Why I Love…MCT Oil

Fat is probably the most important nutrient for weight loss, healthy cholesterol, brain function and overall health!

Including more healthy fat in your diet is a great start to improving your health.

However, some people find it difficult to increase the amount of fat they’re eating a day (if you’re following a keto diet, fat should make up 60% to 75% of your diet).

That’s where MCT oil comes in.

MCT oil is oil made up of Medium Chain Triglycerides. Medium Chain Triglycerides are healthy, easily digestible fats that are metabolized in our liver (as opposed to other foods which are metabolized through digestion). There are 4 types of MCTs and the shorter the chain of carbon molecules in them, the faster the transformation to ketones for energy.

Here are 5 reasons why you should incorporate MCT oil into your diet.Why I love MCT Oil1

1. Hormone Support
If you’ve read our posts on fat and cholesterol you will know that fat is required for the production and balance of hormones. As MCT oil is so easily metabolised and used by the body, it can assist with maintaining a healthy level of hormones in our body.

2. Energy
MCT oil is metabolised in our liver which means they are absorbed faster and used by the body quicker (as they don’t need to be processed through our digestive system). MCT oils help with the production of ketones (read our Keto 101 post here). When we convert fat into ketones, our body has access to a more stable energy source. But also, when we use this as energy, it doesn’t create the same blood sugar and insulin spike as when we use carbs as energy.

3. Healthy Immune System
Healthy fats are required for proper immune function. The antiviral and antibacterial properties of MCT oil make it a great support for a healthy immune system.

4. Gut Health Support
MCT oil helps to give our digestive system a break because they are easily metabolised by our body. MCTs also have antibacterial properties which can help to balance gut bacteria. Just be careful with how much you take…take too much and you could be running to the toilet!!

5. Brain Health
MCT oil provides significant neurological benefits. Consumption of MCTs can delay brain aging by providing easily accessible energy to repair brain cell damage, increasing mental performance and slowing the aging of brain cells.

Advertisements

9 Reasons to Eat More Fat

Fat; what sort of chance does it have when it’s both the name of a macronutrient and a term to describe the nation’s ever increasing waistlines. Ever since we’ve been old enough to understand, we’ve been told by nutritional ‘experts’ and dietitians to decrease our fat intake (especially the dreaded saturated fat) and replace these fats with ‘heart healthy’ wholegrains, because, well, fat makes us fat. (Read the truth about fat and the food pyramid here).

Forget everything you know about fat!

In this post, we’re going to show you why you should be eating more saturated fat.

The Truth About Fat

1. Curb sugar cravings
Good quality saturated fat is more filling than carbs. Constant hunger, or cravings, is our body’s way of telling us that it is not being fed correctly. Consuming more saturated fat can help to fuel your body properly and provide you with an instant source of energy that, unlike sugar, won’t cause a spike in insulin and then an energy crash.

2. Reduce insulin spikes
Fat has the lowest impact on insulin level of all the macronutrients. Your body releases insulin in response to high blood sugar. When the body is continually required to do this, it can burn out, resulting in diabetes. Eating higher fat diets reduce the amount of insulin your pancreas has to pump out.

3. Control blood glucose levels
Fat helps to control your blood glucose level by slowing the absorption of carbs.

4. Helps with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins
Hard to believe, I know, but fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E and K need fat to be absorbed! Following a low fat diet reduces our ability to absorb these key vitamins.

5. Keeps you feeling fuller for longer
Fat is the most energy dense macronutrient. And because fat is filling, high-fat dieters often aren’t left feeling hungry (or grumpy like low-fat diets). On a high fat diet, appetite tends to be suppressed and dieters end up eating fewer calories without even trying.

detox copper eat meat

6. Weight loss
When you reduce your carb intake and replace it with fat, your body goes into a metabolic state called ketosis. In ketosis, instead of using your glucose stores for energy, your body taps into its fats stores and burns those for energy instead. Studies have shown that people on low-carb/high-fat diets tend to lose more weight (and faster), than people on low-fat diets.

7. Reduce inflammation
When our bodies are placed under chronic stress from things such as elevated blood glucose levels, high triglycerides, low HDL levels, high blood pressure and insulin resistance, our bodies can’t react with a proper immune system response. This ultimately leads to inflammation in our body. A number of studies have shown that diets high in refined carbohydrates can lead to oxidative stress and high levels of inflammation.

