Coconuts are magic, basically. They’re good for you, obscenely delicious, and can be used for a number of different cooking and personal needs. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen them as popular as they are now.
I mean, beyond the sweetened coconut flakes used in desserts, there’s now unsweetened coconut flakes good for nearly anything (if you ask my roommate, including eating plain with a spoon), coconut oils, coconut butters, coconut milks, coconut waters, coconut flours, coconut creams, and of course, the original coconut in all its beauty. And if you wanna be really fancy, just serve all your food and drinks in a coconut too. They will be irresistible, especially for anyone on vacation. Seriously, look at that picture and tell me it’s not beautiful.
Anyway, you get it. Coconuts are everything you could ever want or need. Even sunblock. Yup. Coconut oil works as a sunblock, and an excellent moisturizer. Bonus, you get to smell authentically tropical. But did I mention yet the part where they’re actually massively good for you as well as tasty?
Because they are. Coconuts help you feel fuller, longer, burn more fat, faster, and help you maintain higher levels of energy. And they taste fantastic. No kidding, I drank crazy amounts of mixed drinks with coconut cream in them while I was in Thailand, among other things, and even with all that cream in the soups and the drinks and the curry I lost weight. Maybe not all because of the coconut, but it’s still magic. Especially because of all the things you can use it for.
So while coconut water, milk, cream, and the flesh is the most used part of the coconut, even these other coconut products have their uses. They may break the bank a little, but the biggest upside to using coconut flour is that it’s gluten free. But coconut cream? That’s only about two bucks a can, coconut milk is about the same, and coconut flakes aren’t too expensive either. In the morning market in Thailand, these young coconut cost 25 Thai Baht. For reference, 1 USD is about 33 Baht.
These are the expensive ones, by the way. In Thailand, coconut milk and coconut cream is such an integral part of the food, that at the morning markets (where restaurants get their food), it’s produced through a mill.
See now look at that. First, the coconut is pressed for cream, then from the leftovers, milk, then what’s left is the fleshy bits you get in dessert, etc. Coconuts are your best friend, because they’re nutritious, absolutely efficient, and versatile. Dessert, main course, snacks, cool refreshment for the hot sun (best thing for re-hydrating), or get creative. I do. Extraordinarily rewarding.
So you already know about the piña colada, coconut macaroons, coconut curries, and probably how wonderful coconut water tastes. But it also helps fight against yeast infections, and other bacteria. Coconut milk is a suitable replacement for regular milk, for those with certain dietary restrictions like being a vegan or lactose intolerance. Eating coconut products gives you quick energy and helps manage obesity. Coconut oil is perfect for frying nearly anything–the high smoke point makes it very sustainable. And while we have the tendency to be suspect of oils and anything particularly fatty, it really isn’t all that bad for you. If you don’t subscribe to the idea that counting calories is the way to measure health, etc, something that I think clearly isn’t necessarily true, then there are a number of things you can see about the humble coconut and the way our bodies process it that maintain good health. Seriously, if someplace like Thailand includes coconut in as much of their diet as they do and have for years, and we don’t tend to see the negative affects we’re afraid of because of universally avoiding fats and oils, then maybe we should reconsider the blanket assumptions that we have. Especially consider that once upon a time, trans fats were considered good for you. Until of course, we learned they really weren’t.
I don’t advocate for complete avoidance of any type of food, so much as I think we should be aware of what exactly we’re eating. The biggest indicator that you’re doing something right with your diet is feeling better than you ever have before, and that effect may not be immediate. But what you eat definitely does impact your quality of life, especially over time.
Anyway, I could go on about the uses for coconuts for a while, and at some point in the future I will continue my experiments with how best to use coconut flour and if I can find a particular use for coconut butter. But as of now, my favorite uses for coconut are for frying foods, cooking with oatmeal, moisturizer for skin, making sticky rice, or throwing in all sorts of desserts. I’d love to see what all can be done with it.