Coconut…The Why — January 29, 2021

Coconut…The Why

 

Calories…One half cup coconut…or a piece of fresh coconut meat measuring 2″ x 2″ x 1/2″…contains about 350 calories. Protein…1/2C or a 2″ cube of coconut meat contains 1.5 grams protein. Carbs…1/2C or a 2″ cube of coconut meat contains about fifteen grams carbohydrates. Fiber…1/2C or a 2″ cube of coconut meat contains four grams of fiber.

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Fat

One-half cup or a 2″ cube of coconut contains about fifteen grams of total fat—13.4g saturated fat…0.64g monounsaturated fat…and a smaller amount of polyunsaturated fat—meaning that coconut is not one of the healthiest fruits out there.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting your fat intake to a total of 78 grams per day…of which no more than sixteen of these grams being saturated fat… Which means that coconut is not actually healthy for you if you are concerned about your fat intake.

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Vitamins

  • Coconut is not a significant source of vitamins, but is also a very good source of B-complex vitamins—vitamins such as folates, riboflavin, niacin, and thiamin.

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Minerals

  • Manganese…A single serving of coconut meat provides 34% of the daily value for manganese, a mineral that helps your body maintain a healthy brain, nervous system, healthy bones, and immune function.
  • Copper…A single serving of coconut meat provides 10% of the daily value for copper, a mineral that helps form red blood cells.
  • Selenium…A single serving of coconut meat contains 6% of the daily value for selenium, an important antioxidant that protects your cells.
  • Iron…A single serving of coconut meat contains 2mg…11% of the daily value…of iron, a mineral that helps form red blood cells and also helps regulate your heartbeat.
  • Potassium…A single serving of coconut meat contains 356 mg…7.5% of daily value…of potassium.

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Antioxidants

Coconut contains antioxidants—including gallic acid, caffeic acid, salicylic acid, and p-coumaric acid—which may help protect cells from damage and death caused by oxidative stress and chemotherapy….and may also reduce your disease risk.
Cuckoo Over Coconuts — January 22, 2021

Cuckoo Over Coconuts

 

When you think of tropical fruit, one of the first things that comes into mind is the coconut…one of the most important crops of the tropics.

 

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The Tree

Coconut trees can grow up to almost one hundred feet tall with leaves that can be as long as twenty feet each.

Coconut trees can typically be found anywhere along the coast…wherever the average daily temperature stays above 55°F and the average annual rainfall is above 40 inches.

Each tree can yield as many as a hundred actual coconuts, but most trees grow about fifty.

 

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The Fruit

Your typical coconut is an oval shape that is about fifteen inches long and seven inches round…weighing about three pounds…with a hard shell containing both coconut meat and liquid.

 

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More Facts

The name coconut comes from the Spanish word coco, which means ‘head’ or ‘skull.’ The coconut probably got this name from the fact that the coconut looks like a face…with three indentations on the coconut shell that resemble facaaial features.

There are several varieties of coconut…which you probably wouldn’t know if you walk into your typical grocery store.

These include the Maypan coconut, the King coconut, and Macapuno….each varying in such factors as taste of the coconut water, color of the fruit. For more about the different types of coconut, check out this article by Home Stratosphere.

Breadfruit….The How — January 19, 2021

Breadfruit….The How

Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com
Breadfruit is probably not one of those fruits that you simply wanna grab and take a big bite of… Try if it you want, but most people will find the taste and texture of uncooked breakfast more than a little unpleasant. However, if the unripened breadfruit is boiled until tender, the breadfruit will have a more potato-ish texture…similar to freshly baked bread. In fact, the best way to think about uses for breadfruit is to treat it as if it were a potato of sorts and cook it accordingly—mashed, in salads, made into fries and chips, etc. In fact, breadfruit can be used as a delicious substitute for any starchy root crop, rice, pasta, vegetable, or potato. But breadfruit is actually better than potatoes because they are actually more nutritious. So like the potatoes, breadfruit can be prepared in many ways—steamed, baked, sauteed, boiled, fried… And like potatoes, breadfruit can be used in a variety of dishes—casseroles, curries, stews and chowders, salads, and chips.

