Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Friday 5

Hey there and happy Friday to you! 🙂 It’s finally the last day of January. Didn’t January seem like the longest month ever?

With it being Friday and all, it’s time for another edition of the Friday 5 where I share my top 5 favorites from the week. It’s quite the mix this week, and I hope you enjoy!

Don’t forget to sign up for my new Free Fridays newsletter full of lots of freebies (tips, advice, meal plans, workouts, giveaways, deals, and more!) coming to your inbox NEXT WEEK!

Have a fabulous weekend, friends! 🙂

1. 6-Week Macro Motivation Challenge

I’ve been sharing all about this challenge on Instagram this week, but if you haven’t heard, I’m hosting a 6-Week Macro Motivation Challenge and it starts this Monday, February 3!

The 6-Week Macro Motivation Challenge will help you find REAL balance within your diet. Trust me, you can have the carrots and the cake, too! Instead of doing what you’ve always done and reverting back to old habits again and again, give “flexible” macro tracking with me a try. I’ll help you change your mindset related to food and the idea of “all or none” once and for all. Your eating habits do not need to be perfect to see progress. Learn how macros can work for YOU while also LIVING and ENJOYING your life to its fullest!

What’s included?

  • “How to Calculate Macros for Weight Loss” guide
  • 2-week sample meal plan
  • daily check-ins and accountability logs
  • weekly Q&A + education
  • ongoing support via private Facbook group <— it’s already quite the happening place! 🙂
  • “Getting Started with Macros” guide
  • weekly freebies + giveaways!

Click here to join us!

2. Quilted Pullover Top

You all know how much I love my Amazon fashion finds, and this quilted pullover is one of my recent finds. It looks cute with leggings, jeans, layered under a vest… and the best part is it’s only $30. It comes in 5 different colors, too. You might have seen me where is a few (dozen) times on Instagram Stories recently! 🙂


3. 88 Acres Banana Bread Protein Bar (+ coupon)

I love 88 Acres pumpkin seed butter, but their banana bread protein bars with 12 grams of protein… holy cow, they’re one of my new favorite snacks! They’re soooo delicious, gluten-free, nut-free, vegan, and made with only 7 simple ingredients. Let me repeat that part about them being DELICIOUS because they are… like, a lot.

If you’re interested in trying them for yourself, you can save 20% off your order with the coupon code below!


4. Jeremy Scott Podcast: 33 Total Body Transformation Tips

This was SUCH a great podcast episode because it summarized everything you need to do to ACTUALLY transform your body. No fat diets. No trendy workouts. No excuses. No B.S. It’s definitely worth a listen if you’re feeling stuck and need some direction with your weight loss or fitness goals.

5. Beautycounter Brightening Oil

Beautycounter’s No. 1 Brightening Oil is one of my go-to products. (I actually just purchased another bottle earlier this week.) In the cold winter months, my skin tends to be a bit more dry and so I use it in place of my moisturizer and sometimes mixed with Tint Skin for extra glow. It’s packed with vitamin C and feels so nourishing, plus I think it helps even my skin tone (in addition to the Overnight Resurfacing Peel). It’s truly the best product!!

Flashback Favorites:

Sales of the Week:

P.S. The 2020 Brooks Running Ambassador Team Applications are OPEN! Are you the ultimate Brooks #RunHappy fan? Do you find yourself constantly sharing your runner outfit of the day pics on Instagram and capturing your running adventures on IG Stories? Then apply to join the 2020 Brooks Run Happy Team ambassador program! Our amazing community will inspire you, deck you out in the newest Brooks gear, and give you creative ways to share your Brooks’ love on social throughout the year.

Applications will be open until this Sunday, February 2nd at 11:59pm PST.

Here is a link to the application page:

This post contains some affiliate links, which means I will earn a small commission from the company if you decide to purchase the product linked to. This compensation helps with expenses to keep CNC up and running. Thank you for your support!

The post The Friday 5 appeared first on Carrots 'N' Cake.

from Carrots 'N' Cake

The Definitive Guide to Saturated Fatty Acids

saturated fatty acidsI’ve written guides to fat in general, animal fats in particular, and edible oils as well. I’ve written a definitive guide to saturated fat. But what are these fats, exactly? Today, I’m writing the Definitive Guide to Saturated Fatty Acids—a guide to all the individual fatty acids that make up the saturated fats we eat, store, and burn.

