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A word on Coconut Oil

WHAT IS COCONUT OIL?


Coconut oil is a healthy, naturally saturated oil and one of the most desirable of the natural fats
to consume, especially in preference to unnatural and harmful partially hydrogenated or trans
fats. Coconut oil has been consumed for thousands of years, including being used as a medicinal
food.

COMPONENTS OF COCONUT OIL

A healthy diet contains mixtures of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Human
breast milk contains about 45 to 50 % saturated fat, about 35% unsaturated and 15-20%
polyunsaturated. Lauric acid and capric acid comprise about 20% of total saturated fatty acids
found in breast milk. The high content of lauric acid in breast milk protects infants from invading
viruses and bacteria and supports the immune system.


Saturated fat is needed by the body for proper cell membrane structure and function and for use
as energy for the heart, muscles, and other organs. Coconut oil is high in saturated fat, containing
about 50% lauric acid (C12). Other components of coconut oil include capric acid (C12),
caprylic acid (C8), tocopherols and tocotrienols. Tocopherols and the related tocotrienols are
potent anti-oxidants that can help maintain healthy cell structure and function, as well as protect
the oil from oxidation which may cause rancidity.


Coconut oil contains about 65% saturated medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) along with a
small amount of mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids. MCTs contain fatty acids with a chain
length of 6 to 12 carbon atoms. MCTs are a source of readily-available energy, since they are
metabolized more efficiently and more easily than longer chain triglycerides. MCTs have been
used successively in malnourished individuals and in individuals suffering from malabsorption
syndromes and in certain diseases of the lymphatic and intestinal system which may cause
symptoms of gastrointestinal dysfunction, edema, and diarrhoea.

BENEFITS OF COCONUT OIL

MCTs are directly utilized by the body and transported directly to the liver. Thus, they are not
transported or deposited to tissues such as adipose (fat) tissue. Evidence suggests that increased
consumption of MCTs increases burning of calories, increases satiety, helps decrease the amount
of fat stored in adipose tissue and may help control body weight. Most Western or North
American diets do not contain appreciable amounts of MCTs and thus supplementation may be
beneficial.


The two main fatty acids found in coconut oil – lauric and capric acid -are MCTs with special
properties. They exhibit anti-microbial activity and help combat pathogenic or disease-causing
viruses, bacteria and other micro-organisms. Monolaurin is an anti-infective and anti-viral agent
which the body makes from lauric acid. Coconut oil is the easiest way to consume lauric acid.
Lauric acid has been studied for its anti-viral effect against many different viruses including the
virus causing acquired immune deficiency disease (AIDS). The chain length of the fatty acid has
been shown to be critical, as those fatty acids which are shorter or longer in length than lauric
acid are less effective anti-viral agents, or may exhibit no anti-viral activity. The anti-viral
activity of lauric acid is dose-dependent, with increasing effects seen with higher levels of
consumption.


Coconut oil has been found to aid in the management of inflammatory disease, by increasing
production of the anti-inflammatory compound, interleukin-10, and decreasing inflammatory
mediators such as interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor. Chronic inflammation has become
widespread in our society and contributes to the development of many chronic diseases as well
as aging.


In summary, the health benefits of coconut oil may be achievable by increasing the daily dietary
consumption of this healthy oil. This naturally-occurring healthy oil undergoes minimal
processing without the use of harmful solvents and contains beneficial MCTs including lauric
and capric acid. These important fatty acids provide energy and aid in metabolic processes
including body fat regulation and weight control and exhibit significant anti-infective activity.
As well, MCTs have been found to decrease inflammation. Increasing the consumption of
coconut oil in our daily diet can help combat the excessive intake of unhealthy and harmful trans
fatty acids and, along with other healthy oils, such as those containing essential fatty acids, can
normalize the body’s balance of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fat to maintain
good health and achieve well-being.

 



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Posted by on June 8, 2011 in Nutrition

 

Guaca-Eggs

Today we have a nice and easy side dish or snack to serve at parties and family gatherings!

