The EALM Blog Shelf

While Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Team work on some new and exciting projects, you may notice less posts on the Eating and Living Moderately Blog. We have created a “blog shelf” below to keep you entertained and educated. Get caught up on the latest nutrition education by clicking on each year below. We will send you nutrition updates, but we will not be inundating your mailboxes on a weekly basis. If you want weekly “love” and inspiration, subscribe to our Mom Dishes It Out blog for weekly posts and recipes. Mom Dishes It Out provides expert advice from mom Registered Dietitians and mom Speech Pathologists on the “how to” of health promotion!

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The EALM Blog Shelf

Please feel free to peruse our posts organized by year below. Or take a look at the categories listed at the bottom of the page to find a post in the desired.

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

Coconut Oil is Going Mainstream

 

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The brand Vita Coco, known for their delicious coconut water never made from concentrate, is debuting their very own line of coconut oil. This oil has been used for centuries in ayurvedic therapies and has been making a comeback recently on the general market. The great thing about this tropical fat is that you can eat it and wear it.

Coconut oil has a variety of uses from the kitchen to the powder room. Coconut oil is a saturated fat, but no need to freak out just yet. This type of plant-based saturated fat (or medium chain fatty acid) raises both your “healthy” HDL and your “lousy” LDL, but does not create an unhealthy balance between your HDL and LDL*. Your heart is more in danger when your HDL and LDL are closer in number to each other. Also, because of its saturated chemical structure, coconut oil has a high smoke point. This means that coconut oil can reach high temperatures in the pan or an oven without producing cancer-causing compounds like some other oils. Coconut oil is also solid at room temperature, like butter, which means that it can usually replace butter as a cholesterol-free, non-dairy fat source in, say, your next brownie recipe. Look below for another fun idea to try in the kitchen.

 

Do you want to feel like you’re in the Bahamas without getting on a flight? Take some coconut oil (about a teaspoon at a time) and slather it on your body as a lotion. This versatile oil leaves your skin feeling silky and hydrated, and the lauric acid (the type of fatty acid in coconut oil) is linked to killing harmful bacteria and boosting one’s immunity.

 

The researchers are still in disagreement on all of the exact long-term benefits of coconut oil as an anti-viral compound with even the potential power to fight HIV, but there is no doubt that this a delicious addition to your pantry and your vanity.

Before you buy, make sure the coconut oil is as minimally processed as possible. Vita Coco’s version is Extra Virgin, USDA certified organic, 100% raw and cold-pressed, meaning that all the nutrients are retained since the product is never heated. For more information about this product, you can follow Vita Coco on Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #eatitwearitswearbyit, or by visiting their website vitacocococonutoil.com.

 

 

*Source: Willet WC. “Ask the Doctor: Coconut Oil.” Harvard Health Letter: May, 2011. http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Health_Letter/2011/May/coconut-oil

 

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Vita Coco’s Spiced Popcorn
Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup salt
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon Vita Coco coconut oil for popping
  • 2 tablespoons Vita Coco coconut oil for tossing

 

Directions:

  1. In a large pan with a fitted top, heat the 1 tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat. Add the kernels and toss them in the oil to coat well.
  2. Cook the popcorn until all the kernels stop popping. Transfer the popcorn into a large mixing bowl and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil.
  3. Mix all the spices together in a small bowl and add the mix to the popcorn until the desired taste is reached. Enjoy!

Don’t “Defriend” Fat

Don’t “Defriend” Fat
By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

 

In the 70’s, we banned fat. In the 90’s we banned carbs – and neither really worked to improve our lifestyles and relationships with food. As new research comes out regarding the best ways to eat for a healthy body, heart health, brain health – you name it – our food industry adjusts accordingly to provide these foods for us to eat. But what if we simply had a neutral relationship with food and a positive relationship with eating? It seems we would be more likely to eat exactly what our bodies need and avoid the foods our bodies can do without.

Photo Credit: misterbisson via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: misterbisson via Compfight cc

Recently, an article was published in TIME Magazine with the title “EAT BUTTER.” There’s something that will catch the reader’s eye, but what is behind the cover? For over 40 years, Americans have been on a low-fat craze because it was believed to be the best way to preserve our hearts from heart disease. Turns out, the research was misleading and the way we interpreted the research was not any better for our bodies. According to Marion Nestle, professor of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University, ideally we thought “that if people reduced saturated fat, they would replace it with healthy fruits and vegetables.” What really happened was people replaced those calories with processed foods and snacks like low-fat cookies, cakes, crackers and more.

We started regaling fats as “good” fats and “bad” fats, and we did the same with cholesterol. Giving these positive and negative titles to foods can lead to overeating and or food avoidance. It is important to understand that fats, like all foods, are neutral. They are essential in our diet for brain health, blood sugar regulation and for keeping us feeling full. Carbs (sugar, fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy) are also essential in our diet for energy, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Avoiding one or the other can lead to undernourishment and side effects like fatigue and mood swings.

Photo Credit: Pauline Mak via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Pauline Mak via Compfight cc

In 1996, Dr. Walter Willet published research concluding that removing fat from our diets and replacing that void with carbohydrates does not reduce our risk for heart disease. It just so happens that around the time this study was published, the Mediterranean diet started gaining popularity. All fats are important. All carbs are important. All proteins are important. There is actually research supporting Mediterranean diets with 40% fat. But the fat source is mainly monounsaturated fats. Remember, when you eat fats like dairy, oils, nuts, and so on, you are typically getting a bit of saturated and unsaturated fat. So while the jury is still out, stick with moderation and try to eat more wholesome nutrition the majority of the time.

