I used to think about coconut in one of two ways.
2.) Almond Joy
But the coconut is so much more! It turns out coconut can take many forms and has a whole lot of applications and health benefits.
Virgin coconut oil is one of the "healthy fats" that I'm talking about when I use that term. It is rich in medium chain fatty acids that are very easy to digest, which is beneficial for both the liver and the digestive system. It has anti-viral properties and is beneficial for the thyroid gland. It is also said to boost metabolism, but I can't speak to that. But I do know that I can cook and bake with it, eat it straight from the jar, it tastes really good stirred into banana custard oatmeal and makes my hands so soft.
Next is coconut manna, also known as coconut butter. Imagine peanut butter only with the wonderful flavor of coconuts. It is absolutely delicious, naturally sweet and satisfying. I tried it in smoothies (yum) and as breakfast muffin toppings (double yum) and can't wait to try stirring it into the next curry I make. I purchased this at Vitacost.
Coconut nectar! When I saw this at Whole Foods, I had to splurge on it. This little bottle set me back $8 but it was worth it. It doesn't taste like coconut but more like a mild and tangy molasses. I use it sparingly as an alternative to honey. It is supposedly more nutritious than agave, which Dr. Mercola, among others, have found is not much different than high fructose corn syrup.
And finally, coconut flour. Sorry about the ripped label. The lid was taped down for shipping.
Coconut flour is a great resource for people who are wheat/gluten sensitive. It is high in protein and high in fiber. I used it to make a loaf of coconut bread. I used this recipe from Nourished Kitchen.
The texture is more like rich pound cake rather than like traditional yeast risen bread. But it tasted wonderful. Crumbled over berries and yogurt turned snack time into trifle time!
I've also used it to make banana coconut breakfast muffins, which is another super quick and healthy breakfast recipe. This makes two muffins. Just mash a medium ripe banana in a bowl and mix in 2 eggs, 1/4 cup of coconut flour, a teaspoon of baking powder and some vanilla extract. Divide batter into two greased ramekins and pop into the microwave for about 3 minutes each. Like the flax muffins, these are delicious and satisfying with lots of staying power. I need to make a larger batch and bake them in the oven. I hate to use such healthy ingredients then sully them in the microwave.
More coconut flour recipes here: Tiana-Coconut
Have you tried any coconut based products? How have you used them?