8. Improves brain function
our brains are made up of 60% saturated fat and 25% of our cholesterol is found in our brain. Following low-fat diets that restrict saturated fat consumption and focus on lowering cholesterol starves our brains of the nutrients it needs to function. Saturated fat helps to form myelin, the substance that helps to connect brain cells to each other. Low-fat diets literally starve your brain!

9. Balance hormones
Saturated fat is an essential building block for a variety of hormones in our body. Hormones have a much larger impact on us than we give them credit for. In fact, hormones control all the metabolic processes in our body. The fat in our body is saturated fat, with only 3% of our fat made up of other types. This ratio is critical for our health. The more man-made chemical fats (such as canola and soybean oil) we eat, the more this ratio gets out of whack. The further this ratio gets imbalanced, the more our endocrine system is impacted and the further hormonal disturbances are exacerbated.

Read our post Keto Diet 101 for how to include more fat in your diet.

The Truth About Cholesterol (Part 2)

This post is the second article in our series The Truth About Cholesterol. Read about why we need cholesterol here.

In this post we’re going to discuss the fallacy of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol aka HDL and LDL.

Veg Oil

There is no such thing as good and bad cholesterol. In fact HDL and LDL are not even cholesterol but lipo-proteins which act as transport mechanisms for cholesterol.

The propaganda bus has created an irrational fear that LDL is ‘bad’. However, our bodies cannot function without LDL – it transports 25% of our total cholesterol to our brain (fun fact – our brain’s weight is 20% cholesterol) for neurons to use in the transmission of vital messages between receptors. (Number one side affect of cholesterol lowering statins is memory loss and brain fog!).

HDL, the so called ‘good’ cholesterol, is the lipo-protein which transports cholesterol from the bloodstream back to the liver for reprocessing.

The real problem isn’t the level of LDL, rather the type of LDL particles circulating in the bloodstream. LDL particles can range between small and large – and it’s the small ones that are the problem.

Small LDL particles are more susceptible to oxidisation. When these particles oxidise, they create inflammation in our arteries which supply blood to our organs. This can then lead to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

So the real question should be: “what is causing LDL to oxidize?”

When there is a high level of oxidation present in the body, there also tends to be free radical activity in the tissues. Consuming adequate amounts of antioxidants such as Vitamins C and E prevents oxidative free radical damage.vegetableoilpoison

Consuming artificial, partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) will not only cause LDL to oxidize, so will a diet high in refined sugars, alcohol and smoking cigarettes. Elevated levels of LDL also may be caused by chemical and heavy metal toxicity, liver toxicity and stress, hypothyroidism and kidney failure.

Calling LDL ‘bad’ is very misleading, especially if you are not identifying causation.

Low levels of HDL reflect a sedentary lifestyle. Doctors and others who push the misinformation about raising HDL as being a good thing, fail to address that HDL levels greater than 75 are actually correlative with autoimmune processes. This is a strong possibility especially if triglyceride levels are low (less than 40). Excess consumption of alcohol, drug use, hypothyroidism, and excess estrogen can also cause HDL levels to become too high.

The Truth About Cholesterol (Part 1)

The Truth About Fat

What actually is cholesterol? Well if we believe the propaganda perpetuated by public health and medical bodies over the last 50 years you would think it is a highly dangerous sticky fat that clings to the walls of our arteries forming plaques, creating arthrosclerosis and causing heart disease, stroke and death!!!

In fact every cell of our body is made from it – cholesterol is one of the most vitally important bodily substances. ALL of our steroid hormones are manufactured from cholesterol, including our sex and adrenal hormones!

Why on earth are we told to lower it then? Good question and I will attempt to explain this later! I say attempt because I find it difficult to understand how the combined brain power of all of the researchers on this subject over the past 50 years have actually concluded that cholesterol is dangerous and the major cause of heart disease, despite the fact their studies have found no such link!

First though let me tell you all of the wonderful things that cholesterol does for us.

