BENEFITS OF EATING COCONUT OIL
by Chris Whitcoe (Holistic Nutrition Lecturer at Pure Joy Academy)
Brain Food- Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), the primary type of fat found within coconut oil, have been found to boost cognitive performance in older adults suffering from memory disorders as serious as Alzheimer’s — and not after months or even days of treatment, but after a single 40 ml dose! A groundbreaking 2004 study published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging found that the administration of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), the primary fat type found in coconut oil, almost immediately improved cognitive function in older adults with memory disorders.
Fat Tastes Good! While I know many of you who are on the spiritual path feel that denying yourself something good gets you brownie karma points in heaven, we believe that enjoying our food is a divine blessing. In fact, that is why Pure Joy Academy promotes gourmet health food preparation. In the food processing industry, to make low fat foods taste good, other ingredients are increased: salt, sugar, hydrogenated oils, MSG and “natural” flavorings. These additives have had a devastating overall impact on our society’s health.
Feeling Full-When you deny fat; you make up for it somewhere else. For most Americans, the substitution is with processed carbohydrates. We have an internal “fullness meter” in our stomach that tells our body we can stop eating. Good fats along with healthy vegetable fiber give us the sense of fullness and satisfaction that we crave.
Bodies Require Energy-Russian athletes have known this for decades: fat is an excellent source for your body’s energy requirements. Our cells metabolize fat quite nicely. In fact, babies get most of their energy needs met with the fat of mother’s milk, and athletes get their “second wind” when their bodies kick into fat burning mode.
Leptin Resistance-New information on fruits and processed carbs is showing us that they create leptin resistance. Normal Leptin function tells us when we are full, and suppresses appetite. Excess fructose consumption (which often happens when we reduce fat intake) results in an increase in insulin production. Insulin is what escorts the energy into the cells, and if your cells don’t require it, then they stop listening. This creates insulin resistance and leads to leptin resistance. This means that we are not getting the signal that we are full, but our cells are not requiring any more energy. So we eat more and send the excess energy to our fat cells. This is contributing to the rise in obesity.
Lock up those Radicals! -Unfortunately, most processed foods contain highly processed trans fats, rancid fats or poor quality (i.e., cheap) fat and oil. Quality fat is very sensitive to heat, light and oxygen, which cause them to oxidize and form free radicals. Be sure to keep your fats out of the sunlight (in the refrigerator or your cool cupboard). If you cook in oil, use high quality coconut oil, which is the most heat stable of all oils, or better yet, steam your food and drizzle the oil on after the food has been removed from the heat source.
Benefits of Healthy Fat-Myelin, the protective sheath that covers communicating neurons, is composed of 70% fat. One of the most common fatty acids in myelin is oleic acid, which is also the most abundant fatty acid in human milk and in a healthy diet.
- Plant based fats have been shown to reduce breast and colon cancer.
- Healthy fat improves the absorption of (fat-soluble) vitamins
- Raises HDL “good” cholesterol and lowers LDL “bad” cholesterol
- Used in the construction of cell membranes
Best Sources-Your best way to get healthy fat into your diet is with whole, organic, untreated, unheated coconut, avocado, nuts (walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, pecans, etc.), seeds (chia, flax, sesame, pumpkin, etc.) and olives. Oils are a good way to take in those fats, however, quality oil is sensitive to heat and light, so it’s best to either get reputable brands or simply eat them in their whole food form. For nuts and seeds, it is best to soak them in water to activate the enzymes.
How Much? -While everyone is unique and your diet should be individualized to your unique physiology, it is probably true that a 30-80% of you calories should come from healthy fats (when eating more fats, it is imperative that you reduce or eliminate your sugar/high glycemic food consumption to avoid weight gain). While this may sound like nutritional heresy, health and wellness research is supporting this very concept now. As you learn to eat more good fats, which taste great, and reduce your sugar and carb intake, not only will you enjoy healthy food more, you will enjoy a healthier and even a possibly leaner body!
