MCT Oil for Weight Management, Cognitive Health, and More

MCT oil. It’s been touted to offer a load of health benefits including:

  • sustained energy
  • weight management
  • appetite control
  • gut health
  • fat burning
  • managing Alzheimer’s Disease and other cognitive/neurological conditions
  • antimicrobial and antifungal powers
  • supporting cardiovascular health
  • balancing blood sugar levels

So what exactly is MCT oil?

MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides. MCTs are a unique type of dietary fat which are quickly metabolized by the body and NOT stored as fat. As they are not stored as fat, the energy (aka calories) that they provide can be used immediately by the body’s muscles and organs – including the brain.

I’m guessing you probably know someone who is following a ketogenic diet to lose and/or maintain their weight. Ketogenic diets restrict carbohydrates and focus on burning fats for energy.  MCT oils are a clean form of fat-burning energy that is coveted by ketogenic diet gurus. Long-term studies suggest that MCTs reduce body fat, increase muscle mass, and suppress appetite. While weight loss is the most common reason people go on a ketogenic diet, other less talked about reasons include cognitive improvement/memory support, cardiovasular health, and blood sugar management – which have some common ties.

MCT Oil and Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is often referred to as ‘Type 3 diabetes’. Many research papers I’ve read on the topic of AD and other forms of dementia cite impaired utilization of glucose in the brain as an early event in some cases of neurological aging of the brain.  More simply stated, the cells of the brain become insulin resistant, making it difficult for glucose, a preferred fuel, to enter the cell to be used as a source of energy. This is where ketones can come to the rescue.

Ketones do not rely on insulin to enter brain cells. They can cross the blood-brain barrier and enter cells, offering an alternative to glucose and the potential to provide a source of energy for the cells in the aging brain. In patients with AD who were fed either a high carbohydrate diet or a ketogenic diet for 6 weeks, marked improvement of verbal memory was found in the adults who were fed the ketogenic diet. In other words, ketone levels were positively correlated with memory performance. 

In recent years, studies have repeatedly shown that what is good for the heart is also good for the brain, and vice versa. This is the case with MCTs, with many studies stating that MCTs promote cardiovascular health by lowering ‘bad’ cholesterol and raising protective ‘good’ cholesterol.

What Type of MCT Oil is Best?

Some of you may have heard that coconut oil is a good source of MCTs; however, not all MCTs are created equal/metabolized equally. Coconut oil is predominately lauric acid (a ‘C12’ MCT). It will still offer benefits associated with MCTs; however, the benefits are significantly amplified when a concentrated form of a certain MCT (a ‘C8’ MCT) is consumed. I regularly use coconut oil in my meals and snacks, but now I will be adding MCT oil to my daily supplement routine as dementia/AD is in my family history – on both my mom & dad’s side of the family.

Biotic Research Canada’s Bio-MCTTM is a unique therapeutic 100% ‘C8’ MCT oil. Each bottle of Bio-MCTTM contains approximately 16 ounces/475ml of MCTs extracted from non-GMO sources of coconut/palm kernel oil. At a dose of just 15ml (1 TBSP) per day, a bottle will last one month, and offers a super-charged way to deliver the many health benefits of MCTs to your brain, heart, muscles, gut, and more. 

To order a bottle of Bio-MCTTM, send an email to info@perfectresonance.com with the subject line “MCT oil” and I’ll contact you with order, payment, pick-up, or delivery (anywhere in Canada, shipping fee will apply) options. A bottle costs $64 + HST (as of April 8 2021 – subject to change) and will last one month when taken at the recommended daily dose. If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, then this 16-ounce bottle of of prevention is worth every penny.

Take control of what you can.

References

Vandenberghe C, St-Pierre V, Pierotti T, Fortier M, Castellano CA, Cunnane SC.
Tricaprylin Alone Increases Plasma Ketone Response More Than Coconut Oil or
Other Medium-Chain Triglycerides: An Acute Crossover Study in Healthy Adults.
Curr Dev Nutr. 2017 Mar 22;1(4):e000257.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mct-oil-benefits#TOC_TITLE_HDR_6

https://bioticscanada.com/products/detoxification/antimicrobial/bio-mct-tm-new/

Fiddlehead Ginger Soup

We’re heading into fiddlehead season! Woohooo!

