Category Archives: coconut oil

someone’s been busy!!

Me!!

I said it yesterday…I have lots of time on the weekends, but weekdays are jam packed. Read between the lines: I have no life. But I spent this past weekend not only making an AMAZING anniversary dinner for Mr. Prevention and I, but I also tried TWO other new recipes…one being a Prevention RD original. *gasp* I know. But it’s actually really good!!

The first recipe dates back to an email I received last month from Courtney. She wrote me an email that said:

OH. MY. GOSH. You simply HAVE to try this recipe!!!!!!!!!!! I mean….seriously amazing. I can’t even put in to words how good this stuff is. I had it straight off the pan, and mixed in some vanilla yogurt……seriously, it’s better than cookies. OMG SO GOOD. You have to try this!!! You’ll never buy granola from the store again!
Um, convinced. I’m easy. And what a doll to take the time to email me that recipe and all its praise!
Coconut Almond Granola from The Vegster

2 cups of oats
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut, shredded
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/4 tsp salt
a dash or two of nutmeg and ginger
1/4 cup almond slices
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

Mix everything together and bake at 300º F for 30-45 minutes. Yield: 6 servings (1/2 cup each)

Nutrition Information (per 1/2 cup): 377 calories; 22.7 g. fat; 148 mg. sodium; 40 g. carbohydrate; 5.2 g. fiber; 6.8 g. protein

Result: Courtney speaks the truth!!!! This granola is without a doubt, hands-down the most UHH-MAZING granola ever! Even coconut-hating Mr. Prevention LOVED this granola! It is so crunchy and flavorful! THANK YOU, Courtney!! You are my granola HERO!

And the Prevention RD Original inspired by Nour of Practical Nutrition by Dietitian

Individual Veggie Frittatas by Prevention RD

3 small red potatoes, finely diced
6 slices nitrate-free, organic turkey bacon, chopped
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
6 eggs
1/2 cup Egg Beaters
1/2 cup fat-free half-and-half
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp all-spice
non-stick cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add turkey bacon and potatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are softened and turkey bacon begins to crisp, about 10 minutes. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add mushrooms and spinach. Cook, stirring occasionally until spinach wilts down and mushrooms soften.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, Egg Beaters, salt, pepper, all-spice, and half-and-half.

Add vegetable mixture to the eggs and stir to combine. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Fill each muffin tin full of egg mixture. Bake for 20-28 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for several moments before removing from tins. Yield: 12 individual frittatas

Nutrition Information (per serving): 106 calories; 4.8 g. fat; 108 mg. cholesterol; 257 mg. sodium; 7.5 g. carbohydrate; 1 g. fiber; 8.7 g. protein

Result: These were really good! They did well being reheated at work for a high-protein breakfast on-the-go. I love that they are low in calories, contain lots of fiber, and are low on the carbohydrates. I will definitely be making them again!

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Jenna of Foodie in the City posed a great question to her readers last week: Do you ever find yourself comparing yourself to other bloggers and their accomplishments?  If so, what do you to avoid that?

I left a comment that read:

It’s hard not to compare yourself to others, but it won’t get you anywhere positive to do so. There will always be someone faster, stronger, and more devoted. That’s just how it is! I admire people who are balanced and do things for them…not to say, “Look at me, blog world…I’m always doing bigger and better things!” It’s exhausting to always be putting yourself up to bigger and better…because you’ll never be GOOD ENOUGH. And that’s just not true!

Question: Do you try to keep from comparing yourself to others (bloggers or otherwise)? Do you think there’s a healthy balance of comparison to others, or is it always unhealthy?

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Filed under blog, breakfast, carb-controlled, carbohydrates, coconut oil, diet, fruits and vegetables, healthy cooking, microwave, protein, recipe, snack, Uncategorized

Is canola oil good for you?

It is nearly common knowledge that canola oil is “healthy” – it is lowest in saturated fat and highest in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat of all oils. And contains omega 3’s.

Many believe canola oil is developed from the rapeseed plant which contains toxic erucic acid. While this is not entirely untrue, canola oil is derived from the canola plant which was developed through natural hybridization of the rapeseed plant. The canola plant contains trace amounts of erucic acid.

Rapeseed is a member of the mustard or cabbage family and its oil is traditionally used in Japanese, Indian, and Chinese cultures. Up to 60% of rapeseed oil is made up of eurcic acid, which is linked to fibrous heart lesions.

