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Eating Nuts… Will They Make Me Fat, How Many, Which Ones? End The Confusion Here.

health benefits of nuts

Guy: If ever there was a post that needed to be written for our blog, I think it would be this one. Even though eating nuts can come with some great benefits, there is often much confusion and misinterpretation too. From fear of making us fat to the newly converted clean eater who has taken up ‘paleo’, who eats nuts by the bucket load as they’ve ran out of snack ideas, this post covers the do’s and don’ts of the nut world.

So if you are wanting the low down nuts, that take five minutes and enjoy this post by naturopath Lynda Griparic. Over to Lynda…

Lynda: Are nuts really that healthy? Can they be eaten on a weight loss program? What about phytic acid? Are nuts too high in omega 6? Are nuts too high in carbs? How much is too much?

These are questions I get asked all the time. Let me pre-empt this article by saying that this is a broad view. You may need to tweak your nut consumption to suit your individual needs. At the very least I hope to reduce your fears and confusion about these multicultural babes.

In general, most nuts;

  • Support cardiovascular health
  • Extend your lifespan
  • Improve lipid profile;lower low density lipoproteins (LDL) and improve high density lipoproteins (HDL) levels.
  • Reduce risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome
  • Improve antioxidant and nutrient status
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Contain a moderate amount of protein
  • And for the most part are a good source of fibre

Before we get nut specific let’s chat about phytic acid (aka phytate). Phytic acid is found in many plants, especially the bran or hull of grains, nuts and seeds. Unfortunately humans cannot digest phytic acid which is a problem because phytic acid binds to minerals such as iron and zinc in food preventing their absorption. Phytic acid disrupts the function of digestive enzymes such as pepsin, amylase and trypsin. These enzymes are required for the breakdown of proteins and starch in our food. A diet rich in phytates, such as grains can cause mineral deficiencies. Some of the phytic acid content can be broken down by soaking and roasting. On a more positive note phytic acid may have anti-cancer properties and can be converted to beneficial compounds in the gut.

How many nuts can I eat a day?

A loaded question that depends on a few factors;

  • your metabolic health and weight
  • your mineral and general health status
  • if you have any serious digestive issues
  • your nut preparation: soaking, dehydrating, roasting before consumption

Those with serious digestive issues may do better avoiding nut flour and nut butters. Even though nut flour does not contain much phytic acid because they are made from blanched nuts and phytates are found in the skin, many find it hard to digest nut flour in large amounts. Nut butters are often made from unsoaked nuts, making their phytic acid levels relatively high.

For most people with a low phytic acid diet, a handful of well prepared nuts daily would be a great addition, providing many amazing health benefits as you’ll soon see.

Which Nuts Should I Invest In?

Here is a list of the most popular nuts along with their pros and cons. If you are simply looking for weight loss tips, scroll to the bottom of this post.

Macadamia Nuts

macadamia nutsI must start with my all time favourite nut, the macadamia. No doubt, many feel the same. For starters macadamias simply taste amazing. They are buttery in texture and flavour, are amazing in raw desserts and offer much goodness such as healthy fats mostly monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), followed by Linoleic acid (LA), Alpha-linolenic acid ALA and saturated fats (SFA). They are low in carbohydrate, harmful Omega 6 fats, phytic acid (no need for soaking) and pesticide residue and contain Vitamin B1, copper, iron and a fair whack of manganese (think bone and thyroid health). Great for those creaky knees. They are worth every pricey penny. Just be mindful of overconsumption. I find these guys slightly addictive. Stopping at a handful may be tricky :)

Interesting fact: Macs have been shown to improve lipid profile; reduce total cholesterol, low density lipoproteins (LDL) as well as increase high density lipoprotein (HDL) levels and may reduce inflammation and prevent coronary heart disease. Macadamias have around the same amount of the health promoting monounsaturated fat, oleic acid as olives.

Almonds

AlmondsAlmonds in moderation are amazing. They contain quality protein, fibre, healthy fats, namely MUFA, LA and SFA. They are rich in vitamin E, B2, copper, l-arginine, magnesium and manganese. The downside to almonds aside from our inability to control the amount we consume is their high phytate content. Soaking for around 12 hours and or roasting can help reduce these levels or purchase skinless almonds where possible.

Interesting fact: almonds and almond skins are rich in fibre and other components which support your gut flora (microbiome) and act as a prebiotic. Almond consumption can improve lipid profile, reducing total cholesterol and LDL. Almonds may also improve blood sugar balance and reduce appetite when eaten as a snack. The l-arginine content in almonds offer many cardiovascular health benefits. The almond skin is typically rich in antioxidants (polyphenols, flavonoids). In fact approx 30g of almonds have a similar amount of polyphenols as a cup of green tea or steamed broccoli.

Brazil Nuts

Brazil NutsSeriously great tasting, slightly sweet nuts that are mostly known for their selenium rich bodies. Per 30g they are comprised of 88% selenium. They are a good source of healthy fats (MUFA, LA, SFA). Are low in carbs and rich in other nutrients such as copper, magnesium, manganese and B1. A little bit goes a long way with these nuts, which is just as well because they are not the cheapest nut out there. A modest brazil nut or two a day will give you a good dose of selenium. Selenium is an extremely important antioxidant essential for thyroid health and for a healthy immune and cardiovascular system. It’s worth mentioning that Brazil nuts are high in phytates however eating small amounts to get your selenium and nutrient dose should not cause a problem.

Interesting fact: at small doses these nuts can improve selenium levels in the body. They are also a great anti-inflammatory food with the capacity to improve lipid profiles.

Cashews

Cashew NutsAnother dangerously delicious nut, creamy and sweet in texture and flavour. These nuts do not have as amazing nutrient profile as some of its nut colleagues but alas they do make for a great cheese substitute. Think raw cheesecake.

They are a little higher in carbs than the other nuts averaging around 8.6g per 30g. They contain healthy fats, quality protein, B1, copper, manganese, iron, magnesium and zinc. These guys are notorious for being over consumed and causing allergic reactions. You can soak cashews for 2-4hours.

Chestnuts

ChestnutsChestnuts are in a little league of their own. They are quite starchy in comparison to their fatty friends containing around 22 g of carbs per 30g. They are low in fat and protein and contain copper, manganese, Vitamin B6 and folate.

They are however low in phytates and are quite flavoursome raw, roasted or steamed. I would treat these guys as you would a starch and have them in moderation.

Hazelnuts

HazelnutsHazelnuts, also known as filberts, are not a popular nut, unless you consider Nutella your hazelnut source. God knows why, because roasting these and sprinkling them onto salads makes for an an amazing experience. They might be worth your attention though given their nutrient profile. Hazelnuts are rich in healthy fats (MUFA, LA, SFA), manganese, copper, vitamin E and have a decent amount of magnesium and iron. Hazelnuts have moderate levels of phytates and can be soaked for 8-12 hours.

Interesting fact: Hazelnut skins are rich in antioxidants (polyphenols) with total antioxidant capacity richer than dark chocolate, espresso coffee and blackberries. As most nuts they have the capacity to improve cardiovascular health, lipid profiles, reducing LDL and may have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Pecans

Pecan nutsPecans are an underrated, under-consumed nut and another favourite of mine. These quirky looking nutrient giants are packed full of antioxidants, healthy fats (MUFA, LA, SFA) with a decent whack of fibre and nice dose of protein, manganese, copper, B1 and Zinc. Apparently pecans have the highest level of antioxidants of any nut. You can soak pecans for 6 hours.

Interesting fact: aside from their impressive antioxidant status, whole pecans are fantastic for reducing inflammation and oxidative stress and improving lipid profile. Try them in your salads, have them raw or activated. Pecans are the nuts that make my raw brownies a healthy signature dessert. CLICK HERE for Healthy Pecan Chocolate Brownie Recipe.

Pine Nuts

Pine NutsPine nuts play a starring role in any good pesto and taste amazing, raw or toasted on salads. They are rarely eaten as a snack and are a wee bit pricey due to the labour intensive harvesting process. As most nuts, pine nuts contain healthy fats and other vitamins and minerals namely manganese, vitamin B1, copper, magnesium and zinc. You can soak pine nuts for a few hours.

Interesting fact: Pine nuts may suppress the appetite and lower LDL levels. Some may be prone to “Pine mouth”, a condition caused by pine nut consumption that makes everything you eat taste bitter and metallic.

Pistachios

Pistachio nutsPistachios look aged and strange and often come with a barrage of complaints such as “there is not enough nut-meat in the shell” and “the darn shell won’t open”. I dare say though that they are worth the effort for both taste and benefits. They are low in phytic acid and you can soak them for up to 8 hours.

Interesting fact: Pistachios act as a natural prebiotic (even more so than almonds) because of its non-digestible food components such as dietary fiber. This fibre stays in the gut and feeds our good bacteria, stimulating their growth. They also contain phytochemicals that have the potential to positively improve the balance and diversity of your gut microbiome.

Pistachios are also an excellent source of vitamin B6, copper and manganese and a good source of phosphorus and thiamin. Pistachios have the potential to significantly improve lipid profiles and blood sugar status so are a great addition to those individuals who already have or want to prevent diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Walnuts

WalnutsMany primal eating folk have ditched the walnuts concerned that they are too high in Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAS) and contain unstable linoleic acid. You may want to un-banish your banish though as walnuts really do have an impressive nutrient profile and eaten every so often can be a valuable and delicious addition to the healthy diet of most.