Many years ago, I had a client who would bring me freshly picked fiddleheads around this time of year. She’s long since moved from Ottawa, but she inspired my love for these unusual ‘vegetables’. 

In holistic folklore circles, fiddleheads are sometimes referred to as a ‘tonic’ for the female body, perhaps because they are a good source of manganese which aids in the formation of mother’s milk and prevents post-partum depression. Some sources point out the resemblance between the shape of fiddleheads and the fallopian tubes of the female reproductive system. What do you think? Interesting, huh?

One thing is for certain – fiddleheads are delicious and they are packed with vitamins, minerals (especially iron), and antioxidants. They are delicious steamed with butter, sauteed in garlic and olive oil, pickled, used for tempura and so much more. If I had to pick a veggie that they most resemble in terms of taste and texture, I’d say asparagus … sort of! Anyway, one of my favourite ways to enjoy fiddleheads is in a delicious soup. Here’s my recipe!

What You’ll Need

  • 2 tablespoon butter or a combo of butter and olive oil
  • A large sweet onion, chopped (1.5 cups)
  • 1 TBSP grated fresh ginger root
  • Sprinkle unrefined sea salt
  • 1.5 cups fiddleheads
  • 3 cups of homemade chicken broth
  • Sprinkle turmeric

Step 1: Prep

IMG_3414Put butter/butter and olive oil in a pot on medium-low heat and add the chopped sweet onion and grated ginger. You can add more or less ginger depending on your taste. Sprinkle with a dash of unrefined sea salt to make the onion ‘sweat’ and cook until the onion is soft/translucent.

Step 2: Cooking

525672_407098425978620_486371697_n[1]Add cleaned and steamed fiddleheads. Before steaming them, soak them in a big bowl of water with a pinch of salt for a few minutes to get rid of all the brown husks and then rinse the fiddleheads well before steaming them for 10 to 12 minutes. Then add them to the pot with the homemade chicken broth, bring it to quick boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.

WARNING: Fiddleheads can cause food poisoning if they are not stored, prepared, or cooked properly. Check out these food safety tips for fiddleheads from the Government of Canada.

Step 3: Serve

Pour everything into a blender and puree on high speed for a minute or so until creamy and smooth. Garnish with a sprinkle of turmeric or anything else you would like! I topped mine with a few tablespoons of organic kefir and some fresh parsley. The colour didn’t turn out so well in this photo, but the soup was a beautiful green colour. Add salt to taste.  Enjoy!

The Power of Green

In this video, I’m wishing you all a Happy St. Patrick’s day and sharing some info about the health-boosting powers of green veggies, herbs, teas, and a few green supplements … and if you just have to have that green beer, I share a way you can turn it green naturally!


How to Cook Beets Without Making a Mess

Peeling cooked beets can get really messy! In this video, I’ll show you an easy mess-free way to peel cooked beets that also helps to minimize waste – including wasting the nutrients that are concentrated right under the root veggie’s skin!

Veggie Rice Paper Wraps

These veggie rice paper wraps are a hit among veggie lovers and carnivores. They are fun to make, and easy enough to get many hands (even little ones!) involved. They make a great starter to a meal, or they can be a meal on their own, and are even great to have on hand as a snack! They store well for several days and you can change up what you put in them – and what you dip them in – to suit your taste. Get creative!

I’ll be dividing this recipe into two parts: one part for the wrap, and one part for the dip we decided to make to go with the wraps.

What You’ll Need For The Wraps

  • A package of rice vermicelli noodles. These are completely optional – and if you do use them, you’ll only need one ‘fold’ of noodles as you don’t really want to put a lot of them in each wrap. Prepare them as per package (which is usually just soaking them in hot water for 15 minutes or so) and then drain and rinse under cold water and set aside.
  • A package of round rice paper ‘wraps’. I used the medicum-sized ones.
  • An assortment of colourful julienned veggies to suit your taste. I used a couple of carrots, a cucumber, a yellow bell pepper, and an avocado. Use what you like. Bean sprouts or other sprouts would be a great addition. We kept ours vegan, but you could add some cooked chicken or other protein if desired.
  • Fresh herbs to suit your taste. I used basil, and would have also used mint and/or cilantro had I had some. Whatever you use, use the leaves only.
  • Some chopped up nuts for some textire. I used peanuts.
  • A vessel that is deep enough to hold an inch or so of warm water and wide enough to allow you to soak the rice wraps in fully flat. I used a large skillet.

