Oh coconut, where would I be without you…I turn to this magical fruit every chance I get! From cooking & baking to hair & body products, it covers every base! It’s great for people who cannot digest dairy, great for replacing creams, milks & butters. It’s also great in soups & smoothies. Excellent for shiny hair & a healthy heart! This all means PALEO HEAVEN. But then…..saturated fat?!? We first have to remember that a fruit naturally composed with 90% fat is different from the processed foods that are loaded up with unhealthy fats & garbage. It’s estimated at being 50% lauric acid.. an aid to good cholesterol & excellent for burning for energy! Coconut oil in particular is loaded with amazing benefits. If you are new to Paleo or you just love to cook & bake, I’m sure you have come across most or all of these different items. Now, when I saw them of these for the first time, I was what the heck is that?! & when would i EVER use that?! Well, pick them up, try them out, you will not be disappointed! Here is a little cheat sheet so you have an idea of what each product is all about!
Coconut Milk: excellent in soups, smoothies & other cooking or baking scenarios. Coconut milk can actually aid in bone density & reduce joint inflammation. This milk is an excellent dairy free alternative to milk & can help regular blood sugar levels. I use it in smoothies, coffee creamers, casseroles, soups & my truffles (SHH!) 😉
Coconut Oil: other than being an amazing moisturizer & deep conditioner… Coconut oil can help build up our immune system, increase metabolism & energy. Composed of 50% lauric acid, coconut oil is an aid in good cholesterol & is used to fuel our energy. Also aids in insulin control & blood sugar. Has shown to protect the liver, kidneys & gallbladder from damage, containing tons of antibacterial properties. Studies have shown that using about 2TBSP a day can reduce abdominal weight! (SIGN ME UP!) Coconut oil has a long shelf life & because of all of the fat, stays as a solid. It holds up under a high heat, which makes it very useful in stove top cooking or baking! Coconut oil is a perfect swap for butters & other oils in recipes.. So while you have a scoop sitting on your head….you can cook up your veggies in this yummy oil!
*Please note that ORGANIC VIRGIN Coconut Oil is the best way to go. A little pricey, but worth it. The process to create the ORGANIC VIRGIN oil is the safest & most sanitary.
Coconut Butter: very similar to coconut oil but creamier & tastier. It’s not first choice for cooking up your veggies. but is used quite a bit in baking, smoothies, etc. It’s even delicious spread on a piece of flax toast!! *Look out for some DIY coconut products to come =)
Coconut Water: Naturally refreshing, full of potassium & electrolytes, coconut water is amazing for hydration. Fat free, cholesterol free & low in calories, the drink should be your go to! *Watch out for extra flavoring (extra sugar) in some brands…stick to the plain coconut version!
Shredded & Flaked Coconut: To make shredded & flaked coconut, you just have to grate or shred the coconut meat & let it dry! or dry it in an oven! (easy to make yourself, minus cracking the coconut open & losing a finger part ;)) I use UNSWEETENED & ORGANIC for sooooo many things. 70% of my baking, because I love coconut, but even in smoothies, breading, or making your own coconut milk!! YUM!
Coconut Flour: dried, ground coconut meat! This flour is one of the closest replacements for the “enemy”…(white flour) It has that dense consistency. Because of this, it doesnt make it tricky to come up with recipes! Make sure you have enough eggs & liquids when mixing with this flour otherwise you will come out with a crumbly mess! (Trust me.. I’ve been there.) It makes an awesome “breading” for chicken or fish. I also use it a lot if baking…from muffins to breads, cupcakes..etc! Possibilities are endless!
Coconut Sugar: Coconut sugar comes from the buds of coconut tree flowers. It is in a brown granulated form. It reminds me of brown sugar, but not as sweet. It can be used for anything. Baking..Coffee..Smoothies..it is granulated so sometimes you have to be careful. You don’t want to chew your smoothie! (YUCK!) Most importantly, this sugar is low glycemic, meaning that your insulin is not going to spike through the roof like our old friend white sugar. This means no mood swings or energy crashes! YAY! This sugar is actual rich in vitamins, minerals & amino acids! (THIS DOES NOT MEAN TO EAT A WHOLE BAG FOR BREAKFAST!) This simply means that if you choose to replace your white sugar, or swap out your honey for a change, you will be making a nice switch by using coconut sugar.
Coconut Nectar: very similar to coconut sugar listed above, but in a liquid form. This is a very sustainable sweetener. Farmers can harvest this product all year round & use almost every part of the tree! YAY! A tapped coconut tree can also product this sap for more than 20 years! (Can I plant one of these?!?) Last but not least, like many of the other coconut products, this is low glycemic & contains electrolytes & amino acids!! (again, this does not mean to drink a bottle for energy or for fun!!!!!) Good is coffee or baking! Let’s not get crazy!!!
**Don’t be scared of these products! They are a little intimidating, but are amazing when you get a chance to use them! I’ll be sharing some recipes soon!!