These are specially handy to keep in the fridge for a quick “pick me up”.

GUACA-EGGS! 

Ingredients;

  • 12 Boiled Eggs.
  • Homemade Guacamole (Recipe below).
  • 1 Can of Tuna in Olive Oil.
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder.
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder.
  • S&P to taste.
Method;
Cut eggs in half and remove yolks placing them in a bowl. Mix guacamole with egg yolk mixture until desired consistency (I like mine a little runny so add more guacamole if you want!). Stir in the whole can of tuna and mix thoroughly, add garlic and onion powder and a touch of S&P to taste.
Fill eggs with guacamole/ tuna mixture and let it set in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes.
Enjoy! 
*Note the three little eggs with hot sauce sneakin’ at the bottom of the plate, the recipe for them is the same but instead of mixing the yolks with the guacamole you use tuna and a little hot sauce. Yum!
Homemade Guacamole Recipe;
Here’s the recipe for my very own guacamole, now keep in mind that I DON’T like my guacamole spicy so I mix in a few onions and cherry tomatoes to make it somewhat sweet, just a personal preference!

A great way to get mono-unsaturated fats!

Ingredients;
  • 2-3 ripe avocados.
  • 8 sweet cherry tomatoes.
  • 1 shallot minced.
  • 2 cloves of garlic.
  • 1 tsp lime juice.
  • S&P
Peel the avocados and mash them into a bowl, chop all the ingredients nicely and add to mixture. Mix them throughout until you get a paste like consistency, add lime juice and some salt and pepper to taste.
Sometimes the simplest and easiest recipes are the tastiest! This is definitely one of them.
Hope you enjoy them!
 
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Posted by on May 30, 2011 in Recipes

 

Feel good snacks!

Today I wanted to share with you a very quick yet tasty snack or side dish for a family dinner that may surprise everyone!

My local farmer’s market happens to have one of the best sources of dairy I’ve ever tried, so I stocked up on some buffalo milk, yoghurt and mozzarella this weekend.

Raw Buffalo Mozzarella

With a very short ingredient list and a very nutritious profile this snack will definitely keep the munchies away and make you feel great!

MINI CAPRESE SNACKS

Serves 24 (Approx 4 people)

Ingredients;

  • 12 High quality plum or cherry tomatoes (source locally for better flavour!)
  • 2 buffalo mozzarella balls
  • 24 wooden skewers
  • 6 thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Cut cherry tomatoes in half and mozzarella cheese into small bite-sized balls and mix in a bowl, now add olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh basil and mix well.
Carefully assemble skewers like in the picture and place in a plate with some extra balsamic vinegar mix to dip.
Sprinkle some sea salt, extra basil and pepper to taste!
Enjoy!
 
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Posted by on May 18, 2011 in Recipes

 

Carb cycling for fat loss and muscle gain.

What is it?

Carb cycling is simply splitting your carb intake for the week into three different daily amounts – low, moderate and high – to best complement your training regime.

Why should I do it?

Carbs in your diet trigger the release of the hormone insulin – one of the most important anabolic hormones in the body. Insulin directly influences the amount of amino acids and glucose transported to your muscle cells. Put simply, the more of it coursing through your body, the more your muscles grow. And it also prevents the mobilisation of nutrients stored in your muscles either as intramuscular glycogen or muscle tissue. Which means alongside helping build muscle tissue, it also protects against muscle breakdown.

A continuous high level of insulin, however, will create fat storage. Carb cycling, when you get it right, gives you the best of both worlds: optimum muscle gains; zero fat storage.

How do I do it?

By loading up with carbs on the brutal training days that would ordinarily suck the life out of you, but treating your body as if it’s in a cutting phase on the days when you don’t need excess energy.

So, on the days of your toughest sessions you would choose a high carb day, for your secondary workouts or less intense sessions you would choose a moderate carb day, and for your rest days you would choose a low carb day.

