Thursday, July 21, 2016

Coconut or olive oil that is the question?

I’m often asked which oil is better; olive or coconut oil? The short answer is that both oils are good. And there are other good oils as well like almond and avocado oil which I use for my vinaigrette for salads. I use coconut oil for cooking, and it has replaced the butter. However, it must be organic, virgin and cold pressed. Following is an interesting comparison of the two oils, mentioned above, by Michelle Pellizone (source) - Werner
Coconut oil versus Olive oil.
We know fat is back. Butter, ghee, avocado oil, duck fat -all of ’em are fair game, now that saturated fat is no longer the cardiac villain we thought it was. And sure, while most amateur chefs might be unsure about deep-frying parsnip fries in lard; even kitchen novices are comfortable cooking with olive oil and coconut oil these days.

Widely considered the healthiest oils available, they two have become pantry staples. But there are some pretty big differences between them when it comes to nutrition facts and general use—olive oil and coconut oil are not interchangeable. Both serve different purposes, and depending on what you’re up to, there’s usually an obvious choice. Here’s a full breakdown to drizzling, spreading, frying, and DIY-ing with each.

Coconut oil.
We’re big fans of coconut oil. Between the health and beauty benefits, it’s versatile enough that it deserves a spot in your pantry and medicine cabinet. Even the highest-quality coconut oil is affordable, and it works incredibly well for both cooking and baking—as long as you use it correctly. Here’s what you need to know.

How it’s made.
As with olive oil, there are different classifications of coconut oil that tell buyers how it’s made and how much processing was involved.

Refined: Usually flavourless and odourless, refined coconut oil is produced by putting coconut meat through a chemical distilling process to extract oils. Often these products are bleached and deodorized to make them “prettier” and more attractive to consumers.

Unrefined (virgin):
Generally, virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil is made from the first press and extraction of coconut meat without the addition of chemicals. However, sometimes virgin coconut oil is exposed to heat, which makes the flavour more pronounced.

This type of extraction method can be used for raw, unrefined coconut oil. Coconut meat is pressed and heated to no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit in order to retain certain enzymes and health benefits.

Expeller-pressed: One of the most common (and cheapest) extraction methods, in this process, dried coconut meat is exposed to high heat and pressure to yield the oil, which ends up being much lower quality and discoloured. Usually it then needs to be refined with chemicals to clean and deodorize it before it’s sold to consumers.

Centrifuged: In what happens to be the most expensive extraction method—which is used only on unrefined coconut oil—coconut meat is dropped into a high-speed centrifuge that spins to separate the oil. Usually, in shopping for coconut oil, organic, virgin, and either cold-pressed or centrifuged products are best. They retain the most nutrients because they’ve gone through minimal processing and haven’t been heated to super-high levels (we’ll get to why that’s important in a minute).

Nutrition facts.
We’re all going gaga over coconut oil because it’s packed to the brim with macronutrients and micronutrients. Yep, it’s more than 90 percent saturated fat, but recent research has proven there is no link between saturated fat intake and higher cholesterol. On the contrary, coconut oil has been proven to increase good HDL cholesterol levels and decrease bad LDL cholesterol—which actually means it good for the heart.

The healthy fatty acids in coconut oil are primarily composed of medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs. MCTs are really easy for the body to metabolize and use as quick energy. In fact, they move straight from the digestive tract to the liver, where they’re used almost immediately instead of getting stored as fat (like other types of fatty acids). So even though it’s high in calories, coconut oil isn’t likely to make you store belly fat like other high-fat foods. There are even some studies that suggest a higher intake of MCTs intake can increase metabolic rate by 7 percent a day. Coconut oil also boasts a ton of lauric acid, a type of fatty acid that is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral, and can even kill the nasty pathogens that cause yeast infections. As a result, downing a spoonful of coconut oil is often recommended by naturopaths to treat candida.