I won’t cover every single saturated fatty acid in existence. Some of them don’t play any significant role in human health or diet. Like cerotic acid, which appears mainly in beeswax. Or arachidic acid, which you can get by hydrogenating arachidonic acid or eating a ton of durian. There are a few more that aren’t very relevant.

I will instead cover the most important ones.

But First, a Word about Saturated Fatty Acids…

Saturated fats have all available carbon bonds paired with hydrogen atoms, making them highly stable and resistant to oxidation and rancidity—even when heated. That’s why our bodies tend to build cellular membranes with a significant portion of saturated fats. They provide stability and a strong foundation.

Caproic Acid, Caprylic Acid and Capric Acid

I included these together because their names come from the Latin word for “goat,” and all three are found most famously in goat milk—they run about 15% of goat milk fat. Capric acid is also found in coconut oil (10% of coconut fat) and palm oil (4% of palm fat).

The “goat” fats are what give goat milk its distinctive “goaty” odors. Come to think of it, I’ve had coconut oil that had a “funk” to it, and I bet the capric/caprylic acid was to blame. But if you can get past the goatiness, there are benefits to these fatty acids.

Best sources: goat milk, coconut oil, palm oil.

Lauric Acid

Another medium-chain triglyceride, lauric acid is the primary fatty acid in coconut fat (40-50% lauric acid) and palm kernel fat. It also appears in human breast milk (about 6.2% of total fat).

  • Lauric acid is anti-microbial. That’s why it appears in breast milk—to help infants ward off pathogens while their immune systems are still developing. And it’s probably why people report getting rid of foot and toenail fungus by smearing their feet with coconut oil at night.
  • Lauric acid reduces hunger. In one study, people who had lauric acid shot directly into their guts ate less food than the people who had oleic acid shot in.
  • When you consume lauric acid, some of it is converted into monolaurin, a more potent compound (both coconut oil and breast milk also contain some monolaurin directly) with anti-viral, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal properties.
  • Lauric acid is not as directly ketogenic as the “goaty” medium-chain triglycerides.

Best sources: coconut fat, palm kernel fat, breast milk.

Myristic Acid

Myristic acid is a perplexing one. Some studies find that its presence in the blood indicates metabolic issues, whereas, as you’ll see below, in the diet it can have some good effects and play some important roles.

What’s happening? Why the discrepancies?

  1. Some in the diet is way better than none. Too much more than 1-2% of calories (about 10% of calories from dairy fat), and the benefits start dropping and even reversing. However, that “1-2%” limit was in the context of a higher-carb diet. If you’re lower carb, you can probably benefit from higher intakes.
  2. Myristic acid in the blood isn’t so much “dangerous” as it is indicative of metabolic dysfunction. For instance, the most reliable way to reduce blood levels of myristic acid is to reduce your carbohydrate intake.

Best sources: nutmeg butter (don’t eat that and go driving, though; nutmeg is downright psychoactive), coconut fat, palm kernel oil, milk fat, breast milk.

Stearic Acid

Stearic acid is enjoying a bit of a renaissance lately. People are mixing isolated stearic acid into clarified butter to create a “super-stearic butter.” Why?

  • Stearic acid is one of the saturated fats that even SFA-phobes admit has a neutral effect on cholesterol levels. If anything it boosts HDL.
  • Dietary stearic acid appears to cause “fusing” of our mitochondria—the power plants of our cells—and increase fatty acid oxidation shortly after consumption. In other words, it’s a potent boost to our ability to generate energy.
  • Diets based on either red meat or cheese—two foods high in stearic acid—improve metabolic and blood markers.

It’s getting really tough to deny the benefits of stearic acid.

Best sources: cocoa butter, beef fat (steer/stearic), dairy, lard.

Palmitic Acid

Palmitic acid gets a terrible rap. In study after study, we find palmitic acid doing bad things to our cells and our health markers. And when you douse cells in pure palmitic acid, they tend to suffer and even die. This looks really bad.

For instance, palmitic acid lowers expression of the LDL receptor gene. Less LDL receptor activity, more time for LDL to hang around in the bloodstream and cause trouble. That’s not good.

