Are we being coco -nuts for Coconuts?

Coconut is one of those foods that seems to ping-pong between the 'good food' and 'bad food' list, and if you're confused about this, don't worry – even the experts can't quite agree.
First of all we need to distinguish between the water, oil, milk and flesh. Although coming from a coconut the four are all very different.

 Coconut Water...
Naturally refreshing, coconut water has a sweet, nutty taste. It contains easily digested carbohydrate in the form of sugar and electrolytes. Not to be confused with high-fat coconut milk or oil, coconut water is a clear liquid in the fruit’s center that is tapped from young, green coconuts.
Low in calories, naturally fat- and cholesterol free, more potassium than four bananas, and super hydrating - these are just a few of the many benefits ascribed to Australia's latest health craze: coconut water.
Dubbed "Mother Nature’s sports drink" by marketers, the demand is skyrocketing, propelled by celebrity and athlete endorsements and promises to hydrate the body and help with a whole host of conditions, from hangovers to cancer and kidney stones.
But is coconut water capable of delivering on all the promises or is it hype?
Simply put yes!! it is absolutely a great drink however it should be used complementary to water for hydration not supplementary!!
Its gluten and allergy free and Nutritionally it has a great molecular composition of both our macro and micro nutrients:
Ounce per ounce (30ml), most unflavoured coconut water contains 23 kJ, 1.3 grams sugar, 61 milligrams (mg) of potassium, and 5.45 mg of sodium compared to Gatorade, which has 26.5 kJ, 1.75 grams of sugar, 3.75 mg of potassium, and 13.75 mg of sodium.
So as you can see it’s a great drink however be mindful not to overdo it as the calorie count can still add up quickly.
In the end a better choice than most pre-packaged beverages but still in superior to water.
If we work inside to out next is coconut milk or cream: 

Coconut milk/cream (were going to use the word milk form now on) is derived from the flesh of the coconut. It is not the liquid that can be drained out from a coconut that has been punctured, although many people assume this. Getting coconut milk from a coconut requires some processing, but the ingredient is also available in cans or bottles. 
Coconut milk is used in cuisines & tropical cocktails (did someone say piƱa colada) in a a number of countries, form India to Indonesia but does that mean its a healthy option?  

Coconut milk is immensely rich in vitamins and minerals. Coconut milk contains high levels of some of the crucial minerals like, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and zinc. It also contains a significant amount of vitamin C and E. One cup of coconut milk contains 13g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 5g protein and 57g fats, mainly saturated fats. One cup of coconut milk can provide about 552 calories, which means that coconut milk is high in calories and hence, should be consumed in small amounts.

The fat content of coconut milk is also very high, which too highlights the importance of taking it only in small amounts. Apart from these, one cup of coconut milk also contains about 6.7 mg vitamin C, 0.4 mg vitamin E, 0.2 mcg vitamin K, 1.8 mg niacin, 38.4 mcg folate, 0.1 mg vitamin B6 and 0.1 mg thiamine. The same amount of coconut milk can give about 38.4 mg calcium, 3.8 mg iron, 88.8 mg magnesium, 631 mg potassium, 240 mg phosphorus, 1.6 mg zinc, 2.2 mg manganese, 0.6 mg copper and 14.9 mcg selenium.

Lastly and possibly the most controversial Coconut Oil.

Coconut oil is an edible oil, like olive or macadamia oil, extracted from the kernel or meat of mature coconuts. The confusion starts because of the differences between the use of coconut oil in cooking, and the use of coconut milk or coconut flesh. Both the American Heart Association and the National Heart Foundation recommend avoiding the use of coconut oil for cooking, but both their websites include recipes that contain coconut milk, albeit a reduced-fat version.
Despite the fuzzy perception that all things plant must be better for us, oil made from coconuts actually contains a whopping 90+ per cent saturated fat. Saturated fats, usually the dominant type in animal foods, are generally regarded as the baddies when it comes to heart disease.
Even reduced-fat coconut milk contains about 10 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, compared to about 2.3 grams per 100 ml in reduced-fat cow's milk.
There are a number of websites claiming that the saturated fats in coconut oil are different to the saturated fats we're told to avoid in animal products. They also claim that coconut will help you lose weight, prevent wrinkles, treat serious illness, and, well, change your life.

