Apart from being a popular flavor and ingredient in food all over the world, almonds are one of the healthiest nuts that can provide immense benefits to your health. This Almond Butter Bread Recipe from Naturally Savvy uses creamy almond butter as the main ingredient for this delicious, no-grain bread. Whether you eat it alone or pair it with other foods such as fruits, vegetables or high-quality protein, you can be sure that your meal will be both healthy and delicious.
1 cup natural almond butter with no additives (including the oil that gathers at the top)
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of Himalayan salt
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8×4-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
2. Whisk the almond butter and eggs together until blended smoothly. Then whisk in the salt and baking soda.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 30 minutes.
4. The bread is done when you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.
This No-Grain Almond Butter Bread Is Fuss-Free and Healthy
Almond butter is rising in popularity not just as a wonderful spread for snacks, but as a delicious ingredient for pastries and breads, just like in this recipe. But the taste isn’t just one of almond butter’s good qualities — if the butter you use is made from organic almonds and deprived of trans fat-loaded oils, you may be able to reap some of the health benefits from these nuts.
Almonds can greatly boost your heart health, as a study published in the journal Circulation pointed out. People with abnormally high lipid levels in the blood, such as cholesterol, significantly lowered their risk for coronary heart disease when they snacked on whole almonds.
Beneficial healthy fats and an amino acid called l-arginine are also present in almonds, and these help enhance your vascular health. Don’t skimp on the almond skins either, because they are loaded with antioxidants such as phenols, flavonoids and phenolic acids.
If you’re purchasing ready-made almond butter, make sure that you buy it from a trusted, organic source that uses raw almonds instead of pasteurized almonds. Go easy when snacking on whole almonds or almond butter as well — they’re high in protein, as one almond has 1 gram of protein.
Using high-quality pasture-raised organic eggs for this recipe is important. Eggs provide structure and stability for your batter, add moisture to cakes and other baked items and even act as a glue or glaze.
Unlike eggs that come from conventional animal feeding operations (CAFOs), pasture-raised, organic eggs will not only lead to a healthier finished product, but contribute nutrients to your food as well. Research has shown that organic pasture-raised eggs are higher in vitamin A (2/3 times more), omega-3 fatty acids (two times more), vitamin E (three times more) and beta-carotene (seven times more).
About the Blog
Founded by two holistic nutritionists and a trusted expert on healthy living, Naturally Savvy’s main focus is to make sure its readers eat organic and whole foods, while learning how to integrate nutrition into their daily lives. The website shares the latest news on heathy living, lessons about the harmful ingredients lurking in various food items available today and other tips to make you and your family live a happy and healthy life.
Warning: This oil comes with potentially damaging side effects due to either the ingredient it’s made from or the manufacturing process used to extract it. Because these negative effects overshadow the potential benefits, I do not recommend this oil for therapeutic use. Always be aware of the potential side effects of any herbal oil before using.
Canola oil is widely promoted as “one of the best oils for heart health.”1 However, this information is rather flawed, as canola oil and similar highly processed cooking oils hold untold dangers to your health.
Read on to learn what you should know about canola oil, and what my personal recommendations for the best cooking oil are.
What is canola oil?
Referred to as “the healthiest cooking oil” by its makers, canola oil is low in saturated fats and high in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) such as oleic acid, linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic (ALA).2,3 The oil is produced from a series of processes ranging from solvent extraction with hexane, to refining, bleaching and deodorization.4
Although canola is a type of rapeseed, the canola you see on store shelves is not the rapeseed you may be familiar with that is used for industrial and nonedible purposes, such as for lubricants, plastics and hydraulic fluids. The edible canola oil, on the other hand, is specifically grown as a food crop, genetically altered to contain significantly lower levels of erucic acid and glucosinolate in it, which makes it safe to eat.5
The modification focuses on broadening the seasons and regions where the plants can be cultivated and maximizing yield. The bad news is that in order to boost the resistance, researchers have developed herbicide-tolerant canola, including Roundup-ready and Liberty-tolerant types.6
How is canola oil used?
Canola oil is a common ingredient in food products such as salad dressings, salad oil and margarines.7
Even though it’s marketed as a food product, according to the Canola Council of Canada, once plant-sourced oils like canola oil are processed they “can be used industrially to formulate lubricants, oils, fuels, soaps, paints, plastics, cosmetics or inks.”
