healthy fats

Spotlight On: Eggs

Easter is right around the corner, which means pastel blue, pink, and yellow eggs are showcasing in storefronts all around us. While we do recommend to limit the amount of chocolate eggs you enjoy, we've decided to use this holiday as an opportunity to shed some light on the health benefits of our favorite household staple, the egg. 

scrambled eggs

Do eggs raise cholesterol? How many eggs are too many? Are egg whites better than whole eggs? Are the brown ones healthier than the white ones? We get these questions all of the time, so we decided to give you the 411:

  •  Eggs are a source of total nutrition. 1 egg is about 70 calories and offers 6 grams of protein
  • Every single B vitamin is found in eggs
  •  Eggs contain every amino acid, making it a complete, high quality protein source
  • Eggs are one of the few good food sources of vitamin D
  •  Egg yolks are high in choline (1 egg provides about 35% of daily need), which is important for maintaining energy levels and a healthy metabolism. Choline is especially important during pregnancy as it contributes to brain and memory development
  • Egg whites contain a protein called avidin which binds to biotin making it absorbable in the body. Biotin helps the body convert fat into usable energy and is also linked with improving hair and nail strength.

Eggs became controversial when research from the 1980's revealed that egg yolks raised LDL and total cholesterol. More recent research, however, did not find any positive correlation between egg yolk consumption and cholesterol. Researchers found the the ratio of fats (omega 6: omega 3) in the diet had a much larger role in cholesterol levels than the amount of cholesterol consumed. The research is still mixed, but if you do have high cholesterol, we recommend limiting egg yolk consumption to 5-6 per week to be safe.

Eggs are a dieter's best friend. One study compared a group of dieters who had an egg-based breakfast to dieters who consumed a starch based breakfast and those who had no breakfast. At the end of the trial, the dieters with an eggy breakfast lost the most weight and body fat overall. Who's having an omelet tomorrow morning??

Time to get crackin! If making eggs at home, we recommend either using 2 whole eggs, or 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites in an omelet or scramble. This way, you get the benefits of the egg yolk but reduce the calories and fat content. Don't be afraid to ask for this next time you're out for brunch! As far as brown vs white, we don't discriminate. This may be surprising, but the color of the egg depends on the color of the chicken. Unlike the case with breads and grains, brown doesn't mean healthier! We choose organic, cage-free eggs. If from a local farm, even better. How to incorporate eggs in your day? Easy.

omelet
  • Pack 2 hardboiled eggs as a protein-packed afternoon snack, or as the protein for your salad
  • Try our omelet muffins, the perfect on-the-go breakfast or snack.
  • Add a fried egg to your next veggie stir-fry or cauliflower fried "rice"
  • Make an omelet or scramble with 1 egg, 2 egg whites, assortment of veggies, few slices of avocado, and fresh herbs and spices.
  • Add a fried egg to your avo toast

Have an eggsellent day! (Had to)

 

#TovitaNoFilter: Week Three

Here we go, week three. Time to get serious with healthy fats, colorful veggies, herbs and spices. Don't forget to share your skin loving meals using #TovitaNoFilter. 

healthy fats

1.    Get friendly with fats. We’re talking avocado, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds. These healthy fats reduce inflammation and strengthen cell membranes for softer, younger looking skin. The high omega-3 content in fatty fishes like salmon help to prevent clogged pores, fine line formation and wrinkles. Fish also contains the mineral selenium, which helps to prevent sunburn and maintain an even skin tone. If you like to nosh on almonds or sunflower seeds, your skin will thank you. The vitamin E in sunflower seeds and almonds slows down aging of skin cells and can aid in diminishing scar tissue.

sweet potato

2.    Boost the beta carotene. This is the antioxidant that gives the orange, red, and yellow pigment to vegetables - AKA load up on the carrots, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers. For an extra boost of fiber, leave the skin on your sweet potato. We recommend baked sweet potatoes with a teaspoon of coconut oil and a dash of cinnamon!