Because it seems to boost metabolism, and because adding more fats to your diet can help keep you satisfied for longer, coconut oil seems to promote weight loss. In a study of 40 obese women, those who added one ounce of coconut into their daily diets—without making any other changes—saw a reduction in their BMI and lost inches off their waistlines. For the record, one tablespoon of coconut oil has 14 grams of fat and is equivalent to about 120 calories.

Taste and consistency.
The taste of coconut oil varies depending on how it’s been processed, and can range from tropical and nutty to totally bland and tasteless. Usually, the more refined the coconut oil, the less flavorful. At room temperature or colder, coconut oil is a slightly soft solid (think room temperature butter). But when it reaches 77 degrees, it melts into a clear liquid—that’s why some prefer to store it in the fridge to keep it from getting too runny during summer. Average smoke point: 350 degrees F (167 Celsius)

Most people don’t know that all cooking fats aren’t interchangeable. You shouldn’t just heat up any oil and get to frying and sautéeing—when some fats are exposed to high heat (aka the temperature you need for perfectly crispy tempura), they go through a chemical change that leaves them basically toxic. All fats have a smoke point, but most of the cooking oils that are considered healthier have a lower heat threshold.

Unrefined oils tend to be higher in minerals, enzymes, and beneficial compounds than refined oils because they haven’t been exposed to heat during production.
But when they get too hot and start smoking, not only does the flavor turn kind of burnt and bitter, but the fatty acids begin to break down and release free radicals. That’s no good—that pool of flavorful, healthy oil has now turned into a smoking, carcinogenic mess that you certainly don’t want to end up on your food.

If you’re feeling adventurous—and are willing to set off your smoke alarm—you can try this for yourself. Heat up a pan on the stove top. Add in a dollop of coconut oil, and slowly raise the heat. You’ll notice that at a certain temperature, the oil will begin to brown and smoke—you’ve just witnessed fatty acids transform into free radicals. Fortunately, despite its relatively low smoke point, meaning it’s pretty great for baking, sheet-pan roasting, and lightly sauteeing. Because it has a delicate, lightly sweet flavor, it works well in smoothies, too.

What coconut oil is best for.

Coconut oil and butter are analogous—they have the same smoke point, and in recipes, you can sub either in for the other at a 1:1 ratio. Because coconut oil has a unique texture and solidifies quickly when exposed to cooler temps, it shows up in lots of dessert recipes that require a hard candy-coating or a softer, fudge-like texture at room temperature. Some might taste sweeter and more coconutty (depending on how they’re made), but milder versions can even be used in savory dishes just as you would use other cooking fats with similar smoke points like butter, sesame oil, and vegetable shortening.

Other uses.
Coconut oil has gained popularity partially because it’s so versatile—no need to worry about running out of uses for a 15-ounce jar! Because coconut oil is high in lauric acid (an antibacterial compound), as well as vitamin E and vitamin K (two beauty-boosting vitamins that have anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects), it’s great for skin and hair. For the super low-maintenance, a dab warmed between the palms becomes an ultra-hydrating moisturizer for the body and face. For an extra-soothing body oil, combine it with lavender, vanilla, or orange essential oils (even though it already smells heavenly!). Rub it into hair for deep-conditioning treatment, massage into lips for all-natural chapstick, or combine with raw sugar for a gentle face scrub. Want some more inspiration? Check out this video for five more ways to use coconut oil in your beauty routine.

Olive oil.
The Mediterranean diet gained popularity in the ’90s, but what some initially pegged as a “fad” has proven to be a lasting and effective way to manage weight and improve heart health. It takes its name from the eating habits of people living around the Mediterranean Sea; residents of the region have a very high quality of life with little disease and longer lifespans compared to the rest of the world. The MVP of the Mediterranean diet is none other than olive oil. That, along with subsequent studies proving its many health benefits over the years, it’s safe to say olive oil can be found in most kitchens in the United States. In 2007, Americans consumed more than 70 million gallons, almost ten times as much as they did in 1982. But most people don’t realize that as soon as olive oil gets exposed to high heat, it basically loses all of its health cred. Here’s what you need to know about cooking with it.

