The Skinny and the Fat on Two Popular Oils

Last weekend we attended a SaladMaster dinner party at a friend’s house. At the end of the demonstration, they boiled water and baking soda in our favorite cooking pans that we all brought with us. She then proceeded to have us taste a bit of the water left in the pan and the flavor ranged from metallic to pungent. I am embarrassed to admit that the pungent-flavored water came from our pan. Granted, the pan I brought was purchased about 10 years ago and has seen many meals. The point of the demonstration was to show what is going into our bodies when we cook our food. Needless to say, that pan was put to rest. I did not cook much this week because we had leftovers from our Sunday night dinner at my mom’s. That explains why I did not post a recipe this week. Sorry it took so long to explain. If you are wondering if we purchased the cookware…yes we did. It is going to be a learning experience since they are used at a lower temperature than traditional cookware. The idea behind the lower temperature cooking is to preserve the nutrients in the food we cook. Of course, that will require me not burning everything first. This has been an ego check!

One of the pieces we purchased is called an Oil Core Electric Skillet. It allows the user to “fry” without using oil. As I was telling my mom about this revelation in cookware, we started discussing oils (olive vs. coconut, etc). Since we started eating healthier the main oil we have been using is coconut oil. This is because almost every recipe we read and every health website says coconut oil is the best. But is it?

I have had elevated cholesterol levels over the last 3-4 years. I exercise, limit red meat, limit egg yolks and stay away from butter but nothing helps. We do have a family history so I may be genetically predisposed. We had always cooked with olive oil but when we did the Engine 2 Diet Challenge last year, one of the main things they tell you to eliminate are oils. They go into great detail why oil is bad. We began eliminating olive oil and over the last year added coconut in for baking and use olive oil spray for sauteing or non-stick cooking.


I started researching coconut oil and olive oil. Turns out olive oil is primarily monounsaturated fat and coconut oil is mostly saturated fat. What does this mean?

Monounsaturated fat
Monounsaturated fats can have a beneficial effect on your health when eaten in moderation and when used to replace saturated fats or trans fats.  Monounsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.  They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells.  Monounsaturated fats are also typically high in vitamin E, an antioxidant vitamin most Americans need more of. Examples for oils made up of mostly monounsaturated fats are olive oil and avocado oil.

Saturated fat
Saturated fats occur naturally in many foods.  The majority come mainly from animal sources, including meat and dairy products.  Examples are fatty beef, lamb, pork, poultry with skin, beef fat (tallow), lard and cream, butter, cheese and other dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat (2 percent) milk.  These foods also contain dietary cholesterol. In addition, many baked goods and fried foods can contain high levels of saturated fats.  Some plant foods, such as palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil, also contain primarily saturated fats, but do not contain cholesterol.

  • While neither oil contains cholesterol, it is important to use them sparingly. Diets high in saturated fats have been known to lead to high cholesterol, heart disease and stroke. 
  • It is also important to remember that all fats contain 9 calories per gram, so adding any type of oil adds unwanted calories to each meal.
  • Read labels! Nutrition labels break down the amount of total fat, saturated, trans, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in each serving.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of saturated fats you eat to less than 7 percent of total daily calories.  That means, for example, if you need about 2,000 calories a day, no more than 140 of them should come from saturated fats.  That’s about 16 grams of saturated fats a day.

The fats in the foods you eat should not total more than 25–35 percent of the calories you eat in a given day…and, for good health, the majority of those fats should be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.  Eat foods containing monounsaturated fats and/or polyunsaturated fats instead of foods that contain saturated fats and/or trans fats.

(Source: American Heart Association,, 2014) 

You learn something new everyday!




I have been logging my food for over five years. My weight has fluctuated up and down until about a year ago. Once I started eating properly and exercising regularly my weight stayed within 2-3 pounds of my goal.

I advocate the use of a food log for anyone who is starting a weight loss program or simply wants to learn how eat healthier. Many people have no idea how much they are consuming on a daily basis. Food logs can point out areas where the user is eating in excess like sodium, cholesterol, saturated fat and most importantly calories. They can also help pinpoint areas of deficiency.

I have enjoyed logging my foods however, over the last month it has become a little daunting. My diet is regular and very healthy with the exception of the occasional splurge. My calorie intake is the same almost everyday and I do not have any additional weight to lose. The idea of not logging is a little scary as it has become almost an addiction for me. I have always had issues with controlling my food whether I was eating too much or not eating enough so I felt like the food logs gave me control. It took a while to realize that I have actually lost control since I have become a slave to the food logging.