Canola oil is generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration and is deemed one of the healthiest by most main-stream health professionals.

Canola oil is used as an edible oil as well as an insecticide, lubricant, fuel, soap, rubber, and ink. Ew, huh? Well, just as canola oil has alternate uses, so do most oils. Coconut oil is used as a moisturizer, soaps, and other cosmetics and flaxseed oil is used in paints and linoleum. Yummmmmmy… 😉

Others would argue that canola is the result of genetic modification. Sure, okay. Personally, I’m okay with this. If someone buys 100% organic foods and only eats 100% organic foods, I guess they have taken their stance. For the general population who does what they can in purchasing organic and local foods, it’s important to come to terms with genetically engineered foods…because it’s every where. Maybe even inescapable.

I think there are a lot of myths floating around about canola oil being toxic and “fake”. And the story of canola can be altered in a way to make that seem believable. Bottom line: all major health organizations (i.e. American Dietetic Association, American Heart Association, MayoClinic, etc.) support canola oil as 1) safe and 2) healthy.

If you are a “clean eater” (despise that term with a fiery passion, but I know you’re out there!), then no, canola oil is probably not for you. But be realistic in the foods you choose to eliminate and don’t demonize certain foods without examining all the food you consume. Just to keep things legit. I really dislike when people slap a label on their dietary intake, demonize certain foods, and then aren’t educated enough in their decision to know how to put it into action..or are just to stubborn, lazy, or uncommitted to do so (I’m just saying…)

And, there will always be a study dispelling the main stream knowledge. Always.

So have your canola oil. Or don’t. But include everything in your arsenal in moderation. 😀

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Onwards to the GRUB!

Quiche is one of those foods I really love, but never make. For some reason, quiche intimidates me. But I put that to rest last night. Faith amazes me. Her recipes are always beautiful, balanced, and boast-worthy. Her ingredient lists alone make me salivate. This unique quiche caught my eye and as I read through the directions I thought, “Even I can do this.” So I did, and I’m so glad I did. DELICIOUS!

Spaghetti Quiche with Roasted Asparagus slightly from An Edible Mosaic

1/3 lb multi-grain spaghetti (or any kind of spaghetti)
3/4 lb (12 oz) fresh asparagus
1/2 1 TB olive oil
4 extra large eggs plus 2 extra large egg whites
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup low-fat fat-free milk
3 oz Gruyère cheese, shredded
2 small tomatoes, sliced (I used Roma)
Salt and pepper (approx. 1/2 tsp each)
Butter olive oil (to grease the pan)
10-inch oven-safe frying pan

Roasted Asparagus:  Preheat the oven to 425º F.  Wash the asparagus and pat it dry.  Snap off the tough ends and arrange the asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then use your hands to roll the asparagus around so it’s evenly coated with oil, salt, and pepper.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, giving the pan a shake halfway through cooking.  The asparagus is done when it’s golden brown in places and fork-tender.  Allow the asparagus to cool slightly, then cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1-inch long).

Prepare the spaghetti to al dente according to the package directions.

In a blender or food processor, process the cottage cheese and milk until smooth.  Pulse in the eggs, egg whites, and a pinch of salt and pepper until combined.

Turn the oven down to 350º F.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 10-inch oven-safe frying pan with butter.  Spread the spaghetti on the bottom of the pan, then sprinkle the asparagus on top.  Pour in the egg mixture evenly over the asparagus and spaghetti, sprinkle on the cheese, and arrange the tomato slices on top, pressing them down slightly.  Bake for about 40 minutes until the quiche is set and the bottom and sides are golden brown. Yield: 4 large servings.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 375 calories; 15.8 g. fat; 236 mg. cholesterol; 713 mg. sodium; 36.5 g. carbohydrate; 6.3 g. fiber; 24 g. protein

Question: Do you have any special Cinco De Mayo events or menus planned? And just for fun: margarita, Corona, or agua? 😉

I’m looking forward to homemade enchiladas! Ey ey ey!

P.S. Mr. Prevention and I signed up for a 5K on Saturday night! I’m excited! We ran this race last year and it involved beer at the finish line. My kinda race! 😉

Ta ta for now,

41 Comments

Filed under alcohol, American Dietetic Association, beer, blog topic request, coconut oil, diet, dinner, fish oil/omega-3's, food safety, genetics, healthy cooking, heart health, MUFAs and PUFAs, nutrigenomics, racing, recipe, restaurant, running, saturated fat, Uncategorized

Not bitter sweet…

Mooonday mooorning…blaaah.

