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The Coconut Oil Craze – Should You Jump on the Bandwagon Too?

Yes you should (end of post).

 

But what exactly is it about coconut oil that makes it so healthy? And which type is best?

 

Let’s dive into some of the fascinating research and find out.

 

Coconut oil is a special kind of fat

 

Coconut oil is fat and contains the same 9 calories per gram as other fats.

 

It is extracted from the “meat” of the coconut. Coconut oil is a white solid at room temperature and easily melts into a clear liquid on a hot day.

 

The idea of adding coconut oil to your diet is NOT to add on to what you already eat but to substitute it for some of the (possibly) less healthy fats you may be eating now.

 

And here’s why – Because not all calories or fats are created equal.

 

Coconut oil contains a unique type of fat known as “Medium Chain Triglycerides” (MCTs). In fact, 65% of the fat in coconut oil are these MCTs.

 

What makes MCTs unique is how your body metabolizes them;  they’re easily absorbed into the bloodstream by your gut, where they go straight to the liver, and they’re burned for fuel or converted into “ketones.”

 

This metabolic process, unique to MCTs, is what sets coconut oil apart from other fats.

 

Coconut oil MCTs may help with fat loss.

 

Coconut oil’s MCTs have been shown to have a few different fat loss benefits.

 

First, it can help to increase feelings of fullness, which can lead to a natural reduction in the amount of food you eat.

 

Second, because of their unique metabolic route, MCTs can also increase the number of calories you burn;  this happens when you compare the calories burned after eating the same amount of other fats.

 

In fact, a few studies show that coconut oil may increase the number of calories you burn by as much as 5%.

 

Third, some studies show that eating coconut oil can help reduce belly fat (a.k.a. “waist circumference”).

 

Just remember not to add coconut oil to your diet without reducing other fats and oils!

 

How much coconut oil should I eat?

 

Many of the studies that showed increased fullness, increased metabolism, and reduced belly fat only used about 2 tablespoons per day.

 

You probably don’t need any more than that.

 

What kind of coconut oil is the best?

 

There are so many coconut oil options available in grocery stores these days that it can make it difficult to know which is best.

 

I recommend you stay away from “refined” ones, and opt for “virgin” coconut oil. That is because it is processed at lower temperatures and avoids some of the chemical solvents used in the refining process;  this helps to preserve more of the oil’s natural health-promoting antioxidants.

 

Pro Tip: Always (and I mean ALWAYS) avoid “hydrogenated” coconut oil. It can be a health nightmare because it contains the infamous “trans fats.”

 

One thing you should also consider is that each oil has a specific high temperature that you should avoid surpassing (e.g. its “smoke point”). For virgin coconut oil, that temperature is 350F. That means you can safely use it on the stovetop on a low-medium setting, as well as in most baking.

 

Conclusion:

 

Substitute some of the fat you eat with virgin coconut oil;  this may help you to lose weight and belly fat by naturally helping you to eat less, as well as slightly increasing your metabolism.

 

Oh, and it tastes great too!

 

Recipe (Coconut Oil): Homemade Healthy Chocolate

Serves 12

Ingredients:

⅓ cup coconut oil, melted

1 cup cocoa/cacao powder

4 tablespoons maple syrup

2 dashes salt

4 tablespoons slivered almonds

Directions: 

Melt coconut oil, and whisk in maple syrup, salt, and cocoa/cacao powder until smooth.

Stir in slivered almonds until evenly distributed.

Pour into an ice cube tray and freeze.

Store in fridge or freezer to avoid melting.

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: Substitute other seeds, chopped nuts, or dried fruit instead of the almonds if you wish.

 

References:

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil/

https://authoritynutrition.com/coconut-oil-and-weight-loss/

https://authoritynutrition.com/20-most-weight-loss-friendly-foods/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/encyclopedia/food/coconut-oil/

http://neurotrition.ca/blog/your-brain-coconut-oil

Take Care of YOU This Holiday Season. Stay healthy both emotionally and physically over the holiday season.

Think exercising, eating whole foods, meditation, yoga, reading, time with friends and family, etc. Does reading this list sound overwhelming? Well, it shouldn’t!

 

During the holidays life can get chaotic and the first few things to go are exercise and nutrition. How do we fight it?

 

Plan your schedule ahead of time.  This will help you stay more present and in the moment, focused on what this time of year is really all about. Don’t stress about the things you cannot control such as things like, um, Traffic. I personally don’t drive much so when I get in bumper to bumper traffic I start to stress especially since I am usually running late when this happens. I take a few deep breaths and try to calm myself down.  Remember to belly breath.

Why Self-Care is So Important?

Self-care does not mean selfishness. Remember that! Self-care is about carving time out of your day even if just for 1 minute to think about you. If you don’t take the time for yourself and are constantly putting everyone else’s needs first, how are you going to be a good mom, dad, wife, husband, brother, sister, etc. If you don’t manage yourself it can lead to increased cortisol levels which can impact your waistline, productivity, sleep, and emotional well being.  Most, if not all, aspects of self-care will help to reduce stress levels. Read my post about stress here.

 

Don’t Let the Holidays Be An Excuse

The holiday season can bring about a whole new set of excuses about WHY you don’t have the time or energy to exercise, prepare your meals, or get to bed at a decent time.  

 

Understandably you may have more going on this time of year than you do during other months but that doesn’t mean your exercise, nutrition, and other acts of self-care take a backseat until January.  

 

It’s all about choices! YOU have a choice as to how you handle the “expectations” of the holiday season and how they affect your time and schedule.  Keep in mind that the majority of us put these high expectations on ourselves. Remember,  those that care about us just want us to be happy and healthy.  Letting go of perfection and expectations during this holiday season will allow you to care for yourself in a way that is in line with your needs.  It also allows for a lower stress level and more enjoyment.  Who doesn’t want that?

Self Care Methods

Carve out 30-45 minutes at least twice a week to take a class at Studio ME or your studio/gym.

 

Foam roll or use your Yoga Tune Up Balls for self massage.  These can be a life saver if you are holding tension in your body.  Take anywhere from 10 minutes a day to roll.  Even if you only do your feet you will feel better. Grab a Yoga Tune Up Ball, a racquetball, or tennis ball and place one foot on top of the ball. Hold it in the arch of the foot and roll it around. The harder the ball the more you may feel it. Start with something softer. Try rolling your feel while you are brushing your teeth. That’s one minute per foot. Hey, it’s better than nothing!
Other methods could be pampering yourself whether its getting your hair done, a massage (oh I love hot stone massages), pedicure or manicure, deep breathing techniques, etc.

Lastly, do It Because You Want To

Set boundaries and learn to say NO. There are always a ton of holiday parties and events going on. It’s OK to say no. That is not selfish at all!  You need to take care of yourself so you don’t get run down. Don’t want to go to a party, say ‘No’. I know it’s hard but you will feel much better.

 

Set intentions for yourself for the festivities coming up this week and next with the New Year just around the corner. What do you NEED to do and what would you like to do. Focus on the need and then add time for YOURSELF.
Happy Holidays!!!