As I was writing this blog post, I received a friend request on My Fitness Pal. I also use the program with my clients and friends as it helps me be available to them for accountability and support. I will need to maintain my account on the site and motivate others while slowly getting used to not logging my own food. Fingers crossed!

What are your reasons for logging or not logging your food?

For more on info food logging, check out my other post!




FIT Hits the PAN Friday – The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread

A friend of mine who is also doing the Wheat-Belly Challenge suggested this recipe. I am a sucker for new recipes so I went out last night and purchased the ingredients to make this bread. Anything that says it is “life-changing” must be tried, right?

The recipe requires patience and I am not a patient woman. Perhaps that is the life change I will get out of this experience. I probably should have stirred the ingredients more and let it sit longer to form. Alas, I chose the minimum requirement of one hour to set. After the first 20 minutes of baking, I did have some issues getting it out of my pan but I was able to press it back together like a champ! The recipe says to mix everything in the pan, I would suggest mixing it in a bowl to ensure everything mixed evenly. Then transfer it to the silicon pan.

On another note, this bread is vegan! I know that will make many of you happy 🙂
I followed this recipe to the tee, but for the original recipe from My New Roots, go here.

Life Changing Bread

The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread

Makes 1 loaf

1 cup / 135g sunflower seeds (I used raw organic)
½ cup / 90g flax seeds (I used golden)
½ cup / 65g hazelnuts or almonds
1 ½ cups / 145g rolled oats (I used gluten-free)
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husks (3 Tbsp. if using psyllium husk powder)
1 tsp. fine grain sea salt (add ½ tsp. if using coarse salt)
1 Tbsp. maple syrup (for sugar-free diets, use a pinch of stevia)
3 Tbsp. melted coconut oil or ghee
1 ½ cups / 350ml water

1. In a flexible, silicon loaf pan combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. Whisk maple syrup, oil and water together in a measuring cup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick (if the dough is too thick to stir, add one or two teaspoons of water until the dough is manageable). Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Let sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or overnight. To ensure the dough is ready, it should retain its shape even when you pull the sides of the loaf pan away from it it.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.

3. Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 30-40 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing (difficult, but important).

4. Store bread in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. Freezes well too – slice before freezing for quick and easy toast!

FIT Hits the PAN Friday – Shake, Shake, Shake


I mentioned several months ago that I purchased a Nutribullet. I am happy to report that unlike many of the mini-appliances I own, this one has definitely been put to good use. My recipe is pretty much the same every morning although today I tried to get crazy and I was not thrilled with the outcome. The shake itself was good, it was just too sweet for me. I like the tart flavor of citrus fruits as opposed to the sweetness of melons, pears and bananas.

If you do plan on making smoothies and shakes, make sure you have enough ingredients on hand at all times. I purchase organic frozen fruit in bulk and thaw what I need each day. This way I am not wasting food by not using it before it spoils and I am not making trips to the store every couple of days.

The number of shake recipes you can create is unlimited! When you first get started, it may take some trial and error unless you use recipes which I am not very good at doing. I like to fly by the seat of my pants. Here is my favorite recipe! I hope you enjoy and please let me know what shake recipes you recommend!


  • 1 cup organic baby spinach
  • 1 cup frozen organic berries (thawed)
  • 1 cup coconut milk or almond milk
  • 1 scoop protein powder (I rotate between Arbonne Vanilla and Garden of Life Raw Protein)
  • 1 tbsp flax seed meal, hemp seed or chia seed

Here is the one I tried this morning. Let me know what you think!


  • 1 cup organic baby spinach
  • 2 medium stalks celery cut in small pieces
  • 1 bosc pear cut in pieces
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 banana


Functional Foods

Functional foods are foods that have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition. Of course, all foods are functional because they provide varying amounts of nutrients and energy to sustain growth or support vital processes. However, functional foods are generally considered to offer additional benefits that may reduce the risk of disease or promote optimal health.–  Jennifer R Nelson, R.D., L.D.Diabetes Superfoods

It seems like every week a new “super food” is being promoted. These “super foods” are also referred to as functional foods. They have been around for years and you probably have been eating them for years. So what do they actually do for you? I put together a small list to help. For the complete list, please visit my website! You can download a copy and share it with your friends and family.

Antioxidants: Carrots, Flaxseed, Honey

Gastrointestinal: Bananas, Honey, Yogurt

Improves Heart Health: Garlic, Berries, Oat Products

Bone Health: Cheese, Milk, Soy nuts

Can Reduce Cancer Risk: Apples, Citrus Fruit, Corn products

Get active with your nutrition! You can start by incorporating some of these foods into your diet on a daily basis!