Category Archives: oils

healthy+fats, ketogenic+diet

Can Fats be Healthy? Yes!

Times Have Changed!

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It wasn’t that long ago that fat was a dirty word. I recall attending a gym class where the teacher advised choosing all-sugar treats (such as Starburst or Skittles) over treats with any fat at all.  Many were excited to see no-fat products on the market — cookies and cakes made without fat. It was easy to get caught up in the no-fat craze.

But just a few days of unnaturally cutting fats completely out of your diet leaves you feeling hungry, tired, and grumpy and, frankly, unhealthy.  The fats in those products were generally replaced with a real dietary villain — sugar — as well as other refined carbohydrates. So you ended up with the spikes and dips in energy that come with a high sugar diet. Not a happy place to be.

And it’s true, there are unhealthy fats — Transfats (fats that have been hydrogenated) can increase the risk of several chronic diseases (heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, among others.) We want to avoid those, such as refined fats and oils (think margarine and corn oil).

There are also very serious possible effects of eating no fat. This article from Dr. Axe mentions poor brain function, compromised heart health, hormone imbalances (including fertility issues), overeating and weight gain, among other problems. I knew a young woman who desperately wanted to get pregnant, but had stopped menstruating when she turned to a practically no-fat diet in order to control her weight. Yes, things went this extreme.

Fortunately, the pendulum has swung away from that craziness, and we are in a much healthier place as it relates to dietary fat. In 2015 the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee sent recommendations to the Government that advised against restricting dietary fat, and had no upper limit on total fat intake.

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And that’s good news, because including healthy fats in your diet will help reduce hunger and cravings, help you feel satiated (satisfied), as well as help with energy and brain function. The supplements that you take will be better absorbed, as well as the nutrients in the food that you eat — all fat-soluble vitamin as well as calcium. Your liver will be protected from damage. Your “good” cholesterol will go up and your “bad” cholesterol will go down. You will even burn fat more efficiently! These reason and more are why the ketogenic diet has become so popular lately.

But we all have to careful about which fats to choose. The fats from raw dairy products, coconut oil, grass-fed beef, nuts, avocados, and much more are beneficial to our health. Here are some healthy fats to choose.

healthy+fats, ketogenic+diet

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Butter (especially raw, but from grass-fed cows as well), Ghee (clarified butter), and Coconut Oil. The Danes have been right all along. Butter and Ghee contain healthy Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are essential, and our bodies don’t produce them; we have to get them from our diets. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, high in antioxidants, is great for brain and cognitive function, and even lowering blood pressure. Make sure you choose Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, since processing can eliminate many of the healthy benefits.

Avocados, Full-fat Dairy, and Eggs. One of my favorite lunch go-tos is a half of an avocado, chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, topped with a squeeze of lime and Mexican spices. If I’m extra hungry I’ll add some full-fat cottage cheese. If you prefer, add a hard-boiled free-range organic egg for even more protein! This lunch will keep me satisfied for the whole afternoon. An avocado has the advantage of being high in protein, as well as vitamin E, folate, and of course healthy monosaturated fat.

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Nuts, Seeds, and Dark Chocolate. A handful of nuts is full of super nutrients, including healthy fats. Add a chunk of dark chocolate — at least 70% cacao (to reduce the amount of sugar) and you have an energy-boosting snack.

Omega-3s from Seafood, and Grass-fed Beef. Make sure you choose wild-caught, sustainable varieties, and Grass-fed, Organic beef for the best nutritional punch. Both are higher in Omega-3 fatty acids, and high in protein as well.

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Lassen’s carries many healthy fats in many forms and varieties — including brands such as Bulletproof, which are formulated to take advantage of the nutritional strengths of these fats. This is not a new bandwagon for us — Lassen’s has carried these nutritious and healthy (as well as delicious!) products since day one in 1971!  Come see our selection!

Love,

Lassen’s

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Focus on Local–Ojai Olive Oil

Ojai Olive Oil

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I sure didn’t appreciate the beauty of the olive tree when I had one in the front yard of our first little house.  It was pretty, but I had no idea what was hiding in those little orbs.  The nutritional value of olive oil is vast.  From this website I learned that olive oil can improve the immune system and protect agains viruses.  Heart disease, cancer, strokes, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and other conditions can be beneficially affected by consuming olive oil.  (Very interesting information!)  Olives are an important part of the Mediterranean Diet — you can learn more at the balance me beautiful website — which is a super healthy way to eat!

 

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I recently spent an afternoon with Alice Asquith, who showed me around the Ojai Olive Oil company’s olive grove and pressing operation, and learned so much more about the amazing olive.  It was a gorgeous summer day in Ojai, and Alice was kind and gracious.  

A Little History…

Did you know that until the 1780s, there were no olive trees in California?  The Padres from Spain introduced the trees so that they could have their olive oil.  It took over 100 years before California farmers were interested in growing olives.  In fact, there are still not enough olive growers in America to supply America’s olive oil needs.  Only 20% of the olive oil Americans consume is produced in America, even though there are many climates that are suited to olive growing.  

 

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In 1982, Alice’s husband, Ronald, bought a ten acre orange grove as a retirement project.  They moved to Ojai from metropolitan Los Angeles, and eventually replanted the grove in olives.  In 1998 he bought 36 more acres, where they now have the center of their operation. This grove had been planted in 1880!  The original farmers made oil until 1910, but after that the trees just sat — for 78 years.  No oil was made from the olives–they just fell to the ground and rotted.  Ron began to give them lot of TLC, and after just three years, the trees began to produce beautifully.  In 2001 they made their first olive oil.    The entire grove is now certified organic. 

