banana, ab & j cups

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Life is full of tough decisions.

saving or spending? buy or rent?

school or work? exercise or sleep in?

superman or batman?

healthy or indulgent? PB & J or PB & banana?

Good news is, I can help with those last 2. Because I have a treat for you that is not only healthy AND indulgent, but it also combines the 2 greatest sandwiches ever created!

I firmly believe that when it comes to nutrition and taste, one should never have to sacrifice either. The trick is simply knowing how to marry both worlds. Being healthy shouldn’t feel like a chore or depriving. It should be fun and exciting!

Enter in some of my absolutely favourite ingredients that help bridge the gap between health and taste. Natural nut butters and coconut oil.

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Both are packed full of healthy fats so they are nourishing to your body (better skin, higher metabolism, balanced hormones) but also taste rich and decadent. Almond butter is packed with fat soluble vitamins and minerals like calcium, and coconut oil has incredible antimicrobial properties. So you are doing both your body and taste buds a favour by eating them!

I’m really excited about these treats too because they combine 2 sandwiches that whenever I would eat them, make me feel like a kid again. Peanut butter and jam and peanut butter and banana. Both extremely delicious and soul-satisfying. And that’s why I always want them both! So why not combine them? I opted to use almond butter since its a more nutritious option.

These are adapted from my recipe for frozen tahini banana cups which are another awesome variation on this idea. Check them out if you haven’t yet!

Raw, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Grain-Free, Paleo, SCD-Friendly and of course Vegan, these are an easy choice. So make them and save your brain power for debating the more important issues in life.

To be or not to be…Oh screw it, I have treats ;)

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Banana, AB & J Cups (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Paleo, SCD)

Feel free to use any nut butter you want, or try sunflower seed butter for a nut-free option!

Ingredients (14 mini cups)

  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp liquid sweetener
  • pinch salt
  • 1 banana, sliced thinly
  • ~12 or so raspberries, mashed

Instructions

Over low heat, melt the coconut oil. Add the almond butter to it so it softens and mix well. Add your sweetener of choice and the pinch of salt and mix.

Line up your muffin cups. Put a spoonful of the almond butter and coconut oil mixture into the bottom of the cups. Put in the fridge to harden.

Once hard, remove and place one small scoop of mashed raspberries and on top, one thin slice of banana. Try and make this as flat as possible. Put another scoop of the almond butter mixture over top so it covers the banana and spreads all the way to the sides of the cups. Put back in the fridge to harden.

Store in the fridge or freezer and take out only right before you're going to eat them. I liked these ones in the fridge, but if you freeze them the banana takes on an almost ice cream-like texture which is delicious too!

I'm sharing this on Allergy-Free Wednesdays

Enjoy and I’ll be back tomorrow with a guest post! Have a great Tuesday :)

 

 

sexy raw maca cake with cacao and goji berries

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photo credit: Aih. via photopin cc

Wow this has been a truly amazing year. Not only did I move and start studying to do what I love, I started this wonderful blog 1 year ago today! It’s been an amazing journey full of late nights, struggling with my camera, experimenting in the kitchen, eating delicious food and fumbling my way through technology I don’t understand. But most importantly, it’s been full of all of YOU. To all my readers and fellow bloggers, thank you so much for reading, stopping by and for your words of encouragement. Each time I get a comment I still get excited butterflies in my stomach. I have made so many new friends I never would have gotten to meet otherwise and I am so honoured to know you all. I’m so happy you are here and I hope you will continue to read for another delicious, food filled year!

Today I bring you something delicious, both in celebration of my blogiversary and to help the rest of you celebrate Valentine’s Day!

I’ve never been one to make a big deal about Valentine’s Day, but that doesn’t mean I won’t use it as an excuse to create a delicious treat in it’s honour. And so, I give you this:

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Think creamy. Think chocolatey. Think velvety and rich.

And most of all, think SEXY.

Because that’s exactly what this cake is- not only does it taste amazing and decadent but it is packed full of ingredients to keep you looking and feeling sexy on this special day.

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Cacao: this is a superfood packed full of antioxidants and minerals, which in addition to being wonderful for your health, they are vital for fertility. It is also packed full of compounds that increase your libido and just make you feel happier! Once of the ways it does this is by increasing serotonin in your brain. Make sure you get raw cacao for this though. Cocoa is not the same!

Goji berries: antioxidants galore to help keep your body in tip top shape. These also help to increase your libido and improve your stamina by increasing testosterone!

Coconut Oil: coconut oil gives you readily available energy instead of getting stored! It also contains lauric acid which gets converted to pregnenolone which helps to reduce atherosclerosis in the body- AKA it helps to improve blood flow to all your sexy regions ;)

Maca Powder: maca is widely used throughout the world as a supplement for energy, stamina, strength and libido. It is also an adaptogen meaning it will help to regulate your hormones in whatever way your body needs! Maca will help balance all your glands like pituitary, hypothalamus, adrenal, thyroid pancreas as well as your ovarian and testicular glands. Hormones and feeling sexy are VERY connected!

Cashews: these nuts are rich in copper which is super important for energy production and magnesium which is crucial for helping you relax. May sound like competing interests but don’t those both sound like things we want in the bedroom? ;) The good fats in these will also reduce your heart disease risk making sure you can stay active!

Not only does it contain all of these awesome for you ingredients, but this cake is also raw, free of refined sugar, gluten and grains meaning it won’t create any unneeded bloat or lethargy after you eat it! Just enough for 2 people, this cake is perfect to share with a Valentine!

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Sexy Valentine Cake (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-Free, Raw, Paleo)

Ingredients (serves 2)

Base

  • 2 tbsp almonds
  • 1 tbsp coconut flakes
  • 4 dates
  • 1/2 tbsp cacao powder

Filling

  • 6 tbsp cashews, soaked
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp goji powder(optional)
  • 1/4 tsp maca powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut nectar
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Chocolate Topping

  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • scant 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp coconut nectar

Garnish

  • goji berries
  • cacao nibs

Instructions

Add the ingredients for the base into a food processor and blend until you get a "Dough" that will stick together when pressed. Press it into the bottom of a small springform pan, or any other small container. Line it with plastic wrap first for easy removal if not using a springform.

