How to cure a
It can be difficult to break an addiction but Kristina finds it helps to go nuts over coconut.
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.
was a lot cheaper 20 years ago when it was known as
* 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.