The six steroid hormones our bodies need to function are all synthesized from cholesterol and they include :

  • Glucocorticoids which are vitally important for the metabolism of carbohydrates. In particular cortisol, a powerful adrenal hormone that has multiple functions in the body including blood glucose control and anti-inflammatory actions that oppose the hyper reactions of our immune system.
  • Mineralcorticoide hormones, in particular aldosterone which is in charge of electrolyte balance. In lay man’s term keeping sodium and potassium in balance with each other. (Remember that awful feeling of dehydration that comes with a hangover – that comes from an electrolyte imbalance!)
  • Adrogenic hormones such as DHEA and testosterone are critical for libido, bone density, memory and anti-aging, (if you are sick of using the ol’ headache as an excuse get your man on some cholesterol lowering statins – they will take care of his libido! Yes it is one of the most common side effects of statin drugs).
  • Progestagens such as progesterone are vital in regulating women’s menstrual cycles and maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
  • Estrogens such as estradiol are critical for sexual development and bone and brain health.
  • Vitamin D, actually a sterol but don’t worry about that, as it behaves as a steroidal hormone which is converted in the liver and has hundreds of vital immune supporting functions along with calcium regulation in the blood.

As you can see cholesterol is vital for survival!

In fact I am living proof that we need good levels of cholesterol to function. During my acute phase of anorexia when I was living on lettuce leaves, low fat yoghurt and black tea my total cholesterol plummeted to 3.2mmol/L. Along with a multitude of other issues this created, I regressed back to my pre-pubescent years (I was 17 and built like a 9 year old!) everything shrank to the size of a lentil!!!! And I mean everything!!! I was surviving, just, but my clever body knew that I was not fit to bring life into this world and reacted accordingly.

Grab the 2017 bull by the horns

Happy New Year! As our weekly readers will know, Healed by Bacon is dedicated to helping you overhaul your health and optimise how you feel – and January is the perfect time to start!

This week’s article is a repost of one we wrote at the start of last year – 5 health tests to start the new year. We’ve chosen to repost this article as we think it’s important to create a baseline for your health by providing you with the necessary health checks you need to do.

Health Tests for the New Year

Ok, put your hand up if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to improve your health or lose weight? And put your hand up if you know how you are going to do this?

Well done for taking the time to set a health goal, but let’s take a step back. Obviously you have made this resolution because you’re not happy with something, in particular, the way you feel. But how do we really measure how we ‘feel’? Is it by the number on the scales? Is it by the number of times we laughed today? Below are the top 5 health checks to help you create a baseline for your health.

  1. Tests for thyroid dysfunction

Are you struggling to lose weight? Feeling low or depressed? Struggling with everyday functions – like thinking clearly? If yes, then your thyroid might not be functioning efficiently.

If you have read our Initial Tests page, you will know that the most important thyroid function tests are:

  • TSH,
  • Free T4 and Free T3,
  • Reverse T3,
  • Thyroid Antibodies,
  • Iron,
  • Adrenal Cortisol Levels,
  • Sex Hormones and a number of other blood tests.

These blood tests will help you gain a full picture of your endocrine health. However it is important that the doctor who completes these tests for you has a deep understanding of the thyroid. If we had a dollar for every time a doctor said our bloods were ‘in the healthy range’….

Thryroid Brain Fog

  1. Tests for Adrenal Fatigue

Autoimmune diseases, like hypothyroidism, go hand in hand with Adrenal Fatigue (AF). AF is becoming increasingly common as a result of the stressful western lifestyle; we are constantly stressed from study, work, family, money and never take the time to de-stress, relax and heal our bodies. So if you are struggling to even get up in the morning, your adrenal health might be compromised.

In the early stages of AF the blood tests you should be having include:

  • Insulin,
  • Cortisol (although a Saliva test is much better than serum),
  • DHEA,
  • Sex hormones, and
  • Blood sugar levels.

In order to interpret your bloods and understand what stage of AF you are suffering from, read our 4 Stages of Adrenal Fatigue post.

adrenal-gland-chart

  1. Tests for sufficient stomach acid

Stomach acid – let’s face it, it’s not really something you give much thought to. Yet stomach acid is actually one of the most important aspects of our digestive system. Low levels of stomach acid means the body can’t protect itself against bad forms of bacteria which can cause inflammation in our stomach.

A quick and easy test you can do at home to test your stomach acid levels is the baking soda test.

