Tag: green leafy vegetables

Coconut Sugar: Is It Healthier Sweet Stuff?

Coconut Sugar

Coconut Sugar?  What do you get when you cross my 7-year-old, four-legged furry kid with sweetener? 

You get my very own sweet sugar baby – my dog Coconut!

Sorry for being corny—again. 

But in all seriousness, one of the most common questions I get asked as a certified nutritional therapist and creator of The Chef V Organic Cleanse is this: Is coconut sugar healthier than regular sugar?

Let’s dive in and find out what the research says…

Coconut Sugar: Is It Healthier Sweet Stuff?

What Is It?

Actually, before we follow the science on coconut sugar, let’s cover some basic facts on the natural alternative sweetener. 

It does not come from the meaty white flesh of the nuts. It’s also not produced from the husky shell. And it’s not made from the liquid within the nut (coconut water). 

So what is it made from? It’s made by dehydrating the sap contained in the flower bud of the stem of coconut palm trees. You could say that the sap is the circulating life force or the blood of the tree. And just like the blood circulating through your veins contains minerals and trace minerals that are vital for energy, coconut sap is rich in minerals. But we’ll get to that in a bit…

Coconut blossom sugar, is all-natural. Although it comes from the coconut palm tree, do not confuse it with palm sugar. Regular palm sugar is sourced from a different type of tree than coconut sugar. 

True coconut sugar resembles granulated raw brown sugar. And if you’re an animal lover or vegan, there’s one big plus about using it instead of regular table sugar. 

According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), table sugar is sometimes whitened with bone char. What’s bone char, you ask? It’s charred cattle bones. Think about that next time you sweeten your coffee at your favorite diner. And according to PETA, brown sugar can also be processed with bone char. Brown sugar, which is not healthier than table sugar (it’s just as refined) is colored with molasses, so don’t get fooled by regular brown sugar. 

But coconut sweetener is a healthier brown sugar that is not refined and therefore does not get processed with bone char.

coconut plant

Benefits

I found an interesting study published in Food Science & Nutrition, co-authored by researchers from Malaysia, a country thought to be the first to commercialize it for the U.S. market. 

The researchers concluded “Coconut sap could be served as a potential healthier sugar source compared with sugar palm and sugarcane as it carries more minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins.”

Another reason the researchers think it is a healthier alternative to refined sugar is that it has a lower glycemic index. The GI ranks the rise in blood glucose after the consumption of carbohydrates on a scale from 0–100.  A food with low GI raises blood glucose less than that of the food with high GI. 

Coconut sugar’s GI ranks about 35, which is only 10 points higher than fructose from whole fruits. In comparison, refined sugar has a GI that’s almost twice as high as coconut sugar. 

For this reason, the researchers suggest that coconut palm nectar (another way to say coconut sugar) can be part of the solution in curtailing the diabetes and obesity epidemic. 

Vitamins & Minerals

The researchers detected vitamin C, B1, B3, B4, B2, and B10 in samples. Of those, vitamin C, B3, B4, B2, and B10 in coconut nectar were significantly higher than in table sugar. In addition, coconut sugar contained higher levels of three important electrolytes: potassium, sodium and magnesium. Many Americans are deficient in magnesium, a mineral that’s important for helping to relax muscles. 

By the way, you can also get the benefits of these minerals from coconut water, which is why I use both coconut sugar and coconut water in several of my recipes. 

And in comparison to regular sugar, coconut nectar is relatively high in other minerals such as zinc, calcium and iron. 

Coconut Water

For Gut Health?

Another reason to swap regular table sugar for coconut is that it contains a type of fiber called inulin. This special fiber acts like fertilizer for a type of friendly bacteria in your gut called bifidobacteria, which is a common live culture added to yogurt. 

Inulin is considered a post-biotic fiber. Postbiotics are the healthy short-chain fatty acids released by probiotics. Probiotics are essential for a healthy gut and immune system, but it’s actually the postbiotics that make the magic happen!

Is It Healthier: Chef V’s Verdict

Now don’t get me wrong … even though I think it is healthier than regular table sugar, I don’t rely on it to get my daily dose of essential minerals and trace minerals. The dark leafy greens in Organic Green Drink provide me with an excellent low-sugar source of minerals without spiking my blood sugar. 