Add all ingredients for the filling except the coconut oil to a blender and blend until smooth. Take the melted coconut oil and with the blender running, slowly pour it in. Pour the filling over top of the base and smooth it out. Move to the fridge to cool.

Mix all the ingredients for the chocolate in a small bowl. Pour over the filling of the cake and allow to harden in the fridge. Keep cake covered and chilled for at least 4 hours to allow it to firm up. Putting it in the freezer will give you a much firmer result, whereas the fridge it will still be creamy- your call!

Garnish with cacao nibs and powder and goji berries if desired and serve!

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I'm sharing this on Allergy-Free Wednesday and Raw Food Thursday!

I hope you all have a fabulous Valentine’s Day! Here’s to another year!

sugar-free carob almond butter cups

what’s the best cure for the monday blues?

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delicious desserts! how do carob almond butter cups sound?

ok well maybe they aren’t the best cure, but they certainly do help don’t they? rich sweet carob with a creamy almond butter filling. and even better- these are totally guilt-free! why is that do you ask? there is absolutely no added sugar or sweetener of any kind in these!

i used this recipe of mine for raw almond butter cups to start, but tweaked the ingredients to make it completely free of sugar and sweetener. the result was a surprisingly delicious sweet that totally fit in with the guidelines for my sugar-free challenge!

what’s the secret? naturally sweet carob stands in for the cacao, meaning that to make the “chocolate” base, all you need is carob and coconut oil! the filling uses naturally sweet almond butter with a little vanilla and my secret ingredient, nooch (or nutritional yeast if we’re speaking all proper-like) to make the filling.

despite the fact that these have no bad ingredients in them, they are also packed with loads of goodness! carob is commonly used as a chocolate substitute and it comes with loads of health benefits of it’s own!

  • it improves digestions
  • has no caffeine
  • acts as an antioxidant
  • can be used to help allergies and asthma
  • and is super rich in calcium, phosphorus and magnesium- great for bones!

plus, combine this with calcium-rich almond butter and these pack and huge punch of nutrition for your bones! forget those processed chocolate calcium treats (that probably don’t do too much anyway) and have one of these! your body will thank you :)

and in case you still need a reason to make these, i brought a few over to janet’s for her and rob to try out and they were very well received! thanks again you guys for a lovely evening and the delicious dinner, i’m glad you liked my small contribution!

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step aside reese’s peanut butter cups, you’re no longer needed ;)

sugar-free carob almond butter cups (vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free)

delicious chocolatey treats that are high in calcium and are completely guilt-free. no added sugars or sweeteners, but complete deliciousness!

ingredients (8 cups)

"chocolate"

  • 6 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2/3 cup carob powder, sifted
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla bean powder

filling

  • 1/4 cup raw almond butter
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla bean powder

instructions

melt the coconut oil in a bowl, remove from heat and whisk in the sifted carob powder and vanilla. continue mixing until everything is combined.

spoon about half the mixture in to the bottom of 8 muffin liners. for complete instructions on making the cups, see this post. put them in the fridge to harden while you make the filling.

mix together the filling ingredients and put into the hardened muffin liners. you want to try and spread the filling out as flat as possible so it's easier to cover with the rest of the carob.

spoon the other half of the carob mixture on top, making sure to spread out all the way to the sides of the cups. put back in the fridge to harden. store in the fridge until ready to eat, since these get quite melty at room temperature!

I'm sharing these on Allergy-Free Wednesday and Wellness Weekends!

 

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hope these help make life just a little sweeter for you all. have a lovely week!

sweet and savoury acorn squash

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happy monday everyone! i hope you all had a good weekend. mine was fairly low key- work and studying for the most part.

i actually went for a food intolerance test and found out some pretty interesting stuff, some of it making a ton of sense, some making none at all to me. but i suppose that is the nature of the test. the biggest let down of all- chocolate! apparently i react very negatively to this most amazing and delicious food. i’m going to cut out my consumption of it for a while and see how that goes. same for the other foods on the list, most notably lemons, celery, green peppers, cabbage. walnuts, peanuts, mung beans, black beans yeast and spelt. i find it kind of ironic i find out i have a negative response to spelt just a week after posting a recipe using spelt flour and gushing about how good it is for you! oh the universe just loves having fun with us doesn’t it? don’t get me wrong- spelt is absolutely good for you, it just might not be that great for me.

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so long my dear friends spelt and chocolate. you will be sorely missed! (for the delicious recipe, check out my pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip muffins!)

anyway, this weekend was also spent gearing up for the sugar-free challenge i discussed in my last post. i stocked up on loads of veggies, coconut butter, coconut flakes, kimchi and some herbal teas. i bought a couple apples since the challenge doesn’t actually cut out all fruit until week 3, and i would be so mad at myself if i let honeycrisp season pass me by without having a couple more! i also took all the sugar-containing foods out of my pantry and moved them to my closet for storage. out of sight, out of mind!

despite the fact that i am in the "no added sugars" phase of the challenge, today i have a recipe for you that does in fact have some added sweetener. but this recipe is so delicious and so seasonally appropriate, i simply couldn’t wait to share it with you.

