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.

Prostate Cancer: News and Recommendations

Prostate Cancer: News and Recommendations
By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among males, following skin cancer. It is currently most common in men over 50 years of age. An estimated 1 in 5 men will be diagnosed with cancer. Prostate cancer involves the prostate, an organ associated with the male reproductive system. We spoke last week about breast cancer and wanted to continue to raise the awareness of our EALM readers by covering the ins and outs of prostate cancer; including nutritional and lifestyle recommendations to benefit the health of men.

photo courtesy of Cleveland Clinic
photo courtesy of Cleveland Clinic

Causes and Contributing Factors:

As of now, the medical community has no knowledge of a definitive cause of prostate cancer. However, the American Cancer Society has highlighted some documented risk factors:

  • Prostate cancer is more common in men over the age of 50. And about 6 in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men over the age of 65.
  • It has been suggested to run in families. In fact, having a brother or father with prostate cancer more than doubles a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer himself.
  • Some studies have suggested that inherited mutations of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes (seen in families with higher risks of breast and ovarian cancers) may increase the risk in some men. Though these genes most likely account for a smaller percentage of prostate cancer cases.

Diet and Lifestyle:

It remains unclear how big of an effect diet has on the development of prostate cancer, although a large number of studies have found that diets higher in red meat intake, dairy products and diets high in total fat increase a man’s chance of getting prostate cancer. A study performed in Canada found that a diet high in saturated fat was associated with a “3-fold” risk of death following a prostate cancer diagnosis[i] when compared to a diet low in saturated fat[ii].

 Ripe Tomatoes

Conversely, diets consisting of fiber-rich foods, lycopene (found in tomatoes), and cruciferous vegetables have been shown to be associated with a lower risk of developing prostate cancer. It is important to note that lycopene is more easily digested after cooking, so look for recipes with cooked tomatoes like homemade marinara sauce, tomato soup, and ratatouli. Fish and intake of foods high in omega 3 fatty acids, have been linked to a decreased risk of death and recurrence of prostate cancer[i]. A recent article published in the Chicago Tribune states “men with early stage prostate cancer may live longer if they eat a diet rich in heart-healthy nuts, vegetable oils, seeds, and avocadoes”[iii]. It is because the heart-healthy fats found in nuts and vegetable oils increase antioxidants, which act to protect against cell damage and inflammation[iii].

Recommendations:

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends the following to maintain a healthy diet for those affected by prostate cancer:

  • Eating a very high amount of fruits and vegetables per day, 5-9 servings is ideal and focus on foods darker in pigment, as those tend to be higher in antioxidants.
    • Specifically cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and kale, as they have been found to have cancer-fighting properties.
    • Increasing intake of omega 3, our recommendations can be found here. However, we feel it’s important to mention that a recent study found a possible link to an increased cancer risk and the digestion of omega 3s. However, the study did not question where the omega 3s came from. Therefore, it remains unclear whether it is omega 3s from food or the omega 3s from supplements increase prostate cancer risk in men. All in all, we recommend eating natural sources of omega 3s in moderation, like eating fish and a handful of nuts a few times per week[iv].
    • Similar to omega 3 supplementation, medical professionals advise patients to avoid using supplements, unless authorized by their doctors. In 2012 it was found that vitamin E supplementation could actually be linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer.
    • Although this has yet to be definitively proven in studies, many believe that drinking 2-3 cups of green tea could help fight off cancer cells. While there is little evidence to this, we don’t think it would hurt swapping your second cup of coffee with a nice cup of green tea.
    • Exercise has been shown to decrease the risk of prostate cancer reoccurrence. It is recommended that men get an average of 30 minutes of exercise about 5 days per week.

What activities do you do with your family to keep healthy and active? What are your favorite recipes with lycopene, cruciferous veggies, and omegas? We especially love this Tomato Soup recipe from Cooking Light!