If you have type 2 diabetes, don’t get fooled into thinking that it is a miracle sweetener. It may have a lower glycemic index than regular sugar but that doesn’t mean it gives you a free pass to go crazy with it. 

So don’t use it as a multivitamin, antioxidant supplement or probiotic. Instead, just like all other sweeteners, use it sparingly. But when I do use the sweet stuff, I reach for COCONUT and a little coconut sugar. 

Veronica and Coconut

Fastest Way to Get into Ketosis – Chef V Cleanse

Cleansing for ketosis

Following a ketogenic (“Keto”) diet puts your body in a state of ketosis. That means your body is burning its stored body fat instead of blood sugar for energy. But getting into ketosis can take up to several weeks if you’re not doing it right. One of the easiest ways to get into ketosis is by doing a Chef V Cleanse. It’s so easy, you won’t have to count carbs…

So you’ve flirted with keto for the last few years. You’re thinking about it but haven’t pulled the low-carb trigger. I get it. Ditching grains and even some of your favorite veggies and fruits is tough. For many people, it takes an extraordinary amount of willpower to eat an ultra low carb diet. 

How low should you go if you’re going Keto, you may ask? 

Well, everybody is unique. Some people may go into ketosis after consistently keeping net carbs to roughly grams per day. But for other people, it may require being even more stingy with the carbs to the tune of 25 net grams per day. 

(Net carbs equals total grams of carbs minus fiber and/or sugar alcohol. Example: one cup of cooked pasta contains 42 grams of carbs and 2 grams of fiber. So that’s 40 net grams of carbs — definitely way too much to get into or stay in ketosis!)

Maybe every year around the holidays or after a vacation, where you’ve put on a few pounds, you tell yourself this is going to be the year that you conquer Keto. 

But you don’t. 

Don’t blame yourself. Carbs not only taste great. They are literally addictive. In fact, according to Dr. William Davis, author of the best-selling book, “Wheat Belly” which was instrumental in launching gluten-free and Keto diets, “Wheat is addictive in the sense that, if you don’t have any for several hours, you start to get nervous, foggy, tremulous, and start desperately seeking out another ‘hit’ of crackers, bagels, or bread.”

So it’s not you, it’s the molecules.

keto

Easing Into Keto 

I’m not going to lie. Following the keto diet is really challenging at first. There’s the so-called dreaded “Keto flu.” 

That’s when your body basically has withdrawal symptoms and has to get used to burning fatty acids (ketone bodies) for its primary source of energy instead of all that circulating glucose. 

This phase can last a few days — just like a real flu virus.

It’s always a good idea to gradually phase into ketosis rather than quitting carbs cold turkey like smoking. Try to lower your net carb intake over a two-week period. This will help reduce Keto flu symptoms. 

Then, there's getting used to carb counting. But actually, with all the keto apps (not appetizers) these days, it’s easy to get used to. After a short while, you’ll learn the net carb counts of the foods you most often eat. 

Now, to be sure, even if you ditch gluten and everything else with tons of carbs, you can’t know if you’re in ketosis unless you test yourself. 

Many people use urine strips. But they’re not the most reliable. They are a good bellwether for people with diabetes. However, if you don’t have a blood sugar disorder, urine strips aren’t the best way to test. That’s because urine strips only measure excess ketones—not the level of fatty acids your body is using for fuel. 

Urine strips are cheap so it might not be a bad idea to start out with them. But the longer you stay in ketosis, the more your body will adapt. So you’ll need a more reliable way to test. Blood meters are the most accurate. They’re the most expensive way to test, but you get what you pay for. 

cleanse success

CHEF V’s CLEANSE: The Easy Way To Get Your Body Ready For Ketosis

A big reason why some people fail with Keto is they just don’t know how to get started. It’s too overwhelming. 

The easiest solution for taking all the guess work out is by doing one of my cleanses. The Chef V Cleanse home delivery program offers 1, 3 and 5 day options.  

On each day of the CLEANSE, you get:

  • 4 servings of Organic Green Drink
    7 Leafy Greens with only 5 net grams of carbs each
  • 2 Vegan Ultra Protein Shakes
    One Chocolate, One Vanilla; 2 grams net carbs each
  • Detox Soup
    1 high fiber soup for dinner; 2 flavors: Ginger Carrot (days 1, 3, 5) & Sweet Potato Curry (days 2 & 4)

Now, it would be misleading for me to say that the CHEF V CLEANSE is keto friendly. For some people, the net grams of carbs from the carrots or sweet potato in the DETOX SOUP, even though they are nutrient dense, would prevent ketosis. 

