Really Mom, Coconut Oil? Moms and Their Myths.

imageI sat reluctantly on our living room floor as my mother roughly applied coconut oil to my hair. She ignored my bratty, ten-year-old complaints as streams of oil made their way down my face. I protested, fidgeted, and tried to escape her grip, only to be drawn back to my seat and jostled around into a near concussion as she continued the greasy ritual.

“You have to use coconut oil every night so you have nice, healthy hair,” she’d remind me. Yet, along with all the other pieces of random tales she’d offer, I placed her nuggets of advice into the section of my mind labeled, “Myths That Mom Makes Up.”

Coconut oil for hair and skin, turmeric for colds, hot tea for itchy throats, ginger for indigestion, they were all such weird remedies. Mom is a large advocate of I told you so’s, but I’m going to say it anyway. After many, many years of ridiculing her suggestions, I have found that she’s right. Ugh.

Although used for hundreds of years to improve health and nutrition, coconut oil is only now receiving popular attention. It is used in cooking, hormone imbalance, and even deodorant. Think of all of the preservatives that can be avoided by substituting coconut oil for everyday products that are often loaded with toxins, such as coffee creamer, soap and toothpaste. Check out this article http://draxe.com/coconut-oil-uses/ to learn about its many benefits.

There are various methods of extracting oil from coconut. This article provides information on the types: http://healthimpactnews.com/2014/what-type-of-coconut-oil-is-best-how-to-choose-a-coconut-oil/. It’s a bit lengthy but informative. If you’d like to skip to which extraction types are best, there’s a chart toward the bottom of the article. I’d love to hear how you’ve used coconut oil.

By the way, thanks Mom.

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Just Say “No” and Other Ways to Turn Down Amazing Holiday Foods because it Just Wouldn’t End Well

 

IMG_1731 - Version 2Oh, the sparkly decorations, holiday parties and all that alluring food that gives you the come hither look that no one else can see. During the holidays, it is sometimes difficult to say no to all of the variety available at the table. You’re laughing and talking and maybe drinking a few sips of alcohol throughout the evening. You’re having a great time, the conversations are intriguing, your inhibitions are slowly slipping away.

Even though some of us may know exactly what foods trigger our allergic and inflammatory responses, it’s tempting to overlook the repercussions in the moment, particularly when dining with others. As though it’s not hard enough to fight off the urge to try every little delightful dish on the table, there’s also Good Food That’s Oh, So Bad for Me peer pressure. The act of sharing a meal is a significant custom in many parts of the world. It is a cherished form of communing for many, and some take these rituals very personally.

Every culture has its unspoken guidelines about food. In some cultures for instance, burping is apparently a sign that the food was tasty. It is said to equate to a sign of appreciation. In other cultures, it is a sign of disrespect to refuse food, which might be a more difficult custom to work around when trying diligently to avoid certain foods. Although you don’t want to go around offending people, there are definitely ways to stand your ground without feeling like the pretentious jerk of the party.

The more information people have about the severity of a food allergy (or your reasons for staying away from a particular food), the more buy-in you’ll receive. An explanation of your preferences is often sufficient for people to back off, however, in some families, such as my own, people insist that I MUST try a certain dish. If you start getting the evil eye and you want out, it may be helpful to throw out some solid statistics to solidify your point.

If your loving family finds a cunning reason to induce guilt (sometimes being synonymous with family) by saying something like, “Oh, that’s too bad because your 98-year-old grandma made this just for YOU,” thrown in with a look that could slap, you might have to reach far within the back of the arsenal.  In the past, I’ve taken a piece of food and offered the possibility that I might try a teeny, weeny bite. Maybe. This is usually a huge maybe.

And I get the pressure. This is THE family recipe. Your Mama’s Mama’s Mama made this particular recipe for 70 decades. And it’s not about the Jones family cookies or the Mama Lucy’s peanut bars, it’s about unity, nostalgia and making new memories together. So, as I said, It’s a huge maybe, but I’d rather slide something onto my plate instead of hurting poor Grandma’s feelings.

There is also the option of bringing a dish, which the host will surely appreciate. This way, temptation is down and you have a safe alternative. Bringing a dish is also a visual reminder to others that your food concerns are real. They may even love what you’ve brought.

Have a wonderful, yummy holiday filled with blessings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feingold Diet for Attention Difficulties

salad

The Feingold Diet is a diagnostic tool used to investigate whether elimination of preservatives, dyes and certain foods may decrease symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Even those who do not suffer from ADHD could benefit from the Feingold Diet because the purpose of it is to systematically analyze how removing chemicals from the body can positively influence the brain.

Is the Feingold Diet the solution for ADHD? I wouldn’t go that far. However, research shows that it has marked benefits in some people. By the way, the diet isn’t exclusively for children.

Check out http://www.feingold.org/what.php to find out more. Under the section about dyes, there is a link that reads, “What they can do to you.” There is a detailed list of dyes and their physiological effects. It’s a nice resource to put in the kitchen as a reminder.

Gluten Implicated in Cognitive Decline?

IMG_4581      Gluten-free diets are sometimes thought to be a fad. Friends have disgustedly asked me, “Ew, you do that? Why?” Believe me, it’s not a choice, it’s a necessity. Other people eliminate gluten because they figure if it bothers other people, it can’t be good for them. Until recently however, no one was really sure why it causes adverse effects.

People who have Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity/intolerance may have reactions from stomach discomfort to neurological symptoms, like tingling and numbness. In a book titled, Misdiagnosed by Jody Berger, she shares how she was misdiagnosed as having multiple sclerosis, but after doing some lengthy research and seeking other sources such as Ayurvedic doctors, she finally discovered she had a gluten intolerance.

There’s increasing research that neurological symptoms of gluten insensitivity and intolerance do actually mimic multiple sclerosis and other neurological diagnoses. Further, there might also be a link between gluten and cognitive decline. Check out this article that details how gluten affects the brain: http://thepaleodiet.com/gluten-brain/ There are some interesting MRI scans that show atrophy in a particular part of the brain that’s thought to be caused by gluten consumption.

By the way, the dish I made in the pic is all gluten-free – noodles by Ronzoni and gluten-free corn meal for the breaded salmon.

Mindful Eating

hamburger

As promised, I’m sharing a link to an article about mindful eating. How is this relevant to avoiding preservatives? Well, focusing on our food will reduce the chance that we’re mindlessly eating less desirable, preservative-filled foods (like I do from time to time and my puppy, Juno attempts to do every chance he gets).

The beautiful thing about mindful eating too, is that you are intentionally considering the cycle of nourishment and life – the creation of a piece of fruit sitting in front of you, for instance. Think about it as a seed, the way in which it was nurtured with time, water, sun and soil…

Enjoy the mindful eating exercise included in the article:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CDkQFjAF&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pocketmindfulness.com%2Fmindful-eating-the-best-meal-youve-had-in-years%2F&ei=cykDVZepEIHkgwS1_4PoCA&usg=AFQjCNHrlKB9uHg0qczpiNgQAr7lmwnjCg