Or the fact that palmitic acid is toxic to skeletal muscle cells, impairing glucose uptake and increasing insulin resistance.

Or that palmitic acid induces inflammation and disrupts insulin signaling, suggestive of diabetes. We don’t want diabetes, we don’t want heart disease, and we like our muscle cells to function, so we should probably stop eating any palmitic acid, right?

Except a modicum of oleic acid stimulates LDL receptor activity. And arachidonic acid, a polyunsaturated fat found in animal products often alongside palmitic acid, prevents cell toxicity. And finally, if you throw in a little oleic acid alongside that “inflammatory” palmitic acid, you obliterate the inflammation.

Okay, but what about serum palmitic acid being a harbinger of metabolic disorder? Easy. When you overeat sugar and there’s nowhere to put it and you can’t burn it, the liver converts any extra into palmitic acid to be stored. Elevated palmitic acid is a marker of eating too many carbohydrates (and food in general).

Best sources: dairy fat, ruminant fat, palm oil.

What does it all mean?

Even though today’s post was about the individual saturated fatty acids, we very rarely eat individual fatty acids. Instead, we’re eating fats that contain a half dozen fatty acids or more, or foods that contain fats that contain a half dozen fatty acids. We aren’t cooking with lauric acid or sprinkling pure palmitic acid in the pan. We’re eating foods. And, as part of the food matrix, all the saturated fatty acids I’ve examined have important and valid roles to play.

If you want to avoid palmitic acid but welcome stearic acid, guess what? You’re gonna have to craft some Frankenstein-fat. Foods that contain stearic acid also contain palmitic acid. The best sources of lauric acid are also pretty high in stearic, palmitic, and myristic acid. And so it goes. You can’t avoid palmitic acid and only eat lauric and stearic acid while eating actual food.

If you have any questions, drop them down below.

Thanks for reading, everyone!


Wlaz P, Socala K, Nieoczym D, et al. Acute anticonvulsant effects of capric acid in seizure tests in mice. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2015;57:110-6.

Huang CB, Alimova Y, Myers TM, Ebersole JL. Short- and medium-chain fatty acids exhibit antimicrobial activity for oral microorganisms. Arch Oral Biol. 2011;56(7):650-4.

Feltrin KL, Little TJ, Meyer JH, et al. Comparative effects of intraduodenal infusions of lauric and oleic acids on antropyloroduodenal motility, plasma cholecystokinin and peptide YY, appetite, and energy intake in healthy men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;87(5):1181-7.

Intorre F, Venneria E, Finotti E, et al. Fatty acid content of serum lipid fractions and blood lipids in normolipidaemic volunteers fed two types of cheese having different fat compositions: a pilot study. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2013;64(2):185-93.

Gutiérrez-garcía AG, Contreras CM, Díaz-marte C. Myristic acid in amniotic fluid produces appetitive responses in human newborns. Early Hum Dev. 2017;115:32-37.

Chen X, Zhao X, Deng Y, Bu X, Ye H, Guo N. Antimicrobial potential of myristic acid against Listeria monocytogenes in milk. J Antibiot. 2019;72(5):298-305.

Prior IA, Davidson F, Salmond CE, Czochanska Z. Cholesterol, coconuts, and diet on Polynesian atolls: a natural experiment: the Pukapuka and Tokelau island studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 1981;34(8):1552-61.

Hunter JE, Zhang J, Kris-etherton PM. Cardiovascular disease risk of dietary stearic acid compared with trans, other saturated, and unsaturated fatty acids: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91(1):46-63.

Thorning TK, Raziani F, Bendsen NT, Astrup A, Tholstrup T, Raben A. Diets with high-fat cheese, high-fat meat, or carbohydrate on cardiovascular risk markers in overweight postmenopausal women: a randomized crossover trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;102(3):573-81.

Mustad VA, Ellsworth JL, Cooper AD, Kris-etherton PM, Etherton TD. Dietary linoleic acid increases and palmitic acid decreases hepatic LDL receptor protein and mRNA abundance in young pigs. J Lipid Res. 1996;37(11):2310-23.

Wen H, Gris D, Lei Y, et al. Fatty acid-induced NLRP3-ASC inflammasome activation interferes with insulin signaling. Nat Immunol. 2011;12(5):408-15.


