Coconut Chocolate Chunk Energy Bites

oat chocolate coconut

Ingredients (serves ~20 bites):

  • 1 ½ cup Quick Cooking Oats
  • ½ cup natural almond butter
  • 3 ½ tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 ½ tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tsp hemp hearts
  • ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chunks, chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp ground sea salt

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats and room temperature almond butter. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Add in the melted coconut oil. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Combine the rest of the ingredients with regular mixing. Fold in the chocolate chunks last.
  4. Roll in to bite-sized balls and store in the refrigerator.
  5. Enjoy chilled.  🙂

Plain & Simple Popsicles

I discovered the best Popsicles in Vientiane on the weekend. They are handmade here in Laos and only include natural ingredients…..fruit fruit fruit coconut meat and coconut water! 

If you are like me and try to avoid added sugars – you will know that commercially made popsicles are PACKED with refined sugars and many other ingredients. However, on a hot day (it’s 31 degrees here), I always crave something cold and refreshing. At home my go-to popsicles are the “Healthy Choice” brand fudgesicles (found at Costco) or I head to Chil  to get froyo on Richmond St. Downtown London, ON. They make amazing frozen greek yogurt with many options for those who are lactose free (almond milk base, quinoa milk base etc).

Here in Laos, finding popsicles or refreshing frozen yogurt that are natural and don’t contain added sugars is rare…. until NOW!

popsicle

I am so excited. I will definitely be making these at home and you definitely should too.

The flavour that I chose was coconut water + chunks of coconut meat. However, they had many other flavours – coconut water +mango, kiwi + strawberry, mango +coconut chunks, any fruit you can think of. These will be simple to make at home. If you have a plastic Popsicle mold (find at Walmart… grocery stores.. anywhere)… you are set!

MAKE YOUR OWN – you will need: 

  • Popsicle mold (find at large department store with kitchenware)
  • Frozen or fresh fruit of choice, chopped (I choose frozen mango chunks, coconut chunks, frozen raspberries)
  • Coconut water (Choose an all-natural brand of coconut water. Avoid one’s with added flavourings or sugars. If you can get your hands on a real coconut for coconut water…. even better!!!)

*Add the fruit of choice into each popsicle mold. Pour in the coconut water to fill. Freeze 🙂

Especially in the heat of the summer or after a sweaty workout – coconut water is a great natural way to replace lost electrolytes (potassium & sodium). And really…what better way to hydrate and replenish than with a nice refreshing popsicle? 🙂

Happy Tuesday from Laos!

Until next time.

xo

B

 

Coconut Dark Chocolate Granola

Coconut Dark Chocolate Granola

I was looking for a quick and easy granola recipe to make while at the cottage this weekend. We didn’t have very many baking ingredients up there… so I did as I could and this recipe turned out to be delicious!

1). Preheat the oven to 350F.
2). In a large bowl mix:

  • 2 cups Oats (I used Hilray Gluten-Free Oats)
  • 1/2 cup coconut chips (Prana brand found at costco)
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey

3). Place in the oven on a baking sheet in ‘clump’.
4). Put into the oven and let it bake until beginning to brown.
5). Mix the granola/spread it out on the baking sheet with a spatula. Mix every so often until all an even brown color (~20-25 minutes).
6). Remove and let cool.
7). Enjoy on its own for snacking, on yogurt, as a cereal, etc.

Coconut Water – Go for UNOCO!

Unoco

Coconut water is a great way to hydrate before and after a workout or throughout your regular daily lifestyle! It is a much healthier alternative to a sports drink if you are choosing the right brand.

Some coconut water companies add sugars, preservatives, and other miscellaneous ingredients to their coconut water. Many also go through pasteurization for preservation which destroys many of the nutrients due to the heat treatment.

UNOCO raw coconut water is by far my favourite in taste and nutritional content. Unlike the other brands, it goes through high pressure processing applications (cold-water pressure) for preservation… NOT HEAT. Therefore, it is raw, maintains its nutritional content, antioxidants, pink color, and is absolutely DELICIOUS. If you are a coconut water drinker… you will definitely notice a difference between UNOCO’s raw coconut water versus many other pasteurized brands.

