The Ins and Outs of Coconut Oil

Did you buy a jar of coconut oil because everyone is telling you it has soooo many benefits and you should jump on the coconut oil band wagon? Now your jar is in the pantry, but you remember that its got a reputation as being a bad fat.  Instead of using it, you eye it suspiciously as your hand reaches past it for the good ole olive oil.  Fear not, I am here to answer your queries about the controversy around coconut oil.

Coconut oil has received bad press because it was studied years ago, but the oil that was used was hydrogenated. As we now know, anytime you hydrogenate an oil it turns into a trans fat, which we should all stay away from.  So, naturally, those studies came to the conclusion that coconut oil was bad for you.

Some of the benefits of coconut oil are that it is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, anti-fungal, and it also fights yeast (candida), because of its high lauric acid content.  Coconut oil contains about 50% lauric acid.  But, isn’t coconut oil a saturated fat and isn’t saturated fat bad for you?  It is a saturated fat, but not all saturated fats are created equal.  Coconut oil’s fat is made up of medium chain triglycerides (MCT), which behave differently in the body from other saturated fats.  MCT’s get metabolized quickly and doesn’t get stored as fat, but gets converted directly into energy.  There have also been studies done where high amounts of MCT’s help reverse Alzheimer’s.  A doctor, whose husband was diagnosed with the disease, wrote the book ‘Alzheimer’s Disease: What If There Was a Cure?’ to document how adding coconut oil to her husband’s diet cured him.

Apart from the occasional times that you pull it out for frying and perhaps use as a moisturizer, what else is there to do with that fabulous jar of coconut oil that’s just sitting on your shelf like a Ferrari in a garage full of Chevettes?

Below are some of my favourite ways to use coconut oil.  The following three recipes are vegan, gluten free and dairy free:

Coconut Oil use 5 kake2kale
Dulse-licious Popcorn serves one hungry snacker

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup popcorn
  • 1 T melted coconut oil
  • 1 ½ T Red Star nutritional yeast
  • 1 T dulse flakes
  • sea salt to taste

Directions:

  • Pop the corn kernels in which ever fashion you desire, I use a hot air popper.
  • Melt the coconut oil.
  • Then pour oil over the popped corn, sprinkle with nutritional yeast, dulse flakes and salt.
  • Devour while watching your favourite movie.

Coconut Oil use 3 kake2kale

Cheezy Toast* makes one slice
Ingredients:

  • 1 slice of bread (Gluten Free if you wish)
  • ½ T coconut oil
  • ½ T Red Star nutritional yeast
  • pinch of sea salt

Directions:

  • Spread coconut oil on top of bread, then sprinkle yeast and sea salt on top.
  • Put in toaster oven for about 3 minutes.

Voila, delicious crispy cheesiness!

* When you see the words cheez or cheezy, most of the time it means there is no cheese in it, but still has cheesy flavour.  Note there is a cheese cracker out there with the “z” spelling.  But if you are in a health food store and see “z” spelling, chances are it is dairy free.

coconut Oil use 4 kake2kale

5 minute Chocolate Mousse serves 4
Ingredients:

  • I can (398 ml or 14 oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ½ small avocado (mashed)
  • ½ t vanilla extract
  • ½ t cinnamon
  • ½ t sea salt
  • sesame seeds for sprinking on top (optional)

Directions:

  • Put all ingredients into a blender and blend on high for 30 sec. or more if needed.
  • Portion into pretty bowls and serve.  At this time of year we have pumpkins of all sizes everywhere you go, so I served the mousse in a hollowed out mini-pumpkin.
    Note:  This recipe was inspired by Must Have Been Something I Ate by Peggy Kotsopoulos.

Pumpkin Mousse kake2kale

Other Superfoods in my recipes:
Coconut oil:  see above.
Red Star Nutritional Yeast: 
Full of B vitamins, nutritional yeast is really good for vegans and vegetarians because it has B 12, which comes mostly from animal products.  I often use this as a substitute for grated cheese.
Dulse: 
High in vitamins and minerals, iodine (good for thyroid).  Removes heavy metals from the body.  
Pumpkin: 
High in Vitamin A, lutein, cancer fighting antioxidant and also beta carotene which is good for eye health.  High in fiber as well.
Cocoa: 
High in vitamin B’s and magnesium, both of which supports the nervous system. It also has phenylethylamine, which stirs up happy feelings, and releases stress.
Avocado: 
Contains monosaturated fat which may help reduce bad cholesterol.  It also contains lots of vitamins, in particular C, B’s and E and also minerals.

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Other ways I like to use coconut oil, besides putting them in smoothies and chocolate peanut butter cups, I also like to put them in my coffee.  There is a trend going around and perhaps you’ve heard of it – Bulletproof coffee.  It’s coffee made with fat, either grass fed butter or MCT (a form of coconut oil).  Drinking Bulletproof coffee in the morning is supposed to give you energy that will last until lunch.  So essentially lunch would be your first meal of the day.

Well, breakfast is my favourite meal of the day so I can’t give it up.  But I do make my own version, which is just coffee and coconut oil that is blended making a creamy satisfying drink that gives me a good boost through the morning.

One thing to remember about coffee is that it freezes your digestive system, so I wait at least 20 minutes after I’ve had my coffee before eating.