Walnuts are a good source of copper, manganese and magnesium. They also contain protein, iron and as mentioned before are quite high in PUFA but if your diet as a whole has a significant amount of Omega 3’s and is relatively low in Omega 6 from other sources (seed oils etc) you should be fine. They are moderately high in phytates and can go rancid quite quickly so buy small quantities from a trusted supplier and store unshelled walnuts in the fridge or freezer. You can soak walnuts for around 4 hours. If you are feeling adventurous and do not mind the somewhat bitter taste eat the skin as up to 90 per cent of the antioxidants are found there.

Interesting fact: Walnuts are capable of supporting cardiovascular health by improving lipid profile (reducing LDL) and reducing blood pressure.

Peanuts

PeanutsIt would be fair to say most people reading this post has got stuck into a bowl of salted peanuts in their time! Would you believe these guys are actually legumes? Sadly there are a few things going against this legume/peanut. For starters peanuts are a common allergen for people. They contain aflatoxin (harmful to the liver) and are often heavily sprayed with pesticides.

The salted variety of peanuts are also a domino food. Very easy to over consume if you’re not careful! I would avoid regular consumption.

Conclusion (& weight loss tips)

In a nutshell (Oh yes I just went there). Given the extensive positive research out there, I believe that a handful (around 2 heaped tablespoons) of well prepared, good quality nuts daily would be a valuable part of a healthy diet and in most cases support fat loss, cardiovascular health and blood sugar irregularities. In fact studies have shown that nut eaters tend to be leaner, more physically active and non smokers.

The problem is stopping at a handful. If you struggle with self control when it comes to nuts try the following to avoid overconsumption.

Weight Loss Tips

If your goal is weight loss and not just health maintenance, then you should bare in mind the following tips.

- Be selective with which nuts you choose to stock: choose nuts with a decent amount of fibre and low carb such as almonds and pecans and stay clear of cashews.

- Avoid nut butters: they are ridiculously good and rarely do we stop at a tablespoon, let’s face it.

- Leave the skins on. Its where you may find protective antioxidants and fibre.

- Buy nuts with shells. If it takes time and effort to de-shell you are more likely to consume less.

- Buy small quantities to avoid temptation. This also ensures your stash does not go rancid too quickly.

- Rather than have a handful, get your quota by popping them on your salads, on top of fish and other meals.

- Chestnuts: probably not a nut to eat by the handful given their starchy profile. Treat them as you would starchy vegetables in your diet.

- They are small snacks. Treat nuts as you would snacks not a main course.

Did you enjoy this post or find it helpful? Do you eat nuts? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below…

lynda griparic naturopathThis article is brought to you by Lynda. She is a fully qualified Naturopath and Nutritionist with over 13 years of experience in the health industry. Lynda specialises in detoxification and weight loss. She has extensive experience in running healthy, effective and sustainable weight loss programs and has expertise in investigating and treating the underlying causes of weight gain and metabolic problems.

If you would like to book a consultation with Lynda, CLICK HERE

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Top 9 Most Shocking Nutritional Myths

nutritional lies

Guy: This could also have easily been my top twenty, but for the purpose of readability I’ve kept it to nine. Everything I’ve listed here, I had bought into growing up and thought I was living a normal ‘healthy’ lifestyle.

In my early twenties though, all the signs were starting to appear that my health wasn’t great; Massive energy swings each day, weight gain, fatigue, sinus issues, blood sugar problems to name a few. I was fed up and decided to do something about it.

I’ve adjusted my diet over the last eight years and being close to forty years old, I have never felt better! Whether you agree with the points I’ve listed or not is fine, but if you are not totally happy with your health, energy or weight then maybe it’s worth taking a look at. From my experience it worked for me and I’ve seen it time and time again with others; what you put in your mouth on a daily basis has a massive effect on your long term health.

food myths food pyramid1. Follow the Healthy Food Pyramid

Does anyone actually listen to this? If you listen to the pyramid then half your daily diet would be wheat, grains, rice, pasta, cereals (gluten) etc. Yet these foods will respond in your body just like sugar does and send your insulin sky high. This has serious long term negative effects. If I followed this protocol I would be fat and in danger of becoming a diabetic! And this is just the tip of the iceberg. They say if you turn the food pyramid upside down you would be better off. A little simplistic I know, but I tend to agree.

food myths obesity2. Obesity is From Overeating & Being Lazy

This one frustrates me, especially coming from a background as a fitness trainer. I’ve witnessed so many people struggling with their weight yet they are on a constant diet. It’s as if their life is one big diet but they keep stacking on the kilo’s. We hear of weight issues and obesity rates rising and the message remains the same - eat less and exercise more. I feel this is so simplistic and off the mark. Most people who’s weight or health is suffering are following the shockingly wrong nutritional guidelines I’ve listed here. By doing this, it will lead to low grade inflammation which causes a host of problems over time. Hormonal disfunction kicks in including insulin and leptin, thyroid issues to name a few. Then there are digestive issues with gut bacteria, candida and leaky gut with many studies showing how this hugely affects our body weight. The body is so complex we are forever learning about it, and biggest loser lifestyle with weight loss shakes and restricted calories is not the answer.

food myths low fat3. Eat a Low Fat Diet for Long Lasting Heart Health

Like so many people, I grew up avoiding fat as I had it drummed into me that too much fat will clog your arteries, cause heart disease and have you keeling over forty years young! This one makes me angry, as fat is seriously critical for amazing health, including brain function, energy and processing fat soluble vitamins A,D,E,K. For years now I have made sure I have an abundance of quality fats with every meal (note: not all fats are created equal). By doing this, every aspect of my health has improved. If you want to know more on fats, this is a great place to start Click Here.

food_myths artificial sweeteners4. Use Artificial Sweeteners Like Aspartame & Sucralose

Let’s pull out the sugar and use chemicals instead… who’s bright idea was this? Personally I seriously avoid this stuff! Found in many ‘diet’ soft drinks and even weight loss shakes along with so called ‘health foods’. Yet there’s much evidence now showing that this stuff ruins gut health which of course leads to a host of health issues including weight gain. Go figure!  The harsh reality is that it’s super cheap to produce, and with slick marketing there much profit to be had. (You can read more on this here)

food myths vegatable oils5. Use Industrial Vegetable Oils & Trans fats Instead of Saturated Fats

I avoid these at all costs. They go rancid easily and break down into free radicals when heated and many of them are hydrogenated and become unstable. I believe this damages cell function and causes inflammation. They are also high in omega 6, which most people over consume, when we actually need more omega 3’s which can be found in quality saturated fats. Amazingly processed vegetable oils can be found in most packaged high street supermarket foods. It might seem like a tiny amount on the ingredients label, but it quickly adds up! Remember this mantra and you can’t go to far wrong; #JERF… Just Eat Real Food.

food myths time magazine6. Saturated Fat Will Cause Heart Disease

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who grew up with a fat phobia, and it took me a while to get my head around the fact that the very thing I was avoiding was the thing that my body seriously needs. This has been a heated and contested area but I believe that saturated fat is critical for health and the brain. Even Time Magazine recently had a knob of butter on the front cover and announced they had got it wrong (yay!).  If you are worried about heart health and cholesterol, worry about man made fats along with foods that cause inflammation, which is what I have removed from my diet. I eat saturated fat every day. (Learn more here.)

food myths sugar7. We Need Sugar For Energy

I live a very active lifestyle and keep my sugar intake very low. As far as I’m concerned we are better off without it! Sugar is insidious and is found in almost all foods in commercial supermarkets. It also comes in many forms which can create a lot of confusion. It’s easy to say that this is an empty calorie and can be ‘burned off’, but this doesn’t take fructose into consideration, which is 50% of table sugar and comes with it’s own host of problems. From what I’ve seen, too much of the sweet stuff will definitely take it’s toll on health. I would seriously consider getting this stuff out of your diet. (learn more on fructose here)

food myths breakfast cereal8. Start the Day with ‘Healthy’ Breakfast Cereal

I Grew up on this stuff. But the reality is, no amount of mass media marketing will convince me breakfast cereals should be a staple in the human diet these days. Highly processed carbs that feed the appetite but not the body, with many loaded with sugar too! These will also be doing your blood sugar level no favours and you’ll be wondering why you’re hungry in an hour after eating it. If time is of the issue in the morning, make a simple 180 smoothie with 1/2 avocado, 180 Natural Protein Superfood, berries & ice. Giving you all the essentials fats, vitamins, minerals, proteins and fibrous carbs you need in one simple hit! Delicious.

food myths margarine9. Use Margarine Instead of Butter

It was someone’s bright idea to replace butter (which is rich in the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and the minerals magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus and selenium, all essential for good health) with margarine.  The latter is made from refined vegetable oils (high in Omega 6 which cause inflammation in the body), which are neutralised, bleached, filtered and deodorised and turned into a spreadable forms by a chemical process called hydrogenation as they are not naturally solid at room temperature. It is also fortified with artificial colourings and flavourings. Does this sound right to you? Seriously, this stuff does not go in my body and it saddens me to see others eating this and thinking they are doing the right thing.

Alexx Stuart: Should We Use Sunscreen?

The video above is under 3 minutes long.

alexx stuartSunscreen, a hot topic (pun intended) but a topic well worth raising. Did you know the skin is the largest human organ and the average adult has a skin surface area of over 21 square feet and accounts for 6% to 10% of your body weight. So with this in mind, I certainly think we should be considering what we put on our body, with sunscreen being one of them as it get’s warmer here in Australia.

Our guest Alexx Stuart is a research writer and presenter where she covers conscious living, organics, toxic free personal care, ingredient exposées and inspiring people to create beautiful change.

Full Interview with Alexx Stuart: Real Food & Low Tox Living

downloaditunesIn this episode we talk about:-

  • What exactly low tox living is
  • If sunscreen is harmful
  • Why eating more fat is healthy for your skin
  • Is organic food worth it
  • How to eat organic and still save money
  • How to tackle kids lunchboxes
  • What’s the real deal with GMO
  • And much much more…

Want to know more about Alexx Stuart?

