I’m a Survivor! If you could choose only two plants to have on a desert island to help you survive, what would you choose? For me, they would be industrial hemp and coconut. Why?! Well, here’s the first article about coconut, which I believe to be an original, foundational human food (FHF).
Coconut really reached a top-level echelon for me a few years ago, due to Donna Gates’ research about its anti-viral efficacy, but I got more intrigued about coconut’s great possibility to Heal after I spent almost all of last summer reading. (It’s a passion, so the hours easily roll by. This summer, I have had less of that luxury, as caring for my Mother has arisen.) One of the most important books I read last summer was “UltraMetabolism” by Dr. Mark Hyman, MD.
Mark is one of the growing number of Holistic Integrative Medical doctors — i.e. MDs who willingly embrace Alternative Medicine’s desire to:
1) really cure the root of the problem while
2) using as natural a therapy as possible, with the idea of working WITH your body, doing NO harm.
I believe these doctors are the best hope for the future of the Healing Arts – for arts they are, more so than science, but science has its place.
One of the studies Mark cites found diabetics seem to have smaller mitochondria in their cells. What’s a mitochondria you ask? Glad you did.
Mitochondria are your intra-cellular power-houses. They are your bio-engine. It is where all the nutritional material you put in your body is literally “burned” for you to make the energy you need — the energy to run your body and mind smoothly and seamlessly, as well as make the “extra energy” you want to use to play or work.
If diabetics do indeed have smaller power-houses, then the food-fuel which cannot enter the mitochondria to turn into energy, starts being stashed as fat, instead. Insulin is very effective in “doing” fat-storage as blood sugars cannot stay high, while waiting for food to be burned.
What’s a solution?
1) Eating small meals is one.
2) Choosing the kinds of foods you eat, and especially whether you are eating medium-chain fatty acids and Omega-3 fats (these are “the good fats”) is another strategy. These good-fats impact your metabolism favorably and help it be more efficient, just as the right kind of exercise also does.
3) Obviously, when we mention exercise, you have to consult your own physician as to what is correct for you, but usually, long, slow exercise counts. This is why walking is so beneficial.
Exercise builds muscle, and new muscle includes lots of new mitochondrial power-houses — so even if these mitochondria are smaller, too, you still MADE more power-houses due to muscle-building.
The two techniques I’ve mentioned help you from two different directions:
1) made your metabolism more efficient and
2) made more mitochondria!
Keep tabs on your blood sugars, as you should see a positive response and feel more energy, too, over time.
Where do you find the medium-chain miracle fatty-acids you need to start rebalancing your biochemistry? They are found in cold-pressed, extra-virgin coconut oil — a healthy, although saturated, vegetarian oil.
BUT, do not use trans-fat hydrogenated coconut oils; these are rampantly-used in factory-produced foods; read product labels, as these hydrogenated forms gave ‘coconut and tropical oils’ an undeserved stigma. Natural coconut oil is trans-fat free; only factories make it hydrogenated.
Humans began in warm, tropical climes where coconuts proliferate, and they are the basic foundational human food (FHF) that is easily available to sustain life. All hunter-gather tribes utilize them fully, for food, clothing and housing. The coconut “water”, inside the nut, is sterile, and safer to drink than the often microbially-infested surface waters. The mineral profile of the coconut water (not coconut “milk”, which is made with pulp) is almost exactly the mineral electrolyte profile your cells need for health — potassium, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, manganese, copper along with vital amino acids. Although “fatty”, coconuts contain no cholesterol.
This largest-nut was truly a gift, and it’s calories enabled us to be satiated when there was largely only high water-content tropical fruits and difficult to find shell-fish or ocean fish.
Fresh coconuts are an alkaline pH food, and so they can help combat the modern acid-producing life-style which eats away at your circulatory system and organs. Coconuts are also a high-fiber, low-glycemic food and they have a low carb profile along with their protein.Every ounce of shredded coconut contains about 5 grams of fiber. Your quota of fiber should aim to be around 30 – 35 grams, daily.
Just about everyone loves the taste of coconut, too. It’s especially easy to use it for children.
It’s important to know that there is a big difference between the nutrition of “old” brown coconuts and “young” green coconuts. Ask your health store to import young, green nuts. Their jelly-like flesh is perfect for smoothies, puddings and just straight-from-the nut eating. Unfortunately, most of the nuts from Thailand are now being “irradiated”, so ask lots of questions about your retailer’s sources. Consider tracking down naturally-processed nuts online, if you have to. Young green coconuts are often sold wrapped in plastic with only the white inner husk showing because the green part has been hacked off.