RAW, VEGAN, PALEO COCONUT RECIPES
Recipes by Elaina Love
2 cups coconut milk (fresh, canned or boxed)
2 Tbs raw Cacao Nibs
2 Tbs mesquite powder
1 Tbs Maca Powder
6 Dates (pitted) or 6 Tablespoons Xylitol, honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, etc.
2 Brazil nuts
½ tsp. cinnamon powder
1 cup ice
- Blend on high until smooth.
Thai Coconut Curry Soup
Makes 8 one cup servings
3 young young coconuts (about 1 ½ cups meat and 4 ½ cups coconut water)
1 ½ tsp. grated or zested ginger
Juice of 1 lime (about 2 Tbs.)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
3 dates, pitted (skip for low glycemic)
1 tsp. Mineral salt (Himalayan, Real or Celtic)
1 Tbs. Coconut Aminos (or Tamari)
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp. curry powder
1 Thai chili (small red or green) use seeds for extra heat
- Open all the young coconuts and pour the water into a pitcher.
- Measure out 1 ½ cups coconut water and pour into the blender.
- Scoop all the coconut meat out and mix with the remaining ingredients.
- Blend until the coconut meat becomes smooth and there is no sign of coconut pieces (this may take a couple minutes if the coconuts are cold).
- Add the remaining coconut water from the other pitcher and blend again. (add less coconut water for a thicker soup or for a salad dressing)
- You may warm it on the stove if desired or serve as is.
- Pour into bowls and decorate with sliced green onions or dehydrated onions.
This soup will last in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Easy Pad Thai
1/2-1 tsp. kelp powder or dulse flakes
1/4 cup coconut butter
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes
zest of 1 lime
1peeled lime, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 pitted dates (optional)
2 Tbs. coconut oil
1 small Thai chills or 1 jalapeño
1-2 Tbs. shredded or zested ginger
2 Tbs. coconut aminos
1/4-1/2 cup water
3/4 tsp. high mineral salt
optional: 1 tsp. apple cider
- Blend all ingredients until creamy including the tomato soak water.
3 zucchini made into noodles with a spiral slicer* or vegetable peeler
3 scallions thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, julienned
10 snow peas, julienned
½ lb.bean sprouts (the long white ones)
2 TBS lime juice
½ tsp. Himalayan sea salt
1/2 cup dehydrated almonds, chopped
¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 handful of bean sprouts
lime wedges to decorate
- Take the vegetables and cover with the lime and salt and set aside for 10 minutes. Then drain all the liquid off that has sweated out of the vegetables. You can even use a salad spinner to get the veggies extra dry.
- Place the sweated and drained veggies in a bowl and mix with 1 cup of sauce (or more). Then arrange on a platter or individual plates, and cover with chopped nuts and cilantro, or put the sauce and toppings on the side and let individuals serve themselves.
Optional: Warm the dish in a dehydrator at 115º before serving.
Bavarian Coconut Custard
Recipe by Elaina Love
2 cups young coconut meat
1/2 c. coconut water
2 Tbs. orange juice (1/2 orange)
1/8 tsp. salt
1 pinch-1/8 tsp. turmeric for color
1 vanilla bean, chopped or scraped
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/4 cup honey or powdered xylitol with 1 Tbs. water -more to taste
1 Tbs. soy lecithin
2 Tbs. coconut oil
- Blend on high until smooth.
- Refrigerate in small bowls and serve when firm.
- Top with berries and a mint leaf if desired.
Chocolate Ganache Frosting or Topping
1 cup maple syrup or coconut sugar
¾ cups cacao powder
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
½ cup water (or more as needed)
1/8 tsp. salt
- Blend until smooth. Store in a squirt bottle and serve warm for immediate use on ice cream or set up in the refrigerator and use as frosting on your brownie or custard.
If you refrigerate this, it will become ganache so use a wide mouth container so you can scoop it with a spoon.