Coconut oil health benefits….going mainstream, part 1 of 2

Thanks to a GSG reader for sending this New York Times article. A lot of the things I’ve been teaching for a long time are starting to go mainstream, about the power of coconut oil–which I believed only when I found a dozen miraculous health benefits of it for myself. This blog entry isn’t about me, but here’s one of my personal health benefits: I used to have circulation problems (cold hands and feet all winter) and that COMPLETELY disappeared when I started using coconut oil.

I read a case study by Dr. Mary Newport recently, about her husband, an accountant, who tragically began showing signs of Alzheimer’s in his early 50’s and was quite debilitated by age 58. Dr. Newport, a neonatologist, studied drug trials, including one drug in development called Ketasyn that leverages MCT, or medium chain triglycerides. That is a compound found in very few foods but abundantly in extra-virgin coconut oil.

Dr. Newport discusses many of the health benefits of MCT oil as documented in the scientific literature, including benefits for weight loss, epilepsy, cancerous tumors, and brain recovery after oxygen loss (newborns through adults). What these nutritional-deficit issues have in common is that cells can use compounds in coconut oil for fuel in the absence of carbohydrates. This makes it a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s) disease.

She discusses the same thing I often say, that the liver metabolizes coconut oil not precisely like a fat, but more like a hybrid between a carb and a fat. Those who are insulin resistant may function much better with these medium-chain fatty acids in their diet in significant quantities.

(Dr. Newport is awaiting the testing and the approval for the DRUG using coconut oil’s MCT. On a logic level, I can’t comprehend why you’d want to synthesize a component of a real food, when the food itself is nourishing in ways that science may never be able to understand because of the complexity and interplay of so many synergistic factors in the whole food.)

Dr. Newport’s case study paper references 23 studies, including some on how infant formula attempts to mimic human breast milk. Breast milk is also high in medium chain triglycerides including the powerful immune support LAURIC ACID. This is a GSG theory, and you’re welcome to dispute it, but those isolates, in formula, are never going to be as good as the complete source they came packaged in, in the first place. (If so, God would have created the separate parts rather than the complete source.)

So then Dr. Newport reports on the “obvious marked improvement” of her husband’s cognitive functions. She shows his drawings of a clock, the day before starting coconut oil, two weeks after, and 37 days after. The first one is completely disorganized and resembles a clock in no way. A few small circles and four random numbers on the page. The second one has the lines in place and the numbers in the correct places. The third one is clear and organized.

Moreover, she documents the improvements in daily life as she observed her husband’s communication, gait, and ability to work and organize himself.

More tomorrow.

Introducing the Cornia Family: GreenSmoothieGirl Makeover [part 4 of 4]

Our third selection is the video that moved me to tears as I watched it. You know how I feel about young moms. You knew I’d pick a young mom. This was our most difficult choice–but BlendTec and I were unanimous with each of the three picks.

Samantha Cornia is only 25 years old and has four children. Everyone in her home struggles with MRSA infections–staph that is immune to antibiotics. That’s because they’re constantly on antibiotics and other prescriptions, like steroids.

You’ll hear more of her story as we release segments of their journey, on YouTube and here. Her 3rd child was born with all her organs outside her body. When my baby was very ill, a woman named Ginger Ford whose son had the same syndrome, spent a year pumping breast milk while her baby was in the NICU having many surgeries to get his organs put inside his body. She gave all of that breast milk to me. (I was under a lot of stress and was very underweight, 115 lbs. at over 5’8″. My own milk disappeared and my baby refused most foods and was allergic to the rest, like Samantha’s baby.) Largely thanks to her, my baby recovered and thrived. I told Ginger that if I could ever do anything for her–anything at all–I want that opportunity, because she helped save my baby’s life in a very intimate way.

As I watched Samantha’s video, I wrote in my notes, “She reminds me of me. When I was her age.” Very ill. So tired of drugging my babies and watching them struggle. Desperate for something else, something better than drugs and fatigue.

What a crucible for powerful change that awful place in my life turned out to be. Sometimes we have to hit rock bottom before we climb out.

Samantha’s youngest is 14 mo. old and has massive food allergies and won’t eat. He’s on lots of steroids and recently had an upper GI and colonoscopy–his esophagus is swollen and raw and he cries constantly. He falls asleep at night clutching his throat. He is a heartbreakingly gorgeous little boy, and you will fall in love with him on film.

I am ecstatic to work with the Cornia family of Lehi, Utah. They are big soda drinkers, and until attending my Junk Food Dude book reading last weekend, they’d never had a green smoothie.

They don’t generally eat whole foods. Samantha’s parents struggle with obesity, and she was raised on what she calls “Mormon Mom casseroles.” When a friend suggested a few years ago that she visit GreenSmoothieGirl.com, she said, “Green Smoothie Gross!”

Now Samantha finds herself in a very different place in her life. Devastating health problems have humbled her, and she finds her mind and heart open to change.

(Make a mental note of that. Those who mock you now, for taking a whole-foods path, may be on your porch begging for mentoring a few years from now. When they’re ready, they know where to go.)

Please stay tuned for more from the Cornias, and watch their sweet video here.

