Why should I eat it?
- It contains GOOD FATS – the short-medium chain saturated variety. These medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) are easily digested, convert into energy instead of being stored as fat, plus they have anti-inflammatory properties.
- It can help with your sugar cravings – it tastes sweet but doesn’t give you the insulin spike of fructose-rich sweeteners and fruit.
- It has a high smoke point – meaning you can use it to cook at high temperatures without it oxidising (like olive oil)
- It’s versatile – you can use it in baking, roasting, frying…plus it works well in both sweet and savoury dishes
- Umm, it tastes AMAZING. When cooking, it brings out the natural sweetness in vegetables, plus adds a bit of sweetness to desserts and baking.
- It’s Paleo, vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, nut-free…if you’re not allergic to coconut, you can eat it :)
How do I use it?
- For frying – caramelized bananas, pancakes, or garlic/onion for Asian stir fries and curries
- It’s best not to use it for steaks or Mediterranean dishes – unless you find an oil with a light flavour
- Use it in place of butter (or substitute half half) when baking
- To make these delicious no-bake Paleo protein bars
- As a moisturizer – seriously. It makes your skin smell ah-maaaaziiiing. CrossFitters – use it to soften your abused calloused hands!
- Ladies, it also works as a makeup remover :)
- To tell how hot your house is – coconut oil turns to liquid at 24 degrees C. Who needs an app for that??
Here’s one of my favourite coconut oil dishes: easy roast sweet potato
- Preheat the oven to 190 deg C
- Get a glass baking dish. Spoon a few tablespoons of coconut oil in.
(BONUS TIP: If the oil is solid, pop the dish in the oven for 5 minutes to melt it.)
- Get a couple of sweet potatoes, chop into small chunks (with skin on)
- Add sweet potato to dish, mix it around in the oil
- Season with salt and pepper. Optional: add a sprinkle of smoked paprika/cumin/ground ginger
- Roast for about an hour, tossing every now and again, until nice and soft. Yum!
If you have leftovers, PIC-WIF* and take for lunch!
So….where the fork to I find it?
It’s readily available in supermarkets (in the ‘health food’ section), and in pretty much every health food shop. If you’re at the Queen Vic markets, check out the organic fruit n’ veg stalls. IMPORTANT: make sure the oil you buy is ‘virgin cold pressed’. And avoid the nasty spray stuff.
I went to Passionfoods in South Melbourne, and they had no less than four different brands! Check it out:
I usually buy the Nuigini Organics brand (on the far right), as it’s great quality, organic and fair trade; plus it comes in an awesome reusable jar. The 1000mL jar ranges in price from $17.50 to around $22. Expensive, you say? Think about how much a tiny container of fancy coconut Body Shop body butter sets you back! (And this stuff is pure!)
*PIC-WIF – My own fancy acronym for: Put In Container, Whack In Fridge. (Not as silly as it sounds, eh?) For more PIC-WIF ideas, see my Epic Lunch.
What do you use coconut oil for? Do you have a favourite recipe? Just leave a comment below!