Soaking/Prepping the Rice Paper

You can find rice paper at just about any grocery store. They come in various sizes, and you can choose whichever size you want depending on how large you want your wraps to be. I used the medium-sized ones as I like to tuck in the ends of my wraps when I make them. These are the ones I used:

Rice paper is thin and hard, so you have to soak it in warm water to allow it to become soft and pliable. This usually only takes about 10 to 15 seconds.  It is important that you only soak the papers ONE AT A TIME, as you are ready to use them as they become very stick once they’re soaked. Replace/replenished the warm water you soak the rice paper in from time to time. Here’s what my soaking station looked like:

Use your fingers to make sure that every part of the rice wrap gets submerged/soaked in water. You can see in the photo above that some of the edges curled up. I just gently pushed them under the water and also gently moved the rice paper around so all parts of it got a good soak. Since the rice paper gets sticky once it starts to soften, do your best to prevent it from folding in/over on itself (don’t panic if it does – you can usually carefully peel it apart!). Once the rice paper starts to soften, remove it from the water and place it on a smooth, flat surface. I used a cutting board, like this:

Select Your Fillings

Now comes the fun part – selecting your fillings! You can make your wraps all the same, or change them up for some variety and/or to cater to everyone’s taste! The only ‘rule’ to follow is to place all of your fillings closest to the edge of the rice paper that is facing you, in the first third of the circle so to speak. You can put as much or as little filling as you like, depending on how thick or thin you want the wraps to be. Not sure? Experiment! This is what ours looked like just before we rolled them up:

Get Rolling!

The rice wrap will be a bit sticky, which is great for rolling. Before you start rolling, make sure that all of your fillings are compactly placed. Then starting with the edge of the rice paper that is closest to you, pull it over your fillings and start to roll tightly, folding in the edges about halfway through your roll. Here’s a video to demonstrate!

Here’s what it looked like when we were all done rolling all our wraps -uncovered and then covered with damp paper towel … and since we didn’t eat them immediately, I also covered everything with plastic wrap (not shown below!) to make sure the rice paper didn’t dry out at all and then kept the wraps in the fridge until we were ready to eat them.

We ate most of these rolls within a few hours and stored the left overs in a sealed container, putting damp paper towels between the layers of wraps. They can be stored in the fridge for 2 or 3 days, but are best eaten freshly made.

These wraps are screaming for some dip, and it can be as simple as some store-bought tamari sauce as is or with a bit of sesame oil and grated fresh ginger root added, or plum sauce, or whatever sauce you think you’d enjoy with them. We chose to make a ginger-garlic-soy-peanut butter dip … 

What You’ll Need for the Peanut Dip

  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 to 3 TBSP soy or tamari sauce (start with 2 – you can add more at the end if you think it needs it)
  • 1 TBSP sesame seed oil
  • 1 TBSP rice vinegar (if you don’t have any, you can use apple cider vinegar … that’s what I did this time around!)
  • 2 TBSP maple syrup
  • 1 tsp to 1 TBSP finely grated fresh ginger root (the amount depends on how much you love ginger!)
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • water (start with 2 TBSP and add more at the end if you want to thin out the dip)
  • NOTE – you can play around with this ‘recipe’ to suit your taste. I was tasting and adding as I went along!

Put all the ingredients into a small sauce pan over medium-low heat and stir until well combined. Warm for a minute or two. That’s it, that’s all … in fact, you really don’t have to ‘cook’ this sauce at all, but we like it a bit warm and I find warming it for a bit helps to bring all the flavours together.

It will still be equally delicious if you simply whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl or mix them up for a few seconds in a small food processor or ‘magic bullet’ type blender. 

Serve & Enjoy!

I like to cut the wraps in half on a diagonal cut to show off the colourful fillings, but you can definitely serve them whole! Arrange on a platter with some fresh herbs and a bowl full of dipping sauce.

Enjoy!

Flourless Coconut Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These delicious cookies are so easy to make – and they are wheat-free, dairy-free, and egg-free! This recipe makes about 18 cookies, so you may want to double it as they go fast! They also freeze well. Preheat your oven to 350F and get started!

