Wednesday, December 17, 2008
CooCoo For Coconut
Coconut oil has to be among one of the most controversial topics these days. I am constantly being asked about it's relation to health. How can a saturated fat be healthy?
Coconut oil has been perpetuated by both the media and medical practitioners as unhealthy, fattening and damaging to the arteries. Well let me tell you something- this is a wrong approach as those who are against coconut oil have not really looked at the whole picture. It is the hydrogenated coconut oil that is use in most processed products that are deemed unhealthy, as hydrogenation changes the delicate nature of virgin coconut oil into a trans fat. By the way this goes for most cold pressed vegetables oils (such as olive, sunflower, safflower and sesame) that when heated at high temperatures they too become denatured and altered into a trans fat!
There have been studies upon studies done on the health benefits of virgin coconut oil (in it's original state), from its antibacterial, antiviral, energizing and healing properties all the way to being used daily as a moisturizer!
Bruce Fife, among many others such as Conrado S. Dayrit have proven that coconut oil is actually a cure to so many health ailments and diseases.
For example, the saturated fat component of coconut oil is made up of certain fatty acid chains called medium chain triglycerides or MCT's. These are different from animal sourced fatty acid chains made up from long chain triglycerides. This may not sound like a big deal, but in your body it is! The long chain fatty acids found in animal and dairy fats are the ones that clog arteries, contribute to increased cholesterol, heart disease and weight gain. Also the consumption of processed and packaged foods made up of trans fats (or altered vegetable oils) such as margerine and shortening are also the main culprits that lead to high cholesterol and other heart damaging conditions such as atherosclerosis. Whereas the medium chain triglycerides found in coconut oil actually help people who suffer from digestive problems to protecting against infections to boosting energy and metabolism and it even protects against serious health problems such as cancer and diabetes. (Source: The Truth about Coconut Oil : Conrado S. Dayrit, 2005)
So don't be afraid of this wonderful and tasteful fruit, use it whole, use it's water, use it's butter, use it's shell. There are endless possibilities!
I make wonderful recipes with Coconut Oil - it is one of my favourite ingredients. It is dairy free, gluten free and full of delicious flavour. It can also be heated to high temperatures in baking and stir frying without any fret or used raw in smoothies and desserts. You can even drink the water straight from the coconut and use it as an energy drink before, after or during exercise!
I could really get into a whole long discussion about how wonderful coconut oil really is, but I am going to leave it at that.
So get yourself educated about the benefits of coconut by reading some books or going to:
I will also leave you with a recipe for shortbread...yes coconut oil is the perfect replacement for butter in this decadent and rich shortbread cookie created by Jae Steele.
Spicy & Sweet Shortbread Cookies
(Slightly Adapted from Jae Steele's recipe for Shortbread Cookies in her book "Get it Ripe")
1/2 cup maple sugar or organic sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/4 cups brown rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup virgin coconut oil, diced
1/4 cup room temperature applesauce
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, cocoa powder or maple crystals
Preheat oven to 275 F
1.Place sugar and salt in food processor and blend for 30 seconds to give a finer texture.
2. Add the flour and baking powder and blend to combine. Add the oil and applesauce and process until well combined, but do not allow to form a ball.
3. Scrape dough onto a clean surface with spatula and knead gently with your hands and form a ball. Divide dough in half and roll out each half to 1/2 inch thick.
4. Cut dough into rounds using a cookie cutter (I chose a heart!)
5. Place cookies on to parchment paper lined baking sheets and dust with cinnamon, cocoa powder or powder maple sugar.
6. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until they turn a light colour. The shortbread will be be firm at first, but it will harden as it cools.
7. Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheets before storing in an air tight container for up to a month.