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sweet and savoury roasted acorn squash. don’t those words just make you feel all warm and cosy?

a long time favourite of mine, acorn squash is simply amazing when roasted. one of my favourite things my mom would make when i was growing up was simple roasted acorn squash halves with brown sugar and butter. just scoop it out and enjoy. this is a twist on that, that pumps up the health factor by using some of my favourite things- coconut oil and coconut sweeteners

coconut oil is probably one of my most favourite ingredients and is loaded with health benefits (click to read about the health benefits in my post on coconut oil in coffee). coconut sweeteners are pretty fantastic too- deliciously sweet and with a low-glycemic index so it doesn’t give you blood sugar spikes. it’s my new go-to sweetener besides stevia. it’s perfect for when you need a syrup or granulated sweetener where stevia just won’t lead to the desired outcome in the food- mostly in terms of texture.

i paired these coconut beauties with a little nutritional yeast (tons of benefits too!) and sea salt for a delicious side dish that will warm you inside and out!

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sweet and savoury roasted acorn squash (vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free)

ingredients (4 side dishes)

  • 1 acorn squash, quartered and cut into 3/4-inch slices
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp coconut nectar
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

instructions

preheat oven to 375f. cut your squash and place slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. combine all other ingredients in a bowl then pour over the squash slices and toss to ensure they are evenly coated.

bake for 35 min and enjoy.

i'm sharing this on allergy-free wedensdays and wellness weekends!

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have a wonderful start to your weeks! i have an exam today, wish me luck!

no-bake pumpkin mousse cake

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Happy Thanksgiving my lovely readers!

I know this greeting is coming early for many of you, or for many, you may not even celebrate this holiday. Whether you celebrate it or not I just wanted to let you all know, I am so supremely thankful for each and every one of YOU! You my dear readers, along with the comments you leave give me the strength and confidence to keep coming back to this space post after post, week after week to share my musings on food and life. I am so grateful you all give me these couple minutes of your day. Never change, you are all just wonderful and I couldn’t ask for better!

Instead of posting one of the recipes I teased you with in this post, I thought it would only be fitting to share my Thanksgiving dessert. It’s so delicious though, you won’t be disappointed!

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Is there anything better this time of year than pumpkin? The comforting scent and taste instantly warms your taste buds, tummy and soul and just screams to be enjoyed curled up under a blanket with some hot tea.

It’s also the quintessential Thanksgiving flavour. While I didn’t have the time to think up a revolutionary new dessert to create, I did make something amazingly tasty that I think you should all go whip up right now, no matter how much pumpkin goodness you may have consumed over the weekend.

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This pumpkin cream cake is a delicious recreation of my Raw Strawberry Cream Cake, slightly lighter in texture and more autumnal in flavour. It’s a cross between a pumpkin pie and a pumpkin cheesecake with some tang from the lemon juice, warming scent from the cinnamon and creamy texture from the cashews. It’s not raw as it has pumpkin puree as well as a little maple syrup, but it’s no-bake, allowing the oven to be reserved for whatever special main dish you are cooking up. The filling uses cashews and coconut oil to achieve the cheese cake texture, but the filling still feels light thanks to the addition of pumpkin and banana. There’s also very little added sweetener since the dates in the crust and banana provide most of what’s needed. Of course, I added in a little maple syrup, just because I love it so much.

Sweet and decadent yet healthy and wholesome, this is a cake to please even the toughest of critics. We all happily dug into large slices here, despite being stuffed full of Thanksgiving dinner.

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No Bake Pumpkin Mousse Cake (Vegan, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-Free)

Ingredients (10-12 slices)

Crust

  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 3/4 cup medjool dates
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Filling

  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 banana, cut into chunks (cake will firm up faster if you use frozen for this)
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or pumpkin spice)
  • 10 drops stevia (or more maple syrup)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

Garnish

  • pecans if desired

Instructions

For the crust, pulse the pecans in a food processor until finely ground then add the dates and sea salt and process until the mixture will stick together when you press it. Press the mixture into an 8-inch spring-form pan and place in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

Rinse the food processor then add the soaked cashews and all other ingredients to the food processor and process until smooth. With the processor running, slowly pour in the melted coconut oil until fully incorporated.

Pour the filling in top of the crust and spread smooth with a spatula. Garnish with pecans if desired. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours to firm up.

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And there you have it. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend with friends, family and overeating!

I'm submitting this recipe to Allergy-Free Wednesday, Gluten-free FridaysWellness Weekends and Thanksgiving Menu Potluck Party and Bringing in the Holidays Potluck party!

raw chocolate-coated key lime pie and giveaway winner

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Hello chickpeas!

If you are Canadian, I hope you enjoyed the long weekend! I myself was working the whole time, but that’s ok! It was a pretty easy few days at work and I got to make some extra money. Plus we finally got some weather I like! It has been so hot and muggy here that a thunderstorm was more than welcome and then we got a day that was just hot enough with no humidity. Amazing :)

Before I divulge the recipe for my decadent raw dessert I have an announcement to make! The winner of my Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil giveaway! I am happy to announce the winner is…

troptrad giveaway winner

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loislane1111!!

I will email you soon about the details of receiving your prize! Thanks everyone for entering!

Okay, now we move into the decadent, delicious portion of this post…

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This Raw Chocolate-Coated Key Lime Pie, was inspired by Ann at An Unrefined Vegan’s Chocolate-Coated Key Lime-Coconut Creme Pie. As soon as I saw her recipe, I bookmarked it and promptly left a comment saying how amazing a recipe it was. That’s when she issued a challenge. Her challenge was for me to come up with a raw version. I accepted that challenge and a few months later, I present the result!

Ann deserves complete credit for the make-up of this recipe. I never would have thought to pair chocolate and key lime, but the pairing is delicious. The crust is a cacao-nut-date crust which is topped by a hard raw chocolate coating. The final layer is an avocado, banana, and coconut oil key lime filling, that is so good, you could just eat it as a pudding and be completely satisfied. But I urge you to make the whole thing. It’s seriously so GOOD.

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What I love about raw desserts is all the healthy fats. Walnuts, avocado and coconut oil all play a starring role in this dessert. You can read all about why I love walnuts and coconut oil here and here. Also, since none of the ingredients are exposed to heat, all the healthy fats, vitamins and enzymes are maintained! The addition of avocado is pretty great too- gives the pie a lovely green colour!

