Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Possibly the Most Random Blog Post to Date

Well, guys, this post is quite the random mix of topics: Qigong, walkie talkies, air fryer Parmesan-crusted salmon, and books about mind-body healing. How’s THAT for variety? Haha! I really think this is the most random blog post on CNC to date! 🙂 And I would love to hear which topic you found most interesting. Please leave a comment below with your thoughts!

I tried Qigong for the first time yesterday. I just finished a great book, and its author had amazing success healing her body through through Qigong, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to try. It wasn’t a traditional fitness class in the sense that you were sweating and working super hard, but the moving meditation was really great for relaxing. It’s funny even a few years ago, I would have thought a class like this was a waste of time, but now I realize how important it is for me to calm my mind if I want to live a happy, healthy life. I just feel like Qigong is something I need right now.

Quinn is loving his new walkie talkies, and they’ve become quite the hit in the Haupert household! They’re “just” kid’s walkie talkies and weren’t all that expensive on Amazon, but they work really well and have an awesome 3-mile range, so we’ve had a lot of fun playing with them all over the house and neighborhood. I highly recommend them!

Photo above: Quinn is repeating what Mal said over the walkie talkies while holding silicone straws!

I made Parmesan-crusted salmon in the air fryer the other day, and now it’s become a go-to “recipe.” It was so easy, delicious, and FAST!

I say “recipe” because all I did was spread a little mayo + dijon mustard on the salmon (any fish will work – cod is actually pictured below) and then sprinkled grated Parmesan on top before popping it into the air fryer for about 10 minutes. (I just checked it a couple of times to make sure it was cooked all the way through.) I hope you try it! 🙂

I couldn’t decide which mind-body healing book I should get at the library, so I borrowed them all. I’ve exhausted so many traditional care options over the years and my insides are still bleeding, so I figured I’d give the mind-body approach a try. Wish me luck!

Books pictured above:

Question of the Day

Which topic in this blog post did you find most interesting?

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Primal Guide to Olive Oil: Why and When to Use It

Olive oil is the great uniter of the dietary tribes. While your Ray Peatians might grumble at the 10% PUFA content and hardcore carnivores will balk at its vegetal origins, the vast majority of dietary camps—vegans, vegetarians, paleo, Primal, keto, Mediterranean, Weight Watchers, etc.—consider olive oil to be a healthy fat. I have it on good authority that Walter Willet oils his mustache with Croatian olive oil, Dean Ornish conditions his hair with Cretan olive oil, and Peter Attia keeps a bathtub full of Damascan olive oil behind a secret panel in his library that only unlocks if you complete a tabata session on his Peloton. I even saw Shawn Baker sneaking sips from a flask with green oily fingerprints when we recently hung out. Everyone likes olive oil. There are almost no exceptions.

This is about where I usually step in to make a contrarian claim about the super-popular food, citing some arcane study or pointing out an evolutionary argument against it.

Not with olive oil. As much as I love my avocado oil, I see no reason to question the legitimacy of extra virgin olive oil as a valid member of your diet. Personally, I include both. Here’s why….

Healthy Components of Olive Oil

Its MUFA content. Monounsaturated fats are pretty much universally lauded. Almost as resistant to oxidation as saturated fats, they raise HDL and lower LDL. Cellular membranes and mitochondria with a lot of monounsaturated fat function better than ones with more polyunsaturated fats. They’re the rock of the fatty acid world.

Its polyphenol content. Extra virgin olive oil is rich in polyphenols. Polyphenols are the plant nutrients that act as antioxidants in the plant—protecting it from predators and oxidative stress and heat and light. They act as minor toxins in us, provoking an adaptive hormetic response that makes us stronger, fitter, and healthier. Polyphenols get mixed reviews from different dietary camps. Carnivores often call them outright toxins with no benefit. Conventional skeptics usually miss the whole “hormesis” thing altogether and assume proponents think polyphenols are antioxidants that directly block oxidative stress in us. My nuanced take is that polyphenols can be pretty useful, but that there’s likely a U-shaped relationship: Too little is suboptimal, and too much is too much, just like with exercise, sun exposure, and any other type of adaptive stress we experience.

Its prominent role in classic Mediterranean cuisine. Olive oil has been eaten (and used in cosmetics, to cleanse gladiator champions, etc.) in the Mediterranean (including areas of Africa, Europe, and Asia) for thousands of years. It’s got a good track record of human use.

