Is coconut oil good or bad?

Is coconut oil good or bad?

I had a relaxing evening planned last night.  Just myself, daddy, and an episode of House of Cards while snacking on these treats packed with good ol’ coconut oil (or is it as healthy as we thought?).  I just had a bit of work to do, launching our 6-Day Picky Healthy Eater Challenge and setting up new families for the summer session of the Picky Eater Protocol.  Then I was looking forward to some downtime.  But when this article landed in my inbox and this one popped up in my Facebook Group suggesting coconut oil is unhealthy, my plans changed. Health-minded parents were now doubting whether coconut oil was good or bad for them, and for a very good reason. These articles did a good job of sounding alarm bells.  After all, how can we ignore a heading like “Coconut Oil - as unhealthy as beef fat…” or dispute statements like this: According to the AHA, 82% of the fat in coconut oil is saturated. That’s more than in butter (63%), beef fat (50%) and pork lard (39%). And, like other saturated fats, studies show it can increase “bad” cholesterol. So as soon as I finished my “picky eater” work for the night, I immediately switched into defense mode, consolidating my research to provide peace of mind for families (and my own!). Here are my reasons for continuing to consume coconut oil DAILY (despite the fear mongering happening around us).   A few quick terms first: CVD = Cardiovascular Disease SFA = Saturated Fatty Acids (in coconut oil, butter, meat, etc) PUFA = Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (in corn oil, soybean oil, etc)...
40 Healthy Crunchy Foods for Kids

40 Healthy Crunchy Foods for Kids

I was just working on a family’s protocol offering up recommendations for healthier “crunchy” foods, and thought “I need to share this!”   I was going to squeeze it into my Free Picky Eating Webinar coming up, but it’s already a full hour of useful tips, there wasn’t much room/time left.  So here I am with my list of 40 healthy crunchy foods for kids! Most kids do very well with crunchy foods.  Especially picky eaters. When Sienna went through her earlier phases of extreme picky eating, crunchy foods were a staple.  If I steered into the territory of mushy foods (like muffins) or slimy foods (like yogurt) it was anxiety-provoking.  I had to prepare myself for a lot of gagging, and even vomitting.  Nope…those days were not fun. But here we are today, with a little girl who had my homemade pumpkin seed & zucchini crackers for breakfast, with hazelnut butter, and some coconut yogurt.  No gagging and no tears.  I NEVER thought things would change, but with some tweaks and the Picky Eater Protocol we completely turned things around.  She is a different child at meals and stress is long gone. Why children crave crunchy foods? SENSORY PREFERENCES Picky eaters like my daughter in her earlier years, tend to be selective with food because of their sensory preferences.  For instance, a child can be under sensitive  or over sensitive to sensory input like smell, taste and texture.   When we are under sensitive, we can’t process sensory input from food properly or feel softer textures in our mouth (think of it as if the sensation in our mouth being numbed).  When sensations are numbed, we would avoid foods like yogurt, bread, etc. and instead develop a preference for crunchier foods.  Sienna...
What’s your PMS type?

What’s your PMS type?

So not fair!  After birthing a baby, suffering through chapped nipples, and surviving (hardly) sleep deprivation, mothers should NOT have to deal with this PMS BS.  Right?   The persistent headaches, debilitating cramps, and insatiable cravings – every. single. month. Until menopause?  No thanks! Did you know there were different PMS types?  More on this below. Raising kids is hard enough without the added PMS symptoms. How can we be calm and collected, or ‘parent peacefully’ when all we really want to do is curl up in a ball (with a bag of salty chips, and maybe some mint ice cream too). Being a Nutritionist, I see enough clients come to be with PMS symptoms among other challenges.  I feel their pain as if it’s my own.  But as they’ve witnessed, PMS does not have to be your normal. Let’s start to nip it in the bud, starting with some PMS 101…   So what’s your PMS Type?   When you have a PMS chat with your girlfriend, you’ll realize this time of the month doesn’t look the same for all of us.  You may crave chocolate like it’s nobody’s business.  She might cry at the sight of spilt milk. PMS manifests in different ways depending on what’s happening in your body.   As I explain to clients, there are actually 4 PMS types or categories (some experts argue there’s 5). Where do you fall? PMS Types Potential Causes  Symptoms Incidence of women PMS-A  ANXIETY High estrogen Low progesterone Difficulty sleeping Tense feelings Irritability Clumsiness Mood swings 65-75% PMS-C CRAVINGS Hypoglycemia Increased insulin (especially in early part of cycle) Hormonal regulation Carb & sweets cravings Cravings for salt Increased appetite Headaches Fatigue, fainting...
3 reasons nutritional yeast is awesome for families