This pie also uses all-natural sweeteners. The crust uses dates, the chocolate coating uses stevia and the filling uses banana and stevia to create a dessert you can feel good about eating. Not to mention that key limes are amazing as well! Citrus fruits, while being acidic, have an alkalizing effect on your body which acts to reduce inflammation. Topped with some coconut flakes and cacao nibs, not a bad dessert eh? ;)

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Raw Chocolate-Coated Key Lime Pie (Vegan, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-Free, Raw)

This fancy dessert is so easy to make! Raw nuts and dates form the base of the crust and avocados, bananas and coconut oil create a creamy filling. The flavours of lime and chocolate create a fun spin on this tropical dessert that will have you going back for more!

Makes one 8-inch pie. Adapted from An Unrefined Vegan

Crust

  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 3/4 cup dates
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cacao powder
  • pinch sea salt

Chocolate Coating

Filling

  • 1 1/2 large avocados, peeled, cored
  • 1 1/2 small bananas, peeled
  • 1/4 cup key lime juice
  • 1 tbsp key lime zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 10 drops vanilla stevia, or to taste (or liquid sweetener of your choice)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

Process the nuts in a food processor until finely ground. Then add the dates, cacao powder and salt until the dates are broken down and the mixture sticks together. Press the mixture into a greased 8-inch spring-form pan and put into the fridge while you make the chocolate coating.

Mix your ingredients together for the raw chocolate then spread onto the crust, getting right to the edges and getting it as even as possible. Put in the fridge to harden while you make the filling.

Add all the filling ingredients except the coconut oil into a food processor and process until smooth. Melt the coconut oil and while the food processor is running, pour it in and process until well incorporated. Pour into the pan and spread evenly over top.  Cover and place in the fridge for a few hours until firm (I did it overnight). If you are garnishing it with coconut flakes (I highly suggest it- makes it look fancy!), take the pie out after about an hour and sprinkle them on, then place back in the fridge to continue firming.

When ready to serve, garnish with cacao nibs if desired. Get ready to be transported to tropical bliss :)

I am submitting this recipe to Fat Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent TuesdaysAllergy-Free WednesdaysWellness Weekends, Foodie Friday, Foodie Friends Friday, Gluten Free Friday, Allergy Fiendly FridayKeepin' it Real Thursday and Best Recipes of 2012!

Now before I go, I have a quick announcement from a fellow blogger Heather at Sweetly Raw. Heather is hosting a Vegan Ice Cream Sundae Challenge. She is offering 2 amazing prize packages for the winners who create a stellar vegan sundae. You don’t need to make it raw, nor does it need to use an ice cream maker! For full information visit her page and get your entry in! Contest is open until next Monday, August 13 at midnight so you still have plenty of time to get creative.

How you all have a great day!

quinoa chocolate chip cookies

Hello my chocolate chip cookies :)

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Well, it’s hard to believe, but this is the 100th post I’ve written on my blog! It’s crazy that I’ve written so much since mid-February. It’s all thanks to you, fellow bloggers and readers that I have come this far, so thank you so so much! Your support, kind words, advice and just in general being there have inspired and motivated me in ways I never though possible :)

Now, since you all have been so wonderful, I thought hosting a giveaway would be a great way to show my appreciation. Tropical Traditions contacted me a couple months ago to do a review and giveaway for their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil. Since then I have been putting it through it’s paces, using it in raw recipes, baking, sautéing, in my decaf coffees as well as a moisturizer and make-up remover.

Now, you all probably know by now, how much I love coconut oil. This one is as good as it gets! The scent is subtly coconutty with a mild flavour. It creates delicious raw treats and is a great option for high temperature cooking and baking. For those of you who don’t like coconut oil and are sceptical about using it in cooking, rest assured once incorporated into your recipes, the taste is not detectable. The only place I have ever noticed it’s flavour being apparent is when blended into smoothies and even then it is more of a sweetness than coconut.

I used this coconut oil to make the following recipes on my blog:

As a moisturizer it works great and the subtle coconut scent was very pleasant and as a make-up remover it left my face feeling soft and got all my make-up off easily, even pesky eyeliner and mascara. It was very gentle as well, which was great on my super-sensitive skin.

I also made these quinoa chocolate chip cookies and the results were awesome! They were crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. They aren’t the healthiest thing you’ll ever eat, but as far as cookies go, they are pretty darn good! I switched up the sweeteners I used in various trials with them and I found that both versions came out really well! I also tried out a lower-fat version with some applesauce. I’ll note the different substitutions in the recipe below!

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Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free)

These cookies use quinoa flakes to add in some extra protein and whole grains, which also lend these cookies an awesome chew. Feel free to change up the add-ins! I’ve made a couple different kinds which I’ll point out below!

Makes 30 cookies.

Dry:

  • 3/4 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca/potato starch (not potato flour!)
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 cup erythritol (a zero calorie, natural sweetener) or coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Wet:

  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds + 3 tbsp water, set aside to gel
  • 1/2 tsp liquid stevia (not necessary if using coconut sugar)
  • 2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil, melted ( or 1/3 cup coconut oil + 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce)
  • 2 tbsp water (or 5 tbsp water if using applesauce)

Add-ins:

  • to total 1 cup (ensure they are all vegan:
  • chocolate chips
  • cacao nibs
  • dried blueberries/cranberries + white chocolate chips
  • chopped walnuts + chocolate chips
  • raisins + chopped walnuts
  • anything else you might like!

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and the wet ingredients in another. Form a well in the center of the dry and pour the wet ingredients in. Mix until completely incorporated. Then stir in the add-ins until evenly distributed.

Chill the dough for 30 min-1 hr. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or grease it (I like using a BBQ brush and coconut oil to do this).

Form the dough into balls and flatten onto the baking sheet leaving a little room in between for them to spread (they won’t spread too much).