 

For more resources and information on prostate cancer, we recommend the following websites:


[i] Epstein, Mara M., Julie L. Kasperzyk, Lorelei A. Mucci, Edward Giovannucci, Alkes Price, Alicja Wolk, Niclas Hakansson, Katja Fall, Swen-Olof Andersson, and Ove Andren. “Dietary Fatty Acid Intake and Prostate Cancer Survival in Örebro County, Sweden.” American Journal of Epidemiology. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 10 July 2012. Web.

[ii] Berkow, Susan E., Neal D. Barnard, Gordon A. Saxe, and Trulie Ankerberg-Nobis. “Diet and Survival After Prostate Cancer Diagnosis.” Nutrition Reviews 65.9 (2007): 391-403.

[iii] Cortez, Michelle F. “Healthy Fats May Prolong Lives of Those with Prostate Cancer.”Chicago Tribune: Health. Chicago Tribune Company, LLC, 3 Oct. 2013. Web. 13 Oct. 2013.

[iv] Brasky, T. M. et al. Plasma phospholipid fatty acids and prostate cancer risk in the SELECT trial. J. Natl Cancer Inst. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djt174.

Love Your Heart with 8 Heart-Healthy Foods

February isn’t just the month of flowers, chocolates or spending time with the ones you love..but as heart health month, it’s also about loving your heart! Heart disease remains one of the leading causes of death for both men and women1. Lifestyle choices play a major role in preventing heart disease as well as controlling it. With this in mind, it’s never too early to start focusing on overall heart health. Show your heart how much you appreciate it by incorporating these heart healthy foods!

Berries – Please your heart with antioxidant rich berries like strawberries, goji berries and blackberries, which are an antioxidant powerhouse! Blueberries for example, house high amounts of phytonutrients like anthocyanidins, which aid in the process of neutralizing free radical damage in our cells. Consuming 1-2 portions of berries daily may help reduce cardiovascular disease risk2.

Brussel Sprouts – Tender, crunchy and just a little bit nutty, brussel sprouts have more to offer than just flavor. This cruciferous veggie contains vitamin C and vitamin A which help fight against heart disease, and vitamin Its high fiber content aids in digestion, helps lower cholesterol and reduces the risk for developing heart disease, stroke and hypertension3.

Chia Seeds – Chia seeds contain a high level of soluble fiber, which helps slow down digestion and regulates blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber can help lower LDL cholesterol, reduce risk for cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Just three tablespoons of these seeds can provide 37-44% of the American Heart Association’s recommended amount of fiber per day. Two tablespoons of chia seeds provide a 3:1 ratio of omega-3:omega-6 FA. With 3x more omega-3 than omega-6, adding chia seeds to a diet can help an individual reach optimal health by balancing out the ratio of fatty-acid intake in one’s daily nutrition. To learn more about chia seeds, click here.

Collard Greens – This cruciferous veggie is high in vitamins A,C, K and folate. It contains antioxidants and provides us with anti-inflammatory benefits.

Greek Yogurt – Low in saturated fat and cholesterol, Greek yogurt makes for a heart-healthy snack. It’s high in protein and calcium, which can help you stay fuller longer, while strengthening your bones.

Olives – Monounsaturated fats in moderation are heart-healthy fats that help lower blood cholesterol levels4. A rich source of monounsaturated fats is olives, which have been shown to lower LDL (“bad cholesterol”) and increase or maintain HDL (“good cholesterol”).

Salmon – High in omega-3 fatty acid, DHA and protein, salmon helps lower blood pressure and reduces inflammation5.

Wheat germ – Packed with B vitamins, the nutrients found in the grain play a vital role in maintaining heart-healthy bodily functions. In addition to lowering the risk of heart disease, B vitamins like folate are especially for women of childbearing age as well as any woman eating too little veggies or fruits. As an excellent source of fiber, wheat germ helps control cholesterol.

6 Nutrition Trends of 2013

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia

These seeds are gaining even more popularity and are being called the “new flax seed”.  You can even find them in single serving pouches like you can nuts, etc. to make them easier to add to your meals and snacks.

Natural sugar “alternatives.”