You Will Need:

  • 1/2 tsp of salt (I used Himalayan Crystal salt – the pink stuff!)
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 TBSP of maple syrup
  • 1 TBSP of chia seeds
  • 3 TBSP of water
  • 1/2 cup of oats
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of coconut sugar or brown sugar (I don’t like really sweet cookies, so I use 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (dark chocolate SHOULD be dairy-free, but you never know, so make sure they are dairy-free if you need to avoid dairy)
  • 1/2 cup of any your favourite nut or seed butters, or a combination of them. I’ve used almond butter, peanut butter, and this nut & seed butter:
I usually buy this at Costco

Step 1: Soak The Chia Seeds

Mix the chia seeds, water, maple syrup, and vanilla extract together in a small glass and set aside for at least 5 minutes.

Step 2: Mix The Dry Ingredients Together

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients (oats, coconut, chocolate chips, cinnamon, salt and baking powder) and stir until all the ingredients are mixed together well/evenly mixed.

Step 3: Combine Wet & Dry

Add the chia seed mixture and the nut butter to the dry ingredient mix and stir until all is very well blended.

Step 4: Get Baking!

Scoop the cookie dough out onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet in ‘golf-ball’ sized scoops. I use my handy-dandy cookie-scooper-thingy. It scoops out 1.5 TBSP at a time. Once you’ve scooped out all the dough, you’ll have to roll the scoops into tidier balls, like I’m doing in the photo below (I wet my hands a bit or rub some coconut oil into my palms to prevent the dough from sticking to my hands):

Once you’ve rolled all the cookies, flatten each one out a bit using the bottom of a glass, your fingers, or whatever works for you! Note that this dough is pretty firm, which means the cookies won’t spread out a lot, so you can place them about an inch apart on the baking sheet.

Bake for 12 minutes or so. I like my cookies to be chewy on the inside, so I sometimes take them out around the 11 minute mark. Everyone’s oven can be a little different, so one way to check the ‘done-ness’ is to lift a cookie with a spatula. If the bottom looks golden, it should be done. Once done, place the cookies on a rack to cool for a few minutes (patience is a virtue). They should look something like this when they’re done:

Step 5: Enjoy!

Looks like someone couldn’t wait to dig in! 🙂

Should You Take a Multi?

One of the most common questions I get from clients, students, and workshop attendees is:

“I’m not sure if I should be taking any supplements. I eat really well, so wouldn’t I be getting all the nutrients I need from my food?”

My response to the above question is: “Not likely.”

Many years ago, I read an article written by Dr. Mark Hyman, who is currently the Board President of Clinical Affairs for the Institute of Functional Medicine. In it, he stated the following:

If people eat wild, fresh, organic, local, non-genetically modified food grown in virgin mineral and nutrient-rich soils, that has not been transported across vast distances and stored for months before being eaten, and work and live outside, breathe only fresh unpolluted air, drink only pure, clean water, sleep nine hours a night, move their bodies every day, and are free from chronic stressors and exposure to environmental toxins, then, perhaps, they might not need supplements.

As a Registered Nutritional Therapist and Natural Health Practitioner, I do a lot of good things for my health, and I still don’t meet those conditions … in fact, I don’t know anyone who does! Most of you know that I believe just about everyone could benefit from taking high-quality probiotic, omega-3, and vitamin D supplements that deliver therapeutic results; therefore, these are often my top three recommendations. But what about taking a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement (which I’ll refer to as multis moving forward)? Is it necessary?

What are Vitamins and Minerals?

Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that we need in varying amounts through our life. Essential means our bodies cannot manufacture them so we must get them from food and/or supplements. Vitamins and minerals are involved in every single one of the thousands of physiological reactions/processes that occur in our bodies to keep us alive and well, including building muscles and bones, proper nerve conduction, muscle contraction (including that of our beating heart), blood clotting, digesting food, making energy, and destroying pathogens (e.g. viruses, bacteria) and toxins. Each vitamin and mineral has a unique function in our body, and deficiencies in any of them – even small ones – can affect our health and our body’s ability to function optimally.

What’s a Supplement?

The definition of the word supplement is:

Something that completes or enhances something else when added to it’.