All saturated fats are not equal
It's true that saturated fats differ from each other chemically – depending on the number of carbon atoms they carry – and different foods have varying concentrations of the different saturated fatty acids. The saturated fat in coconut oil consists mainly of the lauric acid and myristic acid, with lesser amounts of palmitic acid, whereas chocolate and beef are dominated by palmitic acid.
There's no doubt that all the fatty acids in coconut oil raise cholesterol, but the more important question is what kind of cholesterol do they raise – is it the bad LDL cholesterol, or the good HDL cholesterol?
The research isn't entirely clear on this point, but it seems the fatty acids found in coconut oil do raise LDL – bad cholesterol – as do other saturated fats, like butter.
But coconut may also raise HDL cholesterol – good cholesterol – to some extent, though not as much as unsaturated fats (the good fats).
So it's fair to say if you suddenly swap your olive oil for coconut oil, it's not going to do your cholesterol levels any favours and in particular, your levels of bad cholesterol will go up.

So how do you decide what is better for you?

If you have an extremely healthy diet with little sources of trans and saturated fats then using coconut oil in your cooking won’t cause harm; after all some amount of saturated fat in the diet is okay. However the problems arise when the general population begin to consume coconut oil in large amounts adding to the already over consumed saturated fat in their diet all because they heard someone talking about the new wonderkid ‘coconut oil’ over the aisle in Thomas dux.

So here are your pro’s and cons…

1. It is cholesterol free and very low in trans fats and although it is 92% saturated fat, the highest of any type of fat, the fact it is not animal fat may give it some health benefits over other forms of saturated fat - however research is yet to confirm this.
2. Coconut oil has an unusual blend of short and medium chain fatty acids not seen in other saturated fats which may offer some health benefit - however research is yet to confirm this.
3. It has many uses from cooking to using on your skin and in your hair to diesel fuel for tractors.

1. The fact it is so high in saturated fat needs to be considered in the context of a Western diet. 
- While much of Asia uses coconut in many forms, coconut is/was one of only a few sources of saturated fat.
- Traditionally they don't tuck into cheese, butter, chocolate, big steaks, bacon or fast food just to name a few common sources of saturated fat in the Western diet. 
- Day to day physical activity levels is/was also a lot higher (ever seen one of those guys scale a coconut palm?)
2. Coconut oil is just as high in calories as regular oil or butter (all fats are the same) and contains no vitamins or minerals.
3. It is expensive! At around twice the price of olive oil it hasn't yet been shown to offer health benefits greater than extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil has proven heart health benefits, evidence for coconut oil is limited.


5 minutes with... CB

5 Minutes with Chloe Butler..

WAG Hardly seems the appropriate term for this Aussie Babe. An athlete in her own right she may need her boyfriend Tim Grant of the Penrith Panthers to step aside while she takes the spot light. With a amazon body at a formidable 5'11" this athletic Aussie has tried her hand at athletics, LFL gridiron for both Australia and America; & Rugby union just to name a few and excelled at all. We caught up to see just how she keeps that body in tip top condition, chills out and feeds her mind body and soul.. 

Where the bloody hell are ya?
Penrith, New South Whales
Your must have smoothie ingredient? 
Whey Protein
 Who's featured on your gym play list? 
Go to workout exercise? 
I like to train Indoors or outdoors? 