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

Alexx Stuart Interview Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our special guest today is the lovely Alexx Stuart of Real Food and Low Tox Living.
She’s an exceptionally well-researched writer and explorer, and we were super keen to get her one the show today to share her thoughts on many of the topics, especially when it comes to toxicity and toxins within our daily lives, from our food to our environment, even the things that we put on our skin.
And she’s absolutely a wealth of knowledge, and there are some gems of information in there for you, and we tackle things from sunscreen to GMOs to even how we can improve foods that go into kids’ lunch boxes without stressing the parents out too much, either, you know.
As always, I learned a lot from this today, and I’m sure Stu did, too, because we get to hang out with these people on a weekly basis and it really is a privilege for us, and it’s fantastic, you know, and we want to get that information across to you, so if you are enjoying the shows, as well, we’d really appreciate a review on iTunes. It just helps us with our rankings. Helps us get the word out there and what we believe to be, you know, amazing health.
Anyway, enjoy the show. I’m sure you’re going to learn heaps. Just pop those headphones on. Go for a nice walk. Drive in the car. I’m sure you’ll get a lot out of it and be part of the conversation, too. Until the next time. Enjoy. Cheers.
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence and I’m joined today, as always, with Mr. Stuart Cooke. Hey, Stewey.
Stuart Cooke: Hello.
Guy Lawrence: And our lovely guest today is Miss Alexx Stuart. How are you?
Alexx Stuart: Good. Thanks, Guy and Stu. How are you guys?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fantastic. I thought we’d start off by filling in the listeners a bit on about how we met, because we were all at the Tasmanian Primal Living Conference a few weeks ago, and you were one of the key speakers there, as well, and I must admit, I probably registered about five percent of what you said because I was up straight after you.
Alexx Stuart: That’s right!
Guy Lawrence: Yes, yes, but we got to sit next to each other on the table that night and it was wonderful and I thought, “My God, I was just chatting with Stewey, we have to get you on this podcast to share your wealth of knowledge with us, so…
Alexx Stuart: I’m so excited to be here.
Guy Lawrence: It’s really appreciated. The best place to start is where did your health journey start? Because you set up, you know, your business with Real Food and Low Tox Living, and where did that journey start for you and, you know, you started to make the change into the whole health and wellness industry and to get so passionate about it?
Alexx Stuart: Yeah. I’ve always been a teacher, and it’s so funny, I love getting older, and I know a lot of people don’t say that, but I really love getting older for what you see, your true ability to serve people is, and, you know, I spent a few years in the cosmetics industry. I spent a few years in the hospitality industry. There were some nights as a night club singer in between all of that.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, wow!
Stuart Cooke: Wow!
Alexx Stuart: What I realized as time went on was I really adored helping people make better choices, and sort of underpinned that with a health journey that was a little bit challenging personally. Let’s see, how do we make it short? We have chronic tonsillitis, like literally sixty rounds of antibiotics over my lifetime, then developed, once I got into cosmetics, polycystic ovarian syndrome.
You know, we always talked about the rare algae from the Croatian Seas and the this and the that, but we never talked about all those preservatives and horrible things that were in the creams, as well, and when I think back to my cosmetics use, every second girl had some sort of reproductive organ issue of some kind.
People were trying to get pregnant. People had endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, so many of us were popping pain killers for migraines, and it’s a real learning experience looking back now. If, you know, I had friends with daughters, I mean even sons, and we all get affected by chemicals. It’s really lovely to be able to help on that front.
But, anyway, back to how I got into it. I sort of just started to realize it wasn’t right that I was so sick, you know? I was a young, healthy person when I wasn’t in a migraine mode or having chronic tonsillitis or getting glandular fever. In between there were these windows of feeling awesome, and I just, I wanted that window to grow, and I remember being in my little flat in Bondi on my third round of ridiculous strength antibiotics, sort of leaning out over the bed and spitting into, like, a little water bottle because I couldn’t bear to swallow. This is sort of TMI, but you’ve got to know everything, and just thinking, “There has to be a better way.”
Humans are so apocalyptic, aren’t we? We wait until things are really, really bad until we actually decide to do something.
Stuart Cooke: We move by pain, for sure.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah, I know. It’s so sad. So much time wasted, and so cut through, then, a whole bunch of years realizing I was a really good teacher in cosmetics and, bartending, I would always kind of take people on these adventures and show them drinks and ideas that they’d never even thought of before.
And as I started to fix my own health with some really amazing practitioners in my corner helping me along, I started to realize, well, what if, you know, I could teach in this space? What if I could find a way to fast track all of those times where we deny that there might actually be wrong, where we cover up all our symptoms just for a little hint of feeling good for a couple of hours, and actually just show people that there’s a better way and empower people.
Surely, not everybody has to wait for their apocalyptic moment, whatever that might be, and so I just started writing and here we are a couple of years later, basically.
Guy Lawrence: That’s fantastic!
Stuart Cooke: Fantastic story.
Guy Lawrence: It is a hard one, though, isn’t it, though? The whole pain threshold? Because we see it a lot, as well, you know. It’s the same. People wait and wait and wait until it becomes unbearable, and then they usually slingshot the other way and go for it.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Why do you think that is? It’s such a hard one, isn’t it? We’re too busy? We got caught up?
Alexx Stuart: Well, you know, society tells us that we’ve got to literally, like the ad says, “Soldier on.” And, you know, so they provide us with all these things to do that that stop us from listening to our bodies, and, in fact, so much of what happens in our modern world that gets sold to us to make life better, is actually completely unnecessary and disconnecting us from what’s really going on, whether that be happiness, whether that be illness.
I mean, you know, it’s actually quite amazing how we subscribe to everybody else’s thoughts about our lives other than our own.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s a really good point.
Stuart Cooke: Tell us a little bit about toxic living, because I, you know, I hear the term low tox, you know, toxic living, and I see that you focus quite heavily on that sort of thing on your website, as well. So what does that actually mean to you?
Alexx Stuart: To me, look, I’m a city dweller. I live in a second floor apartment. I don’t even have a balcony. So I’m very urban, in terms of the way I live and where I choose to live at the moment, although everyone’s convinced I’m going to be a hippy on a farm, and I think, for me, low tox living is figuring out how you can still be connected with nature, how you can still take charge of the path of where your food comes from, and how you can ultimately decide what you put on and in you, and that includes lungs, so breathing, and so I choose to live coastally, because I find that to be a much better option in a big city than to live in a city or in a city’s suburbs.
So, you know, low tox living, to me is wherever you are, really. It could be someone in the country, as well, exposing themselves to pesticides with their farming or what, you know, there’s different definitions of what low tox living is depending on where you live, but for me it’s about finding ways to cut out noise, whether it be ads for food or pharmaceutical products…
Stuart Cooke: Sure.
Alexx Stuart: Or whether it be just trying to get in touch with nature as much as possible, equalize some of those, kind of, electromagnetic toxins, whether it’s being really scrutinous when I choose personal care products, and it’s just about making the best choice you can in all of those areas.
Guy Lawrence: And educating yourself at the same time so that you can make better decisions, right? And it’s interesting that you say “on” as well as “in” the body, because that’s one thing we forget a lot.
Alexx Stuart: We do, I mean, I meet people who are like, “Yeah, I’m all organic.” And then you see them slapping on some super cheap moisturizer at the beach that is full of, like, nanotechnology and hormone-altering chemicals. Our skin is our biggest organ. It’s actually probably absorbing, it actually is, I read this recently, absorbing more than our digestive system. So, it’s every bit as important to look after what we put on our skin.
Guy Lawrence: That’s massive. I hope you take notes, Stu, with what you put on your skin every day.
Stuart Cooke: Can’t you tell? Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: So, you know, with all these things in mind, where’s the best place to get started then? You know, what do you find most useful, you know, from food, fridge, personal care, like there’s such a broad range of things?
Alexx Stuart: It really is, and a lot of people get daunted, and they get quite angry, and they can get quite defensive about that first day when you start to realize what’s in stuff, and it all unravels so fast, and you think, “Who can I trust? What can I do?” It can be really scary.
I always say, because I really love welcoming beginners in my community, I don’t believe that, you know, it should be like, “Still using margarine?” You know that condescending highfalutin kind of evangelical style of person. I just don’t find that energy is ever going to grow the nation of healthy livers So it’s really about being welcoming to these people and, if you’re indeed one of those people out there listening to this today, the number one thing I say is to not feel guilty about what you did yesterday and to actually just start looking at jar-by-jar, packet-by-packet, product-by-product, asking the questions at the butcher wherever you go to just educate yourself.
It will probably be a two-year journey. I mean, and that’s because only people like us have done the research now and are actively promoting and teaching, but when I started six years ago, it was like a four or five-year journey, because I was still trying to research so much stuff myself, so it wasn’t yet 100 percent available.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely, and we always prefer small steps as well. If you want to climb a mountain, walk around the block first. Do it that way.
Alexx Stuart: Exactly! And just don’t get upset with yourself. You don’t have to throw everything away and buy three grand worth of stuff. Just phase stuff out and be relaxed about it, because the stress is completely counterproductive to good health.
Guy Lawrence: I was just going to say that. I do wonder how much the stress itself causes a lot of problems once you start becoming aware of these things. If you start stressing yourself out, you can probably end up in a lot worse place long term.
Alexx Stuart: Well, it’s so true, Guy. I mean, stress is the quiet killer in our society, as well, just as much as what we put on and in us, and, you know, a lot of people act guilty or ashamed when they eat a Magnum or when they, you know, because they think you might disapprove or, you know, I’ll have fish and chips in the summertime with friends at the beach.
For goodness’ sakes, like, it’s that ten percent, when you’re out of your home and you’re not in control and you’re not making every single choice, that you just go with the flow, because the becoming obsessive compulsive, becoming stressed about every single tiny little thing, it’s really going to create a lot of anxiety, you know, that feeling in your chest when you’re on edge about things? If you carry that long term, that can have some serious ramifications.
In fact, especially in your digestive system, so, you know, a lot of people start eating real food for that reason to try and get a better digestive system happening, so we’ve really got to think big picture on this kind of stuff and chill out and just go at our pace.
You know that beautiful saying, “Do what you can where you are with what you have.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.
Stuart Cooke: That’s it, and it’s mind, body, and spirit, as well. It’s a holistic approach. Sure, you can eat like a saint, but if your heads spinning a thousand miles an hour and you’re worried about everything, then that work isn’t going to be the path to wellness for you.
Alexx Stuart: No, and you can lose friends if you become too stressed in particular, like, yeah, it’s like I always joke, you know, I’m not going to go to my friends’ house and say, “I’m sorry. Is that chicken organic?”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.


