Welcome to my kitchen!
Did you know that regularly consuming the wrong oils contributes to inflammation, chronic disease, and obesity? Here I discuss a variety of fats and oils that are an important part of a healthy diet. Specifically we will cover olive oil, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, tallow, ghee, and avocado oil.
Why it matters to know your fats
In this video I introduce you to several of the oils and fats that I think are useful in cooking. I don’t have just one, because not only do they lend different flavors to your food, but they have different smoke points. The smoke point is the temperature at which the oil will become damaged and free radicals develop. Free radicals cause inflammation in the body – and we all want to prevent inflammation sources if we can.
Olive Oil and Extra virgin olive oil
Do you know the difference between these two popular oils? One has been partly refined, while the other is closer to the raw state of actual pressed olives. Olive Oil can be used over heat, for sauteeing, and can withstand a temperature of approximately 450 degrees F.
Extra virgin olive oil, however, is cold-pressed, and will become damaged and therefore damaging to our tissues, at a lower temperature. EVOO’s smoke point is around 350 degrees F or so. So I recommend using this oil in room temp or cold dishes, and not heating it in the oven or on the stove.
While I absolutely love coconut in all its incarnations, I know many people who say they can’t stand coconut, or simply don’t like the way their food tastes when cooked in its oil. Still, it’s health benefits are undeniable. It is a medium chain fatty acid, which means it’s readily available for the body to burn for energy. Unrefined, it is solid at room temperature, while you can also find refined CO as a clear liquid at most stores. Since I love coconut oil, and prefer all things in their natural state when appropriate, I have never purchased refined. You can read more about the difference between refined and unrefined here, and here, from two of my favorite producers of quality coconut oil.
This is fat rendered from beef. I end up with a lot of it when I make my homemade bone broth. I take it off the top after it’s been refrigerated. We’ve been indoctrinated for decades to believe that saturated fat causes heart disease, but I don’t buy it. Of course, I would not recommend eating fat from animals eating anything but their natural diet in a low stress environment. Like lard, it can be used for frying. Again, if you use lard, which is rendered pig fat, make sure you know what the animals ate and how they were treated while alive!
When you heat butter gently and remove the solids, you are left with a clarified butter, also known as ghee in India, where it is an essential ingredient in cooking. Now you can find ghee in jars from grass-fed cows without too much effort. I like the rich flavor. If you are dairy sensitive you may be able to tolerate it since the proteins are removed. While I’ve made my own before, I tend to buy mine because I am dairy sensitive and would rather err on side of caution!
I’ll mention this one last since it’s been appearing in paleo foods and at Costco and you may wonder about it. I like it mainly for it’s high smoke point of 400-500 degrees F. This makes it useful for pan frying, which I use often. This article mentions that it is actually doctor recommended in France for it’s ability to treat arthritis! So I say, give it a try. It’s flavorless, and so can be used in baking also. A great alternative to canola oil if you ask me!
I’d love to hear how you use oils and fats in your everyday cooking or even for your beauty and health routines so please send me a note! Below is my video you can share with others as well!
Understanding the Benefits of Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine [your practical simple guide]
I hear it all the time: What does acupuncture do? How does it work? What are the benefits of acupuncture and herbal medicine. Keep reading and I will explain.
Really, it’s simple: acupuncture removes energetic blockages that prevent the free flow of our blood and nervous system signals.
When we have energetic blockages, signals can’t get through, oxygen and other nutrients can’t reach every cell, waste products can’t be properly eliminated, complex hormonal messages get bungled, and then eventually we get symptoms of pain, brain fog, fatigue, etc.
Acupuncture works to free up the flow of energy in the channels of the body, which are like blood vessels and nerves, a complex system of highways, roads, streams, creeks, rivers, bridges, that connect every part of us with every other part.
Herbal medicine works on the deeper organ level. It corrects the functioning of our liver system, our cardiovascular system, our lymph system, our genitourinary system, our cognition, and emotions, etc.
