feature-blog-post

Coconut Maple Chips (only two ingredients, 3 if preferred)

Here is a Simple, Quick, Inexpensive AND Healthy Snack you are likely to LOVE. It is high fiber (5g per oz), Protein, Vitamins, Minerals and Electrolytes and offers a great dense source of Ketogenic Energy which is a far more stable and balanced way to get through the day.

Takes only about 5 minutes to mix with only a bowl and spoon to wash for clean-up. Goes in the oven for 60 min at 200F, turn off the oven, let it cool inside and voila it is done.

Below I have interesting information about the ingredients, your options and how they are influencing and interacting with body function.

coconutsCoconut is not a fruit, nor a nut. Coconut is a great big seed. It is a great source of fiber (5g per ounce), protein (2g per ounce), vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, lauric acid and other valuable phytochemicals. It is great for balancing internal bacterial environments and controls fungal overgrowth. The fiber, medium chain fatty acids, antibacterial and antifungal properties make coconut a healing agent for certain people, including some with Crohn’s and or Colitis.

Its fatty acid composition is 60% and is one of the best sources of Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA’s) – Palm oil is another as is MCT oil. MCFA’s do not require enzymes nor conversion which means they can be used instantly for heart, organ and cellular energy. However, high fat content foods, including healthy fats such as MCFA’s, will cause discomfort and possibly crisis states for those with fatty food intolerances, liver disease or other conditions.

Coconut fat (MCFA’s) provides ketone energy. 1/3 cup of coconut is equal to 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Half of coconut oil is used instantly and directly as ketone energy for heart and organ energy, the other half is converted to ketone energy by the liver. A medical food dose of ketone energy is 2-6 tablespoons (30g for each 2 tablespoons) spread throughout the 24 hour day. Dose depends on conditions, body needs and tolerances. The heart and certain organs prefer and function much better with fatty acid energy as opposed to glucose.

Ketones from coconut, palm and MCT oil:

Crosses the blood brain barrier for improved brain function
Does not require insulin
Enter the same energy pathways as do glucose+insulin
Energy is more stable
Produces far more ATP energy

Ketones may benefit the health by:

Increasing memory, cognition, mood & behaviors, muscle control, energy
Decreasing depression, muscle tremors/shaking
Improving quality of sleep

Conditions treated by ketone energy (coconut, palm, MCT oil)

Alzheimers, Dementia, Parkinsons, Neurodegenerative disease, ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease, ADD, ADHD, Autism, MS and other autoimmune diseases for certain people.

Ketone body levels from coconut/palm oil peak 3 hours after ingestion and remain 6 hours.
MCT oil/energy is converted by the liver to ketones and peaks 90 minutes after and is gone at 3 hours.

Choose organic unrefined coconut oil. If you have an aversion to the aroma of coconut oil then choose a refined coconut oil because it will be less so. The oil maintains its ketone qualities at oven temps of 350F or less and on the stovetop at medium heat or less. Its shelf life is 2 years. Solid state at 75F and under and melts at 76F or higher (melts easily by placing jar in warm water).

maple-syrup-in-glass-leafMaple Syrup comes from the sap of the maple tree (in Canada and the North East USA). The sap is like the trees blood. In February the sap begins to flow as it wakes from its winter rest in preparation for springtime. Sap in February (the start of the season) is very light in color. As the tree becomes more active the sap becomes darker. Darker colored syrup has a stronger flavor, lower “grade” and higher antioxidant qualities. No matter the grade or color its sugar and density remain the same. One gallon of syrup requires 40-45 gallons of maple sap! It is a natural pure unrefined food.

The sap is boiled down in Sugarhouses to create the thick syrup. The Native Americans allowed the sap to freeze – the freezing process would separate the sugar from the water and they would remove the ice and be left with the syrup. Maple syrup is reluctant to crystallize like cane sugar because of its dextrose and fructose content. Its sweetness comes from sucrose. It contains potassium, magnesium and iron, is believed to be good for digestion and circulation and has a glycemic index is 54. When used sparingly and/or in combination with stevia, the sweet value remains high to please a sweet lover’s palate without the drawbacks of high sugar content.

nibsCocoa trees produce a fruit (cocoa pods), each with about 30-50 seeds (similar in shape and size to that of an almond). Cocoa nibs are cocoa seed pieces. Cocoa is a seed, not a bean. It takes about 400 seeds to make one pound of chocolate. Most are predominantly lavender brown hue. Rare varieties, considered higher value, produce white or purple cocoa seeds. Cocoa is high in fat (like most seeds), no natural sugar, caffeine (Theobromine), is quite bitter and has oxalates. Oxalates in foods are a concern for those with kidney dysfunction, kidney stones, joint conditions and disease and are also an aggravating trigger for many auto-immune diseases as well as other medical conditions. The only way to really know if your body has a negative response to an element is to eliminate the item/substance and see how your body functions without exposure to it. Your body will tell you.