Coconut sugar and coconut nectar are leading this battle. Coconut sugar comes from the nectar of coconut tree blossoms, but doesn’t taste like coconut. The sugar is simply the dehydrated form of coconut nectar. It may have slightly more vitamins and minerals (magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron and B vitamins) than white sugar.

Self Monitoring

Once again, fitness apps will influence consumers to utilize technology for tracking progress, motivation and guidance. Apps such as Nike Fuel and LarkLife are becoming vital parts of health and wellness for all ages as they offer not only personal fitness tracking but calorie counting and menu ideas as well.

Gluten-Free Foods

With over 11% of the US population suffers from a gluten allergy, becoming even more popular and common are gluten-free food products. Based on a survey from over 1,800 members of the American Culinary Foundation, the National Restaurant Association predicts annual menu trends, with gluten-free securing the same spot as in did in 2012, at number 8 on the list. Perhaps gluten free is not a fad but here to stay. Sorghum is a gluten-free whole grain with a neutral, slightly sweet flavor. It’s extremely versatile; it is expected to be in many products and on many restaurant menus in 2013. Experiment with naturally gluten-free grains like amaranth, brown rice, millet, oats, polenta, and quinoa, which have a variety of nutritional benefits and are delicious!

Juicing

With $5 billion in revenue this year and projected growth of four to eight percent, healthful, all-natural and raw fruit and vegetable juices (Organic Avenue, Cooler Cleanse, even Jamba Juice) will explode into the isles of mass supermarkets to offer customers the option of purchasing fresh pressed juices. Small shops are popping up everywhere, like Organic Avenue and Cooler Cleanse, specializing in fresh pressed juices.

A Simpler Life

School. Work. Family. Kids. Dating. Fitting in physical activity. When life gets busy, simple meals are a must. As consumers become more health conscious and saavy shoppers, companies are producing less processed and more wholesome ready-to-go foods. Grab and go items will have fewer ingredients to appeal to consumers, providing more fresh and simplistic meal and snack options. Natural and simple menus with few ingredients are going to gain in popularity as consumers are starting to realize that strict low carb and low fat diets are not always best.  Choosing high-quality calories and carbohydrates with more nutrition per bite, will be most important for achieving a healthy lifestyle. It’s not just about total calories, it’s about where those calories come from.

Happy Heart Month (and Day) Part 2

You need to love yourself, in order to take care of yourself. On this Valentine’s Day, learn to how to keep your heart healthy. Get you cholesterol and coconut questions answered!

By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE

Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services

www.MomDishesItOut.com

Q)   Does eating cholesterol really impact cholesterol level?

We have know for years that saturated fat is the true culprit to raising LDL production by our body. One should decrease their saturated fat intake to decrease their LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein- aka bad cholesterol). Many people have misunderstood this for years. The focus should not be on a cholesterol free product such as palm oil but rather a lower saturated fat and higher monounsaturated fat like almonds. Decreasing dietary cholesterol intake lowers your LDL about 3-5% where as decreasing your saturated fat intake decreases your LDL by 8-10% as reported by the National Cholesterol Education Program.

Q)   Will this depend on other nutrients that the food contains? If it’s not, what does impact cholesterol levels then?

Yes, levels of saturated fat, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, exercise, stress and genetics all effect our cholesterol levels. A favorable fat profile of a food should look like this >Monounsaturated fats> Polyunsaturated Fats> Saturated Fats (need more research as to which saturated fats may be more beneficial).

 Q)   What about coconut oil and is it true it may help you to lose weight?  

The American Dietetic Association does not recommend consuming tropical oils such as Coconut oil. According to the Natural Medicines Database, ”there is insufficient evidence to rate the effectiveness of coconut oil for weight loss, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, chronic fatigue, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and thyroid conditions.”

 Q)   From the types of saturated fats such as stearic acid, lauric acid, etc, are there any with health benefits?

Per the research I have found, there are not saturated fats with absolute health benefits. To be prudent, one should continue to limit their saturated fat intake at this time and replace them with unsaturated fats, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. For additional reference there is a chart that clearly identify the roles of saturated fat on medscape: Role of Different Dietary Saturated Fatty Acids for Cardiometabolic Risk, By David Iggman; Ulf Risérus Posted: 04/28/2011; Clin Lipidology. 2011;6(2):209-223. © 2011 Future Medicine Ltd.