American processed-food outreach knows no bounds

I seem to be rather clumsy. First of all, I’ve been initiated as a cyclist:

After three months and about 1,000 miles, I finally wrecked my bike. Thanks to a kid changing lanes as I hauled down the canyon at 15+ mph. (Kid was fine.)

See the photo of us on the balcony (on our cruise vacation we just got back from). You can see the road rash on my shoulder. (I have some other banged-up parts that don’t show. Ow.)

Emma and I may or may not have sung karaoke Love Story (Taylor Swift) with an audience of several hundred and a live band including backup singer, see photo below. I may or may not choose to put the video up on YouTube.

But then I was swimming in Cabo a few days ago, where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific at a place called The Arch, see photo of Emma below. (Sea lions! Sea turtle! Many beautiful fishies!) And I accidentally got smacked into a reef because I was checking out said beautiful fishies and apparently got too close just as a wave came in.

Anyway, my arm was all cut up. I don’t think my fellow passengers minded, since they figured THEY’D be safe in a shark attack. But the inflatable-boat captain who drove us out to Chileno Bay gave me a lecture, probably for everyone’s benefit, about staying away from the reef.

That’s why we call it ECO SNORKELING, he said.

Well, that’s just rich, I thought. A lecture on keeping the wildlife healthy, from a guy dumping Frito-Lay products by the bagfuls to feed the fish, to entertain the tourists. (Not that I didn’t feel guilty for donating part of my forearm to the coral–I very much regret any harm I may have unintentionally inflicted on it.)

Turns out that saltwater fish feel the same way about Frito-Lay that folks around here do. It was an all-out feeding frenzy.

I’ve been in over 20 countries in the past 3 years. In December I go to Africa. One thing that strikes me in my extensive travels is the Monroe Doctrine of the vast American processed-food empire. American outreach–the worst parts of our culture inflicted on helpless others–knows no bounds. I thought I’d seen it all in rural Vietnam when I saw a two-year old with black, rotted teeth, riding a tricycle and drinking Coke. I’ve seen impoverished Mexican mothers feeding their newborn infants Similac–no doubt given them free in the hospital to encourage them to bottle-feed rather than breastfeed.

And now we’re feeding the tropical fish fried corn chips.

bowling and baby food

Caveat about this post (two days after I wrote it): I mean NO disrespect to any parent. Parents are just doing their best! My intent is always to expose the refined-foods industries and their products for what they are, to raise awareness and help others get educated earlier than I did. In about a week, I will post a blog about my oldest child and the garbage I fed him. When I had my first baby, I was young and actually believed that because the jars were pasteurized, they were safer than raw fruit was! So, I cast no stones here ……

So I went bowling with my kids, nieces, nephews, siblings and parents last night.

(Here’s what we often get when we’re out, that’s really healthy. This will mean something only to those in Utah/Idaho. Café Rio or Costa Vida, whole-wheat tortilla in a vegetarian salad. No rice, chip strips, or cheese. Extra romaine, pico de gallo, black beans, and guacamole.)

When we were hanging out afterward, I noticed my sister-in-law taking little things out of a container and putting them on my baby nephew’s tongue. The container said Parents’ Choice Little Puffs.

I am always fascinated by how products have changed since I was a mom of babies. That chair that vibrates your baby to sleep–where was that 15 years ago?!

Anyway, I asked her what the point of these little things are. They look like the marshmallows in Lucky Charms but not as brightly colored.

She and my brother said they help keep the baby quiet when you’re out with him. They melt on his tongue so they can’t choke a breastfeeding baby who is unaccustomed to food.

You get this stuff at Walmart. (But please don’t.)

It has all kinds of synthetic stuff in it that I cannot pronounce. Like cyanocobalamin. And pyridoxine hydrochloride. But it also has “natural strawberry flavor.” That’s comforting, right? Because it’s NATURAL! (What does natural mean? Pretty much nothing, according to the law. Refined sugar is technically “natural” because it derives from actual food if you trace it back far enough–cane juice being a food.)

The packaging touts that the product is “Naturally Flavored! Whole Grains and Real Fruit!”

Well, the second ingredient is sugar. And there’s lots of processed stuff in it, even if there’s a pinch of whole grains and a pinch of something that started as a fruit.

I’m underwhelmed on behalf of babies everywhere. They need nutrition, real food, more than anyone.

Young moms make tough decisions about their babies’ nutrition!

I received this email from a health care practitioner who is a young mother. As I replied to her, it occurred to me that maybe these comments would be helpful to other young mothers who read this blog. (Similar content is found elsewhere on the site and in my writing.) Please do not consider this medical advice. It is my opinion based on my research and having raised four babies of my own. I do not suggest things regarding raising children that I don’t follow. But always, always follow your instincts as a mother. I believe those promptings to be God-given and more powerful and trustworthy than anything an M.D. (or any health care practitioner) will tell you. (That said, do your homework and listen to experts. Be selective about which “experts” you trust.)

Also, a heartfelt apology to those who don’t receive personal answers to emails because I get so many–I so, so wish I had time to answer them all like I did in the beginning, please forgive me.

