Monthly Archives: June 2017

What is Wrong With the American Heart Association? Are They CocoLoco?

The American Heart Association (AHA) just keeps getting it wrong. In an article in USA today in mid-June, the organization is quoted as saying that coconut oil is bad for you. Really? Coconut oil may be one of nature’s most perfect foods. But the AHA has a long history of mistaking saturated fats as dangerous foods while touting grains and vegetable oils as good substitutes. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is thanks to the AHA’s Low Fat Guidelines in the 1970’s that we took the fat out of milk and put sugar in its place. Ever since then, Americans have been getting fatter and fatter.

Think I am exaggerating? Consider these facts:

  • US children, 30% of whom are currently obese, are projected to have shorter life expectancies than their parents. This is unheard of historically unless the country experienced a nuclear attack or the plague.
  • The US has the distinction of being the Wealthiest/Unhealthiest country in the world. That’s right. Among the 16 wealthiest nations in the world, we are dead last for health.
  • But for those of you who tend to be competitive, never fear because we are #1 for obesity, top of the list, fattest country in the world! We literally have every other country in the world beat when it comes to being fat.

Clearly the AHA’s recommendations are not working!

First the AHA told us to that all of the delicious nutrition that comes in whole fat milk was bad for us and now they are saying that coconut oil is bad for us! I smell a rat. They base this finding upon a report from the Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease Advisory, which reviewed existing data on saturated fat, showing coconut oil increased LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in seven out of seven controlled trials. “Because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil,” the American Heart Association said in their advisory.

There are several things wrong with this “finding” (and I use the term loosely.) First, just because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, doesn’t mean that the result is bad for us since not all LDL cholesterol is bad. Secondly, coconut oil has been shown to have incredible health benefits. Thirdly, it would appear that the AHA is funded by organizations with a special interest in promoting the lipid theory of heart disease, or a theory that blames saturated fats, when most of the cutting edge science has shown that saturated fats are not the problem.

Let’s start with whether or not LDL cholesterol is the problem. It isn’t clear from the article in USA Today which type of LDL cholesterol the AHA is talking about and this is important because there are different types of LDL. The researchers at the AHA seem to be saying that LDL cholesterol causes CVD, but the scientific data on the role of LDL has changed and much of the research today actually points in the opposite direction. In other words, not all LDL cholesterol is bad.

In the 1970s, when LDLs were first discovered, they were found to be higher in people with cardiovascular disease, so the assumption (a key word here, assumption) was that they were bad and lowering them became the focus for most practitioners. What wasn’t understood at that time was that there are two types of LDL: Pattern A and Pattern B. One is dangerous, the other is not dangerous and may even be beneficial. It depends upon the particle size of the cholesterol.

  • Pattern A: The particles are large, light, and more or less buoyant, just floating through the blood. As such, they do not cause plaque to build up which is what clogs the arteries, so they are harmless. Guess what contributes to the big fluffy particles? Coconut oil and other healthy saturated fats.
  • Pattern B: The particles are small to very small in size. The smaller the particle size the more likely it is to wedge itself under the epithelial cells that line the walls of our arteries and damage the surfaces. This is what stimulates plaque formation. This type of LDL is dangerous. Guess what contributes to the small particles? Hydrogenated vegetable fats.

 

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Bottom line: LDL cholesterol gets a bad rap because it is correlated with CVD. But correlation is not causation.

 

The following is an excerpt from my soon to be released book:

                  

                 Food Kills: Food Cures

                  You Decide!

Cholesterol travels in “containers” that are made up of protein, cholesterol, phospholipids and triglycerides that are referred to as lipoproteins. The lipoproteins range from largest to smallest in density compared with the surrounding water. Think of little suitcases and the smaller the suitcase the more tightly it is packed. The smallest suitcase, High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) is the most densely packed and the largest suitcase, Very Low Density Lipoprotein (VLDL), is the least densely packed. They are different sizes, and have different compositions, because they have different jobs, depending upon where they end up. (Chylomicrons are in a class by themselves and are mostly triglycerides.)

 

  • Chylomicron is the biggest carrier. It is produced in the gut and directly provides the fuel from fats that the body needs to fuel its cells. It also delivers fats to the liver, where the fats are then sorted out and redistributed into lipoproteins. It mostly contains triglycerides.
  • VLDL (very low density lipoprotein) carries fat, cholesterol, fat-soluble vitamins and antioxidants to cells. So we depend upon it for the absorption of vitamins and antioxidants. Good stuff!
  • IDL (intermediate density lipoprotein) which is a bit smaller than VLDL, carries something similar to VLDLs, just in smaller packages. More good stuff.
  • LDL (low density lipoprotein) is what is left over after VLDL has delivered most of its healthy content to the cells. It is called “bad cholesterol“ because it is easy to attack. Using the suitcase analogy, it is like that old battered suitcase you have that no longer zips or stays closed. You have to tape it together and even then, it may fall apart at the most inopportune time.     

