 times more omega 3’s compared to the grocery store variety. Certainly, omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in every cell and system in our bodies. Beyond the nutrient profile grassfed/free range beef offers, it is a great tool for optimal health. It is satiating, protective against cancer and cardiovascular disease, has low insulinogenic properties and more.

Coconut – whether it is coconut oil, flour, cream or milk, I welcome it all. I consume this functional food daily, reaping one of the thousands of benefits it offers. In traditional medicine, coconut is used to treat a wide variety of health problems and it is so versatile to use. I make pancakes from coconut flour and milk, I cook with coconut oil, especially with eggs and coconut cream is delicious with berries.

Pumpkin – is loaded with healthy starches and it is absolutely delicious. Pumpkin is nutrient-rich, easy to make and can satisfy a sweet or savory craving. I have learned to cook pumpkin in a variety of fashions from pumpkin soup (with coconut milk and cinnamon), roasted pumpkin salad (with pine nuts, spinach, feta and homemade balsamic dressing) to pumpkin porridge (mixing puree pumpkin with eggs, nuts, and raisins).  Pumpkin can also serve as a dessert by garnishing it with spices and honey.

Free range eggs – they are one of few foods that naturally contain vitamin D and are far superior to caged eggs when it comes to nutrient content. They are rich in vitamin A and E and omega 3 fatty acids, among many other important vitamins and minerals.

Fermented foods – I am all about gut health and a happy gut, makes a good immune system. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, etc provide probiotics to our intestines. There are plenty of benefits to adding probiotics to our bodies, including protection from colon cancerrelief from lactose intolerance and diarrheareduction in cavities, and more. Improved digestion means more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals are absorbed, making you an overall healthier being.

Cheers to you and good health,

Kel
.

 

 

 

Herbs!

This article was one of those articles that is too good not to post. Enjoy!

6 Common Herbs and Why You Should Eat Them

(Hint: They Don’t Just Taste Good)

We typically think of culinary herbs as useful flavorants. They round out flavor profiles, add complexity to otherwise basic dishes, meld with other herbs to form novel taste compounds that you can’t quite place and cannot be replicated with any other combination, and, used with a subtle, skilled hand, simply make food taste incredible. Oh, and like most seemingly inconsequential things people have been adding to food for thousands of years, they also happen to have some fascinating health benefits. Huh – how about that? Things that taste good and have a long and storied culinary history might also be good for you? Amazing how that works out!

Let’s get down to it.

Rosemary

Rosemary goes well with just about anything, in my experience, which is odd, because it’s one of the most pungent, powerful herbs in existence. Some herbs just kinda linger in the background, maybe adding a slight change to the bouquet of a dish but never really distinguishing themselves, but when rosemary’s around, you know it. You can’t avoid it. Heck, even walking around most neighborhoods you’re liable to find a massive rosemary bush trying to evolve into a rosemary tree.

What’s so great about rosemary, besides the flavor and smell? Rosemary-infused olive oil displayed the strongest resistance to oxidative damage and rancidity, beating out herbs such as thyme, lemon, and basil (although both thyme and lemon improved stability, too). In healthy volunteers, oral rosemary extract improved endothelial dysfunction (perhaps due to up-regulation of glutathione, eh?). Rosemary extract also improved the oxidative stability of butter, and it inhibited the formation of heterocyclic aromatic amines (a potential carcinogen) in fried beef patties.

Thyme

Rosemary’s great, but I find it even greater with a bit of thyme involved. If you have the time, I’d definitely use both in concert. Okay, that was bad; I apologize.

Thyme, however, is worth using, awful jokes aside. I mean, what else but thyme could stave off the oxidative damage done to corn oil under deep-frying conditions for a couple extra hours? Sure, you’re not eating corn oil, but that same lipid-stabilizing accumen would probably work awfully well for, say, butter. And for those who enjoy the classic rosemary/thyme/garlic rub on your lamb, keep an eye out for lamb borne to thyme-fed pregnant ewes, which exhibits greater oxidative stability, lower bacterial counts, and better color. No word on whether it influences taste.

Sage

Sage is under appreciated. Brits have always used it in their cooking, and Mom probably uses it to season her turkey stuffing, but that’s about it. I like it, but I’ll admit that it can be overpowering; you only need a pinch, or a few leaves, meaning most of the bunch you bought for $2 at the market goes to waste. One solution is to grow your own. Another is to freeze or dry the leftovers. Either way, it’s worth using on poultry and fatty cuts of meat (think big juicy roasts).

Sage is rich with rosmarinic acid, an antioxidant found in many common culinary herbs that (surprise, surprise) protects fats against oxidative damage. In humans who drank sage tea for several weeks, endogenous antioxidant defenses were up-regulated and the lipid profile was improved (HDL increase). Perhaps most interestingly, a sage extract was used to improve memory and attention in healthy older subjects. It also seems to work on memory in healthy younger subjects, too.

Mint

Everyone loves something about mint, in my experience. They may hate the classic spearmint, but love peppermint (a hybrid of spearmint and watermint). They may hate the taste, but love the smell (or vise versa). They might be scared of Santa and his creepy elves, but the allure of the candy cane draws them to his expansive lap. They may hate getting hair cuts, but cannot resist the hypnotic swirl of the barber’s pole.

As for its health benefits, peppermint oil was more effective than placebo at treating irritable bowel syndrome, a meta-analysis of the clinical literature found, and it was equally effective as pharmaceutical treatments. Also, though it was a very brief trial, spearmint leaf tea showed promise as an anti-androgen treatment for hirsutism (abnormal hairiness) in polycystic ovarian syndrome in female subjects.