How it’s made.
There are typically three different types of olive oil you can find at grocery store shelves: extra virgin, virgin, and regular. The extra virgin moniker denotes an unrefined oil that’s produced from the first pressing of olives. It’s typically considered the highest-quality and best tasting because it has highest number of active phenolic antioxidants, which not only fight free radical damage, but have also been shown to reduce pain and inflammation as effectively as ibuprofen. Just like coconut oil, when olive oil is exposed to high temperatures during processing, its micronutrients are destroyed.

When buying, try to find a bottle of extra-virgin olive oil from a reputable seller—because it’s such a hot commodity, olive oil fraud has become a legitimate problem. Scammers will blend together lower quality vegetable oil with refined olive oil and slap an extra virgin label on it in order to sell it for a higher price. Always double check the source of the oil you’re buying, and you’ll know you have good quality oil if it lacks bitterness and has a robust olive taste.

Nutrition facts.
Seventy-three percent of olive oil is made up of monounsaturated fats, a type of long-chain fatty acid that’s considered one of the healthiest, according to the American Heart Association. Monounsaturated fats have a positive effect on heart health, and olive oil has the highest percentage of any edible oil. Because it’s so high in the antioxidants and healthy fats, olive oil has impressive cardio protective benefits.

Lowers cholesterol: Monounsaturated fats can reduce bad cholesterol levels in blood, lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke. Reduces blood pressure: In a study of 23 hypertensive patients, those who increased regular use of olive oil in their diets for six months had markedly lower resting blood pressure numbers.

Helps prevent blood clots: Some studies have shown that olive oil decreases blood clotting, which can prevent heart attack and stroke.

Decreases inflammation: Oleic acid, one of the most prominent fatty acids found in olive oil, has been proven to reduce inflammation while oleocanthal, an antioxidant, works the same way as ibuprofen to reduce inflammation. Coconut and olive oil have a very similar macronutrient breakdown—one tablespoon of olive oil has 14 grams of fat and 120 calories.

Taste and consistency.
Flavour can vary greatly from bottle to bottle, although extra-virgin olive oil usually has the richest, most olive-like taste. Like coconut oil, when olive oil goes through the refining process the flavour and nutrients are neutralized. But high-quality oils maintain a more savoury flavour, which is why they’re typically used for cooking meat, frying, and drizzling over dishes. Olive oil has a liquid consistency at room temperature, and becomes solid when refrigerated. Average smoke point: 325 degrees F. (163 Celsius)

Coconut oil is mostly made of saturated fats, which are pretty resistant to heat.
Olive oil, on the other hand, is much higher in monounsaturated fats, which are less resistant to heat. Other than unique antioxidants that are found in each, it’s the main difference between the two oils. The smoke point of olive oil varies, but is around 325 degrees Fahrenheit. (163 C)

What olive oil is best for.

Because its smoke point is lower, olive oil is best for oven-cooking, salad dressings, light sautéing, and drizzling. Due to the slight olive flavour, it works especially well on savoury foods like proteins and veggies. Coconut or olive oil?

Coconut oil
isn’t the only multi-tasker you can find in the kitchen. Olive oil works as an impressive moisturizer for everything from cuticles to fly aways.

So which is better?
Here’s the thing - both of these oils are worth having on hand at all times. For slightly higher heat cooking, DIY beauty routines, and baking and sweets, coconut oil easily wins. But to improve heart health and for bread-dipping, extra-virgin olive oil takes the cake. If anything, don’t be afraid to add some healthy fats to your diet. They have so many health benefits—and they make everything taste better! Source.
Also read:
1. Coconut oil, 10 life improving uses.
2. The coconut; loaded with nutrients & health benefits.***
My thought for today. – Werner
You learn something every day if you pay attention. ~ Ray LeBlond

Monday, July 11, 2016

A handshake, what does mean?

The short answer would be; it would mean different things to different people. Just like handwriting, and how a person shakes a hand can be an indication to their inner nature. Many European countries use the handshake  as a greeting, especially meeting for the first time or after a long absence. When done to the right person, they are perceived as being warm, friendly, trustworthy and honest. In many countries it can also be a greeting, or an act showing that you have made an agreement, in which two people who are facing each other and take hold of and shake each others right hand.

