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All About Coconut ~ Part 2

Remember the time Michael and I tried to hack through a Young Thai Coconut?

ThaiYoungCoconut_thefitnessdish.comcopyright

Why would you? Anyway, after that experience I decided no more until we get a really sharp, large meat clever or something. It will be worth it.

The water inside a coconut before it matures {hence why you’d look for “young thai” coconuts} is amazing and full of great nutrition!

But, if you’re afraid of cutting off  your hand, like me, you can go the lazy route and experience all the benefits of coconut water with all the options available at your local health food store {actually I’ve seen it at my Giant so you can probably more available than you think!} :

NakedCoconutWater_TheFitnessDishcopyright

Yesterday we talked about coconut oil, and today I want to talk about the rest of the coconut and all the amazing benefits.

Did you know that eight ounces of coconut water has twice the potassium of a single banana!? Also, the minerals in coconut water have the same electrolytic balance that we have in our blood. During World War II medics drew IV’s directly from coconuts to aid wounded soldiers!

This beverage is one of the best ways to replenish your electrolytes after a tough workout, run, marathon—any athletic event! Forget the Gatorade and the high sugar, artificially flavored sports drinks. All you need is coconut water! Are you sick, dehydrated, getting over the flu? Coconut water. I will never give Ella that Pedialyte ® stuff…all we need in more lies in a few ounces of natures perfect sports drink.

Coconut water, unlike the milk or oil, is low in calories and has no fat. The  low sugar content is all natural and perfect to replenish your glycogen stores (along with your electrolytes like I mentioned above) immediately after heavy physical activity. I made sure to have my supply on hand after labor and delivery in the maternity ward. It came in handy after a scary episode I had in the hospital!

Benefits of Coconut Water:

  • high in potassium, magnesium and magnese
  • helps to reduce water weight
  • helps deliver nutrients and oxygen to the cells
  • may help reduce high blood pressure
  • boosts the immune system & fights viruses
  • promotes weight loss & raises metabolism
  • beneficial for heart and kidney disease patients
  • replenishes electrolytes after physical activity better than any sports drink
  • improves poor circulation
  • great for digestion

 

Let’s move onto the actual coconut meat. The easiest way and more common way to use it is by dehydrating and grinding/shredding the meat with the milk removed.

You can find this at your local grocery or healthy food store as “unsweetened shredded coconut.” This is the stuff I never liked until very recently. I never liked that taste od the “fake” processed coconut stuff. The texture bugged me too. Not anymore though. I’ve grown to love the stuff. Texture is growing on me, I can only take a small amount at a time, but the flavor of the unprocessed shredded coconut much different than the coconut I used to loathe.

Coconut Meat:

ShreddedCoconut

Another way to use it is to grind it up further and use it as a flour. This is something I’ve only recently tried and so far it’s worked out great! It’s a great way to enjoy a grain-free, gluten-free treat with lots of health benefits! Coconut meat is high in fiber and high in protein and loaded with tons of nutrients!

In baking I find that it’s drier than other flours so you usually need more liquid and/or an extra egg/flax egg to get the consistency you’re looking for. I am new to it, so any veterans of coconut flour baking, I would love to hear your tips and thoughts on it!

 

Coconut Milk:

coconutmilkcan

This part comes in a close second in deliciousness to coconut oil.

I use full fat coconut milk {note: not coconut milk beverage} anywhere you would use heavy cream {see note below} or milk. This is great in desserts, soups, curries, smoothies, or as whipped cream! Freeze it and it taste like candy. Use it in vegan ice cream recipes. Flavor it and pour it into popsicle trays to share with the kids! It’s delicious!

Note: When you separate the fat from the liquid by either freezing the can or refrigerating it overnight, you will get a rich, thick coconut cream! This is the method I use for whipped cream, and you could do this to replace heavy cream in any dessert or cream based soup or sauce!

The possibilities are endless and so are the nutritional benefits!

 

 

A few more favorite coconut recipes/articles:

CoconutWhippedCreamVegan

Coconut Milk Whipped Cream

Chocolate Cherry Coconut Energizer Smoothie {one of my FAVORITES!}

Decadent Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Ganache

The Diva Dish:

Better for you Shamrock Shake {looks too good!}

Alisa Cooks:

Grain-free, Nut-free Snickerdoodles

Mark’s Daily Apple:

Working with Coconut Flour {I actually saw this article after I encrusted some tilapia with coconut t, he did with chicken. My method was a little different different but it came out delicious. I recommend it… and I will share my recipe soon!}

Thrive-Style:

Why is Coconut Flour a Good Choice?

