Archive for the ‘Coconut Oil’ Category

The Itch of Eczema

???????????????????????????????Spring has sprung across the United States but on the very first full day of spring in Minnesota winter reared its icy cold soul and surprised us with snow the next day. This reversal of the seasons is expected here in the tundra, so if spring gives you snow I guess you might as well make a snowman (or so my grandson thought).

As the earth yawned and lifted its winter weary head earlier in March I optimistically started thinking that this spring might bring something new and different in to my life. You know what I mean, something with flair and perhaps exciting? Well something new happened and it was a flare but somehow the exciting part got lost in translation.

Eczema Goes Walk About

That’s right it was a flare, an all out attack on my epidermal layer, eczema on crack or some such thing. My eczema that previously had partied only on my legs decided to ask all its friends to come and visit, so they could itch together and cause crimson exudate. Ugh.

Anyone with eczema knows the pleasure of the initial itch, it must be akin to the way addicts feel the first time they take an illicit drug. It is intensely pleasurable but there is a fine line that can and will be crossed and pretty soon you regret your weakness. Once you start itching your eczema you cannot stop and very soon you regret that initial itch much like a junkie must regret they ever took that first hit.

Stop the Itch

What does one do when a problem arises? Honestly? I turn to the internet and others who have suffered a similar fate. I also did consult with my homeopath, Dr. Kim Lane. She suggested Rhux Tox and/or Urtica Urens and I started one and then the other but while I waited for the remedies to kick in I needed something for the itch. I really wanted instant relief and I didn’t want to apply steroid creams having read too many horror stories of steroid withdrawal.

After reading all the information I could get my hands on I came upon a solution that made perfect sense to me, apple cider vinegar and coconut oil.

One more use for apple cider vinegar and coconut oil

Yes, yet another use for household ingredients like apple cider vinegar and coconut oil. Apparently apple cider vinegar sprayed on the itchies takes the itch away and coconut oil serves as a protective layer and moisturizer. Not just any ACV will do but the kind that has a mother and is alive with probiotics, so off I went to my cupboard and pulled out the Bragg’s ACV and poured it in to a spray bottle I had on hand.

I sprayed it on every itchy spot I could see and while the sting was intense the itching immediately subsided. The sting was so much better than the itch I cannot tell you and for about 24 hours every time the itch threatened to be scratched I sprayed more ACV. Each time, after the ACV was dry I applied liberal coats of coconut oil.

The next day the positive results were noticeable. The patches that were really bad had scabbed over, the itch had greatly diminished. The best news was the partying stopped, no new attendees showed up or if they did they got sprayed and chased off.

I am sure the homeopathic remedies were doing most of the work but the ACV and coconut oil were a God send. This past weekend I could even shave my legs, something I haven’t been able to do without intense itching for months.

Krisinsight

I know there are many facets to eczema and other skin conditions that plague millions of people worldwide. I do not think for one minute that all you need do is spray some apple cider vinegar on your skin and eczema and all its causes will go away. What I did want to share is that apple cider vinegar and coconut oil took away the itch of eczema and hastened the healing for me. If you have no known allergies to either ingredient, they will do no harm and they might just help.

Until next time, take care of yourself and I hope spring brings you something exciting with a flair and not a flare.

Santé,

Kris

 

Heat, Rapid Heartbeats and Me

IMG_1917 (2)I wasn’t going to post anything this week because I am at my mountain retreat, or as one of my dentists called it, my compound. It’s no compound but it is a retreat, a small dollhouse cabin with a blue tin roof  in the middle of the National Forest in Fairfield, Idaho. When we hike around our land and look back at our tiny footprint of a house in the middle of this gigantic  mountain it always leaves me in wonder.

That said, this time it is hotter than I remember it ever being. It is a scorcher everywhere in the west, southwest. I read today that planes aren’t taking off from LAX because of the extreme heat. It seems planes can’t get aloft as easily when it is hot and must either take a much smaller load or not fly at all. I think I must be related to airplanes because this heat is grounding me.

