Archive for October 9, 2011

“Something Gilligan never told us…”

Posted in Nutrition on October 9, 2011 by oldcountrystrong

Guest writers are always welcomed on Old Country. In fact we encourage readers to submit articles for publication on the blog,  the Clubs very own Carrie Winecoff sent me today’s post.  Z 

When you think Old Country Strong, images come to mind of mastodons roaming the plains, oxen plowing the fields, and gorillas beating their chests. But what do these beasts eat? Sure, our motto is “Eat Meat and Sleep”, and protein is mission critical for anyone on our strength programs to build and repair our muscles. But is there a food out there that may also be considered Old Country Strong?

Behold! I nominate: the humble COCONUT.

If any of you know me at all, you know I love coconut! I. Love It. I love to eat it. I love to drink it. And I really love to cook with it. I put it on my skin. I put it in my hair.  I put it everywhere. I’m starting to sound like Dr. Seuss, so I’ll just get on with it.

Known as “The Tree of Life”, the coconut is highly valued for its versatility. The coconut palm yields up to 75 fruits per year and all parts of the palm are useful—the flower, husk, shell, fruit, oil, water, sap, sprout and leaves. Nearly 1/3 of the world depends on coconut to some degree for their food and economy, not to mention in traditional medicine.

The fruit contain sugar, fiber, protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and have numerous culinary uses . Coconut cream, extracted and pressed coconut water and fruit, is prevalent in traditional and modern foods, including that pina colada you enjoyed on that beach last summer. But I digress. The husk and shells can be used for fuel and are a source for charcoal. The shells have been used as vessels for food and musical instruments.  The leaves are used for browns, thatch for homes and woven into mats, and the trunks as building materials and canoes.

Okay, okay. So you’re wondering what does this mean for me right? I’m not necessarily paddling around sunny islands and cooking up conch curries right now.

Coconut water

The cavity of the coconut is filled with coconut water, a sterile fluid that mixes so well with blood that it was used in WWII in emergency transfusions and today in 3rd world countries for blood plasma. The fluid provides an isotonic electrolyte balance, meaning it’s nature’s sports drink with less sodium, less sugar and far more potassium than a Gatorade. It’s my personal favorite way to hydrate before and after a workout. Nothing keeps your throat lubricated as well as coconut water (This article would be null and void without SOME kind of dirty joke).

Coconut oil

The oil extracted from the coconut consists of 90% saturated fats. But don’t freak out just yet. Most of the fats are medium chain triclycerides, which when eaten, the body converts the MCTs into  monoglycerides and medium chain fatty acids, which both are powerfully antimicrobial and capable of killing bacteria, viruses and fungi. This is well documented in the medical literature.

Coconut oil is one of the few sources of MCTs. One other source is breast milk. It’s been suggested that it’s the MCTs that protects the baby from infections before it develops its own immune system.

Studies show that MCFAs from coconut oil are effective in killing bacteria that cause ulcers, sinus infections, bladder infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, , and many other illnesses. They kill fungi and yeasts that cause ringworm and athlete’s foot. They kill viruses that cause the flu, measles, and mononucleosis. They even kill HIV.

Intense exercise can weaken immune defense. Adding coconut oil into an athlete’s diet will help him train longer and lower the risk of infection. MFCAs are metabolized quicker than LCFAs (long chain). It’s metabolized more like carbohydrates and rarely stored in excess, and at the same time lowering the amount of carbohydrates burned in exercise. This means the glycogen stored in your muscles is spared which allows you to perform longer and stronger. Coconut oil has impact on lowering cholesterol and preventing plaque buildup, maximizing oxygen intake for performance.

Sounds great, but how do I incorporate more coconut into my life?

One of the best reasons to consume coconut though is because it fucking tastes good!

Buy virgin coconut oil—it should smell delicious in the jar and it’s solid at room temperature. Coconut oil is great for medium heat applications (not too high heat or you will lose some of the benefits).

Bake with it! It adds a subtly sweetness and an incredible amount of moistness to baked goods. Eat tablespoons of it! Sprinkle unsweetened coconut flakes over salads. It’s great stirred into chicken salad. Coconut milk is not just for thai curries! Use it with eggs instead of milk. Use in shaes and your coffee.

Be bold, be adventurous and experiment!

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Article by: Carrie