Canola can also be used to produce ethanol and biodiesel. The point is, the Canola Council says, is that “just because you can do this doesn’t make the approved food oils at the grocery store somehow poisonous or harmful.”8
Composition of canola oil
Canola oil is often praised by the mainstream food industry due to its fatty acid content:9
Saturated fat — Canola oil contains about 7%, or about half the amount found in corn oil, olive oil and soybean oil.
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) — This is the most abundant fat in canola oil. The MUFA oleic acid makes up 61% of canola oil — second only to olive oil.
Polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) — Compared to palm oil and olive oil, canola oil has a higher amount of PUFA. It has a ratio of omega-6 fat (linoleic acid) and omega-3 fat (alpha-linolenic acid) of 2-to-1.
How is canola oil made?
Unfortunately, details you’re told by vegetable oil manufacturers about canola oil’s production and benefits don’t tell the whole story. As mentioned, canola oil was created through the hybridization and genetic alteration of the rapeseed, a plant used for industrial purposes.10 Rapeseed oil came from the plant known as “rape,” from a Latin word meaning “turnip.”11 Along with cruciferous vegetables, rape is a domesticated crop belonging to the Brassicaceae family.12
Although rapeseed oil is composed of 60% monounsaturated fat, it is inedible because of two dangerous substances:
Erucic acid — a type of fatty acid that is associated with Keshan’s disease, characterized by fibrotic lesions in the heart13
Glucosinolates — bitter compounds that negatively affected the taste of rapeseed oil14
To turn rapeseed oil into an edible product, Canadian manufacturers used selective breeding to formulate seeds that had lower levels of erucic acid and glucosinolates. Canola oil, also known as “low erucic acid rapeseed (LEAR),” was formed.15
But, what the manufacturers don’t call attention to when they’re calling canola “healthy” is that hexane, one of the chemicals needed to extract oil from the seeds, is an HAP: a hazardous air pollutant. This begs the question of whether hexane is safe when ingested.16
According to the Toxicology Data Network, hexane may target the central nervous system and respiratory system when ingested.17 While hexane occurs in canola oil in only minute amounts, there are no sufficient studies that prove that it is safe to ingest.
Another part of the processing of canola oil is deodorizing, which is the step responsible for its bland taste. The bad news with this is that deodorizing reduces canola oil’s omega-3 fatty acids by up to 20%18 — so in the end, there’s not enough omega-3s for you to reap the benefits.
Is canola oil safe?
Although the food industry says it is, I do not believe canola oil is safe. Despite its “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) status, no long-term human safety studies have been conducted on canola oil.19 Animal studies, however, contradict some of the health claims about canola oil.
For example, in Canadian research published in 1997 in Nutrition Research, piglets fed with milk replacers containing canola oil had signs of vitamin E deficiency, even if the replacement contained sufficient amounts of the nutrient. Deficiency in vitamin E can be dangerous, as it can lead to free radical damage and cardiovascular problems.20
A year later, researchers found the piglets fed with canola oil had reduced platelet count and an increase in platelet size. The researchers concluded that the ingestion of canola oil interfered with normal hematological development.21 In another animal test conducted, rats ended up with high blood pressure, an increased risk for stroke and a shortened lifespan when canola oil became their primary source of fat.22
It is important to take note that these studies were made prior to the introduction of GE canola oil. This means you face not only the dangers of canola oil discovered in these studies, but also the potential hazards of genetically modified vegetable oils that may remain as residues in the final product.
Side effects of canola oil
So, what really happens when you use canola oil in your food? The answer is that canola oil and other heated vegetable oils are some of the worst ingredients you can add to your food, if for no other reason that eating foods with canola oil will only distort your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.
The bottom line is if you’re using canola oil, it’s time to throw it out and replace it with fats that will truly benefit your health. One of your best options is coconut oil, which I personally use. Olive oil is also good, but if you’re going to cook with an oil, coconut is the better choice because it tolerates higher heat levels, as I explain later in this section.
Another problem with canola oil is that it’s even more dangerous when hydrogenated, which is common in processed foods. Manufacturers hydrogenate the oil because it prolongs processed foods’ shelf life.23 And then, to make matters worse, consuming these foods exposes you to even higher levels of trans fats.24
So, the idea that canola oil is beneficial to your health is nothing but a myth. Another myth is that saturated fat is bad for you. The “bad” fat belief stemmed from Ancel Keys’ Seven Countries Study,25 which linked saturated fat with heart disease. The truth is that his research was manipulated to achieve the conclusion that saturated fat is “bad,” as he selectively analyzed data from seven countries rather than comparing all data from 22 studies available to him at the time.
