I used to be afraid of coconut milk. It's high in fat, and it's caloric. I started doing a lot of research, and I discovered that the fat is the good kind of fat, and that not only is coconut milk not bad for you, it's actually really pretty healthy.
If you are concerned about the saturated fat content in coconut milk, know that this saturated fat has been shown in many independent studies to be a good saturated fat, easily metabolized to give your body quick energy. Contrary to popular myth, it does not transform into bad cholesterol to clog up arteries. In fact, cultures around the world that depend on coconut as their main source of fat have been found to be free of heart disease. The principle fatty acid in coconut milk is lauric acid, which is the same fat found in abundance in mother's milk and is known to promote normal brain development and contribute to healthy bones. It also has important anti-carcinogenic and anti-pathogenic properties and is less likely to cause weight gain than polyunsaturated oils.
The potent anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-microbial effects of coconut oil have implicated it in the treatment of both AIDS and Candida. Whatever bad things you may have heard or read about coconut milk have not stood up to scrutiny by unbiased food scientists; however, the goodness of coconut milk has not been given equal press because of intensive lobbying against it by the powerful vegetable oil industry. Southeast Asians, meanwhile, have been staying healthy for generations with coconut an integral part of their diet.
Now, a word about dried fruit: for heaven's sake dehydrate it yourself! If you're not going to do that, at least go on a hunt for fruit dried WITHOUT sulfur dioxide. It's more expensive, and it's also worth it. Sulfur dioxide is found in pretty much all commercially packed dried fruits, and it's TERRIBLE for you. It's been known to cause asthma and other breathing difficulties in children, and in rare cases, even death. It's produced by volcanoes, for goodness sake. Volcanoes don't tend to be very good for our health!
[Sulfur Dioxide] is produced industrially as a bleach alternative, a reducing agent, and for sulfites (preservation). As it has no role in humans or mammalian biology, when introduced it inhibits specific nerve signals, restricts lung performance, and is a direct allergen - over 65% of asthmatic children sensitive to SO2 (World Health Organization, 1999), and negatively affects over 70% of children with behavioral problems.
Sulphur dioxide is still being used as a food preservative in many common snack foods despite being one of the top two air pollutants in urban areas, a corrosive gas, a primary cause of haze and acid rain, and a cause of respiration problems, lung disease, early death (due to a thiamine deficiency), documented water and plant damage, cardiovascular disease, blood toxication, developmetal toxication, gastro-intestinal and liver disease, neurological disturbances, irritable bowel syndrom, behavior disturbances, skin rashes, asthma, folic acid deficiency, as well as a nose and ear irritant. During the 1970's and 1980's over one hundred deaths were attributed to the addition of sulphur dioxide in foods including meat with twelve deaths occurring as a result of restaurants spraying salad bars with this poisonous gas.
The entire article is HERE at the Raw Guru. It's worth the read. Educating yourself about what you put into your body is always a good thing!
- 1/2 cup rolled oats OR 1/4 cup steel cut oats
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave nectar
- 1/4 cup mixed tropical dried fruit (I used banana, mango, and guava that I dehydrated myself.)
- The night before, soak the oats and the fruit in the coconut milk.
- In the morning, place the oats in a saucepan, adding water to reach desired consistency. If you used steel cut oats, you will need to use enough water to thin it out substantially, as they must simmer longer than rolled oats.
- Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently.
- Add the vanilla and sweetener.
- Cook for about 3 minutes for rolled oats or about ten minutes for steel cut oats, stirring often, until oats are gently bubbling. Add water as needed.
- Pour into a bowl and top however you would like. Roasted almonds or walnuts are good. A dollop of yogurt works. You can drizzle with a bit more coconut milk, if you'd like. Most of the time I just eat mine with no topping. It's already a sweet, creamy, rich breakfast.