Guilty pleasure
Biscuits 'Family All sorts' 
Hardest muscle to train?
Favourite female & male body part? 
Female =Glutes  Male= Arms ie Tim grant ;-)
I prefer to cuddle my pooch or partner ....
wooo thats a hard one both together because they are lovers
5 things you'd take on a desert island? 
Water, runners, tent and Bear Grylls hahaha
 I have so many...? 
Training Gear (no surprise)

Favourite Aussie indulgence?
Dads Rissoles 
My gym bag always has? 
Ear Phones
What are you currently reading?
Song Lyrics
How do you unwind...
call my mum for a yarn 
What do you actually eat...
steak steak steak steak & vegies ;-)  
Fish also cause I love fish would be a lie to leave it out             

A ................. A day keeps the doctor away?
Definitely fruit I LOVE FRUIT!
Favourite thing to cook? 
Slow Cooker always give me good cooking credentials with the partner 
What's in your lunch box?
Tuna, Brown Rice, Almonds, Apple, Mandarine & Nut Muesli Bar
Your mantra?
'There is no short cut to a place worth going' and
 'Stand Tall & Be Yourself'

5 minutes with... LV

5 minutes with Lauren Vickers

With legs for days this Aussie model/playmate/presenter/gypsy at heart and self proclaimed animal lover has a hectic schedule.. With her husband in the motor GP and splitting time between Miami and Australia we caught up to see just how she keeps that body in tip top condition, chills out and feeds her mind body and soul.. 

   Where the bloody hell are ya?
I’m currently living and working in Miami!  I’m traveling a little less this year and trying to focus on getting my career and health back to tip top condition.
2.       Your must have smoothie ingredient?
I put goji berries in all of my smoothies, I’m obsessed.
3.       Who's featured on your gym play list?
 I love old school RnB and Hip Hop to give me a good rhythm and motivate me to work harder.  By the time my workout’s over, I feel like I’ve just had an epic dance party.
4.       Go to workout exercise? 
I try to mix it up every time I work out but I’ve been loving my new Kickbox Cardio classes lately, it’s a real challenge and is really building my upper body strength.
5.       I like to train Indoors or outdoors? 
A bit of both, but the weather in Miami is so beautiful that I try to be outdoors as much as possible.

6.       Guilty pleasure
I’ve gone a little crazy for Scandal lately.  Kerry Washington is such an amazing actress.
7.       Hardest muscle to train?
I have such weak arms!  I’m working on it, but they always look skinny because I’m so long limbed.
8.       Favourite female & male body part? 
On girls, legs.  On guys, abs for sure.
9.       I prefer to cuddle my pooch or partner? 
 If there was a puppy in the house my husband would get ditched lol.  I’m sure that’s why he’s refusing to buy me one.
10.   5 things you'd take on a desert island? 
Hopefully it’s only for a limited time yeah?  My girlfriends, our training shoes, bikinis, delicious snacks and sunscreen.
11.   I have so many...?
Bikinis and sets of lingerie.  I might have  *small* problem….
12.   Favourite Aussie indulgence?
Tim Tams!!   I always bring lots of packets back with me to the USA to give as little gifts.
13.   My gym bag always has? 
 A towel, hairbrush, extra hair ties, face wipes, water bottle, Cactus face cleanser and my phone loaded up with good music.

14.   What are you currently reading?
The Heist - it was the best I could find in the airport the other day.
15.   How do you unwind?
Heading out for a nice dinner and dancing with girlfriends or just some quiet time chilling on my balcony in the sun.
16. What do you actually eat?              
 I’m a vegetarian but if I’m going out, I might have seafood.  I try to keep my food as fresh, healthy and colorful as possible so I get a good range of vitamins and minerals.

16.   A ................. A day keeps the doctor away?
A good tea, apple, stretch and laugh.  Balance is the key.
17.   Favourite thing to cook?
 I love making my own soups and pasta sauces from scratch.
18.   What's in your lunch box?
Nuts, raisins, fresh sliced apples with fresh nut butter, boiled eggs, carrots and hummus, crunchy colorful salads, or fresh sushi if I’ve had time to pick some up.
19.   Your mantra

"Do it with passion or not at all.”