Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (Julie & Julia)

We watched this in late April. Two true stories of life, love, and food.
Watch actress as Julia flips her cuisine.

Julia Child had a passion of bringing French cuisine home to the average American cook. While living in France for a few years with her husband, which two were very much in love, she thought the food she was tasting was divine. She struggled for a decade to put all the fine cooking into a book for every American homemaker to use.

Modern-day Julie attempts to use her cookbook and replicate all 524 recipes in 365 days. Quite a feat, and she records it.

This was a stimulating movie, with a historic reminisce. The recipes in this movie were with lots of butter, etc. One thing I've noticed in my research of food is this obsession with the French paradox: how do the French stay thin? They seem to be doing things "wrong," yet don't have our weight problems, so is it really wrong, or are we?

Bait and hook, I totally set this one up. Newsflash: Yes! Butter is good for us.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is found not only in beef fat, but in lamb, buffalo, and ruminants, whole milk, cheese, and butter. Studies show that consumption of raw milk, yogurt, and buttermilk reduces the risk of breast cancer. Women with breast cancer have lower CLA levels in their blood than those without this disease. CLA inhibits the growth of human breast cancer cells, malignant melanoma, colorectal, and lung cancer cells, and animal studies suggest it lowers LDL, resulting in less atherosclerosis and being good for the heart, states Barbee.

Avoiding CLA may be a factor contributing to obesity. "It has been established that eating essential fatty acids helps the body metabolize other fats more efficiently, thereby contributing to weight loss. Yes, eating the right fats help you lose weight. CLA inhibits fat cells from getting fatter. Human studies have shown that consuming moderate amounts of CLA for three months without dieting resulted in as much as a 20 percent loss of body fat. Apparently, CLA affects fat metabolism by interfering with the activity of fat-regulating hormone, leptin, and possibly by increasing insulin sensitivity." (Barbee, p34) It can manage type-2 diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels and reducing body weight. CLA can also stimulate the development of muscle tissue, besides ridding the body of fat, thus body builders take CLA supplements. There is also substantive evidence that CLA is antioxidant.

Unfortunately, good quality CLA is hard to come by in our current food system. Grain-fed beef, Bovine Growth Hormone, skim-, low-fat, and homogenization are to blame.

"Cattle-raising practices over the years have yielded meat that is contaminated with hormones and antibiotics, as well as pesticide residue from the grains fed to the animals. Today's typical beef contains an unnatural, overabundance of the omega-6 fatty acids. Not only that, animals fed hay and grains have a much lower CLA content. Ruminants have digestive tracts that convert the linoleic acid in food they eat into CLA, and when their food is green grass, the CLA content of the meat, or the milk, is many times higher. Grain-fed beef today is deficient not only in CLA but also in the healthy omega 3-fatty acids. Therefore, a search for organically raised beef is well worth the effort, particularly if the animals are allowed to graze." Buffalo meat is also good; they are not fed hormones and eat plenty of grass. Eating grass instead of grains lowers the bacterial and E-coli risk of a cow's milk and meat, making raw milk safer. (Barbee, p35)

The growth hormone rBST creates higher levels of a specific protein linked to cancer, enhances diabetes in people prone to the disease, and weakens the immune system in humans. It also makes more antibiotics necessary for the cows. Pasteurization destroys many protective health promoting nutrients. Homogenizing milk causes humans to absorb xanthine oxidase, which causes heart disease by damaging the arterial walls (raw milk is best, if it can safely be done). Taking the fat out of milk reduces CLA content, and, obviously, so does drinking soy milk instead of cow milk. Unfermented soy additionally messes up hormones and thyroid function. See realmilk.com for where to buy.

See also my post on Saturated Fat and additionally Good fat, Bad fat.

In his documentary Sicko, Michael Moore observes the French passion for, "Wine, smoking, and their fatty foods," yet they live longer than Americans. He attributes it to universal healthcare. Should he perhaps consider that their fatty foods are their strength while our low fat/trans fat/corn fed cows are a source of disease to us? Trans fat is found in margarine, shortening, and most of our food, even in foods that say it has zero trans fat on the label. Trans fat inhibits fat metabolism. Widely used vegetable oils have their problems as well, specifically rancidity. Oils that have been damaged can be toxic to us and cause problems losing weight. See Maximized Living Plan on damaged oils as well as Underground Wellness video.

See also the realmilk.com website or google benefits of raw milk. I made my own (incomplete) google map for grade A raw milk in Washington. Another recommended movie on the topic of corn fed beef is "King Corn" available at WSU library.

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