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Friday, December 28, 2012

Coconut and Cholesterol

I’ve been wondering just how many readers remember Carmen Miranda and Jerry Collona. I’ve wondered too how many readers might remember the Swedish film (best in Swedish with English subtitles) “My Life As A Dog”.
These may be two confusing questions and I know you’d ask what does either one have to do with health.
The answer is coconut.
You see at one time loNg ago Carmen and Jerry did a song together that Jerry was quite famous for singing solo. That song was one I liked a lot as a child, “I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts”. It is one I have fond memories of singing hundreds of times as a child.
I am a forever fan of the Swedish film, “My Life As A Dog”. In the movie, Ingemar, played by the young star, Anton Glanzelius, enjoys the coconut song too.
What the song has to do with health, of course, is the lovely coconut.
In this day and age of proselytizing the cholesterol myth, thousands of healthy and ill people are told they must take these drugs.
Some fantasy I’d say because for the most part these drugs that have gouged your pocketbook and your health for some twenty plus years still haven’t shown any real benefit.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are some good things that cholesterol can do for you if you can get past the marketing hype.
Your body depends on cholesterol to help you make hormones, communicate between cells, and repair damage to your cardiovascular system.
Cholesterol is an important substance that circulates with the help of the lipoproteins you know as LDL and HDL.
LDL, or the one you most likely have heard called ‘bad’ cholesterol helps carry cholesterol to your cells for healthy cell wall membranes (the thing that keeps cellular contents wrapped up where they belong). LDL helps with other cellular functions too.
HDL, or the one you know as the ‘good’ type acts like a mop to sweep up extra circulating cholesterol from your blood, transports it to your liver, where it is on its way to being excreted from your body.
In reality, keeping this all in balance to the key.
There are quite a few things you can do to keep members of this cholesterol family in balance. Mostly though mainstream medicine hasn’t given you a clue.
Most in the know will tell you that eating with the Mediterranean foodplan and more fiber will do wonders for your cholesterol balance. That Mediterranean diet has been around and recommended as far back as the 1960s to keep a healthy heart.
Rice bran oil is another helpful substance because it contains the nutrient gamma oryzanol that helps keep cholesterol from being absorbed from your gut.
Then there’s that lovely bunch of coconuts.
Coconut oil as many are now learning is one of the healthiest of all natural oils, especially for any high temperature cooking you do. Another constituent of coconut that contains coconut oil but also a lot of fiber as well is what is called ‘coconut crème’.
From time to time I get product samples to test and review. Not too long ago I received some organic coconut crème and got to thinking about just exactly what I was going to do to try it out.
One good thing is that this is organic coconut crème.
After some thinking it dawned on my that I should try it made up as coconut milk. I don’t use much in the way of dairy products and sometimes you need some ‘milk’. I hadn’t been too happy with some brands I found in the stores, these just tasted thin and watery for the most part. These also all contained carrageenan which is a toxic thickener manufactured from seaweed.
After eating a spoonful each day for a few days I decided to test this crème blended up as milk.
It was great! And it solved my sourcing problem. Now I just make up a quart at a time using distilled water and one heaping tablespoon of the crème. Even though the label says one teaspoon, what works best in flavor and texture for me is the tablespoon.
The with the festive season underway and my love of fresh cranberries I just fell in to a recipe that ended up being really tasty and enjoyable. Can’t beat the antioxidant combination and enzyme help from the little red berry this time of year.
For the raw foodists you will like this I’m sure but I think its great for any one and filling too. You can make this as a pie, roll into snack size balls, or come up with your own way of making it special.
Start with 12 ounces of fresh, room temperature cranberries, washed and sorted to remove any spoiled ones. Put them in a high speed blender or food processor along with 1 cup of filtered water, 1 cup of coconut crème (my favorite choice is below, at the end of this article), ½ cup of liquid coconut oil, a pinch of pure sea salt, and vanilla to taste. Blend until well processed.
I added about a half of a cup of raw pecans but you could choose flaked coconut for a more intense flavor.
When this mixture is smooth and creamy pour into a pie pan and refrigerate for a few hours or over night. Cut into portions and enjoy.
While this isn’t too sweet, you can add some dates to the mix or pour some pure maple syrup or nicely whipped cream on top.
The good part is that it is really good, and it isn’t even my recipe. The other good part is that it is made up of things that naturally benefit your health and help keep your cholesterol level in balance.
Coconut oil and coconut crème both benefit your heart and your health. These natural substances do protect your body from depositing unhealthy fats in your arteries. Quite the contrary, using soy, corn, canola, or other vegetables oils lead to the production of trans fats and this is what does the damage.
If you already have balanced, high, or low cholesterol, using natural coconut products you may benefit with your LDL/HDL ratio moving in the most favorable direction.
Keep this in mind, because now that food has been declared off limits for improving health by the CODEX authorities, it may come to pass that I won’t be able to say any of this again in the future.

NB: I use this to make delicious GMO free coconut milk, and in the recipe included in the above article.


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