The thyroid person and debauchery

Ever since I started the CT3M my oral temperatures have been coming up nicely but I am now always warm. I really don’t know if this means I am slightly hyper or if this is just the way people feel when their body temperature at the end of the day is 99. What I do know is even though I am better medicated I am still not as “normal” as I want to be nor able to handle what seems like normal activity to everyone else.

The past day we were really warm for a mountain location and by bedtime last night I was just miserable. During the day we went to an altitude of 9100 feet which may have had some effect. We took a two-hour hike early in the day and that left me feeling slightly drained. While we were at 9100 feet I had two drinks containing alcohol (gin and tonic to be exact) because they just seemed refreshing at the time but they may have had an effect.

When we got home (back to 6000 feet) from our day of play at a slightly higher altitude in Ketchum, Idaho we had another icy drink and that may have had some effect. Whatever the cause I think the effect is a bit of a storm for my body and it isn’t up to the upset. I knew it when I went to bed and  I know it now at midnight as I write this blog entry heat, debauchery, high altitude and thyroid disease do not make for a happy body.

What I do when I wake up with a rapid heartbeat

My main issue as I write is that I am up at midnight with an elevated heart beat. When I was eating gluten and not being particularly careful I would wake up with this horrible rapid heartbeat, a pounding head and the overwhelming feeling of sweatiness. In the past few months, after swearing off gluten entirely (not even in lotions or potions) I have managed to avoid these episodes.

What I have now is not that miserable. When I awoke I was sweaty and my heart beat was elevated but the pounding head wasn’t an issue and the rapid beat was only mildly elevated; perhaps as in a hot flash. I was having rather vivid dreams but nothing disturbing and when I finally got up I realized I had been dreaming the book I had read until I turned off the light, as in I was dreaming every word and every action of the pages I had been reading. I also needed to go to the bathroom and I won’t bore you with details but this type of evacuation is not abnormal when my heart is beating fast.

Anyway the only thing I can do when this happens is get up, drink 1 teaspoon of Celtic Sea Salt in water and wait to get tired again. Now, as I always do when I am awake and it seems the rest of the world is sleeping,  I wonder if anyone else has experienced this reaction and what they do when it happens.

Krisinsight

There isn’t much insight from me at midnight on a too warm, too still night. I am guessing this bit of a storm my body is experiencing is a combination of factors, no one of which would be a problem but combined they add up to a sleepless night. Everyone has a sleepless night now and then and as my mother-in-law told my SU when he was a sleepless little boy, no one ever died of not sleeping one night.

Before I close (and hopefully go back to bed) I did want to share a snack idea with you that I think is really tasty and good for your thyroid.

Toasted Chips of Coconut

Heat your oven to 350°. Once the oven is hot place the coconut oil in a 9×13 pan and melt it in the oven. Add the coconut chips and toss well to coat the chips with coconut oil. If you are a thyroid person, salt liberally and toss again. If your adrenals don’t need salt, salt less liberally. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Watch carefully as the chips will brown very quickly. As soon as they are lightly golden remove from the oven and toss again, adding more salt if you want. Let cool in the pan and then store in an airtight container.

The taste is salty/sweet and satisfies that need for a snack such as chips or popcorn in a slightly more healthful way.

On that note, she says with a yawn, I think I will leave my garage (where we cook and have our computers) and head back to the dollhouse. Night, night.

Santé,

Kris

 

Is There a Healthy Vegetarian/Thyroid Diet?

IMG_1917 (2)June, the month of long daylight hours and ever warmer temperatures. June in Minnesota is the month when gardens really get going and you might even be able to pick your first harvest of young greens. June for us is a harbinger of warmer, muggier days, so it behooves one to sit back and just enjoy.

June is also often the month when we spend some time in the great state of Idaho and this June was no exception. We have a small dollhouse size cabin that perches on the mountainside at 6000 feet and from there we can see frolicking elk and watchful deer. We can hear the plaintive yips of coyotes and the long slow howl of wolves.

