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Health Coach Beth

Is Coconut Oil Harmful to Your Health?

There has been a flurry of activity on the interwebs lately about a recent article released by the American Heart Association (AHA) that coconut oil, the previously touted miracle health food, contributes to heart disease by raising levels of LDL cholesterol the same as other saturated fat sources.  

As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, I usually tend not to get too worked up about such statements and sweeping claims from one article; having studied over 100 dietary theories with very differing dietary approaches from a raw food vegan diet to a Paleo, Primal or Western A. Price, I've become very accustomed to the fact that there are a multitude of differing opinions when it comes to diet and nutrition. Yes, this can be confusing and maddening at times and if you get too wrapped up in the dogma of any one diet, you're going to drive yourself crazy and down an endless rabbit hole of dietary perfectionism (which by the way, doesn’t even exist and shouldn’t be something we’re spending all our time chasing). 

I get it - we all want to know “the” answer - the truth, the one diet that's going to solve all our problems and the world…and while we're at it, why not throw in the meaning of life? As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, what I do differently is I say there isn't one diet that works for everyone and I help people find the truth within themselves. I believe health is a journey, not a destination, and as we continue to learn more and educate ourselves, we are equipped with the knowledge and power to discern what works best for us at anyone point in time.

Being healthy doesn't have to be hard, even though we tend to make it so.

While I personally have found I feel best following a Paleo template (actually more Pegan - a combination of Paleo and vegan - than anything), I know other people who thrive on a diet with properly prepared legumes and gluten free grains. If you feel good and don’t have any health concerns or health goals you’re not reaching, then that’s wonderful – keep doing what you’re doing!  It's only when something ISN’T working and you're so set on your diet that you won't consider alternative options, or if you're eating a highly processed, nutrient-poor diet and have health complaints that I will be much less supportive of your approach.

With so many diets out there, and more coming out every day that it's hard to keep track, how do you know which is best for you? Well, you could try them all and be in an endless dieting cycle, or you can work with a Health Coach like me and we’ll create your “Personal Nutrition Blueprint” together. This is my specialty. During this process, not only do we need to focus on diet, but lifestyle and emotional components too, which are important factors usually not considered in any of these studies that are only intended to measure one variable and miss the big picture of complete health. (Hence the term “Integrative” Health Coach.)

I know…you read this blog post for me to tell you my take on whether coconut oil is going to kill you, and I'm getting to that – but I needed to preface my perspective in this whole issue and why I think these types of arguments about nutrients tend to occur.

With that being said, I personally do NOT look to the AHA (or any government entity) for health advice.

This goes back to what I was saying about how making sweeping and generalized statements and guidelines for the general population could be harming more people than helping them, when personalized nutrition is the way of the future. If I would have taken the ADA’s advice on limiting sodium at one point in my life, I would have literally died, because your body NEEDS the proper balance of sodium to function and stay alive. (It's a lot more challenging to find articles on this lesser known fact by the way.)  Finally, if you take notice, the AHA also boasts their seal on a box of sugary Cocoa Puffs, which makes me overlook them as a reputable source.

Since I’m not a doctor, I'm not here to give you medical advice, but I can say that you can't put all your eggs in one basket and that you should always question what you hear and read, especially if it's in the internet (aka “Dr. Google”). While there is an appropriate time and place for conventional medicine, sometimes you even need to question what your doctor tells you if they are quick to prescribe a pill as your only solution which is only masking the problem and not solving the underlying root issue, as in the case with statin medication. (Remember not all doctors are equal in their knowledge of nutrition and even dietitians are limited with what the government allows them to do.)

I DO believe it's my role as a Health Coach to educate and empower my clients. 

There are already many intelligent alternative wellness practitioners providing information about this and a multitude of other topics, which is why I didn't feel compelled to repeat what they've already explained thoroughly and why I’ve linked to them below for you to read and decide on your own.  I hope you will take some time to review them with an open mind so you have another viewpoint.

These practitioners provide several worthwhile points about cholesterol – namely, which cholesterol levels are being considered in this analysis – we already knew that coconut oil could raise LDL cholesterol but it also raises LDL levels too (remember HDL cholesterol is beneficial to our body and we actually needs a certain amount of cholesterol to function optimally); that our bodies actually produce the majority of cholesterol in our blood so there is minimal proven correlation between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol; and there are confounding factors that can impact cholesterol levels (i.e. thyroid conditions, stress and inflammation from other inflammatory foods) that were not necessarily addressed by this study.