 While traveling, this LDL gets hit by microbes, free radicals, toxins, and glucose (or the pollutants and excessive sugar from our           food and environment). It is in the most fragile container and as such, it is the most likely to be damaged, especially if there is a lot of glucose (sugar) floating around. Sugar causes glycation or “inflammation.” Inflammation is the reason for most of what ails us today in America.

  • oxLDL (oxycholesterol) is LDL after it has been attacked and oxidized. So now the suitcase is a filthy mesh bag, leaking gunk that clogs our arteries. Turns out, this is the really dangerous form of cholesterol and the most likely cholesterol to cause vascular disease.
  • HDL (high density lipoprotein) is the smallest suitcase with the highest density. This is the “good” cholesterol as it is very robust and reliable. It is like a Tumi (very expensive sturdy luggage) with James Bond technology built into it. HDL not only resists attack just like Bond would do, it actually saves cholesterol (the damsel in distress?) from turning into the damaged oxLDL. Finally, in a totally James Bond move, it destroys pathogens by infiltrating the pathogen and then from inside the cell of the pathogen, destroying it! It deserves the reputation for being the “good cholesterol”.
  • HDL-A1 – is the form of HDL that brings good cholesterol to the liver so it can be further distributed. It is produced when the cells in the skin are exposed to the sun and produce cholesterol sulfate.
  • B – HDL – is the form of cholesterol that goes specifically to the brain and again, requires sun exposure.

(Notice that the last two require sunshine in order to produce these incredibly beneficial forms of cholesterol? Stay tuned for a preview of my Sunshine Chapter.)

 

Contrary to what the AHA keeps saying, saturated fat is not the problem. Carbs are the problem, particularly hyper-hybridized grains and chemical versions of sugar, along with the hydrogenated fats in processed foods. These are the things clogging our arteries and causing inflammation. The AHA would have us believe that eating carbs and unsaturated vegetable fats is a good thing, when it is not. Low carb diets work, low fat diets do not.

Notice that in this study on the markers of metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, middle fat and type 2 diabetes) that on a low carb/high fat diet, glucose went down nearly 13%, insulin went down almost 50%, blood pressure went down nearly 20%, triglycerides went down more than 50% and HDL cholesterol went up almost 10%. High fat/low carb works.

The other problem with the “findings” of the AHA is the statement that coconut oil has “no known offsetting favorable effects”! Are you kidding? It may be one of the most perfect foods on the planet. It contains all of the amino acids, making coconut water the perfect hydrator when you are trying to restore electrolytes. In terms of its’ impact on weight management, coconut oil is metabolized by the liver and converts to energy instead of body fat. It has a high smoke point making it ideal for frying foods.

In the next article, we will explore the embarrassment of riches that we find in the coconut. In the article to follow and our conclusion for this series, we will look at why the AHA and it’s backers, Big Pharma and Big Food, might be promoting the lipid theory of heart disease and dissing coconut oil.

-Dr. Norton

#GetSunEatCleanBeWell

Dr. J. Renae Norton is a clinical psychologist, specializing in the outpatient treatment of eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder (BED), as well as obesity.

Let’s Connect!

Like me on Facebook

Twitter @drrenae

Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship. This information is not necessarily the position of Dr. J. Renae Norton or The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity.

©2017, Dr. J. Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr. J. Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2017, Dr. J. Renae Norton. http://www.eatingdisorderpro.com/

 

#MondayMotivation for Eating Disorder Recovery

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Sweets!

This post is for my sweets lovers. It’s that certain time of day, when you have a hankering for something sweet. But you want to eat the best quality sweets that are available to you- so plan ahead and make sure you have some of my favorites in stock.

Strawberries Dipped in Dark Chocolate

Yeah, this never gets old. It just doesn’t. And now that we are in strawberry season you can get those amazing strawberries with the old fashioned flavor- it’s like a little slice (or bite) of heaven.

Is there anything more beautiful and delicious than a strawberry off the vine in season?

Make sure you are using organic strawberries and organic dark chocolate. Don’t know how to easily melt the chocolate? Make a double boiler by doing the following. Bring a small pan of water to boil. Remove from heat. Place a smaller bowl inside or on top that pan so that they are nesting. Place the dark chocolate chips or pieces in the top bowl and let the heat work its magic. As the chocolate melts, stir it. Voila! Dip your strawberries and enjoy!

“Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.”

Coconut Bliss Dark Chocolate Ice Cream Topped with Fresh Blueberries

Dairy free, soy free, gluten free, low glycemic, certified organic ice cream- Hallelujah! I’m there! In fact, I’m there with organic, fresh blueberries. Need I say anything more?