When we open the windows at night the scurrying of a mother quail and her brood entertain us and sometimes I get a small shiver down my spine at the sound of flitting bats scooping bugs out of the air enjoying their nocturnal dining. I know, I know bats are very useful critters but when the toilet is outside and the urge to use it calls in the middle of the night I don’t want them in my hair nor anywhere near me.

Always and for reasons I cannot explain both my hubby and I feel a  sense of joy when once again we overhear the mating call of the bullfrog. I have never seen him (or her) but much to our delight when we overhear their mating harumphs rumble up towards us  from deep in the wooded areas that surround our springs we look at each other and smile. Some things never change and for those things we are grateful.

What can I eat?

I was recently contacted by a reader (thanks for the question Lilly) and asked to please list vegetarian foods that thyroid types can eat and thrive on. In my opinion, a healthy thyroid diet really isn’t vegan nor vegetarian friendly but that isn’t to say there aren’t foods that you can eat and do well eating. Mostly, you need to limit certain foods and perhaps increase your consumption of other healthier foods (By healthy I don’t mean foods that health experts praise endlessly or recommend for their cancer preventing properties. I mean foods you can eat that will make you feel better.)

The first food I can think of that would be healthy and a vegetarian could eat is the fabulous and amazing egg. It is an almost complete protein in and of itself and contains almost everything you need to thrive. You should try to buy eggs from pastured and organically fed chickens but mostly try to buy the freshest eggs possible from a local source. Many farmers are feeding with soy free feeds and these are ideal for our purpose but I find these eggs are often prohibitively expensive for the average household. If you can’t afford the elite soy free eggs just go for fresh and local eggs from chickens who get to romp around in an open field.

Cheese, especially raw milk cheese is a nutritious food that most vegetarians can eat. If you buy raw milk cheese that comes from grass-fed cows you are getting Vitamin D from sunshine and chlorophyll from the grass and all kinds of healthy and health inducing nutrients and even some protein. When I say cheese I am not referring to vegan cheese or any other kind of Frankencheese products that are sold as “cheese” I mean a block of real cheese from milk be it cow, goat, sheep, yak, water buffalo or camel.

Dairy products in general are okay on a vegetarian/thyroid diet (obviously not a vegan diet) and one can make kefir and yogurt from fresh milk or pasteurized. Not only will you get your probiotics you are able to consume protein and again the goodness of pastured animals. Dairy allergies may make this impossible but I understand that fermenting milk often makes it digestible even for those who think they were lactose intolerant.

Healthy fats. Coconut oil is a fabulous source of calories for a thyroid type and even a vegan would deem it an okay food. Butter from grass-fed cows (Kerrygold is from grass-fed cows) is an excellent and health source of calories. Olive oil (if it is pure olive oil and not mixed with canola, rape or other seed oils) and extra virgin red palm oil add good nutritious calories that will not punish your thyroid.

Vegetables, hmm, what vegetables can we eat? Mixed baby greens (romaine for instance) are a healthy vegetable  for anyone and celery adds crunch and satisfaction. Garlic and onion can be very nice additions to anyone’s diet. Green beans are good for us as are some root vegetables like carrots and parsnips and even organic potatoes. Colorful peppers add a rainbow to your plate and lots of nutrition. Fennel, raw or cooked is one of my favorites and we eat a lot of spinach, mostly cooked but raw as well and always organic (I love combining spinach with sautéed onions and adding sheep’s milk feta cheese).

Nuts, namely almonds, pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts are a good food for a vegetarian thyroid type. Seeds like pumpkin are high in magnesium and selenium. Sunflower seeds make a tasty seed butter and a healthy alternative to peanut butter which being a legume really isn’t the best choice (doesn’t mean I don’t love it).

Fruit, avocados are a good fruit and for many of us they are about as close to the fruit section as we should get. Berries are okay especially the more sour brightly colored berries, like raspberries, sour cherries, blueberries, etc.

