Red Palm Oil

I use a variety of oils. Olive oil for salads, salad dressings and even washing my face like they do in Greece; grape seed oil for sautéing and roasting; coconut oil for cooking, baking, moisturizing and swishing; avocado oil for dressings and face washing. Depending on the recipe, pumpkin seed and walnut oils are delicious alternatives in salad dressings too. All are tasty and nutritious, but not the powerhouse of the oil I’ve recently discovered, red palm oil.

Red palm oil has been a staple in indigenous cultures for 5,000 years. According to ancient legends, red palm oil was a sacred food, revered for its healthful properties and entombed with the pharaohs of Egypt for their enjoyment in the afterlife.

Health Benefits

The high beta-carotene and lycopene content give red palm oil its color and numerous health benefits. The same antioxidants are found in tomatoes and carrots, but there are even more in red palm oil. The carotenoids help support the immune system, protect the skin from UV rays and improve eye health, as well as guard against osteoporosis, asthma, cataracts, macular degeneration, arthritis and liver disease. It’s high in Vitamin A and contains rare tocotrienols and tocopherols of the Vitamin E family. Studies funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) have shown that tocotrienols can help reduce the effects of stroke by protecting the brain’s nerve cells. Tocotrienols also improve blood flow to brain cells, which can help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. With red palm oil, cholesterol levels and blood pressure are improved. It’s also a potent anti-cancer food.

Cooking with Red Palm Oil

In addition to its many nutritional benefits, red palm oil is a stable oil meaning it has a high smoke point and remains nutritionally rich when cooked or heated. Its buttery taste makes it perfect for sautéing, baking, cooking or as a popcorn topper. Fried eggs are especially tasty when fried with red palm oil instead of butter.

I’m a firm believer in eating a variety of nutritious foods for optimum health. They say with fruits and vegetables, try to eat every color of the rainbow daily. Variety is important for oils too – no one oil does it all. And, it’s fun trying different ones for different applications. Go ahead and give this powerhouse oil a try. You can find red palm oil at Whole Foods or other natural food markets. Make sure to buy organic, raw, unrefined red palm oil. Once refined and processed, its color and nutritional benefits are destroyed.

Information compiled from:

www.droz.com and nutiva.com

 

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

The Wonders of Coconut Oil

Have you discovered the wonders of coconut oil?  For years, we’ve been told  that coconut oil is bad for you, but the reality is coconut oil has just the right kinds of fats, the same medium-chain fatty acids found in mother’s milk and essential to optimum health and disease prevention.  Coconut oil is in fact a miracle oil and one of the earliest oils  used as a food and as a pharmaceutical.  People who live in tropical climates with a coconut-based diet have fewer incidences of heart disease, cancer, digestive complaints and prostate problems.

Coconut oil adds protective and healthful qualities when eaten internally and used topically.  How much do you need?  Two to four tablespoons is recommended daily, obtained from cooking, as a supplement, or through the skin. Use coconut oil in all recipes calling for butter, shortening or vegetable oil.   It’s an ideal all-purpose cooking oil and has 100% less cholesterol than butter.   You can also get the benefits from coconut milk which comes in a can and is found in lots of Thai recipes, or from  drinking coconut water, hailed as Nature’s Sports drink.   More potassium than a banana, it helps with rehydration, replenishment and concentration. (I also hear it helps alleviate hangovers.)

 

coconut milk
Coconut oil is known to reduce blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.  It stimulates metabolism so that you burn more calories (we all love that) and may promote lower cholesterol.  Coconut oil is a concentrated source of medium-chain fatty acids.  Research has shown that these fatty acids may help prevent and treat a wide variety of diseases too numerous to list here. Recent studies are showing its effectiveness in treating Alzheimer’s disease.

