Calcium Quest with a hint of Coconut

September 2, 2010

In fear of sending you all into a calcium coma, I have refrained from updating you daily on my quest for dairy domination. For one week now, I have been attempting to reach my RDI for calcium everyday. If you missed my initial post explaining why I set off on this quest, you can read it here .

I have looked to dairy products to be my major source of calcium, and have been aiming to have three dairy serves each day, fitting them in where I can – milky porridge at breakfast, smoothie snacks and a cheeky cheese slice here and there. I may have also occasionally inhaled some yoghurt right before bed, upon realising that I forgot to have it as a snack earlier…

Either way, dairy was consumed. And I have reach my RDI every day…..except one. This was on Sunday, when we went out for a long brunch and hence I ended up skipping one meal. Forgive me this one?

I am happy to report that is becoming easier to incorporate more dairy into my routine. My taste buds are thoroughly enjoying the addition of more cheese and different types of yoghurt. I look forward to having some yoghurt after dinner, as an uber healthy dessert. It has often replaced something a little more indulgent that may have somehow ended up in my bowl 😉

I’ve had to fork out some money for cheese, however it has usually replaced some beans or tuna, so in the end it hasn’t really costed more. Ben has benefited also, I’ve been sending him off to work with yoghurts and vita-weats with cheese. Men need calcium too, don’t forget!

To celebrate a successful week, I thought I would include one of my smoothie recipes. It is very simple, however it incorporates a product that is a little controversial….coconut butter. There is a lot of hype around coconut products these days, most notably coconut water – I won’t go into coconut water on this post, I’ll save it for another day.

The issue with coconut butter is that it is very high in saturated fat (the “bad” fat). However, fans of coconut butter note that the fat in coconut butter is mainly made up of medium-chain-triglycerides (MCTs), namely lauric acid, which is metabolised efficiently. This has led to claims that coconut butter ‘burns fat’ and is a miracle weight loss cure. These outlandish claims should not be taken seriously, and it is important to remember that nothing can replace healthy eating and exercise, with indulgences in moderation.

A good property of coconut butter is that it remains stable when heated to high temperatures, unlike other oils. Sceptics focus on the fact that, at the end of the day, it is very high in saturated fat, and hence is not a recommended product. What is frustrating is that a lot of the research on the value of coconut butter in the diet has been funded by companies that produce coconut butter, which brings up questions of bias.

I recently purchased coconut butter out of curiosity following discussions regarding its dietary value. In my view, the high saturated fat content is not desirable. And I do not support any fat burning hyperbole. If you take anything from this post, it should be that coconut butter is not a miracle cure for overweight/obesity, and to not get caught up in the hype. Yet every now and then, in moderation I believe that it can provide a delicious, rich coconut flavour to your baked goods, oats and smoothies (and more!). I always support mixing things up and not sticking to the same products day in day out. Variety is the key to a delicious and nutritious lifestyle.

Coconut butter is solid at room tempterature, hence why it is called coconut butter and not coconut oil. Some brands label them as both, however. If you like it runny, place the jar in some warm water (do not microwave it).

A quick note: there are two kinds of coconut butter – unrefined and refined. The refined product has been extensively processed and de-oderised, and hence does not smell or taste like coconut. I learnt this the hard, and expensive, way. When I purchased the refined coconut butter, I inquired as to whether it was any different to the unrefined (and more expensive) product. I was assured that both were suitable for cooking, with the only difference being that the refined product was not suitable for skin application (it is also used cosmetically).

Naturally, when I came home and found that the refined coconut butter smelt and tasted like an old crayon, I was rather upset. A displeased phone call to an uninterested, rude and decidedly unapologetic health food shop manager caused me to dramatically proclaim to Ben later that night that I would never again shop at that store! The next day I purchased the unrefined coconut butter (at a different, far superior store, of course). I hope that this little rant saves you some time and money if you ever wish to buy coconut butter and desire it to actually resemble a coconut.

Since purchasing some coconut butter two weeks ago, I have used it twice. I put a teaspoon on top of some oats, where it melted nicely and the tropical flavour of the coconut complimented the strawberries beautifully. I am regretting not photographing this delicious breakfast for you, as I remember very distinctly saying to Ben “oh I don’t need to photograph this one”…bad food blogger, I apologise.

I do, however, have a photo of the banana coconut smoothie I made for a post Body Attack snack earlier this week. I combined one large frozen banana (frozen bananas make smoothies deliciously thick and chilled), one cup of milk, and two teaspoons coconut butter in a blender, and buzzed it until smoothie-licious. It made me feel like I was on a tropical island, basking in the sun…just delightful! Very refreshing.