Alexx Stuart: “What kind of oil have you used on that dressing? Because…”
Stuart Cooke: That’s it.
Alexx Stuart: You know? And it’s not cool, so there is an element where you just go with the flow, and the best you can do is make the choices within your own home.
Stuart Cooke: That’s it. That’s it. Yeah. One step at a time. You’ll get there in the end. I’m going to try to…
Alexx Stuart: Plus, eventually, your friends will have the organic chicken in the end anyway, so…yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yes they will.
Guy Lawrence: No, no, no, Guy. Stu’s coming over. We’d better order the organic chicken.
Stuart Cooke: Smother the chicken in sunscreen. Just going to go back to the sunscreen issue, because we…
Alexx Stuart: Nice segue there, Stu.
Stuart Cooke: You like the way that worked? I’ve been working all night on that one. I’m just managed to slide it in. We’re fortunate enough to live by the beach, and I’m aware of the importance of vitamin D from the sun, you know, that’s healthy, too, and necessary for our bodies, but there is a paranoia about Slip-Slop-Slap which rightfully is important to take into consideration, too. So, what are your thoughts on sunscreens for you and your children?
Alexx Stuart: So, I do use a sunscreen. It’s the most natural one I’ve been able to find, and I grabbed that from NourishedLife.com.au. I don’t know if you guys know Irene, but a wonderful operator, very scrutinous about what she allows in her online shop, and it’s called Eco, quite simply, and that is a really good sunscreen. It’s the only one that doesn’t feel like you’re putting on clay. You know those natural sunscreens that aren’t so sure you’re really trying to separate a caramel square onto your skin they’re so thick?
So that’s a really great one, but I stay so far away from all of the conventional sunscreens, because they’re some of the most common ingredients in sunscreens actually cause free radical damage in your cells.
So, I just don’t see the logic in outing ingredients like that in products to protect us from something. It’s completely counterproductive, and I’m not saying that means you’re just going to run around wearing nothing at all, because that’s safer and more natural than sunscreen, because the fact is, we live in Australia here, and if you’re out in direct sunlight for more than ten, fifteen minutes then, yes, you need to protect yourself.
Interestingly enough, once you start to bring health fats back into your diet, you have a certain base level of protection that is higher than, say, someone eating a lot of omega 6, where the ratio is at, and there is some really concrete research around that, so it’s a good one to look at for anyone who wants to know that.
I’ll just read you that, because some of these ingredients lists are so long that I don’t want to stuff it up. 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC), you know, was found in mice to delay puberty and decrease adult prostate weight. Do I want to put that on my skin? Not really. I’m not really keen, you know?
Oxybenzone, that’s a hormone-altering chemical. Some of the fragrance particles, the phthalates in sunscreens are, you know, those beautiful tropical smelling sunscreens, they’re actually disturbing your endocrine system as they seep into your skin.
Guy Lawrence: We put so much trust in the manufacturers and just take so many things blindly, you know?
Alexx Stuart: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: And it’s so easy to just go, “Oh, well, you know, I don’t care.” And just rub your arm with whatever, but it’s interesting what you say because, you know, me being fair, being from Wales, right? I’m not the best combination, because I live by the, you know, the beach in Sydney, but I have found since I’ve changed, you know, I eat the much higher fat, natural fat diet now over the last five years, and I’ve found my skin, it is a lot better in the sun. I don’t burn that easily.
Alexx Stuart: It’s lovely. It’s actually glowing.
Guy Lawrence: It’s completely different. Yeah, it’s…
Stuart Cooke: It’s a contrast issue on his monitor, that’s all that is.
Guy Lawrence: You’d never know I was 63, would you?
Stuart Cooke: He’s cranked it up.
Alexx Stuart: No, it is, and there’s so many people report the same, so it’s interesting, isn’t it? But, yes, use a natural one or just don’t spend much time, more than ten, fifteen minutes in direct sunlight at a time, because, yes, we need the vitamin D, and I say early morning and afternoon just get out there, you know?
We don’t need…I see kids completely covered up and now rickets is making a comeback. So there is an overboard, and what I found really interesting at the Changing the Way We Eat conference was Gary Fettke’s, Dr. Gary Fettke’s I should say, was talking about the need for vitamin D to healthily metabolize fructose and prevent it from turning into LDL cholesterol. I found that completely fascinating, so if you are completely covering yourself and protected, then you know, and you’re having lots of fruit in the summertime which is a lovely thing to do, you know, you’re actually, you could be damaging your body.
Now, I don’t want to scare people, but that’s a really interesting little bit of science, as well. We do need vitamin D, so ten, fifteen minutes in direct sun. You do not need sunscreen for that, in my opinion. I’m not a practitioner, but I really believe it’s a healthy way to go.
Guy Lawrence: It makes me think about everyone back home still, you know, because they don’t have a sunscreen problem, there’s no bloody sun, but they have a vitamin D problem, you know, especially if they’re eating a high-sugar diet as well.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah. Exactly, and that’s the cholesterol.
Stuart Cooke: Why is it, it’s funny, you can dig so deep into that. I’ve read numerous studies about cleaning up your diet and it changes the profile of your subcutaneous fat which is, again, the barrier between your body and the sun, and there’s evidence out there. Dig deep. Have a Google and you’ll find evidence-based studies that will really enlighten you.
Alexx Stuart: I think the Weston A. Price Foundation has some interesting research on that.
Guy Lawrence: They have a lot of it, yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: I think the take-home so far is think about what we’re putting on our skin, whether it’s a moisturizer to the sunscreen, and think twice before applying it.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: All right. Next thing we wanted to cover, bring up, Alexx, was real food. There’s a big misconception that it’s more expensive to live healthy. What are your thoughts on that?
Alexx Stuart: I don’t think it is. So, let’s just say day one someone’s decided I’ve got to start buying everything organic, but what they do is they still go to the supermarket. They just buy the organic version of everything, so they don’t actually change their food pattern or vocabulary, and they just do product swaps for the organic version.
If you do that, then 100 percent yes, you will find yourself doubling your grocery bill.
Guy Lawrence: That’s my confession, yes.
Stuart Cooke: That’s definitely you. I’ve seen your food bill. I like your cup, by the way. Is that a Pantone cup?
Alexx Stuart: Yes, it is. Purple for calm.
Stuart Cooke: What number are you?
Alexx Stuart: This particular one is 5285.
Stuart Cooke: Awesome.
Alexx Stuart: I have the red one for when it’s Power Hour and I need to get lots of work done. I’ve got different ones for different moods.
Stuart Cooke: I like that. Sorry, that’s the graphic designer coming out of me.
Guy Lawrence: I have no idea what you’re on about, you two, but I’ll just sit here and…
Stuart Cooke: Sorry. Back to Guy, yeah. Guy is the stereotypical bachelor who goes out to his boutiquey little shops, buys these beautiful little packaged organic meats. They’re always going to be the finest cuts, and, boy, do they cost a fortune.
So, me, on the other side of the coin, you know, family, children, have to be more careful about budget and, also, more aware that I want to get decent quality meat and veggies.
Alexx Stuart: Absolutely, so, stop buying at the supermarket or small grocer, because that will, yes, that will be more expensive, if price is an issue for you. I use my brilliant small grocer for, like, you know, emergency stuff and top ups when I run out of things, but essentially I buy 80 percent of our produce from either my butcher or direct online beef supplier, who’s fabulous, and the markets. And they are the places I buy our food.
So, by buying your food from people where you’ve got, like, you don’t have a huge trolley that you can fill up, you’ve just got a couple of bags that you can carry back to the car, that also really helps you keep things in perspective. You only get what you need, and then you stop wasting so much.
You know, there are so many things that attribute to people overspending on a grocery bill, but essentially to save the money buy as much from direct people as you can, and, also, start cooking with secondary cuts. My favorite butcher is GRUB up in Vaucluse, for you Sydneysiders. They are so passionate and ethical, and they really know how to help you learn how to cook certain things that you might not be used to cooking.
And then, for beef, I also buy directly from Alma Beef. A, L, M, A.Who’s in New South Wales and Wellington. This woman cares so much about how cows are raised. She cares about all the different types of grass and the results that you get in the meat from what you feed your cows, so there’s no grains. And, you know, you can buy chuck steak, not chuck, it’s oyster blade on the bone, ten dollars a kilo.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Alexx Stuart: Gorgeous big slow-cooked stew, I saw Guy’s eyes go, “What?”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, exactly.
Alexx Stuart: If you get these secondary cuts, you can make a huge big batch of a couple of kilos of a single basic casserole, so tomatoes, stalk veggies, onions, yada, yada, herbs, and then the next day you can separate that out and morph some of it with a bit of cumin and cinnamon and turn that half of it into something Mexican, the other… So you’ve got different flavors going on, and you just need to get a bit smarter.
Which, funnily enough, my second book, which will be coming out next month, is XXreally about everything you eatXX 0:24:13
Guy Lawrence: It goes back, like, everything else, isn’t it? Because it can seem overwhelming at first, but once you start to find out and know and fully make adjustments, you know…
Alexx Stuart: Absolutely. I mean, in one of my cooking web shows, which is Save Time, Save Money, but provide beautiful nourishing food, I show people how to cook a slow roast lamb shoulder, and they are just shocked by how easy it is. They’re like, “That’s all I have to do?” I’m like, “Yes, you do this before work, and when you get home from work, it’ll be falling apart…”
Guy Lawrence: Is that in the slow cooker, is it?
Alexx Stuart: In a slow cooker or in your oven.