A handshake caused recently a “storm” in Switzerland, and it wasn’t one in a teacup. It was because two Muslim boys refused to shake hands with their female teacher. At first the school authorities granted the boys an exemption. But the Swiss Justice Minister overturned the decision. You just have to admire the Swiss and its justice minister, for not buckling under to demands of minorities that wanted to stop their long held customs, because it is offensive for them that male and females shake hands. The question begs, why do these people go there and not to a country that is compatible with their outdated culture?
The Swiss say that religious belief is no excuse for refusing to shake a teacher’s hand, authorities in a northern Swiss region have ruled, reversing a school’s decision to grant exemptions for Muslim pupils unwilling to touch the opposite sex.

Parents of pupils who refuse to shake a teacher’s hand at schools in the northern canton of Basel-Country could now face fines of up to 5,000 Swiss francs $6720.00 Aus.)  regional education authorities said. “A teacher has the right to demand a handshake,” they said in a statement.

Don’t you think that it is a pity we do not to have such astute politicians in Australia and not kowtowing to minorities? This needs circulation far and wide! Following is what happened in Switzerland. Werner
What’s in a handshake?
Sometimes it's the little things that are the most telling.   In Switzerland it has long been customary for students to shake the hands of their teachers at the beginning and end of the school day. It's a sign of solidarity and mutual respect between teacher and pupil, one that is thought to encourage the right classroom atmosphere. Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga recently felt compelled to further explain that shaking hands was part of Swiss culture and daily life.

And the reason she felt compelled to speak out about the handshake is that two Muslim brothers, aged 14 and 15, who have lived in Switzerland for several years (And thus are familiar with its the conventions) in the town of Therwil, near Basel, refused to shake the hands of their teacher, a woman, because, they claimed, this would violate Muslim teachings that contact with the opposite sex is allowed only with family members.

At first the school authorities decided to avoid trouble, and initially granted the boys an exemption from having to shake the hand of any female teacher. But uproar followed, as Mayor Reto Wolf explained to the BBC: "the community was unhappy with the decision taken by the school. In our culture and in our way of communication a handshake is normal and sends out respect for the other person, and this has to be brought home to the children in school."

Therwil's Educational Department reversed the school's decision, explaining in a statement on May 25 that the school's exemption was lifted because "the public interest with respect to equality between men and women and the integration of foreigners significantly outweighs the freedom of religion." It added that a teacher has the right to demand a handshake. Furthermore, if the students refused to shake hands again "the sanctions called for by law will be applied," which included a possible fine of up to 5,000 dollars.

 This uproar in Switzerland, where many people were enraged at the original exemption granted to the Muslim boys, did not end after that exemption was itself overturned by the local Educational Department. The Swiss understood quite clearly that this was more than a little quarrel over handshakes; it was a fight over whether the Swiss would be masters in their own house, or whether they would be forced to yield, by the granting of special treatment, to the Islamic view of the proper relations between the sexes. It is one battle – small but to the Swiss significant – between arrogant Muslim immigrants and the indigenous Swiss.

Naturally, once the exemption was withdrawn, all hell broke loose among Muslims in Switzerland. The Islamic Central Council of Switzerland, instead of yielding quietly to the Swiss decision to uphold the handshaking custom, criticized the ruling in hysterical terms, claiming that the enforcement of the handshaking is "totalitarian" (!) because its intent is to "forbid religious people from meeting their obligations to God." That, of course, was never the "intent" of the long-standing handshaking custom, which was a nearly-universal custom in Switzerland, and in schools had to do only with encouraging the right classroom atmosphere of mutual respect between instructor and pupil, of which the handshake was one aspect.

The Swiss formulation of the problem – weighing competing claims — will be familiar to Americans versed in Constitutional adjudication. In this case "the public interest with respect to equality" of the sexes and the "integration of foreigners" (who are expected to adopt Swiss ways, not force the Swiss to exempt them from some of those ways) were weighed against the "religious obligations to God" of Muslims, and the former interests found to outweigh the latter.

