Sunday, June 24, 2012
Crazy for Coconuts!
Last year, I was trying to figure out how to drop a few baby pounds and came to talk to my amazing health practitioner about it. She told me to add coconut oil each day to my diet because it would help to speed up my metabolism and that it would help to starve off hunger pains while dieting as well as give me more energy and help with my defunk thyroid. Well, since this was to be my very first diet, I was terrified and thought I could use all the help I could get! I had seen friends fail, gain it all back and I felt I needed something special to get me to give up some of my bad habits. I didn't want to exchange skinny for crabby. I have 5 kids! I don't have time for being cranky and tired. Thus began my journey into learning all I could about coconut oil because I had not really had any experience with it. I'd seen it at the store but just didn't give it a second thought since I had always heard how wonderful olive oil was and it was what I grew up on. However, I believed her as she has never steered me wrong! The recommend amount was 2 tsp per day. While I had all the intentions of eating it out of the jar, I just couldn't muster the texture. When coconut oil is warm, it is just like regular oil. When it is cooled ( or stored in the fridge) it is solid, like butter. So this led to a quest to find better options with coconut oil! Or at least one I could eat straight out of the jar if need be.
One of the great things I learned was that coconut oil is also a medium chain fatty acid that creates energy for your body to use, not store! That's right, you can eat it like butter and it won't stick on your thighs! Amazing huh? That was what initially sold me, honestly! When you can eat fat and not gain fat? I was a fan right off the bat since it is pretty remarkable that it actually makes you loose fat! It acts like a carbohydrate, giving your body energy but works like a protein acting as a nutritional fat keeping you less hungry and giving you energy. What an amazing way to help me loose weight! No supplements to speed up my heart and keep me up at night with caffeine or FDA approved pills that would certainly be pulled when some research went into the side effects! I could fry my chicken breast in it or a side of fish and not burn it or make it dry while watching my calories? WIN! I put it in my smoothies, I make muffins with it, I fry anything I can with it, I make chocolate candy with it, bake with it, etc. I have gone as far as transfer nearly every recipe that calls for vegetable oil or butter and use coconut oil instead. That lowers the fat right off the top! I add it to my baked goods for anything that asked for oil, and I no longer try to substitute applesauce because it's the fat that will help me loose fat! And let's face it, fat makes everything taste better! I don't care what you say, bacon and butter cheer everyone up! ( Maybe not together, but you get my drift). And fat or protein really help to lower the sugar index of starch foods so I knew this was a win win for me.
First, I found that it made amazing fried food! I guarantee, the best ever fried chicken ever! And hey, I thought going on a diet was going to forbid me from ever eating anything fried! If you like popcorn, as my family does, it is the secret to the amazing movie popcorn your paying $10.00 for! ( though I am sure they aren't using the best quality oil for sure because my popcorn from home tastes way better) And you won't need any butter because the coconut oil gives it a nice taste and it's already got a bit of oil on so you can add your seasonings or salt! It's great for sauteing with such a mild taste that you can use it in everything. One of the greatest things I learned was unlike olive oil ( my former favorite oil) I could heat coconut oil to high temps and it was still healthy! Olive oil is healthy, especially cold and virgin ( extra virgin particularly) but it can't be heated much or it kills off the properties that make it healthy and then, make it toxic! Oh yes, that's a research article right there. And honestly, olive oil has a bitter and heavy taste that doesn't go well with cookies or sweet foods. Coconut oil is a lot different. Not only can you heat it higher, it doesn't burn, smell or change the taste once it gets that hot! And it has such a light and mild taste that it can be used to fry donuts or tortillas! One of the best things about it is that when I am using coconut oil, I don't worry about how much oil I am using, or how many calories of fat this will be, or trying to paper towel it to death to dry all the oil off because I know I need these good fats to heal my gut, skin, hair, thyroid, etc. ! After all, your only dry on the outside when your dry from the inside. So eating those healthy fats naturally gives you healthier looking skin, hair and healthy bowel movements ( fat makes things move ya know) and who wouldn't want ALL that?
But if you do have some dry skin...it really works well as a body oil! It's all I am using these days, after all, your skin is the largest organ your body has and it's been proven scientifically that 60% of what you put on your skin is totally absorbed into your body! This means, the toxins in the lotions your using, the preservatives, the stabilizers, fragrances, parabens, and more are sitting in your lymphatic system and entering your liver causing an extra work load for your body. So maybe your eating all organic and free range but if your putting toxins all over your body, your not as healthy as you'd like to be! And research has proven that these aid in causing cancer. In fact, a recent studied showed that even women who did not use deodorant, had parabens in their breast tissue and they had breast cancer! You can find out more about that here : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/organic-authoritycom/breast-cancer-parabens-_b_1209041.html
I love the smell of coconut oil too because it reminds me of that tropical suntan lotion I used when I was younger, you know the one with coconut oil in it that smelled like heaven that you would fry yourself in the sun with for a dark tan? Yes, that was me too! That's because native people to the islands have been using it for their skin for a LONG time. A little goes a long way as well and honestly, those fancy smelling lotions I used to use, were as much money but never lasted very long. Another use for this coconut oil is that you can use it to put on your lips as a natural lip gloss! I know right?? Tastes great too and guess what, it won't matter if you eat it, you know it's food so unlike typical gloss, where there are lots of ingredients, most you wouldn't eat ( and since when do you wipe off gloss to eat, drink or even lick your lips? Scary but women eat on average 4 pounds of lip gloss and lipstick! YUCK!) And as a mom I use it in place of those cruddy baby products that have no moisture in them but just fragrance, chemicals and yes, even parabens or use it in place of your healthy baby lotions and oils! It works really well on my toddlers after a bath. I even used it on my son's rash and it worked wonders! And if you have some dry ends on your hair...guess what, it works for that too!! It's such a light oil that it smells wonderful so you can use it on your hair and not worry you'll smell funky! As some one who has always had dry hair I found this really helpful and much cheaper then what I was using not to mention, if I have a little on my hands afterwards I can just rub it on my skin! Sorta nice having less products in my bathroom that's for sure! And I share it with my kids!