Read the articles here:

Why Coconut Oil Won’t Kill You, But Listening to the American Heart Association Might! by Diana Rogers, RD, NTP

Is Coconut Oil Bad for Your Cholesterol? By Dr. Mark Hyman

The Diet Heart Myth:  Cholesterol and Saturated Fat are Not the Enemy by Chris Kresser, Functional Medicine Practitioner

The Definitive Guide to Cholesterol by Mark Sisson

Why Eating More Smart Fat is Good for Your Heart by Dr. Terry Wahls

Why Coconut Oil is Better than Vegetable Oil by Dave Asprey

Is Coconut Oil Killing Us? by Chris Masterjohn, PhD

Additionally, as a professional academic and educator, I always question any research study with a discerning eye.

Who is conducting the study and why? Is the study well designed? What is the sample size being tested? What does an otherwise “healthy diet” mean?  How much coconut oil were they consuming? What type of coconut oil were they consuming - refined or unrefined? (This question is important because one may be more oxidative than the other, which contributes to inflammation.) How was the study conducted to account for confounding variables (i.e. other diet, hereditary and lifestyle factors)?  Most of all, who is funding the study or report? I was first exposed to the shocking influence of the food marketers, manufacturers and lobbyists in Marion Nestles’ book “Food Politics”; ever since reading that and other similar exposes, I've tuned out any government recommendations or health claims.

Another great example of how these government messages can be corrupt is the Nork York Times Article, “How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat,” that brought to light that the sugar industry shifted the blame to fat as the cause of heart disease or years due to an exchange of money to the researchers.  Crazy, right?

On this topic, one thing that I do feel contributes to heart disease and diabetes and a myriad of other health issues is a highly inflammatory diet.

This can consist of too much added sugar and refined carbohydrates that convert to sugar in the body. The AHA press release even states that “replacement of saturated fat with mostly refined carbohydrate and sugars is not associated with lower rates of CVD.” This is one reason why I’m so passionate about offering the MyHealthyTransitions 21-Day Sugar Detox Program as a Certified 21DSD Coach; which is a comprehensive action plan to achieve better health through whole foods while busting sugar cravings at the same time. (Plus, it literally saved my Dad’s life when he was diagnosed with uncontrolled diabetes.)

Finally, to give Dr. Sacks the benefit of the doubt, I’d like to believe he was trying to say at the end of the article that eliminating any one food from one’s diet without adding in other nutritious foods is missing the point. This, in general terms, is one part of the article I can agree upon.

What those exact foods are and in what quantities will still vary on the individual (which is where at Certified Health Coach like myself can help). This is the theory of “Crowding Out” that I emphasize for all my clients. It's really about diversity in your diet and getting back to basics and just eating as many real, whole, nutrient-dense foods as possible without worrying about all the marketing hype. Sure, it's not as sexy or controversial, which is why my work as a Health Coach is usually undervalued. Most people want a quick fix - a miracle pill, diet or potion - and that's not something I can give them. If you want to spend your money on products that you think will magically solve all your problems, I realize you have that choice too.

What will I do after reading this announcement? I've read many other articles about the benefits of coconut oil and I will still choose that or high quality olive oil or ghee over inflammatory vegetable oils or fake foods (margarine), but honestly I don't add a lot of extracted or isolated fat into my diet – instead, I get a lot of healthy fat from whole food forms themselves (i.e. avocados, egg yolks, salmon, sardines, other fatty fish, dark meat poultry, quality meat on occasion, bone broth, unsweetened coconut flakes, canned coconut milk, raw coconut butter, raw nuts, seeds, and more).

Essentially, I try to eat a lot of vegetables and maintain an otherwise anti-inflammatory diet with a balance of protein and fat.  I’m not perfect, but I try to do my best because I want to feel good enough to live a life I can enjoy to be able to make a positive impact in this world.

However, even in the context of an otherwise “healthy” diet, there can still be nuance that works optimally for one person compared to another, which is what I work to identify with my clients which is what makes working with an Integrative Health Coach unique.

Finally, I never said to anyone that we should be eating a certain amount of coconut oil each day to lose body fat or avoid heart disease, so I find very little value in this article being relevant news even though it’s caused a lot of controversy. (By the way, if you read the alternative viewpoints and haven’t been scared away from eating healthy fats, check out this blog post by Mark Sisson of The Primal Blueprint about his favorite sources of fats for some ideas.)

In conclusion, I hope I haven't confused you, but instead inspired you to start thinking about what you're doing now and how you want to think about your diet and health advice going forward. If you'd like to learn more about the results I can offer you as a Health Coach to help you overcome health concerns and to find food and body freedom, I invite you to reach out for a Health Consultation.

At the very least, I hope you'll share this article with your friends so we can begin to create some sense of balance and perspective to the dietary dogma that seems to be taking over the world.  If you have comments, I’d love to hear them.