When you look at the majority of the data he had available to him, you’ll find that all the data combined actually disproved his theory. The truth is saturated fat does not cause heart disease and is, in fact, an important part of a healthy diet.26
The reason coconut oil is the best choice for cooking is that it’s resistant to heat damage, unlike canola oil and other vegetable oils. Coconut oil also carries beneficial fat like lauric acid, which provides antiviral, antibacterial and antiprotozoa properties.27
If you’re not cooking with it, another beneficial oil I recommend is olive oil. It’s important to remember that olive oil is highly sensitive to heat damage, so you definitely don’t want to cook with it. But it’s great at room temperature drizzled over cold salads.
Another caveat: Make sure you purchase only high-quality authentic olive oil, as 60% to 90% of the brands sold in the market today are adulterated. Good quality olive oil contains important vitamins and nutrients, and can be a salad superstar if you buy the right kind. For more information on olive oil, check out my article on using it in salads, “Olive Oil: The salad superstar.”
In 2016, evidence emerged showing Barbara Bowman, Ph.D., then-director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, assisted a Coca-Cola representative in efforts to influence World Health Organization officials to relax recommendations on sugar limits.1 Just two days after her betrayal of the public trust was exposed, Bowman vacated her post.2
Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald took her place, but it didn’t take long before we learned the newly instated CDC director also had a long history of collaborating with Coca-Cola. 3,4 During her six-year stint as commissioner of Georgia’s department of public health, Fitzgerald received $1 million5 in funding from the company to combat childhood obesity.
At the time of her appointment to CDC director, Jim O’Hara, director of health promotion policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest stated,6 “We hope Dr. Fitzgerald, as head of CDC, avoids partnering with Coke on obesity for the same reason she would avoid partnering with the tobacco industry on lung cancer prevention.”
In a twist of irony, Politico7 recently exposed Fitzgerald’s tobacco investments, which led to her handing in her resignation a day later. Spokesman Matt Lloyd issued a public statement saying, “Fitzgerald owns certain complex financial interests that have imposed a broad recusal limiting her ability to complete all of her duties as the CDC director.”
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, commented on the situation, saying, “It is unacceptable that the person responsible for leading our nation’s public health efforts has, for months, been unable to fully engage in the critical work she was appointed to do.”
Flagrant Conflicts of Interest at the CDC
Are there truly no qualified individuals who do not have deep ties to industry available to fill the highest posts within the CDC? Is seems rather remarkable that two CDC directors in a row have been caught maintaining such obvious conflicts of interest.
The discovery of Fitzgerald’s investments in a Japanese tobacco company was made possible by the 2012 law introduced by Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-New York, which prohibits insider trading by government employees. The law requires full disclosure of financial trades made by government employees, including Congressional members, and this is how Politico discovered Fitzgerald’s purchase of tobacco stocks.
In a statement, Slaughter said, “This episode is exactly why I wrote this law … The American people deserve to know whether federal officials are upholding the public trust and adhering to the highest ethical standards, or using their powerful positions to enrich themselves.” In this case, Fitzgerald reportedly owned stocks in no less than five different tobacco companies, plus drug companies, when she was appointed CDC director. As part of her ethics agreement, she sold those stocks when accepting her new position.
But then, mere months into the job, she went and bought stocks in Japan Tobacco International (JTI), one of the largest tobacco companies in the world. She also bought stocks in a dozen other health-related companies, including Merck, Bayer, Humana and U.S. Foods Holding Corp.
She’s also been criticized for being slow to sell off other, earlier investments that were preventing her from fulfilling her professional duties. As reported by Politico, she was unable to provide Congressional testimony on at least three separate occasions due to financial conflicts of interest.8 Two of those hearings involved cancer detection and the opioid epidemic.
It’s really hard to imagine someone can reach this level of power and be so clueless about ethics. Smoking is a leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., so clearly, investing in a tobacco company is going to be at odds with your professional duty as the leader of the CDC. Just last November Fitzpatrick issued a CDC statement reinforcing the agency’s determination to “continue to use proven strategies to help smokers quit and to prevent children from using any tobacco products.”9
Vaping Technology — Hardly a Viable Smoking Cessation Tool
Interestingly, JTI’s emerging product line is primarily focused on vaping products,10,11 which are increasingly being marketed as tools to quit smoking regular cigarettes. One wonders whether this might have influenced Fitzpatrick’s decision to invest in this company. Such ponderings are entirely speculative of course, but the fact remains that while marketed as a smoking cessation tool, emerging evidence suggests vaping and electronic cigarettes are just as harmful, if not more harmful, than regular cigarettes.
