Now that we’ve gotten our workouts in with Andrew Barr, it’s time for a treat!
Oh boy, was I happy about this pick!
Unlike some other foods that are really good for us but make us gag (I know a lot of you out there aren’t eating your bitter greens!), coconut oil tastes amazing. Unsurprisingly, it has the sweet, tropical taste of coconuts, and is a fantastic cooking oil for stirfrys, baked goods, or as a delish spread on toast or steamed sweet potatoes.
But you know I wouldn’t eat something just because it tastes good (well, most of the time). I include coconut oil in my diet several times a week (if not daily) because it is super good for you. Good like spinach to Popeye, or like being a drunk for Lindsay Lohan’s public exposure.
Coconut oil is classified as a saturated fat, but unlike animal saturated fats, coconut oil does not contain cholesterol. Animal saturated fats (from animal dairy or flesh) are composed of long chains of fatty acids (think of a long string of pearls). In order to metabolize these fats, the body has to break down the chain into individuals fatty acids (or “pearls”), which can require quite a bit of effort from the liver. Luckily, coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid, making it easier to digest and use as energy.
What are the other benefits of coconut oil?
-Contains lauric acid, an antiviral agent (goodbye flu virus!)
-Promotes thyroid health and action, which helps us lose weight and detoxify
-Contains capric acid, a powerful antimicrobial (which may balance insulin levels as well) and caprilic acid, an antifungal agent (goodbye yeast infections and athlete’s foot)
-Supports cardiovascular health [Blackburn, G.L. et al, A Re-evaluation of Coconut Oil’s Effect on Serum Cholesterol and Atherogenesis, Journal of the Philippine Medical Association, The, 65, No. 1: July-September (1989).]
-Helps regulate healthy hormone production
-Nourishes and heals dry skin and hair (can be applied topically too)
-Regulates blood sugar
-Contains pregnenolone, an anti-aging antioxidant
-Can be used right on your hoo-ha or ding-dong as an erotic oil [Note: Coconut oil, just like any other oil-based lubricant, is not latex friendly...that means condoms (and balloons, if you're into that) will degrade faster after contact with oil.]
Etc…Much of this info can be found in David Wolfe’s book “Superfoods” (one of my fave Christmas gifts this year! Thanks Mum!). Research supports the health benefits of this oil, and your tastebuds will support the deliciousness. Make sure the coconut oil you buy is virgin and cold-pressed, and obviously, tastes and smells like fresh coconuts.
Coconut oil is a primary ingredient in this treat that I created. This dessert is low sugar, high fibre, loaded with health-promoting fats, vegan, and raw (aka. no baking required), and super easy! Indulge, I say!
Chocolate Ginger Coconut Cream Bars
1/2 c walnuts
1/4 c ground flax meal
1/4 cup cacao/cocoa powder
1 inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
1/2 c dates, soaked
pinch of sea salt
Coconut Cream Layer:
1/2 c cashews
1/4 c agave nectar or honey
2 tsp dried ground ginger
1/2 cup coconut oil
Directions for the chocolate base:
-Boil some water and cover the dates; soak for at least 10 minutes
-Add walnuts, flax meal, cacao powder, fresh ginger, and salt to a food processor and process until walnuts are finely ground and all ingredient are incorporate
-Drain dates when soaking time is done, and add to the food processor with the rest of the ingredients.
-Process until sticky crumbs have formed. You may have to stop the processor a couple of times to mix by hand to make sure the dates aren’t staying clumped together.
-Line a small skillet (for pie shape) or a small baking dish (for square bars) with cling-wrap.
-Press sticky chocolate-date mixture into the base of the skillet/dish, spreading evenly across the base.
Directions for the Coconut Cream:
-Add cashews and agave to a food processor or a high-speed blender and process until smooth. This may take several minutes depending on the strength of your appliance.
-Add coconut oil and dried ginger and process again until smooth.
-Pour mixture on top of chocolate base
-Refridgerate/freeze for at least two hours to set, and then serve! Optional garnish: Cardamom pods (pictured) or lime zest.
*Note: Bars will melt if left at room temperature for too long, so best to keep them cold until you’re ready to serve!