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Ripeness

The riper the breadfruit, the softer and creamier and sweeter it becomes…similar to a banana…with a custardy, bread-like taste…meaning that riper breadfruit are great for can be used for fritters, pancakes, bread, beverages, and other baked goods

Breadfruit is a staple ingredient in many cuisines—especially Caribbean, Latin America, and Polynesian…for making both sweet and savory dishes. Here are a few recipes worth trying… Philippinesginataang langka Sri Lankacurry Indiafritters Jamaicasoup Breadfruit flour can be used a good gluten-free substitute for panko or breadcrumbs…and actually has a much better taste and greater nutritional value than any other gluten-free flour alternative available. Breadfruit seeds can also be cooked an eaten…making them a a nutritious, savory snack with a crunch.

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Where to Find

If you don’t live in the back of the backwoods like Middle of Nowhere, Mississippi… where I’m from…you might be able to go to your closest Caribbean specialty food store…

If you happen to live in Hawaii or be there even in the midst of all this corona crap, you will find breadfruit readily available…probably labeled as “ulu”…In fact, breadfruit is so common in Hawaii that there is even a National Breadfruit Institute of Hawai’i.  For the rest of us, you could also try your local farmers’ market or wait until your next box of ugly produce comes in and you luck out and get breadfruit in your assortment.

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Choosing and Storing

If you are choosing your breadfruit yourself, make sure that the breadfruit is firm. You want the skin to be greenish-yellow with only a little brown cracking.

The fruit bruises easily so check for bruises or soft spots. Some brown cracking is okay, but not too much. Store breadfruit in your fridge…(future post on which fruits and veggies to store in fridge and which not to…as well as how to organize your fridge coming soon…maybe four years from now)… In conclusion, hopefully you also will be checking breadfruit off your list of foods on the Raw Foods Pyramid  yet to try…as you join me in this quest to embrace a healthier lifestyle.
Breadfruit…The What and the Why — January 17, 2021

Breadfruit…The What and the Why

sliced fruits on tray
Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com
Honestly before starting our quest to switch from the typical Southern meal regimen—chicken fried steak, fried chicken, fried whatever…after all, isn’t the Texas State Fair notorious for frying anything and everything… I had never heard of many of the fruits and veggies that I am including in this blog about raw foods and clean eating. But recently I joined a food co-op that delivered breadfruit. At first I was kinda scared of the interesting little green things in my basket, but I am not one to waste ingredients and also someone who dares to try new recipes, so I started figuring out what to do with the darn thing….what recipes I could use it in and what nutritional goodness it had to offer.

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The Where

Breadfruit are another tropical fruit…native to the South Pacific and very popular throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands.

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The Breadfruit Tree

As far as how it’s grown, the breadfruit grows on trees that can grow as tall as eighty-five feet high. The breadfruit tree is a member of the fig family and one tree alone can produce a massive 450 pounds of breadfruit each year for decades. One single breadfruit tree is capable of yielding up to two hundred breadfruits per season. The leaves of the breadfruit tree are large ovals that are long and skinny, and glossy green.

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The Fruit

One breadfruit can weigh up to twelve pounds in weight and have a diameter of twelve inches. The breadfruit is typically round, oval or oblong The skin of the breadfruit is a green and prickly. The flesh is hard and green. The flesh of a fully ripe breadfruit will be creamy yellow with oval seeds or a cylindrical core, depending on which particular variety of breadfruit you have purchased. A single breadfruit can weigh as much as twelve pounds and is capable of feeding a family of four.

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Nutritional Value

Breadfruit is an excellent source of the following nutrients…
  • antioxidants
  • calcium
  • carbohydrates
  • carotenoids
  • copper
  • fiber…½C provides 25%RDA
  • iron
  • magnesium…1/2C contains up to 10%RDA
  • niacin
  • omega 3
  • omega 6
  • phosphorus
  • potassium…1/2C contains up to 10%RDA
  • protein…1/2C contains up to 10%RDA
  • thiamin…10%DV
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin B
  • vitamin C…35%DV

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Health Benefits

Breadfruit can be beneficial to your health in many ways, especially for fighting or preventing…
  • asthma
  • blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • heart diseases and heart attacks
  • risk of developing colon cancer
So now that we’ve gotten the facts about breadfruit and its nutritional/health benefits, let’s get to the fun part—what to do with it the next time the local co-op or one of those imperfect food subscription boxes sends it your way…(because if you’re like me, you probably wouldn’t have ever put it into your grocery cart or instacart order yourself)…
Let Them Have Cake Also…Healthier Cakes for Diabetics and Other Sugar-Conscious People — January 12, 2021

Let Them Have Cake Also…Healthier Cakes for Diabetics and Other Sugar-Conscious People

My husband’s birthday is this weekend…and obviously I want to make him a cake.