Basil

Ah, basil. Pesto uses it. Thai cooks will sometimes stir-fry it. I like nibbling on raw leaves, from time to time. It’s one of those herbs with a flavor so distinct that its usage is severely limited. That is, you can’t just add basil to everything and expect the dish to taste good, but when it works, it’s a thing of beauty. Go get yourself a plant or a bagful. The good thing about basil is that it freezes well, so don’t worry about wasting it.

And basil does some cool stuff, too. In hypertensive rats, sweet basil reduced blood pressure. In diabetics, holy basil reduced both fasting and post-prandial blood glucose. And as is usual with the herbs, basil displays some protective attributes against fatty acid oxidation.

Oregano

US soldiers returning home after World War II carried with them a fondness for the “pizza herb” – oregano. We at MDA prefer to call it the “meatza herb,” but you get the point: it’s a good ally in the kitchen.

Oregano is a strange herb in that its dried form confers a more potent taste than the fresh leaves, so don’t feel too bad about using the dried stuff. It works just fine, and it retains most of its antioxidant capacity even when dry as a bone. And a bountiful, impressive antioxidant capacity it is, what with its ability to reduce the formation of carcinogenic and atherogenic compounds when added to cooking hamburger meat. Malondialdehyde levels were also reduced in plasma and urine samples taken from those who ate the meat.
What can we gather from this quick look at just a few of the most common culinary herbs? Well, herbs confer a lot of benefits to the cooking process. They make it taste good for one, but they also protect the fats from oxidation during cooking, making them perfectly paired with fatty foods – like herbed cheeses, herbed butters, lamb legs studded with rosemary and thyme, butter or cream sauce reductions with a dash of herbs, and herb-infused olive oils.

A Few Herby Tips

  • Use a wide variety of herbs.Never use too much of any single herb at once.
  • Try different blends.Grow some fresh herbs and keep plenty of dried on hand.
  • Let your taste buds guide you.
  • Add herbs when cooking fats; this won’t just protect the fat from oxidation, but it will also provide the best flavor.
  • Feed your pregnant ewe plenty of thyme.

What’s your favorite herb? There are dozens out there, and I’m sure each has its own set of health benefits.

 

Lighten Up Your Easter Baskets

In 2000, Americans bought $1.9 billion of Easter candy and consumed 7.1 billion pounds.

Hmmmmmm. Let’s do the math. Conservatively that’s almost 18 trillion calories. Yikes! And much of it boils down to …Chocolate.
What most women think of it as it’s own food group, many medical experts once believed to be a coronary nightmare. Today, however, the medical community now says that eating a small bar of dark chocolate every day can be good for you! The flavonoids found dark chocolate bars with a high cocoa content may actually be beneficial to our cardiac health. Here’s how it works.

Flavonoids are a group of plant-based compounds which keep cholesterol from gathering in blood vessels, reduce the risk of blood clots, and slow down the immune responses that lead to clogged arteries. Way to go Willie Wonka!
But let me be quick to point out that while a 3.5 oz piece can have it’s benefits, chocolate is also loaded in calories and saturated fat and should be eaten in moderation. Flavonoids do not alter the fact that chocolate can increase our girth and thus our risk of heart disease. Sigh! A balanced diet and plenty of exercise is still the key to a healthy heart. Sorry guys, that’s my job.
And remember, not all Easter candy is created equal. So this Easter, if you’re looking to give a basket of goodies that’s a little lighter on the hips, here’s my favorite candy picks:
KIM’S LIGHT EASTER BASKET PICKS:

Before I begin, please remember that this is a candy filled Easter basket with lower calorie candy alternatives … not suggestions for healthy eating.

10. Popcorn Ball Eggs
You can’t beat these high fiber treats, now egg shaped for Easter. Only 100 cal, 1g fat, 2g fiber, they just hit over the 1 point mark. Do what I do – let your kids have the first bite and count the rest for a point!
9. Sugar Free Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
They now come in gift boxes as well as the 3 oz bags. Only 80 calories, 0g fat, 8g fiber per serving = 1 point.

8. Sugar Free Peeps

Each pack of 3 peeps is only 60 calories, 0g fat = 1 point
7. Dark Chocolate Dipped Altoids
Suck away on these little yummies. They’re only 7 calories each and freshen your breath at the same time. Whoo Hoo!
6. Ring Pops
They may make fingers sticky, but they’re the slowest 60 calories your kids will eat. And they’re shaped as chicks and bunnies for Easter!
5. 100 Calorie Snack Packs
This year these great portion controlled sweets include chocolate treats like M&Ms and Three Musketeers. Make sure you only put each one inside an egg. Make ’em work for it!
4. Fun Dip
I realize these are pure sugar, but they’re also only 50 calories, 0g fat and they take a long time to eat. Do what I do, make you’re kiddos eat them outside. Your carpets will appreciate it and guaranteed your children will end up in some outdoor activity when they’re done.
3. Hershey’s Sticks
When you want a chocolate fix, this is it! Only 60 calories and 3g fat per stick AND it comes in three flavors. What more could you ask?!
2. Toys!
There are lots of toys you can put in a basket to fill it up, but with Spring in the air, consider sports and active toys such as balls, jump ropes and skates.
1. CASH!
Perfect for kids of all ages. Break open your piggy banks, moms and dads. This is a fat free treat!

Oh. Don’t forget the Easter activity points … one of the best things you can do is to join the egg hunt with the kids. A 170 pound woman will burn approximately 116 calories in 30 minutes of Easter egg hiding, and another 154 calories in 30 minutes of egg hunting.

So keep it active, keep it light this Easter. Enjoy!

Source: Click here