The Real Heart Healthy Diet

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This topic is particularly important to me, as I think there is so much misinformation out there regarding heart health, and an optimal diet for heart health. Heart disease is one of the most wrongly treated diseases. Outdated recommendations are still being made by “authority” organizations and medical Doctors are still advising for eating nutrient void foods, avoiding healthy fats, as well as increasing grain consumption (which actually increases inflammation and decreases mineral absorption). In the past, I worked as an exercise physiologist in a cardiac rehabilitation clinic. I talked to patients all about the importance of avoiding saturated fats and cooking with polyunsaturated fats (PUFA oils) like canola oil, as well as eating a low-fat or fat-free diet. I use to make a canola oil pie crust and bring the patients homemade apple pie with this crust. This was the nutrition paradigm I was taught in school. Sadly, even though proven to be wrong in study after study, this information is still out there, and is still being presented as a “heart healthy” diet.

So what is the real way to help your heart function optimally through diet? Heart disease is known to be caused by inflammation. To protect your heart, you want to try to keep your body in an uninflamed state.

Let’s Learn a Little About Inflammation…

The body needs to be able to be both inflamed and uniflamed and this is done through the formation of prostoglandins. Prostoglandins are hormone-like substances that are made from essential fatty acids (EFA’s). Prostoglandin formation from omega 3 fatty acids, saturated fats, and omega 6 fatty acids help to keep the inflammation in the body balanced.

The difference between good and bad fats is not what you have been taught it to be.

Saturated fats are not “bad fats” and they are not the cause of heart disease. I think I may need to repeat this…Saturated.fats.are.not.bad.fats.

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This study done in 2009 pooled together data from 21 unique studies that included almost 350,000 people, about 11,000 of whom developed cardiovascular disease (CVD), tracked for an average of 14 years, and concluded that there is no relationship between the intake of saturated fat and the incidence of heart disease or stroke.

According to Dr James J DiNicolantonio (2014),  “Not only has the condemnation of saturated fats led to an increased consumption of carbohydrates, it has also led to several dietary guidelines recommending replacement of saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats, without specifying which polyunsaturated fatty acid (ie, Ω-3 vs Ω-6). The recommendation for increasing polyunsaturated fat stems from pooled analyses of data looking at increasing Ω-3 and Ω-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. However, a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials showed that replacing a combination of trans-fats and saturated fats with Ω-6 polyunsaturated fats (without simultaneously increasing Ω-3 fatty acids) leads to an increased risk of death.These results were corroborated when data were recovered from the Sydney Diet Heart Study and included in an updated meta-analysis.” Read the full piece here.

PROCESSED fats however, are bad fats.

Plastic bottle of cooking oilProcessed fats such as canola oil, shortenings, and vegetable oils are not in their inherent or natural form. They are heat and chemically treated thus destroying any “omega 3” properties that might have been in the original plant. They are unstable, and pro-inflammatory. They disrupt the prostoglandin balance in the body, and create…get ready for it… INFLAMMATION!

What is the root cause of heart disease again?

INFLAMMATION

So Why again is canola oil or vegetable oil bad for my heart?

Canola oil is a highly processed rancid oil. It is a chemically extracted oil, through the use of harsh solvents. Canola oil is genetically modified, and pesticide laden. Consuming these oils will actually contribute to inflammation, not reduce it.

According to Mark Sisson,

Once harvested and graded, seeds are heated to facilitate oil extraction. Most canola oil is chemically extracted using the harsh petroleum-derived solvent hexane. Even when expeller pressing is used, a process common to organic brands, the massive force of industrial presses still produces heat. True “cold-pressed” canola oil (extracted with millstones) does exist but can be hard to find and is more expensive.

Following extraction, canola oil must be de-gummed to remove unappealing solids that settle during storage. The process involves heat and sometimes the addition of acids. Next stop, the oil is then bleached and separated. Finally, the oil (known for its stench) must be deodorized through heating methods that use temperatures as high as 500 FahrenheitRead more here

 

What fats should I eat to keep my fatty acids balanced?

  • You want a nice mix of Omega 3’s, Omega 6’s, and saturated fats
  • Omega 6’s to omega 3’s should be 1:1.

Food Sources of Omega 3:

  • wild caught fish
  • grass-fed or pasture raised meats and eggs including beef
  • small amounts of nuts and seeds (most nuts are very high in omega 6 as well, so you do not want a staple diet of nuts, but rather in small amounts).

What about Omega 6?

Our typical diet is very high in Omega 6 fatty acids. We want to try to reduce the amount of Omega 6 fatty acids in our diet. Avoid all processed oils and try to keep nuts to small amounts.

