Coconut, aside from being delicious, is actually really healthy! It’s so great when things work out like that. Coconut oil had a bad reputation for awhile when large companies came in and used ultra refined coconut oil in their products which was usually hydrogenated – hello trans fats and heart disease! Refined coconut oil looks like vegetable oil – it’s liquid and it’s yellow looking. Not the decadent, thick, white, creaminess that smells of delicious coconut when you purchase the raw cold pressed coconut oil – yum! If it’s scorching hot out you may find it becomes a clear liquid, but it will always smell like fresh coconut. Raw cold pressed coconut oil is not only more delicious than refined coconut oil, but it’s higher in overall nutrients, antioxidants, rich in medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s) and has anti-bacterial properties. The most important property when it comes to weight loss is the fact that it’s a medium chain triglyceride. Why you ask? Well compared to long chain triglycerides, which are mostly found in animal fats, it’s broken down faster and utilized as energy. This means that you use it and burn it up a lot more quickly which is great as it won’t be stored away for body fat so it allows you to burn more of this fat as energy - thus a fat burner. Energy is always great right? Since we need to eat fats, including saturated fats, to help regulate our hormones, send satiation signals to our brains and maintain healthy cholesterol levels, coconut is an excellent source of saturated fat. In fact, if you follow a vegan lifestyle which is often low in saturated fats, coconut is highly recommend to ensure you get the amount you need for all the reasons I mentioned above.
The amazing fats in coconut can be found in coconut oil, coconut butter, coconut milk, shredded coconut, shaved coconut – so many choices! Coconut oil is great for cooking because it's saturated (meaning fully saturated with hydrogen atoms for the science folks out there) and thus the oil is stable when heat is applied. A great way to think of this is to think of an expensive jewelry item which has a case around it protecting it on all sides from theft. As soon as you remove one of those sides and add a double side on one side, it leaves it vulnerable to damage. Saturated fats are fully protected. Oils that easily break apart, which you can't see happening, can become rancid and create free radicals which are damaging to the body because an opening is easily created. Coconut milk is an excellent replacement for cream in soups and all cooking and shaved coconut can be added to a trailmix to add some more variation and flavour. I chose to highlight coconut butter in a recipe because not many people know what to do with it. It’s different than coconut oil because you can’t cook with it as it’s thick and crumbly. I love eating it right out of the container - it’s the new peanut butter. However, it's also a great spread on toast. A unique way to combine this into your lifestyle is to crumble it on salads. It not only looks great, but it tastes great too. It resembles feta cheese but it tastes oh so much more decadent and sweet. This is a dessert tasting salad you won’t need to feel guilty about because it's full of veggies, healthy fats from a variety of sources and real fruit.
Recipes are always great so here’s a delicious mango dressing to make a mango coconut salad! Add 2 spoonfuls of dressing, 1 spoonful shaved almonds, 1 spoonful crumbled coconut butter onto spinach and voila - a delicious tropical salad!
created by Sarah Maughan of www.sarahmaughan.ca
1 whole mango, very ripe and soft
1 lime, use 1/2 zest and juice from the whole lime
1 - 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp thyme
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper, optional, for a bit of of a kick
Water, if needed to thin it out
Honey - optional, but not needed if the mango is extremely ripe
Blend all ingredients in a food processor, magic bullet or blender until very smooth. This dressing will get thicker over time so I found that adding a bit of water to it helped. Store for 1 week in the fridge.
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