Thanks for reading everyone.

Disclaimer:  The following material is intended for general informational purposes only, and is not to be taken as medical diagnosis, advice or treatment.

Bio:

Beth is a Certified Health Coach as a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and a certified 21-Day Sugar Detox Coach.  Beth also holds a Masters in Higher Education and a Bachelors in Hotel, Restaurant, Institutional Management. During her education at IIN, Beth has studied over 100 dietary theories to provide her clients with Personal Nutrition Blueprints that are designed to meet their unique needs and wellness goals. In her 21-Day Sugar Detox Program, Beth helps people break sugar cravings, balance their blood sugar and find food freedom.  Beth takes an individualized approach to health coaching, with an educational and empowering style. Learn more about Beth and MyHealthyTransitions at www.myhealthytransitions.com. Connect with Beth on Instagram @myhealthytransitions and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/myhealthytransitions.

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Health Coach Beth

Sugar is a Sneaky Thing

This was a special workshop leading up to the MyHealthyTransitions 21-Day Sugar Detox Program. Download your presentation materials at bit.ly/mht-sneakysugar.

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Health Coach Beth

Healthy Eating on a Budget

This was a special presentation for the 2017 Health Coach Secrets Online Summit.

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Integrative Nutrition

Yes, There’s Plastic in Your Seafood

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Health Coach Beth

As a Certified 21-Day Sugar Detox Coach and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, I have been involved with empowering others to achieve their health and wellness goals for years. I have witnessed the power of nutrition in my own life and those of my clients, but I haven’t felt so grateful to have spent so much time and effort in increasing my knowledge in the latest dietary theories until this past January when something scary happened to my Dad. 

**Remember that this information for general information only and is not to be considered professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your doctor for personal medical advice.

Health Coach Beth

Do You Need a Sugar Detox?

As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, I believe that “no one diet works for everyone,” and that we need to take a bio-individual approach to nutrition.  At the same time, having studied over 100 dietary theories at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I also know that there are certain aspects of a healthy diet and lifestyle that can benefit anyone, and one of those is reducing the amount of sugar in your diet.  In my “Sugar is a Sneaky Thing” workshop, I go in-depth about why this is true, but you might be over  Before I became a Certified 21-Day Sugar Detox Coach, I was in the same mindset – I wasn’t necessarily eating lots of junk, but I was definitely avoiding fat and eating a lot of “healthy” foods that I now know were keeping me on a blood sugar rollercoaster - negatively impacting my sleep, my mood, my ability to burn fat and maintain lean muscle, to feel satiated without having to eat every 2 hours, and my overall well-being.  I was definitely addicted to fruit and artificial sweeteners which just feeds the sugar craving cycle.

Then, something changed.
 
As I started to learn more, and said I would give new things a try (yes, adding FAT into my diet!), I made incremental changes to my diet, and I eventually started to thrive.  Now a carrot or beets taste very sweet to me.  And I enjoy 100% unsweetened dark chocolate as a treat (I’m not kidding!) 

I always say “Health is a Journey, Not a Destination,” so as I continue to learn more, the healthier I become.  That’s my experience and it’s become my passion to share what I know with you.  And that’s why I would love for you to join me for the upcoming MyHealthyTransitions 21-Day Sugar Detox Program in June. There is more information about that program below, but I created this quiz for you to assess whether or not you would be a good candidate for a more targeted Sugar Detox Program.

DO YOU NEED A SUGAR DETOX?

1. Do you crave sugar all day, every day - or even a few times a week? I'm talking about candy, sweets, chocolate, or lots of fruit.

2. Do you crave carbohydrates? These include bread, rice, pasta, cereal (yes, even oatmeal), sandwiches, wraps and breakfast or snack bars.

3. Do you include something sweet with every meal or snack?

4. Do you experience spikes and dips in your energy levels throughout the day?
 
5. Do you often feel tired upon waking in the morning or have trouble sleeping at night?

6. Do you drink alcoholic beverages daily, or a few times a week?

7. Do you consume artificial sweeteners?
 
8. Are you trying to burn, or lose, body fat?

9. Are you following a low-fat, whole-grain rich diet that just isn't working?

10. Does the way you eat leave you feeling unsatisfied, hungry, and grazing on snacks every 2 to 3 hours?

11. Do you follow a clean-eating type of lifestyle (including, but not limited to, Paleo, primal, low-carb, vegetarian, raw food, real food, etc.), but still experience sugar cravings?

12. Do you want to learn more about nutrition and what foods work best for YOUR body?

If you are like most people and answered "yes" to at least one of these questions, then you're a good candidate for the MyHealthyTransitions 21-Day Sugar Detox Program!