Bake for 22-27 min (less if you are using applesauce or like softer cookies, longer if you are using coconut oil or like crispier cookies) or until the edges are browned, but the middles are still soft (they will continue to cook a little as they cool). Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking tray then move to a cooling rack to finish. These are delicious slightly warm with a little superpower ice cream ;)

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a version made with dried blueberries and white chocolate chips

I'm submitting this recipe to Allergy Free Wednesdays and Wellness Weekends!

Now I bet you’d all like to learn how you can win some super awesome coconut oil for yourself!

Giveaway Details:

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz. Win 1 quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!

Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

You can also watch the video they produced about Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil:

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.

How to enter:

Mandatory entries:

  1. Subscribe to the Tropical Traditions newsletter here *
  2. Leave a comment below telling me your favourite way to use coconut oil, or if you’ve never used it, the first thing you’d like to try!

For additional entries:

  1. Subscribe to my blog by email*
  2. Follow me on Twitter*
  3. Tweet about the giveaway with a link to this post*
  4. Follow me in Pinterest*

*You must leave a comment for each of these entries, letting me know you did!

The giveaway will stay open until next Wednesday, August 1st at 11:59 pm EST. Make sure you get your entries in! This is a pretty big jar of the good stuff.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

And once again I would just like to say, thank you for all of your support over the last few months. You guys are seriously awesome!

pre-workout superfood energy bites & how to fuel for your workout properly

Good day my fellow health enthusiasts!

I’m really excited about today’s post. Do you all remember how a while ago I blogged a bit about how tired and lethargic and unmotivated I was feeling? While I’m still not feeling my best, I have come a long way. I am back to working out at least a few times a week which has really helped my energy levels and my appetite is back on track (for a while there I was eating for the sake of it and never felt super hungry where as now I eat only when I’m hungry). Both of these things were pretty important, but what was the key to helping me come this far?

Fuelling my workouts properly.

I can’t say enough how big of a difference this has made. Fuelling properly before my workout gave me the initial energy to lift myself out of my lethargy and move my butt a bit and fuelling properly after my workout has helped with my recovery meaning during my following workouts I could workout harder and with more energy! There was really a cyclical effect whereby I set myself up properly one day and had a great workout and it fed into the next meaning the next workout was even better!

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So in the next couple of posts, I’m going to talk about how to go about this. I’m sure a lot of you know the basics but it’s always good to be reminded and be given more ideas! Today I’ll talk about fuelling up pre-workout and the next post will be about post-workout.

I always knew a lot of the principals I’m going to discuss, since proper fuelling of exercise and training was something we discussed a lot in my classes on exercise physiology in university. My problem was that I never really applied them. Why you might ask?

  1. I exercised in the past primarily to lose weight/fat and thought the idea of eating before and after a workout (extra calories) would only hinder that goal
  2. I thought that it wouldn’t have that huge an impact on my recreational exercise

What I have found in the last few weeks is that I could not have been more wrong on both fronts! It has been a huge factor in helping me get back into an exercise routine. My workouts are better and I’m seeing improvements much faster than before. And in regards to weight loss- fuelling properly ensures you can workout harder and more often, reduces risk of injury and helps you build lean muscle faster- all of which help with weight/fat loss! So there is really no reasons not to do it.

Dates from Algeria (Biskra) called Deglet

Pre-Workout Fuel

There are a few key factors to consider when choosing a pre-workout snack:

  1. The body’s first fuel choice during exercise is carbohydrates. More specifically, simple carbohydrates, that have already been broken down into their simple sugar components of glucose, fructose , etc. So remember to KISS! (Keep is Simple Stupid)
  2. Eating large amount of protein isn’t advisable as it requires more water to metabolize. This means more water will be taken from the body, reducing hydration. Protein burned for fuel during exercise will also create toxins which will create a stress response in the body. Not what you want during exercise!
  3. A ton of fiber is also not a great since it increase the time it takes to digest glucose. You want speedy digestion of this snack!
  4. You want your snack to be easily digestible. This ensures that less energy is diverted to digesting your food and that less blood goes to your stomach to help digest, leaving more blood to deliver oxygen to your working muscles.
  5. Your snack should be determined by the workout you’re going to do. I tend to do workout that are an hour or less or sometimes a class that’s 90 min. For exercise up to an hour you want pure carbohydrate and then for longer than an hour you can add in some protein
  6. Choose alkalizing foods. The body produces lactic acid during exercise so eating acid containing foods will reduce the body’s ability deal with it and this leads to muscle stiffness and pain. It also creates fatigue! Acidic foods will also create nutritional stress which will divert energy from the exercise recovery process. I talked about this here.
  7. Eat a complete, well balanced meal about 2 hours beforehand and an energizing snack about 30 minutes before.

All this being said though I want to mention an important fat for energy- medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). And what fabulous food is rich in these? Coconut oil! MCTs are burned right away for energy!

Sources: The Thrive Diet, Natural News, Exercise Physiology: Energy, Nutrition, and Human Performance

English: Matcha Tea or green tea powder

English: Matcha Tea or green tea powder (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Keeping all this in mind, I set out to create a pre-workout snack that would cover all my bases as well as incorporate some additional ingredients that would further boost my workout! It was adapted from a recipe for Direct Energy Bites from The Thrive Diet, an awesome book for anyone looking to incorporate more raw/high performance foods into their diet.

