Posted by Mark Bunn - Mar.04, 2013
On Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 12:34 PM, Steve F wrote:
As per your request for interesting topics in your recent newsletter, I have attached a couple of links to articles about the use of fats and oils for cooking. I have been interested in this for a while and had been following what the guideline that says the higher the smoking point of fats and oils, the better the oil was for cooking ie making it more stable and therefore healthier.
I was very surprised to find these couple of articles and others I have not listed that are from scientists and nutritionists. It would seem from these people that the more saturated the fat the more stable it is at temperature. The TV Chefs are under the mistaken believe that if fat doesn’t burn then it is healthy. However, I think that perhaps they are more concerned about the taste and texture than health issues.
I also found an article referring with a discussion by an Ayurvedic Master (if that’s the correct term?) who discussed the use and benefits of Ghee and Coconut oil for cooking, but I could not put my hands on it quickly.
The first link is where I started out from. There are a couple of links provided in the article and I have provided one of them below as this person is supposed to be an acknowledged authority on the science of fats in the diet.
I’m not sure if you have discussed this in detail before, but I for one would like to hear what the traditional wisdom would have to say on this topic.
Great to hear from you again. Thanks for the information. As it is definitely a very topical issue, if you don’t mind, I will answer it as a blog post (with an edited down version of your information and question).
Happy to just use the initial of your surname if you don’t want your full name.
In terms of my answer it would be as follows;
The issue of cooking oils is a very topical one at present. As usual, many modern-day nutritionists and supposedly health-conscious chefs recommend certain oils because they are low in saturated fats and are therefore deemed ‘healthier’ (though of course, like everything in conventional wisdom, the reasons are based on isolated aspects that lead to the recommendations ‘changing’ every year or two when someone else decides to look at some other variable).
What is important to appreciate, as has been gaining much more attention over the last few years, is that it is not just what an oil does in the body at room temperature, but what happens to that oil or fat when it’s heated (as it obviously is when used in cooking). This is where the whole consideration of low or high smoking temperatures of oils comes into play.
Polyunsaturated vegetable oils, unlike fats and oils high in saturated fats, are ‘less stable’ and are more easily damaged when heated (the exact temperature for this depends on the individual oil, whether it has been refined or not etc). Olive oil for example, which is an extremely healthy oil when used raw on salads and in dressings etc, has a low-medium smoking point. While there are many oils with far lower smoking points that don’t get as much negative press as olive does on this issue, if olive oil is used in high heat cooking (as many people do, including nutritionists and chefs) its basic structure and baseline properties will tend to change, and the health giving properties it’s renowned for will likely be compromised.
(Some would say there would be adverse consequences, i.e. it becomes harmful to the body).
As I’m no expert on smoking points and molecular damage of different oils when heated,
whenever I’m in doubt I turn to the time-tested natural sciences such as Ayurveda.
In Ayurveda, olive oil is rarely (if ever) recommended as a ‘cooking’ oil. The oil most commonly recommended and promoted when cooking is ghee. The second most common is sesame oil.
Ghee, or clarified butter, is extremely stable, and is not damaged in any way when used in high-heat cooking.
Not only does it not get damaged, but it has many unique properties that allow it to deliver an almost perfect composition of fats as the body needs them, nourishing the body on its deepest level, including many of its most vital organs.
Additionally, ghee helps to bring out and enhance the flavours of whatever foods and spices are being used in the cooking.
Although many ‘health experts’ deride ghee and other ‘saturated fat’ options, this is based on an incorrect assumption that such fats are actually unhealthy. When they in their natural state, taken in appropriate quantities, and one has the digestive health to properly digest them, this is not the case). (More on ghee and how to make it can be found here).
In addition to ghee and sesame oil, another oil commonly used in Ayurveda and other traditional cultures is coconut oil. Coconut oil is considered an extremely healthy and nourishing oil, though it’s smoking temperature is far lower than ghee.
1. When considering what oil(s) to use when cooking, if you are sufficiently motivated to make your own home-made ghee, do so, and use that (or avocado oil) for any high heat cooking.