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They started selling their oil–in their signature blue bottles–at farmer’s markets.

Ron decided to plant other varieties, and now they have nine different olive varieties in the groves.  At first they blended all of the varieties into their blended oil, but now they make both pure and blended variety oils.  

 

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 Three years ago they started suppling their oil to a cosmetic maker, and they have lovely soaps and creams made from their oil.

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Ronald spent many hours studying and learning about olive growing, and he had some wonderful mentors to help him along his way.  The groves now have over 3000 trees, which are thriving, but Alice said that “the weather is the boss.”  From budding to harvest, the trees must be nurtured.

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Photo from Ojai Olive Oil

The olive trees blossom in late April or so, and it takes six months from blossom to first harvest.  The olives will stay green for as long as possible, and then they start to ripen in early October.  During the harvest time they have to constantly watch the olives to make sure they harvest at the right time.  They wait until most of the olives are ripe–have turned color–then they harvest, all by hand.

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Photo from Ojai Olive Oil

It takes sixty pounds of olives to make one gallon of olive oil!  But if the weather has been very hot, the yield will be a little higher.  The olives are taken directly from the groves to be milled the day they are harvested. 

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First the olives are washed and the leaves blown off, and then the olives are crushed–chopped and pushed through a sieve. 

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You can see how the olives would be crushed as they moved down through this part of the machine and into the next step!  

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Once it moves into the drums, the olives are now the consistency of paste, and looks sort of like oatmeal.

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Photo from Ojai Olive Oil

The paste is stirred up slowly.  No heat or water is added.  It is protected from air to prevent oxidation.   

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The paste begins to separate, and then the centrifuge begins to spin to assist the separation by density and weight.  It takes 90 minutes from start to finish!  They can process up to 800 pounds of olives per hour.  The oil is strained and bottled.

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Photo from Ojai Olive Oil

The International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) has established standards for extra-virgin olive oil.  A sample of every batch of Ojai Olive Oil is sent to a lab for blind testing to make sure it meats the highest standards, and has less than 0.8% acidity.

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This Tuscan is one of the Ojai Olive Oil blends!

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Photo from Ojai Olive Oil

At the end of the process, there is a waste made of pulp, skins, and pits, shown above.  Ojai Olive Oil Company uses this to make compost.  

Some companies will add chemicals and apply heat to the waste so they can extract more of the oil.  However, these oils do not meet the “Extra-virgin” standards, and are often sold under the names, “Pure” or “Extra Light Tasting.”  These oils are about as far away from extra-virgin as can be.  (Do not be fooled by the “pure” label!)  And they do not have the health benefits of extra-virgin olive oil.
 
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Ojai Olive Oil Company also gives free tours and tastings at their grove.  You can see the machines and taste the oils!  For times and more detailed information about their ranch and story, click here.

If you have a morning or afternoon to stroll through an olive grove and learn about olive oil–not to mention taste some delightful deliciousness–I recommend going to Ojai and take a tour.  But if you don’t have the time, remember that you can find this deliciousness at Lassen’s.  
 
Love, 
 
Lassen’s
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Focus on Local–Moss Botanicals

Natural Aid for Our Well Being 

Last week I had a delightful time as I met Stacey Moss of Moss Botanicals.  She lives and works in Ojai.  Her company has seven aromatic blends, each available in a roll-on oil for the skin, and an aroma mist for diffusing into the air.  
 
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Stacey has always been interested in the field of healing, and has dabbled in herbology.  She took lots of classes in natural healing.  She has some Native American heritage (Lakota), and she has always been fascinated by their belief in natural remedies and cooperative society.  Stacey attended the College of Botanical Healing Arts in Santa Cruz, and is a registered Aromatherapist.  She also has a BA in Social and Behavioral Sciences.  

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Stacey loves plants and herbs, especially natives.  She started to blend her oils for her own personal needs, and soon was sharing them with family and friends.  They started to call her “Medicine Woman” because they could see the benefits of her botanical oil blends.  She launched Moss Botanicals in 2008 as a hobby, but within the last year has started to branch out more.  

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Educating people about the science and art of Aromatherapy is important to Stacey.  She wants to teach people that Aromatherapy is complementary to every kind of lifestyle.  Her blends have names that match what they support in our bodies and lives, but she said that people should see how each blend feels to them as they use them.  Her blends are Ceremony, Balance, Transform, Clear, Relax, Euphoric, and Let Go.

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Stacey’s blends are complementary to Hindu Yogic Chakras as well.  Stacey said they can help balance and harmonize the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of life.  

Stacey is very careful with the sources of her oils.  She makes sure that they are organic and chemical free, and they are blended in a base of pure jojoba oil.  There are no synthetics or preservatives.  Her blends are simple–from 3-5 oils–and are hand blended in small batches.  She would like to try her hand at distilling the oils herself, and is working on making that happen.  
 
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Stacey loves this field because there is always something new to learn.  The science and scientific evidence is growing each year, which is very exciting. 

Stacey said, “I want people to find these [aromatic blends] because of what they can do to help them.”
 
It was such a pleasure to meet Stacey and her daughter Clrallyn, who even drew a portrait of me as I talked with Stacey!  

 

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You can find Moss Botanicals in our Ventura store, and Stacey comes there regularly to introduce her botanical blends.  

 
Thank you Stacey, for a wonderful time!
 
Love,
 
Lassen’s