The list of health benefits of MCT Oil or medium-chain triglycerides, a type of fat, includes fat loss, appetite suppression, increased energy, improved cognition, improved athletic performance, to name a few. Read on to see why I use it, how it differs from coconut oil, how to take it and more!
A balanced, nutrient-dense diet rich in healthy fats is essential to us being our very best! Every single cell in our body needs fat to function, most especially our brain cells. Our brain is actually the fattiest organ in our body at over 60% fat. You already know my feelings on the importance of healthy fats in a well-balanced, nutrient-dense whole foods diet, but you can read more about the Benefits of Healthy Fats.
At this point I have to imagine you’ve heard the buzz surrounding MCT Oil. One of the quickest sources of clean fuel for both the body and the brain, MCT oil is hands down one of the best ways to power up your performance or kick start a nutrition program.
What is MCT Oil?
“MCTs” are medium-chain triglycerides, a form of saturated fatty acid that has many health benefits, ranging from improved cognitive function to better weight management. MCTs are a type of fat that can be readily used for energy by your body and do not have to be broken down before use. They are precursors to ketones and help your body burn fat instead of burning carbs. Ketones are one of the brain’s two primary fuel sources, and also a vital source of ATP energy for the body. ATP energy is what allows every single muscle in your body to move. While ketones from fat, rather than glycogen from carbohydrates, are the primary source of fuel for those on a ketogenic diet, but you don’t have to fully go keto to benefit from MCT oil and ketones.
MCTs get their name because of the length of their chemical structure. All types of fatty acids are made up of strings of connected carbon and hydrogen. Fats are categorized by how many carbons they have: short-chain fats (like butyric acid) have fewer than six carbons, medium-chain fats have between 6–12 carbons and long-chain fats (like omega-3s) have between 13–21.
Most fats consumed are taken into your body then must be mixed with bile released from your gallbladder and acted on by pancreatic enzymes to break it down in your digestive system. Medium-chain fats are digested easily and once they reach your intestine they are sent via the bloodstream directly to your liver, where they have a thermogenic effect and the ability to positively alter your metabolism. MCTs even pass the blood-brain barrier to supply your brain with an instant boost of energy. MCTs are absorbed more quickly than longer chain fats, as there is less work for the body to do, in breaking down the carbon bonds, meaning they can be used quicker as fuel, rather than being stored as fat.
Medium-chain Fatty Acids May Help With:
I am excited to bring you the first post in an ongoing series from Brook Albrigo, a Shamanic Reiki Master and very dear friend of mine. You have heard me speak previously about the very important roles that reiki and the subtle body have played in my healing journey, I have also shared very specific details of healing sessions with Brook. Brook will be joining us here monthly to share more about reiki and the strong influence in which energetics can play in healing, including simple tips to restore balance and promote vitality and wellness.
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When will the rollercoaster of emotions from the past few weeks stop? The severe divisions, the resulting solidarity being shown in protests and by people vowing to stand up for one another, the complete shock of realizing how profoundly the beliefs of others can potentially affect us. If the current events have left you raw, breaking down crying at the grocery store, or fumbling for control of your anger or incredulousness perhaps what I have to share can help you get your bearings amidst absorbing other peoples’ emotions and amplifying this difficult time. The beauty of this is that we are all waking up to just how deeply connected we are to one another.
In hindsight, as I was in Yosemite national park a week before election day, the powerful flow of the storm fed waterfalls and rivers were a premonition. I gathered strength from the waters, mountains and trees not knowing I was being prepared for the events that were to follow. As a shamanic healer I use a technique known as Nature divination- the practice of connecting to elements in nature to receive guidance. Messages come from particular nature spirits -like trees, plants, mountains or waterfalls. We believe in shamanism that everything has a spirit living inside of it that we can communicate with if we learn how to listen. On my solo adventures on hiking trails, I gave attention to each rock, tree and animal; tuned to receive messages. Lucky for me, I was alone and spared the curiosity of fellow hikers wondering why I was talking to a tree!
I was intensely concerned with the violence and conflict at Standing Rock in North Dakota and while the guidance I sought was regarding that situation, I found it to be relevant to what we are experiencing today as a human collective and have felt comforted by receiving this knowledge. When we feel helpless, sometimes that is a sign that we need to re-center and remember that we are part of a higher calling, a bigger picture, and we should listen to our guides that are right in front of us everyday. This is how I was able to maintain the past week and be of assistance to others.
I realized the tools and techniques needed to ground and care for ourselves may get lost in the daily shuffle of life but they are always there and I have created a simple list of self-care rituals to help us all through. We just need to decide our well being is worth making the time for and be willing to get a little bit out of our comfort zones.
I’m very excited that as Tasty Yummies evolves in 2016 and a brand new website is on the horizon, to be bringing you more content, beyond food, to support your individual healing journeys. I hope you enjoy.
