Certified Personal Trainer
Registered Holistic Nutritionist
Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) Jumpstart Specialist
When clients ask me what oils I use to cook with and which would I recommend, I always mention coconut oil. As long as you don’t have an intolerance to coconut, it’s a healthy fat that can be used in many different ways.
Coconut oil has had a bad rap in the past for being unhealthy because it has saturated fat. However, this saturated fat is mostly from a medium-chain triglyceride called Lauric Acid, which is heart healthy! Lauric acid helps to keep the digestive tract healthy by encouraging growth of friendly bacterial flora that are essential to health and annihilating unwelcome pathogens. Another interesting fact is that lauric acid is the main fat found in human milk. But fat makes you fat right? Apparently not in this case. Lauric acid is sent straight to your liver to be used up right away as energy rather than being stored as body fat. Coconut oil also contains micronutrients called polyphenols, which help to prevent disease.
Coconut oil is great for cooking at high temperatures as this fat stays relatively stable, giving it a high smoke point. When I went to Panama, the locals recommended it as a bug repellant. It can also be used as a skin moisturizer, make-up remover, hair treatment, and is the main ingredient in “all natural” soaps and detergents. Some people stir it into their coffee instead of cream. Others use it to help keep their gums healthy by swishing it around in their mouth for 15-20 minutes. This is called “gum pulling”.
Use coconut oil in place of butter or other oils in your favorite recipes. You can find an aroma-free coconut oil from “Omega Nutrition” if you’re not keen on adding coconut flavour to your cooking. Organic and extra-virgin are best and can be found at most stores. If you are going to use it in place of oil, I recommend you melt it first, if it is solid, before adding it to your recipe. This will help it to distribute evenly. In the summertime, it is normal for solid coconut oil to melt into liquid form.
Here are some recipes to help you start using Coconut oil:
Super-Easy Curry Coconut Chicken Breast
½ cup Organic extra virgin coconut oil
¼ cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup Canadian maple syrup
1 tbsp Curry powder
Dash each of Salt and Pepper
4-6 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Melt the coconut oil slightly if it’s still solid, so it’s easy to stir into the other ingredients. Add all the ingredients except for the chicken and stir together until mixed well. You can adjust the ingredients to your taste if you like it more sweet or savory. Brush each chicken breast with the mixture and place in a baking pan evenly spaced apart. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Halfway through baking, turn over each chicken breast and brush on more of the mixture and place back in the oven for the remaining time. Serve with your favorite side dishes.
Super Berry Crumble
2 cups Blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 cups Strawberries, fresh or frozen
2 cups Apples cut into small cubes
1/3-1/2 cup of Raw honey or maple syrup
1 tbsp Arrowroot starch
2/3 cup Brown rice flour
2/3 cup One-minute oats or gluten-free oats
½ cup Sliced or slivered almonds
1/3-1/2 cup of Raw honey or maple syrup
¼ cup Coconut oil (melt if in a solid form before incorporating into recipe)
Dash of ground clove and/or allspice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 180 degrees Celsius. Mix fruit, honey and arrowroot in a bowl and spread into an 11x9-inch glass baking dish. Flatten mixture to make sure it's evenly spread.
In a medium bowl, combine all crumble topping ingredients, then sprinkle evenly over fruit mixture. If fruit doesn’t look completely covered, add some more slivered almonds, oats or brown rice flour until completely covered.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until lightly browned on top and bubbling. Allow to cool before digging in!
Adapted from “The UnDiet Cookbook” by Meghan Telphner.
Alissa Segersten/Tom Malterre, MS, CN, “The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook” (USA. Whole Life Press, 2006) 28.
Meghan Telpner, “The UnDiet Cookbook” (Canada. Random House, 2015) 28.