Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Young Coconuts

I am sooo excited! Good Earth had some young coconuts! I honestly bought five of the seven that were there.... I couldn't help myself! One of my favorite foods that I discovered back when I was 100% raw a few years ago, are young coconuts. They look different from fully matured coconuts that are hard, round, and brown. These very young coconuts have a semi-gelatinous white part, and coconut water in the middle. Also, another common name for a young coconut is Thai coconut. Some people refer to them as Thai coconuts, and others (such as Good Earth) call them young coconuts. Really, whatever floats your boat go for it!

Young coconuts are highly nutritious. The water in young coconuts is reported to be almost the exact structural make-up of plasma, and can be used intravenously in emergency situations. (Although, I can't really think of any scenarios where using it intravenously that would be necessary...) Because coconut water is collected in the center of the the young coconut, it is basically an all natural purifier that creates just about the purest water in the world. Also, there may be benefits for the heart, liver, and kidneys. For a gigantic list of good benefits about young coconuts that will amaze and astound you click here.

But there's sort of a catch with this particular food... how in the world do you get into the center of it???

There are several different ways. In the beginning, I would simply take my dad's screwdriver and hammer and pound my way into it on the kitchen counter. My mom shortly thereafter made me open my young coconuts in the garage... But being older and significantly wiser (wink-wink) I have discovered an extremely easier (but not nearly as exciting) way of opening young coconuts.

You start with the naked coconut.

Then you start shaving around the pointed top part of the coconut. I just use a butcher knife, but some people swear by cleavers. It's not very tough at all, and took me maybe at the most 30 seconds to peel off the top.

Once you have it all shaved around the top, you take the L-shaped heel of the knife to attack it like so. Be very careful on this part... some professionals (such as Natalia Rose, author of The Raw Food Detox Diet) advise attacking the young coconut with the non-knife hand behind your back to prevent injuries. After a couple of whacks you will start to see the coconut water begin to well out around the puncture.

You then wiggle the knife up and down, gradually wedging the knife further and further into your young coconut.

When it gets to about this point, with the knife firmly underneath about half of the young coconut, you are ready to pop off the top. I do this by making one final upward lifting motion with the knife. This will pop off the top of the coconut.

Ta-Da!!! You are now a young coconut opening champion! Then you simply pour the coconut water into a wide-mouthed container of some kind (I usually use a mason jar, and pour it out over the sink in case I miss!) and dig out the white flesh with a spoon or ice-cream scoop.

There are some fabulous raw soups, tacos, smoothies, desserts, and more that you can make with both the young coconut water and flesh.

This is one very easy recipe for a coconut smoothie:

Refreshing Coconut Smoothie

Meat from one young coconut
1-2 cups of coconut water

Directions: Place water and meat into blender and blend until smooth. If consistency is too thick for your taste, add more coconut water.

Pretty simple, right? If you are not a huge fan of coconut, you can always add mangoes, berries, bananas, pineapple, and other fruit of your liking, and you will still get all of the nutrition that the young coconut has to offer.

Tonight I am going to make some raw "Tacos" that incorporate both the young coconut water and the young coconut meat. I'm pretty excited about it, and I'll for sure take pictures so you can see results of my "Experiment Night" meal.

In Good Health,

Lindsey Kae

Saturday, May 1, 2010

So for the last little while I have been making green juice. And what, you might ask, is green juice? Green juice, my friends, is basically green veggies and fruits that have been passed through a juicer to gather all of the vital nutrients, into liquid form. I've only been drinking green juice for a little while, but I have to say that my energy has never been so good! Here's what's been in my green juice lately:

Kale is awesome! Kale, contains sulforaphane which is a chemical that is believed to have powerful cancer fighting properties. Broccoli, brussels sprouts and other 'brassicas' (think cauliflower, cabbage, etc.) also have sulforaphane. There are other great benefits from consuming kale. It has thiamin, folate, iron, magnesium (which many people need more of) phosphorus, and it even has 2 grams of protein! Also, it's a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. Lately, I've been using the entire bunch. But really, you probably only need about 5 or so leaves. This particular kind is called lacinato kale, but there are others as well. Any organic kale will do!