Ultimately, the TIME article is not saying Americans should drop everything and start eating butter or loading up on saturated fat. The message seems to be implying that we should no longer be afraid of fat, and we can start incorporating all types of fat in moderation. It’s time we changed our thinking from exile to acceptance. Allowing ourselves to have access to all foods will decrease the desire to resist any particular nutrient or food group. We will all be healthier for it.

The Scoop on Coffee

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The Scoop on Coffee
By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

 

We’ve heard it before: “Coffee boosts your metabolism. Too much coffee causes dehydration.” But, do these sayings hold any truth? Does drinking a cup or two of java each morning really affect your metabolism? And what about your hydration? Research has linked coffee to numerous health benefits, including aiding in degenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease, boosting our mood, and the list goes on. We took to the books to find the scoop on coffee. Here is what we found.

Image courtesy of Puro Coffee
Image courtesy of Puro Coffee

Q: What’s the deal with caffeine?
A: Coffee stimulates our feel good hormones in the brain!! Makes you feel good (in moderation, of course).

According to a Harvard Health Letter published in Harvard Medical School’s Health Publications, caffeine is absorbed in the stomach and small intestine. It is then circulated throughout the body, including the brain. The caffeine circulation reaches its highest point roughly 30-45 minutes following ingestion. Once absorbed, caffeine affects the dopamine activity in the brain. Dopamine is a brain chemical that involves thinking and pleasure. Think about it that first cup of coffee in the morning  – part of that morning rush is associated with caffeine stimulating our dopamine receptors just like sugar and even drugs.

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Q: Can coffee be beneficial to brain function?
A: Caffeine is linked to better memory! 

A study published in 2012 tested the effect of caffeine on older adults with “mild cognitive impairment, or the first glimmer of serious forgetfulness, a common precursor of Alzheimer’s disease”2. The study found that those older adults with little caffeine in their bloodstreams were far more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who had a few cups of coffee per day2.

 

Q: Is filtered coffee healthier than unfiltered coffee?
A: Choose filtered coffee more often.

If you’re drinking unfiltered coffee on a daily basis, you may want to consider switching to filtered. Coffee naturally contains a substance known as cafestol, which has been shown to stimulate LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. However, when brewed with a paper filter, the cafestol doesn’t transfer to the coffee. While drinking unfiltered coffee on occasion isn’t terrible for you, if you are someone with high cholesterol, filtered coffee would make the better choice.

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Q: Can too much coffee be dehydrating?
A: Caffeine stimulates your bladder, while alcohol actually dehydrates.

A recent study published by University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom tested coffee’s effect on the fluid balance of habitual male coffee drinkers and found no significant loss of fluid balance in men that drank a maximum of 4 cups of coffee per day1.

 

Q: Does coffee consumption impact blood pressure?
A: Coffee can up our pump; think twice if you have already high blood pressure. 

It can. According to a study performed by Harvard University, continued caffeine consumption (via coffee) can lead to a slight increase in blood pressure. While coffee hasn’t been directly associated with an increased risk of hypertension, it is typically recommended that those with hypertension, specifically those who are finding it difficult to control, should switch to a decaffeinated coffee.

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Q: Can coffee really boost our metabolism?
A: Coffee boosts our central nervous system, but it usually takes more than 1 cup.

A study published in the Journal of Physiology and Behavior, the metabolic rate of regular coffee drinkers was found to be about 16% higher than decaf coffee drinkers. The reasoning? Caffeine is known to stimulate the body’s central nervous system, which can increase both breathing and heart rate.

 

Q: So, what’s the takeaway?
A: We will see you at Starbucks!

As the research we’ve highlighted shows, coffee drinking can benefit our brain health, boost our metabolism, and even help improve our mood. However, too much of a good thing can be harmful – drinking too much coffee can increase our blood pressure and drinking more than 4 cups per day can negatively affect our fluid balance. Though, like most things, coffee can be a part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation. A cup or two of coffee per day could be beneficial to our health, but it is encouraged to limit coffee drinking to a maximum of 4 cups per day to avoid any negative side effects.

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Image courtesy of Puro Coffee

Laura recently traveled to Peru and came across a great coffee brand known for both their sustainability and commitment to the environment, Puro Coffee. Puro Coffee is sourced from Fairtrade co-operatives made up of hundreds of farmers together to grow the coffee naturally. They even use solar panels and recycle the heat from the coffee roasting process to power their factory!

For more information on Puro Coffee and their sustainable processes, please take a look at the following links:

www.purocoffee.com/us
www.purocoffee.com/uk/
www.facebook.com/fairtradecoffee
www.twitter.com/puro_coffee
or watch a great video on their story here!

 

References:

  1. Killer, Sophie C., Andrew K. Blannin, and Asker E. Jeukendrup. “No Evidence of Dehydration with Moderate Daily Coffee Intake: A Counterbalanced Cross-Over Study in a Free-Living Population.” PloS one 9.1 (2014): e84154.
  2. Santos, Roseane M.M., Tracy Hunter, Nick Wright, Darcy R.A. Lima. “Caffeine and Chlorogenic Acids in Coffee and Effects on Selected Neurodegenerative Diseases.” J Pharm Sci Innov. 2013; 2(4): 9-17.