Cooking With Coconut Oil
The amazing properties of the coconut know no bounds… Organic Raw Coconut Oil can be used to soften and soothe ageing, dry skin; used in cooking to add delicious and healthful essential fatty acids to the diet; added to smoothies and shakes to aid weight loss (yes, an oil that can help you lose weight! – the coconut contains special fats called MCTs which have been shown to help with metabolism, a secret many athletes and gym-bunnies have known for years) and applied as an intensive hair-repair oil (simply comb into hair, leave for 30 minutes and wash as usual, for a silky, youthful gloss).
Health & Beauty: Coconut oil has been shown to help significantly as a skin conditioner, being rich in antioxidants and fatty acids that penetrate into the underlying tissues. It can help with the appearance of stretch marks and can help prevent premature ageing of the skin. Coconut oil absorbs very readily into the skin and keeps it soft but not greasy. It can be used as an all-over body moisturiser. It helps to reduce chronic skin dryness and aids the removal of the outer layer of dead skin cells, making the skin softer and smoother. The small molecular structure of coconut oil allows for easy absorption through the skin. Organic coconut oil is wonderful to use as a hair conditioner as it softens the hair and conditions the scalp. Using the oil as a pre-wash conditioner can help combat dandruff. Coconut oil is famed for its ability to strengthen the structure of damaged, devitalised hair.
Sports Nutrition: Coconut oil is being used increasingly in sports nutrition, where it is being applied as a metabolism-boosting aid to healthy weight loss and as an extra source of energising medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Some researchers using coconut oil with professional sports people have shown dramatic results in body fat loss from 24% to 12% in 4 months from using no other fat- burning supplements except coconut oil and a few basic lifestyle changes.
Studies in Sri Lankan universities have proven that the saturated fats found in coconut oil have a profoundly different effect on metabolism compared to the saturated fats of animal origin.
Coconut oil is easier to digest and absorb than other saturated fats. Also, the MCTs do not end up being in fat stores or adipose tissue as much. MCTs provide a longer release of energy and decrease the amount of muscle broken down, all of which is of great benefit for athletes and ‘weekend warriors’.
Cooking: Coconut oil can be used in cooking instead of olive oil or butter. It is highly heat resistant making it ideal for cooking, baking and frying. It can be easily blended into smoothies, dips, and also used in many raw food recipes.
Goji and Pumpkin Seed Energy Bombs
This is a simple and easy snack, that makes a great high nutrient, high energy snack at any time of the day. They become especially useful if you are suffering from the sniffles, as they are packed with immune boosting chemicals and nutrients.
- 3 handfuls of goji berries
- 3 handfuls of pumpkin seeds
- 2 heaped tablespoon of raw organic coconut oil
The method for making these tasty treats, will probably remind you of making cornflake cakes as a child. Quarter fill a saucepan with water, and place a heatproof glass bowl on top, to create a bain marie (remember melting the chocolate for those cakes). Add the coconut oil to the bowl. Meanwhile, add the pumpkin seeds and goji berries to a food processor, and process at a medium speed, to get a coarsely ground texture.
Begin to melt the coconut oil in the bain marie. Once melted, add to the processed goji berries and pumpkin seeds, and mix thoroughly. This will give a sticky, but firm mixture. Roll into bite sized balls, place on to a plate, and refrigerate until firm.
Goji berries : have been all over the world media in recent years, with some rather astounding and notably far fetched claims being made about them. They have been viewed as the ultimate super food. Whilst much of the media attention can realistically be considered hype, goji berries do certainly have some interesting effects upon the immune system. Like many medicinal plants and mushrooms, they contain a group of special sugars called polysaccharides. These sugars are known to be a very powerful stimulator of the immune system. They do this by causing an increase in the production of white blood cells.
Pumpkin seeds : are definitely one of my favourite nibbles to have around the house. They are very high in another important trace mineral – zinc! Zinc has been widely researched in recent years, especially in the context of immunity. One of the key roles that this wonderful mineral plays, is the regulation of the functioning of individual white blood cells. It does this by ensuring correct functioning of their individual DNA – the internal code that programs every function of every cell, in every tissue. A healthy, fully functioning DNA, means a healthy fully functioning white blood cell, able to deliver its best performance when faced with an invader.