As for buying coconut oil for cooking and consuming, I use organic virgin coconut oil. It will have more of a coconut aroma/flavour, which I like. The version without aroma will be refined, which means more processed.  If the oil is  just for moisturizing skin then non-organic is fine and is less costly.

Coconut Oil use kake2kale

I leave you with a beauty tip, that is – I have been making my own exfoliator with coconut oil, which works really well.  It has lactic acid containing yogurt, which has moisturizing and exfoliating properties.  Yogurt also helps with lightening spots, as does the lemon juice.  Coconut oil is moisturizing of course.

Coconut Lemon Facial Polish/Mask single application

Ingredients:

  • 1 t coconut oil
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 1/4 t lemon juice
  • 1 T plain yogurt

Directions:

  • Combine coconut oil, sugar and lemon juice, then apply to face and massage the paste into face with a circular motion.  Avoiding eye area.
  • Smooth yogurt over the polish and let it sit for 10 minutes and then rinse it all off.
  • Use this once or twice a week.
  • If you have sensitive skin test on a small area by your jawline.

What I’ve shared is just the tip of the iceberg of all that coconut oil can do for you and what you can do with it, so I encourage you to crack the coconut shell wide open to find out more of its benefits for your insides and your outsides.

Eat healthy, live and look great! {Kake}

The Laaracino

I don’t come from a family of coffee drinkers or even tea drinkers for that matter.  Just water and milk when I was growing up.  But that would change when my Dad spent some time in France studying French, it was there that he got accustomed to drinking coffee.  Not too long after that Dad took my brother and I on our first European trip.  It was in Paris where Dad encouraged me to have my first cappuccino.  As a teenager obsessed with Vogue magazine, it seemed like this cup of creamy, foamy coffee was the perfect entry point into the world of Catherine Deneuve, Chanel, the Concorde.

Since then, I will have the occasional latte when going out for coffee.  My husband has learned that drinking coffee has all sorts of benefits such as reducing the risk of diabetes, staving off Alzheimer’s disease, it may also be helpful to those suffering from depression.  So now we make coffee at home a few times a week.

My Dad is Mr. Health, and his knowledge and lifestyle has influenced how I eat and take care of myself.  So when I found a whole stack of McCafe coffee cups on his kitchen counter I knew I was on the right track.  One night after family dinner we ended up at Dairy Queen, and my Dad was the first one to order and I was wondering what he could be getting, because he doesn’t eat ice cream, or anything sugary.  Then we saw him picking up 3 cups of coffee, and I thought, “Strange, why three?”  None of us drink coffee after dinner.  So when I asked about it, he said, he paid for one and got 2 refills, to drink in the next day or two.  Is my Dad smart or what?

I have inherited my frugalness from my Dad.  Every year I will allow myself one Frappacino for the whole summer.  But very rarely do I ever take myself up on that offer.  First of all, it’s an expensive drink that is mostly crushed ice.  And, if I want it to taste good, there’s going to be tons of sugary syrup.  So I have come up with my own version, thus naming it after myself.  My version is dairy free, gluten free, sugar free and has superfoods. One thing about coffee is that it can inhibit absorption of vitamins and minerals, so for those who have a morning coffee, take your supplements an hour away from it. Because of this my Laaracino actually does not have coffee in it.  I do not miss the coffee taste because the maca, malt and the cocoa satisfies my coffee loving taste buds.  But by all means add coffee to my Laaracino, if that is what pleases you.

 

Laaricino 3 Kake2kale

The superfoods in my Laaracino:
Cocoa – High in vitamin B’s and magnesium, both of which supports the nervous system. It also has phenylethylamine, which stirs up happy feelings, and releases stress. Cacao has an even higher amount of antioxidants than blueberries.
Maca – This root from Peru has lots of nutrients, but it is mainly known for increasing cognitive function, libido, energy levels. It is also an adaptogen which means it helps the bring the body into balance.  For instance, when the body in under stress, maca helps support the adrenal glands to deal with the stress.
Coconut oil –Has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiparasitic properties and contains lauric acid which is found in mother’s milk. Breast-fed babies are better able to fend off infections than babies not given mother’s milk.
Vanilla powder – This is simply the seeds that are inside the vanilla pods. They contain a phytochemical called vanilloid that reduces inflammation and improves brain function.
Cinnamon – Can be beneficial for reducing risk from diabetes and heart disease.
Laaricino Kake2Kale

Laaracino serves 2

  • 2 cups almond milk (or any type of milk)
  • 2 t. maca powder
  • 2 T. malt powder, gluten free if made from rice (optional)
  • 4 T. cocoa powder
  • 2 T. coconut oil
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1  t. vanilla powder
  • 5 drops stevia (or other type of sweetener)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 4 cups of ice

Directions:

  • Put all the ingredients in a good blender, whiz until the ice has been blended and serve in two frosty glasses.
  • Feel free to experiment with this recipe and make it your own, ie. add a banana, frozen yogurt, liquer, coffee if you must, you get the idea.

*You may wonder if it is possible to substitute vanilla extract for the vanilla powder, I haven’t simply because extract wouldn’t be as nutritious as the powder.  If any of you do make this with the extract let me know how it goes.

Eat healthy, live great! – {Kake}

Laaricino 2 Kake2Kale