What this case shows is that even at the smallest and seemingly inconsequential level, Muslims are challenging the laws and customs of the Infidels among whom they have been allowed to settle [i.e., stealth jihad toward Sharia dominance]. Each little victory, or defeat, will determine whether Muslims will truly integrate into a Western society or, instead, refashion that society to meet Muslim requirements.

The handshake has been upheld and, what's more, a stiff fine now will be imposed on those who continue to refuse to shake hands with a female teacher. This is a heartening sign of non-surrender by the Swiss. But the challenges of the Muslims within Europe to the laws and customs of the indigenes have no logical end and will not stop. And the greater the number of Muslims allowed to settle in Europe, the stronger and more frequent their challenges will be. They are attempting not to integrate, but rather to create, for now, a second, parallel society, and eventually, through sheer force of numbers from both migration and by out breeding the Infidels, to fashion not a parallel society but one society — now dominated by Muslim Sharia.

The Swiss handshaking dispute has received some, but not enough, press attention. Presumably, it's deemed too inconsequential a matter to bother with. But the Swiss know better, and so should we. (Yes, so should we! - Werner)

There's an old Scottish saying that in one variant reads: "Many a little makes a mickle." That is, the accumulation of many little things leads to one big thing. That's what's happening in Europe today. This was one victory for the side of sanity, and, there will need to be a great many more. (Three cheers for the Swiss! - Werner)
My thought for today.Werner
You can tell the character of a person by their handshake. Kathy Magliato

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The amazing Aloe Vera plant.

Back in my days in Germany, I was a cactus and succulent enthusiast; I still am,  and had a large collection of these plants. I knew then how good the jelly of the Aloe Vera was for burns and wounds. However research in recent years has found that there are many more benefits of this miraculous succulent. I grew Aloe Vera plants since I have been in Australia, just alone for the above mentioned reasons. They are easy to grow and for people in units they can be grown in pots.

My wife had once hot oil splashed on her forearm, we put immediately Aloe Vera jelly from a leaf on it and it sealed the burn and it never got a blister and healed very quickly.
The jelly is also good to put on skin scratches or cuts, which seals it and prevents infections. I also add now an Aloe Vera leaf into my smoothies – I remove the thorns, but leave the skin on it. Following are some more interesting facts about this versatile plant. This is a plant everybody should have.Werner
The Miraculous Health Benefits of Aloe Vera.

Aloe Vera is perhaps the most genuine and versatile cure-all plant there is, offering a plethora of health benefits - the word 'Vera' after all, does mean true or genuine. In the past, it was considered to be the plant of immortality by the Egyptians, and has been used since time immemorial for its soothing and curing properties.

The Aloe Vera plant is luscious with thick, fleshy stems and spiny leaves. The plant's miraculous benefits are located within the stems, which contain aloe juice and gel - a substance that is used in numerous medicinal, cosmetic, and health treatments. Aloe Vera juice can be bought (preferably organic, and pure) from a health shop or a well-stocked supermarket. Alternatively, if you've got a couple of plants at home, you can just as easily make your own juice.

Making Aloe Vera Juice.
Cut and open a few stems of the plant from the middle section. Opt for the outer stems as they are the most mature, and have the highest concentration of antioxidants. Upon squeezing the stem, aloe gel will ooze out. Store it in a bowl, then put the gel in a blender and add 1 cup of water. To get pure aloe Vera juice, blend the ingredients and consume within 3-4 days, before it loses its antioxidants.

What Makes Aloe Vera so Nutritious?
Aloe Vera (both juice and gel) is packed with antioxidants and antibiotics and works as a stimulator of cell growth. It also has scar and pain inhibitor properties. The entire leaf is at times used to treat ulcerative colitis, metastatic cancer, infectious disease and chemotherapy treatment. The plant is also rich in the following vitamins and minerals, making it a highly nutritious ingredient. Calcium – Sodium – Iron – Potassium – Manganese – Zinc - Folic Acid - Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, E -  Amino Acids.