But the next time you have a second in the morning for a divine breakfast, I recommend you try yesterday’s breakfast for something new and delicious! You can read all about it and see its glamor shot here.

And here is yet another recipe I can blame John for. 😉 Until several months ago, I’d never cooked with Arborio rice. Now, it’s regularly on the menu and is a huge Mr. Prevention pleaser!

Pan-Seared Shrimp and Arugula Risotto from Cooking Light May 2010

4  cups chicken stock
2  tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1  pound  large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2  teaspoon  salt, divided
1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2  cup  chopped shallots
6  garlic cloves, minced
1  cup  uncooked Carnaroli or Arborio rice or other medium-grain rice
1/2  cup  dry white wine (Chardonnay)
1/2  cup  (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2  tablespoons  butter
3  cups  baby arugula
1/2  cup  thinly sliced fresh basil

Directions:

Bring chicken stock to a simmer in a small saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add shrimp to pan; cook 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic to pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine; cook 1 minute or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup stock; cook 4 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until each portion of stock is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes total). Stir in shrimp; cook 1 minute or until done. Stir in cheese, butter, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Remove from heat; stir in arugula and basil. Yield: 6 servings; 1 cup each.

Nutrition Information (per cup): 344 calories; 13.4 g. fat (sat 4.8g, mono 5.8g, poly 1.5g); 139 mg. cholesterol; 521 mg. sodium; 30.3 g. carbohydrate; 1.9 g. fiber; 26 g. protein

Result: This was really good…except wilted arugula gets very bitter. I think I would substitute in asparagus or spinach instead.

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I received a lot of questions about canola oil and processing after my coconut oil post last week. I am planning to do a post on this topic sometime this week —  I think there’s a lot of myths surrounding canola oil and I want to set the record straight! Keep an eye out!

Also, we haven’t had a Q&A in a few weeks, so please email your questions to me at preventionRD@gmail.com! I have several in queue and I’d love to answer yours, too!

Question: What was the best thing you ate all weekend?

Have a healthy, happy week :-D,

40 Comments

Filed under blog topic request, breakfast, coconut oil, Cooking Light, dinner, fruits and vegetables, garlic, recipe, Uncategorized, wine

Friday Night Date-In

Congrats, DO What You DON’T challengers! Sounds like A LOT of really positive changes were made this month! It was so fun to hear about (and if you didn’t check in yesterday, tell us how you did today!)! I hope we can all continue our running, yoga, flossing, meal planning, snacking habits, etc. in May and beyond! April was a successful month! Kudos!!! 😀

I love evenings home with Mr. Prevention. Once in a while, Lily settles down for a nap and we can enjoy one another on the couch. Sometimes. Regardless, date-ins always include good food. Typically of Mr. Prevention’s choice, but that’s okay. What can I say? I am to please. 😉

Crispy Honey Ginger Chicken from How Sweet It Is

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken tenders
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup honey
2cups panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder

Combine buttermilk, honey, 1 tablespoon ginger and 1 teaspoon garlic powder in a baking dish. Cup chicken tenders in half or thirds and add to buttermilk. Marinate for 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 450º F.

Combine panko, ginger, garlic, seasoned salt, and flour in a large bowl. Coat chicken pieces in panko mix, then lay on a wire rack sitting on a baking sheet. Continue with remaining chicken pieces. Spray each pieces with cooking spray or olive oil.

Bake for 10 minutes, flip, coat with cooking spray, and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

When finished, drizzle honey over chicken pieces. Yield: 4 servings with 2 tsp of honey drizzle

Nutrition Information (per serving): 277 calories; 3.3 g. fat; 86 mg. cholesterol; 612 mg. sodium; 37.3 g. carbohydrate; 0 g. fiber; 28 g. protein

Result: Yummmm! The honey drizzle brings out the ginger flavor so well! A++!!

I also whipped up some muffins Jessica posted a recipe for earlier this week. They looked and sounded so amazing, I was sure to save the recipe. I hadn’t made it through the list of ingredients until yesterday and I realized I had everything on hand. Including coconut oil. Not gunna lie, I chuckled a bit. Oh, the irony! But man, these guys are good!

Whole Wheat Banana Coconut Muffins adapted from How Sweet It Is

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup sugar raw turbinado
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 egg
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup coconut milk -or- 1/4 cup fat-free half and half with a splash of coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup shredded coconut (I used Let’s Do Organic reduced-fat shredded coconut*)

Preheat oven to 400º F.