I use organic lemons to give my green drink a lemonade sort of taste... And the other day I tried limes. Either one will sorta cover up the "green" taste that some people don't like very much. I peel them before I send them through the juicer.

While celery gets a bad reputation for being high in sodium, it actually contains naturally occurring sodium. This is different than just regular old table salt, and actually something that your body needs. There are a lot of people that are deficient in this naturally occurring sodium. It also contains TONS of potassium!
Cucumbers again are great sources of essential vitamins and minerals, and also may be beneficial in digestion and cleansing the bowels. There are only 8 calories in a half cup of chopped raw cucumber, and 0.9 grams of sugar. Less than one gram of sugar my friends! In general, non-fat yogurt has 14 grams sugar. I will stick with my raw cucumbers!

Last but not least, I added a granny smith apple! I cored the apple first (although the juicer can juice them whole) because there are small amounts of the cyanide in apple seeds. But if I don't have time to chop it, I will just drop the apple in there whole. People have been eating apples forever, and I don't think anyone has dropped dead of cyanide poisoning from apple seeds. Apples are a good source of vitamin C, and they help to ease the "green" taste that the green juice contains!

I then push all of the produce through the juicer:

Look at all the foam on top! The top of the juicing cup has a foam separator, but before I pour out my juice, I like to stir in some of the foam.

And enjoy!

Which I did!

So here's the full recipe:

  • 1 bunch of organic kale leaves (or 1/2 bunch of organic lettuce, and 5 or 6 leaves of kale)
  • 1 organic cucumber
  • 1 organic granny smith apple
  • 1 organic lemon, peeled
  • 1/2 a stalk of organic celery
Juice all of these, and then consume immediately. (The important enzymes and nutrients will start to oxidize as soon as the skin is broken, so the sooner the better.) This makes about 32 oz of green juice, and I have it for breakfast.

Try it, and you will notice an immediate difference in how your body feels. One of the key things that I have noticed is my energy has improved so much!

Case in point: I have a hard time running. I don't know that I like running all that much, and I don't know that running likes me all that much. But once a week, I go to the gym with my aunt Sara at 7:30am and we run on the treadmills. Sara is an exercise fanatic, and right now she is training to run the RAGNAR race in June. The RAGNAR is a 24 hour relay race, and you run at three different intervals, which are 3-8 miles long. So she sets her treadmill to 7.5, and she is running EASILY for the entire length of our run. Which is about 35 minutes, because that's how long it takes me to warm-up and run a measly three miles. The entire time I am running this is what is going through my mind:
  • I'm tired.
  • My legs are sore!
  • Gosh I have to pee!
  • I'm only doing one more mile.
  • Forget about one more mile, make that one more minute.
  • I'm still tired.
  • How can Sara DO THIS?
  • I can't feel my legs anymore.
  • Ah! I'm only half-way done! NOOOOO!
  • I wonder if I pretend to fall-off my treadmill, we could take a break?
  • I'm going to the bathroom and not coming out for the next 20 minutes.
And so on, and so forth. But every week, I mumble and groan through my 3 miles, and Sara is singing and skipping through her 3+ miles.

But not this week! I actually SPRINTED the last minute of my 3 miles. It was crazy how good I felt while I was running. It felt like I could run forever, and I have never really felt like that since I was 10 years old. I was completely amazed. I really do believe that all of my extra energy has come from drinking my fabulous green juice!

Another benefit I have noticed from drinking green juice is that my sugar cravings have definitely decreased. I have been around sugary types of foods this week, and instead of fighting myself not to eat them, I am just not interested in them. It is almost as if for the first time in my life I am listening to what my body needs, and acting accordingly. And for that, I am so happy to be incorporating green juice into my daily life.

In Good Health,

Lindsey Kae