High days – in which you shovel in all the carbs your body can handle – refill your glycogen stores and promote the anabolic environment required for optimal muscle gains. Medium days allow you to maintain your glycogen levels with fewer total calories – you’ll have enough carbs to fuel your workout and prevent tissue breakdown, but not enough to be highly anabolic. Low days are ideal for when you’re just playing and enjoying outdoors. Your body, with its low insulin levels, will be primed for burning away body fat. And with fewer carbs, you’ll be eating more fats, which benefits hormone production and helps keep your body sensitive to insulin on the medium and high days.

Which carbs are best?

Sweet Potatoes are a delicious and optimal carbohydrate source

Leaving gluten out is obvious. I would steer towards yams and sweet potatoes (these last ones are incredibly delicious in almost everything), pumpkin and other starchy veg would be ideal to replenish those glycogen stores. Fruit tends to replenish mostly liver glycogen and too much fructose isn’t really ideal. I would aim for all carbs to be consumed in the peri workout period (pre and post) to maximise the anabolic response and hopefully hit some PR’s!

How much carbs should I aim for?

Low day 0.5-1.25 grams per pound of body weight
Medium day 1.5-1.75 grams per pound of body weight
High day 2-3 grams per pound of body weight

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2011 in Nutrition

 

Yet another “dessert” breakfast recipe – Primal Pancakes!!!

Hey guys!

I know most of you are happy with your eggs and bacon for breakfast but some days you just need that little “something” .

For those days where conventional breakfast cravings kicks, or if you just want to treat your partner to a nice paleo breakfast in bed, I present you Primal Pancakes!

Ingredients;

  • 1/2 cup of coconut flour (desiccated coconut works just as good)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 large egg and 1 cup egg whites (or 4 whole eggs if not using egg whites)
  • 1 tbsp macadamia nut butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
This makes 6 large pancakes or 10 small ones. I’m usually good with 3 of them and some fruit or almond butter to complete this nutritious breakfast.
As you can see you get a nice kick of MCT’s from the coconut along with a nice serving of fiber and protein (using more egg whites would improve the protein/fat ratio, play with it)
There you have it folks, hope you enjoy them!
 
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Posted by on April 20, 2011 in Recipes

 

Primal Muffins

I’d like to share the first recipe of my blog with all of you and it couldn’t be a better one!

PRIMAL MUFFINS!!

Here’s what you’ll need.

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 oz mixed nuts (I used walnuts, cashews and macadamias)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place all ingredients except the oz of nuts into food processor and blend into batter.

Pour batter into muffin tins, about 3/4 full. Top with mixed nuts and another sprinkle of cinnamon.

Bake for 25 mins.

Done! These are an amazing breakfast or anytime snack, sweet enough to kill your cravings but at only 5g carbs per piece!

Makes 12 servings

Nutritional Info


Top them with a little (or a lot) Almond Butter and a nice smoothie on the side for a lovely breakfast that will keep you going until lunch!

Hope you enjoyed it guys!

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2011 in Recipes

 

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Dark Chocolate (Just eat more)

Dark Chocolate (Just eat more)

Hey guys!

Ok, it’s taking me some time to get this blog up and running but having to work, cook and play doesn’t really leave place for much else!

Easter is upon us! so I figured I’d make my first post about something everyone in the primal community seems to love and enjoy although some still believe it can’t be good for you and should be used as a “treat”. Well, I’m here to change that.

Ongoing research shows that eating dark chocolate exerts beneficial effects throughout the whole body. High quality chocolate delivers disease-zapping antioxidants, lowers blood pressure and protects your heart and liver, all in one fell crunch.

"This piece of art boosts your mood and increases your blood flow"

 

Dark chocolate contains more flavanols and polyphenols than fruit juice.

Now let me be specific on what “dark” is, we are looking for a cocoa solids percentage of over 70% in an attempt to keep the sugar content low. Any lower than that and you start losing any benefits and just adding sugar to your diet. Be sure to pick quality ingredients and go organic where possible, some cocoa beans are highly processed and sprayed with all sorts of nasty stuff to keep the bugs at bay (same applies for coffee) choosing organic over any other brands will make sure that you are eating quality cocoa and you are doing good to your body!