 

Saturated Fat Sources to INCLUDE in a healthy diet:

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  • Coconut oil
  • Grass-fed butter or ghee
  • Palm oil
  • Animal Fats from pasture raised animals such as: tallow and lard

What’s the deal with cholesterol?

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  • All of the cells in your body need cholesterol.
  • Cholesterol metabolizes all hormones and fat soluable vitamins.
  • Your body manufactures most of it’s own cholesterol and a little bit comes from food.
  • Cholesterol forms and maintains cell wall structures.
  • Cholesterol is used by the nerve cells for insulation.
  • The liver uses cholesterol to produce bile.
  • Cholesterol is also needed for your body to make Vitamin D.
  • Much of what you may think about cholesterol is wrong.
  • Cholesterol is found in the arteries, but it is mistaken as the culprit in heart disease. Cholesterol travels to arteries in order to heal the body–as a  “patch” or “bandage” to the lesions caused by underlying inflammation. This underlying inflammation is from a diet high in inflammatory foods likes sugars, processed grains, and oxidized oils.

 

What are the real underlying causes of Heart Disease?

  • inflammation
  • adrenal issues from stress
  • sugar imbalance from high carbohydrate and low fat diet
  • poor mineral intake or absorption
  • fatty acid imbalance
  • leaky gut
  • thyroid issues
  • depression/anxiety
  • obesity
  • lack of movement

 

What should my “heart healthy diet” look like?

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It shouldn’t look like a “diet”, but rather nourishing your body with nutrient-dense real foods most of the time!

  • Try to get a good mix of healthy saturated animal fats, as well as monounsaturated fats (like olive oil, and avocado oil). Use saturated fats for high heat cooking, and pressed olive oil for light sauteeing or cold use.
  • Eat wild caught fish, like salmon and sardines, as well as oysters (oysters are an excellent source of minerals).
  • Eat pasture raised animals (animals out eating their natural diet) such as beef and pasture raised chicken, including pasture raised eggs. Animals out eating their natural diet of grass are much higher in Omega 3 fatty acids, and contain CLA, a potent cancer fighter.
  • Avoid processed foods…foods that come in a box or package and are made with canola oil, shortening, or other highly processed oils.
  • Don’t fear eggs. Don’t fear animal fats from pasture raised animals. These myths have been proven wrong.
  • Manage your stress levels through yoga, mindfulness, and meditation.
  • Try to get adequate sleep.
  • Work to heal your gut through avoiding processed foods, and consuming fermented foods such as raw sauerkraut, fermented beets, fermented carrots, kefir, or kombucha tea.
  • Use your body! Get up and Move.
  • Get outdoors, and connect with nature.

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About Kathryn:

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Kathryn Kos is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)  through The Nutritional Therapy Association, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor through The University of San Diego. Her undergraduate degree is in Movement Science from Westfield State College. Her Master’s degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling from Springfield College. She specialize in healing digestion, balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones, and autoimmune conditions.

Kathryn offers worldwide skype consultations! 

My Services

Contact Me: primalblissnutrition@gmail.com

 

Sweet Potato Tallow Fries with Sea Salt and Coconut Vinegar

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If you are craving fries but do not want the bad oils (vegetable oils, hydrogenated oils, soy oils etc as typically used in restaurant french fries) you might want to try cooking in tallow! Tallow is a stable, healthy saturated fat. It is rendered beef fat. You just want to make sure you get it from a reputable source. I tried Fatworks kettle rendered grass-fed tallow, and I am impressed with the quality of this product!

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You can saute and cook anything in tallow. It is great for roasted vegetables as well! Here are some tallow health benefits:

Tallow has a high smoke point! What this means is it won’t release damaging free radicals (that can create inflammation in the body like vegetable oils) when heated at high temps.

Grass-fed tallow is high in CLA, which is protective in the body against cancer.

Tallow is brain-food! Saturated fats help insulate the brain and protect the neurons.

Saturated fats like tallow help keep your hormones balanced, helps regulate blood, and helps keep you satiated.

 

For the sweet potato spiral fries I used my new vegetable spiralizer which I absolutely love!

 

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My boys helped to turn the handle and we spiral cut 2 sweet potatoes!

 

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Then we heated up some tallow over med/high heat in a dutch oven. I used a good amount in order to deep fry the fries (I would say a good couple of inches deep of hot oil). I fried a small amount at a time, turning them a couple of times until crispy!

 

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Joshua and his friend carefully helped monitor them 🙂

 

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Once done we removed the fries from the oil and sprinkled with sea salt and coconut vinegar. You can season them however you like. Next time I am going to do a bbq seasoning mix!