Included in my bites are dates, coconut oil, cacao powder, matcha, goji berries, maca and spirulina. Here’s why these ingredients combined to make an awesome pre-workout snack (Scroll down for the recipe):

  • Easily digestible energy- dates are high in glucose (a simple sugar) and coconut oil is rich in MCTs. Both of these can be used immediately as fuel without being broken down.
  • Matcha: has caffeine therefore acts to give you a boost for your workout. Also, there is evidence that matcha can help restore hormonal balance after a workout. It helps restore adrenal gland balance which aids the body in recovering from stress (and exercise is a stress, albeit a good one!). It is also high in chlorophyll and antioxidants. This is good because you breakdown a lot of oxygen when working out which creates free radicals, or oxidants. Antioxidants will help neutralize these.
  • Goji berries: contain polysaccharides called lycium barbarum which are very effective detoxifiers and reduce inflammation in the body.. The help remove lactic acid created by our muscles during exercise and help the body adapt to stress. . Goji berries also have sesquiterpenoids which stimulate production of Human Growth Hormone, which helps build muscle!
  • Maca: provides energy and promotes quick regeneration of fatigues muscle tissue and the adrenal glands. Therefore it will help muscles recover and improve strength!
  • Cacao powder: I mainly threw this in for flavour but it does have a small amount of caffeine which provides energy and is a powerful antioxidant!
  • Spirulina: high in chlorophyll and antioxidants as well as iron which is needed for oxygen delivery to the muscles. Therefore, spirulina may help to increase endurance.

So I bet you all want this recipe now don’t you? Well here you go :)

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Pre-Workout Superfood Energy Bites (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-Free, Raw)

These are no culinary masterpieces but they provide great energy for a workout! The matcha and cacao give an interesting flavour, the dates and maca give a sweetness and the salt helps balance the flavours. Eat one before a workout for easily digestible fuel and an antioxidant boost!

Makes 8 bites. Inspired by Direct Energy Bites from The Thrive Diet.

* These ingredients are optional but I highly recommend them since they provide awesome benefits. If you don’t like the taste for green tea (matcha) maybe add extra cacao. If you don’t include any of the optional ingredients you will still have a bite that gives great energy so don’t worry if you are missing one or all of them!

  • 5 large medjool dates, soaked
  • 2 tbsp goji berries
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tsp matcha powder*
  • 1/2-1 tsp maca powder*
  • 1 tsp spirulina*
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder (or extract)
  • pinch sea salt

Toss everything into a food processor and process until a mixture that will stick together forms. The dates should be completely broken down and the goji berries in small pieces.

Remove from food processor and form into a log. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 min to firm up. Cut into 8 pieces. I liked these best eaten straight from the fridge, but it’s definitely not necessary!

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These are some nutritionally “stacked” little bites ;)

I’m curious to hear from all of you:

  • Do you eat proper pre- and post-workout snacks? If so, do you find they help?
  • What are your go-to workout eats? 

Check back soon for my post on post-workout nutrition and my delicious recovery smoothie :) Hope you all have a great Monday!

I am submitting this recipe to Allergy-Free Wednesday, Allergy Friendly Friday and Wellness Weekends!

wiaw # 14- recent happenings, 2 more walnut recipes and a london fog!

Hello again!  Hope you are all having a wonderful Wednesday! Mine has been pretty good! I worked which was average but I came home to a kombucha starter kit! I’m so excited to start brewing some of my own kombucha! The tea I’m using for it is cooling as I type. I’ve always wanted to have more kombucha around (good for digestions, delicious) but it’s so darn expensive! Making my own is going to be wayyy more economical. Anyway, today is Wednesday which means of course, it’s What I Ate Wednesday time! Thank you Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting! You all should head on over there and check out some more delicious eats. Today;s WIAW is going to be a collection of things I’ve been eating and experimenting with over the last few days so I hope you all enjoy! This month’s theme is sensible snacks- I let you guys judge for yourselves how I did ;). You’ll see I’m featuring a couple recipes that use walnuts again! Clearly I’m a little nuts about this nut, but as I discussed in this post, that’s not a problem!

A Recent Breakfast

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Brain and Beauty-Boosting Blueberry Walnut Green Smoothie- this smoothie is packed with healthy fats and antioxidants. Not only that, it’s a green smoothie, that is actually a pretty colour! I topped it with some sprouted and dehydrated buckwheat groats, fresh strawberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon which was an awesome addition. I’ve made this 3 times in as many days so you know it’s good. Recipe below!

A Recent Dinner

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A quinoa salad with tomato vinaigrette my mom made for dinner. Delicious, especially the dressing!

Recent Snacks

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Yes those are cookies and candy….and no nothing is healthy! It was Partner Appreciation Day at work yesterday so everyone brought in treats/did something nice for all our coworkers. I made those cookies and wrote letters to everyone! Another girl made us all our own bags of candy and there were chips and other delicious treats to be had. I had to indulge a bit!

I wasn’t planning on sharing the recipe (I felt like making something unhealthy for once and decided to use the opportunity to clear the pantry of some unhealthy items) but it is a really simple no-bake chocolate, peanut butter and oatmeal cookie. It’s definitely proof though that vegan does not automatically mean healthy!

Do you guys ever get urges to make something that is completely bad for you?

A Recent Purchase

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An organic micro greens growing kit! I went Chapters on the weekend- it was a rainy day so perfect for meandering around with some tea flipping through books and looking through knick knacks. I found this kit for 30% off! Decided to try my hand at growing micro greens. In this kit are broccoli, mustard and radish micro greens. They are supposed to sprout up in a week!

Recent Drink

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Blended up some earl grey tea with coconut oil- success! Recipe below for my very simple and super healthful spin on a London Fog (or Earl Grey Tea Latte for all you Starbucks fans!)

Recent Lunch

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Raw taco! This was seriously so easy and delicious, I will be making this again and again! Recipe below!

Recent Score

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Yes that is a massive box full of bananas! A customer at work had boxes and boxes leftover from the Special Olympics that were held here over the weekend so he let me have a box for free! I spend 3 hours cutting these up and freezing them. Can you say smoothies and banana bread?? I got 76 good bananas out of this, and they are the perfect ripeness for freezing :)

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Another recent snack! Some homemade coconut yogurt with fresh berries, raw granola and a drizzle of tahini. Significantly more sensible than the last snacks I shared ;) A good balance of carbs, healthy fats and protein and low in sugar! If you’ve never drizzled tahini on yogurt before- try it! It’s awesome.

