I used to buy fresh coconuts, drill and hammer them into submission, save the milk, dig out the coconut meat with a 7 inch oyster knife and blend up my own coconut cream. Since I’m not an oyster fan, I bought the knife specifically for coconut excavation. I’ve only tried oysters a couple of times and it wasn’t a particularly good experience. Not that I would know, but they give me the sensation that I’m participating in a immunity challenge on Survivor Java and I’m trying to force down rhinocerus boogers or something. Ewww.
Back to the point of this post, which is to highlight the beneficial properties of coconut oil. By the way, I no longer bother with starting from scratch with the coconuts as I quickly realized there were better ways for me to spend my time. Plus, with all those potentially dangerous tools I was fussing with, I was afraid I was going to injure myself in an attempt to stay healthy. Luckily there are some good coconut products available.
First off, you need a jar of organic, cold pressed, centrifuge extracted, extra virgin coconut oil. Next, take a glob of it and work it into your hair, pile it on top of your head and hope no one rings your doorbell. Let it sit for a couple of hours, wash and rinse thoroughly, swing your head back and forth and admire the shine.
I’ve been using coconut oil, milk, water, flakes, cream, powder and flour for quite some time now and I’m sold on its goodness. I’m not sure it’s the all-out miracle cure some claim it to be, but I do like it for a variety of reasons. I use coconut oil for all my sautéing and frying, regardless of what I’m making and surprisingly, it doesn’t impart a coconut taste to the food. I also use it in baking for its delicate taste and the “oily” moisture it provides to gluten-free baked goods.
The type I use is made from fresh coconuts that are cold pressed into a milky emulsion, then chilled and placed in a centrifuge where the oil and water are separated. The finished product is unrefined, stable, pure and it tastes wonderful.
I won’t bore you with too many details, but coconut oil is a concentrated source of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), which do not require bile acids for breakdown. Instead of a process of emulsification and enzymatic activity in the small intestine, MCFAs are sent directly to the liver for processing.
This is where sports nutrition, one of my interests, comes into play. MCFAs give your engine better gas mileage because they’re converted to energy more efficiently (and not stored as fat). I make little energy bars from coconut oil and several other ingredients that I take along on hikes. Like most of my food preparation, I make them differently each time, so I don’t have a reliable recipe. I’ll figure it out and do a post on it one of these days as I know from personal experience that they provide balanced energy for difficult endurance activities. Coconut water is also filled with electrolytes, making it a good addition to homemade energy drinks and smoothies. Although there is lots of information suggesting coconut oil speeds metabolism by impacting overall thyroid function, I’d like to see more reliable scientific evidence supporting the link between the two.
On to digestive health. Coconut oil is a saturated fat, but it’s a good one and plays a structural role in cell membrane integrity and works as a precursor to various substances that regulate intestinal motility. Blah, blah, blah — these fats are good ones and provide all kinds of benefits to the GI tract, boosting overall intestinal health and immunity. Remember, a large part of your immune system is located in your gut. Research also indicates coconut oil to have anti-viral and anti-microbial properties, so it’s a wonderful addition to a healthy diet.
Coconut flour: naturally gluten-free, high in fiber, low in carbohydrate, good source of protein, high in good fat, adds rich texture and lends natural sweetness to baked goods. Replace up to 20% coconut flour in your recipe, you must also add additional liquid or it will be too dry.
For a detailed post I did on fats and oils, please see do you need an oil change.
Peace, love and coconuts!