Guy Lawrence: My girlfriend told me to buy a slow cooker, and I absolutely hammer the thing. Like, I use it all the time. They’re amazing. Amazing.
Stuart Cooke: You actually do use it all the time, as well. I think every single meal is a slow cooker.
Guy Lawrence: Almost.
Alexx Stuart: But it’s also better for you, because you’re not stunning the protein, like you are when you pan fry something at high heat. I mean that can denature the outsides of a steak. So slow cooking is actually healthier for you, too. Validation!
Stuart Cooke: I’m going to slowly fry my meat from this point on. Thank you for that tip. About five hours.
Alexx Stuart: And the other thing people don’t realize is they keep buying and eating huge amounts of protein, and you really just don’t need that much. Pardon the pun, but beef it up with veg. Get more vegetables into your stews and more. Roast twice as many vegetables as you would normally to have with your roast and just one less slice of that and double your veg. And then you’ve taken care of cell regeneration, as well as muscle regeneration. Both are very important.
Stuart Cooke: That was one of the take homes from the Tasmania conference. It was the quality of food was so superb and almost brimming with nutrients that it was satiating. It was supremely filling, which is quite rare for me and Guy, because we do eat quite a lot. You know, I eat a lot more than Guy, but I didn’t feel the need to snack. I wasn’t hungry. I was completely full.
Alexx Stuart: Oh, same, yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Just nutrients, you know. Supreme quality. Just blown away.
Alexx Stuart: I think this was the first conference or only conference perhaps ever where I’ve seen butter on top of pate as…
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: It was awesome. Full credit to Joe, yeah. Absolutely amazing.
Stuart Cooke: He did very well. So, talk about buying organic. How important do you actually think that that is in the grand scheme of things for us?
Alexx Stuart: Well, you know, there’s growing research around pesticides and their effect on us, in particular on our gut health. Now why it’s important to have good gut health is because the gut/brain connection. So the gut is like a second brain, but 80 percent of our immune system also resides in our guts.
So, this is like the key. If we don’t get that right, then we’re disturbing our immune system and our brain function, as well as our digestive system which impacts overall health in a number of ways.
So, pesticides can actually alter, depending on which one and to varying degrees, can alter your gut bacteria makeup, and to me that is an extremely scary thing.
Guy Lawrence: Massive, yeah.
Alexx Stuart: I try not to have anything that’s going to disturb the balance, and I called, I talked to my son about this, the good soldiers versus the bad soldiers, and I create these stories around, you know, like for chewing, for example, sorry to tangent, but, “You know, you’ve got to really chew your food, because that releases lots of good soldiers that say, ‘Hey, there’s food coming!’ and that gets everybody down there, and if you haven’t chewed your food right and big chunks get down there, that means all the good soldiers have to go and work on breaking down the food. And that means the bad soldiers have got time to relax and make more bad soldiers and take over.”
You know, and so many things get affected by the good and the bad soldiers, and whether they’re XXin frontX 0:28:22 or not. So, pesticides, to me, are a no with every food choice I make. So, once again, coming back to that not being OCD, not being stressed, as soon as I’m out the door and I’m having a meal, maybe a friend, you know, with a friend in a restaurant or at a friend’s house, I don’t worry. I just try not to think about it too much.
But in my food choices, yeah, I think it’s 100 percent important, and I will seek out organic food. Having said that, the person I buy from doesn’t actually have certification. So this is about knowing your farmer and knowing how they farm. Certification for a small family on a small farm is a really massive cost in this country, and I’m really angry. I don’t know about you guys, but I get angry that these poor farmers doing the right thing by their communities and the planet are the ones who get…
Guy Lawrence: Slammed…
Stuart Cooke: Shafted by bureaucracy.
Alexx Stuart: That’s exactly right. It just doesn’t seem fair, so, and I’m 100 percent confident that they farm the way I farm, and you can holes in the spinach, the odd snail on there. Those are the signs that you want. I saw on Facebook where it’s like, “Oh, my god, there’s a snail in my salad.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. That’s a really good thing.
Alexx Stuart: Are you kidding me. That’s proof there is living life on your food. That’s a really good sign.
Guy Lawrence: If they’re going to eat it then you know it’s a good thing, and I just want to emphasize that point to anyone listening to this that, you know, how important gut health is. Like, it’s, you know, like you say, it’s massive, you know, and it can take a long time to turn that around if it’s…
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Guy Lawrence: …not in good shape.
Stuart Cooke: People think gut health for digestion, as well, but, you know, gut health for mental health, too, because…
Alexx Stuart: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: You mentioned that, like, the hormone connection there. You know, we’ve all got hormones in our gut that govern the way that we think and we feel. That can really steer you down the wrong path, as well, if you’re not on track there.
Alexx Stuart: It really can and, sadly, it can only take a couple of days of high sugar to derail. So, yeah, it’s really about adopting that lifestyle, isn’t it?
Guy Lawrence: Yes, it’s a lifestyle change. There’s no quick fixes.
Stuart Cooke: Yes.
Guy Lawrence: Next, next subject. GMO.
Stuart Cooke: I thought you were going to hold up the banner: GMO.
Alexx Stuart: We’re keeping it really light today, aren’t we?
Stuart Cooke: We are. We are. I just want to duck in, as well, before we go too heavy on this, and just the other angle, as well, for GMO, because everybody is…One side of the camp, we’re kind of, “No to GMO!” but on the other side of the camp we also got to think about what it means for the people that don’t have access to a lot of food, you know, GMO for them means that their crops and food sources can be transported to them to feed them. So while we’re thinking about nice big plush plump tomatoes and fruit, they’re actually thinking about being able to have access to grain just to live.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I also think we should explain exactly what GMO is, as well.
Alexx Stuart: Absolutely. Happy to do that.
Guy Lawrence: Cool.
Alexx Stuart: So, I was having this discussion last night, actually, because I’m a nerd and I really like talking about this stuff on Facebook pages, and it was around…a very well-known blogger in the States, kind of, had put up a thing, a little packet of yogurt or something that was suggested by her son’s preschool to take to the preschool as a really good, easy snack for the kids.
She saw what was in it. She saw that there was soy in it, and that the product did not boast to be GM-free, which is the number one detective way that you can assume that it’s therefore genetically modified soy, and so she then found a brand that didn’t have that in it and said, “You know, I’m really passionate about making sure my little guy gets the best choice and, even though this one has a little bit of cane sugar in there, I figured at least overall this is a better product to be sending him with.”
Now then the very first comment was a woman who said, “Oh, you know, how dare you be so picky about something so small when there are people on the earth that don’t have any food at all?” And, you know, look, there is a lot of validity to that reaction, because it can seem so “first world problem,” however, if we don’t take issue with agriculture and the way it affects us, community, and planet, as first world citizens, if you want to really make the distinction of us being that, then who is going to?
And, I really feel that, for me, it’s not about being anti-science and anti-progress, I mean, if we find the natural way to increase yields that more people can be sent food to eat, then I am all for that, really I am. However, if we look at the two big players in the GM industry, they’re people who have, one in particular, founded their business model on selling a seed, making a farmer have to buy that seed every year, so no longer able to save seeds as farmers traditionally have, then impregnating the seed with a genetic makeup that makes less…It’s more resistant…It’s less resistant to a pesticide that it also sells.
That, to me, is why I am anti-GM in the current climate of what GM is, because I believe that the people who are at the forefront in terms of business and success, if you like, in genetically modified, in the genetically modified food industry, I just cannot morally believe that they are doing this for the good of man. I can’t, especially when the same company is responsible for producing Agent Orange, aspartame, DDT…If you look at the history…I’m not going to name names. Everyone can do their own research, but I really…
Guy Lawrence: It wouldn’t take much to work it out, I think.
Alexx Stuart: Nah, it wouldn’t. Nah. But just for new people out there contemplating whether or not to buy things that have soy or corn in it when it says local and imported ingredients and doesn’t say GM-free, then I hate to break it to you, but that means basically that it’s genetically modified.
And then another little note on the planet is that, and I heard this from Nora Gedgaudas the author of Primal Body Primal Mind recently, she said that the number one reason for deforestation in the Amazon at the moment is genetically modified soy farming.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Alexx Stuart: You know? So, I’m not loving it, I have to say. I promote being against it. I’m actually an activist against it. I go to the marches, because I believe in the current way that it’s done, we have to stand up to what, to me, just looks like a whole bunch of corporate bullying.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, yeah. That’s exactly what I was going to say.
Alexx Stuart: Plus, scientifically the science is very grey as to whether or not it’s any good for humans. I personally don’t believe so, because of the pesticide implication. I just, I can’t see it.
Stuart Cooke: Well, crikey, thank you for that. We certainly stirred something up there, didn’t we? Just relax. Guy, get us out of here.
Alexx Stuart: The Alexx Activist came out there. I’ll put myself back in the box.
Guy Lawrence: No, they’re fantastic points you raised, and people, you know, need to look at both sides of the argument, you know, and make up their own mind whether, you know…
