Weekly Round-Up: Easy Recipes, Safe Coconut Oil & Healthy Fats

by Lauren on April 25, 2014

Happy Friday everyone!

Here are a couple easy healthy recipes, and health tips that I want to share with you from my week:

Easy Avocado & Olive Oil Pasta

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My husband was out last night, and I didn’t feel like cooking, but I still wanted something healthy – tricky situation. I looked in my fridge, and saw some leftover brown rice pasta and an avocado. With baby Follett coming soon, I want to make sure I continue increasing my healthy fats (the last few weeks of pregnancy is when baby develops the all-important baby fat that helps regulate its temperature outside of the womb). I warmed up the pasta and stirred in 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, some diced avocado (1/2 of a small), a couple tbsp of feta cheese and seasoned with salt & pepper. It was delish, and a great source of healthy fats, fibre and protein – that’s my kind of easy, healthy meal.

Slow-Cooker Moroccan Chicken

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I recently bought a slow-cooker, and have made this recipe twice already. I need to share it because it’s ridiculously easy and SO GOOD. The only changes I made: I increased the quantity of chicken stock to 1 cup instead of half, and served it with quinoa or brown rice. I would also recommend organic or free-from chicken thighs (Superstore) and organic chicken stock. This makes for the perfect Sunday night meal – enjoy!

Safe Coconut Oil

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Coconut oil is one of my favourite ingredients. I put some in my smoothie every morning, spread it on my toast, use it in baking and as a body moisturizer. Needless to say, my coconut oil usage warrants buying the GIANT tub from Costco. As a nutritionist, I always look at labels before I buy. I didn’t bother when purchasing my 2nd tub of Carrington Farms coconut oil because I had already looked at the label with the first tub and saw it met my safety criteria:

– Certified Organic
– Hexane Free
– BPA-free
– Unrefined, extra-virgin
– Cold-pressed
– No Trans & Hydrogenated Fats

The other day I happened to look at the label again, and noticed that “Hexane-Free” and “BPA-Free” were missing from the label. Both hexane and BPA are harmful chemicals that you want to avoid. I emailed Carrington Farms and the CMO, Debbie Shandel got back to me – here’s what she said:

“Rest assured that we have not changed the Carrington Farms Organic Unrefined Extra Virgin Coconut Oil at all.  Our product remains hexane free and the jar is still BPA free.  For some reason the printer must have picked up the wrong file to print.  I am following up with the factory as well as the printer to make sure they are using the correct label.  I promise nothing has changed with either our oil or our jar! Thanks for reaching out.”

I thought this was worth sharing because if I noticed it, than I’m probably not the only one. Rest assured, the coconut oil at Costco is still a healthy choice!

What’s the Difference Between Hemp, Chia and Flax?

Family Muesli

Hemp, chia, and flax have become less of a trend, and more of a pantry staple in most homes, but should you include all 3? Is that overkill? Do they all have the same health benefits? I stumbled across a great article from Leslie Beck, RD that explains the differences between the mighty trio. Here’s a quick overview:

Hemp Hearts:
– Great source of vegetarian protein (2 tbsp = 7g – more than 1 egg!)
– Includes all 8 essential amino acids
– Great source of magnesium (a mineral that is involved in hundreds of bodily functions and so important for overall health!)

Chia Seeds: 
– Great source of calcium
– Great source of fibre (1 tbsp = 5g)

Flaxseed:
– Great source of lignans, a phytochemical that is linked to the prevention of breast and prostate cancer (make sure you buy ground flaxseed for proper absorption; the whole seeds will just pass right through you)

One thing that all three seeds have in common is that they’re a great source of healthy poly-unsaturated fatty acids or PUFAs. Including enough healthy fats into our diets is so important for preventing inflammation, proper brain function & digestion, and reducing anxiety, mood swings & stress. I would recommend including all 3 seeds into your diet everyday!

Have a great weekend!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Your mom April 27, 2014 at 4:49 am

Great info and research! Xox

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Lauren April 28, 2014 at 10:26 am

Thanks mama! Glad you liked the post xo

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saida April 28, 2014 at 6:43 pm

I didn’t know that about hemp. Great to know. I’m always looking for ways to add protein to my 12 yr old’s diet since she turned vegetarian a year ago!

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Lauren May 2, 2014 at 7:47 am

Hi Saida – that’s great! I’m glad you found the post helpful. Hemp is awesome – not only is it a complete source of vegetarian protein (which is hard to come by – quinoa is one of the only other complete veg. proteins), but it’s a great source of healthy omega-3 fats, which many people don’t get enough of in their diet – especially hemp oil (1 tbsp is 14g of poly-unsaturated fat).

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