Coconut oil applied to the skin and hair absorbs quickly and not only adds luster and shine, but helps with dandruff, blemishes and other skin ailments.  It’s the only moisturizer you need and a must try for winter’s dry, chapped skin!  It is also anti-microbial and a natural germ fighter.  Coconut oil is also used for oil pulling, an age-old remedy started in India thousands of years ago that uses oil to clean, detoxify, and nourish teeth and gums; it also whitens teeth.

I keep one jar of coconut oil in the kitchen for cooking and one jar in my bathroom for use as a moisturizer.   As with olive oil, make sure you buy extra virgin, expeller pressed. You can purchase coconut oil, coconut milk and coconut water from Whole Foods, Trader Joes or natural food stores.

As you can tell, coconut oil is an extremely diversified and amazing product. I highly recommend replacing some of the fats you eat now with coconut oil.

 

Information compiled from The Coconut Oil Miracle byBruce Fife, C.N., N.D.  This easy-to-read and informative book explains very succinctly the benefits of coconut oil and is worth the read.  It also includes lots of delicious sounding recipes using coconut oil.

 

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

Steroid-free Chicken

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Read carefully the above menu description for Five Spice Chicken.  Does this  strike anyone else as weird and unappetizing?  While I’m pleased the chicken is steroid and antibiotic free, what a commentary that we have to write that on a menu description.  All chicken should be steroid and antibiotic free, but the reality is conventionally grown chicken is injected with growth hormones and antibiotics and often tainted with harmful bacteria.  The steroids are used to make them grow quicker and plumper, and the antibiotics are a preventative measure to counteract the problems of being raised in confined quarters on big factory farms.  Furthermore,  conventional chicken feed is loaded with pesticides.  All of this is passed onto us when we eat conventionally raised chicken.

The good news is that we are aware now of these problems and healthier choices do exist.  The many healthy choices you find in a supermarket however, can be overwhelming, confusing, and often without proper varification. Below is a list from Consumer Reports explaining the various labels, which you should find helpful.

Organic: In order to be labeled “USDA Organic,” the chicken had to have been fed not just a vegetarian diet, but a diet that does not include any genetically modified ingredients or toxic synthetic pesticides. It also means that antibiotics can not be used for anything other than medically necessary antibiotics (though some may argue that there are farmers who stretch the boundaries of what is medically necessary). However, chickens can be provided with antibiotics during their first day of life; the drug-free rule kicks in the day after the shell breaks open.

Organic certification, which requires annual inspections, mandates that access to the outdoors be provided for the chickens, but sets no specific standards for the size of the outdoor area, the size of the door leading between inside and outside, or the amount of time the birds spend outdoors.

No antibiotics: These chickens are never given antibiotics, including in the egg. That said, there is no inspection process to verify this label before it is employed.

No hormones: This label can be used on all conventionally raised chickens in the U.S. as the use of hormones in not allowed in the production of chickens for market. So if you see “no hormones” on a label, it just means “chicken.”

Cage-Free: Another label that is just touting the industry minimum, says CR. “No chickens raised for meat in the U.S. are kept in cages. Neither does it mean that the birds have access to the outdoors.”

Free-range: The only difference between conventionally raised chickens and free-range is that the chickens have access of some sort to the outside. Once again, there are no standards for size of the outdoor area or for the door to the outside, and inspections are not required to use this label.

No GMOs: To get the “Non GMO Project Verified” label, the chicken’s feed must be comprised of less than 0.9 percent of genetically modified crops. Verification is required for this label.

Natural: CR dubbed this one “the most misleading label” of the bunch, as more than half of the survey respondents said they believed “natural” meant the chickens didn’t receive antibiotics or chow down on feed containing GMOs. 42% of respondents said they thought the term meant the chickens were raised outdoors, while 1-in-3 said they thought it meant the same as “organic.” The only substantial requirement for “natural” chicken breasts is that they contain no artificial ingredients, but even then there is no process to verify this claim. 

 

If you haven’t already seen it, I urge you to watch Food Inc, an eye-opening documentary exploring the way food has changed in the last 50 years and not necessarily for the better.  It’s well worth the watch.