 

 

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Then we placed them in these cool french fry cones and the kiddos enjoyed their fries!

 

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I’m looking forward to cooking more creations with my tallow, and having more fun with my spiralizer!

 

Looking for kiddo school lunch and snack ideas? Check out my e-book Joshua’s Primal Lunchbox!

 

Don’t Be Afraid Of Saturated Fats!

This is a follow -up on my post: Side Effects From Eating a Low-Fat Diet

I discussed some side effects you may experience when you cut good fats out of your diet. However, I want to be more specific about the types of fats that are needed for your body, and the types you should avoid. Not all fats support your body’s ability to function, and some of these highly processed and manufactured fats can damage your body. There has been so much wrong information out there over the past generation, spread through the media and health-care professionals. It can be difficult to understand and navigate.

There are different types of fats depending on the number of hydrogen bonds in the fat molecule. The more hydrogen bonds, the more saturated and stable the fat is. Stable means that the fat does not oxidize easily releasing free radicals. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and do not go rancid-or break down when exposed to elements of light, oxygen and heat as polyunsaturated fats do.

My goal here is to help you navigate the world of fats, and gain a better understanding of which fats to consume, and which to avoid. Here are the different words you might hear associated with fats, and what these words mean:

 Saturated Fats:

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  • Saturated fats are solid at room temperature.
  • Contrary to what you’ve probably heard, these are the most beneficial fats for our body. These fats are fully saturated with hydrogen bonds (NOT to be confused with hydrogenated oils).
  • These fats are stable, and do not easily oxidize (break down) or go rancid.
  • Saturated fats include fats such as lard, tallow, butter, suet, ghee, coconut oil, palm oil.
  • Saturated fats are beneficial to the body-these fats insulate myelin in the brain (memory, mood stability, alertness), strengthen the immune system and help regulate hormones.

 Monounsaturated Fats (aka MUFA’s):

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  • Monounsaturated fats have one double bond in the fatty acid chain.
  • Monounsaturated fats have a lower melting point than saturated fats, but a higher melting point than polyunsaturated fats.
  • Monounsaturated fats can go rancid/breakdown/oxidize easier than saturated fats.
  • If consumed in an oxidative state, these oils can cause inflammation in the body. Therefore you would only want to use these oils for low to no heat and cold uses, and make sure you purchase cold-pressed oils.
  • You would want to store them in a dark place.
  • Monounsaturated fats include olive oil and avocado oil.
  • Monounsaturated fats also make up part of the fats in meats (another reason not to overcook or burn meats), and are found in some nuts like macadamia nuts.

 Polyunsaturated Fats (aka PUFA’s):

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  • Poly (many) of the bonds are unsaturated with hydrogen.
  • Polyunsaturated oils are liquid at room temperature and in the refrigerator.
  • Polyunsaturated oils include: vegetable oils and industrial seed oils, such canola, corn, soy, sunflower, cottonseed, and safflower.
  • Polyunsaturated oils are highly processed.
  • These polyunsaturated seed oils are very high in omega 6 fatty acids and low in omega 3’s.
  • Heat, light, and oxygen break these oils down and render them chemically unstable. The volatile chemical structure (from the process of being heat extracted releasing free-radicals) can wreak havoc on the body at a cellular level, and cause chronic inflammation…the root of modern diseases.
  • These oils are not stable.
  • Contrary to what you might have heard, these oils should be avoided! It is not easy to avoid them when you go out to eat, but don’t buy them! These oils are also found in packaged processed foods like potato chips-including those you buy at the “health food” store.

For more info on polyunsaturated fats (PUFA’s):

http://raypeat.com/articles/nutrition/oils-in-context.shtml#.UVKouM1x34A.facebook

http://chriskresser.com/how-too-much-omega-6-and-not-enough-omega-3-is-making-us-sick

http://thankyourbody.com/vegetable-oils/

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/polyunsaturated-fat/#axzz2OMW3AqGx

Hydrogenated Oils:

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  • Hydrogenated oils are chemically altered fats-these oils are high heat treated and processed to change them from a liquid state to a solid state.
  • Hydrogen is added to these oils to make them solid.
  • Examples include margarine, benecol, earth balance, “better than butter” and Crisco.
  • These chemically altered oils should be avoided.

THIS explains how hydrogenated oils are created and how they affect the body.

“Let’s take hydrogenated oils and see what this substance really is and why it’s so incredibly bad for you. Hydrogenated oils are oils that are often healthy in their natural state, but are quickly turned into poisons through the manufacturing and processing they undergo. They take these naturally healthy oils such as palm, kernel, soybean, corn oil or coconut oil and they heat it anywhere from five hundred to one thousand degrees under several atmospheres of pressure.

