So, from where I’m sitting, in my little studio office, in the pre-dawn summer darkness, life is pretty good. We’re more than halfway through our six week summer holidays, there are two weeks until this uni semester ends and I’m only feeling a teeny little bit edgy from spending so much time with my children. Only a teeny bit because I haven’t seen them for 9 hours ;). That feeling of edginess may amp up in a couple of hours time when I go over to make them breakfast. We have been at home for the last 10 days while we wait for my son to recover from a nasty cough, which while it can’t be helped, is making us all feel a bit…housebound. I’ve been enjoying staying at home, but I do have these January adventures planned which I hope we will have time to do!
So, as promised last week, I am writing about my experience of coconut oil. It’s been often talked about as a super-food over the last few years – personally, I think that ‘super-food’ is a hackneyed marketing tool that automatically turns me off the food in question, but then again, I am a most contrary woman :). In my opinion, any food that comes from nature, is grown well, harvested well and sold well has some piece of greatness about it. So, in spite of the coconut’s super-food label, I have been experimenting with coconut oil over the past couple of years, because I have an interest in oils that goes way back to the days when I was a student in my early 20s studying Nutrition. The very first thing I liked about coconut oil is that because it is a saturated fat, it is a good, stable oil to fry in. Most oils that are commonly used as frying oils are already rancid as they sit on the supermarket shelves, or are damaged by the heating process, thus becoming toxic.
The next way that I have used coconut oil is through oil pulling. Most of you will have heard about oil pulling I think, but if you haven’t, oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic technique, where oil is swished around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes and then spat out. For the first five minutes, the oil is cleaning your mouth, teeth and gums. After this, the fat enzymes in the oil starts to pull up any bacteria, toxins and parasites that may be living in your mouth or lymph system. In this way, not only does oil pulling improve your oral health, but it has positive health benefits for your whole body. Traditionally, sesame oil or sunflower oil was used, but coconut oil is also used these days, because it has such excellent anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and enzymatic properties. For more information on oil pulling, go here.
So, this is how I’ve been using coconut oil over the past couple of years. This week, though, I wanted to play around with it more. For starters, I wanted to make oil pulling an every day ritual, rather than a ‘whenever I can be bothered’ type of thing. The best time to do oil pulling is on an empty stomach, as soon as you wake up, so this is what I’ve been doing. I have some excellent quality coconut oil (the quality of any oil is very important – always go for a cold-pressed extra-virgin oil) which tastes delicious, so I have also been adding it to my lunch time smoothie, to my morning chai, to the morning pancake mix (wait until next week when I share my delicious pancake recipe with you), and stirred into my porridge, baked beans, soup and anything else that I can! Coconut oil devotees recommend 2-5 tablespoons of coconut oil per day, to help with weight loss, hormonal balance, skin and hair health, digestive issues as well as the treatment of more serious chronic disease. For more information on coconut oil, go here.
My two favourite recipes for the week:
Banana and Apple Smoothie
It is mid-summer here in Australia, so this is the perfect time to eat lightly. Replacing a meal with a smoothie is perfect.
1 green apple, chopped
1 tbl chia seeds
1 tbl coconut oil
2 tbl yogurt (coconut or milk)
1 serving of green food powder (optional)
1 cup of organic almond milk
Blitz and drink. It’s delicious, light, yet filling. Perfect on a summer’s day!
Elizabeth Gilbert’s Chai recipe
Elizabeth Gilbert posted this recipe on her facebook page a couple of weeks ago, and being a chai lover from way back, I had to give it a go, especially since it has coconut oil in it. I was intrigued! So, first make the spiced tea:
Bring 3 cups of water to the boil. Add 2 cinnamon sticks, 6 cardamon pods, 6 peppercorns, sliced fresh ginger to taste and two black tea bags. Turn the heat off and let the tea brew. Meanwhile, in your cup, mix one tablespoon of coconut oil, one teaspoon of turmeric and one tablespoon of honey. Add a small amount of the chai liquid, mix, and then fill 2/3 of the cup with chai. Top with frothed milk.
Now, this is more of a winter drink with its delicious warming spices, but it’s also a comforting, nourishing drink, which a person can be in need of all year round. Enjoy <3.
So, that was my week in coconut oil. My skin feels fantastic, my digestive system is working really well and my mouth feels really clean and happy. I think it’s a winner 🙂
Next week: chia seeds.