3 reasons nutritional yeast is awesome for families

Nutritional what?! I first heard about nutritional yeast a few years ago from one of my vegan friends.  She was talking about the cheesiest, most delicious mac and cheese that she had just eaten. I was totally confused: cheesy vegan mac and cheese? Neither the word “nutritional” nor “yeast” made my mouth water.  I started probing her with a laundry list of questions and I have to say, I’m glad that I did.  Today, nutritional yeast is a staple in our cupboards and one that I don’t often run out of. There are so many reasons nutritional yeast is awesome for families, especially those with a dairy or lactose intolerance - you’ll get the benefits of the cheesy flavour without the discomfort afterwards. What is nutritional yeast? A deactivated yeast and fungus (it tastes better than it sounds, I promise!) Produced by culturing the yeast with a mixture of sugar cane and/or beet molasses.  After 7 days, it is harvested, deactivated by pasteurization, dried and packaged. Bakers yeast and nutritional yeast are not created equally!  Nutritional yeast is rich in vitamins and minerals, whereas bakers yeast can deplete the body of B vitamins and other nutrients. And nutritional yeast won’t leaven a loaf of bread like bakers yeast does. 3 reasons nutritional yeast is awesome for families (and kids) Don’t let the fact that it resembles fish food deter you from enjoying this nutrient dense food. Rich in Folate (vitamin B9) - 530 micrograms of folate per 1/2 tablespoon Pregnant and breast feeding mamas have a higher risk of experiencing folate deficiency and should be particularly careful to get enough in their diets. ...
How to cut out sugar for good (5 things you need to do)

How to cut out sugar for good (5 things you need to do)

New Years is a motivating time to make some changes to our life - and health.  So I ran a poll with the moms who follow me and asked what they wanted to change in 2017.   Virtually every response fell into two categories: I want to be better at meal planning.   I want to cut out sugar for my family. I feel you on #1.  Meal planning is so rewarding (when you can find the time to do it).  Here’s what I have for you: To DIY, read this post: How to Meal Plan (with tips for Picky Eaters) For help, grab this 5-Day Meal Plan for Families with “Picky Eaters” Any check out this Meal Planning Bundle from my friends at Meal Garden too! I also feel your pain on #2.  Sugar. Ugh. Isn’t it incredible how a substance like this controls so many of us.  This holiday, I had a internal debate at every party over whether I should have that Santa-shaped Shortbread Cookie or itsy bitsy slice of Tiramisu.  It wasn’t difficult to ryhme up reasons to devour that sugar-laden desserts: Why not?  Everyone else was eating them It was just one small cookie/slice (at least that’s what I told myself.  It always ends up being 2) I will workout super hard tomorrow It’s the holidays and I deserve a cookie! But of course, being a nutritionist, I knew all the reasons why I should stay the heck away from that Tiramisu. Why sugar is WORSE than smoking (yup) Cutting out sugar is one of the hardest resolutions one can make.  After all it’s an addictive substance!   You and I will need some help. The hard facts in this article by...
What Makes Cheddar Cheese Orange?

What Makes Cheddar Cheese Orange?

Last week in my Facebook Group I posted a photo of a child’s lunch that included cheddar cheese.  As I was brewing topics for my next blog post, a question popped up in the comment’s section of my Facebook post: “Doesn’t orange cheese have food colouring in it?” A great question indeed. That’s when this blog post was born. Cheese makes a regular appearance in children’s lunches and snacks.  It’s an easy protein source for parents and easy to like for kids. I’m a secret cheese lover myself (an old sheep cheese goes oh so well with wine, right moms?).  Although, I eat cheese and drink wine very rarely these days, I still have an interest in what cheese we are eating, when we eat it.   I also want the families I work with to know what’s going into their food (especially those with “picky eaters” who have a limited repertoire of foods). Let’s start here… But isn’t cheese naturally white? Actually, it *should be* yellow. Before the days of factory farming, cows actually roamed outdoors and ate grass. The result was a more yellow milk in the spring and summertime because of the beta carotene present in fresh grass.   During the winter however, dried grass (has lower amounts of beta carotene) was their primary source of nutrition.   Hence, these cows produced a milk that is paler in colour. The more yellow the cheese, the better it was. That was the perception.   The cheese industry caught on to this and started adopting ways to give their cheese a darker hue throughout the year, by adding colour to cheese.  A tradition that continues today. The history behind cheddar cheese is deeper than this, but we are not...