So there you go, a little calcium quest update. Feel free to join me on your own calcium quest. I would love the company. I have one more week to go, before hopefully eating more dairy becomes a habit.

And, a brief introduction to coconut butter. Have you ever used coconut butter? How do you use it? How do you feel about the fat content?

Happy Thursday!

Heidi xo

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  • KittyCate September 2, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Wow that smoothie sounds fantastic! I am intrigued by this coconut butter also, might have to go hunting for some. x
    PS: I love your calcium questing posts!!

  • Leah September 2, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Hi Heidi. I use coconut butter/oil, when making soaps! I have never really thought about cooking or eating it. But since reading your blog, i'm going to try the banana smoothie, it sounds so delicious!

  • Heidi September 2, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    Cate – thanks! I'm trying to be more of a calcium queen like you 🙂

    Leah – I saw that you make soaps, they look wonderful! Such a fun hobby.

    Adding some in a smoothie is really yummy!

    Heidi xo

  • Bee September 3, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Hi Heidi,

    I love your blog. I wish I had your ability to cook healthy food (I didn't even know you could make museli bars), and I know it's a poor excuse but I just don't have the time or energy.

    Is there any way to follow?

  • Heidi September 3, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Hey Bee! Thank you for the blog love 🙂
    I love healthy cooking, but making your own bars etc does take time! I do it whenever I have some spare time & then freeze them so they're always handy. Cooking in bulk saves time!
    Re the following link, I'm working on adding a few more of those gadgets this weekend 🙂 I'm a little bit of a technology newb.
    Heidi xo

  • grace September 3, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    what a wonderfully informative post! i particularly enjoyed reading it, as i am a fan of coconut in all its forms. beautiful, nutritious smoothie, heidi!

  • Heidi September 4, 2010 at 8:32 am

    thanks grace!

  • Denita September 9, 2010 at 6:26 am

    I made the exact same mistake with the coconut butter last year – buying the refined instead of unrefined. Why would you NOT want the taste of coconut? It is so delicious!!

  • Catarina April 2, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    Hi Heidi, I’ve only recently discovered your lovely blog and am currently catching up on all the archives. I have two little boys, with my youngest being around the same age your beautiful little Joan, so it’s extra nice to see your take on becoming a mum and continuing to embrace healthy, nourishing foods. I love the blog title too!

    I am so confused about coconut butter. I, too, have a degree in nutrition (although I didn’t end up pursuing that path) and I distinctly remember being taught that coconuts were full of saturated fat and thus should be generally avoided. This was circa 2002 when none of the current hype about coconut butter / oil was around. I also have a history of high cholesterol so am extra cautious about avoiding anything that might increase this. I am curious to use it, especially in baking as it sounds like it would give a nice flavour. Given this post was four years ago, has your opinion changed at all in relation to coconut butter?

    • Heidi April 3, 2016 at 9:19 am

      4 years ago, my goodness!! Thanks for your comment, Catarina. I still have coconut oil, even moreso these days, as you can tell with some of my recipes. I use it purely for flavour and it’s properties are useful in recipes, like how it turns solid when chilled. I think it’s a marvellous moisturiser. And because I am breastfeeding I am being generous with my calories and making sure I eat enough fat. I think there are too many factors at play in terms of lifestyle and food consumption to be able to interpret nutrition studies accurately. However focusing on real, whole food is a safe, healthy place, in my opinion. My diet is basically solely real, whole food with the occasional take-out of bakery item, and do not have any health concerns at present to make me restrict anything. So I am completely fine with eating coconut oil because it is a real, whole food and I like the taste. Does that make sense? I think everyone needs to look at their diet individually before deciding what is good for them to eat. And to eat intuitively in this manner. I mean, that’s the ideal 🙂 I wouldn’t encourage my husband to eat as much as me because he has more takeout and less veg, nuts, seeds, etc than me. His diet is less balanced. And intuitively, he doesn’t enjoy it the way I do. x

  • Catarina April 4, 2016 at 7:56 am

    Thank you so much for your reply! Yes, that does make sense. I think I will take the leap and try it in my diet. I’ve being eyeing off a raw carrot cake recipe for a few weeks now so I think I’ll start there.

    I had gestational diabetes with my second pregnancy and it was a wake up call that it was time I put my knowledge into practice. Since Bub #2 came along, I’m proud to say I have been maintaining a healthier lifestyle, particularly in relation to eating better and exercising regularly. I’m still working on the idea of eating intuitively – I’m a classic emotional eater – but I figure if I surround myself with healthy food then even my ‘binges’ won’t be that bad!

    • Heidi April 5, 2016 at 8:23 am

      Sounds like you’re doing really well & that you know what foods you feel best eating! Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you eat a generally healthy diet and you & bubs are healthy from your GP perspective, that’s great! x