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Prescription 2014: Healthy Caveman Muffins

August 18, 2014 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

Availability and convenience play major roles in maintaining a healthful eating plan. The trouble is that many readily available foods and snacks such as muffins, protein bars and smoothies contain questionable additives and ingredients. But, there’s no rule that says you have to compromise convenience in order to stick to a wholesome diet. All you really need to do is learn how to make the types of food you wish you could find at your local market. It’s probably easier then you’d imagine and usually a whole lot less expensive as well.

My Healthy Fellow Caveman Muffins can be enjoyed by those hoping to gain, lose or maintain weight. For those striving to lose or maintain, a recent paper in Nutrition Journal reports that eating a high protein breakfast reduces post-meal cravings for savory and sweet foods. The authors of the trial explain that high protein breakfasts increase plasma homovanillic acid (HVA), a marker of dopamine production that affects food cravings and food reward responses. In the study, “high protein” was classified as a breakfast containing 32 grams of protein. If you’re trying to gain weight, I suggest eating these muffins as dessert or as a between meal or bedtime snack. For weight gain purposes, try heating them up and spreading on some grass fed butter or Melt. Adding a small amount of no-sugar added fruit spread also contributes to the cause.

Healthy Fellow Caveman Muffins

2 Omega-3, Organic Eggs
1 Cup Frozen, Organic Blueberries
3/4 Cup Creamy Almond Butter
3/4 Cup Organic Pecans
3/4 Cup Organic Coconut Milk
3/4 Cup Organic Shredded Coconut
2 Tbs Organic Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Sea Salt (NutraSalt)

Nutritional Content (Per Muffin): Calories: 320. Protein: 6 grams. Fat: 28 grams. Fiber: 3 grams. Non-Fiber Carbohydrates: 8 grams. This recipe makes nine muffins per batch.

The preparation for this recipe couldn’t be easier. Start by pre-heating your oven to 350° F. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the wet ingredients: almond butter, coconut milk, eggs, vanilla extract. Next, coarsely chop the pecans. Add the shredded coconut, pecans and salt to the wet ingredients and mix well. Gently fold in the frozen blueberries. Place nine cupcake liners in a cupcake baking pan. Fill each liner about 3/4 of the way to the top. Bake for about 25 minutes. Use a toothpick to test doneness – if you poke it and it comes out clean, they’re done! These muffins require refrigeration and stay fresh for at least a week.

Besides the fact that this recipe avoids artificial and highly refined ingredients, it also packs powerful nutrition. Current studies have found that blueberries support vascular function whether cooked or fresh. Various forms of almonds (almond butter, raw, roasted or whole nuts) improve blood sugar control and several cardiovascular risk factors. Pecans contain catechins and tocopherols which protect LDL cholesterol from oxidizing, a primary contributor of atherosclerosis (AKA hardening of the arteries). And, last but not least, coconut oil helps to moderate appetite and may even decrease waist circumference and its associated dangers, including type 2 diabetes. Try finding all of these health benefits and more in a Cliff Bar, Kashi Cereal or a Naked Juice Smoothie!

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 - A Randomized Crossover, Pilot Study Examining the Effects of a Normal (link)

Study 2 - Intake and Time Dependence of Blueberry Flavonoid-Induced (link)

Study 3 - Impact of Processing on the Bioavailability and Vascular Effects of (link)

Study 4 - Acute and Second-Meal Effects of Almond Form in Impaired Glucose (link)

Study 5 – Effects of Plant-Based Diets High in Raw or Roasted Almonds or Roasted (link)

Study 6 - Pecans Acutely Increase Plasma Postprandial Antioxidant Capacity(link)

Study 7 - A Monounsaturated Fatty Acid-Rich Pecan-Enriched Diet Favorably (link)

Study 8 – Pecans Lower Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol in People with (link)

Study 9 - Impact of Medium & Long Chain Triglycerides Consumption on Appetite ... (link)

Study 10 - An Open-Label Pilot Study to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of Virgin (link)

Pecans Increase Post-Meal Antioxidant Status

Source: J Nutr. 2011 Jan;141(1):56-62. (link)

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3 Comments & Updates to “Prescription 2014: Healthy Caveman Muffins”

  1. JP Says:

    An update about the health benefits of coconut:

    http://www.lipidworld.com/content/pdf/1476-511X-13-139.pdf

    The effects of virgin coconut oil (vco) as supplementation on quality of life (qol) among breast cancer patients

    Kim Sooi Law, Nizuwan Azman, Eshaifol Azam Omar, Muhammad Yusri Musa, Narazah Mohd Yusoff, Siti Amrah Sulaiman and Nik Hazlina Hussain

    Lipids in Health and Disease 2014, 13:139 doi:10.1186/1476-511X-13-139

    Published: 27 August 2014

    Background

    Breast cancer is the most common cancer amongst Malaysian women. Both the disease and its treatment can disrupt the lives of the woman and adversely affect all aspects of life and thus can alter a woman’s quality of life. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of virgin coconut oil (VCO) on the quality of life (QOL) of patients diagnosed with breast cancer.