Together, it’s a complete system of healthcare and does not compartmentalize each body part or each organ. A lot of my patients like this because in conventional medicine there is a different doctor for every body part, but no one is looking at the whole. Chinese Medicine has principles based on natural law, so the whole is accounted for.
Still boggled? Still curious? Me too! And so are my colleagues! We marvel at the beauty and amazement of this medicine every day, and never take for granted the grand design of the human organism. But we do love to apply it and see it work!
Follow me on the social media and ask me anything you want to know about the benefits of acupuncture and herbal medicine! I am happy to help.
Energy Flow Health Now Open in Naperville! Your Way to Digestive and Hormonal Balance.
Presenting Energy Flow Health
A little over a year ago, I struck out on my own and created my own practice. I named it Energy Flow Health because we all want more energy and encouraging healthy flow is the way to get it! Now my practice finally has a new home in Naperville!
Years ago, I had a dream for my future practice – to be in a wellness center with other like-minded practitioners in a beautiful light-filled space, a whole building, dedicated to helping others to heal themselves, so that we all can go out and heal this troubled world of ours. Then, sooner than I’d imagined, I was introduced to a group that wanted me to join them!
I’m so excited to tell you that the doors are finally open at Estuary Center for Living & Healing Arts. The parking lot still needs paving, and the landscaping will come with the spring blossoms, But the beautiful inside is painted and the bed heaters are turned on!!
Services Offered at Estuary
You may be curious at this point: what is Estuary Center? Who is there besides me? I actually came in later in the vision of this wellness center. Several women had begun planning its inception years earlier and became its founding members. They are therapists, psychologists, but mostly healers, like me. Throw into the mix several massage therapists, an art therapist, a Doctor of Integrated Manual physical therapy, and a Functional Medicine Chiropractor and you have Estuary! Together, we’re bringing an invigorating synthesis of mind-body-spirit care.
More about the Benefits of Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine in my other blog post here.
I hope when you walk through the doors that you will immediately feel cared for and more relaxed, as we’ve designed the space to be a sanctuary and respite.
I have appointment times available now throughout the week and am ready to take on new and old patients. Please call me to make an appointment, or if you would like a free 15-minute consultation.
Namaste, I look forward to serving you. Please, get in touch with me if you have any questions (630) 335-1069.
Visit us at:
Naperville, IL 60565
Autumn – a time to turn inward and accept the Power of Change
Perhaps your inbox is bombarded with tips for the season – pumpkin-themed recipes, back to school tips, Halloween happenings. I know many of us love this time of year. Yet for some it forbodes an impending doom – summer is gone and winter will be upon us with all its frigid cold and dangerous icy patches!
Finding Meaning in the Season
Let’s take a breath and consider what this time of year has meant over the millennia for many cultures that experience the four seasons and confer its symbology into their philosophies. Fall is a time when the energy we spent outwardly growing and producing fruits all summer is mostly spent and then that energy converges inward to prepare for winter’s hibernation and storage of energy until life’s rebirth in spring.
In health terms, if we choose to live in tune with the seasons, our physical and mental energies turn inward also. It’s the perfect time for reflection, and warming our hearts and spirits with gentle activity and meditation. I like to take this time of year to revisit my purpose and values.
Over the summer, I was busy enjoying outdoor activity, engaging with friends, and allowing a bit more freedom into my schedule. Now, I want to hunker down and get back to the core of why I’m on this planet. Here are some suggestions to help you take advantage of the inward turning of life’s energy so that your roots may be well mulched to endure the long and cold winter months.
My Tips for Harnessing the Power of Change
- Journaling – not your thing? Never done it before? Need enticing? Start with a beautiful book in which to write your deepest thoughts and dreams! I love Paperblanks. I’ve gone through many of these over the years and delight in getting a unique new design each time.
- Mindfulness for the Beginner – ok, I’m no one to talk about having a devoted meditation practice, but over the years I’ve learned there are so many ways to incorporate mindfulness without sitting on a cushion or chair 30 minutes twice a day as experts such as Deepak Chopra recommend (although I do believe this is an admirable and worthy practice). The important point of meditation is to give that monkey mind we all have a break and focus on being in the present moment, so try one of these methods that fit into your life if sitting still is not appealing.
