Nuts for coconuts

Susanne used a machete to get into the coconut

My fondest memory of Mexico is the availability of fresh coconut water. Over Christmas, I pet-sat a couple dogs on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. In the mornings, I went out to get a fresh coconut off the tree. I chopped off the top, like I saw the street vendors do. Mind you, I didn’t have a sharp machete or the skills and practice they do. Besides that, I had the pressure of two dogs breathing down my neck, waiting for their share of the coconut meat, but somehow I managed. 

Apparently, coconut water can be used as an IV to replace fluids. Apparently, coconut water can be used as an IV to replace fluids. It is sterile while in the shell, as long as the shell isn’t damaged, but my rusty machete changes that in a flash and adds some iron. Drinking coconut water is like jump-starting my batteries in the morning! Coconut water has glucose, but doesn’t give you the crazy buzz and the crash that white sugar does. For me, it’s the best electrolyte you can get—definitely better than the conventional sports drinks that are generally loaded with white sugar.

Susanne visited a coconut tree each morning while pet-sitting dogs in Mexico

Once I was back in the Yukon though, I found myself in a bit of a bind when it came to drinking coconut water. Here, you can find it in tetra packs rather than the handy compostable packages of the south. After having seen the amount of garbage that shows up on the shores of our oceans, I try not to add more garbage to the pile. So I was very happy to find a powdered version of coconut water in one of the local groceries. It’s not perfect, but it results in far less garbage than buying coconut water in containers. Plus, it’s easier to take out in the bush.

Imagine a coconut washed onto a foreign shore far away from the coconut tree from which it came. While the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, the coconut can cross oceans. I love the way that coconut trees send their offspring away with food and water to settle in new places and keep the tradition going. The new coconut trees grow out of the coconut, so no matter where they end up, they have food and water to get a good head start on all the plants that grow from seeds and need to find water first. I think it shows that coconut trees are caring and benevolent plants.  

Fat is important for proper body functions and coconut oil is a great source. People often reduce fat in their diet in order to lose weight, but my research and experience shows that the right kind of fat actually helps us to lose weight. As the saying goes, a coconut a day keeps the doctor away. Or, at least, that’s my new version of the saying. I was able to lose weight and feel more balanced when consuming an average of two coconuts a day and I didn’t even avoid sugar as much as I usually do!

Coconut fat is an amazing staple in my kitchen. It’s perfect to fry anything, not that I do a lot of that. Most of the time I use water to cook in my frying pan, but coconut fat gives it that nice flavour. I also don’t have conventional creams at home. I use coconut mixed with sesame oil for my skin, which keeps it moist and supple. We shouldn’t have to think twice about eating what we put on our skin, as the skin absorbs whatever we put on it. That’s how ointments work in the first place. You can test this by rubbing a clove of garlic on your feet and see if you can taste the garlic in your mouth.

During one of my conquests to kill off candida, I even made coconut kefir out of young coconuts. I used lauric acid derived from coconut to fight off viruses and bacteria. You can use the shell to scrub your pots. An equal mix of coconut fat and olive oil is a great substitute for butter and has the perfect consistency right out of the fridge. The uses of coconut seem endless.

People sometimes ask what one book you would take to an island. I could easily do without one, but I’d definitely make sure there’s a healthy coconut tree on the island.

Turmeric and chili turkey meatballs with coconut milk

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