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Coconuts are another one of these wonder foods. I just can’t figure out what took me so long to discover its virtues beyond the Almond Joy or Macaroons I used to enjoy. One of the many amazing things about coconuts it’s their versatility. I drink the water after a dehydrating workout and in smoothies. I use the milk for my decaf coffee, over my grainless granola as well as to make ice cream, whipped cream, yogurt and in sauces that call for milk or cream. I use coconut meat in Paleo treats, grainless granola and as topping for ice cream, and yogurt. I use coconut flour to make tortillas, pancakes, muffins, as a dredging flour for meats I may be pan frying, and as a thickener for sauces. I use the oil to cook with as it is one of the most stable fats to cook with because it doesn’t go free-radical on ya when it is heated and has an amazing fatty acid profile. I also use it as a hydrating hair mask and on dry feet and elbows!! Seriously!! What other food is more versatile? I can’t think of one. Amazing

Coconut water is natures Gatorade! It helps rehydrate the body naturally without added processed sugars, additives, or colors. It has one of the highest amounts of potassium (more than twice that of a medium banana) as well as a great source for calcium and magnesium. I’m not sold on all the other magical health claims some marketers make but it is definitely a much healthier alternative to processed sports drinks.

Coconut meat is a great source of medium chain saturated fatty acids. It is also a great source of fiber, manganese (helps the body metabolize protein and fat), potassium (supports proper fluid balance in the body along with sodium), copper (supports red blood cell production).

Coconut milk is high in iron. It also has 110 percent of the daily recommendation of manganese. Coconut milk is also high in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, selenium, zinc, folate and vitamin C. It also contains vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, vitamin B6, niacin, choline, pantothenic acid and calcium.This has been a fantastic alternative to dairy for me as you can tell.

Coconut flour has a similar nutritional profile as the meat of course, but what makes it great is that it is a gluten free, grain free, low carb, high fiber alternative to typical grain flours. It has a finer texture than nut flours so when you need something less grainy to cook with, it is perfect.

Coconut oil has become my go-to cooking oil. I still use butter but butter can burn if the heat is too high. (Ghee, clarified butter, avoids this but its very expensive) Coconut oil does not burn, because it obviously doesn’t contain the milk solids found in butter. It maintains its molecular integrity at high heat unlike most vegetable and seed oils and does not turn into free radicals that cause cell damage and cancer. Other forms of saturated fats found in animals are safe to cook with but unless I feel confident it came from a healthy animal that was grass fed and not full of antibiotics and hormones, I’d rather use coconut oil (or red palm oil, another good one). Coconut oil is also believed to help in improving your heart health, boosting your thyroid, increasing your metabolism, promoting a lean body and weight loss if needed, and supporting your immune system.

Phew! That is one power packed little package!! Since going Paleo, all these various uses of the coconut has really helped me get creative and open up my food and cooking options. I am thinking of doing a series of recipes using all of these. I’ll start with how to make coconut milk and go from there. Aren’t you excited?! I know I am! 😉

Until Next Time,

Laura, MGP

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