Okay now lets talk about the limited or prohibited foods

Okay so you have some foods that are good and vegetarian but let us review some foods that are particularly harmful for thyroid types. For example and this is the most mentioned “bad” one, soy. Soy is often used to replace meat and soy is soy, soy bad for you if you have an under functioning thyroid. Unfermented soy in particular is just not a good food to eat when you have thyroid disease (really not at all thanks to GMO issues with soy).

My vegetarian friends use soy meat substitutes and they are bad in so many ways I cannot even tell you. Soy meat substitutes are often seasoned with hydrolyzed soy protein (MSG) not to mention, and I repeat, they are soy and soy interferes with proper thyroid functioning. (As an aside, some people I know are developing allergies to soy in any form and when they start looking for places that soy might exist it is ubiquitous. It is in shampoos, food items like mayonnaise, bread, etc. and even in their skin care products) So no soy, period.

Goitrogens are a food that should be limited. Can we eat them? Yes, and I do. I wrote a blog article some time ago about goitrogens and I was pretty condemning of them. I have since gotten my thyroid meds more regulated and all the “problems” that I thought might be related to goitrogenic properties of certain foods have disappeared. That said goitrogenic foods are not a great food for us to eat and the list of goitrogenic foods in a vegetarian or vegan diet are numerous. Three servings a week is often what is recommended (but I exceed that amount). I do try to steam those veggies that are known to be a problem and strictly limit the number of raw goitrogenic veggies I eat.

Another big issue with vegetables and fruit  is their sugar content and if, as some thyroid types do, you have blood sugar issues you have to be very selective about your vegetables and fruit. Root vegetables are high in sugar and they may or may not increase your fasting blood glucose (FBG), so check your FBG and see what effect vegetables are having on your levels.

Nuts and seeds can be a great food but some are high in phytic acid and others are full of oxalates. Nuts should always be soaked and dehydrated  to remove phytic acid. Vegetables high in oxalates may be good for blood glucose issues but bad for pain, so you need to listen to your body and pay attention to its reaction to the food you eat. For instance,  red peppers are good if you have blood glucose issues but if oxalates are an issue peppers, potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes and some summer squash are all nightshade vegetables and they can increase pain for those who have an issue with it.

Can you subsist on a few root vegetables, nut butters, cheese and good fat?

I think you can but I personally wouldn’t choose to and honestly I love meat and seafood too much. However, if your body tells you that a food isn’t agreeing with you, listen and follow its directions. Ignoring your body is the worst choice you can make. I was vegetarian for years and got fat and listless on the diet. I love beans and other vegetarian foods but my body was telling me something important which I ignored and I think it contributed to my problems now. If I seem down on vegetarian diets and vegan diets it is as everything is on Krisinsight, my personal experience and no one else’s. Listen to your inner voice and if it says a vegetarian diet suits you it probably does.

Suzy Cohen, a pharmacist who is on Facebook, posted a diet for people with autoimmune disease this week and I will post a link to it just so those who have questions about their diet and thyroid disease , especially autoimmune thyroiditis, can look it over and see if you could make the changes:

http://www.dearpharmacist.com/2013/05/21/the-best-diet-for-people-with-autoimmune-disease/

Krisinsight recipe

I am including a recipe this month that I created because I love savory items like cornbread or even better jalapeno/cheese cornbread but I want higher protein and less carbs and no gluten. This “bread” is made with almond flour, so not at all appropriate if you have oxalate issues. If you have issues with pain skip this section and visit again next month.

Gluten Free Grain Free Savory Zucchini Bread

IMG_20732 cups blanched almond flour

½  teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt

¼ cup arrowroot powder

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

2 eggs

1 medium zucchini or two small zucchini, grated

¼ sun-dried tomato pieces, rehydrated

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon basil

1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

½ cup shredded Italian cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Combine egg and oil and add to dry ingredients. Grate the zucchini in a small bowl and to it add the spices and tomato bits. Add to dry ingredients and stir in grated cheese well. Dump into prepared pan and smooth the top slightly.

Bake for 40 minutes and remove from pan to cool. Cut up into small squares and enjoy.