 

 

Picture provided by: <p><a href=”http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=982″>Image: graur codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>

 

Happy Heart Health Month – Part One

OMGoodness there are so many mixed messages about heart health. Read on tho make sense of sugar and saturated fat as it pertains to our heart health. Lets prevent Cardiovascular Disease (aka CVD).

Q) There are experts who are now saying that the evidence between saturated fat and CVD may have been biased because research didn’t take into account the sugar content of the diet.  Is sugar the real culprit?

Added sugar is associated with increased TG levels and increased LDL cholesterol (hyperlipidemia being a risk factor for CVD). However, there is an inverse relationship with increased intake of healthier carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, meaning the more you eat these foods, the less likely you are to increase your risk for CVD.  Saturated fat remains a part of the picture. Now the question is which type of SFA may be more closely associated with the increased cholesterol-raising effect of cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors. More research is needed to clarify. Most importantly focus on including fruits, veggies and whole grains and limit added sugars.

 

Q) What is the role of saturated fat in CVD risk?

Saturated fat is associated with CVD. Studies show an increase in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol after eating a meal high in saturated fat. However, recent studies are examining the different roles of the specific types of saturated fats: Short chain, medium chain and long chain SFA.  This means continue to minimize your intake of saturated fat like the visual lard on a steak until more research is available. A simple guide: choose products with < 2 grams/ saturated fat per serving. Rather focus on including monounsaturated fats like olives and avocado. 

 

Q)  There are studies that show total blood cholesterol is not a reliable indicator of CVD. If it’s not, what are the indicators then?

Total Cholesterol is not a biomarker of CVD rather one’s ratio of Total Cholesterol to HDL ratio.  HDL also known as high density lipoprotein is the good cholesterol (h for helper) and LDL, low density lipoprotein (l for want less of) the bad cholesterol. The greater your HDL and the lower your LDL, the more favorable your cholesterol profile will be and the decreased chance of cardiovascular disease. Studies indicate a Low HDL, High LDL and High TG are associated with risk for CVD. You must ask the doctor for your cholesterol breakdown and the ratio with a goal < 5.  Always ask for a copy of your blood work.

 

Q)  If a higher sugar intake may be dangerous, why aren’t  triglycerides (blood levels) more important when assessing the risk of CVD, since this marker has a good correlation with simple carbohydrates intake?

TG’s are a good indicator of risk for CVD and it should be included in the lipid profile to assess for CVD risk. However, the ATP III report issued by the NIH, encourages using TG’s as a marker for other lipid and nonlipid risk factors that ultimately raise the risk for CVD. Ask Your medical doctor for your TG level and aim for < 150 mg/dl. 

 

Check back for Happy Heart Health Month Part 2 or like Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services on Facebook to get weekly nutrition updates.

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Are you at risk for CMR?

CMR is cardiometabolic risk. These risk factors help one to assess their overall risk for developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The markers include the following:

  • Obesity
  • High LDL cholesterol
  • Low HDL cholesterol
  • High Triglycerides
  • Physical inactivity
  • Inflammation
  • Hypertension (aka high blood pressure)
  • Smoking
  • Insulin Resistance

The presence of the markers alone and or with multiple risk factors increases your chances of disease. If you have one or more of these risk factors, identify what you can do to make a small realistic change. For example, can you start a walking regimen of ten minutes four days a week during your lunch hour? Another possible change to implement could be to decrease your saturated fat by choosing prepackaged goods with less than 2 grams saturated fat/serving. Making just one change can decrease multiple risk factors. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, feel empowered.

If you feel you need additional support, check out programs like BMIQ (www.BMIQ.com) that provide evidenced based nutrition and lifestyle online group education. If you prefer to work with an expert in a private setting, consider consulting a registered dietitian. Visit www.eatright.org and www.LauraCipulloLLC.com to choose a registered dietitian. You can even work with a RD individually online at www.youronlinedietitian.com.