spices

3.    Spice it up. Quit lathering your meat and vegetables in sugary or salty marinades and sauces that cause dehydration and puffiness! Instead, play around with different herbs and spices to create unique flavors that are inherently low in calories. Though you may need a breath mint after, garlic contains high amounts of cysteine, an amino acid that can help stimulate hair follicles to grow stronger, thicker hair. Chili, paprika, cayenne and jalapeño add a kick to your meal while providing vitamins A and C, which prevent the breakdown of collagen. Research also shows that these spices may help to increase your metabolism! Lastly, turmeric is a nutritional powerhouse. It has powerful anti-inflammatory benefits due to its high component of curcumin. Try our recipe for turmeric popcorn

To give your skin some extra love during the dry winter, try our Tovita Glow Salad:

  • 4 cups spinach or kale
  • 4 oz baked salmon (baked with slices of lemon, rosemary and thyme)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
  • ½ cup raw cucumber slices
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
  • Dress with 2 tablespoons avocado dressing (recipe below)

Enjoy ½ baked sweet potato with a dash of cinnamon on the side!

Avocado Dressing (makes ~1 cup)

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 avocado, peeled pitted, and chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Blend until smooth and creamy and keep refrigerated.

 

 

 

Tovita Talks: Avocados (Up on WeWoreWhat Lifestyle Section!)

Avocados have managed to hold their place at the top of the trendiest foods list for quite some time now. They have finagled their way into every recipe, from the traditional salad, to the over-instagrammed avocado toast (guilty), to even that morning smoothie. There’s a good reason these fruits have remained the talk of the culinary town, and it’s not just because they’re Danielle’s favorite food. Today we’re going to discuss the ins and the outs of the avocado, because if you’re already on the avo-bandwagon, you should know why.

Click here  for the abridged version of this article on  WeWoreWhat  Lifestyle section! 

Click here for the abridged version of this article on WeWoreWhat Lifestyle section! 

You may have heard that these guys are a good source of healthy fats. But what does that really mean? It means they’re made up of predominantly monounsaturated fats, which have heart-healthy properties like the ability to improve LDL-cholesterol levels (the bad kind) and reduce oxidative stress. What’s even more unique is that some of the types of fats that make up the avocado (we won’t bore you with the names) have anti-inflammatory properties. In the past fats have gotten a bad rep because of the common misconception that all fats are pro-inflammatory. While this is true for certain types, like those found in fried or processed foods, it is quite the opposite in the case of the avocado.

Another fun fact is that the healthy fats found in avocados help to increase the absorption of carotenoids - a class of antioxidants often found in orange and yellow colored produce, ie. sweet potatoes, carrots, peppers, etc. So there’s your justification for topping your salads with avocado. You’re welcome.

Just because we’ve belabored the point that avocados are a good source of healthy fats doesn’t give you the green light eat them all day long. The average avocado has about 30 grams of fat, meaning no matter how you slice it, we’re talking lots of calories. Even though it’s tempting to add it on.. literally everything.. be mindful of how much you are eating in a sitting. We recommend keeping it to ¼ of an avocado.

There are still more benefits this fruit has to offer. They’re a good source of most B vitamins,  vitamins K, C, E, fiber, potassium, and copper. Not to mention they provide a ton of phytonutrients, which contribute to their antioxidant properties. Remember, antioxidants act as our bodies “clean up crew” by scavenging dangerous free radicals that can otherwise lead to deleterious health effects. No thanks!

They call the avocado “nature’s butter” for good reason. Whether you’re using it as a spread for the classic avocado toast or you’re eating on the side with your omelet, you can’t go wrong. If you’re looking for a fun new way to incorporate avocados at your next brunch party, we’ve got you covered with the “taco bar method.” On whole grain bread or wheat crackers, serve a platter of plain, blank, avocado toasts. Then, as a taco bar would offer, set up bowls of different toppings and let your guests make their own avo-toasts. Topping ideas include: feta cheese, sliced hard boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, red pepper flakes, hot sauce, tomatoes, mangos, black beans, or any vegetables. Your guests will have fun creating different combinations, and who knows, you may discover the next big avo-hit!