  1. Gluten Sensitivity/Intolerance

Without sounding too extreme – wheat and other gluten containing grains really should be avoided at all costs for us suffering from autoimmune diseases. However if you have previously been able to tolerate them and only recently developed gluten sensitivity symptoms you can have a doctor run a number of blood tests, including:

  • IgA anti-gliadin antibodies,
  • IgG anti-gliadin antibodies,
  • IgA anti-endomysial antibodies,
  • Tissue transglutaminase antibody (IgA and IgG in questionable cases),
  • Total IgA antibodies, and
  • HLA DQ2 and DQ8 genotyping for celiac disease (used occasionally to detect genetic susceptibility).

Why you shouldn't eat gluten

  1. Triglyceride levels

We all know how the story goes – eating foods high in that horribly bad saturated fat leads to high cholesterol which leads to atherosclerotic plaques that causes a clot which then results in a heart attack or stroke. And that’s why most doctors like to test our LDL/HDL cholesterol levels to make sure they are sufficiently low.

BUT we really shouldn’t be worrying about our high cholesterol, instead, we should be focusing on lowering our triglyceride levels. High triglycerides are a good predictor of a very high risk for cardiovascular disease and the more processed, high-carb foods we eat, the higher our triglyceride levels go.

Therefore, in order to gain a good picture of your heart health, you should have your doctor test your triglyceride levels – a healthy range is below 1 according to your doctor, however below 0.6 is the goal.

Good luck on your path to optimising your health!!

What to eat with Copper Toxicity

In order to detox from excess copper we need to heal our gut and digestive system. We can do this by (1) Eating more animal products, (2) eating more fat, (3) avoiding dairy products, (4) avoid foods that further deplete zinc and/or increase copper and (5) drink more water.

What_to_Eat_for_Adrenal_Fatigue

  1. Eating more animal products

Animal products are the most concentrated source of zinc. In particular, we should eat more:

  • Beef,
  • Lamb,
  • Chicken,
  • Buffalo,
  • Eggs, and
  • Venison.
  1. Eating more fat

Adding more fat into your diet will help with bile production and enable a clearer pathway for the excess copper to be excreted. Make sure that you are eating good quality fat, none of these chemically manufactured seed oils – that will just make your condition worse!

  1. Avoiding dairy products

So dairy doesn’t actually add copper to your body, but it does contribute to depleting your zinc levels and throwing your copper-zinc ratio further out of whack. It is especially detrimental to copper toxicity when dairy is eaten with foods high in phytates (rice and grain-based foods such as wheat bran, rice bran, whole wheat, corn, rye, oats and brown rice) as it dramatically decreases our body’s ability to absorb zinc.
Toxic Food - What NOT to eat with Hashimoto's

  1. Avoid foods that further deplete zinc and/or increase copper

These foods include:

  • Chocolate,
  • Shellfish,
  • Coffee,
  • Sugar,
  • Wheat,
  • Soy,
  • Avocados,
  • Leafy greens,
  • Sunflower seeds,
  • Sesame seeds, and
  • Beef liver.

Nutritiondata.com is an excellent website for analysing which foods have high levels of copper or a less than optimal zinc-copper ratio.

  1. Drink more water

So we touched on the importance of drinking water to mobilise the excess copper before. But it is important not to drink water half an hour before, or an hour after eating, as this can dampen digestion through diluting gastric juices. Another important note if you want to go down the route of TCM, never drink cold water (for the same reason as not eating cold food).

Ok so these guidelines seem all well and good on paper, but the truth is, in the early stages of the copper detox process you may not be able to stomach all that meat and fat. And that’s ok. Detoxing takes time. We found that homemade chicken broth with a little bit of organic, grass-fed butter (and yes we know we said to avoid dairy, but this was one of the fats we could tolerate, you could always try ghee) was all we could eat for a while.

But as our digestion starts to heal and the copper detox process begins, we can slowly introduce more foods. For example, we were able to tolerate a little bit of chicken breast and some zucchini. We also could eat pumpkin seeds – and whilst technically they are high in copper, they are one of the few plant-based sources of high zinc.

Diet and Copper Toxicity

detox copper eat meat

Inspired to adopt the ‘healthier’ diets touted by the health system (think low/no fat, vegetarian, meat free week, low cholesterol – all that anti-animal food stuff), we are now facing serious health problems.

