Coconut Oil versus Coconut Butter: What’s The Difference?


Many people are confused about the difference between coconut oil and coconut butter, so here’s a few facts so that you know what sets them apart from each other.

Coconut oil, which is solid when cold, and liquid when warm, is the fat extracted from the coconut. It is the safest oil for frying, aside from rice bran oil, as it’s so stable.

Coconut butter is the pulverised whole coconut meat, made from both the fat and the fibre. It is not extracted like coconut oil, just pureed. Coconut butter has a harder texture than coconut oil, although when you buy them some brands are very similar in texture.  Don’t fry with coconut butter as it burns easily.
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How To Make Raw Almond Milk

Funnily enough, I don’t often drink nut milks (or any milks), but having just given a private workshop to a delightful couple who wanted to get some healthy eating inspiration, I have been reminded about just how delicious fresh homemade almond milk is. It is NOTHING like the stuff you buy in the shops.

You can drink almond milk straight, sweeten it, use in in cereals, add fruit to it, use it to make raw soups creamier etc etc.

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Pickled Vegetables

In the last few weeks I’ve got into making my own pickled vegetables. Cultured/fermented vegetables are unbelievably easy to make and said to be VERY good for you – the process of pickling apparently makes trillions of beneficial bacteria for your gut. Many people swear by cultured vegetables as one of the absolute roots of good health and point to the numerous ways in which humans have incorporated fermented foods into their diets over the centuries.

Now, bear in mind that I’m a recent convert to this, so no expert. However, the process is so easy that I am going to share it with you, and then point you in the direction of the experts. Please excuse any mistakes or misapprehensions I may make along the way due to my inexperience. However, this is the process I use and it works absolutely fine:
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Liz’s Very Quick Chocolate Truffle Recipe

If you’re anything like me, you often want chocolate…and you want it NOW! What you don’t want is lots of faff and time making it. Long and involved chocolate making can be lovely and creative some of the time, but when that chocolate urge is shouting loudly, SPEED is the name of the game.

Here is where this delicious and ultra-quick chocolate truffle mix comes in. It can be made with either cocoa powder or raw cacao powder, and the only other ingredients you need are coconut oil, which is of course very good for you, and a syrup as the natural sweetener. I mostly use agave syrup, but you could probably also use coconut nectar, maple syrup or honey if you prefer. (I tried it with sweet freedom once, but but it didn’t work that well taste-wise, though to be sure about this I need to do more experimentation). I’ve also tried it with yacon root syrup and it was fine if you’re used to the taste of yacon.
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Olivia Newton-John, On Being Cancer-Free and Eating a Healthy Diet

A post about Olivia Newton-John may not be the most obvious subject for a blog about healthy sweet treats. However, this week ONJ was on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, talking not only about her career, but also about what she eats.

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Some Thoughts on Truvia…

Ever since stevia was made legal in the UK, the major sweetener companies have been jumping on the bandwagon and producing their own versions of this sweetener.

Whilst it’s great news that stevia is going mainstream, I have to admit to some scepticism about the products that these big companies are coming out with.

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Maca Powder

Maca is one of the many superfoods to hail from South America.  It was one of the first to reach the attention of the west – I remember first coming across it in Byron Bay, Australia when I was travelling there in 2002. 

Maca grows in a harsh climate – very cold in winter and very hot in summer.  It has to be tough to survive, and is said to pass on this quality to those who eat it.  Locals chew on it when they go on long journeys to give them the endurance necessary to make the trek.  Maca is also well known for its ability to balance female hormones – and I do indeed sometimes come across women who swear by it for this purpose.  It is also said to balance male hormones too, though perhaps to a lesser extent (suma is said to be the superfood for male hormones) .

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Lucuma Powder

Lucuma is probably my favourite superfood – apart from chocolate! It is the dried buttery yellow powder of a Peruvian fruit and quite literally tastes of butterscotch and shortbread. It is mildly sweet, so using it in recipes means you tend to need less of other sweeteners. It also has a low GI (glycemic index) so it should help to keep your blood sugar levels balanced.

Apparently, the lucuma fruit (also known as an egg fruit) looks a little like papaya. I say apparently, because I’ve never been to Peru, and this fruit is only allowed out of the country in the form of the powder. Peru has few exports, so they are understandably reluctant to let it out of their hands so that they can continue to benefit from it economically. But you can judge from the picture below whether it bears any resemblance.

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Coconut Palm Sugar – Nature’s Perfect Sweetener?

I’m loving this delicious, versatile, caramel tasting, crunchy, low GI sweetener, ethically grown and processed in Indonesia.

Some facts  to tickle your taste buds:

Coconut Sugar has a low GI (glycemic index) of 35 (compare to honey at 55 and cane sugar at 68)

It is a nutritionally rich product, containing high levels of potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron. It also contains Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and C as well as other nutrients that slow down absorption.

The particular coconut sugar that Sweet Sensations currently sells (as of March 2012) is not raw, but it is a very pure minimally processed product.

Coconut Palm Sugar comes from the coconut palm (ie NOT from the same palm species used for the production of palm oil), an ecologically beneficial tree crop that grows in a diverse wildlife supportive agro-system, restoring damaged soils and needing very little water. Coconut palms provide coconut water, coconut oil, building material and shade for other crops.

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Next Raw Chocolate Workshop 24 March 2012

This fun relaxed workshop in Muswell Hill, North London, gives you the opportunity to taste some of Liz’s raw chocolate recipes whilst you sit back and enjoy yourself. At the same time you will learn loads about raw chocolate, superfoods, the various natural alternatives to sugar and how all these ingredients work together.

In the second half of the workshop you will be shown some unique and delicious recipes you can make at home – a versatile Chocolate Bar/Truffle recipe with various flavourings, Butterscotch Fudge and Mini Melting Marzipan Cakes.

During the workshop, you get to sample a variety of raw chocolate recipes including Tiramisu, Mint Biscuits and Truffles, and will also take samples of the chocolates Liz demos home with you, as well as detailed recipe and information sheets. Plus you will have a wonderful sociable time, meeting other chocolate aficionados! Everything at the workshop is of course free from sugar, dairy and wheat/gluten.

The cost of the 3.5 hour workshop is £45.00, or £38.00 if booked by 17 March.

Click here for more info and to book

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