Alexx Stuart: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: I certainly agree with everything you said pretty much there. Absolutely. Yeah. Stu?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I’m going to move on to kids now. So with all that in mind, how can we get kids to eat, you know, healthily, the way that we want to eat, the way that we eat, without lots of stress, bearing in mind that kids, generally, can be quite fussy little buggers? I’ve got three of them, you know, that run me ragged.
Alexx Stuart: I’ve got one.
Stuart Cooke: You’ve got one? Guy will have one at some stage. Tips and tricks for parents, you know. Where do we start with our kids?
Alexx Stuart: I think before we start with our kids, we need to look at our own food issues. I see a lot of parents, and this is not a judgment thing, it’s just an observation, a lot of parents, you know, eating on the go. Just grabbing whatever they can find and shoving it in their mouths at a traffic light while their tiny toddler is in the back. They’re learning all of this behavior.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Alexx Stuart: They’re seeing the little piece of grape here, the tiny chocolate bar just to get that boost at 3:00 p.m. they see that before they can even talk. They’re picking up on all this stuff. They hear us say, “Who wants the little cupcake?” with this really excited little voice, and then they hear the same person say to them, “Eat your zucchini!” with this really serious kind of negative voice. Yeah?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Alexx Stuart: And I just think, “God, the kids aren’t, I mean, they’re not dumb.”
Stuart Cooke: No. That’s right.
Alexx Stuart: They pick up all of that, and they literally regurgitate back to us whatever we have subliminally or consciously taught them.IN fact there are a lot of issues here. I would say that anyone out there that’s got a very, very fussy child, and, like, you know, a White Foods kid, to go and see a practitioner and get some zinc testing, because zinc has been shown to be linked to fussy eating, so if you really have a problem with it, literally hardly eating anything colorful, then that would be a great one to troubleshoot.
But essentially to just be enthusiastic just as, if not more, enthusiastic about vegetables than any other thing you might serve your kids. I take carrots to the zoo or the park. Or we eat half an avocado if we know we’re going to be out. You know, you have an avocado, you put some sea salt on it, and you eat it. That is just such a delicious, healthy real food. And I can’t tell you how many times random strangers butt in on our little snack time and go, “Oh, who’s the little boy having a carrot! What a little XXguy?XX 0:39:06″
Stuart Cooke: I know.
Alexx Stuart: Like it was some strange thing for a child to enjoy a carrot.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, my god, he’s eating vegetables. Yeah.
Alexx Stuart: Like he’s some kind of mini savior. I just think we’ve got it all wrong. All of our messaging around healthy foods for our kids is wrong. It’s all “have to” instead of the joy of discovery of all these amazing colors we have in our…available to us.
Stuart Cooke: It’s all in the culture, too. I always try and get our little ones into the kitchen prepping veg, if we’re going, you know, if we’re out and about and, you know, we’re buying veg, I’ll say, “All right. What do you want tonight? Go and choose some things. Show me what you want.”
Get them involved. Get them in there, so they know what it is, and they’ve made part of that decision, because, you know, you could say to them, “You’ve got vegetables tonight.” And they’re going, “Oh, no, no, no!” But if you say to them, “What vegetables do you want?” Then they’re making that choice and they’re already there. Just get it then. It’s the culture.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah, it really is, Stu. And another thing I’ve noticed is the only time, I did, I’m a Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Ambassador, and so every year around mid-May there’s Food Revolution Day, and so I did that with my community, and we had a great time. So many fantastic pictures came through of people cooking with their kids.
In the lead-up, I kind of, you know, we had lots of chats around what people were going to make and what they were going to involve their kids in on, and it kind of dawned on me that the only thing people seem to, for the most part, cook with their kids is treats like cookies, muffins, cakes.
And that’s great that they’re cooking at least something and not having the store bought versions of that. Credit where credit’s due, however, we should be doing dinner with them. We should be helping them, getting them to help us choose.
Like last night. I was roasting a little bit of butterflied lamb for dinner, and I open the veggie drawer and I said to my son, “Okay, you choose the three veg that we’re going to have tonight with this.”
And he chose, you know, and he said, “Oh, I can’t decide between…”
“So, what do you really feel like today?”
“Oh, crunchy fennel.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah. My kid’s, you know, a bit extreme.
Stuart Cooke: Right…
Alexx Stuart: He honestly comes into the kitchen and says, “Can I just have a piece of crunchy fennel?”
Stuart Cooke: That’s awesome.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah, but, you know, it’s really just about being really mindful of what we are sending out as a message to our kids. Are we sending out to them that the only time food is enjoyable and fun is if it is a cookie, a muffin, or a cake? Because if we’re doing that, we have to change the conversation. Once we think about that, is that the conversation we’ve always had with ourselves? Chances are, it is. So we’ve actually got to do work on ourselves to be able to pass it on.
Guy Lawrence: I think…
Stuart Cooke: I think so, and I’m always intrigued by the reward systems, as well, that schools and parents tend to push out there to the children. It always seems to be based upon rewarding with treats and sweets, and I always liken it to circus animals. You know? “Here’s your sugar cubes, you know, what a wonderful show you’ve just performed.”
We’ve got to probably, it pays to think slightly differently along those lines, too, because if, you know, this is a treat for these kids, I don’t think…I just don’t…It doesn’t sit with me.
Alexx Stuart: Why can’t we just tell them they’ve done a great job and they should be really proud of themselves in front of the class? You know, that is what reward is, recognition for doing a beautiful job at something. It’s not…It doesn’t need to be a red frog with coloring that can cause anaphylaxis. I mean, it’s really quite mental when you think about it that we save poisonous, contrived, laboratory-produced foods for the most special times.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah…
Alexx Stuart: I mean if you really think about that for a second, it is bizarre.
Guy Lawrence: It’s unbelievable.
Alexx Stuart: Oh, it’s Dougy’s birthday. Let’s have a whole bunch of fake food coloring that comes from petroleum. Mental.
Guy Lawrence: I know, but it’s everywhere, isn’t it? The marketing and the messaging. It’s bombarding you wherever you go. It’s so hard to get away from, as well, and I mean, I don’t have children, but the day it happens, I just think, I cringe in how I’m going to tackle all this.
Stuart Cooke: You’ll be fine, Mate. You’ll be fine. I shall watch from afar. Smirking.
Guy Lawrence: So what would you recommend putting in the kid’s lunch box? What would you do, Alexx?
Alexx Stuart: So at lunch, what we need is foods that are going to keep the blood sugar steady, because they’ve got a whole afternoon yet to go thinking, especially for the teeny, tiny ones who aren’t used to doing that all day. Food is probably going to be their best weapon for success, in terms of having energy still at the end of the school day to go off and play with their friends. So I would be putting some really good quality meats. I would be, like, leftover roast is a really great…
You know, a lot of people think “Oh, I need cold meats, so I’ll go and buy ham from a supermarket.” That’s riddled with strange things in there, and a lot of processed meats are. So the best thing you can do is to buy slightly more when you do your stews an your roasts and things so that you’ve got some left for school lunches.
I would also, instead of making sandwiches with big thick bits of bread, whether it be, hopefully sourdough, because that’s obviously easier to digest, I would be using something like the Mountain Bread wraps which are like paper thin bread. So you’ve just reduced the amount of carbohydrate in that overall sandwich and you fill it with avocado and roast sweet potato leftovers and a little bit of, you know, sliced lamb roast, and then your percentage of actual high nutrient content in that thing that they still see as a sandwich is, yeah, it goes up.
I put a little bit of fresh fruit, but I would never put dried fruit, because that averages between 60 and 80 percent sugar. Something like a date is 100 percent GI, so you know, we think, “Oh, it’s healthy. It’s one ingredient. Great!” It’s actually just not healthy, especially if you eat it on its own.
And then what else? Veggie sticks and dip. Dips are a brilliant way to get extra nutrients into kids. so they might not want to eat a whole bunch of pieces of veg but if you puree a beet root with carrot, I mean with yogurt and a little bit of cinnamon and then they dip their carrot in here, they’re actually having two serves of veg like that, and then they’ve got some cultured food from yogurt or kafir, which is really good to mix in there, too.
You know, it’s, so, it’s just kind of going, “How can I get a little bit of color in here? How can I get some healthy fats in the pizza so it he can absorb the vitamin A, E, D, and K, which is so important to us, and then how can I get some protein, also, for long-lasting energy? That would be how I’d plan it.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: I like it. It’s tricky with schools today, because every second kid is allergic to something, and there are massive restrictions on what we can put in. There’s definitely no eggs. There’s no nuts. There’s no sesame. There’s, you know, you’d better watch out on anything that isn’t in its own packet and comes with its own label. It’s a no no.
Alexx Stuart: Yeah, and it’s so ironic, isn’t it? Because a lot of these packaged foods are what have caused all of these health problems because our guts are so feeble now, and yet the packaged foods are recommended because we can be sure of what’s, what they’re free from. It’s really quite sad. It’s sort of a Catch-22.
The number one thing to do is to have a kick ass breakfast and dinner because then you’re in control. That’s happening at home. You know, load them up with lots of good stuff and then keep it to a very simple meat/veg combo in the lunch box in whatever form that takes, whether it’s veggie sticks or fruit, couple of dips, and some sort of wrap with some leftover meat and avocado. Then, you know, you’re going to have a kid who’s raring to go and able to concentrate.