How Stress, Energy and the Subtle Body Can All Play a Role in Your Healing
Over this past year my ongoing healing journey has taken on many different faces and the path has very much evolved along the way. I have shared bits and pieces here on the blog, but so much of this past year was so up in the air and very changing, that most of the time this was something I chose to keep to myself.
Having been diagnosed with an autoimmune form of kidney disease late in 2014, my main goal in 2015 was to figure out what I needed to do to get this disease into remission. At the start of the journey, the biggest struggle for me to overcome, was the fact that I seemed to have no real outward or debilitating symptoms of the kidney disease, it was only discovered through a routine life insurance physical the year prior. However, after a brief time where my fear got the better of me and went the western medical route, including several rounds of varying pharmaceuticals, slowly this symptom-free girl found herself with a lot more issues. In turn, I had also found myself overcome by fear and feelings of helplessness.
As my state of mind shifted, so did my health. I began seeing a naturopathic doctor in January 2015 and we began the slow and arduous process of healing my body, first by approaching what could be (and for most people usually is) the underlying problem, my digestion. After the several rounds of prescriptions drugs for my kidneys, my gut was quite unhappy and the rest of my body also began suffering because of it. My naturopathic doctor suspected leaky gut, among other possibilities and this began the shift in my focus towards gut healing.
I spent the better part of the year trying out various protocols, elimination diets, supplements and so on. There were periods of great relief where I had felt better than I had in a very long time, as well as many stretches where I felt terrible, my body likely responding as it does, to the healing process. In the times of struggle it was hard for me to keep a positive mind. When I felt like I was doing absolutely everything I could, life began feeling limited because of the various protocols and plans I had committed to and my healing became, at times, at the center of my consciousness – my life truly felt like it was in a holding pattern because of it. I began to identify as someone being imperfect and I put things, goals, on hold until I “felt better”. It is inevitable that I hit my breaking point in the later part of last year.
For me, the true realization that my healing goes beyond physical, began as I chose to honor myself more deeply and recognize unhealthy habits, that I was inadvertently choosing to ignore. My amazing naturopathic doctor often asked at the start of my appointments what my stress levels were and most times I exclaimed “Oh, me? I have no stress, I am good! Life is great”. I have news for you, just because you are positive person, if you choose not to acknowledge or dwell on stress or emotional distress, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t there doing harm, deep in the darkest depths of your soul. It’s there wreaking havoc, I can almost promise you. Ironically, the realization came for me during one of my school lessons in the Nutritional Therapy Program I am currently enrolled in. As we covered the digestion module, we talked at length about the need for our bodies to be in a parasympathetic state when eating. Our digestion works best when we are in a rest and restore/digest state vs the very common sympathetic fight or flight mode.
I realized how often I was actually eating meals under stress. While cleaning up the kitchen from a long day of recipe development, while reading, watching TV or standing over the kitchen counter cooking another recipe or some other unnecessary task that had my mind preoccupied. In doing so, my body wasn’t truly acknowledging, honoring or respecting the fuel I was feeding it. Even on a physical level, you chew less and quicker, swallowing larger bites and giving your digestion even more work. This for me, was step one in realizing that healing my body required so much more than taking a few supplements and changing my diet. Any healing protocol needs to be multi-layered approach, to be effective.
Just in this single realization alone, honoring the body’s need to be in a more relaxed state for proper function, I saw instant results in my digestion and I also began to acknowledge other areas of my life I was holding onto stress and other stagnant emotions. I am not saying this solved my underlying problems or cured me for good, but it was a small first step in a large overall problem and I was happy to see that a small change, could make such a large improvement. Stress can manifest itself in many different ways for all of us, but recognizing it’s presence, acknowledging the source and taking steps to lessen it, are vital in the healing journey.
ENERGY and THE SUBTLE BODY
As a yoga teacher, I was already very aware the roles that the subtle body plays in our health and vitality. Yoga, meditation, exercise, these have all played a big role over the years, in my choice for a more mindful lifestyle. All bringing a deeper awareness of the flow of subtle energies in and around the body, I have always honored the role that these subtle energies play into my health and vitality. If we can look to our life force energy as a source for our overall balance, health or ease, then we can assume it’s lack is the cause of imbalance, illness or dis-ease.
Something that has been very important for my body during this 7-Day Spring Cleanse, but has also been a part of my daily routine for a few months now, is drinking warm lemon water. I have started (almost) every day with a glass of warm lemon water and it has made a huge differences for me. Warm lemon water in the morning helps kickstart the digestion process for the day. According to Ayurvedic philosophy, choices that you make regarding your daily routine either build up resistance to disease or tear it down. Ayurveda invites us to get a jump-start on the day by focusing on morning rituals that work to align the body with nature’s rhythms, balance the doshas and foster self-esteem alongside self-discipline.
There are many health benefits of lemons that have been known for centuries. The two biggest are lemons’ strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers and their use as a weight loss aid because lemon juice is a digestive aid and liver cleanser. Lemons contain many substances–notably citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, pectin, and limonene–that promote immunity and fight infection.