Those are all good theoretical reasons to use olive oil. What do human studies say?

Research Supporting Olive Oil Consumption

  1. Overweight women ate one of two breakfasts for a year. The first was supplemented with soybean oil. The second was supplemented with extra virgin olive oil. Both breakfasts were identical save for the fat source. At the end of one year, those who ate the EVOO breakfast had higher HDL, lower inflammatory markers, better blood pressure, and lower body weight.
  2. Type 2 diabetics with bad blood lipids either took a statin or EVOO. The statin was slightly better at reducing LDL and increasing HDL, but not by much, and the EVOO didn’t impair any physiological pathways or cause any undesired second order effects. I’d take the EVOO every time.
  3. Among a Mediterranean population, high EVOO consumption was linked to a reduced risk of fractures and osteoporosis. High consumption of regular olive oil was not.
  4. Extra virgin olive oil, but not corn oil, reduces postprandial oxidative stress.
  5. Women who ate high-polyphenol EVOO every day for 8 weeks enjoyed reduced oxidative damage to their DNA.
  6. Dietary EVOO reduced the number of oxidized LDL and increased HDL in proportion to the phenolic content of the oil; the more phenolics, the greater the effect. Tested LDL was also more resistant to oxidation after being removed from subjects and exposed to oxidative stress. Similar effects were found in a more recent study, in which men were given either EVOO with high phenolic content or refined olive oil with zero phenolics present. Men consuming high phenolic EVOO had less oxidized LDL and more phenolics present in LDL, indicating that olive phenolics reach serum LDL and exert antioxidant effects in real live actual humans.

Tips For Incorporating Olive Oil

There aren’t many foods you can’t make better by topping off with a little olive oil. The flavor of a good olive oil is nuanced enough to elevate the simplest dishes, and that’s what I enjoy about it.Think everything from marinated nuts and olives to a light dinner of Cacio e Pepe zoodles.

Cream of garlic (or cream of anything) soup? Better with a drizzle of olive oil before serving. Savory Labneh yogurt? Also better “finished” with olive oil. And don’t forget olive oil sauces. I just shared one of my favorites this week: pesto. It’s a totally modular sauce you can make with your favorite oil, nuts and herbs, but extra virgin olive oil remains the traditional choice.

And salads? Like extra virgin avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil is good with anything you throw together, this Turkish Salad being one great example. Sardine Nicoise Salad is another. Speaking of canned fish, choosing those packed in genuine extra virgin olive oil can be a flavorful option. No need to discard the oil here, especially if you incorporate the oil into the dish itself like this Olive Oil Packed Tuna and Seared Tomatoes recipe does.

Okay, so drizzling extra virgin olive oil across your dinner salad is healthy, but isn’t olive oil sensitive to heat? Aren’t you supposed to avoid cooking with it? Actually, no. Extra virgin olive oil is resistant to low and medium heat.

Despite being heated at 180 ÂşC (356 ÂşF) for 36 hours, two varieties of extra virgin olive oil exhibited strong resistance to oxidative damage and retained most of their “minor [phenolic] compounds.” Another study added olive phenols to vegetable oil, then heated it. Adding the olive phenols made the vegetable oil more resistant to oxidation and preserved the vitamin E content, offering more protection than even a synthetic antioxidant designed to do the job.

It’s not just that nothing bad really happens when you cook with EVOO. It’s also that uniquely good things happen when you cook with it.

When you cook sofrito, that Spanish staple of sauteed onions, garlic, peppers, and tomato that forms the basis of many recipes, with olive oil, it gets healthier. Cooking sofrito using olive oil has been shown to protect and enhance the polyphenols found in the various vegetables increase the bioavailability of the polyphenols. The same thing happens to other vegetables cooked in olive oil. Tomato lycopene content, too, is enhanced after cooking with olive oil.

Now, how do I use olive oil?

How I Use Olive Oil

I’ll occasionally take a teaspoon straight up, if it’s good stuff (and I only have good stuff). I really relish that peppery bite you get in the back of your throat—that’s the polyphenol burn.

I drizzle it on cooked lamb—often marinated in nothing but the same olive oil—and follow with flaky salt. Lamb stands up well to more complex marinades, but it’s also great grilled plain and drizzled with good EVOO and salt. Nothing else.

Tomato and cucumber salad. Tomato, cucumber, EVOO, balsamic vinegar, salt. Nothing fancy.

If you haven’t noticed, I like to use good EVOO where I can taste it.