Watch the replay of my Sugar is a Sneaky Thing presentation here and download your bonus presentation materials including a free cheatsheet to a SUGAR CLEANSE at bit.ly/sneakysugar.


Health Coach Beth

Why I'm an Ambassador of Health and Happiness

If you asked me how I would describe myself, as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, I would proudly say that I am an “Ambassador of Health and Happiness.”

My path to embracing this as my self-definition has been a winding and amazing experience, just as my own health journey has been an intimate and transformative process, which continues to evolve on a day-to-day basis as I continue to learn, change and adapt.  (I am sure resonates with many of you as we seek to find our way to feeling our best throughout the different stages of our life.) 

With this transitory path to health in mind, I launched my Health Coaching Practice, MyHealthyTransitions, with the intention that “Being Healthy Doesn’t Have to be Hard,” and that I’m able to meet you where you are on your journey to health without a one-diet-fits-all approach. 

How did this dream to launch my own business to share my knowledge about nutrition and to help people achieve a healthier life come to fruition?  

It’s an intriguing thing that when you are interested in health, you begin to find that you organically start to meet other like-minded people all around you, which is how I was first introduced to IIN; through the work I was doing in the community volunteering at farmers markets, leading the wellness program at my work, and attending or organizing wellness events, I met several graduates in my local area.

Even though I was interested in healthy eating, for many years I unfortunately still struggled with many health issues myself, and felt alone searching for answers without the support of conventional doctors.  After finally taking my health in my own hands and immersing myself in integrative methods, I went through a major life change and am grateful to feel as vibrant as I do today.  While I had aspired to enroll at IIN for years, when I finally recovered from my own health struggles, I was even more inspired to pursue the program because I wanted to make an impact for others the way my holistic wellness “teachers” did for me. 

Even though I know there are people out there who are doing this on their own, I felt strongly that in order to do so, I needed a formal “credential” which would give me credibility as well as the resources needed to start my own business.  The universe aligned just at the time I was ready to move forward when I was offered a special enrollment scholarship from IIN that I couldn’t pass up.

I’ve never regretted the decision to enroll in the IIN Health Coach Certification Training Program, or looked back in my entrepreneurial endeavors since.

Why IIN?

One of the best things I can say about the IIN program is that it is nicely well-rounded so that graduates can choose to pursue an area that is their passion which provides a lot of latitude and options depending on your specialty.  Right now, I feel my personal purpose is nutrition education, so through my work with MyHealthyTransitions, I’m able to give my clients the tools needed to use diet to heal from health issues like autoimmunity or adrenal fatigue, or to achieve their individual wellness goals, by helping them to create their own “Personal Nutrition Blueprint.”  By studying over 100 dietary theories at IIN, I have a solid integrative nutrition background, but I do not have the dogmatic approach of many popular dietary protocols, which allows me to provide sound and effective advice to clients based upon their individual situation. 

Through my popular 21-Day Sugar Detox Program, I’m able to give people with a realistic and action-oriented plan to break free from the conventional diet mentality and reliance on sugar and processed carbs using real, whole food. 

The educational focus of my Health Coaching practice may look very different to my fellow IIN alumni, for example who may a physical yoga business or a food product to sell, which is what makes the IIN program unique.  What is even more exciting is that my own business may be very different 5 years from now as it continues to grow. IIN has an amazing connection with alumni, so that years after I graduated from the program, I still receive daily inspiration, education opportunities and support (even from Joshua Rosenthal himself!). 

Another thing that is amazing about IIN is the incredible network of other IIN graduates and Health Coaches across the world that I’ve formed by being part of the IIN community. One of my proudest achievements so far has been organizing an online health summit with a few of my fellow health coaches where we had over 200 participants in the inaugural year!

How can I help you improve your health and pursue your passion?

As an IIN graduate, I feel empowered that I can create the nutrition programs that fuel my soul and as the same time I’m impacting the lives of others, so I would encourage anyone who has a desire to make a greater impact in the world to consider enrolling in IIN’s program.  As an IIN Ambassador, I have the benefit of offering an Ambassador Love Referral Scholarship to new students (in addition to other special offers throughout the year), so please feel free to contact me directly at beth@myhealthytransitions if you have any questions, or just want to chat!  I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you for reading my story.  I hope that this inspires you to pursue your dreams and to continue to learn and make small changes to achieve the health and happiness that you deserve!

Coach Bio:

Beth Romanski is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Certified 21-Day Sugar Detox Coach.  You can learn more about Beth and MyHealthyTransitions at www.myhealthytransitions.com.  Connect with Beth on Instagram @myhealthytransitions and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/myhealthytransitions. 


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Integrative Nutrition

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