Peas and Crayons

So that concludes this WIAW, but before I go, I have those 3 recipes to share with you!

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Brain and Beauty-Boosting Blueberry Walnut Green Smoothie (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Soy-free, Raw)

This smoothie is beautiful, delicious and oh so healthful! Included in this smoothie are the lovely super nuts, walnuts, which deliver loads of antioxidants which I talked about here. They boost brain power and are full of healthy fats to help you get your glow on! There’s also some blueberries for added antioxidant punch and some maca which I discussed here which is great for regulating hormones! Toss in some greens and spirulina for a serious phytonutrient punch and you’ve got yourself one super-power smoothie!

Makes 1 smoothie.

  • 1/2 a fresh, ripe banana
  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries (I used wild blueberries)
  • 1/4 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 7 walnuts (soak them beforehand if your blender isn’t too powerful. My Magic Bullet didn’t need them soaked)
  • 1 huge handful baby spinach
  • Optional additions (but highly recommended):
    • 1/2 scoop favourite protein powder (I used the Sunwarrior Warrior Blend in Natural flavour)
    • 1/2 tsp maca powder
    • 1/4 tsp spirulina or more

Put all ingredients into your blender and blend away! I do this in stages in the Magic Bullet. It’s a little small to get everything in there at once but once you blend all the fruit and water up, there’s room for the spinach and powders! I served mine with some sprouted and dehydrated buckwheat groats, fresh strawberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon which was an awesome addition.

I am submitting this recipe to Wellness Weekends, Raw Food Thursdays and Allergy-Free Wednesday!

Now for the delicious tea beverage…

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London Fog with Coconut Oil (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Soy-Free, Raw)

This was so similar to the coffee shop version! It uses not milk, dairy or nondairy, but instead uses coconut oil to achieve the creamy taste and texture. Blended up to get some foam on top and sweetened with a little vanilla, stevia or agave, this is a very tasty way to get in some healthy fats and your morning caffeine!

  • 1 cup of your favourite Early Grey tea, prepared hot (I really like the Starbucks brand- lots of lavender!)
  • 3/4 tbsp coconut oil
  • splash vanilla extract
  • 2-3 drops of stevia or 1 tsp agave, to taste

Blend all of this up and sip! Adjust the sweetness to your liking.

Now onto those tacos!

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Super Speedy Raw Taco for 1 (Vegan, Gluten-free*, Sugar-free, Soy-free*, Raw)

This has so much flavour packed in, I could hardly believe how close to meat-based tacos it was! Lots of spice makes it the perfect vehicle for all your favourite raw/vegan taco toppings! It whips up super fast and the recipe can be doubled or quadrupled depending on how many you’re feeding!

*use a gluten-free soy sauce, Bragg’s or coconut aminos for gluten-free, use coconut aminos for this soy-free

  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut aminos (or your favourite form of soy sauce)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 large cabbage leaf. Romaine or collards would work too, I like cabbage because it’s bigger and easier to roll up and load with toppings
  • toppings:
    • avocado slices
    • diced tomato
    • raw salsa (or your favourite brand)
    • raw cashew sour cream- I never make or buy sour cream since I tend to use it so infrequently so to make this I just mix a little raw cashew cream (made with the savoury variation) with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and salt to taste

Pulse the first 5 ingredients in your food processor until the walnuts are in small pieces. Assemble your taco, roll it up and enjoy! I know tacos aren’t usually rolled, but this was so much easier. Plus these are raw tacos people, don’t worry about being totally authentic!

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all rolled up and ready to eat!

I am submitting this recipe to Allergy-Free Wednesday and Wellness Weekends!

There was a lot going on in this post, thanks for bearing with me everyone. Have a lovely rest of your day!

coconut oil coffee

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Pleeaaasssseeee don’t go running in horror at the title of this post. I know, when I first heard of the concept of adding fat in the form of an oil to coffee, I was a little skeptical needless to say. Adding oil to coffee just sounds weird and I never expected it to work (how on earth would it mix together?) or taste good. I think it comes from the fact that it’s so engrained in us that dairy, or a dairy substitute and a sweetener is the only way to go. But please trust me, it does and it is amazing!

Since doing my cleanse, I haven’t reintroduced coffee back as a daily thing, but this is is something I tried quite a while ago and I wanted to share it. I’ve chosen to not drink it mainly because I don’t want to feel reliant on the caffeine for energy. However, I think I will allow myself the occasional indulgence, mostly in the form of decaf where possible. But let’s be honest, decaf is not the same as regular so I will be having the occasional caffeinated cup. My goal is about 1/month which I think is doable! And I know a lot of my readers really enjoy a cup of Joe in the morning and if that is the case I really urge you to try this coconut oil coffee! It’s dreamy ;)

Now why on earth would you even want to add coconut oil to coffee? Well coconut oil has to be one of the best things you can add to your diet (except of course green vegetable, fresh, fruit, hemp, whole grains…ok maybe there are lots of good things to add…) because it comes with a whole host of amazing properties! Get ready folks, I have another information packed post for you!

Fearing Fat: Let’s take back the joy of eating fat-rich foods!

Today’s society has become one where low-fat and fat-free foods and products have become synonymous with healthful choices. The war against saturated and trans-fats has become a war against all fats. In order to seem more appealing to consumers, more and more companies are removing fat from products (in lieu of more added sugar and by products) to appeal to consumers who are honestly trying to make healthful, responsible decisions. This is health washing at it’s best- companies putting a stamp on their foods saying it’s healthy, but unhealthy secrets lurk beneath, requiring knowledge and know-how on the part of the consumer.

