Almost four years ago I quit sugar. For years I've experimented with different types of sugar-craving fixes and one of my favourites is coconut. Whether it’s in the form of flakes, shavings, oil, cream, milk or even fresh, these beauties are brilliant when it comes to dealing with cravings.
Coconut oil is mostly made up of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), which produce a whole host of health benefits. They’re small enough to easily permeate cell membranes, do not require special enzymes to be broken down so are easily digested, and they are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as fat.
Unlike carbohydrates, coconut oil does not produce an insulin spike in your blood stream, saving you from those dreaded energy slumps. You get sustaining energy, a sense of fullness, and a sweet hit with no after-effects. A quadruple whammy!
Major supermarkets have jumped on the bandwagon are now stocked with young/green coconuts. You'll recognize them by their white casing, not the brown hard shell of a mature coconut. Drink the juice and scrape the flesh out with a spoon to use in smoothies and recipes.
Here are some great ideas for ways you can use coconut, to help kick your sugar habit today!
1. Have a glass of coconut water.
It’s three times more hydrating than water and is an amazing electrolyte. Go fresh if you can, otherwise look for packaged versions that are organic, fair-trade and have traveled the least distance.
2. Add coconut to smoothies.
Add one tablespoon of coconut oil to your favorite smoothie blend, or replace regular milk with coconut water or milk. You can also add coconut flesh to the mix to bulk things up beautifully.
3. Eat a tablespoon or two of coconut oil, straight from the jar.
I do this most afternoons to help get me through to dinner, and to stop a craving for sweets in its tracks.
4. Toast coconut flakes.
Toast coconut flakes lightly in a pan and sprinkle on top of your oatmeal or yogurt with some walnuts and cinnamon.
5. Pan-fry some pumpkin chunks in coconut oil.
Sprinkle fresh pumpkin with salt to help tenderize the pumpkin, and add some cinnamon. Just before serving, stir in some coconut flakes or shredded coconut until golden. A great little meal or snack on the fly.
6. Make your own coconut ice cream!
Simply put a can of coconut cream (not milk and not a ‘light’ version) in the fridge. It thickens to a soft ice-cream consistency within a few hours. Yum.
7. Stew fruit in coconut milk
Or pour coconut milk over fresh strawberries for an insta-dessert.
8. Make rice pudding with coconut milk.
Simply heat leftover rice (or quinoa or oats) with a good splash of coconut milk until creamy and sweet. Add cinnamon and nuts.
9. Make your own coconut butter!
And eat it straight from the fridge or spread on toast or pancakes.
For more tips and tricks on quitting the gnarly white stuff, check out IQuitSugar.com for some extra guidance.