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Foodie Friday: Coconut to the Rescue

I posted our concerns about dairy and today Heidi is giving us an alternative…  Take a look and let us know what you think?  Are you willing to try?

Let’s briefly continue our chat about dairy and then I’d like to introduce an alternative…  Have you given dairy up yet? Or tried to consume less dairy?  Do you feel any differences?

To recap from last week, diary is a great low carb fat source and makes cooking and prepping a whole lot easier and leaves you with a variety to choose from.  However, dairy doesn’t play nicely with everyone and particularly if you battle with PCOS or other fertility issues.  Dairy could also have an effect on weight loss (although published articles in peer reviewed journals are contradictory).

But how easy is it to actually give up dairy?  I’d like to introduce a major player in the LCHF lifestyle – and that is coconut.

Introducing Coconut

Coconut can be used in many forms and it’s an excellent source of healthy fat. In fact, coconut fat is 92% saturated fat and contains very little inflammatory Omega 6, which is what you want!

  • Milk:  Coconut milk and cream can be used as a substitute for dairy in a lot of recipes and even in your coffee!! It’s great in desserts too!
  • Oil:  Coconut oil is an excellent oil to use in cooking, as it is very stable at a high heat and will retain its structure and health benefits.  Most other oils break down into harmful components when exposed to very high heat.
  • Meat:  Coconut meat – dried or fresh – makes for a great snack and is mostly just fat and fibre.
  • Flour:  Coconut flour is a great baking substitute and can be used in many different ways.  {See previous Foodie Fridays post on baking substitutes}

Coconut Benefits

Coconut oil is high in Medium-Chain Triglycerides {MCT} which is basically fat that is very easily digestible and doesn’t need to be broken down to be used for energy. It’s instant energy.  It also aids in weight-loss by increasing your metabolic rate – yes please!  People with gallbladder problems can easily digest coconut oil too, because of these MCT’s.  Coconut oil is also shown to enhance thyroid function. This in turn stimulates the conversion of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol into the anti-aging hormones pregneonolone, progesterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). These valuable hormones not only aid in weight management, but also in preventing heart disease, senility, and other degenerative diseases. It is believed that coconut oil helps convert thyroid hormone T3 to T4, a big bonus for the thousands of people who have sluggish thyroid function that causes weight gain and inhibits weight loss.  Coconut fat is very high in antioxidants and even though it doesn’t contain any micronutrients, it does aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E & K.

Read your labels!

Beware though, that as with anything, not all coconut products are what they claim to be!  Read your labels.  Watch out for additives and stabilizers in tins of coconut milk and coconut cream – you want the purest form and please stay away from the ‘low fat’ varieties – because heaven knows, why would you go that route?!  When buying dried coconut, make sure it’s not sweetened. It should just be pure dried coconut.

Coconut oil…  There are many different varieties and brands out there and it’s really important to know the differences:

  • Organic Virgin Coconut Oil is your best bet and is very rich in antioxidants, but has a strong coconut taste.
  • Refined coconut oil has been processed to remove the coconut taste and doesn’t contain any antioxidants. It’s still a great cooking oil and stable at a high heat, it just doesn’t give you the added antioxidants…

I use both, because some food just doesn’t go well with a coconut taste.  Scrambled eggs for example…

Downside

So – yes, coconut is great but there are also a few downsides:

  • Additives in coconut milk: if you’re reacting to coconut milk with guar gum or carageenan in it, it might not be the coconut at all.
  • Coconut allergy. It’s always possible to be allergic to the stuff. Coconut isn’t a “nut” so many people with nut allergies can actually eat it just fine. But some people also have a particular allergy to coconut specifically.
  • Fat causing digestive problems. Yes, the same fats that have so many health benefits can have drawbacks too. Coconut oil in particular can cause diarrhoea if you suddenly start putting back a lot of it when you hadn’t been eating much before. If this is you, it often helps to start slowly and gradually work up to a higher consumption level.
  • Salicylates. Coconut is rich in salicylates, and some people react to them. Compared to cosmetics and medications, food provides a relatively small dose of salicylate exposure, but for people who are very sensitive, it might be enough to trigger symptoms.

I’ll end off with my recipe for a great morning cuppa – Bulletproof Coffee!  It will keep you full and provide a good dose of healthy fats to start off your day – get the recipe here… And remember, you can leave out the cream to make it dairy-free, and blitz it up with a stick blender – pure magic!

Bulletproof Coffee

Heidi Visser

 

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