So my love of coconut oil took me to lots of places to find it and I tested it ALL. Yes, I was going through it pretty fast because it was working so well for me and it was really the only oil my family and I were and still are using. Even my adult son eats 2 teaspoons a day ( he lost 30 pounds so he's addicted to it now) ! I had tried many brands to see what the difference was, verses the cost etc. and they all seemed the same to me. I had been trying several organic and virgin coconut oils from Whole Foods and my local grocery store but NONE were in the same field as this. Tropical Traditions Coconut oil has a rich white color, a smell that reminds you of a coconut fruit bar and a taste that is pretty darn yummy! I know, that's not why your eating it but if your like my oldest son and your going to eat it right out of the jar, or put this on your skin, I am telling you, it is amazing!
How I found out about Tropical Traditions was I needed some coconut flour to make lower carb treats while being gluten free and hoping to enjoy a goodie now and then and not ruin my weight loss attempts. It worked! I did loose 50 pounds in less then a year fairly effortlessly. And I was thrilled that a little bag lasts so long! Coconut flour isn't a grain flour but it makes amazing baked goods and breads without any added starches or other grain flours! A little really goes a long way so when you think for the price you could have two times as much rice flour, but you will not use nearly half as much coconut flour. So if I am making a pan of brownies with it, I only need 3/4 of a cup of flour! That's it! Oh, and you can also make bread with it and many other items! It has a delicious flavor, high in fiber, low in carbs and a great source of protein, not to mention all the other health benefits of a fruit, like antioxidants and more! I found tons of gluten free coconut recipes ( and I find new ones weekly) from Tropical Traditions.
Anyhow....I could really go on and on about coconut flour and oil but if you want to learn more about it, I have been authorized to offer you a FREE book on coconut oil, a $25.00 value just for using the link posted on my blog with your first purchase. From this site you'll find the flour and lots of other great non gmo, organic, free range, grass fed meats and other amazing baking, household and personal items! Even coconut lotion free if you'd rather something different the oil. I am sure you'll find as I did, it's the best oil to use and coconut flour is awesome for so many gluten free treats and recipes! And another added bonus is this company offers fantastic customer service! In this day and age, it's nice to have that personal touch! You can read even more interesting facts about coconut oil at this link! Don't be surprised if your sitting there for a while.
Here is a candy recipe I use to eat my coconut oil every day! It's perfect when I am getting a tad hungry or mid day when my energy is slumping, it's a great snack I look forward to everyday.
Melt ( or use room temp) coconut oil ( 1 cup)
Measure equal amount of your cocoa powder ( 1 cup) OR carob powder ( this is my favorite)
mix together and add a tad of Celtic Sea salt or any good sea salt ( it helps to balance the cocoa)
a few drops of stevia liquid ( you can flavors like vanilla cream or orange or my fave, peppermint)
or some Truvia or Xylitol powder ( about 2 or 3 packets is plenty sweet or you could also use any other sweetener such as raw honey or maple syrup or agave if you prefer)
Mix well or melt a bit over the stove ( keep stirring till well blended) pour over some parchment paper lined aluminum or plastic container. Place in freezer for 20 mins, cut it into small or bite size pieces or bend the container so it cracks in pieces, place in a container with a lid. Keep it cold in the freezer or fridge as it will melt if it becomes room temp.
By the way, if you like me, miss some of the old candy treats you used to have, ( Twix, Kit Kat, etc.) I have news for you...there are a few add ins you can put in before sticking it in the freezer. For these, use a mini muffin pan, line it with mini muffin papers (or cupcake papers) and put half the coconut/ chocolate mix in when liquid, then add Mary's Gone Crackers pretzel pieces or other gluten free pretzel pieces, even one broken gives it a nice crunch. I really like adding a macadamia nut or an almond too, just one per muffin cup to give it a nice crunch or flavor and then top with more liquid chocolate and freeze! You can also use some honey Chex to give it a smores type flavor. I'll make these so that they are easy to hold, carry, or pretty enough to give as a gift or serve as a treat to friends when they come by.
They look like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.
*And you can eat it easily out of the freezer ( it really doesn't freeze because of the oil) So yummy, such a great way to give yourself a little treat, tastes like candy but sure doesn't do anything to your pancreas or liver like candy and remember, it won't be sticking to your thighs! Whoo hooo!