* Please don’t be brainwashed by dieticians and nutritionists who ‘poo-poo’ ghee because it is supposedly high in saturated fats and bad for cholesterol. You should certainly be careful of how much ghee you consume per day, particularly if you have a weak or sluggish digestion or already elevated cholesterol. However, as mentioned, ghee is considered in Ayurveda and other traditional medicine systems as a medicine ‘par-excellence’. Even still, 3 to 4 teaspoons a day should suffice for most people.
2. If you don’t have the time or inclination to make your own ghee, and you can’t find a supplier of properly made organic ghee (it is definitely best to avoid most commonly made, commercial ghee), use various alternatives to suit your tastes, based on the smoking temperatures different oils. (see table below).
E.g. avocado oil for high heat cooking, olive, coconut or sesame oil for mid-low heat cooking.
|Smoking Points of Cooking Fats & Oils
3. Rather than just considering things like smoking points however, utilise the higher wisdom of enlightened Eastern masters who also understood that it is an oils overall ‘qualities’ that should also be considered when determining its use.
For example, in Ayurveda, different oils are recommended depending on
i) the season – more ghee & coconut oil in hotter months, as these are by nature cooling. More sesame oil in winter as it is by nature heating. Almond oil for example is more neutral.
ii) the type of food – Again, ghee or coconut oil, which are ‘cooling’ by nature, will generally be more balancing with ‘hotter’ or spicier dishes.
iii) the individual – if someone is already overheating, they would obviously be better to have cooling foods/oils. If someone is sensitive to cold things, vice versa. This is a simple wisdom in sciences such as Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. In Ayurveda, it’s based on the understanding of body-types. If you are familiar with these, examples of good oils for different constitutions or states of imbalance are;
Vata – ghee or sesame (though most oils except coconut are okay – vata loves oil!)
Pitta – ghee or coconut (olive, almond and most others except peanut or sesame oil)
Kapha – sunflower oil (low heat cooking) Kaphas should generally minimise fats/oil though not completely avoid
1. It’s always best to go for unrefined oils, even though their refined cousins are more stable.
2. Regarding olive oil; please don’t get the impression that I’m saying olive oil is not good to use.
Olive oil is a fantastic oil and can be used liberally in most people’s diet (I pour it on my salads and
often other foods once they are cooked). However, it can be a good idea to try avoiding it where you are
cooking at very high temperatures. If you are cooking at mid-low temperatures, for example baking something in an oven on a low heat, or on a stove-top at moderate heat, then olive oil should be fine.
And obviously use it to dress salads and moisten other foods where you like.
Just look to include an alternative oil or substance such as ghee, for high heat cooking.
Hope that helps & happy cooking.
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Posted by Mark Bunn - Feb.27, 2013
Are you contributing some of your hard earned dollars to the billion-dollar cosmetics industry trying to keep your skin healthy and younger looking but are overlooking one or more of the real keys to healthy, youthful skin? Now I am all for using (chemically free) external skin products where needed, but realise there are at least 5 far more important things (that will hardly cost you a cent) you should be focusing on before you worry about cosmetics.
1. Internal Hydration:
Your skin is moisturised more from the inside than from the outside. Your skin is not just a bodily covering, it is the largest organ in your body and it needs water and lots of it. Without it, all those great nutrients you eat can’t get to your skin. Want to avoid your skin ageing prematurely? Drinking enough (more) water.
2. Internal Nutrition:
We hear all about antioxidants, vitamin E etc in our skin-care products, but don’t forget t your skins primary means of nourishment is from the ‘inside’. You can spend as much money as you want on the most expensive cosmetics, but if you are eating junk, your skin will show it. Fresh vegetables, and ‘juicy’ fruits such as oranges, melons, grapes etc are fantastic. And don’t forget apples and pears with the ‘skin’ (get it!) left on.
3. Internal Emotions:
In Vedic science, there is an intimate connection between our emotions, our liver and our skin. Like the eyes, your skin is a window to your soul and inner emotions. We often know when someone has just fallen in love or is on an emotional high, we say “you look absolutely radiant” or “gee whiz, you’re glowing”.