Mix flour, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl. Add coconut oil, coconut milk, bananas, vanilla, and eggs, and mix until combined. Fold in shredded coconut. Top with a sprinkling of raw turbinado sugar.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Yields 12 muffins.

Nutrition Information (per muffin): 206 calories; 10.4 g. fat; 18 mg. cholesterol; 11 mg. sodium; 25.9 g. carbohydrate; 2.2 g. fiber; 0.9 g. protein

*I swear by the Let’s Do Organic reduced-fat coconut. The flavor is wonderful and it is much lower in calories and saturated fat.

Result: Delicious! I haven’t made muffins in AT LEAST 3 weeks. Entirely too long! I love that these muffins contain plenty of fat (albeit saturated). I think next time I’ll add some pecans or walnuts for some more protein and healthy fat. But they were VERY good…and easy!

Question: Do you prefer dates in the home, or outside of the home? If you stay in, do you prefer to cook or order in?

Off to the Farmer’s Market! 😀

Happy weekend!

Whole Wheat Banana Coconut Muffins

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup coconut oil

1 egg

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup coconut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 400.

Mix flour, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl. Add coconut oil, coconut milk, bananas, vanilla, and eggs, and mix until combined. Fold in shredded coconut. Top with a sprinkling of raw turbinado sugar.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

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Filed under breakfast, challenge, coconut oil, dining out, dinner, exercise, fruits and vegetables, healthy cooking, marriage, MUFAs and PUFAs, pets, physical activity, protein, recipe, running, saturated fat, Uncategorized, yoga

Avec coconut oil!

Thank you for all your comments on my coconut oil post yesterday. Obviously it’s a hot and controversial topic. Several of you shared your positive experiences with coconut oil and while I don’t discredit any potential benefits, I simply summarized the scientific findings. I believe nutrition is a science and what I teach and believe is based 100% on research and science. While “I feel more satisfied after eating coconut oil” is without a doubt true, we cannot then correlate satiety with said food. Period. It’s a well-known fact that protein and fat provide more satiety than carbohydrates and we have to be able to differentiate placebo effect and variable factors in credible research (i.e. did you lose weight because of coconut oil or because something, subconsciously or not changed in your diet, lifesytle, intake, or exercise routine?). This is why so-and-so heard from so-and so-that blah blah blah is great to treat xyz nutrition-related problem.

Gracie pointed out that saturated fat has recently captured a lot of positive research attention. Some research is now finding saturated fat to not be as harmful to heart health as originally thought. Key word: some. But excellent point, you’re absolutely right in that statement.

Health is a spectrum and what works for some…doesn’t for others (Like why is my margarita-slurping, Twizzler-eating, pizza-loving husband thin and I am not?). And old wives tales and personal testimonies are not something that hold credence in a science-based practice. To me, anyways. But truly, I am open minded. And to prove that, here is a recipe which includes coconut oil! A delicious recipe, at that! 😉

Mocha Granola slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is

2 cups rolled oats, uncooked
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/2 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/4 cup shredded coconut Let’s Do Organic Low-Fat shredded coconut
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 Tbsp 1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 375º F.

Combine all ingredients together and mix until wet. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 1o minutes. Flip the granola and bake for another 5 minutes. Flip again and bake for a final 5-10 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Yield: 12 servings (1/2 cup each)

Nutrition Information (per 1/2 cup): 305 calories; 14.4 g. fat; 46 mg. sodium; 40.5 g. carbohydrate; 5.4 g. fiber; 7.3 g. protein

Really yummy granola! I can’t so much taste the coconut oil, so I’ll probably be trying another coconut oil-containing recipe soon. Since it’s in my arsenal now and all 😉

Today is the LAST DAY of the Do What You Don’t Challenge! I want to hear from all 77 of you participants! 😉 I have some yoga to get to today! But I assure you, it will get done! 😀

Question: What are you up to this weekend? Any fun plans?

TGIF,

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Filed under breakfast, challenge, coconut oil, coffee, diet, recipe, trans fat, Uncategorized, yoga

Coconut oil: health food or health fad?

Firstly, I want to give a shout out to all the new readers of Prevention RD! In the past 2 days there’s been lots of new “faces” – so happy to hear from you! I am insanely behind this week on blog reading, but can’t wait to catch up with you this weekend! 😀 I didn’t know if Thursday would ever make it here, but I’m sooo excited to start my 3-day weekend!

