All About Coconut ~ Part 1

by laury on March 20, 2012 · 38 comments

I’ve posted about coconut oil a few times before. It’s something that plays a big part in my diet, and I am ashamed to admit how often I need to replenish my stock.

CoconutOilNutiva

Recently many readers and friends who read the blog have asked me:

is coconut oil really healthy for you?

or…

“Okay I bought it, what do I do with it?”

and my favorite:

“I bought coconut oil and it got hard? There must be something wrong with it/me?”

I know this has been talked about a ton on here, but instead of link, link, linking I thought I’d put it all in one place. Even if some of the information is being repeated.

coconutoil

the first time I ever bought it I was freaked out that it was solid too!!

Is it healthy?

Short answer —YES times a thousand! It’s one of the best things you could put into your body!

The thing with coconut oil is although it is saturated fat, which is traditionally known as a “bad fat” {I will get to that in a minute}. The saturated fat found in coconuts are made up of short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids that the body will quickly convert to energy and burn instead of storing as fat!

So when you consume coconut oil it may help you to lose weight! As well as increase your energy, improve digestion and lower your risk for certain diseases!

Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which makes up half of the medium-chained fatty acids. Lauric acid is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal fat that is used medicinally to treat influenza, bronchitis, yeast infections, cold, ulcers, and many other ailments! Lauric acid is present in breast milk so if you think about it, nature intended for us to eat it! If it provides amazing benefits for your growing baby (brain food!) then why wouldn’t it be healthy for us as adults?

 

It’s solid? What gives?

Coconut oil is liquid above 75 degrees F. It can easily be melted on low heat. Or you can just spread it like butter!

Where do I start? What do I do with it?

You can use coconut oil anywhere you would use butter or oil. Anywhere!  In baking and cooking and everything in between!

I simply put a tablespoon into my hot oatmeal in the morning and it gives it a buttery, delicious flavor. I cook my eggs in it, or anything I make on the pan. I even melt a little to put on top of Ella’s veggies and she loves it! I recently pan seared some tilapia with coconut oil and lime…and it was unbelievable!

You can melt it and roast veggies, use it in dessert, or basically spread it on a piece of toast and sprinkle some cinnamon {<-great suggestion from Morgan!} I’ve mentioned this before, but my favorite pre-workout energy bites are pitted Medjool dates filled with a little coconut oil. I’ll do 3-4 dates with 1/2 Tablespoon before an intense workout and it provides the fuel I need! Many people even love it in smoothies!

I’ve even heard that when you place it in the refrigerator or into freezer trays it tastes like candy! I have so many ideas running through my head with that one!

But does it taste real “coconutty”?

No. To me it has more of a rich, buttery flavor. I was never a fan of a strong coconut taste. I actually used to think it did when I used it in a raw vegan dessert once, but learned shortly after that it was just plain delicious, nothing overpowering! My picky husband even prefers it on our popcorn over the movie theater stuff! You have no idea what kind of testament that is, unless you know him!

I know you said the saturated fat isn’t bad, but what about all the years of doctors and dieticians, and media, etc telling us it is???

More and more is coming out about saturated fats and how they may not be root of all things evil. In fact, all of those studies that doctors based their advice on studies that were often sponsored by the companies selling margarine. Yes, the same stuff that we found out actually DID cause a raise in all the health problems over the past few decades. How about that?

I highly recommend you reading this article on saturated fat by Lisa Beach over at Thrive Style. Lisa is a PhD and a nutrition professor, and she’s pretty damn smart and informative! When you’re finished with that you should go ahead and read this article written by a heart surgeon who swallowed his pride and bravely came out the speak the truth about saturated fat and it’s link to heart disease!  I will touch more on the real culprit (cough- sugar, trans fats, processed foods) in a future post!

ChocolateCherryProteinCake

Here is a round-up of some of my favorite treat recipes (other than my regular use which is what was mentioned above)!’

Chocolate Cherry Protein Cake

Movie Theater Popcorn

from Pure2Raw:

Thin Mint Protein Cookies

Raw Triple Chocolate Cheesecake {<—you will die when you see these!}

Mini Coconut Lime “Cheesecakes”

from Little House of Veggies:

another great suggestion from Morgan:

Use it in whole fruit dressings. I make these all the time, and it is a little trick that I do to keep my dressing as healthy as they can be. You would assemble a salad, for instance, organic lettuce, jicama, cucumber, tomato, and sprouts, herbs (or whatever you prefer) and then for the dressing keep is as whole food based as possible. Choose a fruit (I love to use mango) and then add a little citrus (i.e. lime), then add a touch of sweet so I would add a few dates, or a some liquid stevia if keeping it sugar free as far as no added sugars aside what naturally occurs in the fruit. Then add 1/4 cup or so of coconut oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Its like a fruity, lime, coconuty, tropical goodness.

Yum! Thanks, Mo Mo! (I have a truffle recipe from her for the next post!)

from Thrive-Style

Peanut Butter “Magic Shell”

Food is not the only thing I use it for! Your skin is the largest organ on in your body….we absorb more toxins and chemicals that way than we do any other way! I have switched from chemical laden night creams to using pure coconut oil! Ella gets it on her skin and bottom too! It’s amazing! Now do you see why I go through so much????

CoconutOilCotton

Beauty

Eye makeup remover and moisturizer!!!

 

Stay tuned –part 2 will be covering coconut water as well as the rest of the coconut. And more recipe round ups from some of my favorites!

Tip: When you shop—look for “expeller pressed extra virgin coconut oil.” Preferably organic!

——

What’s your favorite use for coconut oil?

(Links welcome for those that check the comment section…and me!)

Coconut oil “virgins” –do you now feel more comfortable trying it? How do you think you will use it now that you have more information?

If I didn’t cover something let me know and I will address it in my next post!

I have some taxes to get done. Wish me luck :/

Talk soon!

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