Apparently coconut water is so close in structure to human plasma that in an emergency it can be given intravenously into the bloodstream (but for the love, DON’T actually try this, k?).
If anything, this is a perfect golden nugget for trivia night. Just don’t drink so much before the game actually starts that you have to go to the car and go night night (I have NO experience with this.)
Today I’m not talking about coconut water or drunken mishaps (as fun as those are). I’m talking about coconut oil and the coconut oil debate because who’s not confused by the shit?
Before I get to the nuts and bolts of the matter (did you see what I did there?), I have two thoughts.
1. Putting superhero or miracle powers on one specific food, supplement, vitamin, beauty product – shit even to put that on another human isn’t realistic. And it sucks for whatever or whoever is being made out as the cure to people’s problems. Why? Because it / they will flip and flop and fall flat every time.
Hello Dr. Oz in court for making unfounded claims about “miracle weight loss supplements”. Oh, and hello ex-girlfriend over there who I naively thought would save me from everything bad in my life when I was 19.
Garcinia Cambogia weight loss pills don’t work and my ex-girlfriend was cheating on me throughout our entire relationship.
And I can’t say I was surprised by either event.
Deep down we know that there’s not ONE thing or ONE person that can cure us from whatever it is that has us down. (Believe me, I wanted the vibrating fat belt to work just as much as the next person.)
Life is a constant orchestra of our good choices working together to give us a happy, healthy life.
Kale isn’t a miracle plant. Kale has protective compounds that when eaten with a lot of other whole plant foods in their natural state, it can help keep us healthy and radiant. One organic kale juice a day isn’t going to balance out french fries, lunch meat, steak, ice cream, soda and booze (again, this sucks because FRENCH FRIES and BOOZE).
Just like your partner or best friend can’t be held responsible for your happiness. Sure, they can be a delight to have around and you can like spending time with them. But if you’re not happy, it’s not their job to fix it. You have to do that yourself, babe.
Reductionism has its place, but as far as what we eat and consume to stay healthy, as well as our overall happiness, we need to focus on the whole picture and not the sum of its parts (which is exactly why the supplement industry is full of caca btw).
As soon as something is talked up as a cure all, miracle (fill in the blank), it’s an immediate bullshit flag for me. And if you do a search on the world wide web for “coconut oil”, bullshit flags start poppin’ up aplenty.
My second thought is the flip side of my first thought.
2. We need to STOP IT with the over thinking and over analyzing of our food.
I’ll paint you a picture, Bob Ross style.
Someone starts out being unhealthy, they get turned on to eating clean, and they become healthier than they’ve ever been before. They lose a ton of weight, they get off their medication, they start running marathons, life is good.
And then they become a complete spazz about their food.
All of a sudden, EVERYTHING they eat is under scrutiny. They won’t buy anything unless its organic, restaurants are a thing of the past, all of their food must be grown within a 1/4 mile radius of their house, bread becomes a foreign concept, all oil is the work of the devil, sugar may as well be heroin and the people who eat it are straight up junkies. They start to think twice about brown rice because they heard that there’s arsenic in it, and even fruit becomes questionable because SUGAR.
Pretty soon, their diet consists of air and chia seeds and they move to Berkeley and join a cult.
Eating a clean Whole Food Plant Based diet is awesome for so many reasons, but let’s not become total perfectionist dick heads about it and freak out over eating a piece of watermelon.
Another huge factor in how healthy we are is our stress level. If we’re stressing the hell out over how clean and perfect our food is, we might as well be chillaxin with some Veggie Chow Fun and a cold beer.
So let’s all take a breath, do the best we can and move on with our day.
Okie dokie smokey.
Here’s how I’m gonna break this bad boy down without dissecting it to the point of absurd confusion.
- Coconut oil is one of three plant sources that contain saturated fat (along with palm kernel oil and cocoa butter). It’s made up of over 90% saturated fat (more than butter or lard).
- Saturated fat is typically found in animal food.
