Coconut

Nutrient Fact File coconut Loula Natural

Coconuts are one of my favourite foods on the planet. They contain all of the nutrients required to grow and develop new life. Plus they taste so delicious! Known as a functional food- the health properties far outweigh their nutritional constituents. Not surprising it is referred to as “The Tree of Life”, a little like eggs, I like to refer to them as one of nature’s perfect packages. 

Coconut oil,

coconut flour,

coconut milk,

coconut yoghurt,

coconut water (fresh) 

Coconut water and coconut milk Kefir,

coconut ice-cream and

desiccated coconut are always in stock in my house!!

Charcoal is made from the husk 

Palm oil is made from the leaves

I love to add coconut to everything; here’s why;

coconut

The coconut palm grows throughout the tropics. The coconut palm thrives on sandy soils and prefers areas with ample sunlight and rainfall. They also need a daily temperature of around 20 degrees celsius.  The benefits of the coconuts meat and water contents span all the different varieties of the fruit that they yield. Most cultures where they grow use the products from the coconut to heal most ailments, and have done so for generations. Since they are always in season and grow all year round, they are one of the most incredible natural medicines. They are also easy and cheap to buy. Once you know how, they are also easy to open.

Young meat is jelly like and really sweet and more mature meat is whiter, firmer and less sweet. The water creates the flesh in layers, so the more flesh you have in your coconut the less water and vice versa. The flesh and the water have an amazing mixture of beneficial saturated fats, electrolytes (minerals ), vitamins (A, B’s and E) and amino acids (protein). See the full list here. Plus both have an intricate and balanced bacterial environment. All of this combined gives the coconut its wide range of benefits and health giving properties. A full list of all the claims for coconuts is found here and Bruce Fife’s book Coconut Cures is excellent.

coconut cures

Coconut can be eaten and the water can be drunk during pregnancy. Both are  repudiated to nourish mother and baby and may help even help with a ‘quick delivery’. The oil when rubbed into the skin can help prevent and heal stretch marks. It can also be applied direct to nipples to soothe chafing and heal wounds whilst breastfeeding.

The oil is also a safe and effective sunscreen for children and adults alike. The fat acts as a barrier, the bacterial elements are protective and balancing and the other nutrients in the oil can help to repair any damage the sun might have on the skin cells

When dehydrated in the hot summer months coconut water can help. Containing all the necessary electrolytes it can help get you back to balance. Combined with the bacterial properties to be able to absorb those nutrients, coconut water can also help with some digestive ailments and is a great drink to use whilst working out. However the pasteurization process the packaged water goes through kills off the bacteria. This makes the drink no better than any other pasteurized juice. I only advocate fresh coconut water, or consumption of coconut water that has been fermented- like kefir.

Lychee, Coconut Water Kefir

Coconut water also contains antimicrobial properties. It may be better to think of the bacteria as balanced in the body, after consuming fresh coconut. Therefore it is also great when suffering from bacterial imbalance (runny tummy!). It also helps to rehydrate after vomiting or diarrhea. 

The sugar and nectar from the flowers are also full of necessary nutrients to process the sugar (improving blood sugar levels and create energy). See my post on refined sugar to understand how this is beneficial. The fat and protein aspect of coconuts can also help slow down the digestion of sugars and therefore can help to balance sugar levels. The body is looking for fats in the diet to trigger satiety (feeling full). Coconut in recipes can help you to feel fuller for longer whilst having nutrients to nourish, repair and satisfy. 1 tbs Coconut flour can be added to baked goods to raise their nutrient profile. The fibre in coconut also helps to feed our internal bacterial environment– which further strengthens our essential internal bacterial balance.

More and more people are beginning to understand how important the coconut is to stabilizing blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, balancing hormones and generally healing. Because of its amazing natural sugar, fatty acids, amino acids combined with all the other nutrients in perfect ratios it is even used in some countries to replace blood plasma in an emergency and after operations.

oil pulling with coconut oil Loula Natural

Coconuts have been seen to help a diverse range of conditions, mostly due to their Medium Chain fatty acids.  Coconuts packs an eye-opening amount of calories and so many grams of fat (90% saturated). However when people advise you to avoid the product for these reasons their advice is misguided. People who include coconut products daily in their diet actually show a greater weight loss than those who don’t, they also report better skin health, muscle tone, energy levels, hormone balance and better moods. Here is my post on how amazing fats are- try to re-educate yourself  about what are a healthy fats and which ones are unhealthy. Coconut oil also plays a huge role in changing your body shape.