- Take in Nature – this can be as simple as walking around the block and collecting fallen leaves, or visiting a nearby stream and listening to it gurgle, or laying outside and looking up at the infinite sky for a few minutes. Again, this is all the same as #2, which we really all need as much of as we can get.
- Weightless floating – a friend recently visited the local Float Club and commented on how she was able to release control and tension more and more and more during her hour session. This can be useful for the very type A person who is constantly in action and has trouble turning off. Here’s a link to a local place to try.
- Let go of that which no longer serves you. This takes courage and willingness to look at yourself from the inside, and identify what you have accumulated so far this year that is not for your highest good. You can consider consulting a therapist or a good friend to help you identify old patterns that you are ready or in need of releasing. Some people like to write these things down on paper and burn them in a fire.
- Acupuncture – many of my patients say that acupuncture helps them shift energetically so that the previous 5 tips are accessible and useful. Acupuncture works by releasing energetic blockages within our bodies thus restoring homeostasis when the natural flow of energy is reestablished. Breath comes easier, patience is more attainable, and stress is more manageable. Here is more information about Acupuncture on my site and in Wikipedia.
What do you usually do and think whenenergy shifts and we are facing the the power of change? Please, share in the social media with me or contact me personally!
I hope this article has been helpful for anyone who could use a shift or who was just curious about how to best utilize the change of season!
Zucchini is a chameleon vegetable
Chameleon vegetable? Strange images may pop into your head but what I mean is that zucchini, or summer squash as it’s also known, is very versatile. It is very bland so it’s great to take on the flavor of any seasonings or sauces.
Picking and Preparing
Look for a firm, smooth-skinned cylinder, and check for mold if it is wrapped in plastic. Beware that there are genetically modified zucchinis, so make sure to shop for organic if you want to avoid GMOs.
Zucchini can be eaten raw, sauteed, stewed, or steamed. Don’t boil it as it will turn to mush. It can also be used as a way to add fiber and moisture to baked goods. Who doesn’t love a good zucchini bread or muffin! Zucchini cooks quickly and has a high water content, so some people prefer to sprinkle the shreds, slices or cubes with salt and let the water seep out and wring it with a towel before sauteeing, stewing, or steaming.
Recently it’s gained popularity among Paleo dieters as a low-carb grain-free replacement for noodles or pasta. If you don’t have a fancy vegetable spiralizer, you can just use a vegetable peeler to make thin strips then slice those strips as you like or leave them wide.
What can I say about taste? It takes on more flavor when it’s sauteed – a buttery flavor I’d say. But if you shred and eat it raw, it will go well with almost any salad dressing, or just salt, pepper, and lemon or lime juice, or my favorite, with a homemade dairy-free pesto!
One popular health benefit nowadays with obesity being a huge problem is that it is so low in calories and together with its versatility and mildness makes it a great stand-in for pasta as mentioned above or as a great way to get more fiber and less empty carbs.
Nutrition-wise, it’s high in vitamin C and pectin, which has been shown to benefit the arteries thus anyone concerned about cardiovascular health can feel good about eating it! Plus it’s a good source of potassium, and it’s high water content and natural electrolytes help regulate bowel movements. Other nutrients provided in decent amounts are B2, B6, and folate. B vitamins are essential for numerous metabolic processes and are important for hormonal health.
One of my favorite ways to eat zucchini and also one of the simplest is fritters. Simply shred some zucchini, either by hand or in a food processor, season it with salt and fresh ground black pepper, and mix it with a scrambled egg or two, then pour into a hot skillet coated with a tsp or Tbsp of coconut oil or rendered solid grass-fed or pastured animal fat (beef, duck, lard, etc). Give it a minute or two to get golden brown then flip for another minute or two or until there’s no more liquid egg seeping through the surface when pressed gently with a spatula. You can serve with guacamole, salsa, or pesto, or as is!
Here is my recipe for the other super-vegetable, Daikon. Enjoy!