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: My husband and I have recently started having green smoothies each day and we are feeling great. I have an almost 8 month old daughter, who currently nurses and eats avocado (almost 1 a day). We would like to start some other foods with her, but I’ve been  holding off as I don’t want to do those recommended by my  pediatrician and conventional books.

I read somewhere on your site that babies have difficulty  digesting cooked food for a  while. I would love to start her off on raw greens, spinach, kale, etc.  Do you think this is safe? I think the reason that most people give for the recommendation that all baby food be cooked is because  raw food could be contaminated with bacteria and cooking kills that. What do you think about this? She’s  eating the avocado raw and many books say raw bananas are fine, maybe because those are both contained within a skin? You also wrote about doing mostly veggies the first few years and then fruits, which I love! I think that makes so much sense. I guess my bottom line question is: are the raw veggies safe or should I cook the greens?

I’d  REALLY appreciate your feedback on this. I am a first time mother and a bit tentative about some of these decisions. My daughter’s health is literally the most important thing in the world to me.

Thanks so much for the help and inspiration you have given to me and my husband.

Much love, Heather

Answer: Heather, avocadoes are beautiful for babies (wonderful fats for brain development, easily digested, excellent enzyme profile, and higher in calories).   And yes, plant foods encased in skin are the safest of all. I would go to bananas next, not just because they’re in skin, but also because they’re enzyme rich, higher in calories than most fruits, and nutritionally powerful.   Then see if you can find raw goat’s milk.   Make it into kefir or  yogurt (see Ch. 8 of 12 Steps). Then try a simple green smoothie with few ingredients, teaching her to drink from a straw, or making it thicker and feeding it with a spoon.

But the longer you can nurse and avoid food, and the more of her calories she gets from your breast milk, the better–up to 18 months! (That said, don’t agonize about feeding her “regular” food–just make it wonderful whole foods!) If you do feed her cooked stuff, like brown rice or quinoa, do so in a meal WITH raw foods containing enzymes, like a green smoothie.

People are worried about contamination with bacteria, but the older your baby is, the less I would worry about this, especially as she gets older and especially if you have endowed your daughter with a healthy digestive tract by nursing her.   I personally worry more about denatured foods gumming up her little digestive tract (refined grain-based “cereals,” cooked veg/fruit baby foods, etc.) and forcing her body to produce lots of mucous to flush it out, than the fact that natural foods sometimes contain bacteria that, 99.9+% of the time, is not only common and safe, but also helps develop a healthy immune system.   Use organic produce for smaller babies/children as much as you can, and wash any conventional produce well with a good, natural fruit/veg soap.   Remember than conventional animal products (dairy/meat) have much higher pesticide and chemical concentrations than even conventionally grown produce. (John Robbins documented this well in The Food Revolution.)

Green Smoothie Testimonials, part 3

I’m 44 years old. I’ve always had very regular menstrual cycles. For about one year prior to drinking green smoothies, my menstrual cycles had become very irregular. After about two months of green smoothies, I returned to a very regular cycle of 20 – 30 days and my periods are just like they were in my 20’s and 30’s.  I’ve been drinking my quart of green smoothie per day for six months now and my cycles are consistently regular.

 

–Kathy M.

 

I love green smoothies! I drink them every morning, and I was so surprised how great they make me feel! I have lost weight, have lots of energy, feel healthier than ever and feel like my immune system is even stronger than it was.

 

Drinking green smoothies also influenced all of my eating and cooking decisions, and allowed me to lose weight safely. When we travel, I am always carrying my blender with me so I can have green smoothies anywhere I go!

 

My 20 month old daughter also loves them. I am sure that green smoothies are the best way to get babies/toddlers to get their greens. She gets so excited when I get out the blender and she always wants more! Thank you, green smoothies, and thank you to my friend, Tara, for introducing them to me!

 

–Kathryn Rose

 

I drink a quart of an all-vegetable green smoothie every day. I have more energy, sleep better, wake up ready for the day, and generally feel much better. I believe it’s because of the green smoothie and a whole foods diet, mostly raw. I have cut out all processed foods, sugar, and caffeine, and I feel great! Thanks for your website; it’s very informative and inspiring!

 

–Carol J.

 

After a few weeks of drinking green smoothies via wimpy blender, we were hooked and made our best nutritional investment to date–BlendTec. Our green smoothies have become greener and we have been known to eat 3-4 bunches of greens and 1 pound of baby spinach in a week between two adults and two toddlers.

 

I sometimes find myself looking around at all the green plants and wonder, “What would that taste like?”  I was skeptical at first, but my then-barely-two yr. old and three-yr.-old both enjoyed the green smoothies as well. They were converted before my husband!

 

Summer proves to be an easier time to drink them due to the warmer weather.   However, we still maintain regular GS drinking throughout all the seasons. I do not have to force them on my toddlers; rather, they will request them and are especially excited to help put all the ingredients into the blender.

 

GS have helped control my sugar cravings, eliminated Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and boosted my energy. My kids have regular bowel movements that do not have the stench as pre-GS days.

 

It is best to start children early on GS as it will develop their palate towards REAL, nutritionally sound foods.

 

–Laura M. and family