Tag Archives: foods

Olive oil; Good for you, but don’t cook with it

When you think of the Mediterranean you think of beautiful beaches, rocky coastline, exotic locals with tan skin and healthy appetites. The Mediterranean diet has long been thought to promote a healthy lifestyle and long life. And one of the major components of this diet if olive oil.

Drizzle it over a salad or infuse it with herbs to make a dipping sauce for bread, olive oil is thought to have many heath benefits. In fact, a 2003 study from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that “participants who had the highest consumption of olive oil consumed less cereal and baked goods but more eggs and vegetables, and had a higher vitamin intake than those who consumed the least amount of olive oil.”  The oleic acid found in olive oil has also been the subject of expanding research when it comes to insulin resistance, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. “Oleic acid can directly alter the activity of certain cancer genes and appears to have anti-cancer effects that may be part of the Mediterranean diet’s health benefits. This primary MUFA in extra virgin olive oil may also help to lower a person’s risk of insulin resistance as well as favorably altering some of the blood fat patterns that can be associated with risk of cardiovascular disease,” according to World’s Healthiest Foods. Health and olive oil seem to go hand in hand.

When I first got on the Paleo Diet in January, I noticed that many guides and recipes warned me repeatedly not to cook with olive oil. I blindly followed, always saying I would research it later. As a student of journalism, it is unnatural for me to just blindly follow anything without investigating it further and double checking against different sources, especially since I am no food expert and merely an experimenter. So the thought continued ragging on me until today when I did looked into the matter further.

So why shouldn’t we cook with olive oil?

Each oil has a certain smoke point. A smoke point is the temperature at which visible gaseous vapor from the heating of oil becomes evident. Basically it’s a sign when the decomposition of oil begins to take place. Decomposition changes the  chemical makeup of the oil and can reduced flavor and nutritional value and also cause harmful cancer causing compounds, called oxygen radicals.

So what’s the smoke point of olive oil?

Interestingly enough, there are different smoke points for different types of olive oil. Ever wonder what the difference between extra virgin olive oil and refined oil is? So did I. According to WHF:

  • Extra-virgin: derived from the first pressing of the olives (has the most delicate flavor).
  • Fine virgin: created from the second pressing of the olives.
  • Refined oil: unlike extra-virgin and fine virgin olive oils, which only use mechanical means to press the oil, refined oil is created by using chemicals to extract the oil from the olives.
  • Pure oil: a bit of a misnomer, it indicates oil that is a blend of refined and virgin olive oils.

It’s important to know which kind you are working with because each have different smoke points. Refine oil has a higher smoke point. Unfortunately, companies list different smoke points on their labels, which range from 220F to437F.

I buy the Filippo Berio brand Extra Virgin Olive Oil. They recommend 82F is the perfect temperature to taste. Furthermore, the Extra Virgin Olive Oil is not exposed to any damaging heat or chemicals from refining and it has no artificial preservatives or flavors.

So what are the alternatives?

Instead of cooking with olive oil, try cooking with butter. A spray or just a plain stick will work. Also, coconut oil is another good, natural cooking solution. Still love the taste of olive oil? Try drizzling you sautéed vegetables with olive oil after you’ve prepared them. Or create a salad dressing or sauce with herbs to flavor your food.

And remember the closer you get to virgin, the purer it’ll be 😉

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Filed under Entertainment, Feature, Features, Fitness, Food, Health, Opinion, Paleo Diet, recipes

The true cost of unhealthy eating

A ferocious hunger gripped me as I looked inside of my bag for the salad I brought to work.

Damn! I had forgotten it on the kitchen table.

I work at a TV station, which requires more time out in the field doing interviews and covering events and less time sitting in a chair staring at a computer screen three steps away from a vending machine.

Since I started the paleo diet, I continued my healthy eating at work, packing a lunch, usually salad topped with homemade chicken salad and some almonds and spanish peanuts as a snack throughout the day. I noticed how much energy I had, how, even when I was hungry, I could still go, go, go. I was less cranky, more focused. My mind seemed less clouded.

Before I started the paleo diet, I would sit at a desk after lunch and get that”2:30 feeling” that is advertised on 5 hour energy drink commercials. My eyes would droop, my mind would wander, the front of my face would feel numb with sleepiness.