The fatty acids contained in coconut have a positive effect on the body as they are easily absorbed, have anti-microbial properties, can boost metabolism , enhance thyroid activity, reduces pain and swelling, improve digestion, boost immune system and improve skin, hair teeth and nails. Is there anything a coconut can’t help? 

You can make your own coconut water, kefirmilk, creamyoghurt , butter and vinegar very easily. I also do oil pulling, use it in my body scrubs (here and here), amazing used directly on the skin from birth (the oil can be absorbed through the skin) I use it in many cosmetics including hair masks, after swimming and sunscreen

Here are my recipes that include coconut; (how to open a coconut)

Oil Pulling

Coconut Milk

Coconut Cream/ Yoghurt

Lychee Coconut water kefir

Coconut Ginger Cookies

Coconut Lemon Thumbprint Cookies

Mint chocolate chip coconut ice-cream

Choco-coco milkshake

Coco-berry milkshake

Bulletproof Smoothie

Choco-coco ice pudding

Sunshine shot

Almond and coconut flour kefir pancakes

Bounty bars

Homemade chocolate

Vanilla butter fudge

Chocolate fudge

Cinnamon salty sweet popcorn

Coconut- oil popcorn

Banoffee Toffee

Real food icing sugar

Spicy Chai tea Concentrate

Beetroot brownies

Chicken and coconut soup

Body Scrubs

The ultimate kefir body scrub/bath salts

Pineapple and Ginger kefir-kolada

Coconut and carrotseed oil natural sunscreen

Indeed all of my Kefir and Kombucha is made from coconut sugar as seen in Culture Your Life

Also all of my recipes contain either coconut oil, flour or sugar. I also use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce and sell Cocobono sugar and oil here in Hong Kong.

Nutrient Fact File coconut Loula Natural Pin

5 Ways to Lose Weight for Life

5 Ways to Lose Weight for Life

5 ways to lose weight for life Loula Natural

I have been up and down in weight. I am tall and I have boobs! I was never going to be a catwalk model- but then I never ever wanted to be. I am a trained actress- all I ever wanted was to be on the stage or in a period drama. I was advised I could do two things- lose weight and be the pretty role or I could gain weight and be the fat friend. There was not many roles inbetween. I put my hours in and did some things (our devised pieces were completely awesome!) but really I did a lot of catering work and my brain felt like it was on pause. I loved the feeling after a great workout and I always felt happier moving and doing. 

working out with a new point of view- Loula Natural

I decided to become a personal trainer to keep me in the gym, keep me fit and happy whilst still having time and flexibility to pursue my acting career. I never looked back. I loved my job so much I wanted to expand my tool box so became a Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist. However supporting and nurturing other people is very different from supporting and nurturing yourself. When helping others I was constantly aware of the idea that you draw people into your life to listen to the advice you tell them- YOURSELF!

About a year ago- maybe less I decided to start to listen to myself and start to look at why I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror. I saw pictures of myself as a teenager and wished to be back in that body. A body I so hated at the time as I was so big! It is all so relative! I threw away my scales years ago and started focusing on how I was feeling on the inside to be finally reflected on the outside. This is what I mean by losing weight for life. Not only losing the physical weight and excess but really losing the heavy weight of what you have to do, give up, suffer through and push yourself to do. Lose that weight; it is truly suffocating.

By loving and accepting yourself you will make choices for your lifestyle to nurture and deepen that love. It sounds airy fairy but believe me it works. Stop giving into the media’s clap trap about ‘go on treat yourself’ and start to use the only thing your body recognises- natural, real food.Carol Look- Eft for Abundance New Year New You Summit

1. First and foremost you need to start to change the way you look and feel about your body. Whether that is through EFT (see here) or through meditation (try this one here). You can also read books like Elizabeth Wallings’ Love Your Body. However you do it- you need to change your limiting core belief. When you say ‘I need to lose weight’ pay attention to how you feel when you say that. Are you afraid, guilty, stressed, apprehensive or are you excited, motivated and energised towards change. This is going to have a massive effect on whether you make this change for life.