Being happy is the best medicine for your skin, so be nice to yourself and even better, say something really nice to someone you love and watch their face (skin) light up.
4. External Touch:
Skin is tactile. Having skin without it being touched is like having eyes that don’t see or ears that don’t hear. Having your skin touched (especially in a loving way) elicits waves of healing chemicals. One of the best all-time practices for a youthful complexion and robust skin health is a daily self massage. With an oil like cured sesame oil is even better (sesame oil is the best for penetrating the layers of the skin and eliminating impurities).
For more on daily self-massage – http://www.wisdomsofhealth.com/ayurvedic_daily_massage
Direct sunlight exposure is one of the most overlooked ingredients for the health of our skin. Despite anti-sun campaigners trying to brainwash us that the sun’s harmful to the skin (of course it is if you fry yourself like a lobster), direct sunlight exposure is not only one of the most important ingredients for your skin but your whole body health.
If you are unaware of the importance of direct sunlight and vitamin D, see http://www.wisdomsofhealth.com/midday_sun
Get your gear off and get some sun on most days – about 1/3 – 1/2 the amount it would take your skin to colour. Apologies to those who live in London and don’t know what the sun is.
* Final Note – Don’t make your Skin a Chemical Garbage Dump:
Make up, perfumes, most sunscreens and commercial skin products are full of harmful chemicals. Do you know why moisturisers and things like nicotine patches are designed to work? Because our skin is porous and what we put on it goes directly into our body. It’s better to eat food with chemicals than to ‘consume’ them through your skin. Your body at least has a few defensive layers in your digestive tract to eliminate unwanted nasties before they get into your blood etc when you eat them!!!
Where possible, cut down on the chemical laden shampoos, deodorants, fumes, make up etc etc. Either avoid them/use less of them or seek out some more natural alternatives. Seems a bit strange to poison the very organ we are trying to look after.
To know whether your skin products have toxic chemicals in them, check out this fantastic resource Page – Toxic Ingredients List – http://rezinate.mionegroup.com/en/toxic
I believe the same site also has excellent organically certified, chemical free cosmetics and skin-care products, so feel free to check it out.
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Posted by Mark Bunn - Feb.27, 2013
A daily massage (traditionally known as ‘abhyanga’) is part of the Ayurvedic daily routine. When done regularly it assists in
- preventing the accumulation of physiological imbalances
- lubricating and promoting flexibility of the muscles, tissues, and joints.
- soothing the nervous system and strengthens the immune system.
The classical texts of Ayurveda also indicate that daily massage promotes softness and lustre of the skin as well as youthfulness. The following are some simple instructions to assist you in doing the Ayurvedic daily oil massage.
1. Unless a specific oil has been recommended for you, then sesame oil should be used for the daily massage. If you find sesame oil unsuitable in some way, you may also try almond or olive oil as alternatives.
Unless the oil is pre-cured, purify it by ‘curing**’ it by heating it to about 100°C, the boiling point of water. By adding a drop of water to the oil, in the beginning, you will know that the proper temperature has been reached when the water bubbles or boils. We suggest curing all the oil at one time.
Note: Please be aware that sesame and other oils are highly flammable, for this reason they should be cured in the following way.
• Always heat oil on low heat, never on high heat.
• Oil should never be heated unattended.
• Once oil reached the proper temperature it should be removed from the heat and stored in a safe place to gradually cool. Then you can pour back into original container,
** The purpose of curing the oil is that it changes the structure of the oil, thus making it more ‘penetrable’. I.e. when the oil has first been cured and then warmth, it far more effectively penetrates the skin allowing it to get into deeper tissues to help its purpose of eliminating toxins and nourishing the tissues on a deeper level. It is a very important process, though if it is not done, the massage will still have considerable benefits.
2. Before beginning massage, the oil should be at or slightly above body temperature. A convenient system is to use a plastic bottle with a nozzle (e.g a sauce bottle) – stand it in a cup of hot water until it warms up. Start by massaging the head. Place a small amount of oil on the fingertips and palms and begin to massage the scalp gently. The massage for the head and for the entire body should be with the open part of the hands rather than with the fingertips.Since the head is said to be one of the most important parts to be emphasized during an Ayurvedic Self Massage, spend proportionately more time on the head than you do on other parts of the body.
