How to cure a

It can be dif­fi­cult to break an ad­dic­tion but Kristina finds it helps to go nuts over co­conut.

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Diy Food -

Many moons ago, at the ten­der age of 14, I was given a small, el­e­gantlyshaped bot­tle with for­eign writ­ing on the front. Dan­ish fam­ily mem­bers trav­el­ing via the Philip­pines to New Zealand pre­sented me with this sup­posed beauty prod­uct.

But from the out­set, it proved quite a a chal­lenge. For a start, what­ever was in there was solid. How was I sup­posed to get it out?

Not hav­ing Un­cle Google* to con­sult or trans­late for me, I em­ployed some Kiwi in­ge­nu­ity and sat it on the top of the log burner to see if it would melt. And melt it did as I for­got all about it as I went off on my reg­u­lar af­ter-school calf feed­ing work.

I came back up to the house and opened the door to a cloy­ing and vaguely co­conut scent. The bot­tle was topped with a cork sur­rounded by wax which had be­come in­fused with co­conut oil. As the oil heated up, so did the wax and the cork ac­tu­ally slid out of the bot­tle onto the grate of the log burner, sub­se­quently in­fus­ing it with co­conut oil and green wax. This had started to smoke ever-so-slightly, and I as­sume that I was very lucky to have found it in time.

I didn't say any­thing to my par­ents at the time, so when my dad reads this col­umn (he's my big­gest fan), it will be a bit of a sur­prise – sorry Dad. I opened all the win­dows, and wiped down the fire top care­fully un­til there was just a hint of co­conut in the air. I never did use it and a few years later it was con­signed to the bin. To­day, co­conut oil is my best friend, and not only as a beauty prod­uct. I find it so de­li­cious that I have

Co­conut con­tains more

than your av­er­age run

of-the-mill sat­u­rated fats.

started us­ing it in­stead of but­ter, both as a spread and as a sub­sti­tute in bak­ing, and there are recipes pop­ping up hither and yon for us all to try – just ask Un­cle Google.

I have also dis­cov­ered co­conut sugar, which used to be known as palm sugar 20 years ago and was sold in lit­tle muffin-like blocks in Asian food stores. Let me tell you, it was a lot cheaper when it wasn't a fad food and I was try­ing to find a sweet sub­sti­tute for my sugar-free two-year-old.

I've been ex­per­i­ment­ing with co­conut flour, gluten-free of course, which I find adds a de­light­ful flavour and tex­ture to bak­ing. Last, but not least, there's my all­time, guilt-free snack: co­conut chips with salt and honey.

Ini­tially, I got into us­ing co­conut oil for mak­ing choco­late. I'm not a big one for set­ting New Year's res­o­lu­tions, but this year I have made a con­certed ef­fort to stop eat­ing com­mer­cial choco­late. Many peo­ple read­ing this will un­der­stand the dark side of this ad­dic­tion so I won't bore you with the de­tails, only to say that

co­conut oil is pos­si­bly the rea­son why I don’t seem to be as ad­dicted to the stuff as I was.

CO­CONUT OIL has some fan­tas­tic prop­er­ties to do with fat and en­ergy. In the past, it has been de­monised be­cause it con­tains vast amounts of sat­u­rated fats. How­ever, th­ese are not your av­er­age runof-the-mill sat­u­rated fats like you would find in cheese or steak. They are medium chain triglyc­erides (MCTS), or fatty acids of a medium length. Most of the fatty acids in our diet are long-chain fatty acids, but the medium-chain fatty acids in co­conut oil are metabolised dif­fer­ently, go­ing straight to the liver from the di­ges­tive tract.

An­other im­por­tant prop­erty of co­conut oil is that it is ther­mo­genic. Eat­ing it tends to in­crease en­ergy ex­pen­di­ture (fat burn­ing) com­pared to the same amount of calo­ries from other fats. When hu­mans re­place the fats they are eat­ing with MCT fats, they burn more calo­ries.

Imag­ine my joy when I found that I didn’t feel com­pelled to sneak and stuff choco­late made from raw ca­cao and co­conut oil af­ter read­ing the above in­for­ma­tion, and I won­der if it’s be­cause I get what I need in­stantly and in a more pure form. As I tell my son Theo, you can con­vince your­self of any­thing as long as you re­peat it enough times, and it is my hope that giv­ing you th­ese recipes will en­cour­age you to test your own re­solve and see if what I say is true.

Co­conut sugar

was a lot cheaper 20 years ago when it was known as

palm sugar.

* I want to ac­knowl­edge my dear friend, neigh­bour and fel­low writer Mar­ion Day, who

as far as I know coined the name 'Un­cle Google'. She writes won­der­ful New Zealand tal es for chil­dren that you can find on­line

if you ask guess who.

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