Santé,

Kris

IMG_1469

 

Have a Merry Little Christmas Brunch

Yes, it is that time again, namely Christmas. In Minnesota we are barely holiday white but at least it is winter cold and every other day or so it snows for 5 minutes. It is part of the Christmas tradition in Minnesota to complain about weather, so if it is white we moan. If it is brown we groan but in the end we all love it this time of year white or brown.

Weather aside I am ready for the holidays and having my family together especially as it is my grandson’s very first Christmas. What could be more magical? Christmas Eve morning I am going to whir up a batch of waffle mix to serve on Christmas morning and I thought you might enjoy the recipe.

You can easily make your own oat flour in a blender (blend until floury), mix in the yogurt or kefir and water, blend again and let it sit. After fermenting all night the oat mixture is minus the usual phytic acid that is hard on teeth and digestive systems but still full of nutrition. You then can add the remaining ingredients to the blender the next morning and give it a whiz until smooth. When you pour the mixture out on to your hot waffle iron they turn golden brown quickly and have a buttery outer layer with a nice moist interior.

I got this tasty little recipe from NourishedMD on Facebook and I highly recommend “liking” their page just to follow their recipe suggestions. I even bought an e-recipe book this week on healthy and easy breakfasts to serve your children. I love breakfast and I am always looking for new ideas and if I can serve a healthy breakfast to my grandson someday all the better, for now he is much more attached to breast milk and the e-book was for the spousal unit and me.

If you want a less sugary topping for your waffles, make an apple-pear sauce in the oven by peeling 2 apples, 2 pears and slicing into a pan that has 1 or 2 tablespoons of melted ghee or coconut butter. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and put in the oven until the fruit is soft and can be mashed until smooth. The last time I made the sauce I covered the pan and I was happier with the results.

Overnight Waffles

Written by Chef Jackie White of Conveniently Fresh

  • 2 1/2 cups organic whole oats 
  • 1 cup whole yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, milk or milk substitute
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder – no aluminum
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda – no aluminum
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/4 cup organic butter or coconut ghee, melted

Directions

  • Grind oats into a flour.
  • In a medium bowl mix together oats, milk and cider (or juice or water).
  • Cover and leave on counter overnight.
  • In the morning blend in all other ingredients.
  • Adjust batter consistency with milk or water.
  • Portion batter using 1/4-1/3 measuring cup and cook batter in a waffle iron or on a hot skillet with butter. If using a skillet to make pancakes cook pancakes until bubbles appear on top, flip and cook until lightly browned on both sides.

I really can’t think of a better way to close Krisinsight 2011 than with a yummy but healthy recipe. I have had a great year and I hope you can say the same. If not, take heart, every year brings good and bad moments into the lives of every human on this planet. In my opinion, it is how we handle our life experiences that really counts.

I hope you have enjoyed the trip in 2011, every bump and pothole. See you in the New Year.

Happy Holidays,

Kris

I’m Cooking Now

I need a little levity this week as I deal with yet another broken nail on the same poodle that had a broken nail last year. I hate the cure more than the problem as I know my boy will hurt when they cut it off at the pad and if this is to be an annual occurrence I could think of better things to do annually, say, cooking for instance. In much the same way I inform and distribute health information I would like to share some healthy kitchen tidbits.

Yesterday, I tried a cookie recipe from Spunky Coconut a person I follow on Facebook. I will admit it wasn’t until I was half way in to the recipe that I realized it was a vegan offering from another site that Kelly Brozyna had shared because she thought they were really tasty but I thought the cookies really did bear repeating and I did make them my own with some slight substitutions and additions.

Monster Cookies

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill GF All Purpose  Baking Flour

1/4 tsp. xanthan gum

1 cup Quinoa Flakes

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Celtic Sea Salt (+)

Mix the dry ingredients together and then mix together the following:

3/8 cup Grapeseed Oil

3/8 cup Tropical Traditions Peanut Butter with coconut oil

1 cup Coconut Palm Sugar

1/4 cup Coconut Milk

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Add all ingredients together and mix thoroughly. Add 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup M&Ms (for those who care Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips and regular M&Ms are gluten free) stir to distribute. Scoop out with a small ice-cream scooper, drop on a cookie pan lined with parchment, flatten with a fork in a cross hatch pattern. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, remove from oven when slightly dry and golden in appearance and cool on the baking pan (they will be crumbly otherwise). By the way, these were husband approved this morning fresh from the freezer where all my cookies go for safe keeping and slow distribution.