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[source]

If you buzz around the blogosphere you’ve definitely read something about coconut oil and/or butter. Tracey brilliantly asked me to share some important information about these foods on my blog, and I am so glad she did! This is a HOT topic right now!

My $0.02 on Coconut Oil

[Note: Due to MAJOR differences in nutrition components, I will discuss coconut water in a later post.]

Various fat sources are like various sugar (and sugar substitute) sources…they can all be a part of a healthy, balanced intake. Unfortunately, we (the consumers) hear something is “good” for us, and we become OBSESSED with this illusive idea of “super healthy foods”. Take for example, antioxidants. Cooking Light recently discussed the passing phase of “Super Foods” and “antioxidants” – we knew nuts, seeds, salmon, and berries were good for us. But we need not shun everything else. Same goes for sugar and sugar substitutes. Stevia is showing great promise as a 100% safe and all-natural, calorie-free sweeteners, but why commit to just one sweetener? Honey and agave sure have their place, especially with their low glycemic index. Food monogamy = no bueno!

I feel the same about fats, including tropical fats such as coconut oil and butter. If you simply Google “Is coconut oil healthy?” get ready to find a lot of coconut proponent sites. This is NOT where credible information is found…it’s where suckers go and money-making happens. There are no large-scale, valid, or reliable studies to date supporting claims that coconut oils and butters produce weight loss, boost energy, increase immunity, cure hypothyroidism, increase satiety, or decrease cravings. However, there are credible studies supporting heart-healthy diets which include a healthy balance of fats – saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat. A mixed-fat diet best supports a healthy ratio of HDL-cholesterol (the good) to LDL-cholesterol (the bad). Note: TRANS fat is never considered a healthy fat to include in the diet. Coconut oil should be never be hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated (check the ingredient list for these key words!), as that indicates trans fat content.

What we do know is that coconut oil contains a lot of saturated fat – 91-92% saturated fat — 4x the amount in Crisco shortening and 12x more than canola oil. The fat in coconut oil is in the form of medium-chain triglyercerides (MCT), which means little to most. In brief, medium-chain triglycerides are quickly cleared from the blood and are a completely oxidized for energy. While that is wonderful for critically ill patients unable to properly digest fats, that means little for the general, healthy population. Furthermore, MCT’s do not contain any essential fatty acids (omega 3’s and 6’s which are not made by the body). And for what it’s worth, the Food and Drug Administration, as well as the American Medical Association, endorse limiting saturated fats, and therefore tropical oils (but that’s not to say don’t include them in moderation).

Tracey’s Q: Is coconut oil healthy?
My A: Not really…nope.

Tracey’s Q: Is it just a fad?
My A: I’d say so. Unless people are just now learning they enjoy coconut?? 😉

Bottom Line:

  • If you choose to consume coconut oil/butter, choose a product which has not been hydrogenated (check the label!)
  • Limit your saturated fat intake to 7% or less of your daily caloric intake (11.5 grams for a 1,500 calorie intake; 14 grams for a 1,800 calorie intake; 15.5 grams for a 2,000 calorie intake)
  • Include a variety of fats from the diet – canola oil, olive oil, and flaxseed oil all contain both essential fatty acids, and contain WAY less saturated fat than coconut oil
  • Complete annual blood work with your medical provider – this should include a lipid panel
  • Never “marry” a food – variety is the key to success!

There’s so much conflicting information on health and nutrition…and it can be hard to decipher. And while some of it is confusing, or contains a lot of gray area, that’s the way the health industry goes. We’re all learning together. Always. But the more we learn, the more we can utilize in optimizing our health.

Me, personally? It’s ironic that Tracey asked this question this week, because I picked up some coconut oil on Monday at the store. I have several recipes calling for coconut oil that I’d like to try. My draw to trying coconut oil is simply pleasure…love coconut! Unless it’s to-die-for-good, it will likely be a one-time purchase for my kitchen! Personally, I’m canola oil’s #1 fan! 😉

Question: Have you used coconut butter or oil? Did you like it? Were you/are you weary to use it based on its saturated fat content?

Heart smart,


51 Comments

Filed under antioxidants, artificial sweeteners, aspartame, blog topic request, butter, coconut oil, fish oil/omega-3's, food safety, fruits and vegetables, glycemic index, healthy cooking, heart health, hydrogenation, MUFAs and PUFAs, research study, saturated fat, stevia, sugar substitutes, trans fat, Uncategorized