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  • The Best Fats to Use for Healthy, Glowing Skin

    by Tracy Neely

    faceNot all oils and fats are created equal.
    Heavily processed, hydrogenated, “trans” fats and oils that are used in prepared, packaged foods can be extremely damaging to the body.

    However, fats and oils from whole foods and other high-quality sources can steady our metabolism, keep hormone levels even, nourish our skin, hair and nails and provide lubrication to keep the body functioning fluidly. Our bodies also need fat for insulation and to protect and hold our organs in place.

    One of the best ways to achieve healthy glowing skin is by using virgin coconut oil.  Virgin coconut oil is coconut oil that has not been refined or produced with high temperatures and chemical solvents.

    CoconutsUn-refined or virgin coconut oil applied topically is probably the best treat you can give to your body’s largest organ.  The fatty acids present in virgin coconut oil like medium chain fatty acids (mcfa), lauric, capric, and caprylic are normal components of the skin and serve as a replacement for lost lipids in the skin barrier. Medium chain fatty acids are easily digested, absorbed, and put to use nourishing the body.

    Unlike other fats, they put little strain on the digestive system and provide a quick source of energy necessary to promote healing. A healthy percentage of high-quality fat in a meal satisfies and leaves feelings of energy, fulfillment and warmth.

    When there are excess fats and oils in the diet, especially heavily processed fats, symptoms can include weight gain, skin breakouts, high blood pressure, liver strain and an overall feeling of mental, physical and emotional heaviness. Signs of insufficient high-quality fats are brittle hair and nails, dry skin, hunger after meals and feeling cold.

    Oils like flaxseed, sesame,walnut and pumpkin seed are best used unheated in sauces or dressings on top of salads and veggies. Other healthy fats are found in whole nuts and seeds and in their butters like almond butter or tahini.

    Whole foods such as avocados, olives and coconuts are great sources of healthy fat. Experiment with these healthy fat sources and see which work best for you and leave you satisfied.

    *** Tracy Neely is the founder and owner of  Nourish & Flourish Healthy Living, a holistic nutrition and wellness consulting business located in Orlando Florida. Tracy’s love for raw foods led her to implement raw food cooking demonstrations within her consulting business.Tracy is a mother of a wonderful little boy and a wife to an amazing man and enjoys doing yoga, juicing and creating green smoothie recipes, reading books and going for walks with her family.

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    It's a Conscious Reggae Party

    The latest issue of Pear Magazine was recently published (online), and I’m so excited about the awesome graphic that Jinjee arranged of the Honorable Robert Nesta Marley and me after she read the article below that I wrote for Pear about my reggae roots. Enjoy!

    I grew up listening to the conscious lyrics and reggae beats of Robert Nesta Marley — thanks to my conscious, reggae-loving dad. Today, I use Bob Marley’s music (and that of his children’s) as one of my tools for renewing my mind and freeing my soul. And, I’m having one of those moments right now. I’ve had the house to myself this evening and have been loving this one-person conscious reggae party: just me and the sounds of Marley (via YouTube videos).

    As Annette Larkins says in her book Journey To Health: “…Turning on a favorite tune of the moment, grabbing a groove and synchronizing with the music is such a natural activity for me. Whenever I hear music that strikes a chord within that part of my musical self, I must move to it; I cannot sit still. If it’s my kind of music, and its force touches me, I can lose myself in its depths…”

    And, that’s precisely what I do — lose myself in the depths of Marley’s music. Period.

    I often turn up Marley’s voice, sing and dance about, and get totally full, completely uplifted by this philosophical Rastaman. Right now, here in my house, it’s as if I’m at a “session” — a term we use in Bermuda for an all-reggae party!

    A mega-fond childhood memory for me is that of the many Bob Marley albums my daddy collected and played regularly in our Bermuda home. Daily, as Daddy prepared tasty island dinners for our family (my dad loved to cook), the voice of Marley and other reggae artists, such as Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Dennis Brown, Third World, Jacob Miller and many more could be heard throughout the house. Indeed, this reggae seed my daddy planted in me has never died. And my mom teaching me about the I-Threes is a cool memory, too!

    In fact, let me take this all a step further…some of these reggae artists mentioned above visited our home when they came to Bermuda to perform. My dad was friends with a Jamaican reggae producer, Tommy Cowan, and Mr. Cowan would make contact with my dad when he was on the island. Often, my hospitable father would invite Cowan and whatever band members he was with at the time for dinner. When Peter Tosh and his crew visited our home, I recall my cousins and I competing for who would serve Tosh his meal.

