your health, you have nothing,
Mother used to say. That was very true, indeed,
And so it is today. Yet how does one maintain their
Through food, I do believe. Itll nourish the body
and nurture the soul
In its subtle, profound way. But how does one cook healthy
Ah, the easiest part of all! And if one really truly
Bad habits will fall, fall, fall.
It is a pity Mother did not apply her wisdom to her
cooking.We were raised, like most everyone else, on
the Standard American Diet. In mid-century America,
there was no information, no warnings about the harmful
effects of hydrogenated oils, processed sugar, sodium
chloride or pesticides. In fact,
food was hardly attributed to illness. Mother was a
victim of the times.
Then, in the early seventies, the shift
toward more conscious food choices began and I eagerly
followed. As my diet gradually changed toward more plant-based
foods, my attitude and my health began to improve and
my life took another direction. My passion to learn
more about the healing nature of
foods led me to the Far East and to Europe where I lived
for twelve years.
I studied macrobiotic cooking in harmony
with Taoist principles under the guidance of my mentor,
Mayli. I express these insightful teachings through
my cooking, which I hope will inspire other seekers
of health and lovers of great cuisine. Happy stomach!
All about Coconut
The coconut palm is one of the oldest
trees on the planet and has existed since the age of
the dinosaurs. It flourishes in tropical climates from
Southeast Asia to Polynesia, India, the Pacific Islands,
Hawaii, the Caribbean, southern California and South
Revered as the most useful tree on earth, the coconut
palm has generously provided civilizations with all
their needs to survive. Its roots, fronds and trunk
are used for shelter, light, furniture, and household
utensils. But its most sacred part is its fruit, the
coconut. A hard outer green shell protects its precious
nut-like seed that is covered in a hairy brown husk.
This husk provides fuel for cooking, fiber for clothing
and a rope, which is stronger than hemp. Within this
seed lies the true essence of the coconut palm - its
water, meat and oil - its life giving force.
During the months that this seed matures, it goes through
two major stages: first the young coconut, with its
soft, jelly-like meat and sweet revitalizing water that
quenches thirst and provides energy; the second and
most potent stage produces the mature nut. After harvesting
the nut and removing the water, workers shell the nuts
by hand. The inner skin, a thin brown layer, is cut
away leaving pure thick, white coconut meat. The milk
and cream are used for the ubiquitous curry sauces and
desserts, and the oil is used for cooking, body massage,
to nourish the skin, nails and hair and applied topically
on wounds to speed healing.
The coconut has always been prized for its medicinal
qualities. Yet, it also has the reputation as an aphrodisiac
because of its ability to stimulate the production of
hormones in both the male and female. When used as body
oil and blended with stimulating spices such as cayenne
pepper, it acts as a carrier to circulate the blood
and to stimulate the organs, while its aromatic scent
enhances the senses.
The highly mineral-charged coconut water acts to detoxify
the kidneys, which indirectly affects its neighbors,
the reproductive organs. Healthy kidneys are believed
to promote a vibrant, healthy attitude, which expresses
itself through the normal, healthy desire for sexual
and emotional fulfillment. In a greater sense, this
cycle is the silent call of nature to preserve the species.
After years of research, western medicine has just
recently confirmed the profound healing properties of
coconut, dispelling decades of misleading information.
According to the results of these findings, coconut's
unique form of saturated fat actually helps prevent
heart disease, stroke and hardening of the arteries.
Unlike other oils and fats, coconut oil contains a large
amount of the fatty acid known as lauric acid, which
is the predominant fatty acid found in mother's milk.
The lauric acid makes breast milk easily digestible,
it strengthens the immune system and protects against
viral, bacterial and fungal infections. Studies have
shown coconut oil's effectiveness with HIV, SARS, Crohn's
Disease, as well as other chronic illnesses. It detoxifies
the liver, helps to build lipoproteins, fats and hormones
and bile, which is necessary for digestion. Coconut's
amazing healing properties are also attributed to reducing
the risk of other degenerative conditions such as cancer,
osteoporosis, and diabetes.
The medium chain fatty acids help to create a healthy
digestive tract, which in turn allows for better digestion
and absorption of the nutrients in our foods. They also
speed up metabolism providing an immediate source of
energy while supplying fewer calories than other fats
making it the oil of choice for weight loss and hypothyroidism.
Coconut oil also helps protect against skin cancer and
other blemishes, and helps prevent premature aging and
wrinkling. As a cooking oil, it is highly resistant
to heat and spoilage. In fact, coconut oil has been
called "the healthiest dietary oil on earth".
Most coconut oil sold in markets is refined. The excessive
heat, bleaching and chemical solvents used in the refining
process creates a thick, yellowish-white product that
is tasteless and odorless. Only the organic, extra virgin,
expeller or hand pressed coconut oil retains its white
color, light texture and mild taste, and has the scent
of fresh coconut.
Coconut oil is truly an ideal food: It is not hydrogenated,
contains no trans fats and has a long shelf life. It
is a wonderful substitute for butter or margarine and
because it does not revert to trans fatty acids when
heated, it is a healthy choice for cooking.
Coconut oil can be substituted for any other oil. Here
are two simple and tasty recipes.
Coconut Fried Tofu -
serves 2 to 4
1/2 lb. (225 grams) firm or extra firm tofu
coconut oil for frying
shoyu or tamari soy sauce
Slice tofu lengthwise into thirds. Heat oil in a skillet.
Fry each side until golden brown. For extra flavor,
side with shoyu. Serve as a side dish, or cut into 1-inch
and add to a green salad dressed with Coconut Dressing.
- combined in a cup
1/2 cup (120 ml) coconut oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
5 to 8 drops stevia clear liquid or other sweetener
shoyu or sea salt
London has been a macrobiotic and natural foods
chef for 25 years.
The article and recipes are excerpted from her cookbook,
featuring Stevia. An autographed copy can be purchased
Jan's website, www.happystomach.com