Somehow using quinoa flakes reminded me of another find from a week or two ago. I love pizza and I have been trying to find a healthy alternative with little luck. I have found Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust mix is the best and my Superstone pizza pan is by far the best pizza pan ever. Anyway I found my Juliano Raw cookbook the other day and he has a recipe that uses sprouted buckwheat for a crust to host some healthy raw veggies and a raw nut cheese topping. I might be up for a pizza like that but I knew it would never pass muster with the spousal unit, so I rejected it as being too labor intense to be rewarded with a sour puss spouse (Perhaps you know this look of dismay. I think it says far more than mere words). However, the idea of sprouted dehydrated buckwheat groats appealed to me because I am not fond of soaked and soggy buckwheat groats. The following will render you a crisp and nutty buckwheat product:

1 cup Buckwheat Groats soaked in enough water to cover for 8 hours. Drain in a metal colander, toss to remove excess water and set aside to sprout for two days. I rinsed them occasionally and repeated the drying process every time. In two days I could detect little sprouts at the end of each groat.

Once sprouted, place them on a sheet of parchment paper on a rack in your Excalibur Dehydrator and spread thinly. Set the dehydrator at 105 or lower and dry overnight. Cool the sprouts and then store in a canning jar.

Buckwheat is not a wheat at all and according to Wikipedia  “contains a glucoside named rutin, a medicinal chemical that strengthens capillary walls. Buckwheat contains d-chiro-inositol, a component of the secondary messenger pathway for insulin signal transduction found to be deficient in Type II diabetes and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). It is being studied for use in treating Type II diabetes. Research on D-chiro-inositol and PCOS has shown promising results. A buckwheat protein has been found to bind cholesterol tightly. It is being studied for reducing plasma cholesterol in people with hyperlipidemia.” Not only does it have a nutty taste it is a healthy addition to your morning routine.

I think the sprouted buckwheat groats make a tasty muesli by adding naturally dried (no sulfates but a bit of oil and sugar to preserve them) cherries, blueberries, raw cashew nuts, cocoa nibs, and Goji berries and sprinkling that over freshly made yogurt. Mentioning yogurt segues nicely to my next recently discovered tasty delight, fresh yogurt or even tastier, drained freshly made yogurt. The last in the list for today but not the least by any means.

There are many ways to make yogurt but I can tell you my way is simple and delicious, sooooo let’s get started…….

1 half gallon whole Organic Valley milk from grass fed cows, no hormones but need not be “real”

2 sachets of Yogourmet freeze dried yogurt starter

Heat the milk to180 degrees according to instructions, checking frequently with a thermometer. Let it cool to between 108-112 degrees. Set aside a cup of warm milk and mix the yogurt starter in to it. When the temperatures are between 108-112 mix them together. Pour in to clean quart canning jars, place lids on top. Turn your Excalibur Dehydrator to 115, place the jars inside and leave for four hours or until firm when you turn it upside down. Refrigerate overnight. If you want more of a Greek yogurt, like Fage yogurt, put two layers of cheesecloth in a colander and carefully pour one jar of yogurt in to the colander. Set it aside to drain for several hours or until it has the consistency of cream cheese. Carefully remove it from the cheesecloth and refrigerate. It is the creamiest, tangiest little bite of goodness and perfect for a protein snack before bed.

If I didn’t have to take a poodle to see his favorite veterinarian in 15 minutes I could go on and on. However, they will not take kindly to my being late, so try some of these ideas and let me know what you think or if you made substitutions and found an even more distracting way to take your mind off your beloved but injured best friends, write me immediately as I have a full day of visits to the “house of horrors” first one poodle and then the other.