    Methods

    This was a prospective study of breast cancer patients admitted into the Oncology Unit of Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia. The sample consisted of 60 patients with stage III and IV breast cancer allocated to either an intervention group (n = 30) or a control group (n = 30) using a simple random table. QOL was evaluated from the first cycle of chemotherapy to the sixth cycle, and data were collected using a validated Bahasa Malaysia version of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Breast Cancer Module (EORTC QLQ-C30) and its breast-specific module (QLQ-BR 23).

    Results

    The mean age of breast cancer patients was 50.2 (SD = 13.5) years. There were significant mean score differences for functioning and global QOL between groups (alpha < 0.01). The intervention group also had better scores for symptoms including fatigue, dyspnea, sleep difficulties, and loss of appetite compared to the control group. Although there are deteriorations for sexual enjoyment, the intervention group exhibited improvement in breast functioning and symptom scores for body image, sexual function, future perspective, breast symptoms, and systemic therapy side effects.

    Conclusion

    VCO consumption during chemotherapy helped improve the functional status and global QOL of breast cancer patients. In addition, it reduced the symptoms related to side effects of chemotherapy.

    Be well!

    JP

  2. JP Says:

    Update 07/15/15:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4484644/

    Nutr J. 2015 Jun 28;14(1):64.

    Tree Nut consumption is associated with better adiposity measures and cardiovascular and metabolic syndrome health risk factors in U.S. Adults: NHANES 2005-2010.

    INTRODUCTION: Previous research has shown inconsistencies in the association of tree nut consumption with risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and metabolic syndrome (MetS).

    OBJECTIVE: To determine the association of tree nut consumption with risk factors for CVD and for MetS in adults.

    METHODS: NHANES 2005-2010 data were used to examine the associations of tree nut consumption with health risks in adults 19+ years (n = 14,386; 51 % males). Tree nuts were: almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, filberts [hazelnuts], macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts. Group definitions were non-consumers <  ¼ ounce/day and consumers of ≥ ¼ ounce/day tree nuts using data from 24-h dietary recalls. Means and ANOVA (covariate adjusted) were determined using appropriate sample weights. Using logistic regression, odds ratios of being overweight (OW)/obese (OB) (body mass index [BMI] >25/<30 and ≥30, respectively) and having CVRF or MetS, were determined.

    RESULTS: Tree nut consumption was associated with lower BMI (p = 0.004), waist circumference (WC) (p = 0.008), systolic blood pressure (BP) (p = 0.001), Homeostatic Model Assessment-Insulin Resistance (p = 0.043), and higher high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (p = 0.022), compared with no consumption, and a lower likelihood of OB (-25 %), OW/OB (-23 %), and elevated WC (-21 %).

    CONCLUSIONS: Tree nut consumption was associated with better weight status and some CVRF and MetS components.

    Be well!

    JP

  3. JP Says:

    Update 07/15/15:

    http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=9709080&fileId=S0007114515001452

    Br J Nutr. 2015 May 22:1-14.

    The role of dietary coconut for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: potential mechanisms of action.

    Coconut, Cocos nucifera L., is a tree that is cultivated to provide a large number of products, although it is mainly grown for its nutritional and medicinal values. Coconut oil, derived from the coconut fruit, has been recognised historically as containing high levels of saturated fat; however, closer scrutiny suggests that coconut should be regarded more favourably. Unlike most other dietary fats that are high in long-chain fatty acids, coconut oil comprises medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA). MCFA are unique in that they are easily absorbed and metabolised by the liver, and can be converted to ketones. Ketone bodies are an important alternative energy source in the brain, and may be beneficial to people developing or already with memory impairment, as in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Coconut is classified as a highly nutritious ‘functional food’. It is rich in dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals; however, notably, evidence is mounting to support the concept that coconut may be beneficial in the treatment of obesity, dyslipidaemia, elevated LDL, insulin resistance and hypertension – these are the risk factors for CVD and type 2 diabetes, and also for AD. In addition, phenolic compounds and hormones (cytokinins) found in coconut may assist in preventing the aggregation of amyloid-β peptide, potentially inhibiting a key step in the pathogenesis of AD. The purpose of the present review was to explore the literature related to coconut, outlining the known mechanistic physiology, and to discuss the potential role of coconut supplementation as a therapeutic option in the prevention and management of AD.

    Be well!

    JP

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