Guy Lawrence: Great tips.
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. You certainly wouldn’t want to be a teacher at the moment, would you? Crikey. Those little time bombs running around like Tasmanian devils.
Alexx Stuart: No. I’m writing a …I’m creating a food program for an amazing new childcare center called Thinkers, Inc. and that’s in Terrey Hills, the first one’s going to be opening up, but they’ll be opening more, and I popped it on my Facebook page for my community, and people have literally, you know, found their way to this place and have enrolled because they’re so excited that they’re going to be able to trust the food.
I mean, a lot of parents have woken up, who have realized what’s in the stuff that gets fed to tiny kids, you know, zero to five is when the brain’s developing faster than it ever will again in the rest of their lives. If we can’t get that nutrient fuel right for that age group, you know, it’s scary…
Stuart Cooke: It’s scary, but there is so much need because, unfortunately, we’re very time poor, and a lot of us just think, “Well, what on earth will I put in that lunch box? Because I have no idea, because I just don’t know where to start…”
Alexx Stuart: Yeah. A lot of people just make meals that they didn’t finish that night and they find themselves having to start from zero every single day. Frankly, that would exhaust me, too, and I only have one child, so it’s always really important that when you’re chopping up the carrot to chuck in your…for steaming that night, chop up an extra couple of carrots at that same time and chuck them in a container. Use the time better.
A lot of people chop an onion every single time they get something started. Why don’t you chop two or three at the same time for the week?
Guy Lawrence: Exactly. Cook once; eat twice.
Alexx Stuart: Yes. Definitely, and when it comes to school lunches, that’s going to keep you sane, too.
Guy Lawrence: Just out of curiosity, Alexx, what is your typical daily diet look like?
Alexx Stuart: I usually start the day with…I really listen to my mood. I was finding that eating eggs and avocado and bacon and things like that, quite heavy, really wasn’t serving my energy well throughout the day. It wasn’t right for me, and I quite like dabbling in learning a bit more about Ayurveda. I don’t know if you guys have ever looked in that direction, but you know really eating for your mood, for the time of year, for your personal energy, yin yang balance, all those sorts of things. So eggs most of the time with a little quarter bit of avocado, and I would just scramble those in a good bit of butter and have lots of fresh parsley and a bit of cultured veg with that.
But then, sometimes, when I feel like I just want to stay light feeling I would blend up probably a cup of frozen blueberries with a couple of tablespoons of coconut yogurt and kafir water and a whole bunch of cinnamon and a few nuts, like macadamia nuts or something. And it’s almost like an instant ice cream for breakfast. It’s amazing. It’s delicious. I think I’ve popped it up on the blog recently, if you want to check it out, but sometimes when you just want to keep your head really clear and light and have a lighter breakfast then that’s what I’d go for. So that’s brekkie.
Lunch is always some sort of morph of the night before’s dinner, because I work from home. Most days, so it’ll be roast meats, tons of veg, and then sometimes like a little bit of a halloumi cheese or some olives or things like that.
And then dinner is usually veg as a start and then a beautiful sort of meat, as well. And with the veg, I try and do a couple of different textures to keep it interesting, so they’ll be a puree of some kind. They’ll something steamed, and I might kind of mandolin a few little bits of sweet potato and fry them in coconut oil for something crunchy, because I like layering textures.
Guy Lawrence: Wow.
Stuart Cooke: Crikey. Well, we must do dinner at some time…
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I was going to say we must come for dinner. I was thinking the same thing.
Alexx Stuart: A lot of people say, “A meat and three veg…” People say it, like, as if it was this boring thing, but meat and three veg has got to be about the healthiest this you can do for your body. That’s what we were designed to eat. So make the three veg exciting. Don’t just steam a whole bunch, I mean, that gets boring. I get bored by that. You’ve got to learn how to cook a few things. Got to get a few tricks under your belt.
Stuart Cooke: What would you, what foods do you go out of your way, strictly out of your way to avoid?
Alexx Stuart: Okay, so I avoid any packaged food where I would not know what the ingredients are just from the look of them. I would absolutely avoid genetically modified foods, so corn and soy in a packet, even in Australia. A lot of Australians think, “Oh, but it’s not an issue here. There’s just a bit of canola. That’s it.”
But any packaged product that says, “Local and imported ingredients” and does not clarify that is a GM-free product is most likely to have genetically modified versions of those ingredients in there. So definitely if there’s corn and soy.
What else would I avoid? I avoid any unethical, inhumane meat. Cage eggs, for example. Free range chicken which is usually still from a very crowded situation, and also fed grains, some of which are genetically modified, so I would definitely avoid that.
I would avoid non-organic pork, for that very same reason, because the pigs eat grains and, again, often, genetically modified within the meats. And what else? Anything friend in vegetable oil.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Of course, yeah.
Alexx Stuart: Those are kind of my main ones that I kind of, you know, and anything that…can I say a personal care one as well?
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely. Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Alexx Stuart: Anything with a fake smell. So, you know how we get sold those ads like for clean air system. Oh, my god, open a window.
Guy Lawrence: Pollutant. That’s my word. This is a chemical pollutant. Do you really want a device that just pushes out pollutants into your room every 30 seconds. Are you kidding me?
Alexx Stuart: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, what do they call it? Essence of the Ocean?
Alexx Stuart: Mountain Fresh, Ocean Spray…I can tell you right now that Mountain Fresh smells nothing like…
Guy Lawrence: …a mountain. Yeah
Stuart Cooke: That’s right. Yeah. Pollutant 101. That’s all it is.
Alexx Stuart: That’s the number one thing I avoid in personal care products, home products, cleaning products, anything. Yeah. There are my top avoids.
Stuart Cooke: That’s a road map for good health I would say, right there.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely. Before we wrap it up, we always ask this question on the end of every podcast. And it can be non-nutritional. It can be anything. What’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Alexx Stuart: The single best piece of advice I’ve ever been given…That’s got to be a really…Does everyone struggle with that question?
Stuart Cooke: It doesn’t have to be anything that…
Alexx Stuart: I’ve been around for 38 years.
Guy Lawrence: What’s the best piece of advice that springs to mind?
Alexx Stuart: Oh, you know what? Okay. I have a lovely coach that I call on from time to time. XXKate HoseyXX 0:55:34 She’s so clever, and she has this little saying that is, “Your obstacle isn’t in your way, it is your way.”
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. All right.
Alexx Stuart: Now, just sit with that for a sec. It’s a big one, but what that translates as is you know how we always say, “Oh, I don’t have any money, and if I had some money I’d be awesome at that.”
Or, “My health is just shit.” Oh my god, am I allowed to say that?
Guy Lawrence: You can swear, that’s fine. We’ve got it. we’ll bleep that out after.
Alexx Stuart: “If only I was healthy, I would, you know, life would be so much better for me.” All these obstacles, we say if we didn’t have these obstacles life would be awesome. Well those obstacles are our way. They’re there to teach us something, and they’re there for us to work through to come out the other end stronger, and when she said that, I didn’t yet know her. It was actually one of her other coaching students that told it to me which made me think, “Hmmm, this woman sounds interesting.”
And I just think it’s a really awesome life guide notion. When something’s tough, when something’s difficult, when you’re confronted by something you don’t want to deal with, it is actually your way to the next step in your life, and I think that’s something that you can transpose from food to personal care, you know, all these choices we’re trying to help people make better, as well as career or finance, you know, friends.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I love it…
Stuart Cooke: yeah, absolutely, you can push that anywhere. No, that does make sense. I like it.
Guy Lawrence: I’ll remind you of that, Stu, next time you start complaining to me.
Stuart Cooke: Guy, you are my obstacle. Don’t worry about me. I’ve got to overcome you.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, so where can people go to get more of you? Alexx?
Alexx Stuart: Okay. So my address, no, I’m just kidding.
Stuart Cooke: We’re putting that all over the internet. And your phone number.
Alexx Stuart: WWW dot Alexx with two Xs Stuart spelled S, T, U, A, R, T, dot com is my website. You can come find me on Facebook. My Twitter and Instagram are A, L, E, double X, underscore, Stuart, S, T, U, A, R, T, so you can find me there, and yeah, that’s about it. And you can grab my book Real Treats, which really helps you get you over the weird toxic treats we were talking about earlier, and you can get that on my site.
Guy Lawrence: And there’s a new book coming out soon.
Alexx Stuart: Yes, next month, and a couple of courses for beginners, which will be really, really great.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, well we can put the appropriate links on the blog anyway, and…
Alexx Stuart: Awesome.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. Thanks for coming on.
Stuart Cooke: Well, we have had a blast. We always, it’s always great to learn stuff, as well, you know.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Stuart Cooke: I loved it. Fantastic. Thank you so much for your time. Really appreciate it, and so pleased that we connected in Tasmania and have continued the relationship. It’s been awesome.
Alexx Stuart: Me, too. It has been awesome. We’ll all have to get together for a little reunion.
Stuart Cooke: Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: Definitely.
Stuart Cooke: Will do. Guy, sort it out.
Alexx Stuart: He’s your PA, is he, Stu?
Stuart Cooke: He is, yes, he is. P, A, I, N.
Guy Lawrence: Dream on. Dream on, Mate. Dream on. Awesome.
Stuart Cooke: Thank you so much.
Alexx Stuart: Thanks for having me on the podcast.
Guy Lawrence: Cheers.
Stuart Cooke: Speak to you soon.