 

CooCoo for Coconut Oil

These days, coconut oil is as much of a household staple as peanut butter (or is that just among us health freaks)? Though there are good reasons why coconut oil is awarded the title "world's friendliest fat," we still understand why some people have been hesitant about jumping on the bandwagon. It is a saturated fat after all, and we have been taught to avoid those at all costs. It's also energy dense, about 117 calories per tablespoon. So why are we singing coconut oil's praises? 

coconut oil

Coconut oil is a saturated fat, indeed. However, it is a plant source meaning it does not have any link to increased risk for heart disease or raising cholesterol. In fact, lauric acid, a medium chain triglyceride (MCT) in coconut oil, has been shown to increase HDL (the good cholesterol), improving overall cholesterol ratios.

These MCT's you may have heard about are miracle fats. They are metabolized differently than long chain fatty acids, which are found in most fat sources. They are sent directly from the digestive tract to the liver, where they are either used immediately for energy or converted into ketone bodies, an energy source for the heart and brain during fasting or low carbohydrate intake. Long-chain fatty acids on the other hand are more likely to be stored. The MCT's have been shown to boost metabolism and help break down stored fats. 

spectrum coconut oil

We also love the fact that coconut oil has several beauty uses. Aside from its culinary purpose, it can also be used as skin lotion, lip balm, eye-makeup remover, to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy, as a frizz-fighter, or hair mask! Our personal recommendation? Saturate (no pun intended) your hair in about a teaspoon of oil and let it sit overnight. Wash it out in the morning with shampoo. We just saved you the cost of your next deep conditioning treatment, you're welcome. We bet a tub of coconut oil could replace a lot of those products you have taking over your bathroom cabinet!

Remember, coconut oil is high in calories and fat, so while there are many health benefits, we do not recommend consuming more than a tablespoon per day. 

Bulletproof Coffee: Brew it or Screw it?

This trend is one that has everyone talking. BUTTER in your COFFEE? We have to give it to the founder of Bulletproof Coffee, Dave Asprey, for shaking things up in the health world. If Gwyneth Paltrow and Jimmy Fallon do it, we should too, right?? Not so fast.

bulletproof coffee

Asprey first came across the creamy yak butter tea while visiting Tibet, where it has been a traditional beverage for centuries. As there are not many yaks residing in the US, he put his own twist on the beverage by using 2 tablespoons of unsalted , grass fed cow’s butter and adding myotoxin-free coffee and 2 tablespoons of medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil.

Grassfed butter is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, D, K and beta-carotene. Grass fed is key here, corn or soy fed cows milk does NOT have the same nutrient profile! The MCT oil (coconut oil, typically) is an easily digested fat that is quickly absorbed and converted to energy rather than being stored. Coffee is meant to add that boost of caffeine and focus to your morning. When mixed with the fats, the caffeine enters your body more slowly and steadily.

Bulletproof coffee fans claim more energy and focus, digestive regularity, and weight loss. Sounds pretty great right? This is where we need to look at the other side of the story.

Bulletproofcoffee is 400+ calories, making it a meal replacement rather than addition. Asprey recommends replacing breakfast with the creamy coffee, which is where we find a problem. Why replace a balanced breakfast including protein, fiber, and an array of other nutrients with one that that is so low in essential nutrients?

We are huge coffee lovers, big fans of coconut oil, and have no problem with a dose of grass fed butter here and there. We hate to be conventional, but why not reap the benefits of coconut oil by using a tablespoon when cooking your vegetables? Or spread a teaspoon of grass fed butter on piece of sprouted bread? And why not enjoy your coffee with a splash of almond milk so that it can accompany your breakfast rather than replacing it?

We’re all about trying out different health trends and seeing what hits home. But here at Tovita, we are sticking to green smoothies, hearty bowls of oatmeal, and avocado toast for breakfast.