However, if you really want to try Keto, the CLEANSE is the best way to transition to a ketogenic diet. That’s because your net grams of carbs will still be under 100. Consider that the average American diet consists of over 300 grams of carbs per day. 

And you don’t have to be a certified nutritional therapist like myself to know that most Americans aren’t getting enough fiber. 

So let CHEF V do all the work for you. I’ll ship the cleanse right to your door and you won’t have to worry about counting carbs or figuring out what you should eat in order to transition into ketosis. 

LEARN MORE

a green drink a day can support your mood

A Green Drink A Day Can Support Your Mood: Research Proves

a green drink a day can support your mood

Warning: stay away from me today. I got a late start to the day, skipped my daily morning yoga routine and didn’t have my Green Drink as early as I usually do. I’m having one of those days. Yes, dear hubby, Brandon, I still love you but watch out. Don’t get too close. I may bite!

 Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels off when skipping a wellness routine. A green drink a day can support your mood. My long-time, trusted graphic designer, Jean, the one responsible for making the Chef V newsletter look like a fancy glossy magazine, told me she feels “down in the dumps” if she goes a couple days in a row without having her Green Drink. 

Well, Jean, that’s exactly why I created my Green Drink Plan, to ensure you’ll never run out! But I get it, even if you get GD delivered to your home, life can get intense and overwhelming and you can just forget the things that help you live a high-vibration life. It happens, we’re only human. 

And Jean’s certainly not the only customer that feels off when skipping GD for a few days. But what is it about the 7 green leafy veggies that after you drink it, makes you feel like you’re going to conquer the day? Do the greens serve as a catalyst for cellular energy? 

No doubt that leafy greens are beneficial for cellular health and energy. But there’s also research that shows these highly-nutrient dense ingredients support a healthy mood. 

a green drink a day can support your mood

Green Leafy Veggies For Mood

According to World Journal of Psychiatry, 12 nutrients are critical to the prevention and treatment of depressive orders: Folate, iron, omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), magnesium, potassium, selenium, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, and zinc. 

The highest scoring plant foods (those with the most of the dozen nutrients) are leafy greens and cruciferous veggies. Lettuce and peppers also made the list.

Co-authors of the World Journal of Psychiatry study analyzed several foods for “Antidepressant nutritional density.” The results were tabulated in a scoring system called the “Antidepressant Food Score” or AFS. 

“The AFS is based on a nutrient profiling system devised to identify foods with the highest nutrient density of nutrients with clinical evidence to support their role in depressive disorders,” the researchers explained in the article. 

Could it be that the reason many customers feel like they’re on their A-game when they make Green Drink part of their daily routine is that the 7 ingredients are at the top of the AFS scoring system? 

That’s food for thought. Er, drink for thought…

Lettuces like green leaf lettuce, an ingredient in Organic Green Drink, has an AFS score of 74% to 99%. 

Green chard, another staple of GD, scores 90%. Parsley: 75%. Kale and collard greens score 62% and dandelion greens 43%. 

Now that’s not to say that 43% is a low score. Remember, all these ingredients in Green Drink rank at the top of the list for the best foods on the planet for supporting positivity. Evidence that a green drink a day can support your mood.

“The nutrients considered have been shown in human studies to be beneficial with regards to treatment or prevention of depressive disorders,” concluded the researchers.

a green drink a day can support your mood

Are You Eating (Or Drinking) Enough Veggies? 

Unfortunately, many foods with a high AFS are not staples of the Standard American Diet. Most adults in the U.S. don’t meet the daily recommendations for vegetables. In fact, The Healthy People Initiative, launched by the Federal Government’s Department of Health and Human Services found that only 27.2 percent of adults ate three or more servings of vegetables per day. 

I get it. Life’s busy. And that’s why I created the Green Drink Plan so you can easily consume 7 leafy green veggies that are some of the best plant foods on the planet for supporting mental health.

Here’s to feeling good!

a green drink a day can support your mood

© 2021 Chef V, LLC.