Unfortunately, the day I forgot my salad, the photographer and I stopped at Krystals on the way to an interview. I devoured three Krystal “chicks” which are chicken sandwich sliders. I thought the chicken was grilled, but it was fried. The sandwich was more bread and mayo than anything else.

I had instant satisfaction after I ate the “chicks.” Tummy full, I felt high off of my first bite of bread in several months.

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks; That 2:30 feeling. I fought to stay awake on the thirty minute drive to the interview. My mind seemed unclear, my thoughts would start and then trickle away into drowsiness. This was a feeling I hadn’t felt since the start of my diet.

I felt disgusting. This “food” I ate could hardly be called fuel. Yet people eat it everyday.

“Every day, 2.2 million Americans complain of being tired,” according to WebMD.

This is why.

Combined with alcohol and tobacco usage and not enough sleep, diet not only affects your waist size, it affects your mood.

It is a shackle that gratifies you instantly, addicts you, then abuses you.

“At least one-quarter of American adults eat fast food everyday,” Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, said in an interview with CBS.

 “In 1970, Americans spent about $6 billion on fast food; in 2000, they spent more than $110 billion. Americans now spend more money on fast food than on higher education, personal computers, computer software, or new cars. They spend more on fast food than on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos, and recorded music – combined,” he writes in Fast Food Nation.

Americans like it fast, easy and fried. But it is killing us.

About one-third of U.S. adults are overweight. But more shocking is that approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese, according the CDC.

An adult can make the choice to consume foods that are blatantly bad for them. But now, the younger generation is suffering because of the choice of the parents.

A study done by The New England Journal of Medicine reports that for the first time in two centuries, the current generation of children in America may have shorter life expectancies than their parents.

A McDonalds value menu cheeseburger may only cost $1. But  this is the true cost of unhealthy eating.

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Filed under Alcohol, Feature, Features, Food, Health, News, Opinion, Paleo Diet, People, Personal

Now that the food cops have spoken…

 When you think of opinion pieces or the editorial section of the newspaper do you think of it as a page for uppity journalists to rant and rave about issues that really piss them off, or piss off the white, middle-age male population they write too?

To tell you the truth, that’s exactly what I think of when I read the Op-Eds.

But an editPhillip Morris, The Plain Dealerorial written by Phillip Morris about the state of nutrition in inner cities and how we can legislate diets opened my eyes to editorials. They can be revolutionary.

Morris really drills home a point at the end of his opinion, “A healthy appetite can’t be legislated. But it can be taught.”

My advice, read his piece. It’s short, but might as well say a thousand words.

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Filed under Food, Health, Opinion, Personal

An aquarius can’t live without coffee

Happy birthday aquarius! I’ve already posted about the relationship that virgos and food share. So what foods does an aquarius love?

According to iVillage:

“Aquarius rules the olive tree, which works well for an Air Sign who wants to snack and run. They like a variety of strong flavours, including garlic and ginger, but basically they’ll eat almost anything, The Water Bearer would rather have takeaway than cook themselves or visit a restaurant.” 

Accroding to Astrology Recipes:

“Aquarians are fans of tart foods, especially lemon. They are the ones most likely to have a hi-tech kitchen and the trendiest dining furniture. Crystal or anything sparkly on the dinner table will appeal to Aquarius. 

Aquarians tend to go for food fads. But Aquarius is a fixed sign and often finds the tried and true preferable after sporadic phases of sampling eclectic food combinations.

Coffee is often a daily meal substitute – a routine that can last for years and is difficult for Aquarians to break. It might be better to occasionally substitute yogurt, kefir, or soy milks.

Aquarians maintain good health with nutritious and tasty appetizers and vegetable salads.

Aquarians should exclude all sweets – candy, cakes, and processed carbohydrates. A small amount of dark chocolate is acceptable. Yeast infections can be a symptom of too much sugar intake.

Aquarians prefer informal dining to fancy dinner parties. They aren’t impressed by Martha Stewart niceties and the extra touches that take a lot of time to prepare. Food is more important for how it tastes than for what it looks like.

Alcohol is destructive to an Aquarian’s nervous system. But a small amount of light beer or champagne and other drinks with carbonation may help calm the nerves.

Typical Aquarius Ailments:
Injuries and Ankle problems (edema), genital infections (too much sugar), poor circulation, varicose veins, blood disorders, nervousness and anxiety, lack of sleep.

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