Coconut Oil and Alzheimer’s

84DE5FFB-AF0F-420A-BB5F-B5C79E404033When I was working in public home care, I used to visit a lot of seniors.  Sadly, many of them had some form of mild to severe dementia.  At one of my home visits, a family member of one of my clients asked me if coconut oil was good for improving the memory of those with Alzheimer’s.  I told them I never heard about that.  I went back to my office and I did a bit of googling and found that there were in fact studies being done on this.  Researchers where looking at the fatty acids in the oil to see of they had any effect.

I met a few other families that had heard about this and were cooking with coconut oil and telling me that it was helping their loved ones.  Who was I to tell them there wasn’t yet enough evidence to confirm that coconut oil improves memory? Many seniors especially those over the age of 80 are at risk for malnutrition as evidenced by weight loss secondary to myriad of issues.

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Here is a current article written by a dietitian on the Extenso website that confirms that coconut oil is not the cure for Alzheimer’s.  But coconut oil is fat.  Fat has calories.  Calories are needed for weight gain especially for those who need to increase weight to improve health status.  It would be remiss to tell those clients not to try it.

The placebo effect is a beautiful thing.

Addendum: Dr. Joe posted this on October 10, 2013!

 

 

(Featured image taken off madeofmuscle.net)

 

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Finally, a perfect salad cuite.

The mysterious Sephardic salade cuite has been reproduced in my kitchen today! I had almost given up on this savoury tomato and pepper salad but I thought I would give it one more chance.

I am very happy that I did. It turned out perfectly and the secret ingredient is patience.

I am posting the recipe here before I forget what I did. I wonder what the Jittery Cook and Norene have to say about this salad.

Caryn’s Salad Cuite Ashkenaz Style

  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 2 red peppers whole
  • 2 green peppers whole
  • 3 large garlic cloves minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 TBSP Paprika
  • 1/4 cup canola or olive oil

Cook the peppers in the oven or on the BBQ (I used the BBQ because my oven was busy with Apple Cake, Broccoli and Lukshen Kugels) until they are totally black. Let them cool and then peel off the blackened skins. Remove all seeds. Chop them up and set aside.

Heat a TBSP of canola oil and toss in the garlic. Cook for about a minute. Dump the tomatoes in and bring to a boil. Add the sugar.

Toss in the peppers and the rest of the oil into the pot. Now is a good time for the paprika, salt and pepper. Get a good boil going and then turn the heat down, to just below the medium setting.

Here is where the patience comes in. You have to stir the mixture so it doesn’t burn. Do this every 5 minutes or so while the recipe reduces. It took about 2 hours to get to the right consistency.

Let the recipe cool down and then transfer it to a container and store in the fridge. Serve cold.

If you like it spicy add some tabasco sauce or hot pepper flakes along with the other spices.

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The Good Food Box – Get Involved! Get Local!

The Good Food Box has a new drop off location at the Aquatic and Community Centre in Cote Saint Luc.

What is the Good Food Box, you ask? Basically, the Good Food Box is a collective buying program run by Harvest Montreal allowing for the purchase of top quality produce at lower prices. This initiative started in 2002 and you can read more about the history on the Good Food Box website at www.bonneboitebonnebouffe.org

 

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Currently, there are over 70 drop off points across the Island of Montreal. For a complete list, please visit their website. Most of these drop off points are out of community run organizations. What makes the new drop off location in Cote Saint Luc so unique is that it is a partnership between the CSSS Cavendish (CLSC Rene-Cassin), the City of Cote Saint Luc and Harvest Montreal.

A pilot project was launched in the summer of 2012 and was very well received. Now the Good Food Box is open to all citizens of Cote Saint Luc. The initial concept was conceived in an effort to improve the nutritional status of seniors in CSL. CSL is known for its senior population. Many of these seniors live on a fixed income and are not eating well at all. Providing fresh fruits and vegetables at a lower cost greatly improves the odds of a achieving a healthier diet. As it turns out, CSL has many low income families who would benefit from this project as well.

The project is not just for those at risk, it is for anyone that wants to increase their fruit and vegetable intake. The caveat is that you have to really love fruits and vegetables! Each small, medium and large box priced at 7$, 10$ and 16$ respectively, contain an assorted variety of fresh produce. It’s like getting a surprise every two weeks. Moisson Montreal provides a newsletter and a recipe with each delivery. The recipe usually pertains to the unusual fruit or vegetable in the bunch. When in doubt make soup!

Mossion Montreal makes an effort to purchase locally grown produce whenever possible. In the winter this is challenging but an effort to provide local is still made as exemplified by the inclusion of Quebec root vegetables and apples.

