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Coconut: The Incredible Stories of the "Tree That Provides All Necessities"

Updated: Mar 3

Coconut and coconut products have many uses across many different fields including the culinary world. Coconut refers to the coconut palm tree, the coconut seed, or the coconut fruit. It is grown in tropical and subtropical regions of the world and is popular all over the world. 

Coconut gives a tropical and fruity taste to many dishes and drinks, so it has become a staple in many dishes and a favorite among many different people. 

Coconut is known as the “plant of a thousand uses” because every single part of it is used. The coconut fruit has three layers:

  • the endocarp- inner layer,

  • mesocarp- the middle layer, and

  • exocarp- the outer shell of a coconut fruit. 

Uses of Coconut in the Ketogenic Diet

The coconut palm tree and the coconut fruit shells are decorative, the fruit is used for coconut milk and coconut water, coconut flakes, oil, and meat. It has many practical uses across many different industries, from the culinary industry to the cosmetic industry and many more.

  • "Coconut water" is the clear liquid that is inside the coconut fruit which serves as suspension for the endosperm of the coconut. Rich in electrolytes -potassium, magnesium, and sodium-, it compares to having a sports drink which contains electrolytes. Yet, it is no more hydrating than plain water. Coconut water is also loaded with antioxidants. Natural unsweetened coconut water has 19 calories per 100 grams. It is ketogenic and helpful for lowering blood sugar.

  • "Coconut milk" is the rich tasting white liquid made from the grated pulp of mature coconuts. A small amount of hot water is added to suspend the fat from the coconut pulp. Thicker consistencies of coconut water are called coconut cream. Coconut milk has 230 calories per 100 grams, and 3.34 grams of net carbs; therefore it can be used on a low-carb and keto diet.

  • "Coconut cream" is the thicker consistency of the coconut milk. This dairy-free alternative to heavy cream can be used to add thickness and creaminess to low-carb and keto recipes. In 100 grams of coconut cream, there are 330 calories, 6.65 grams of total carbs and just 4.45 grams of net carbs.

  • "Coconut oil" is the edible oil derived from the meat or kernel of mature coconut fruits. It is used as food and also for hair grooming, soap production and other cosmetic products. Research concludes that the saturated fats in the ketogenic coconut oil protect the heart and cardiovascular system by preventing obesity and diabetes. Research also concludes coconut oil's benefits on patients with Alzheimer’s. Coconut oil has 99.06 grams of fat per 100 grams.

  • "Coconut meat" (also known as coconut pulp) is the white layer on the inside of the coconut shell. It is edible raw, or dried -shredded into coconut flakes or ground into coconut flour. Coconut meat is relatively high in carbs (354 calories per 100 grams), and relatively low amount in net carbs at 6.23 grams per 100 grams.

  • "Coconut flakes" (also known as shredded coconut) is the dried and then shredded coconut meat. The flakes are most often used for baking or as toppings for deserts, macaroons and in chocolate bar fillings. Chef Janine uses fine and rough shredded coconut flakes for our Vivacity Power Bowls.

History of Coconuts

It's hard to imagine cuisine today- especially here in Southeast Asia- without use of the coconut. But for the early settlers of the region, the flavor of the ingredient was secondary to all of its other uses- from preservation, to construction, to pretty much everything that went in to building an entire civilization.

The below video traces the origins of today's best-known coconut plants, and follows the legends and origin stories around this incredible plant from one side of the world to the other.

0:00 - Introduction

1:26 - Islands

4:26 - The First Domestication

8:02 - The Earliest Uses in Food

10:33 - Out From the Philippines

12:54 - Indonesian Lunch

15:55 - What is a Coconut?

17:46 - India and the Niu Kafa

23:02 - A Sri Lankan Coconut Meal

26:32 - Arab Traders

28:29 - The South Pacific

30:35 - The Age of Exploration

33:23 - A Quick Portuguese Dinner

36:01 - The Coconut Today

40:25 - Last Meal and Credits

Please check out this interesting documentary on the "History of Curry" as well...

How do you define a category that includes so many of the world’s most beloved dishes- from Thailand to India, Africa to the Caribbean? A category of coconut soups and onion-based stews, Thai-Khmer steamed fish mousse and even samosas and curry puffs? To find that answer, this documentary film looks at the spices that link so many of the world’s diverse curries together, and trace those back to their point of origin- the Big Bang from where the entire world’s curry culture emerged. And you will also find out how the word “curry” entered the lexicon and why its use is so controversial and to some, so offensive.

Bon Appétit! Master Keto Chef Janine


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