Applying this definition to nutrition, it should be clear that nutritional supplements are not a substitute for healthy eating, rather, they enhance healthy eating and are meant to provide nutrients that we may not be getting from even the healthiest of foods for many reasons, including:

  • Soil depletion: Conventional farming leads to nutrient depletion from the soil and therefore crops that are grown in the soil.
  • Food processing and preparation: Certain food processing methods (e.g. pasteurization, high-pressure extrusion, irradiation) and even certain cooking methods often negatively affect the nutrient content of foods.

  • Restricted or special diets: The avoidance of certain food groups can lead to a deficiency of the nutrients that those food groups provide; for example, vegetarians and vegans are at risk for vitamin D, vitamin B12 and iron deficiencies.
  • Medications: Many medications affect digestion and the absorption of certain nutrients.
  • Digestive disorders and food intolerances: These conditions, which unfortunately are so common today, affect the proper digestion of food as well as the absorption of nutrients.

What’s the Deal with Nutrient Deficiencies?

Nutrient deficiencies are more common than we think – especially when you consider that many folks don’t have much variety in their daily food choices. Variety is so important when it comes to getting nutrients from our food. A lack of variety often means a lack of nutrients. Unfortunately, there are mounting studies connecting the dots between nutrient deficiencies and the development of many of today’s top health concerns, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. The growing scientific field of nutrigenomics studies the relationship between nutrition and gene expression, especially regarding the prevention or treatment of disease. Consider multis as a form of health insurance, helping to fill nutritional gaps that may lead to health issues.

There also certain times in our life when we need extra nutrients, including during pregnancy as a brand new mini-human is being created, breastfeeding, as breast-fed baby and a fast-growing toddler, teenage years (commonly zinc for males and iron for females), during stressful times (including recovering from an illness), and during our elderly years when appetite and motivation to cook balanced meals can wane. Indeed, there are a mind-boggling variety of different multis that are customized to meet all of life’s phases and stages.

Which Multi is Right for You?

With so many multis on the market, the issue becomes how to choose one that is right for you, or perhaps even right for multiple members of your family. Many individuals choose a multi-vitamin because it is inexpensive, or because the brand offers a convenient ‘one-a-day’ dosage.

While everyone loves a bargain, there are some problems with shopping for supplements, including multis, using only price as a guideline. As with many things in life, you get what you pay for. In my opinion, the most important factors to consider when selecting a multi (or any supplement for that matter) are quality and bioavailability. These two factors will have a huge impact on how well the supplement is absorbed and utilized by the body, or in other words, how well it will be able to positively impact our health. 

Consider this analogy – although our cars can run on petroleum extracted from sand, they can’t run on sand; in fact, think about what would happen to your car if you put sand in its gas tank! Similarly, the nutrients in some multis are sourced from substances and/or contain ingredients that are as useless – and sometimes as harmful – to your body as sand is to your car.

Many companies don’t produce their own vitamins, and of those, many may not test what they buy. If supplements aren’t tested, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be getting what’s listed on the label. I’ve read several articles that state that many popular brands of supplements commonly purchased in drug stores or grocery stores only have a 7% to 10% absorption rate. That means that if the label says there’s 100 mg of vitamin C, you’re only absorbing 7 to 10 mg of it, or in other words, you’re flushing most of your vitamin C (and the money you paid for it) down the toilet!

What to Consider When Choosing a Multi

Here are just some questions you should consider when choosing a multi:

  • Are the products tested for quality and contaminants?
  • Where did the ingredients come from?
  • How is the tablet or capsule made?
  • How is the product processed and stored?

The bioavailability of a multi can be affected by something as simple as how it is made. Some multis have a list of ‘non-medicinal’ ingredients that are added as fillers, flavours, and preservatives. You may be shocked at the amount of sugar in chewable vitamins – especially ones for children. Many of these ingredients aren’t good for us and others can interfere with the absorption of the nutrients the multi contains.

In conclusion, including a high quality, professional grade multi in your supplement routine is a great way to assist you in meeting the overall nutrient requirements of your body. If you need any guidance regarding the selection of a high quality, professional grade multi, consult a nutritionist like yours truly who has already looked into this topic!

Note that I have access to a variety of multis and offer curb-side pickup (Ottawa west location) and in some cases can arrange for drop-shipments to your home (if you live in Canada), directly from the manufacturer (shipping and handling rates apply). 

Take control of what you can!