Chocolate Berry Coconut Cream Pudding

Little House of Veggies:

Coconut Key Lime Pie

Raw Spiced Chocolate Truffles

Pure 2 Raw:

Baked Vegan Gluten-Free Donuts

Baked Mini Cardamom Cake Vanilla Donuts

Healthy Diaries:

Lemon Poppyseed Bites

 

Food For Your Skin:

DIY Coconut Milk Soap!

Simple Coconut Milk Soap using a freezer method

 

Next post will be a fitness one. I stand corrected after reading a few articles on one of my favorite methods of training! Stay tuned and I will fill you in on a mistake the fitness industry has been buzzing about!

What’s your favorite way to use any part of the coconut? What’s your favorite part?

New to coconut? After these two posts what do you think you will try first?

This is part of the 100 Days til’ Summer project…getting back to basics! I hope to inspire some of you to incorporate some of these things into yout diet if you have not already! Hopefully this information is helping you make the small changes that will lead up to big results! How are you doing so far?

Talk to you soon!

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31 Comments

  • Reply Jennifer (The Gourmetour)

    Thank you for posting this today!!! I’m always at a loss for cooking with coconut, for some reason I can never seem to incorporate it! I know how healthy it is and want to so badly make it a solid part of my diet. I took your recommendation and put a small amount in oatmeal or melted on hot breakfast items, but other than that and curry I’ve got nothin’

    Thanks!!

    March 21, 2012 at 11:52 pm
    • Reply laury

      Aww thanks, Jennifer!! So glad I could help! Isn’t it great in hot cereal??? I love it! My daughters a big fan now too 😉

      March 22, 2012 at 3:31 pm
  • Reply Heidi

    Awesome post! I love coconut water and always drink it after my runs. I’ve used grate coconut in granola and some other dishes, but that’s as far as I knew I could go. I have drank coconut milk and used it in smoothies but I never thought to replace it for milk or cream in recipes. I’ve also never tried coconut flour. Thanks for all of the great ideas and recipes! It looks like April will be the month of the coconut at my house ; )

    March 22, 2012 at 7:15 am
    • Reply laury

      Thanks, Heidi! Shredded coconut in home made granola sounds amazing!!!

      March 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm
  • Reply Lisa

    LOVE this post!!!
    Thanks for the post mention—you know I’m obsessed with coconut flour, and I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even flinch when a cookie or cake recipe calls for 10 eggs… lol. That would be tough to sub in flax/chia eggs for I think (but I haven’t tried it, so I don’t know if it would work well or not).

    I definitely have a love affair with coconut oil and shredded coconut, and the flour has changed things in my kitchen significantly! It works great for pancakes and muffins and things in combo with almond flour.

    Anyway….the best thing I can say about coconut water is that I’ve recommended it to pregnant women (and a couple larger men) who were having issues with leg cramps. It helped 100%. Plus, an Irish dancer who was dancing really hard and getting dehydrated—totally changed her dance practices (she didn’t need breaks during or feel crappy and nauseous after). Maybe my favorite, least obvious benefit was with a man who started drinking a coconut water at lunch b/c of leg cramps, and he found that it completely eliminated his mid-afternoon-need-a-nap-blahs. He used to practically fall asleep at his desk and be in a stupor at 1:30pm….one coconut water at lunch revived him (prob an electrolyte issue, where most people would blame blood sugar!).

    I’m gonna do something fun with coconut oil today! I just ordered some from Trop Traditions — it’s amazing!
    Oh, and opening coconuts….I should write a post about that in itself! I finally use a drill to get the water out and bought a dremel saw attachment to get it all the way open. It makes a huge mess, but works. That was after I embarrassed myself and ruined a knife by trying to chop one open on the sidewalk at 10pm one night…. it seemed like a good idea at the time!
    Here’s a pic from the day my friend and I went overboard with coconuts: http://www.thrive-style.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/DSC050521.jpg
    ha.

    March 22, 2012 at 7:24 am
    • Reply Lisa

      Whoa, sorry that was so long!

      March 22, 2012 at 7:26 am
      • Reply laury

        never 😉

        March 22, 2012 at 3:35 pm
    • Reply laury

      Oh Em Geee at that photo! Hahahahah! I wish I loved closer we would have so much fun together 🙂

      YES for pregnant women! I remember waking up screaming from a charlie horse and once I drank more coconut water I stopped getting them!

      Yes, you need to do a tutorial! I watched some youtube videos but it didn’t work for us!