Bitters (foods or herbs) stimulate digestion and encourage bile flow and production. Theobromine dilates blood vessels and relieves respiratory conditions and asthma in certain individuals. If your respiratory conditions improve with pure cocoa, you may want to consider taking theobromine extract. Taking a bitter herb for digestion is not comparable to cocoa which combines both the bitter and caffeine in the same food. If the bitter helps digestion but the caffeine makes you edgy or leaves a bit shaky you are likely to do better taking a bitter herb without the caffeine.

Be careful not to globalize a food, herb or supplement as all “good” or all “bad” based on how the one symptom you are paying closest attention to responds. A substance may help one area, but impair another. Take a look at the big picture. If you can look at whole body responses then you can zero in on what is happening to make adjustments which may lead to the results you are really searching for. Your body is giving incredibly accurate information to guide you towards the answer, but it is important to see all the information it is offering.

Raw cocoa nibs are quite harsh on the palate, even for me, but grinding down, toasting and roasting softens and smooths out that harsh edgy bitter and leaves it quite appealing. Cocoa is bitter and always will be, so it may require acquiring a taste for it. I like a fresh medium grind salt on my chocolate bark cause it softens the taste and adds a little something special.

cinnamonCinnamon comes from the inner bark of a tree. It is used differently throughout the world for both cooking, pastries and confections and as a powerful healing remedy for its warm stimulating qualities. Health benefits include: strengthens weak digestion, reduces nausea, vomiting, gas and diarrhea, relieves indigestion, lowers high blood pressure, doubles insulins ability to metabolize blood sugar AND it has antispasmodic, antiviral and antiseptic qualities.

Cinnamon is divided into two categories.

True and Ceylan cinnamon are slightly more expensive and considered more delicate for cooking purposes. These two promote lower cholesterol and greater blood sugar control (these two do not contain plant coumarins).

Vietnamese, Burmanii and Cassia cinnamon are less expensive and these contain plant coumarin. Burmanii cinnamon has slightly higher amounts of coumarin than the other two. Plant coumarin acts as an appetite suppressant and also encourages faster breakdown of extracellular fluids for quicker reabsorption which will relieve edema related discomforts if the edema is the result of insufficient body chemicals to break down extracellular fluids. Unmodified plant coumarins, as they occur in plants, do NOT have any effect on the vitamin K coagulation system nor on the action of warfarin-type drugs. I wonder how many people with edema related symptoms and problems would benefit from taking cinnamon supplements or including more cinnamon in their foods?… However when there is a benefit for some there is a disadvantage for others – high intake of natural plant coumarins may cause liver damage in certain people.

If you like cinnamon, are looking for health benefits, then maximize your food choices for best body function depending on your body’s needs. It is very easy to find and buy specific types of organic cinnamon on line now, in bulk. Prices are very good, and these store nicely in an air tight canning jar in a cool dark place. If you are making cinnamon coconut maple chips you will likely need bigger quantities of cinnamon.

carob-pod-and-powderRoasted Carob Powder. Carob is a bean that grows in a large pod on a flowering evergreen shrub that is a relative of the pea and part of the Fabaceae family. If you are allergic or intolerant to alfalfa, legumes, beans or peas then you may be intolerant to carob too. Carob has 2.4g of fiber for 6 grams of carob powder, is a great prebiotic (prebiotics are food for your intestinal flora and any probiotics you are taking), lowers cholesterol and soothes intestinal lining. Its tannins act as a gentle intestinal astringent to prevent bacterial overgrowth and keep the inner intestinal lining healthy. Its thickening qualities serve as both a laxative and a remedy against diarrhea. Carob has no caffeine, no oxalates, no bitter taste and no fat. It does have sugar (2.9g of sugar for 6g of carob powder). Carob is interchangeable with cocoa for flavor and cooking uses, but their medicinal effects are ENTIRELY different.