Think about what will happen if you do lose weight- are your thoughts negative or positive. Do you think- crap I will have to buy a whole new wardrobe or do you think I cant wait to getting a new wardrobe? Thinking about what may gain (happiness or envy from friends and family or attention, negative and positive) and what you may lose (sometimes change- whatever it is can make people very fearful) when you reach your goal- which one feels right? There are also limiting beliefs such as “in order to lose weight I have to work really hard and give up everything I love- I will have to suffer”. None of this has to be true. All of it can easy, energising and fun! You just have to believe it!

If you can visualise yourself and tap into feeling amazing and happy- you will make choices to support that and vice versa!

How to Lose weight forever Loula Natural

2.  Changing your metabolism is absolutely key to actually losing fat. You have to change how your body burns fuel. Low calorie, low fat limiting diets have a massive affect on metabolism. Combine that with the feelings of giving up, sacrifice and stress surrounding having to make new choices and change a lifestyle. Read Matt Stone’s Eat for Heat or Diet Recovery 2 or Elizabeth Wallings’ The Nourished Metabolism to learn about how you can make positive changes in your life without starving or feeling like you have to sacrifice everything. Your metabolism has a huge role in your hormone balance too which can affect your mood, ability to lose weight, your cravings and so on. 

The Bacteria in fermented foods play a huge role in energy production and of course nutrient absorption. These are absolutely necessary in any weight loss plan. Try Kefir or Kombucha as an easy way to include fermented foods into your daily life. Check out my book Culture Your life for easy how to’s and tons of recipes like this one.

3. Fats are your friend and fats burn fat. They are absolutely essential to life and are actually anti-inflammatory and incredibly healing. For mood, cell health and strength (all human cells are built from a protein and fat wall), for hormone production and most of all for brain health. Coconut oil, Avocado’s, eggs, flax oil, nuts, seeds, fish and butter (from grass-fed animals) are just some examples of awesome healing fats. I am certainly not talking about the man-made and manipulated canola oils and margarine which should be banished from this earth forever.

Chocolate made from coconut oil and cacao powder knock the socks of the poorly made crappy vegetable oil chocolate made by the leading brands. Fat makes you feel full- more importantly it makes you feel satiated (happily nourished and full!). The feel of good fats will makes your mouth happy.

You cannot eat more fat than you need- your body will stop you (you can’t say the same for refined sugar which you can keep eating forever!). These great fats plays a healthy role in heart strength and plays a huge role in hormonal imbalance (think type 2 diabetes, hypothyroidism, PCOS and so on). Flax oil for example plays a huge role in the way we form and use oestrogen (the difference being that flax oil can make oestrogen (2) anti-cancer and without it it oestrogen (16) may be carcinogenic). 

Is you have trouble digesting fats you may need a little digestive support- try drinking some lemon in water before meals to stimulate gastric juices or try this Yummy Wake Up drink in the morning- you could eve make your own Apple Peel Cider Vinegar

Everything in Moderation except awesome Loula Natural

4. Every thing in moderation. The body recognises real food. Food that has its origin in nature and has not been manipulated or processed too far from its origin. Otherwise it does not recognise it and rejects it. When the balance of food and non-food things are consumed damage is the result. Mostly to the digestive system.

If you are not giving the body the tools (nutrients) to undo this damage then chronic illnesses may start to appear. Weight gain is commonly a symptom of mass inflammation. Especially weight gain around the middle. The inflammation is generally found in the organs in that area, (liver and digestive system).

Refined foods such as sugar, dairy and wheat which are in so many of these foods therefore become a big problem for the body and they generally need to be taken away so that they do not further irritate and acerbate the problem. However sugar is a necessary part of life. It is when the process and breakdown of this sugar leeches nutrients (magnesium, zinc, b vitamins and others) that sugar becomes inflammatory and dangerous. See my post on sugar here. Fat, protein, carbs(except refined carbs) have a vital role in your body and should all be consumed at every meal and snack to get a well-rounded nutrient dense diet. Including bone broths, and super foods like grass-fed butter, liver, gelatin and many others will help to end the cravings for the empty foods.

When you change your metabolism, heal your digestive system, can value yourself and see who you really are all your choice will be for the good of your body and moderation will happen naturally and effortlessly!

5. Exercise. I can write about exercise for days! Movement is key- walking is exercise! Getting stronger will keep you motivated and you will continue to see results. Yes exercise is key but how you feel about exercise will enhance your success. If you are doing something that makes you happy you will keep doing it. Find a team to join or a race to run or swimming or yoga. Try different things until you find something to look forward to.