Top with blueberries. (Trust me.)

Gluten Free Fudge Brownies

Yes, you can have gluten free brownies that are amazing. I promise you these brownies are delicious. I swap traditional sugar for coconut crystals and honey and wheat flour for either sorghum or coconut flour and almond meal. But don’t let the batter trick you as you are making it! At first the consistency will seems like cake batter, but keep beating it!

“You’re gonna love me…” (my fabulous gluten free brownies channeling their inner Jennifer Holliday in Dreamgirls.)

My Recipe

(Use all organic ingredients)

20 ounces high quality 100% dark chocolate (Sunspire)

2 cups expeller-pressed unrefined coconut oil

3 cups coconut crystals sugar

¼ cup raw local honey

1/2 cup almond meal

1/4 cup sorghum flour (or coconut flour)

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

8 organic free-range eggs, beaten

4 tablespoon bourbon vanilla

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.

Melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil, sugar and honey in a saucepan over low heat, gently stirring. (Or melt in a microwave safe measuring cup and stir together to combine.)

Beat the eggs

In a mixing bowl whisk together the almond meal, sorghum flour, fine sea salt and baking soda. Make a well in the center and add the beaten eggs, and vanilla extract. Slowly add the melted dark chocolate mixture. Beat on low-medium for two minutes, until the batter begins to come together.

At first it will seem thin, like cake batter, but keep beating until it thickens and becomes smooth and glossy. If you are adding nuts, stir in the nuts by hand and spread the batter into the prepared baking pan. Even out the batter with a silicone spatula. Stud the top with some dark chocolate chips and press in slightly.

Bake in the center of a preheated 350ºF oven for 32 to 35 minutes, or until the brownies are set. Cool on a wire rack; and remove the cooled brownies from the pan by gripping the parchment edges and lifting the brownies out as a whole. Chill for an hour before cutting. (They are good warm and gooey.) Yield: 16 servings

Fresh Fruit

Everyone has their favorite fresh fruit. Depending on the season, the sweetness and quality of the fruit can really be hit or miss.  Strawberries out of season, from across the country, can sometimes be really disappointing. The same goes for stone fruits like peaches or plums. My most beloved fruits to snack on when I really want something sweet and juicy are grapes and rainier cherries.

Behold, my beloved rainier cherries!

So, the next time you have a taste for something sweet, step away from the high fructose corn syrup whatever it is, and dig into one of these real food sweet treats!

-Dr. Norton

#GetSunEatCleanBeWell

Dr. J. Renae Norton is a clinical psychologist, specializing in the outpatient treatment of eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder (BED), as well as obesity. 

Let’s Connect!

Like me on Facebook

Twitter @drrenae

Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship. This information is not necessarily the position of Dr. J. Renae Norton or The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity.

©2017, Dr. J. Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr. J. Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2017, Dr. J. Renae Norton. http://www.eatingdisorderpro.com/

 

 

#MondayMotivation for Eating Disorder Recovery

Dr. J. Renae Norton is a clinical psychologist, specializing in the outpatient treatment of eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder (BED), as well as obesity.

Let’s Connect!

Like me on Facebook

Twitter @drrenae

Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship. This information is not necessarily the position of Dr. J. Renae Norton or The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity.

©2017, Dr. J. Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr. J. Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2017, Dr. J. Renae Norton. http://www.eatingdisorderpro.com/

 

#MotivationMonday for Eating Disorder Recovery

Dr. J. Renae Norton is a clinical psychologist, specializing in the outpatient treatment of eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder (BED), as well as obesity.

Let’s Connect!

Like me on Facebook

Twitter @drrenae

Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship. This information is not necessarily the position of Dr. J. Renae Norton or The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity.

©2017, Dr. J. Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr. J. Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2017, Dr. J. Renae Norton. http://www.eatingdisorderpro.com/

 

#MotivationMonday for Eating Disorder Recovery

Dr. J. Renae Norton is a clinical psychologist, specializing in the outpatient treatment of eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder (BED), as well as obesity.

Let’s Connect!

Like me on Facebook

Twitter @drrenae

Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship. This information is not necessarily the position of Dr. J. Renae Norton or The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity.

©2017, Dr. J. Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr. J. Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2017, Dr. J. Renae Norton. http://www.eatingdisorderpro.com/

 

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Snacks!

It’s 11 a.m. and you are so hungry but lunch isn’t for another 90 minutes, or worse, 2 hours. What do you eat?

It’s 3 p.m. and you are really dragging but you still have miles to go before you are done for the day and able to head home for dinner. What do you eat?

It’s 7 p.m. and you had dinner, but suddenly you are hungry.  What do you eat?

I’m so glad you asked!