My Top 10 Go-To Herbs & Spices That Increase Vitality

Herbs and Spices

By Angela Greely

Angela: One of the first things I do with patients when starting a clean eating diet is clear out their pantry. Which can be full of condiments high in Omega 6 oils, sugar, colours and preservatives. Nature has provided so many wonderful herbs and spices to enhance our food with great flavours and they have amazing health benefits! Here is my top 10: More

5 Things you MUST know when selecting Cooking Oils

Healthy Cooking Oils

By Angela Greely

Angela: There is a minefield of conflicting information about cooking oils out there and which are the best ones to use. It’s an important one to get right because oils are in EVERYTHING from dips to crackers. Do your own research as it will be time well spent on your health.

I think this guide from “Practical Paleo” by Diane Sanfilippo is awesome and covers what you need to know well. Here it is: Guide to Cooking Fats.

For those of you not interested in the technical stuff skip to the conclusion. :)

The 5 things you need to take into account:

  • Smoke Point- Not all oils can be used for all types of cooking. They all have a smoke point, which they should not be used past. This is when the oil starts burning and releases smoke. When this happens it means that the molecule has broken down and has become damaged. The smoke point is a secondary factor depending on the fatty acid profile.
  • What types of fatty acids are there?- Saturated which are very stable like Coconut oil, Monounsaturated which are moderately stable like olive oil, Polyunsaturated which are very unstable like soy bean oil. Oils and fat have different ratios of the different types of fats. Saturated fats are very stable as they have no free bonds and are solid at room temperature. Monounsaturated fats have 1 free bond that can react with oxygen making them moderately unstable. Lastly there are polyunsaturated fats, which are very unstable as they have many free bonds that can react with oxygen. Even at room temperature the polyunsaturated fats can be problematic.
  • Omega 3/Omega 6 Balance- Omega 3 and Omega 6 are polyunsaturated fats. The body needs a balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fats equally. Currently we are eating 20 more times omega 6 fats as omega 3 fats. Omega 6 fats are dominant because about ALL processed foods are made using omega 6 oils. This imbalance causes inflammation in our bodies. Increased inflammation can lead to many chronic health conditions. To get the balance right think about all the packaged and take-away foods you buy that might contain oils: salad dressings, dips, crackers, cooked whole chickens, crisps, chips, baked goods. Most manufactures and restaurants will use the cheapest oils, which are the polyunsaturated high in Omega 6 oils. Omega 6 is high in corn, safflower, sunflower, soybean, cottonseed oil and omega 3 is high in salmon, halibut, sardines, albacore, walnuts, flaxseeds. To get the balance right reduce your packaged foods and make more things at home using good quality oils and eat more fish. I won’t recommend cooking with omega 3 oils, as they can also turn unstable when cooking.
  • The way in which they are manufactured - I would avoid all hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. We talked about hydrogenation in our butter post here. They are canola oil, corn oil, vegetable oil, soybean oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil and rice bran oil.
  • The commercial grade of the oil –    We posted a useful image on Facebook recently on how to choose your coconut oil. It explains that there is no difference between Extra Virgin and Virgin Coconut oil; it’s just a marketing term and the different commercial grades available. There are also different grades of Olive Oils too for example. Extra Virgin and Virgin don’t undergo any chemical refining the oil is extracted and bottled. Refined Olive Oil production involves solvents and high temperatures. Most people’s concerns about using Virgin or Extra Virgin oils for cooking is that they are too unstable but I don’t agree. The smoke point of Extra Virgin and Virgin Olive oil is approximately 190 °C /375 °F. So I have no problem baking up to 170°C or light frying with Extra Virgin or Virgin Olive oil. However I would never use them for high frying temperatures or wok-frying as they are a monounsaturated fat and are moderately unstable. Remember always look at the smoke point and at their fatty acid profile.

CONCLUSION

WE LOVE…Virgin Coconut Oil

Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

  • High in stable saturated fats
  • Helps you loose weight – high in medium chain fatty acids, which are used for energy not stored as fat
  • It’s anti-viral and anti-fungal
  • It’s anti-inflammatory
  • Smoke point of 177 °C – can be used for pan frying/baking/adding to homemade protein balls. Try our yummy recipe click here (great one to curb cravings)

At home I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil for baking and adding to salads and dips, Virgin Coconut Oil for stir-fries, pan-frying and in my protein balls. Love adding butter for flavour if I’m pan-frying a steak or mushrooms – Yummy! I never deep fry but if I was to I would use refined coconut oil.

What do you guys do?

Free Health Pack

Liquid gold: Why I think fish oil is the ultimate supplement

Omega-3 fish oil supplement

By Guy Lawrence

Ah the supplement industry, full of hype and claims to attract your attention. Weight gain protein supplements, fat blockers, creatine… the list goes on and on. From my experience though, what actually increases daily performance (whether it be athletic performance or just day to day stuff) is clean living.

I also find self-experimentation a great way to see if supplements actually work. Without undergoing rigorous blood tests etc, most of the time it’s hard to tell whether the pill you pop or supplement you take is actually doing you any favours.

But if there’s one supplement I take without fail, which I truly notice after a few days if I run out and haven’t taken it… it’s fish oil. And here’s why I think it’s liquid gold.

The importance of fatty acids

fish oil supplements
It never used to occur to me how important essential fatty acids really are. Yes, you’d often here ‘eat your good fats’, but what exactly did that mean? Add extra olive oil on your salad? The more I’ve delved in to understanding fatty acids and increased my daily amount, the more I’ve been consistent and the better I have felt in general.

We’ve all heard of the omega fats. There’s omega 3, 6 and 9. But our western diet is overloaded with omega-6, when it’s actually omega-3′s we need the most of. If you eat a typical western diet there’s a good chance you could be deficient. There are now links with deficiency in essential omega-3 fatty acids to many modern diseases, weight problems, affective disorder and learning disabilities.

What is omega-3 fatty acid?

As simply as I can put it, omega-3 fatty acid is made up of ALA, EPA and DHA (If you want to know what they stand for, click here). We need all three of them. DHA for example, makes up the highest percentage of the fatty acids in the human brain, facilitating visual and cognitive function. Fall short on this stuff and so will your attention span.

There is actually a whole conversion process of ALA to EPA & DHA, within animals and the human body. But I won’t go into it as this will start to read like a science paper, not a blog.

You may be reading this thinking ‘I eat plenty of fish and meat, or drink flaxseed oil’, but here are a few things to consider. When a grass eating animal is fed grains, it changes it’s own fatty makeup to more omega-6 instead of omega-3. I’ve also read that farmed raised fish are devoid of significant omega-3 due to the feed… it certainly makes you wonder.

So what about flaxseed?

flaxseedYes, flaxseed is a rich source of omega-3. We even have it in our 180 protein supplement. But I feel plant-based sources of omega-3 like flaxseed and hemp oil won’t cut it alone. Why? From what I’ve researched, these plant based oils are mainly a source of ALA. There is minimal EPA and DHA, all three are ‘essential’ to the body. So if you are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids and you are supplementing it through plant-based oils, you are not getting the complete profile.

And for vegetarians and vegans? I’d be researching this topic very thoroughly as it’s vitally important.

The benefits

Make no mistake, omega-3′s are essential to the body. They are vital for normal electrical functioning, cardiovascular system, your immune system, joints, all anti-inflammatory processes, function of the human brain and nervous system. See the importance?

And from an athletic performance? Fish oil should be the first supplement you take after your workout, along with your food or protein supplement or whatever it is you do. I’ll take about 3000mg after my workout usually to aid inflammation and speed recovery. I usually work out in the evening, and along with this I’ll take 2000mg in the morning when I get up.

Which fish oil should I take?

I always try to get practitioner only fish oil as I have more faith in the quality of the oil.

Krill oil is another exceptional fish oil where you will get more bang for your buck. But expect to pay more for this. I’m also a fan of the brand Metagenics, but again this stuff is pricey. So I guess it depends on where your priorities lie.

I also take cod liver oil along with fish oil. I buy this in liquid form which you can get infused with lemon. It’s palatable like this and a must for me. The plain raw stuff makes me gag. I put it in my smoothie once and I thought I was drinking a sardine shake! But I take it in the infused lemon liquid form as this is more potent and drinkable. I will take a dessert spoonful every morning.

Why do I take both? I look at cod liver oil more as a vitamin A and vitamin D supplement, as they are rich in both. Also the fatty acids are there but the make up is a little different to fish/krill oil. So I like to cover both bases.

Take the fish oil test

Have you tried the fish oil test? This is a great tip! When you open a new bottle, literally take a capsule and chew it up.

It should taste fairly bland. If it tastes a little bit acidic, rancid or nasty, it’s probably been oxidized. If this is the case, don’t use it—return it or throw it away

And the dosage?

I guess that will depend on whether you are deficient or you are maintaining. I split the dosage between each end of the day. I take 2000mg (2 x 1000mg capsules) in the morning with breakfast, and 3000mg after exercise in the evening. Along with this I will take a dessert spoon of cod liver oil in the morning as well.

Current research shows in the area of human longevity and life extension recommends up to 3000mg of fish oil a day for maintenance. When related to more serious cases like mood disorders or bipolar disorders, depression or ADHD etc, up to 10,000mg a day can be needed!

If you want to learn more about this, a great book that goes into it thoroughly is Nora Gedgaudas – Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet. A fantastic read.

Do you take fish oil? How much? When? What are your thoughts? Would love to hear from you…

Look & Feel Better Than Ever before with 180. click here

On a side note: I truly enjoy writing these posts, hence our frequent blog posts. At the end of the day though, these are just my thoughts and feelings around a topic I’m passionate about. I encourage everyone to do their own research and check out the facts for themselves.

If you did enjoy the post and got something from it or have something to share on the topic, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. If you feel others would benefit from this then it would be great if you could share it using one of the icons below (Facebook etc). Cheers, Guy…