Just last year, the CDC warned that e-cigarette use among children is a growing health concern. At present, e-cigarettes are the most commonly used form of tobacco by American youth and young adults. A significant draw for youngsters is the fact that vaping pens and e-cigarettes can be used to smoke all sorts of flavored concoctions, from bubble gum and watermelon to chocolate.
So, for Fitzgerald to state a public oath to fight use of tobacco products among children, and then purchase stocks in a company whose chief new product line is focused on kid-friendly vaping technology seems insincere at best.
At worst, her connection with JTI might eventually have led to her downplaying harms of vaping, or worse, endorsing its use as a smoking cessation tool based on flawed or biased science by the industry. Again, this is all speculation, and since Fitzpatrick has stepped down, the point is moot anyway. I’m speculating merely to draw attention to the very real dangers these kinds of conflicts of interest can create.
Tobacco Industry Invented Fake News
As noted in a recent STAT news article, product defense reporting is an old “fake news” tactic perfected by the tobacco industry decades ago, and while the tobacco industry no longer tries to defend cigarette smoking, you can see the same whitewash tactics being used to promote vaping as a safe alternative. Writer and former investigator for the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, Paul D. Thacker, describes how the tobacco industry invented and mastered the use of fake news to postpone the industry’s ultimate demise:12
“I fell into this world back in 2005, while working as an editor for the news section of Environmental Science & Technology … After … digging through the tobacco archive, I wrote a story about Steven J. Milloy, a columnist for FoxNews.com who ran a website called JunkScience.com and headed a shady organization called The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC).
In a 1993 letter, the public relations firm APCO explained how it launched TASSC ‘to expand and assist Philip Morris in its efforts with issues in targeted states in 1994’ …
My reporting led me to a fleet of industry-friendly scientists and writers who had the habit of pooh-poohing the potential dangers of products, dismissing studies finding possible harm, and attacking the FDA … Financial ties between tobacco and pharmaceutical companies weakened smoking cessation efforts, and the tobacco companies often sought to obscure their role in media campaigns by partnering with other industries to attack government regulation and independent research …
In a tobacco company’s budget, a line item for Steven J. Milloy showed that he was on the tobacco payroll while also writing columns that disparaged the science of secondhand smoke … As a way to defend industry from government regulation, corporate advocates routinely referred to studies published in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology … On the journal’s website, I was somehow admitted to the society’s member’s only section.
While scanning the minutes of its meetings, I noted that they were held in the offices of a law firm that defended companies from scrutiny by the FDA. Many members of the journal’s board had strong ties to the tobacco, pharmaceutical, and agrochemical industry. Indeed, a recent study of the journal called into question the many dubious papers it has published on tobacco.”
Newsweek Publishes Industry Propaganda Without Disclosing Conflicts of Interest
Disturbingly, popular news sources such as Newsweek and USA Today still choose to peddle this kind of industry propaganda. In a recent post, U.S. Right to Know (USRTK) asks, “Why are Newsweek and USA Today so willing to let special interests mislead their readers?”13
Last year, Henry Miller was fired by Forbes magazine when it was revealed an article published in his name had been written almost entirely by Monsanto. Fast-forward just a few months, and on January 19, 2018, Newsweek ran an article by Miller with the headline “The Campaign for Organic Food Is a Deceitful, Expensive Scam.”14,15
In this obvious hit piece aimed at invalidating the organic industry to protect chemical technology giants like Monsanto, Miller attacks New York Times reporter Danny Hakim’s writings, saying Hakim failed to do his homework before writing about genetic engineering. However, what people don’t realize — because Miller doesn’t reveal it, and Newsweek editors didn’t add it — is that Miller has a very personal gripe against Hakim.