    Another memory that stays with me is my daddy’s interesting account of when he visited Jamaica and drove as a passenger in Jacob Miller’s car, experiencing Miller’s aggressive driving on some winding Jamaican streets. When Miller visited our home, I was quite young (10 or younger, I think), and one question I remember asking him was, “What other reggae artists do you like outside of yourself?” I overheard him telling my parents that I impressed him with my questions. I also have a vague memory of him telephoning our home, and I was excited that I answered the phone at the time and got to hear his voice.

    Fast forward to my adulthood…

    In a recent yoga class, the first song that was played as we began our practice was one of Marley’s. I had e-mailed the instructor, Mary, earlier in the day with a request for some Bob Marley music in that class. Mary obliged, and Marley instantly restored me as I had felt a little out of sorts at the beginning of class because of arriving there just at the moment it was about to start. However, Marley got me right on track and the rest of the hour was powerful. “This is for Penny,” said Mary as Marley’s voice kicked off the line-up of songs for our yoga time.

    In addition to feeling such a connection to Marley’s music for reasons mentioned, I can’t help but wonder if there’s a Natural Mystic blowing through the air from him to me because of our Ethiopian Orthodox connection. We are both baptized members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and Abuna Yeshaq, the Ethiopian Archbishop who baptized Marley and performed his funeral ceremony, also flew to Bermuda in 1996 to perform my daddy’s burial. That same day that same archbishop baptized my son who was five months old at the time. Three years before that, Abuna Yeshaq had flown to Bermuda to marry my husband and me.

    Abuna Yeshaq was a close friend of Bob and Rita Marley and also a close friend of Ainsworth and Caroline Burgess (my parents), so in some spiritual way, Bob and Rita feel like an aunt and uncle to me. Who wouldn’t love their uncle’s music — especially when the beats and lyrics are as rich as those of the one-and- only Robert Nesta Marley? His music strikes a chord in my soul; his sounds and lessons certainly make my life richer. Thank you, “Uncle” Bob! :-)

    In fact, early into my one-person party today, I decided that on my birthday in December, I want to invite some of my friends to an all-Marley-music yoga class taught by Mary. Everyone is sure to have an uplifted day!

    So, off I go to contact Mary about setting this up. Maybe I’ll have our yoga party videotaped and The Raw Divas will show it on their new, darling pink TV.

    In the meantime, join my party in this moment by listening to the sounds and lessons from a timeless voice. Indeed this legend lives on! Some of the songs I’m here jammin’ to are below (and so many of these lyrics are stuck in my mind from the days of my youth):

    ~ Roots Rock Reggae

    ~ Forever Loving Jah

    ~ So Much Trouble In The World

    ~ So Jah Say

    ~ War / No More Trouble

    ~ Africa Unite

    ~ Crazy Baldheads

    ~ Rastaman Vibration

    ~ Is This Love

    ~ Give Thanks And Praises

    ~ One Love! (Peace Concert)

    And, the list goes on…

    Here’s a brief interview with Ziggy Marley about his dad, and a heartwarming letter, via song, from Ky-Mani Marley to his infamous dad. This “letter” brought tears to my eyes the first few times I watched it.

    I just love this Marley family! Well, if Bob is my “uncle,” I guess that makes all of his children my “cousins,” right? I love ’em all; there is a booming ray of love light that just seems to shine from each of them right into my soul. And how can you not love love?

    It’s all about love! So love with all you’ve got!

    One Love!

    *Photos in collage, flickr.com.
    (1) sugaree_gd (Kerrie)
    (2) edsonmoreira_sk8
    (3) Levi Yeomans

    *Photo of Penny Powell by Caleb Powell

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    The Strength of the Feminine Spirit

    I’ve been “happily productive” (as Laurette Willis likes to say) this week getting Pear Magazine all ready for publishing today! My Raw Mom entry from last week — Mighty Warrior Women’s Workout — is in this issue as well as other articles that Jinjee Talifero says “revisit the strength of the feminine spirit.”

    About the September 2008 issue of Pear, Jinjee has penned a detailed, thought-provoking account of the contents that I want to share here, because I truly think there’s something or the other in there for every woman to ponder in some shape, size or from. On Pear Magazine’s front page that highlights what’s in the current and past issues, Jinjee writes:

    In the September issue of Pear Magazine Online, now ready for you to “pick up”! – we’ve got everything from Annalise Jones’ incredible all-natural home-birth story in the United States to Shemittah and what raw life looks like in Israel!