Coconut is a potent anti-viral food and it is proving to be helpful in combatting yeast-infections and the Epstein-Barr like virus which is associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, too. Lauric acid and caprylic acid are the most effective, active anti-virals.
Coconut is also an important substitute for wheat flours in cooking for gluten-intolerant people who have Crohn’s disease, celiac or sprue. Dr. Bruce Fife, ND is a vociferous advocate for coconut as a healthy food, and he has written many books on the subject. The recipe I am including is from his book “Cooking With Coconut Flour“.
Organic, unrefined coconut oil is also very healthy to use for frying. Use just a bit. A little goes a long way, and as it is one of the highest-temperature stable oils, it is much better to use for these high-temperature cooking processes than lower temperature “unsaturated” oils, which de-nature in the frying zone and produce harmful products.
Other palm oils also supply medium-chain fatty acids, and are beneficial if naturally-processed and organic, although they are vegetarian “saturated” fats. The deep orange color of organic palm oil is naturally-occurring beta-carotene, and it’s a richer source than carrots.
Purchase as cold-pressed, extra-virgin form of coconut oil only. Get it at excellent health stores like Whole Foods, nationally or online from manufacturers, from retailers online like Dr. Mercola ( http://www.mercola.com/2003/jan/18/raw_coconuts.htm ), Dr. Martin’s carries coconut-water ( http://www.dr-martins.at/index.php?l=e ) and contact other fine health stores for organic coconut products.
In the bottle, organic coconut fat should be fluffy-cloud white — yet be unbleached; if the room temperature is more than 76 degrees Fahrenheit, then coconut oil will be a clear liquid in its bottle.
Jungle Products, Omega Nutrition and Spectrum Oils each have suitable versions; I include them in that order, according to my taste tests. Spectrum makes unrefined and refined, so look at their labels carefully.
The extra-virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil’s medium-chain fatty-acids and the Omega-3 fats (in another article, soon) available from cold-water fish and hemp, can go a long way toward helping ameliorate diabetes. They offer the possibility of near-cure or cure of diabetes when in a co-ordinated plan.
Cherie Colbom’s “The Coconut Diet” and Dr. Mark Hyman’s “UltraMetbolism” books will help you learn lots more, as will Donna Gates’ Body-Ecology Diet site at http://www.bodyecologydiet.com/ and, check out her starter and directions for making coconut-water kefir.
Coconut products are usually room-temperature stable; this is true for coconut oil, tightly-closed dried coconut and unopened coconut water. Canned coconut milk and coconut-water should be refrigerated after opening, tightly-covered for a maximum of 4 days OR you can freeze them.
BANANA – WALNUT COCONUT BREAD
In this recipe, the eggs are the source of the leavening to produce “lightness”. Do not change the proportions or types of ingredients. This recipe is basically the one from Dr. Bruce Fife, ND.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Pan-spray a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.
1 organic banana, mashed
8 eggs, organic and free-range and Omega-3 supplemented
1/2 C organic coconut milk, canned or made from fresh pulp by blender
1/4 C Succanat or brown sugar
1T agave nectar OR 1 1/2 teaspoons liquid stevia extract
1/2t organic vanilla extract, Cook’s brand or other high-quality vanilla
1/2t organic almond extract
1/2t Celtic sea salt
Blend these together and then add:
3/4C sifted, dry organic coconut flour (whizz shredded coconut in blender)
1t Rumford’s or another no-aluminum baking powder
Mix well, so there are no lumps. Next, fold in the nuts.
1/2C organic walnuts or pecans
Pour the batter into the pre-sprayed loaf pan and put into the pre-heated oven for 60 minutes. Check that the center of the loaf is done by inserting a wooden slewer. If only a few dry crumbs cling, that’s OK, but it should not be moist on the skewer. Remove the loaf from the pan, carefully, and let it cool on a wire rack before serving or wrapping for storage.
Makes 1 loaf ======================================================================
I usually choose pecans over walnuts, but as I am at my mother’s home, in an orchard of organic walnuts, in California, I’ll be hard-pressed to not be using walnuts when this year’s harvest is ready in the fall. The black walnuts are already dropping, but the English ones are still on the trees, at the moment.
I’ll try to share more about coconuts next time, as they are such an important food. Meanwhile, you can read more about them at:
Best to all — Em
(c)2007 Em http://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com
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