The shit thing about saturated fat is that it increases LDL (“bad” cholesterol), and high LDL is the number one risk factor for heart disease (which is the number one cause of death in the U.S. and Australia).
But here’s where it gets tricky.
Coconut oil has three different types of saturated fat, and the saturated fat that it has the most of (lauric acid) has been shown to raise overall cholesterol, both LDL (“bad”) and HDL (“good”), giving it a neutral effect.
But the important thing to remember is that lauric acid isn’t the only saturated fat in coconut oil. It also contains myristic and palmitic acid and both of these saturated fats raise LDL (“bad” cholesterol).
Another reason why people get horny about coconut oil is because it has antimicrobial properties. Antimicrobial substances inhibit the growth of fungus and bacteria. But here’s the thing, lover.
Our food doesn’t fight off infection. Our immune system fights off infection. And when we eat the right foods, TA-DA, we build a strong immune system and we’re able to fight off infections.
Eating coconut oil instead of hydrogenated oil is an excellent step in the right direction, but you know what’s even more awesome?
Not eating oil but instead eating the actual plant that the oil comes from (eating coconut instead of coconut oil, eating flax seeds instead of flax oil, etc.).
Getting our fats from eating whole plants is a no-brainer because we get lots of other good stuff along with the fat, like phytochemicals, fiber and antioxidants.
Thank god because AVOCADOS.
At the end of the day, oil is oil.
Coconut, olive, sesame, flax, canola, or palm. They’re all processed, they contain no fiber, and they all have 120 calories and 14 grams of fat per tablespoon, making them the opposite of a nutrient dense food.
And Whole Food Plant Based eating is all about nutrient density.
So, as long as you don’t think that coconut oil will make you super human, or the flip side, you don’t freak the fuck out if you eat something with a little coconut oil in it from time to time, you’ll be golden and well rounded on the coconut oil front.
My favorite thing to do with coconut oil is to do my morning oil pulling with it and to use it as a face wash. All those antimicrobial properties are fuckin’ brilliant when you use them topically.
Today’s recipe is an adaptation of a friend’s recipe which she learned while visiting a family in Western Samoa.
My friend is from Germany and she’s traveled around the globe three times by herself. She’s fucking awesome (on the left) and she’s a riot to hang out with because:
A) She doesn’t take herself too seriously, which is key if I’m going to be friends with someone.
B) Her English is good, but it’s not her first language, so some of the shit that comes out of her mouth is priceless, and cute as hell.
She met up with us in the Virgin Islands earlier this month, and one day we were driving to explore a new beach. As we came around a sharp bend in the road, there it was, a pristine beach and picture perfect Caribbean water.
As soon as my German friend saw the beauty she yelled out, “WOW WOW FUCK”.
We busted out laughing and “wow wow fuck” became our new saying for the rest of the trip. We eventually hash-tagged it to #WWF.
My friend made us a version of this recipe during our visit together and I nearly cried it was so good. Her version was better because we used fresh coconut meat from a coconut outside of the house we were staying at, but this version is pretty damn close.
It’s super rich, so when you serve it, serve it as a side dish and not the main meal. If you’re following a low fat diet, this is not the recipe for you.
Western Samoa Inspired Coconut with Chard – Whole Food Plant Based
(or Wow Wow Fuck Coconut Chard)
Western Samoa Inspired Coconut with Chard - Whole Food Plant Based
(or Wow Wow Fuck Coconut Chard)
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh turmeric 6g, peeled and diced
- 3 cups fresh coconut meat I bought mine frozen from an Asian market and it was grated, 325g, grated or chopped
- 3 cups chard use stems and all, 75g, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Several turns fresh black pepper
Heat a pan over medium heat and cook the onion for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so the onions don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Add the garlic, the turmeric and a splash of water and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add the coconut, chard, water, sea salt and black pepper and stir.
Place the lid on the pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
Serve with brown rice or quinoa, or wrap it up in blanched collard leaf and have it as a wrap.