Yet he is a diabetic, so my days of baking as if I were from Mississippi…(which I am)…have long passed.

But this year for his birthday I am bound and determined to make him a cake that he will actually eat…and enjoy.

Since we don’t normally indulge in sweet things such as cake, I want this to be an extra special treat that he will feel free to devour.

So I have done my homework as to how to make him a cake that is both healthy and delicious…a cake that uses healthier alternatives than the Southern Cooking Holy Trinity—cream cheese, powdered sugar, and Cool Whip.

Let’s take a look at what some of those healthier alternatives include…

 

 

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The Flour

  • One of the best things you can do for your health is to give up processed foods…and white flour is definitely a processed food…and less healthy for you than other flours that are out there.
  • White flour…or what most of us call “all-purpose” flour is less healthy for you because it has been “processed” to remove the outer layer of the grain…which is where all the healthy stuff, like fiber, are found.
  • Better alternatives include whole-wheat, nut flour, almond meal or buckwheat flour.
  • You can read more about these healthier alternatives in this post post by Self magazine.

 

 

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Fruits and Veggies

For years I’ve heard that using applesauce instead of sugar is a much healthier way to still make delicious cakes and cookies, but if you’re like me you’ve been hesitant to try it.

However, when you’re married to a diabetic such as mine, who goes to great lengths to make sure that his whatever stays whatever, it starts making sense.

Applesauce can be used as a substitute for either the sugar or the fat in a recipe, but you don’t want to replace both the sugar and the fat with applesauce.

To use applesauce to replace the sugar, use the same amount of applesauce as the sugar listed in the ingredients, but use less of the liquid—normally milk or water—by 1/4C for every 1C of applesauce added.

To use applesauce to replace the oil or butter, replace half the fat with applesauce…so whenever a recipe calls for 1C oil, instead use 1/2C oil and 1/2C applesauce.

For more about baking with applesauce, check out this article from Taste of Home.

Other fruits that can be used In baking to help cut back on added fat include mashed banana.

If you are planning on subbing mashed banana for the butter or oil called for in a recipe, use the same amount of mashed banana as the amount of butter or oil that the recipe originally called for.

For more about using fruits and veggies other than the expected options of applesauce or banana, check out this article from Organic Authority.

 

 

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The Oil

One of the nutrients…or should I say anti-nutrients…that we all should think about in our quest to eat healthier is saturated fat.

And ordinary butter contains a lot of saturated fat. In fact, each tablespoon of butter contains 11.52 grams of fat, which is 36%DV…not to mention over one hundred calories.

That’s in just one tablespoon…

And how many cakes have you ever made that require only one tablespoon.

 

Normally you have to use at least one whole stick…meaning that you are adding about 58 grams of fat, which is 290%DV…not to mention over eight hundred calories.

 

Don’t you want to make better batter than the batter you make with butter?

 

Instead of butter, consider using one of the following…

  • olive oil
  • rapeseed oil
  • sunflower oil or spread

Using these as a substitute for butter, not only lowers the amount of saturated fat, but will also give your cake a lighter, moister texture.

For more about baking with healthier fats, check out this article from Health Line.

 

 

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The Sugar

As far as sugar goes, healthier options would include honey, maple syrup, stevia, and dates.

For more information about sugar substitutes, check out this article from Food Revolution.

 

 

 

 

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The Icing on the Cake

If you’ve gone to all this trouble to make a healthier cake, you don’t want to ruin your efforts by using the standard high-sugar frosting or icing.

Instead of your standard frosting or icing, try one of the following instead…

 

Develop a Passion for Banana Passion Fruit — January 11, 2021

Develop a Passion for Banana Passion Fruit

Before starting this series on tropical fruits, I had honestly never even heard of banana passion fruit…and I still honestly haven’t figured out where the closest place to buy it is…but since it is a tropical fruit, I’m gonna go ahead and include here in this chapter…(think once I finish crawling up the Raw Foods Pyramid, I may try to put it all together into a book…probably too lofty of a goal, but hey we are all making New Year’s resolutions right now anyway)…

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Banana Passion Fruit…The What

Banana passion fruit are native to many areas of South America—particularly Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Peru.

