Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Our ancestors are clever: Coconuts beyond coconut milk

I remember when I was very small - and we won't say how many years ago, hahaha - in the kampong, my grandmother and aunty would gather very matured coconuts where the outer husk was brown, peel them, grate them and squeeze the coconut milk from them and start the process of cooking the
oil over wood fire.  It would take hours to cook the coconut milk until what was left was the oil and the brownish black solid clumps.  My parents would tell me stories of how when they were kids, the highlight of this process was getting to eat these coconut clumps with rice and how tasty it was.
Coconut oil was the staple oil and without them knowing the science behind this, this is virgin coconut oil which is good for them and now being touted for all the benefits.

Used to be that almost everyone in the villages would grow coconut trees and many produced their own oil.  Over the decades, some researchers and Big Businesses made coconut oil into the villain saying how it was bad for you because of the high fat content.  Bg Businesses were out to promote their own oils from corn and soya bean as examples.  Then GMO came into play and more corn and soya bean could be produced  albeit with chemical content and this made it cheaper (although you pay extra because it was imported and so-called branded) so our markets were flooded with it.  It was touted as being healthy for you and easily available.  Coconut oil began to die.

Fortunately, there were good researchers who did further research when they saw that people who relied on coconut oil didn't get heart attacks, lower brain diseases and were healthy.  This lead to the differentiation of fats and the discovery that coconut fats were medium-chain triglycerides or fatty acids (MCFA) and does not contain any trans fats.  Some medical researchers also found that coconut oil is not glucose-based but it converts to ketones which is easily used by the brain to rebuild or repair brain cells.  It was found that it could prevent or even cure, in some cases, Alzheimer's and reverse some effects of other brain nerve diseases.  No wonder my great grandmother had a good memory with no major diseases and we think she was at least over 90 (hard to say as those days there were no birth certificates).  Being the energy source is non-glucose base, it also doesn't provide food for cancer cells.  This makes it a good oil for some cancer patients as not only does it not promote cancer cells, it also provides immunity building benefits which is especially good for those undergoing chemotherapy.

The coconut water from young coconuts is a traditional way of cooling fevers as well as used for detoxification of the body system.  With our hot and humid climate, drinking fresh coconut water is a
healthy option and it tastes good.  The flesh from the coconut has a high fiber content as well as vitamin C, E. B1, B3, B5 and B6 as well as iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous.  So guess what, those curry dishes that grandma used to make with coconut oil for sautéing the spices and condiments and then adding the coconut milk and then fish, chicken or beef was good for you.  So for guilt-free healthy curries, go back to the way that our ancestors made them.  Of course, be sure the protein you add is also good or as good as you can get them.  So when you think of it, most of our traditional dishes are healthy if we revert to how it was done then and going local is the best option.

In the old days, they didn't have freezers so producing coconut oil using cold-pressed permaculture method wasn't an option.  Nowadays, this is possible so you no longer have to stand over a fire for hours to make your own coconut oil.  The trade-off is it now takes days as you have to freeze, defrost, freeze and defrost before you can get to the straining part to produce the oil.  Needless to say, the uses of the oil produced is not only for cooking tasty dishes but also used in healthcare, skin care and hair care and makes a good oil base for for herbal infusions as well as in natural soap making.

From producing coconut milk, you get the so-called coconut flesh "waste".  To me, this is just another product.  In the olden days, you use this to feed the chickens and
without them knowing the science behind it, this is actually a super food for chickens as it contains antiviral, antibacterial, as well as other properties which keeps the chickens healthy without the need for all those antibiotic shots that are used nowadays.  It also promotes egg production.  See, our ancestors are clever.  In the autoimmune protocol diet as well as gluten-free diet, this grated flesh can also be processed into flour making coconut flour.  Just dry it and mill it and you get an alternative flour.

So do as our ancestors do, plant coconut trees :)
A related article to this is >> http://suria-helang-lui.blogspot.my/2017/05/evco-extra-virgin-coconut-oil-my-wonder.html

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