I love preparing fish with olive oil. There’s even evidence that olive oil and fish fat have a synergistic effect on blood lipids and oxidative stress, combining to exert greater benefits than either fat alone or through simple addition.

To sum up…

Olive oil is great for eating cold and dressing salads. This really brings out the flavors and preserves the polyphenols.

But olive oil is great for many cooking methods, too. Olive oil is resistant to heat damage in low and medium heat applications like slow roasting, baking and light sauteing, thanks to the stability of the fatty acids and antioxidant capacity of the polyphenols. It preserves and even enhances nutrient content of vegetables when used to cook.

Olive oil has been around for millennia, and it will continue to stick around. I happen to love Mediterranean food, so you’ll always find it in my kitchen.

In fact, when researchers tried to justify replacing EVOO with canola oil as the primary fat in the Mediterranean diet, they couldn’t do it. Wanted to, but couldn’t. Can you imagine? You’re on your honeymoon, traveling through Tuscany. You stop at a rustic vineyard. The proprietor, Giancarlo, wants to show you his prized homegrown oil, just pressed. He brings in a cask of the finest canola oil; you can still smell the hexane residues.

No thanks.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Do you like olive oil? How do you use it? What’s your favorite way to consume it?

Take care.



Galvão cândido F, Xavier valente F, Da silva LE, Gonçalves leão coelho O, Gouveia peluzio MDC, Gonçalves alfenas RC. Consumption of extra virgin olive oil improves body composition and blood pressure in women with excess body fat: a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Eur J Nutr. 2018;57(7):2445-2455.

Khan TM, Iqbal S, Rashid MA. Comparison Of Lipid Lowering Effect Of Extra Virgin Olive Oil And Atorvastatin In Dyslipidaemia In Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. J Ayub Med Coll Abbottabad. 2017;29(1):83-86.

García-gavilán JF, Bulló M, Canudas S, et al. Extra virgin olive oil consumption reduces the risk of osteoporotic fractures in the PREDIMED trial. Clin Nutr. 2018;37(1):329-335.

Carnevale R, Pignatelli P, Nocella C, et al. Extra virgin olive oil blunt post-prandial oxidative stress via NOX2 down-regulation. Atherosclerosis. 2014;235(2):649-58.

Salvini S, Sera F, Caruso D, et al. Daily consumption of a high-phenol extra-virgin olive oil reduces oxidative DNA damage in postmenopausal women. Br J Nutr. 2006;95(4):742-51.

Marrugat J, Covas MI, FitĂł M, et al. Effects of differing phenolic content in dietary olive oils on lipids and LDL oxidation–a randomized controlled trial. Eur J Nutr. 2004;43(3):140-7.

De la torre-carbot K, Chávez-servín JL, Jaúregui O, et al. Elevated circulating LDL phenol levels in men who consumed virgin rather than refined olive oil are associated with less oxidation of plasma LDL. J Nutr. 2010;140(3):501-8.

Allouche Y, Jiménez A, Gaforio JJ, Uceda M, Beltrán G. How heating affects extra virgin olive oil quality indexes and chemical composition. J Agric Food Chem. 2007;55(23):9646-54.

Casal S, Malheiro R, Sendas A, Oliveira BP, Pereira JA. Olive oil stability under deep-frying conditions. Food Chem Toxicol. 2010;48(10):2972-9.

Fullana A, Carbonell-barrachina AA, Sidhu S. Comparison of volatile aldehydes present in the cooking fumes of extra virgin olive, olive, and canola oils. J Agric Food Chem. 2004;52(16):5207-14.

Esposto S, Taticchi A, Di maio I, et al. Effect of an olive phenolic extract on the quality of vegetable oils during frying. Food Chem. 2015;176:184-92.

Rinaldi de alvarenga JF, Quifer-rada P, Westrin V, Hurtado-barroso S, Torrado-prat X, Lamuela-raventĂłs RM. Mediterranean Sofrito Home-Cooking Technique Enhances Polyphenol Content In Tomato Sauce. J Sci Food Agric. 2019;

Rinaldi de alvarenga JF, Quifer-rada P, Francetto juliano F, et al. Using Extra Virgin Olive Oil to Cook Vegetables Enhances Polyphenol and Carotenoid Extractability: A Study Applying the Technique. Molecules. 2019;24(8)

Ramírez-anaya Jdel P, Samaniego-sánchez C, Castañeda-saucedo MC, Villalón-mir M, De la serrana HL. Phenols and the antioxidant capacity of Mediterranean vegetables prepared with extra virgin olive oil using different domestic cooking techniques. Food Chem. 2015;188:430-8.