3. Next apply oil gently with the open part of the hands to your face and outer part of your ears. You do not need to massage these areas vigorously.
4. Massage both the front and back of the neck, and the upper part of the spine. Continue to use your open hands, in a rubbing type of motion.
5. You may want to now apply a small amount of oil to your entire body and then proceed with the massage to each area of the body. This will allow the oil to have maximum amount of time in contact with the body.
6. Next massage your arms. The proper motion is back and forth over your long bones and circular over your joints. Massage both arms, including the hands and fingers.
7. Now apply oil to the chest and abdomen. A very gentle circular motion should be used over your heart. Over the abdomen a gentle circular motionshould also be used, following the bowel pattern from the right lower part of the abdomen, moving clockwise towards the left lower part of the abdomen.
8. Massage the back and spine. There will be some areas which you may have difficulty reaching.
9. Massage the legs. Like the arms, use a back and forth motion over the long bones and circular over the joints.
10. Lastly, massage the ankles & soles of the feet. The feet also are considered especially important. Proportionately more time should be spent here than other parts of the body. Use the open part of your hands and massage vigorously back and forth over the soles of the feet.
11. Now have a warm shower or bath. Only use soap if you need to, as it may draw too much oil out of the pores of your skin.
This completes the Ayurvedic Daily Oil Massage. Ideally, about 10 to 15 minutes should be spent each morning on the massage. However, if this time is not available on a particular day, it is better to do a very brief massage than to skip the massage altogether.
Once you have added this Ayurvedic Oil Massage into your daily routine, the benefits will make it quite natural for you to continue the massage on a permanent basis.
Be sure that your bathroom is nice and warm – cold and draughts will aggravate Vata dosha.
Place an old large towel on the floor to sit on. It will also catch any spilt oil.
Best results will come from doing your massage in a settled way with full attention - don’t listen to the radio etc. while having a massage.
To save oil building up in your towels, try drying yourself with a slightly damp, wrung washer or paper towels etc before using your towel. You can then launder the washer or throw away the paper towels as often as needed.
Posted by Mark Bunn - Feb.15, 2013
Do you have kids? Do you work with kids or deal with them regularly?Do you remember back when you were a kid? It wasn’t that long ago was it? How many kids back in your day were obese, had diabetes, wheat or dairy allergies or had autism, ADD or ADHD? I’m guessing that if you are like me, not many…if any! What has happened? Why does it seem that every second child these days is either obese, has diabetes, is allergic to something or has been diagnosed as ADHD? We have a fantastic article (I didn’t write it!) that will hopefully shed some light on this all-important issue for you. I’ve always wanted to write something on this topic myself, but have never quite got around to it (and not having kids myself I’m sure I can’t truly appreciate how difficult it must be as a parent to not have your kids eat a high proportion of processed foods). However, I came across a wonderful article by Cyndi O’Meara. Cyndi is a highly regarded expert on all things health & nutrition and a fellow speaker who beautifully outlines the link between the unnatural foods we are feeding our kids and many of the subsequent problems we/they face. It’s all stuff we’ve spoken about before, i.e. Eating ‘real’, natural foods, but Cyndi’s put it into the context of children, and I couldn’t have written it anywhere near as well as she has, so I hope you find it valuable.
:kid's proper nutrition, kids and ADHD, kids and diabetes, kids and medications, kids and vaccinations, nutrition and health more...
Posted by Mark Bunn - Feb.12, 2013
I am writing in response to a scientific study that you may have read about. Media outlets everywhere have been trumpeting the finding that fruits and vegetables give no protective effect or in any way reduce cancer!!! Interesting, to say the least. I hear that many nutritionists and dietitians are still trying to pick themselves up from the floor! My intention here, is not to discount or lightly dismiss such a study. In fact, the finding does not surprise me in the least…now don’t fall off your own chair! It’s not that I don’t think fruit and vegetables (assuming they are fresh
* Can be ordered from Amazon. Enjoy!
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