Pumpkin seeds are also a very rich source of the chemical curcubitin, which is a powerful antiviral and antiparasitic agent. This makes it very useful for things such as food poisoning, where the infective agent has found its way into the body via the digestive tract. Pumpkin seeds have a long standing history as a traditional remedy for such infections.
A classic Indian curry often uses coconut flavours to enhance the spices. Rich in healthy fatty acids and a number of phytonutrient-rich spices, this recipe makes enough for four.
- 2 tablespoons raw organic coconut oil
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 1 tsp chopped garlic
- 2 pinches of sea salt
- 4 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
- ½ large cauliflower, chopped
- 2 large courgettes, chopped
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
Combine curry powder, cumin, nutmeg and ginger in a bowl. Steam potatoes for twenty minutes; add cauliflower for the last five minutes. Heat coconut oil in a large saucepan. Add garlic and courgettes. Cook until courgettes soften a little. Add steamed potatoes and cauliflower to the saucepan. Add coconut milk. Stir in the spices and sea salt until spices are fully incorporated. Enjoy this rich and delicious coconut curry with rice or quinoa.
Chocolate, Orange & Coconut Pudding
Dairy free, nutrient dense, and surprisingly delicious.
- 1 large, ripe avocado
- 2 tablespoons of raw organic coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons of caco powder
- 3 teaspoons of honey
- grated orange zest
Scoop the flesh out of the avocado, and add to a food processor. Melt the coconut oil gently in a saucepan on a very low heat. Add the melted coconut, chocolate powder, honey, and orange zest to the avocado, and blend until a smooth chocolatey paste is made. Transfer into ramekins and refrigerate for 2 hours.
The end result should be a smooth chocolate mousse/pot au chocolate texture.
Avocado: an incredibly rich source of the antioxidant nutrient vitamin E, which is beneficial for cardiovascular health and healthy skin. They are also very rich in essential fatty acids that deliver benefits from cardiovascular protection through to anti-inflammatory activities.
Chocolate: is very high in a powerful group of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are also found in green tea. Cacao is also incredibly rich in the mineral magnesium.
Spicy Lentil & Coconut Soup
- 2 tablespoons of raw organic coconut oil
- 1 red onion – finely chopped
- 1 fresh green chilli
- 2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
- 1 piece of fresh lemon grass – outer layers removed / finely chopped
- 100g of red lentils
- 1 tsp of ground coriander
- 1 tsp of paprika
- 200ml of coconut milk
- Juice of half a lime
- 1 spring onion – chopped
Add the oil, garlic, onions, chilli, and lemongrass, and saute for 5 minutes. Salt to taste using unrefined sea salt or Himalayan crystal salt. Add the lentils, and pour in the coconut milk, along with 400ml of water. Reduce the heat and let the soup simmer for 45 minutes, until the lentils are soft and mushy. Take of the heat, and squeeze in the juice from half a lime.
Red Onions : contain a group of chemicals called ‘flavonoids’ that are responsible for the deep red colour. These offer significant protection against excessive inflammation, which has been linked to the onset and progression of arterial disease. Onions also contain a chemical called diallyl sulphide, which has been shown to reduce clotting factors in the blood, thus offering protection against heart attacks and strokes.
Red Lentils : are very rich in both soluble and insoluble fibre. Both of these fibres are useful for carrying away cholesterol that is lurking in the digestive system, and removing it from the body via the bowel. Lentils are also a great source of magnesium that helps to relax the muscular walls of blood vessels, which can naturally lower blood pressure. Lentils also provide lashings of B vitamins, which help to maintain the health of the arteries and veins.
Garlic : helps to reduce the bloods ability to clot, and encourages the production of the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, whilst reducing the levels of LDL.
Chilli : is a very powerful circulatory stimulant, and a useful aid in lowering blood pressure. This is because of the powerful chemical, capsaicin, which forces the blood vessel walls to open, enhancing circulation and lowering blood pressure.
Lemongrass : is another powerful vasodilator, that helps to widen the blood vessels by relaxing their muscular walls. This reduces the pressure in the vessels, and lessens the likelihood of injury to the internal lining of the vessels.