Banana passion fruit grows on vines that can be as tall…or long, not sure which word would be correct here…as twenty-two feet….and that have attractive, deep pink blossoms. The vines are commonly used in landscaping to cover trellises.

plant is known to live for up to twenty years. A mature banana passion fruit vine can produce up to three hundred banana passion fruits. 

The fruit itself is oblong and about four inches long. The orange-scented fruit has a  thick, leathery skin that changes from green to bright yellow as the fruit ripens…and juicy, sweet pulp that is studded with black seeds.

The pulp is juicy and sweet, with a tart bite and hints of banana. Although the seeds are edible, they can be somewhat bitter…

Banana passion fruit is available year-round in the tropics, with a peak season in the spring and fall months.

However…interestingly enough…it is illegal to sell and distribute the plant in New Zealand and Hawaii because it is considered to be an invasive species that can quickly take over and deprive other native plants from the sun.

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Banana Passion Fruit…The Why

Banana passionfruit are a good source of the following nutrients…

  • antioxidants
  • calcium
  • carbohydrates
  • fiber
  • iron
  • phosphorus
  • protein
  • vitamins A and C

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Banana Passion Fruit…The Why

As long as you store ripe banana passion fruit in an open paper bag in the fridge, they will last for around a week.

Although banana passion fruit is best eaten as it is instead of trying to cook or make something else out of it, here are some more ideas as far as using banana passion fruit…

  • desserts such as cakes, cheesecake and pies
  • fruit salads
  • ice cream
  • juices
  • parfaits
  • relishes, jams and other preserves
  • smoothies
  • yogurt 

So let’s take a look in the following posts at a few of these ideas…shall we?!

Developing a Passion for Banana Passion Fruit —

Developing a Passion for Banana Passion Fruit

Before starting this series on tropical fruits, I had honestly never even heard of banana passion fruit…and I still honestly haven’t figured out where the closest place to buy it is…but since it is a tropical fruit, I’m gonna go ahead and include here in this chapter…(think once I finish crawling up the Raw Foods Pyramid, I may try to put it all together into a book…probably too lofty of a goal, but hey we are all making New Year’s resolutions right now anyway)…

 

 

 

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Banana Passion Fruit…The What

Banana passion fruit are native to many areas of South America—particularly Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Peru.

Banana passion fruit grows on vines that can be as tall…or long, not sure which word would be correct here…as twenty-two feet….and that have attractive, deep pink blossoms. The vines are commonly used in landscaping to cover trellises.

plant is known to live for up to twenty years. A mature banana passion fruit vine can produce up to three hundred banana passion fruits. 

The fruit itself is oblong and about four inches long. The orange-scented fruit has a  thick, leathery skin that changes from green to bright yellow as the fruit ripens…and juicy, sweet pulp that is studded with black seeds.

The pulp is juicy and sweet, with a tart bite and hints of banana. Although the seeds are edible, they can be somewhat bitter…

Banana passion fruit is available year-round in the tropics, with a peak season in the spring and fall months.

However…interestingly enough…it is illegal to sell and distribute the plant in New Zealand and Hawaii because it is considered to be an invasive species that can quickly take over and deprive other native plants from the sun.

 

 

 

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Banana Passion Fruit…The Why

Banana passionfruit are a good source of the following nutrients…

  • antioxidants
  • calcium
  • carbohydrates
  • fiber
  • iron
  • phosphorus
  • protein
  • vitamins A and C

 

 

 

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Banana Passion Fruit…The Why

As long as you store ripe banana passion fruit in an open paper bag in the fridge, they will last for around a week.

Although banana passion fruit is best eaten as it is instead of trying to cook or make something else out of it, here are some more ideas as far as using banana passion fruit…

  • desserts such as cakes, cheesecake and pies
  • fruit salads
  • ice cream
  • juices
  • parfaits
  • relishes, jams and other preserves
  • smoothies
  • yogurt 

So let’s take a look in the following posts at a few of these ideas…shall we?!