When we sweat we lose many electrolytes. This is why many athletes turn to sports drinks, like Gatorade. Coconut water is a much healthier alternative hydrator and electrolyte replacer versus the commonly marketed sports drinks.

UNOCO’s 250mL bottle has 460mg of potassium (Compared to a banana containing ~422mg of potassium). After a workout this a great way to hydrate and replace that electrolyte to prevent muscle cramping. UNOCO also has NO added ingredients. It’s just as if you cracked open a coconut at this beach and took a drink. Check out their website: http://www.unocodrinks.com
You can also follow their Canadian account on twitter: unocodrinksCAN and instagram: unocodrinkscanada

….. Hope you are all having a lovely weekend and staying hydrated in this hot hot weather. When you get the chance buy UNOCO! You must try it 🙂

Coconut Oil: Refined vs. Unrefined

I’m in love with the Coco(nut Oil)!

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil’s fat makeup is very unique in comparison to other oils. As with other oils, coconut oil is 100% fat. The difference between coconut oil and other oils is that it’s fat content is made up of ~60% medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) and 40% long-chain triglycerides (LCTs).

In other oils, the majority of triglycerides found are of the long-chain form. LCTs are more likely to be stored in adipose tissue (fat tissue) as they circulate throughout the body (may raise the bad LDL cholesterol, increase risk heart disease, etc) .

MCTs, on the other hand, have the ability to be readily absorbed into the blood stream. Therefore, they are readily burned off as fuel and give you energy. MCTs may have the ability to increase your good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol).

So what is the difference between unrefined and refined coconut oil?

Unrefined:

  • “Virgin or pure”
  • Made from fresh coconut meat
  • Does not require bleaching or additives
  • Has a stronger coconut flavor
  • Shorter Shelf Life versus Refined
  • Lower smoke point of 350F compared to refined coconut oil
  • Richer in phytonutrients/antioxidant content
  • May be considered “less hygienic” due to being untreated (e.g. dirt particles)

Refined:

  • Made from dried coconut meat
  • High heat is used to deodorize and suppress the coconut odor/flavor
  • High heat treatment causes loss of antioxidant content (polyphenols)
  • Additives are used to increase shelf life
  • Higher smoke point of 450F (better for cooking at high temps)
  • May be hydrogenated:
    • Increase trans fats
    • Lower MCTs
    • Increase LCTs
    • Lower good cholesterol (HDL Cholesterol)
    • Increase bad cholesterol (LDL Cholesterol)

Always remember, no matter what the benefits are, too much fat can lead to weight gain. Everything in moderation!

I love using coconut oil for my cooking as I LOVE the flavor and nutritional benefits. I use Nutiva Coconut oil, which is found at Costco and is UNREFINED and organic.

How do I use coconut oil?

-When making homemade popcorn
-In baked goods
-Instead of olive oil in a stir fry
-As a lip moisturizer
-You can also use it as a skin moisturizer and for your hair

Cool study: Information via todaysdietitian.com

To further support the safety of coconut oil, researchers in a randomized clinical trial gave 40 middle-aged Brazilian women with abdominal obesity 2 T of soybean or coconut oil daily for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, both groups lost weight, but only the coconut oil group saw a significant decrease in waist circumference. In the soybean oil group, levels of total and LDL cholesterol significantly increased, while HDL levels decreased, worsening their cardiovascular risk profile.

Toasted Coconut Cocoa Bars

Toasted Coconut Cocoa Bars

Bar Ingredients:
3/4 cup ground pecans
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 cup quick cooking oats
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp chia seeds
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp egg whites
2 tbsp almond butter
chocolate chips as desired
For the top:
1/4 cup shredded coconut
2 tbsp creamed coconut, melted

Directions:
1.Preheat oven to 350F.
2.Mix and combine all the bar ingredients.
3.In a greased small pan, pack down the mixture.
4.Sprinkle shredded coconut on top. Melted the creamed coconut and drizzle on top.
5. Bake for ~20 minutes on 350.
6. Let cool. Enjoy 🙂