15 Health Benefits of Aloe Vera.
Aloe juice can be consumed internally, or applied to the skin and hair. It is also a general health tonic that you can consume every morning to reap all of its benefits.
1. Use it to cure bowel problems. Due to its high anti-inflammatory properties, aloe vera is just the thing to take if you suffer from bowel problems. It promotes good bacteria in the gut and keeps all digestive disorders at bay.

2. Use it to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis. This auto-immune disease attacks the body tissues, especially the membranes lining the joints, causing inflammation and stiffness. Drinking aloe juice for two weeks however, can help reduce inflammation in the body. Aloe also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that help to reduce the pain and stiffness to a great extent.

3. Use it to treat acid reflux. If you suffer from severe digestive problems, drinking Aloe Vera juice reduces the symptoms of acid reflux, and stabilizes the alkaline levels of the body. Aloe juice has a soothing effect on stomach walls and reduces heart burn and discomfort. It is also an ideal treatment for constipation, due to its laxative properties.

4. Use it to reduce cholesterol levels. To keep your cholesterol levels in check, as well as increase levels of good cholesterol, include fresh aloe juice in your daily diet.

5. Use it to regulate blood sugar levels. When consumed regularly, AloeVera helps regulate blood sugar levels. On this note though, it is important to consult with your doctor for the correct dosage. Often times, aloe can interfere with the medicines that you take to curb blood sugar.

6. Use it to relieve sinus and chest congestion. If you tend to suffer from constant sinus problems, opt for Aloe Vera. It's rich in magnesium lactate that works as an antihistamine, which helps in reducing the problems of sinus and chest inflammation due to various allergies.

7. Use it to help fight cancer. Aloe juice contains high levels of anti-carcinogenic properties that hinder the growth of tumours.

8. Use it to build immunity. Consuming aloe juice on a regular basis, replenishes the amino acid deficiency in your body. Due to its high vitamin content, aloe boosts your body's immune system and self-defence mechanism.

 9. Use it to fight the common cold and cough. Aloe juice is the best natural solution for anyone who suffers regularly from colds, coughs, flu, stuffy nose, bronchitis and other respiratory disorders. Aloe contains a good dose of Vitamin C, which ensures protection from common colds that occur with environmental changes.

10. Use it to combat signs of aging. Aloe contains anti-aging properties, keeping the skin supple and rejuvenated. It also lightens blemishes. The gel can be rubbed directly on your face.

11. Use it to remove dead cells and stretch marks. Aloe Vera moisturizes the skin, and helps to remove dead cells, wrinkles and fine lines. The juice may also be used to remove stretch marks.

12. Use it to heal wounds. The blend may be used to heal cuts and wounds. It can also be used for dermatitis and insect bites when applied externally.

13. Use it to reduce eye irritation. It's easy to create your own natural eye wash with aloe vera gel - just mix 2 teaspoons of aloe gel in a cup of water. You can also add a teaspoon of boric acid. It's also the perfect remedy to reduce reddening and irritation in the eyes.

14. Use it to maintain gum health. Fresh aloe vera gel can be directly applied to the gums, reducing pain and inflammation. It can also be used to treat gum bleeding, caused by bacterial infection.

15. Use it to promote healthy weight loss. If you'd like to lose weight naturally, try Aloe Vera - an easy and natural weight loss solution that reduces weight by stabilizing the metabolic rate, reducing the lipid levels, and helping burn fat.

Disclaimer: You should not consume more than 4 ounces of aloe vera juice per day. Excess intake of aloe vera can cause nausea and liver inflammation. It should also be taken with caution when combined with water pills, diuretics, and blood sugar lowering drugs. If any feelings of discomfort arise upon taking aloe vera, report to your doctor - some people may face allergic reactions. Source:

Aloe Vera juicebenefits:
My thought for today. – Werner
Knowledge is having information. Wisdom knows what to do with it. Intelligence is doing it.-- Peter Stern.