    This issue brings you the voices of raw chefs and coaches from The Raw Vegan Network – Chana Mark, who sends “Fruits of the Land” from Israel and Nancy Telfer, sending “Rawsome Nutrition” from Ontario, Canada. When you read about the difficulty of obtaining many raw organic foods in Israel, you may be inspired by the opportunities afforded us in the US, the UK and much of Europe, and Australia. When others go to great lengths to eat right, it tends to make us take greater advantage of our blessings.Chana does report that “as raw foods become more popular, these items become more in demand and eventually will appear in greater numbers and, hopefully, prices will go down. As a Raw/Living Foods educator here in Israel, I have been receiving more and more e-mails, calls and contacts as people begin their journeys.”Canadian raw foods educator Nancy Telfer writes: “The moment you start to simultaneously increase the amount of living food and decrease the amount of cooked food, the living body immediately seizes upon that opportunity and starts to correct any imbalances that exist. Your body will function with no pain or disease if it has all the necessary nutrients. If you knew you could live out your life free of pain, ill health and disease and could experience consistent high energy and vitality, is there anything you would choose over that?”Brenda Cobb introduces us to “Finding the Genie in Your Genes” – an in depth process to identify your desires and eliminate your obstacles to them, through discovering your archetypal personality and ancestral patterns, complete with links to a complimentary guide and workbook!

    Not crazy about yoga and its origins in Eastern religion? I am, but I also totally understand those who are not. So, although I’d like to edit out the stuff that is anti-yoga in our feature article, for my more sensitive readers, I guess I’m more into free speech and freedom of opinion, so I’m going to leave our interviewee Laurette Willis’s words intact.

    One of the reasons I hired Penny Powell to be the Editor in Chief of Pear Magazine Online is because she, like me, seems to be a Christian who also enjoys spirituality, philosophy, and gems gleaned from the religions of the world. I wanted Pear to act as a bridge between religions, to honor and respect all religions, and to give voice to opinions and beliefs that were different than our own.

    I honor the journey of Laurette Willis, developer of the PraiseMoves fitness DVDs who Penny interviews, is inspired by, and writes about in this issue. Not all of her views perfectly reflect mine, but then, what two people have the same views of everything? We (people) don’t talk about religion, money, sex, or politics much of the time, in our valiant efforts to maintain peace – because we are so different and so passionate about these subjects. But then we don’t learn to understand each other either, sadly. So, I think it is good we open up about these things, and learn to hear things we don’t agree with, even if they attack things we believe in. If we can stay open and listening, not judging, not defending, not fearing, just loving, then we will learn much.

    Strangely, even though I am a Christian, I have an issue with some Christians because they seem to me to deny the validity of other religions. The paradox is that their branch of this religion tells them it is good to deny the validity of other religions. So if that is their religion, then by my own philosophy, I should accept and honor that. It is complicated, but that is why I am actually excited about publishing this article!

    So, we interview the creator of PraiseMoves – who was given the inspiration from God to “Transform your workout into worship!” This is not a Christian Yoga but a Christian Alternative to Yoga. I loved reading about Laurette’s journey through addiction and despair to her awakening to her path – it certainly seems as though it was guided, and the perfectly right thing for her. And it is benefiting many people!I love her passion for sharing God’s greatness! Here’s just one of the exhortations Laurette offers in this article: “Doesn’t it make sense that the One who created you knows you completely? He knows how to fix what’s messed up, how to bring you to the place of greatest fulfillment in your life and make your life a shining example of what God can do with a person who dares to trust Him.”Penny conducted the very lively interview with Laurette, whose program was purchased by TBN, and also contributes her own article on PraiseMoves, ‘Mighty Warrior Women’s Workout’, in which she writes…. “I became interested in interviewing Laurette after trying out one of her PraiseMoves DVDs, ‘PraiseMoves Alphabetics.’ After positioning my body in postures that mirror the letters of the Hebrew alphabet — and meditating on Scripture verses in the process — I had quite a moving experience. I ‘traveled’ through Proverbs 31 in a way I had never done so before, and I just had to write about it.”More from Penny’s article.. “I not only feel my physical body strengthening as I hold the postures, but my mind and Spirit, too. ‘She girds herself with strength and strengthens her arms.’ And, ‘She extends her hand to the poor. Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy,’ are some of the Proverbs 31 verses that are heard throughout the workout.”Regular Pear Magazine contributor Annalise Jones writes about how she prepared her body, mind, and spirit, and how God guided her labor for a painless childbirth with her second baby, after almost dying in delivering her first! Congratulations Annalise! You are amazingly brave!Jinjee gives us an account of the first ever meeting of The Raw Vegan Village’s core group in Ojai earlier this month! – An inspiring update for all who want to keep up with developments of this exciting green utopia in the making!