If you have read our other posts, you will know how important maintaining an optimal zinc to copper ratio is. Copper is present in most foods (and our modern environment). When zinc is present in abundance, and we have enough quality protein available to bind it, the copper we consume can be managed effectively by our body and the excess can easily be excreted through bile.

However, the push to eat less animal products and a ‘healthier’ diet has led to us not being able to source enough zinc for the copper elimination process to occur.

Generally, these so called ‘healthy’ diets are heavily plant-based. Unfortunately, the best and most bioavailable sources of zinc are found in animal products. Therefore, when we live on one of these ‘healthy’ diets our zinc levels are sharply reduced relative to copper.

Not only that, these ‘healthy’ diets suggest you reduce your animal protein intake and, god forbid you even consider eating saturated fat! But, it is the zinc, protein and fats (for bile production) that are required to eliminate excess copper from our bodies.

A diet lacking in zinc, protein and fat can lead to excess copper building up in tissues in an unbound, inorganic form, which is highly immobile and creates a low-level toxicity that interferes with many body systems. As we have said in our earlier posts, particularly affected are our liver and brain, but also our digestion.

How to Detox from Copper

Mind-racing

Detoxing from excess copper is a long and difficult process…and it is important to understand as much as you can about the condition because taking the wrong steps can exacerbate the condition.

If you have read my initial post, you will know that with pretty much everything I have tried, I have felt worse before I have felt better. This is because as your body is detoxing, the copper is mobilized and exits through many of the body’s detox pathways. As it does this it can cause a wide range of symptoms including:

  • Headaches,
  • Racing thoughts,
  • Anxiety,
  • Mood swings,
  • Digestive problems,
  • Very orange poo(!),
  • Skin conditions, and
  • Increased fatigue.

Be aware of your detox symptoms and if they are too severe, you may need to slow down the detox process.

So how do we actually detox from copper?

1. Eliminate the source of copper

Whilst this is the most important step, it is also the most difficult. To do these, you need to identify all possible sources of copper in your life (diet, lifestyle, environment etc.) and get rid of as many as humanly possible (because you probably aren’t going to be able to eliminate your exposure to some xenoestrogens when you’re out and about).

2. Supplement with zinc

Zinc is the most natural way of removing copper efficiently. As we have talked about in our previous post, zinc and copper have a close relationship, working together to help our body function. It is not the amount of copper and zinc in our body, but the ratio that matters. The optimal ratio of zinc to copper is 8:1, therefore supplementing with zinc can help bring this ratio back into balance. (Make sure to check with a practitioner about how much zinc to take – more is not always better).

Drink more water

3. Drink water

Ok so we know we should be drinking 8 glasses of water a day, but how many of us actually do this? When trying to detox from copper it is important to not only drink the recommended amount of water, but more. The water in our body helps to get the copper mobile and moving through the detox pathways.

4. Increase copper antagonists

These are minerals that help rebalance copper (excrete copper). The main copper antagonists are manganese, vitamin B, C and E, sulphur, selenium and molybdenum.

5. Sweat

Using saunas, steam baths and anything that increases sweating is helpful in removing copper from your body. Steam baths with added clay and Epsom salts also help to pull out toxic metals (and the Epsom salts help you to relax too – just be careful not to swallow any…unless you can get to a toilet very fast). We like to body brush before the bath too, not only does it open your pores, it also has a relaxing routine too it.

6. Coffee enemas

Coffee enemas are used to help eliminate toxins, not just copper, from our body. There is some controversy surrounding enemas and their health benefits, but if you are at your ‘wits end’, like us, trying to find answers, anything is worth a try!

7. Reduce/eliminate foods high in copper from your diet – Check out our copper toxicity and diet post for what foods this includes.

detox copper eat meat

8. Eat foods high in zinc – Again, check out our copper toxicity and diet post.

9. Address your adrenal health

This is easier said than done. In our previous post we mentioned the relationship between adrenal fatigue and copper toxicity is more like a catch 22. Read our post on adrenal fatigue and copper toxicity here.

10. Practice meditation

Meditation, among its other benefits, can help turn off your overstimulated sympathetic nervous system (caused by excess copper) and help you to relax (which will also help in step 9).