Hakim was the reporter who revealed Monsanto wrote Miller’s Forbes article. Miller mentions none of that, nor does he disclose his collaborations with Monsanto. The fact that Newsweek let this lack of disclosure slide is disconcerting. The fact that they published anything by Miller at all is astounding, considering his reputation as an independent expert on GMOs has been soundly demolished. It’s now a well-known fact that Miller speaks for the chemical technology industry. As noted by USRTK:16
“Monsanto’s fingerprints were all over Miller’s Newsweek article … Miller used pesticide industry sources to make false claims about organic farming and attacked people who were named on a target list that had been developed by Monsanto and Jay Byrne, Monsanto’s former director of corporate communications, who was quoted in Miller’s piece with no mention of the Monsanto affiliation. None of this appears to bother Newsweek Opinion Editor Nicholas Wapshott, according to an on-the-record email exchange.”
That email exchange is too extensive for me to copy here, but I recommend you read it. It’s rather remarkable. In a nutshell, Wapshott chooses to print Miller’s propaganda because he’s met the man and “he seems genuine.”
USA Today Provides Platform for Industry Front Group
In a similar vein, USA Today recently published information furnished by the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) — a well-known front group (among those in the know) for several of the most harmful industries on the planet, including fracking, tobacco and agrichemicals — without disclosing any of these ties to readers. As noted by USRTK:17
“In February 2017, two dozen health, environmental, labor and public interest groups wrote to the editors of USA Today asking the paper to stop publishing science columns by the ACSH, or at least provide full disclosures about who funds the group …
ACSH spins science on fracking, e-cigarettes, toxic cosmetics and agrichemical … products, and solicits funding from those industries in exchange. Recent reporting establishes that ACSH works with Monsanto on messaging campaigns.”
USA Today editorial page editor Bill Sternberg responded saying that Alex Berezow, who wrote the piece in question, is considered “a credible voice on scientific issues,” citing the fact that Berezow has been on the paper’s board of contributors since 2011, holds a Ph.D. in microbiology, founded RealClearScience and is a contributor to many mainstream news outlets. The problem is, Berezow is also a senior fellow at ACSH, yet readers are not informed of this or the conflicts of interest inherent in this connection.
It’s truly unfortunate, but as noted by investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson, author of “Stonewalled,” investigative journalism has taken a backseat to corporate propaganda and news skewed to favor a particular corporate viewpoint. Another book that takes you on a deep dive into the murky waters of corporate-based influence is “Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science,” written by lifelong journalist and former Reuters reporter Carey Gillam.
As noted by both Attkisson and Gillam, the main problem we face today is the fact that corporate interests have been allowed to trump public safety. Publishing articles by industry mouthpieces like Miller and ACSH without disclosing readily apparent conflicts of interest keeps this dangerous status quo in place.
Revolving Door Between Big Pharma and Federal Agencies Keep Spinning
In related news, Kaiser Health notes that hundreds of individuals have “glided through the ‘revolving door’ that connects the drug industry to Capitol Hill and the Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS].”18 One of the latest is Alex Azar, former president of Eli Lilly and Company, who stepped into the position of HHS Secretary on January 24. As noted by NPR:19
“In that role, he’ll oversee the Food and Drug Administration [FDA], which regulates prescription drugs including those produced by his former employer. He’ll also oversee Medicare and Medicaid, which together spend hundreds of billions of dollars each year on prescription medications.”
According to Kaiser Health News’ investigation, nearly 340 former congressional staffers are now employed either by drug companies or their lobbying firms, and more than a dozen former drug company employees are now sitting on Capitol Hill and in various health care policy committees. Some of the most recent examples, aside from Azar, include:
Scott Gottlieb, former venture capitalist “with deep ties to the pharmaceutical industry,” now FDA Commissioner
Keagan Lenihan, former lobbyist for the drug distributor McKesson, now senior counselor to Azar
John O’Brien, former PhRMA lobbyist, now deputy assistant secretary of health policy for HHS Planning and Evaluation
Mary-Sumpter Lapinski, former lobbyist for Bristol-Myers Squibb, now counselor for the HHS secretary’s office
As noted by Jock Friedly, founder and president of LegiStorm20 (a congressional directory app that provides real-time data and alerts on congressional hearings, town hall gatherings and more): “Who do they really work for? Are they working for the person who is paying their bills at that moment or are they essentially working on behalf of the interests who have funded them in the past and may fund them in the future?”
While there may be rare exceptions, more often than not, professional relationships are not easily severed, and favors large and small tend to be expected from, and granted by, old colleagues. Add in the hope or promise of a financial reward, and it’s easy to see how public interests end up being sacrificed. There are no easy answers to these problems, but exposing the truth is a crucial step in the corrective process.