Are you confused about eating fats?

There are plenty of natural sources of healthy fats such as a group of fatty acids called MCFA’s – medium-chain fatty acids alsoreferred to as MCT’s medium-chain triglycerides. What makes these good for us? Researchers believe these fatty acids fight against obesity by keeping body fat from accumulating. Rather than store this fat in our ever so glorious storage containers such as our hips, belly and thighs, our bodies recognise these MCFA’s and burn them for energy. So where can I find these bad boy MCFA’s? Number 1 source. Organic virgin cold-pressed unbleached coconut oil.

CoconutsHang on, is coconut oil not a saturated fat?

If I had a raw brownie for every time I was asked this question. Sweet Mother of Divine. Yes coconut oil is a saturated fat; however it is a good fat as is it chocka with MCFA’s. Coconut oil when it enters the body is quickly metabolised and converted into energy similar to a carbohydrate, meaning it does not store as fat in the body. It is high in lauric and capric acids which are anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial. It lowers cholesterol, stimulates thyroid function and protects the immune system. Not to mention how incredible it is for your hair and skin.

Why do all yogi’s drink coconut water? Does it help with back bends?

Coconut water contains isotonic electrolytes and is naturally hydrating. According to research coconut water helps improve blood circulation, lowers high blood pressure levels and helps control your blood sugar levels. It has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties that help increase your body’s immune system. Due to its mineral, potassium and magnesium content, coconut water is beneficial for kidney issues. It is high in anti-oxidants and anti-ageing, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties keeping you looking as young as Demi Moore. More research is needed on its back bending properties.

What about avocadoes, nuts and walnuts, are they healthy fats?

Good questions Professor Watson. Avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil contain MUFA’s monounsaturated fatty acids). Studies have shown that substituting MUFA’s for less unhealthy saturated fats improves insulin levels and blood sugar particularly helpful for type 2 diabetes. Walnuts, flaxseed and chia seeds contain Omega 3’s which are beneficial for brain health. Eh, pass the chia seeds. We are in the depths of winter on this side of the globe and nothing beats a steaming bowl of nourishing goodness than homemade soup. I always use coconut oil when cooking as it has the highest smoking point and does not turn change its molecular structure once heated nor turn into a super unhealthy trans-fat.

Zinging Beetroot, Carrot, Ginger & Orange Soup (vegan)

Makes 4
Takes 45 minutes

In my opinion beetroots are completely under-rated. They have however become more fashionable in recent times since they were given the limelight in a Chocolate Beetroot Brownie. However they don’t have to be paired with chocolate to appeal to the masses. Their nutritional health benefits are enough of a reason to regularly munch these ruby red beets.

Beets contain carbohydrates, protein, powerful antioxidants, soluble fibre, potassium, magnesium and iron as well as vitamins A, B6 and C, and folic acid. Research has shown that beetroot can help reduce blood pressure as well as its associated risks such as heart attacks and strokes. This is because the high content of nitrates in beetroot produces a gas called nitric oxide in the blood which widens blood vessels and lowers blood pressure.

Beets contain high levels of folic acid which is essential for normal tissue growth. Folic acid is crucial to the development of a baby’s spinal cord during the first three months of pregnancy and can help prevent spinal cord defects such as spina bifida. Beetroot contains the mineral silica which helps the body to utilise calcium, this is important for musculo-skeletal health and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. They also contain carotenoids and flavonoids, which help prevent LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol from being oxidised and deposited in the arteries. They are virtually fat free and low in calories. They have an extremely low GL (Glycaemic Load) of 2.9 which means they are converted into sugars very slowly, therefore helping to keep blood sugar levels stable. Beetroot’s iron content means it’s beneficial for those with anemia and fatigue and better for you than a Guinness.

2 T organic virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, smashed & minced
3 medium beetroot, peeled & diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 T fresh ginger, peeled & grated
½ tsp ground turmeric/ 1 tsp freshly grated turmeric (wear gloves when grating!)
4.5 cups Marigold vegetable stock
Juice of 3 medium organic oranges
1 cup coconut milk (save 4 tablespoons to decorate)
3 T fresh dill, chopped
1 t grated organic orange zest
Himalayan rock salt & freshly ground black pepper to season

Heat the coconut oil in a large soup pan. Once hot add the coriander seeds and bay leaf and wait till they start popping. Immediately add the onion and fry gently for 10 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, beetroot, carrot, ginger and turmeric. Stir for 1 minute. Add the orange juice and vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the veg is tender approximately 25 minutes. Add the coconut milk, dill, orange zest and blend until smooth. Gently reheat and check the seasoning before serving. Sprinkle with a little dill and a swirl of coconut milk to impress. 

Check out more from Tara-Lee on her magazine page!