11. Identify if methylation and gene mutations are an issue

We suggest reading Dr Amy Yasko’s book Autism: Pathways for Recovery (downloadable free from her website).

5 health tests to start the New Year

Health Tests for the New Year

Happy New Year! Ok, put your hand up if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to improve your health or lose weight? And put your hand up if you know how you are going to do this?

If you don’t, you’ve come to the right place. As our weekly readers will know, Healed by Bacon is dedicated to helping you overhaul your health and optimise how you feel – and January is the perfect time to start!

Well done for taking the time to set a health goal, but let’s take a step back. Obviously you have made this resolution because you’re not happy with something, in particular, the way you feel. But how do we really measure how we ‘feel’? Is it by the number on the scales? Is it by the number of times we laughed today? This blog post will hopefully help you create a baseline for your health by providing you with the necessary health checks you need to do.

  1. Tests for thyroid dysfunction

Are you struggling to lose weight? Feeling low or depressed? Struggling with everyday functions – like thinking clearly? If yes, then your thyroid might not be functioning efficiently.

If you have read our Initial Tests page, you will know that the most important thyroid function tests are:

  • TSH,
  • Free T4 and Free T3,
  • Reverse T3,
  • Thyroid Antibodies,
  • Iron,
  • Adrenal Cortisol Levels,
  • Sex Hormones and a number of other blood tests.

These blood tests will help you gain a full picture of your endocrine health. However it is important that the doctor who completes these tests for you has a deep understanding of the thyroid. If we had a dollar for every time a doctor said our bloods were ‘in the healthy range’….

Thryroid Brain Fog

  1. Tests for Adrenal Fatigue

Autoimmune diseases, like hypothyroidism, go hand in hand with Adrenal Fatigue (AF). AF is becoming increasingly common as a result of the stressful western lifestyle; we are constantly stressed from study, work, family, money and never take the time to de-stress, relax and heal our bodies. So if you are struggling to even get up in the morning, your adrenal health might be compromised.

In the early stages of AF the blood tests you should be having include:

  • Insulin,
  • Cortisol (although a Saliva test is much better than serum),
  • DHEA,
  • Sex hormones, and
  • Blood sugar levels.

In order to interpret your bloods and understand what stage of AF you are suffering from, read our 4 Stages of Adrenal Fatigue post.

adrenal-gland-chart

  1. Tests for sufficient stomach acid

Stomach acid – let’s face it, it’s not really something you give much thought to. Yet stomach acid is actually one of the most important aspects of our digestive system. Low levels of stomach acid means the body can’t protect itself against bad forms of bacteria which can cause inflammation in our stomach.

A quick and easy test you can do at home to test your stomach acid levels is the baking soda test.

  1. Gluten Sensitivity/Intolerance

Without sounding too extreme – wheat and other gluten containing grains really should be avoided at all costs for us suffering from autoimmune diseases. However if you have previously been able to tolerate them and only recently developed gluten sensitivity symptoms you can have a doctor run a number of blood tests, including:

  • IgA anti-gliadin antibodies,
  • IgG anti-gliadin antibodies,
  • IgA anti-endomysial antibodies,
  • Tissue transglutaminase antibody (IgA and IgG in questionable cases),
  • Total IgA antibodies, and
  • HLA DQ2 and DQ8 genotyping for celiac disease (used occasionally to detect genetic susceptibility).

Why you shouldn't eat gluten

  1. Triglyceride levels

We all know how the story goes – eating foods high in that horribly bad saturated fat leads to high cholesterol which leads to atherosclerotic plaques that causes a clot which then results in a heart attack or stroke. And that’s why most doctors like to test our LDL/HDL cholesterol levels to make sure they are sufficiently low.

BUT we really shouldn’t be worrying about our high cholesterol, instead, we should be focusing on lowering our triglyceride levels. High triglycerides are a good predictor of a very high risk for cardiovascular disease and the more processed, high-carb foods we eat, the higher our triglyceride levels go.

Therefore, in order to gain a good picture of your heart health, you should have your doctor test your triglyceride levels – a healthy range is below 1 according to your doctor, however below 0.6 is the goal.

 

Good luck on your path to optimising your health!!