The bottom line when eating chicken? Eat locally grown and organic whenever possible, as with most foods.

 

Some information compiled from: http://consumerist.com/2013/12/19/organic-chicken-is-different-than-antibiotic-free-and-natural-means-nothing/

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

 

 

Eco-Entrepreneurs

There are lots of young eco-entrepreneurs who are starting all sorts of creative services, companies, and apps designed to help build  the new sharing  economy and benefit the environment at the same time.  One of these companies is RelayRides, the nation’s largest peer-to-peer car rental marketplace, a new concept in car rental.  Basically, car sharing is a way to efficiently connect people who need a car with owners whose vehicle would otherwise go unused, backing each reservation with a $1M insurance policy.   Did you know that the average car sits unused for twenty-three hours a day, which raises the question: how many rental cars actually need to be on the road?   The infographic below highlights interesting facts behind the environmental impacts of car sharing.

According to RelayRides, “car owners can turn their idle cars into cash-generating rental car businesses and make extra money to offset their car expenses. On the other side, renters get to rent unique cars (Porsche, anybody?) that would otherwise sit idle and go unused. That means we’re not only maximizing the utilization of expensive resources, but also saving money on all the costs associated with owning a car.”

Eco-entrepreneurs are thinking outside the box.  What do you think?

 

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

Fixer Fair

Originally posted on What's Green with Betsy?!?:

If you are in the Boston area and your garage is filling up with broken appliances, bikes and other things, head over to the “Fixier Fair” in Union Square Somerville on Saturday, August 16. Talented fixers, supplies and tools will be on hand to fix anything – appliances, bikes, computers, even cars – for this free outdoor event.  They don’t make promises, but will give it a try and if they can’t fix it, they will help you figure it out, locate needed parts or direct you to a local fix-it business.  What a great idea and one I hope will catch on everywhere!

When I was growing up, small appliance repair shops were common. If a blender broke, you took it to a repair shop.  In this era of planned obsolescence with cheap, made in China everything,  however, appliance repair shops and handymen have all but disappeared.

Boyett's TV Boyett’s TV (Photo credit:…

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A GREENER WAY TO WASH YOUR CAR

Originally posted on What's Green with Betsy?!?:

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, much of the nation is under “abnormally dry” to “exceptional drought” conditions.  In San Francisco where drought is severe,  people are  issued a water allotment and should you go over your allocated amount,  there is  a significant  fine.  Additionally, shut off valves are mandatory on hoses.  You can’t wash your car without one.  My sister who lives there mentioned that everyone’s car is dirty!

Did you realize that car washing is one of the most environmentally unfriendly chores we do?  Water run off from car washing goes right into storm drains and eventually into rivers, streams, creeks and wetlands. Household waste water enters sewers or septic systems and undergoes treatment before it is discharged into the environment.   If you wash your car at home, it is important therefore, to choose a biodegradable soap specifically formulated for automotive parts.  There are several brands such as Simple Green’s Car Wash or…

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DO AWAY WITH SMELLY FEET!

Originally posted on What's Green with Betsy?!?:

Image by ForestMind Flickr.com

One of my readers contacted me for a natural solution to a common but embarrassing problem, smelly feet.  Sweaty feet and foot odor are quite common, especially among dancers, athletes or as the hot weather sets in.  Wearing shoes and socks that don’t breathe or rough, dry skin on your feet can promote foot odor.  Bromhidrosis, foot odor, is due to bacteria that breed and multiply in warm feet, socks, and shoes.  The soles of your feet have thousands of sweat glands that produce perspiration, which can breakdown in contact with certain bacteria, causing an odor.

Bunions, hammertoe, fallen arches, excessive perspiration and odor, or toenail fungus require a visit to the podiatrist.  There are several simple things you can do however, to prevent ordinary foot odor. Clean your feet regularly with a scrubber and soak them in salt to prevent calluses.  Choose open toed shoes or sandals during…

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