Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cuckoo For Coconut! Part 2

Hi, everybody!  I know, I know - long time, no blog.  I'm not going to give you any lame excuses.  I have been lazy, but, hey, it's summer!

Jordan Lake
Speaking of summer, my  friends and I went down to Jordan Lake (it's about half an hour out of Raleigh) a few days ago and swam, splashed each other, walked around, etc.  It was a lot of fun - so much fun, I forgot to put sunscreen on.  For three hours.  Needless to say, I'm rather crispy today.  For some reason, the aloe stuff we got from Walgreen's doesn't like me, so I tried putting coconut oil on my burned face.  Aaaahhh, it felt good!  (Ironically, coconut oil can also be used as sunscreen, so if I had put it on before going to the lake, I could have saved myself a whole lot of woe.  Huh.)

Now, after my nice little story about lakeside fun and sun, it's time for a super-serious post.  This post will be full of science-y...uh...stuff, and hopefully will make absolutely everything about coconut oil crystal-clear.  Or at least will make 60% of it a bit less murky.

First of all, what is coconut oil?  It is a white substance made from the meat of a mature coconut, which can be either dried or fresh when the oil is extracted.  Fresh meat results in a purer oil, which is practically sent from heaven, while coconut oil made from dried meat, or copra, is usually RBD'd - refined, bleached, and deodorized, and to be avoided at all costs!  It can even be hydrogenated, which means it is combined with hydrogen molecules to extend its shelf life.  Back in the 80's, when people shunned coconut oil, hydrogenation was a big factor - hydrogenated coconut oil becomes a trans fat, and trans fats cause inflammation.  (More about fats in coconut oil in a second.)  Virgin coconut oil, on the other hand, is never heated, or processed, really, beyond the bare minimum.  Sometimes the oil is extracted in a centrifuge machine - sometimes it is cold-pressed.  The oil is never bleached or refined, and it is never, ever hydrogenated.

Coconut oil used to have a bad reputation, thanks to it being 90% saturated fat.  But lately, people have been realizing that the fats in coconut oil are not bad.  They're mainly medium-chain fatty acids, which are "essential fatty acids" and are used for energy.  MCFAs are digested differently from other fatty acids - they practically turn themselves into energy - and they're only found in three known substances: human breast milk, horse milk, and coconut oil.  Coconut oil is even used in baby formula, because MCFAs are so important.

Aside from the great MCFAs, coconut oil is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral.  It boosts your immune system, and it helps your liver, too.

So, now you know why coconut oil is so amazing, but you probably don't have any idea how much you can do with it.  Not only is it a good sunscreen (and sunburn remedy), it can be used:

  • To fry an egg or to make popcorn, or to cook just about anything
  • Instead of butter or veggie oil in baking, and it makes the best pie crust in the world.  Move over, Crisco!
  • To season your cast-iron skillet, if you have one.  And if you don't, I'll give you ten reasons why you should.  Or even better, I'll save them for a new post!
  • To grease pans for baking - loaf pans, cookie sheets, et cetera
  • Energy booster - skip the Red Bull or 5 Hour Energy, and try a tablespoon of coconut oil!
And now, leaving the kitchen:
  • As a moisturizer when your hands are dry, or whenever, really
  • As conditioner for your hair for lovely, shiny locks
  • To remove makeup without burning your eyes
  • For eczema.  'Nuff said.
  • As toothpaste!  Yes, I did say toothpaste.
  • As mouthwash!  And yes, I did say mouthwash.
  • As deodorant!  And it does work, even after going roller skating all day.
  • And finally, my favorite application - acne treatment!  As a twelve-year-old girl, I can honestly say even though putting oil on your face seems kind of backwards, the antibacterial properties of coconut oil, combined with the moisturizing effects, clear acne up quickly without drying your skin.
This is just the tip of the iceberg.  If you thought I was crazy about coconut oil, there are total coco-locos out there with some pretty surprising suggestions about the stuff.  (Click here for my previous Cuckoo for Coconut post, all about coconut water.)

I've got to go make my sisters some popcorn and put some coconut oil on my sunburned face.  Bye!

(Note:  This is why my family buys coconut oil by the gallon.  Caveat emptor - once you try it, you'll use it for everything!)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Black Belt!

On June 8th, 2011, I received my Level 1 First Degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.  Sadie got her black belt as well, and Evie got her first green belt.

Before everybody's belts were awarded, some of the students got up and talked about the projects they've done.  I wrote a little presentation about Veggies Go Crunch.  (You have to turn the volume up kind of loud to hear properly.  Or you can just read my "speech" below.)


My sisters and me - celebrating our success!

Hi!  My name is Kaynan Goldberg.  I’m (almost) a Level One First Degree black belt, and the author of  Veggies Go Crunch is a blog about healthy eating and buying local food.  It’s my Black Belt project, and my personal message to the world: I want to get people (especially kids like me) to be aware of what they eat.
    Healthy eating is pretty much the main topic of Veggies Go Crunch, but sometimes it’s hard to define exactly what healthy eating is.  On my blog, I say that it isn’t so much what you do eat - it’s what you don’t eat.  It all comes down to I want you thinking about what you eat, where it came from, and knowing what’s in your food.
    The other topic of my blog is to support local food.  We (my family and me) buy most of our food from the local farmers’ markets, where everything sold is made or grown within a few hours’ drive of town.  We know the farmers, and, more importantly, we know how our veggies were grown and the animals were raised.  We are supporting both our local farmers and our local economy.  Another benefit of buying local is the food doesn’t rack up all those food miles getting here from who knows where.
         Now, it’s completely possible to go to the farmers’ markets a few times a year, switch to all-natural snacks and sodas, and call it a day.  But think about this:  Mr. Johnson teaches us to do everything at a Level 10.  Shouldn’t that include the way we eat?  A Level 10 diet is not effortless - it’s sooo much more easier to just pop something in the microwave, right? - but, really, is a Level 10 supposed to be something you can easily do?  Are you supposed to just be able to do a perfect flying sidekick without practice?  Should you be able to write a perfect paper for school in an hour?  No.  A Level 10 is something you work for, something you try hard at, something you really think about, whether it’s your diet, Tae Kwon Do, or school.
    Veggies Go Crunch is full of information on what to look for at the farmers’ markets, how to identify good and bad ingredients, and tips on eating a healthy Level 10 diet.  So please check it out!  Or, uh, log on, or whatever you do to read a blog…  If you have an idea for a post, let me know and I will make you a guest blogger.  Thanks, especially to Mr. Johnson for all the support and help.  Bye!