HOW TO DO IT:
You should be using purified water and it should be lukewarm not scalding hot. You want to avoid ice cold water, since that can be a lot for your body to process and it takes more energy to process ice cold water than the warm. Always use fresh lemons, organic if possible, never bottled lemon juice. I squeeze 1/2 a lemon with each glass and I drink it down first thing before I eat a single thing, or workout, etc.
BONUS: try adding freshly grated ginger or a little cayenne for a boost.
10 Benefits to Drinking Warm Lemon Water Every Morning
1) Aids Digestion. Lemon juice flushes out unwanted materials and toxins from the body. It’s atomic composition is similar to saliva and the hydrochloric acid of digestive juices. It encourages the liver to produce bile which is an acid that is required for digestion. Lemons are also high in minerals and vitamins and help loosen ama, or toxins, in the digestive tract. The digestive qualities of lemon juice help to relieve symptoms of indigestion, such as heartburn, belching and bloating. The American Cancer Society actually recommends offering warm lemon water to cancer sufferers to help stimulate bowel movements.
2) Cleanses Your System / is a Diuretic. Lemon juice helps flush out unwanted materials in part because lemons increase the rate of urination in the body. Therefore toxins are released at a faster rate which helps keep your urinary tract healthy. The citric acid in lemons helps maximize enzyme function, which stimulates the liver and aids in detoxification.
3) Boosts Your Immune System. Lemons are high in vitamin C, which is great for fighting colds. They’re high in potassium, which stimulates brain and nerve function. Potassium also helps control blood pressure. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) found in lemons demonstrates anti-inflammatory effects, and is used as complementary support for asthma and other respiratory symptoms plus it enhances iron absorption in the body; iron plays an important role in immune function. Lemons also contain saponins, which show antimicrobial properties that may help keep cold and flu at bay. Lemons also reduce the amount of phlegm produced by the body.
4) Balances pH Levels. Lemons are one of the most alkalizing foods for the body. Sure, they are acidic on their own, but inside our bodies they’re alkaline (the citric acid does not create acidity in the body once metabolized). Lemons contain both citric and ascorbic acid, weak acids easily metabolized from the body allowing the mineral content of lemons to help alkalize the blood. Disease states only occur when the body pH is acidic. Drinking lemon water regularly can help to remove overall acidity in the body, including uric acid in the joints, which is one of the primary causes of pain and inflammation.
5) Clears Skin. The vitamin C component as well as other antioxidants helps decrease wrinkles and blemishes and it helps to combat free radical damage. Vitamin C is vital for healthy glowing skin while its alkaline nature kills some types of bacteria known to cause acne. It can actually be applied directly to scars or age spots to help reduce their appearance. Since lemon water purges toxins from your blood, it would also be helping to keep your skin clear of blemishes from the inside out. The vitamin C contained in the lemon rejuvenates the skin from within your body.
6) Energizes You and Enhances Your Mood. The energy a human receives from food comes from the atoms and molecules in your food. A reaction occurs when the positive charged ions from food enter the digestive tract and interact with the negative charged enzymes. Lemon is one of the few foods that contain more negative charged ions, providing your body with more energy when it enters the digestive tract. The scent of lemon also has mood enhancing and energizing properties. The smell of lemon juice can brighten your mood and help clear your mind. Lemon can also help reduce anxiety and depression.
7) Promotes Healing. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), found in abundance in lemons, promotes wound healing, and is an essential nutrient in the maintenance of healthy bones, connective tissue, and cartilage. As noted previously, vitamin C also displays anti-inflammatory properties. Combined, vitamin C is an essential nutrient in the maintenance of good health and recovery from stress and injury.
8) Freshens Breath. Besides fresher breath, lemons have been known to help relieve tooth pain and gingivitis. Be aware that citric acid can erode tooth enamel, so you should be mindful of this. No not brush your teeth just after drinking your lemon water. It is best to brush your teeth first, then drink your lemon water, or wait a significant amount of time after to brush your teeth. Additionally, you can rinse your mouth with purified water after you finish your lemon water.
9) Hydrates Your Lymph System. Warm water and lemon juice supports the immune system by hydrating and replacing fluids lost by your body. When your body is deprived of water, you can definitely feel the side effects, which include: feeling tired, sluggish, decreased immune function, constipation, lack of energy, low/high blood pressure, lack of sleep, lack of mental clarity and feeling stressed, just to name a few.
10) Aids in Weight Loss. Lemons are high in pectin fiber, which helps fight hunger cravings. Studies have shown people who maintain a more alkaline diet, do in fact lose weight faster. I personally find myself making better choices throughout the day, if I start my day off right, by making a health conscious choice to drink warm lemon water first thing every morning.
Do you drink warm lemon water every morning? What are your favorite benefits?
I always zest my lemons before I juice them for my daily warm lemon water. I keep a container in the freezer and I just keep adding to it. It’s great to toss into pasta dishes, in salad dressings, etc.