So many of us are on the go from the time we get up in the morning until we finally return home at the end of the day. Whether we are at work, or school, or running kids around from activity to activity, the best option is to plan ahead (like I always advise my patients about meals) and bring along some snacks. Even if you are at home, it can hard to choose foods to fill in the gap between meals.  So to make it easy, I’m introducing you to some of my favorite snacks.

Homemade Kale Chips

Store bought kale chips can be one of those items that has stuff in it that you wouldn’t necessarily want. So after much experimenting in my lab- my kitchen-  I’ve come up with a way to make kale chips at home. And they are so much better than store bought kale chips.  I use organic lacinato kale.

Lacinato kale can sometimes be referred to as dinosaur kale, or tuscan kale. It’s texture and size is different than traditional kale, and it is the best choice for making these chips.

Lacinato kale ready to be harvested. Isn’t it beautiful? I just had to share this photo.

Wash it really well and then let it dry completely. If I know I am going to be making these chips ahead of time, I just let it air dry for the day after washing it. If I’m in a hurry and want to make them right away, then I use a blow dryer to completely remove any moisture from the leaves. These will not become “chips” if there is any water on the kale when you add the oil, so remember, dry kale is the key. Once my kale is dry, I separate the leaves from the stem. This could be time consuming, but I’ve mastered the art of quickly separating the leaves from the stem by making two small slits at the bottom and running my two fingers down the stem on either side. Cut your kale leaves to the chip size that is ideal for you. (I like my kale chips medium sized.) Melt some coconut oil and add whatever spices you desire. It could coconut aminos and cayenne. It could be salt and herbs de provence. It really depends on your taste. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Add the kale chips to the spiced coconut oil mixture and make sure they are well coated. Place the kale chips in a single layer on the parchment paper. I bake these in a preheated 300 degree oven for 20-30 minutes to achieve that crispy, crunchy texture that I love about kale chips. I store them in a paper bag sealed tight if there are any leftovers.

Brown Bag Popcorn with Coconut Oil

We all love popcorn. Love it! Love the crunch! Love the salty, buttery flavor! What I don’t love is all the terrible ingredients in microwave popcorn. Have you ever flipped one of those bags over and read the ingredients? Half of them don’t even sound like food.  Instead, you should try my brown bag microwave popcorn with coconut oil. It’s delicious. Okay, here’s the key. You have to stand at the microwave and listen to your popcorn. Otherwise a) you will burn the popcorn and the bag or b) it won’t all get popped and you’ll have a bunch of seeds. First I melt the coconut oil, or grassfed butter, or a blend of both. I put my salt and spices in the melted fat and put it to the side.  Next, take your brown bag and fill the bottom with one layer of popcorn kernels. The amount of popcorn you put in the bag, depends on the bag size. So again, we just want a single layer of kernels. Don’t add anything else to the bag. Fold it over a few times so that it is sealed tight. Put it in the microwave and turn it on for five minutes. IT WILL NOT TAKE FIVE MINUTES. Now, I want you to listen as the popcorn is popping. When it gets to the point where it is 2-3 seconds between pops, pull that bag out. Open it up, pour the spiced, melted coconut oil or 100% grass fed butter into the bag. Shake it up really good, and enjoy! I swear this is the best popcorn you’ll have ever had.

Hummus and Vegetables

This is super easy. I make my own hummus, but you can use store bought as long as all the ingredients are real and it is organic (no citric acid, we are looking for lemon juice.) I love hummus with carrots and celery. It’s so fast and easy. If you love raw veggies, try green beans, tomatoes and peppers, zucchini and cucumber sticks- the list can go on and on.

Fresh Fruit

Seriously, it doesn’t get any easier than this. We all have our favorite fruits.   My favorite fruits include bing cherries, grapes, and bananas.

Hummus with Almond or Rice/Seed Crackers

This is also super easy. If you can find a real ingredient hummus (remember, organic with no citric acid, we are looking for lemon juice) try adding one of these two crackers to your snack. I’m including the pictures because it helps when you are looking for them in the grocery.

Note: These particular rosemary crackers are made with real ingredients. For some reason, some of the other varieties of the simple mills crackers have different ingredients. But these rosemary ones are amazing. The almond meal makes them super satisfying.

 

 

 

 

 

Guys, these are my favorite snacks! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Do you have a favorite snack? Tweet me @drrenae.

-Dr. Norton

#GetSunEatCleanBeWell

Dr. J. Renae Norton is a clinical psychologist, specializing in the outpatient treatment of eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder (BED), as well as obesity.

Let’s Connect!

Like me on Facebook

Twitter @drrenae

Contact Dr Norton by phone 513-205-6543 or by form

Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship. This information is not necessarily the position of Dr. J. Renae Norton or The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity.

©2017 Dr. J. Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr. J. Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2017, Dr. J. Renae Norton. http://www.eatingdisorderpro.com/