VallverdĂş-queralt A, Regueiro J, De alvarenga JF, Torrado X, Lamuela-raventos RM. Carotenoid profile of tomato sauces: effect of cooking time and content of extra virgin olive oil. Int J Mol Sci. 2015;16(5):9588-99.

Hoffman R, Gerber M. Can rapeseed oil replace olive oil as part of a Mediterranean-style diet?. Br J Nutr. 2014;112(11):1882-95.

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What I’m Proud Of [Flipping the Switch on Anxiety]

Soooo, anxiety has been kicking my butt lately, and it’s so frustrating. What’s even worse is that I have no idea why it’s plaguing me right now – it basically came out of nowhere. It could be related to everything going on in my gut right now. (Mind and body, especially the gut, are highly connected AND vice versa.)

Ever since I had a colonoscopy back in May, I’ve dealt with some (mostly) minor flare symptoms.* I just can’t seem to kick them, and I’ve struggle with seemingly “out of nowhere” anxiety. I really haven’t had crazy anxiety like this since my Designed to Fit/Nutrition House Software days (and, god, I hated my life then), so it seems so mysterious to me. I honestly felt like I made great strides with managing my anxiety, but then, boom, it hit me hard. I’ve found myself amped up and worried about things I haven’t thought twice about in months and months. Ughhhh…

Long story short, I decided to focus on a few things that I’m feeling really good about lately. Sometimes focusing on the positive, instead of the overwhelming negativity that anxiety can bring, really does make a difference. Ok, here we go!

I’m slowly, but surely overcoming my fear of public speaking. If you’re a long-time reader, you know I used to avoid speaking opportunities at all costs. I can’t even begin to explain how many amazing opportunities I said no to because of my extreme fear of public speaking. I spoke on a number of panels over the years (FoodBuzz, Fitness Magazine, AOL, Fitbloggin‘), but, even then, I wasn’t contributing all that much to the conversation. I was so scared and basically had zero confidence in myself and what I had to say. Fast-forward to one million Instagram Lives and other videos, public speaking really doesn’t rattle me anymore. Sure, I’m a little nervous at the start, but those feelings don’t spiral into a panic attack like they used to! I’m honestly excited to share what I know and help others.

I recently participated in a nutrition workshop at Bodymechanics PT. I spoke for 20-25 minutes about macros and meal planning, followed by a Q&A session.

Bodymechanics workshop Norwell, Ma

It went really well, and I’m excited for more opportunities like this. I’m actually kind of shocked to even write that… let’s just say, I’ve come a LONG way with public speaking! 🙂

I’ve battled flare symptoms since May, and I’ve been very “zen” about it. In the past, when I was in a flare, the sky was falling. I’d freak out that I couldn’t control what was happening to my body, and I would obsess about everything related to my health. This time, I’m taking things day by day and trying to stay calm about my symptoms. I’m also practicing some serious gratitude for the parts of my body that are healthy, and thanking my lucky starts that I can do certain things, like walk downstairs, go for a run, or eat out at a restaurant. In my sickest moments with this disease, I wasn’t able to do these things, so I don’t take them for granted. Flipping the switch on my thinking has definitely helped!

I’m also really proud of…

My nutrition coaching business. It really is my pride and joy, and I love helping clients find a better mindset and relationship with food. Plus, after DTFN and NHS blew up, I totally felt like a failure, but I took what I learned and rebuilt CNC Nutrition + Coaching, and it’s SUCH a better experience for our clients and myself!

Question of the Day

What are you feeling proud of lately?

How do you deal with anxiety? 

* Here’s a little aside that I didn’t know until recently (thank you, IBD friends), but colonoscopies can really mess up the microbiome and balance of your gut… and you can refuse them. There are other tests (like “pooping in a hat” as my old doctor would say) that can give you similar information (i.e. inflammation markers, signs of blood in the stool). Of course, if there’s something serious going on, you should listen to your doctor and go through with the colonoscopy. But if you’re someone like me, who WAS in remission, but needed a routine colonoscopy, it’s okay to seek-out other testing options. YOU are in control of your health. Obviously, everyone’s situation is different, but I just wanted to share this information since I was completely unaware, and now I’m still dealing with a flare 3+ months later.

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