They then inject a catalyst into the oil for several hours. The catalyst is typically a metal such a nickel, platinum or even aluminum. As this bubbles up into the oil the molecular structure changes and increases in density and rearranges it’s molecules so that instead of a liquid at room temperature we now have either semi-solid or solid oil. This creates either partially hydrogenated or fullyhydrogenated oils.

The molecules in this new product are now closer to cellulose or plastic than to oil. In fact hydrogenated oil is only one molecule away from being plastic. When you eat anything containing this material, just as the oil is now thicker and more viscous (dense), so too does your blood become thicker and more viscous right along with it. The heart now has to work so much harder to pump blood throughout the system. This is one of the major ways that consuming hydrogenated oils contributes to high blood pressure.”

Read More: http://www.naturalnews.com/024694_oil_food_oils.html#ixzz2OPsEaGwE

Cholesterol:

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  • All of the cells in your body need cholesterol.
  • Cholesterol metabolizes all hormones and fat soluable vitamins.
  • Your body manufactures most of it’s own cholesterol and a little bit comes from food.
  • Cholesterol forms and maintains cell wall structures.
  • Cholesterol is used by the nerve cells for insulation.
  • The liver uses cholesterol to produce bile.
  • Cholesterol is also needed for your body to make Vitamin D.
  • Much of what you may think about cholesterol is wrong.
  • Cholesterol is found in the arteries, but it is mistaken as the culprit in heart disease. Cholesterol travels to arteries in order to heal the body–as a  “patch” to the lesions caused by underlying inflammation. This underlying inflammation is from a diet high in inflammatory foods likes sugars, processed grains, and oxidized oils.

For more information on the truth about cholesterol:

http://www.westonaprice.org/cardiovascular-disease/myths-a-truths-about-cholesterol

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/22/debunking-the-science-behind-lowering-cholesterol-levels.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/08/10/making-sense-of-your-cholesterol-numbers.aspx

Over the past generation we have heard plenty about “good” fats and “bad” fats. Saturated fats were (and often still are based on faulty information) placed in the “bad” fat category because it was thought to be associated with atherosclerosis (thickening of the arteries due to heart disease). This saturated fat theory is all based on an epidemiology study (a “study” that basically asks people to fill out a survey), and many factors were not taken into consideration, including the inflammatory foods present in the diet.

According to Mary Enig, PhD and Sally Fallon (The Truth About Saturated Fats Parts 1-3)

“These “experts” assure us that the lipid hypothesis is backed by incontrovertible scientific proof. Most people would be surprised to learn that there is, in fact, very little evidence to support the contention that a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fat actually reduces death from heart disease or in any way increases one’s life span. Consider the following:

Before 1920 coronary heart disease was rare in America; so rare that when a young internist named Paul Dudley White introduced the German electrocardiograph to his colleagues at Harvard University, they advised him to concentrate on a more profitable branch of medicine.

The new machine revealed the presence of arterial blockages, thus permitting early diagnosis of coronary heart disease. But in those days clogged arteries were a medical rarity, and White had to search for patients who could benefit from his new technology. During the next forty years, however, the incidence of coronary heart disease rose dramatically, so much so that by the mid fifties heart disease was the leading cause of death among Americans.

Today heart disease causes at least 40% of all US deaths. If, as we have been told, heart disease results from the consumption of saturated fats, one would expect to find a corresponding increase in animal fat in the American diet. Actually, the reverse is true. During the sixty-year period from 1910 to 1970, the proportion of traditional animal fat in the American diet declined from 83% to 62%, and butter consumption plummeted from eighteen pounds per person per year to four.

During the past eighty years, dietary cholesterol intake has increased only 1%. During the same period the percentage of dietary vegetable oils in the form of margarine, shortening and refined oils increased about 400% while the consumption of sugar and processed foods increased about 60%.”

Read more: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2002/08/17/saturated-fat1.aspx

More on the truth about saturated fats: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/saturated-fat-healthy/#axzz2OMW3AqGx

 In a nutshell:

  • Avoid vegetable oils such as corn, soy, and canola oil-these oils are also found in packaged pretzels and chips.
  • Avoid hydrogenated oils like margarine and Crisco-these oils are also found in many processed snacks.

  • Use olive oil cold or for low heat cooking.

  • Cook with stable saturated fats such as butter (from grass-fed cows is best), coconut oil, tallow, and lard-don’t be afraid of saturated fats!

 

* Please note: This is a personal blog. I am not a Doctor or a Dietician. All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.