I’ve been testing several brands lately and whilst 100% seems to be too hardcore for my taste buds I can now handle Lindt’s 99% without having to reach for a cup of coffee to go with it (more antioxidants anyone?).

My favourite though has to be Green & Black’s Organic 85%, the vanilla notes in the bar are really powerful and it literally just melts in your mouth in a matter of seconds, it’s creamy and with a nice texture, furthermore it contains no soy lecithin (even though the soy content in Lindt’s is really low) which is a plus to all of us avoiding gluten, dairy and soy.


Chocolate and Blood Pressure

The important thing is that the antioxidants in dark chocolate can significantly reduce blood pressure in patients with hypertension. According to researchers from the University of Adelaide, flavanols promote vasodilation, which may consequently lower blood pressure.

“There have, however, been conflicting results as to the real-life effects of eating chocolate. We’ve found that consumption can significantly, albeit modestly, reduce blood pressure for people with high blood pressure but not for people with normal blood pressure.” added Dr Karin Ried, who is program manager and research fellow of the PHCRED (Primary Health Care Research Evaluation & Development) program at The University of Adelaide. The analysis concluded that the pressure reduction caused by chocolate consumption was comparable to the effects of 30 minutes of daily physical activity.

Great! But… how much is enough?

Now we know dark chocolate is good for us and tastes great too! But you may ask yourself, “how much of the stuff can I eat safely?” Well, my answer is eat as much as you like, as with any other primal foods eat until you feel you’ve had enough. The ingredients in dark chocolate should all be natural (if they aren’t drop that sugar loaded candy bar immediately!) so you should be able to sense when it’s enough.

Now may folks would say they don’t have control and bla bla bla, well for those in that group let’s just say that with as little as 20 grams a day you get to reap all the benefits of eating dark chocolate as well as a good dose of theobromine (much better for your coughs than the nasty stuff your doc recommended).

If you are insulin resistant or have any kind of metabolic condition though, please be aware that your goal is to maintain your blood sugar stable and your insulin down at all times, opt for a higher percentage of cocoa (85%+) and eat a couple of squares max, the sugar content of those two squares would be somewhere between 1-2 grams, no big deal.

My top 5 dark chocolate bars

Now that we have talked about what it does to you let me recommend you my favourite ones!

1- Green & Blacks Organic 85% Dark Chocolate.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Green-Blacks-Dark-Chocolate-100g/dp/B0013G4HRW/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1302690012&sr=8-3 – As mentioned before the taste on this one is just amazing, powerful madagascan vanilla notes, creamy and melts great.

2- Lindt Excellence 99% Very Dark Chocolate.

http://shop.lindt.com/uk/excellence-100g.html – Bitter and almost 100% cocoa solids content, a very rich cocoa flavour which takes some time to build up to. If you are already a master of dark chocolate try it, you won’t be disappointed.

3- Montezuma’s Peru 70% Dark Organic.

http://www.montezumas.co.uk/bars/createapack.asp?&r=11&g=72&i=1434&pg=1 – Now this one would be too sweet for some, it’s a 70% yes but this Montezuma’s bar tastes like cranberries and chocolate I swear. It is amazing!

4- Hotel Chocolat 90% Purist Organic Dark Chocolate Bar.

http://www.hotelchocolat.co.uk/Purist-Bar–90-Dark-Organic–Hacienda-iara-Ecuador-P240064/ – Nutty taste and some herbal hints on this one, really good for that afternoon coffee or an after dinner with strawberries and cinnamon.

5- Divine 70% Dark Chocolate with Ginger and Orange.

http://www.divinechocolate.com/products/OrangeGinger.aspx – A higher sugar content than I would like to eat on a daily basis but this bar boosts your mood instantly! The orange and ginger combination works superb and it melts in your mouth smoothly. A must try.

There you have it folks!

Eat more dark chocolate and feel great about it!

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2011 in Nutrition