Oven cooking carob significantly changes the flavor of carob and gives it a much deeper flavor that resembles chocolate. I thought carob was relatively similar, no matter the source, but this is NOT true. I was quite surprised to see how radically different carob was depending on the source. I prefer Bob’s Red Mill Roasted Carob, but if you don’t like that one, than try another source because you may prefer carob from a different source.

Detailed Instructions

Two Ingredients:

♥ 6-8 oz package of UNSWEETENED coconut chips (I always prefer organic, but non-organic coconut is “safe”)
♣ 2 soup spoons (or tablespoons) of any grade of Maple Syrup. With these quantities you end up with only 3-4g of sugar per ounce of coconut chips.

Optional 3rd ingredient: Salt, Organic Cocoa Nibs, Organic Cinnamon Powder OR Roasted Carob Powder

Instructions:
1 ♥ Place coconut chips in bowl
Room temperature coconut chips are flexible, cold coconut chips will break and shatter
Choose the temperature of your chips according to your desired outcome

2 ♣ Add two soup spoons (tablespoons) of maple syrup
More syrup is NOT better
Too much syrup causes chips to be “chewy” rather than “crunchy” after they have cooled

3 ♥ Mix until each coconut chip has a sort of syrup satin sheen on it
If your mixing was incomplete you will have both white chips (those with maple syrup on them) and brown toasted chips (those that don’t have maple on them) in the same batch.

Optional – Add an optional ingredient. Add the quantity of your taste preferences
Crushed and ground organic cocoa nibs, cinnamon powder, or roasted carob powder
Mix until powder is evenly distributed and “stuck” to the maple syrup on the coconut.
DO NOT ADD 3RD INGREDIENT BEFORE MAPLE SYRUP

Salting – If you are not used to salting sweet foods, then go very LIGHTLY or test it out on a tiny portion to see if you like it. Salt adds a salty sweet dimension (example: honey roasted peanuts). Salt is also effective for “softening” the edge on bitter items such as cocoa nibs or dark chocolate. Carob and Cinnamon are not elements I would add salt to BUT if you are tempted, then try it on a small portion to see what it does. It doesn’t matter what I like – what matters is what you like and what you want to eat.

4 Spread it all out on a non-stick pan or a silicon baking mat and put in the oven (or toaster oven) to dry cook at 200F for 55-65 minutes

5 Turn off oven and leave everything as it is in the oven to cool
Coconut will be “soft” when warm. Hardens crispy crunchy once cooled.

Store in fridge, if there is any left because it keeps longer and ensures it stays crunchy.

Observations & Thoughts

ツ I like to grind my cocoa nibs with my old fashioned hand grinder because it produces a very irregular coarse finish. This creates a varied texture, taste and outcome which I like. The finer and smaller the grind the more the final taste will differ. You can try a mortar and pestle, spice grinder or something else. What you prefer and want to eat is the RIGHT way.

ツ Carob and chocolate can be swapped out for one another depending on body type and needs. Carob is a bean in the pea family, has sugar and no fat, caffeine nor oxalates. Chocolate has caffeine, oxalates, fat, and is a bitter, but no sugar. Choose the one that is most appropriate.

ツ I tried honey one day, instead of maple syrup. I ate 6 oz of it and each time I ate that “trial” all I could think of was “I won’t ever do this again”. I love honey, but I didn’t like the result. However, if it tempts you, then by all means try it. Just because it didn’t please me doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.

ツ Eat the chips alone or as an added ingredient to something else. Be creative. The only person who needs to like it is you, so try things. I use the chips to make dark chocolate or carob bark, in salads, on rice, with cooked apples and more.

ツ If you like brown toasted coconut then do it without maple syrup. The sweet taste of the maple syrup is lost under far stronger aroma from the brown toasted coconut chips. I don’t waste sugar intake unless I can taste it and get the sweet value in my mouth from it.

ツ I tried other options including pumpkin spice, garam masala, ground coffee and others. I love bold tastes, but I found them too edgy. However, you might LOVE them. Be curious. Try things. It is by playing in the kitchen that I know what I know.

ツ If you like SWEET, you can experiment by adding and mixing liquid stevia glycerite to your maple syrup BEFORE you put it on the coconut chips – this may dramatically increase the “sweet” end result. I haven’t tried it because I find them sweet enough as they are, but others may prefer a sweeter end result.

I hope you have found this information useful and enjoy the chips cause not only are they a fun snack you will love, but they are actually giving your body benefits.

Take care until next time.

krista-nov-2016-body-crop-smile-facingWarmest,

                      Krista Umgelter