Monday, 8 May 2017

EVCO (Extra Virgin Coconut Oil) - My wonder oil

Over the last year, I have been carrying out research as well as experiments on producing and consuming this wonderful oil - EVCO.  We live in a country that coconut trees can flourish and it can be planted organically without much effort.  When I first started the farm, I planted several trees and over the years, I have continued to add more trees.  There are so many varieties of coconut trees so I just basically split it into 2 groups:  (1) for cooking and producing oil and (2) for consuming fresh.  Naturally, I choose pandan coconut for consuming fresh due to its sweetness and nice pandan aroma.
For cooking and producing oil, I choose varieties that producing good yield of coconut milk and that has high "oil" content when mature.

In this article, I will focus on the production of EVCO.  The trees that I chose for this purpose takes an average of 5 years before it starts fruiting.  These trees are not tampered with to induce fruit production nor do we use any pesticides or herbicides at the farm.  From flowering, it takes about 9 months for the fruit to mature to the level I desire.  I continue to plant more trees over the years to increase the future yield since I realised how great EVCO is.  We are planning to continue to add more trees as we refine our farm operations.  As it is, we have to work hard to keep up with our demand so at the moment, we do not offer it to retail outlets but sell it directly.

The average shelf life of properly stored EVCO is 18 months and we are continuously producing them in batches.  We use cold-pressed permaculture method to produce our EVCO.  This ensures that we produce quality EVCO.  The main difference between EVCO and VCO is the use of fresh coconut to produce the coconut milk and no artificial heat is used in the process.  Living in a tropical country, the day's heat is sufficient in the process.  The use of copra (dried coconut) is often used in VCO and we do not do this because we do not want to introduce any contaminants that can occur during the drying process.  There are many ways to make EVCO which you can easily find the method in books and e-publications.  In purchasing EVCO, it is important to ensure that is has not been refined, produced using heat that causes hydrogenation or have any chemical added during the process for whatever reason.  It is currently a hot item so be aware so that you get what you think you paid for.  As always, know your source.

The beauty of EVCO is it is not hydrogenated oil and contains no trans-fat.  It is also unrefined.  Yes, it contains saturated fats but the good kind - the medium-chain triglycerides also known as MCFA (Medium Chain Fatty Acids).  MCFA are easy to digest and processed by the liver to produce energy and do not easily get stored by the body as fat - a plus for me as I do not want to store more body fats.  It has a high lauric acid contain and a good amount of choline.  There are many documented benefits of EVCO with the main ones of interest for me being:
  1. good for the immune system with its anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties and acts as a natural antibiotic
  2. good for the brain health and preventing diseases like Alzheimers - something important as we age
  3. good for the heart.
  4. stomach cancer prevention as it is know to kill helicobacter pylori bacteria which increases the risk of stomach cancer.  Moreover, because the energy source is the ketones as opposed to glucose, cancer cells are not able to access it.
I take 1 additional tablespoon as soon as I feel a flu coming on as so far, it has worked well for me.  I am a believer in preventing the flu is better than taking loads of antibiotics.  The main difference being with EVCO, I build my immune system to fight the virus versus taking antibiotics which does damage to me by killing the good as well as the bad organisms and especially upsetting my digestive system balance.

On a daily basis, I consume at least 1 tablespoon of EVCO and I found that there are many ways of consuming it.  Part of the fun of eating it as food for medicine as opposed to medicine for food is to be able to enjoy it.  Whilst some people take it by consuming 1-2 tablespoon as if you a taking medicine, that has little appeal to me and takes the enjoyment out of it.  To me, doing it this way tends to lead to boredom which leads to it being a chore and people tend to stop doing it.  I add it to my diet as normal food consumption.  There are so many ways but some of the ways that I incorporate it into my daily living is:
  1. Adding it to my morning coffee turning it to a tasty, coconut latte.
  2. Adding it to my beaten eggs when I make omelettes adding flavour to the eggs.
  3. Mixing with calamansi, herbs, sea salt and black pepper to make a rich flavour salad dressing
  4. Drizzling on cooked rice while it is hot giving it a coconut flavour.
  5. Brushing it on a piece of bread and placing it on a hot pan or grill to toast it
  6. Adding to vegetable dishes either for a stir-fry or even after the vegetable is cooked like tossing cooked french beans with it.
  7. Brushing it on the bread when making garlic bread
  8. Drizzling it over fresh tomatoes and season with sea salt and other herbs
  9. Tossing cooked pasta with it
  10. Adding it to pancake mix when making pancakes
For my son, I add about 10 drops to his milk so he can drink and enjoy his milk without the feeling of eating medicine.  I feel this is an important component in supporting his immune system to prevent flus and colds.

Apart from consuming it, I also use it in my hair care and skin care.  I pour about the size of the 10 cents coin in my palm and work it through my scalp and hair to prevent dry scalp and hair.  I do this at least twice a week and this keeps my hair manageable (I have coarse and curly hair which can get tangled up so this keeps it tangle-free).  For my skin, I produced indian borage infused EVCO which I apply to my skin to moisturise and prevent dry skin.  I even use this infusion on my face at least a couple of times a week to keep it moisturised and improve the condition of my skin - my wrinkle prevention regime.  In this aspect, I do not worry about any chemicals being contained in my skin care.  For a mosquito repellant when I am going to areas that have lots of mosquitoes, I use EVCO infused with citronella - no funny chemicals required.

I look forward to continuing to learn more about the benefits of EVCO and its application.  I look forward to trying out different infusions for EVCO.  I hope I will have time to get into natural soap making as I think EVCO will provide for a great ingredient in producing natural soap.

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