    I think this is a very empowering, deeply courageous, issue – with the recurring theme being the strength of the feminine spirit!

    I know you will enjoy it, be inspired by it, and be blessed by it! ~ Jinjee Talifero

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    Monique Gives The Skinny on Fat

    How long can you go with eating fruits and green smoothies with little fat for?

    Here’s the skinny on fat.

    Question: How long can you go with eating fruits and green smoothies with little fat in the diet? Lets take a look at some facts first.

    There is a lot of different information out there on fats. Here is a few examples:

    How much good fat should we use daily?

    According to Udo Erasmus about 15% of calories from good fats is a minimum, 10% might be too low. But the quality of the fats you eat is much more important than the quantity.

    According to the Dietary Reference Intakes published by the USDA 20% – 35% of calories should come from fat.

    According to some Raw Foodists about 9-13% of your total body weight should be fat if you are a guy and for a girl about 12-19%. The average Olympic ‘Cardiovascular’ Athlete’s body fat ranges from 8-12%.

    So who’s right? Think about it! In the meantime let’s look at why we need fat in the diet.

    Why Do We Need Fat to Survive?

    Although fats have received a bad reputation for causing weight gain, some fat (like linoleic and linolenic acids) is essential for survival. We need these fats for the following:

    Normal growth and development
    Energy (fat is the most concentrated source of energy)
    Absorbing certain vitamins ( like vitamins A, D, E, K, and carotenoids)
    Providing cushioning for the organs
    Maintaining cell membranes
    Helps in the prevention of cholesterol build-up and hardening of the arteries.
    Provides healthy hair and skin
    Contributes to normal glandular activity
    Essential fats cannot be manufactured in the body

    Essential Fatty Acids (Vitamin F) can be found in nuts and seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and their oils, walnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, and coconut), fruit (avocados, olives), spinach, seaweeds, parsley, and broccoli.

    By replacing saturated and trans fats in the (SAD) diet with unsaturated fat, (found in foods like olives, avocados, nuts, and seeds) has been shown decrease the risk of developing heart disease.

    The Importance of Fat Cells

    Once upon a time, experts believed fat cells were no more than inert tissues that merely stored energy, enlarged extremities and generally got in the way of people trying to move around. Popular opinions have changed, however, thanks to the intense interest in fat in order to find solutions to the obesity crisis.

    Experts are realizing fat cells are dynamic and complex structures that affect many crucial bodily functions. These new insights are helping scientists better understand:

    • How fat forms on bodies
    • Why it hangs on so long
    • How it causes disease

    Fat cells work to dispatch many potent signals to tissues throughout the body, including reproductive organs, the brain, liver and immune system.

    Fat does a great many things, far beyond regulating a body’s energy system and creating new fat cells:

    Turns the body’s immune system up or down
    Influences blood clots and when blood vessels constrict
    Regulates when a women can reproduce

    Some scientists theorize there are dozens more functions waiting to be discovered, including a few that may affect mood and behavior beyond eating and hunger.

    Opinions began to change a decade ago when scientists identified leptin, the hormone produced by fat cells, that tells the brain a number of things, including how much fat a body has. The discovery of leptin also created a way of looking at fat as an endocrine organ not unlike the thyroid and adrenal glands.

    Part of that complex communication systems between fat and other organs is adiponectin, a hormone that lowers the production of blood glucose in the liver and increases muscle burning to make energy. Scientists say this hormone also affects the sensitivity of cells to insulin, which may explain how obesity increases one’s risk of diabetes.

    After the importance of adiponectin was recognized, scientists found resistin, (another fat cell hormone) that may play an important role in storing energy and insulin sensitivity.

    Researchers have also recently discovered fat tissue is made up of much more than fat cells. In fact, fat tissue, combined with macrophages–key immune system cells–produce powerful substances that assist in regulating the body’s immune system. Some theorize that fats became closely connected to immune function over time because the body needs energy when threatened.

    But a surplus of these substances, researchers say, triggers unnecessary inflammation which could explain why obesity increases the chances of many ailments like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

    There you have it. Fat is important. We need it daily to survive, these things are not in conflict, however how much we need is. But if you look at what the experts say, the amounts are very close. To play it safe, you can try to stay within the 15% range, remember we are all different (man, woman, children, big, small, tall, short) and we all have different needs. I do not believe that we all fit into the same mold, so to speak. Some of us will need more fat and some of us will do better on less. So bottom line I think that it’s safe to say that you should base how much fat you have in your diet on the facts, as well as how your body feels, trust iyour body and adjust your fat intake as your n

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