      March 22, 2012 at 3:35 pm
  • Reply Kristen

    I’m loving the food highlights. You break it down so well. Thank you. On the coconut oil, I guess I’ve never noticed it in the regular grocery store? Or is it something to get at a whole foods type store?

    March 22, 2012 at 7:53 am
    • Reply laury

      You’re welcome 🙂

      I have seen it in Giant in the organic section. I think the Spectrum brand is there? At least it is at mine. The cheapest is from Trader Joe’s or Swanson Health Products website though!

      March 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm
  • Reply the delicate place

    lol! i have only tried to open a young coconut once and it was hard! then i watched a youtube video and felt like a tool. much easier than i was doing ha. i like making a custard out of the meat, it’s so filling & rich! ok. now i think i will be adding coconut oil onto my grocery cart this week. sorry grapeseed oil, you’re not my first love!

    March 22, 2012 at 9:29 am
    • Reply laury

      Us too! Oh my it was hilarious. We had a good laugh and hacked the crap out of that thing!!!

      The meat was really good in a smoothie the one time I had it hahah

      March 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm
  • Reply Susan

    I love coconut milk. I use it all the time for curries. I also like cooking with coconut oil. Looking forward to your fitness post xx

    March 22, 2012 at 9:42 am
    • Reply laury

      thanks, girlfriend <3

      March 22, 2012 at 3:37 pm
  • Reply Alisa

    I’ve loved this coconut series Laury (coconut lover here!), and was happily surprised to see my recipe linked here. Thank you!! 🙂

    March 22, 2012 at 12:27 pm
    • Reply laury

      Thaks, Alisa! I keep forgetting to tell you—I met a women in the library who’s family has like every food allergy. I was telling her about Go Dairy Free and Alisa cooks and she heard of the latter! Very cool!

      March 22, 2012 at 3:37 pm
  • Reply Lisa@Healthy Diaries

    Thanks for linking our recipe! 🙂

    I actually don’t drink much coconut water, although I have tried it before! I seriously only drink water everyday. I’m pretty boring, but now I’m getting into making different teas that are good for pregnancy!

    My favorite coconut products are coconut oil, coconut milk and of course coconut flour!

    March 22, 2012 at 2:32 pm
    • Reply laury

      Oh it’s AMAZING for pregnant ladies, Lisa! You should definitely grab some! Like Lisa said awesome for preventing leg cramps and stuff. They were NOT fun, I woke up a few times in the middle of the night SCREAMING from a charlie horse. Coconut water and they went away!

      March 22, 2012 at 3:38 pm
  • Reply Ali

    Love coconut! Thanks for the tips! I also substiute it for water (half of the required water) when cooking a sweet quinoa.

    March 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm
    • Reply laury

      What a great idea! I will definitely try that!

      March 22, 2012 at 3:39 pm
  • Reply Kat

    All of these look amazing! Im new to coconut water, and almost think its too expensive to be worth it, but it has SAVED me during my hot soccer games! My tummy cant handle the sugar in gatorade or powerade, so I have to stick to water. By the end of the game Im dead. Not anymore!! Coconut water has kept me hydrated and going through the 90 minutes of running!

    March 22, 2012 at 5:10 pm
    • Reply laury

      That’s awesome, Kat! Perfect sports drink!!!!

      March 23, 2012 at 9:14 pm
  • Reply maria@healthydiaries

    Thanks for the posting your link 🙂 I think I will actually be making them this weekend and add a coconut cream frosting. Fingers crossed it turns out well!
    I actually picked up some coconut water today and think I might go drink some because my legs are achey from my workout.
    I pretty much love every coconut product!

    March 22, 2012 at 10:17 pm
  • Reply Kristen @ Swanky Dietitian

    Great post! I just love coconut water! I used to always drink it after a tough bikram yoga workout.

    March 23, 2012 at 3:15 pm
  • Reply Lisa

    I seriously have an obsession with everything coconut, except the water! So I’m glad to hear it’s looking like a good thing 🙂 Now I gotta read all those recipes and articles I’m so fascinated about the coconut topic haha. I’m excited for your fitness post next!!

    March 23, 2012 at 3:34 pm
  • Reply Lauren J @ The Barn

    Wish I could say my favorite use for coconut water was for a kick booty workout, not that it isn’t great for that, but I have to admit in our household it is the cure for the dreaded hangover 🙂 Half of it the night of, half the next morning and I swear you are golden!

    March 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm
    • Reply laury

      that’s awesome. my husband could use it on a Sunday but he never listens to me about that stuff. 😉

      March 23, 2012 at 3:55 pm
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