I too for many years was conned and seduced by the concept of low fat foods. My diet in high school was a very far cry from what it is today and like many teenager, my eating habits caught up with me in the form of weight gain when I was 16. It was not a hugely significant amount, I was still at a healthy weight. But at the time I was really involved in dance and music theatre and the extra weight made me very self conscious in the outfits and costumes I was wearing. I also found it very frustrating since I was dancing almost every night of the week for 3 hours at a time. I looked to my diet and saw how I had moved to a diet that revolved around convenience foods- namely fast food. Fast food was convenient when you only had half an hour between school and dance or had to drive an hour to said dance class. Fast food was receiving a lot of attention in the media for being high fat and weight gain-inducing. This led me to demonize all fat and I stopped eating fast foods and bought everything I could to be fat-free. While I wasn’t making what I now consider healthy choices, my fat (and by consequence calorie) intake was down. And it worked, to an extent. I did lose some of the weight I put on. English: McDonalds' sign in Harlem.

But looking back, I realize what a disservice I was doing to myself. Fat can be such an important part of a healthy diet and cutting all forms of it out is quite wrong. It is also an extremely important component of foods from a taste perspective. The addition of fat to foods gives it a richness and a good-mouth-feel that enhances the enjoyment of food. I can honestly say that I was not enjoying foods nearly as much then as I am now. By removing the fat, not only was I upping the sugar I was probably consuming, I was removing flavour! My diet today incorporates healthy fats from a variety of sources: nuts, seeds, avocado, and coconut and olive oils in moderation. While of course I encourage eating whole food sources of fat as much as possible, coconut oil is definitely one of my favourites for its versatility, taste and health properties. While I have briefly mentioned the health benefits of coconut oil in other posts, I want to give a conclusive list here. Please feel free to skip if all you want to know is it’s good for you and don’t care for specifics. I would completely understand :). I am also going to stick to the benefits of coconut oil from a consumption perspective. It has such a variety of uses as a topical application but we’ll save that for another post! Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Benefits of Coconut Oil:

  • High smoke point- this means it can be heated to a high temperature before being converted to a trans fat (the bad kind). It is therefore my primary choice for cooking and baking

  • Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)- medium chain triglycerides- this is a form of saturated fat, yes, but it is a special kind. Your body is actually able to use these fat molecules as energy immediately after being consumed as opposed to being stored as fat

    • Lauric acid- this is a form of MCT and is responsible for many of the disease fighting characteristics of coconut oil. It helps to reduce LDL cholesterol, which promotes plaque in artery walls. This helps with blood pressure as well as preventing cardiovascular events (heart attacks, stroke) and disease (heart failure, angina, etc.).

  • Digestion- digestion of MCTs is very easy on the body, taking pressure off the pancreas, liver and digestive system unlike other fats. The nutrients in coconut oil are easily broken down and assimilated into the body, reducing digestive and thus overall stress on the body!

  • Reduced pressure on organs: Related to #3- since you use less digestive energy to break them down, there is more energy for organs like the pancreas and liver to perform other important health maintaining functions!

  • Improved sleep: less digestive and overall stress means less cortisol is released. Less cortisol means increased deep sleep which allows you to feel rested.

  • Improved absorption of minerals and vitamins.

    • absorption of important minerals like magnesium and calcium is enhanced which is important for bone development.

  • Antimicrobial, antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral- helps fight harmful invaders to the body and strengthens the immune system

I didn’t mention too many specific diseased states that coconut oil can help prevent or improve, but as you can see, since it supports so many vital components in health, you can see how it would play a role in the prevention and treatment of many diseased states! So what’s the important message to take away from all this?

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It’s so unfortunate that the same word is used for fat in foods and fat in our bodies. They are so different!

I’m not saying go out there and eat healthy fats with wild abandon either. Moderation is key with anything! I am just trying to say that we needn’t fear or demonize them the way society does. They are actually quite good for you! But we need balance and a little goes a long way with fats. For anyone out there who doesn’t like coconut and is thus hesitant about trying it, don’t worry! It doesn’t have a strong coconut flavour or smell especially when used in cooking. Now onto this coconut oil coffee I mentioned. I got the idea from Katie over at Katie Did when she mentioned bulletproof coffee. I followed her link to this post by the Bulletproof Executive which involved combining coffee, unsalted grass-fed butter and an MCT oil (optional) as an energizing start to the morning. Now, since I don’t consume dairy I initially wrote this off. But then I started thinking about it more. Why couldn’t I do the opposite- instead of making the MCT oil optional, why not make that the primary ingredient as opposed to the butter? And since MCTs are a great energy provider, the combination with coffee had potential to be a major energizer. So I tried it! I changed up his method though- I used cold-pressed coffee and a lower quantity of fat. I wasn’t looking for it to keep me going for 6 hours, so I didn’t think I needed to go the full way. The result: an entirely vegan, low acid, super energizing, super creamy cup of coffee that tasted delicious and provides insanely long-lasting energy. Drink this before a workout for an awesome boost!

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Coconut Oil Coffee (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Raw)

  • 1/4 cup cold-pressed coffee+ 3/4 cup hot hot water (I love the taste and low acidity in cold pressed coffee but 1 cup hot brewed coffee will work well too)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • stevia or another sweetener, if desired

Put this all in a blender and blend!

I was shocked when the drink magically changed from the colour of black coffee to coffee with a ton of creamer in it. I never imagined they would mix so well! But they do and the results is a crazily smooth and creamy cup of coffee. It even develops a lovely foam on top as if you had frothed it. You have to try it to believe it!

I have no idea what this would be like with both butter and coconut oil. This beverage was pretty fatty and rich to begin with I think the addition of more fat would throw me off but I mean try it if you so choose :)

I think I’ll definitely make this with decaf coffee, or maybe even Dandy Blend! Hmmm I wonder what that would be like? I’ll report back!

Updated to include: Tried this with Dandy Blend- AMAZING!

That’s it for me everyone. See you soon!

I am submitting this post to Allergy Free Wednesday and Wellness Weekends!