Archives for posts with tag: coconut oil

There is something I’ve been meaning to write about ever since I started Cloves & Ginger but I kept putting it off because I never knew where to start. I still don’t really know where to start, but I’m going to give it a go anyway! I want to talk about FAT. Everyone thinks they know about fat: it is supposed to be bad for us, it’s supposed to cause heart disease and it’s supposed to be the main cause of obesity.

But none of this is true.

There are bad fats that cause all sorts of diseases, but these are bad because they have been processed and altered during food production. These are called trans-fats or hydrogenated fats and are not naturally occurring. They can be found in margarines, vegetable spreads and a lot of packaged foods such as sausage rolls, quiches, biscuits and cakes.

Natural fats found in pure oils, nuts, avocado, meat and even butter are

not the enemy. [They are] a very important path to health and without [them] we would not be able to make hormones, vitamin D, vitamin K, all our cells and brain tissue. Fat not only makes things but has an important part to play in our structure. Structural fat gives us beautiful cheeks, padding under our heels, protection for vital organs and curves of a woman’s body.  Fat is also required for energy, in fact fat is a better quick energy source then sugar.

Know Your Fats – www.changinghabits.com

Cyndi O’Meara explains all of this so much better than I can, so please head over to her blog (once you finished reading this one, of course!) for a more detailed and scientifically accurate explanation of why the low fat, high carbohydrate diet is not the healthy diet we’ve been told it is. Try reading:

Know Your Fats

and

It’s Official Saturated Fats Are Good For You!

The latest evidence about fats tells us we need to stop avoiding natural fats – and that includes saturated fats. Low fat alternatives that are advertised as good for our health and our waist lines are not only lacking in essential nutrients, they are often packed with unhealthy sugars. Trans-fats and unpronounceable chemicals are also common in these supposedly healthy foods. Jessie Reimers has written an excellent blog in which she shows the ingredients in a low fat tub of yoghurt. It’s worth a look.

Based on all of this, if you want to be healthy and slim, I suggest you ditch the diet foods, cut down on your carbohydrate intake and get to know your fats a little bit better. Here are a few suggestions on where to start:

  • Replace sugary snacks with nuts and nut butter.
  • At meal times, pile your plate high with protein, fat and vegetables but go easy on the starchy carbs.
  • Don’t be afraid to use oil in cooking or as a dressing, but make sure you pick the right oil for the job. Oils change structure and become harmful to our health when they are heated past their smoke point. Olive oil, for example, has quite a low smoke point so it is best to use it for cold dressings on salads rather than for cooking. Rapeseed oil and coconut oil have high smoke points so they are brilliant to cook with.
  • If you eat cheese and yogurt or drink milk go full-fat rather than skimmed. It won’t make you fat and you’ll enjoy the taste so much more.

Please do go and research this big FAT issue further. I think you’ll be surprised by some of the information out there.

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Just a few minutes after finishing my post on coconut yesterday and just days after my post on Alzheimer’s, I stumbled across this amazing article on Coconut oil and Alzheimer’s.

It’s well worth a read.

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Last night I cooked this delicious chicken and sweet potato curry:

curry

I enjoyed it so much I had to share it with you, and the best thing about it is it’s made with coconut oil (instead of olive oil) and coconut milk. I just can’t get enough of coconut these days. For one thing, it makes everything taste lovely – it’s especially nice for adding flavour to meals and desserts when I’m trying to avoid sugar – but it’s also really really really good for me. Hurrah! It’s always nice when something you love turns out to be good for you.

So here we go with some of the health benefits. Coconut:

  • is antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-parasitic;
  • is packed with fibre, vitamins, minerals and amino acid;
  • is good for bone health;
  • is good for the skin: it helps healing and keeps you looking young;
  • boosts the immune system;
  • helps prevent obesity;
  • improves heart health;
  • has a low glycaemic index;
  • is great for digestion;
  • boosts energy and improves athletic performance.

And that’s just the beginning. For a more exhaustive list of health benefits and for more information on the list above, have a look at one of these sites:

www.care2.com

www.coconutsecret.com

www.coconutresearchcenter.org

Personally, I’m taking all of this to mean we should eat coconut as often as possible so here are a few ideas of how to get your daily dose:

Unsweetened desiccated coconut: bake with it, add it to porridge or muesli, mix it with nuts and seeds, or try it in hot milk with honey (one of my mum’s favourite snacks);

Dried coconut: excellent for snacking;
Coconut milk: Great for making curries and ice-cream, and if you’re a coffee lover, you might want to try this coconut latte. It’s still on my list of things to try very soon;

Coconut sugar: This is better for you than normal, refined sugar because it is rich in nutrients and has a lower glycaemic index. I’m hoping to use it for the first time to make my Dad’s birthday cake this weekend (hopefully…maybe) so watch this space;

Coconut flour: I haven’t tried baking with this yet, but I’m definitely up for trying it.

And now for the best one of all, Coconut oil!

You may have noticed I use it in quite a few of my baking recipes instead of oil or melted butter. I also use it when cooking soups, baby food, curries and all sorts of other dishes because it is wonderfully aromatic and adds real flavour.

According to several sources, Coconut oil is the healthiest oil in the world, helping with a whole range of health issues including lowering the risk of heart disease and diabetes, aiding in skin repair, preventing osteoporosis, helping sufferers of chronic fatigue, improving metabolism, and possibly even helping treat Alzheimer’s. Again, for a more in-depth look at Coconut oil I’ll let more qualified people do the writing for me. Check out this site www.naturalnews.com.

A few other things that might interest you:

I’ve just read this article about oil pulling using coconut oil. I’m not so sure I’m ready for oil pulling yet, but it makes a very interesting read.

Coconut oil can be used to moisturise the skin and condition the hair. Again, not something I’ve tried yet but definitely worth looking in to.

So, to conclude, coconut rocks! Pina colada anyone? 😉

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Added 27/02/13: to find out more about how coconut oil may be used to treat Alzheimer’s, see here.