Here is the thing with fat. This little macronutrient has got such a bad rap over the years….poor thing just can’t catch a break. After being shunned through the “fat-free” 80’s, like the angel and the devil, we moved into accepting fat as “good” versus “bad”, incriminating the one type for causing obesity and clogging up our arteries, while exonerating the other for being the virtue of health. But as the old saying goes “there is a little good in all evil”, and for poor little fat this truth needs to be exposed.
One of the “bad guys” is saturated fat, a fat that remains solid at room temperature thanks to it chemical structure. Found in full-fat dairy, animal products like meat and butter, and tropical fruits like coconuts, this type of fat has been the stuff of health nightmares for years now. Why you might ask? Well the media (and certain margarine companies) would have us believe, since it is solid in your kitchen it must mean it is solid in your arteries. Problem is fat doesn’t work like that, and even within the realm of saturated fats, there are many different types… some good, some bad, depending on the source. I will save you my rant on choosing good butter, and not cooking with vegetable oils for a later post, but for today let’s focus on coconut oil.
Coconut oil (and all things coconut for that matter) have taken the health world by storm in the last few years, and for good reason, coconut is delicious. But to me, what makes it so special is the proof that “bad fat” isn’t a one size fits all kind of term.
50% of coconut oil is special type of saturated fat known as lauric acid, a rare type of fatty acid that is hard to find in other foods. Lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid (MCFAs) giving it a structure that is digested, absorbed, and utilized differently by the body. Without going too physiology nerd on you, while other types of fatty acids require a lipoprotein (a protein designed to carry fat into the body), MCFAs can be directly absorbed by the body, making their digestion easier, and absorption that much faster. Once inside, their ability to generate energy has been compared to that of carbohydrates, but without the blood sugar/insulin spike – good news for keeping blood sugar levels stable, and energy levels high.
If energy isn’t your thing (in which case I think you are nuts) here are some other reasons to get excited about this type of fat!
- It can help increase thyroid activity, and if you were an avid Oprah watcher as I was back in the day, you will know that a sluggish thyroid means a sluggish metabolism, which means your weight loss attempts will be fruitless.
- Increased physical or athletic performance – all the energy of carbs, and none of the blood sugar imbalances, means some sweet clean energy to keep you going longer.
- An increased metabolic rate, which doesn’t just mean a leaner body, it also means improved healing times, increased cell regeneration, and improved immune function, keeping you young, beautiful, and healthy… you can’t argue with that, non?
To get more lauric acid into your diet try cooking/frying with coconut oil, adding a scoop to your smoothies, or just taking a straight up spoonful. Hardcore, but gets the job done. Coconut milk is another great way to bump up your intake. This can be used instead regular cow dairy in all sorts of applications, like whip cream… which is obviously needed when you are making french toast.
When purchasing coconut oil here are some guidelines to ensure you are choosing the healthiest oil out there:
- Choose organic, because pesticides don’t taste good.
- Look for the word cold-pressed. This ensures there is minimal processing and you are getting the oil in its most natural state.
- Make sure it is free from chemicals, including hexane (a hydrocarbon derived from petroleum to extract oil), bleaches, or deodorizers
- Check that it is Non-GMO, because who wants to eat a science experiment?
If you are choosing coconut milk choose the organic, unsweetened, full fat kind… I have given you enough reasons not to be scared, non? Plus you can’t use the half-fat kind to make whip cream…I tried it. It doesn’t work. Save yourself the trouble.
Go coco for coconuts!
French Toast with Coconut Maple Whipped Cream
1 x can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight, cream separated from coconut water
2 x Tbsp maple syurp
2 x eggs
1 x splash of coconut water from above (or any form of dairy you choose)
1 x Tbsp maple syrup
1 x splash of vanilla extract
1 pinch of salt
4 x slices of sprouted whole grain bread
1 Tbsp coconut oil, for frying
For Whipped Cream
- Remove can of coconut milk from fridge, and open without shaking. Cream and water should have separated
- Spoon out cream and place in the bowl of stand mixer or large mixing bowl (watery portion can be saved and makes a great addition to smoothies)
- Whip cream on high for few minutes until it begins to soften
- Add in maple syrup and continue whipping until it becomes light like regular whip cream
For French toast
- In large mixing bowl combine eggs, coconut water (or dairy), vanilla, salt and maple syrup. Gently whisk to combine
- Heat a large cast iron skillet, or frying pan over medium heat for a few minutes. Add coconut oil and allow to melt
- When pan is hot, dip 2 slices of bread in above mixture.
- Place slices in pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until golden. Flip and continue cooking for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Repeat step 3-4 with remaining bread
- Top with fresh fruit, a drizzle of maple syrup, coconut whip cream and a dash of cinnamon