For more information and to order your Good Food Box please call (514) 484-7878 poste 1501

P.S. If you are a shut in senior that would like to receive the Good Food Box but cannot pick it up you may qualify for the volunteer delivery service.

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Dr. Joe Schwarcz: The Right Chemistry

I recently attended a book signing by Cote Saint Luc’s very own Dr. Joe Schwarcz. Dr. Joe, as he is affectionately known by students and admirers alike, has a new book entitled The Right Chemistry.  It is his 13th book and it takes the ‘‘mistry” out of chemistry. The Right Chemistry is filled with wonderful vignettes about science written with humour and interesting facts.   As Dr. Joe always says “You need the sugar to make the medicine go down!”

Dr. Joe is known for making chemistry fun, fascinating and accessible to the masses.  Dr. Joe teaches chemistry at McGill and is noted for his interesting lectures.  He also gives talks to the regular folks too, like his monthly Mondays at the Cote Saint Luc Eleanor London Library called Science Demystified.

Over the years Dr. Joe has become a kind of watchdog for the quack science that has emerged more rapidly and venomously than ever before.  This is probably due to the advent of the internet, email, social media etc.   A lot of the claptrap out there is attached to health claims from disease curing foods to the evils of plastics.  Chances are if you have a question about something you got in an email or saw on the internet then Dr. Joe has already received an email about it.  According to Dr. Joe, many of these questions can be answered with one word: Nonsense!  Why? Because you need properly conducted scientific studies that are evidenced based to promote accurate health information.

Nutrition is a hot topic these days.  It seems like one day eggs are the devil and the next day they are the star.  Butter recently made a comeback while sugar is the new evil.  Dr. Joe is an encyclopedia of science but especially so with nutrition.  He sifts through all the garbage and promotes only evidence based nutrition information. He says that you can’t go wrong if you eat your fruits and veggies.

Dr. Joe has a handful of recipes he created with some well studied ingredients.  I am pleased to say that Dr. Joe has given me permission to post these recipes. Watch for them over the next few weeks.

Most of these recipes can be found in their cooked form at my neighbourhood fruit and vegetable store called Quality Fruits.  As local lore has it, Dr. Joe’s vegetarian goulash was created as a joke.  These days you can often find Dr. Joe doing quality control and tasting the wonderful foods.  If you happen to see Dr. Joe at Quality don’t hesitate to go up to him and say hi.  He will not bigfoot you and will gladly answer that burning question you have about blueberry enzymes curing your gout.

Do you stick to one supermarket?

I was standing in line recently at my local grocery store, wondering why I shop there.  It’s dirty, very small and it’s not the cheapest. So, what’s the deal with this place?  I guess it’s the familiarity.  It’s the neighborhood presence, the place where I feel like Norm from Cheers.

There is a cast of characters at this supermarket that amuses me greatly.  I love the fishmonger guy with the funny haircut and the good recipes.  It’s fun to watch the banter between the German lady at the fast food counter and the heavy set woman who does the BBQ chickens.  I love the milkman who is endlessly restocking the dairy section.  Then there is the religious Jewish guy at the Kosher counter who can’t figure me out .  But the best is the cashiers.  There is the happy guy who dropped a 100 pounds and is now a personal trainer on the side. The girl who keeps changing her hair color but never seems to wreck it.  The big lady who never cracks a smile. I also love those car order guys because they are some of the politest young men I have ever encountered.

I really appreciate the fact that if I have a suggestion or a complaint the managers take me very seriously.  They have really done wonders with the coffee section.  No need to got to Starbuck’s anymore.  The vegetarian section has some good stuff too.

At my store I know where almost everything is. I just want to get in and out as quickly as possible.  The longer I linger the more I spend.  Especially since I am of the dietitian persuasion, I feel it necessary to buy every new so called healthy product out there.  My dad the accountant says that is considered a business expense.  But who has time to separate the grocery bill into family and business?

Whenever I find myself at a fancier store I tend to over spend because I find every new food product invented.  I’ve tried hitting the bargain supermarket in the name of frugality but it is just not the same.  I miss the gang.

 

Addendum: The above article was published several months ago in a local newspaper.  I got a call from a reader who thanked me for this article, stating that what he got from it, was how important it is to support local business.  That wasn’t my conscious intention when I wrote the piece.  However, the subtext is just that. I do support local business even if it costs a bit more.

Published: Thinking Inside The Box

Check out Caryn’s new community nutrition project! Get involved and tell us what you think in the comments!

Click on the images for full size.

Watch: CSSS Cavendish – Palliative Care in Home Care