The post The Definitive Guide to Saturated Fatty Acids appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

from Mark's Daily Apple

Three Dinners Meal Prep Plan

This three dinners meal prep plan will have dinner ready to simply heat up when you get home this coming week!

Here is the newest addition to my Meal Prep Thursdays! Three dinners in a short amount of time to enjoy all week long!

Three Dinners Meal Prep Plan includes baked ziti, slow cooker pork loin and a sheet pan Mexican dinner.

I choose my recipes at random and try to keep them interesting so you don’t feel like you are eating the same thing all the time. This one is a nice variety, though remember to pick up whatever sides you’d like to have. I list this in the printable version linked below so that you don’t forget. There is a shopping list there too with the recipes that you can print out and take with you.

And remember, you can adjust the yield on these pretty easily. I tried to pick at least two of the dinners as meals that would go well in the freezer. They will last up to about 4 months while still keeping good texture and flavor. Just keep in mind that the instructions for all three of these recipes are combined in a way to help your time in the kitchen be more efficient. So if you want to switch out one recipe for another, remember to adjust the instructions and shopping list as well.

Anything past the three day mark should go in the freezer for all of these. It’s easy enough to thaw overnight or in the microwave.


Remember to subscribe to my free, Gracious Pantry Newsletter to receive all my latest recipes in your inbox! Click here to sign up!



  • 6 quart slow cooker or larger
  • Standard sheet pan (cookie sheet)
  • Casserole dish (large)


Copyright Information For The Gracious Pantry


Three Dinners Meal Prep Plan

Prep and enjoy baked ziti, a slow cooker pork loin and a Mexican chicken sheet pan meal for dinner straight from the fridge or freezer all week long.

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American, Italian, Mexican

Yield: 3 dinners

Author: The Gracious Pantry


Slow Cooker Pork Loin

  • 6 lbs. pork loin
  • 6 medium garlic cloves
  • 1 large yellow onion (thickly sliced)
  • 1 cup beef broth (no sugar added)
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (optional - Wizard brand is clean)
  • 1 medium bay leaf

Mexican Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner

  • 10 oz. bag frozen corn
  • 12 oz. bag frozen pearl onions
  • 14 oz. bag frozen, sliced bell peppers (I used tri-colored)
  • 1 lb. frozen chicken breasts (at least 2 breasts)
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. dried cilantro (parsley if you don't like cilantro)
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 medium lime (optional for garnish)

Baked Italian Ziti

  • 1 lb. whole wheat penne pasta (cooked to package directions)
  • 1 1/2 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 15 oz. can tomato sauce (low sodium, no sugar added)
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes)


  1. In a large greased slow cooker, layer onions and garlic on the bottom of the insert for the slow cooker pork.

  2. Add the pork loin and season with salt, black pepper and the bay leaf.

  3. Add remaining ingredients and cover with lid.

  4. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on hight for 4-5 hours. The pork should be at least 165 F. when done.

  5. Slice and portion into containers 6 servings of this will go in the freezer for grab-n-go, re-heatable dinners. The other 2 will be for whit week's plan.

  6. While the pork is cooking, move on to the next thing.

  7. Set pasta to cook to package directions.

    Place the frozen chicken and corn ingredients and spices into a 1 gallon, zipper-top freezer bag. Pour in some oil (I used 1/3 cup), close up the bag and toss to coat the contents with oil.

  8. Pour the contents of the bag out onto a sheet pan with edges.

  9. Bake for 1 hour or until the chicken reaches at least 165 F. on a meat thermomenter.

  10. If the pasta is done, drain it and set it aside now.

  11. Remove the sheet pan from oven, shred the chicken if you wish and then divide the whole thing into four equal portions. Three servings of this will go into your freezer after cooking, one serving goes in the fridge.

  12. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ziti's basil, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, honey, vinegar, water and tomato sauce.

  13. In a large skillet, cook the turkey meat in the olive oil. Add salt during cooking.

  14. Add the cooked pasta and the cooked meat to the bowl of tomato sauce and mix well.

  15. Transfer to a baking dish and top with chopped, grape tomatoes.

  16. Sprinkle your cheese over the whole thing.

  17. Bake at 350 F. for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

  18. Remove from oven and cool slightly. You will need two servings for the week for one person.

from The Gracious Pantry