 5 ways to lose weight for life Loula Natural pin

Coconut Milk

Coconut Milk Loula Natural fb I love coconut. I love making coconut yoghurt, milk and butter from the meat and drinking the water and making coconut water kefir. The recipes couldn’t be simpler.

The results from making them fresh and from home are so beyond what you can buy in cartons, cans and jars! Mostly however because the natural bacteria are still present in the fresh meat and water and this greatly enhances the health giving properties. I use Young Thai coconuts, they are my favourite tasting ones. They also have a good amount of soft meat and water to make a delicious coconut milk that does not need straining. Have a look at my post to see how to easily open them

There are also several methods of making coconut milk from dried coconut too. In the tropics we have these in abundance of fresh coconuts in the supermarkets and after using the water and meat they are a bargain. Now I just need some ideas on how to use the husks- I hate waste and live on the 27th floor! (update- we now live in a house and I am planning to use them as planters for some seedlings.)

The easiest way to make coconut milk is to use the contents of one coconut (meat and water- topping up with filtered water if necessary) and blend- however if you want to make more than one glass then follow this recipe.

Fresh Coconut Milk
A delicious vibrant milk which is far superior to cows milk in taste, nutrient content and nutrient availability.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 Cups of Coconut water (about the contents of 1 coconut)
  2. 1 1/2 Cups of filtered Water
  3. 1 cup of coconut meat (normally 2-3 coconuts worth)
Instructions
  1. Add all the ingredients into a high speed blender
  2. Blend until thick and creamy.
  3. No need to strain
Notes
  1. This will keep in the fridge for at least a week but it is normally used up way before then.
  2. I have also made Coconut milk Kefir from this also. Just add the milk grains and leave with a muslin cover for 12-24 hours- to taste!
Loula Natural http://loulanatural.com/
Coconut Milk Loula Natural pin

DIY Circuit

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Before I start I am a fully trained Personal trainer and have been doing circuits for over a decade. If you are not used to exercise or unsure, always consult a professional first or join a class

Circuits are one of the keys to training. Whether you are looking to lose weight, gain weight, sculpt, balance muscle groups, exercise pre-natal, post natal, sport specific or looking to rehabilitate from injury a circuit can fit into your training programme. They are fun to do, are hard work and can fit around any lifestyle or time constraint. It’s what most popular programmes are based on right now (see Crossfit, Body Rock tv etc- (short high intensity workouts to speed up results) and they work. Why- because they fatigue the muscles, they work across all 3 planes of motions and switch up cardio and strength to keep our body guessing.

Functional fitness is another buzz word- basically meaning fitness for specific function. So a squat though useful and done on a regular basis through normal daily movements- doing a squat with rotation is far more functional as it replicates most normal movements. For example a forward lunge is great to build quads however when running you need forward movement whilst rotating and also moving side to side- so a wide lunge with rotation is more of a functional movement, team that with making it a walking lunge and a foot roll and it basically replicates a runners perfect gait.

To design a circuit the world is your oyster- it totally depends;

  1. On what your goal is
  2. The exercises you chose
  3. The order you do them in ( one area of the body at a time or switching areas with each exercise)
  4. Which areas of the body you are targeting (upper body, lower body, back, core, cardio etc)
  5. Switching up cardio and strength
  6. How long you do each exercise
  7. How long you rest between each exercise or set of exercises (if you rest at all!)
  8. How many times you do each exercise or set of exercises (in one go or over the day)
  9. How intensely you do each (body weight or added weights/bands/kettle bells/ machines/ cables etc)
  10. On one plane of motion or alternating between all. (front to back, side to side and rotation)
  11. Using all push movements, or pull movements or alternating both
  12. Doing the exercises normal speed, holding poses, slow motion or quickly.

There’s no right or wrong way and there are so many options!

Here’s an example:
Standard circuit (lower body, upper body, core, cardio exercise)
Squat, push up, plank, burpee

Can be changed like this (there are so many multiples of this I will only give 4 ways of changing it)
1st option doing each exercise for a minute with no rest in between each exercise and repeating that 3-5 times

2nd option holding each exercise for a minute with a minute of burpees inbetween each one. Repeating that with a min rest between each set- to fatigue

3rd way do 3 sets of each exercise for one min with a 30 second rest in between each exercise (so do 1 min of squats with a 30 sec rest in between 3 times before moving onto 1 min of push ups with 30 sec rest 3 times and so on)

4th way- taking each exercise in all planes if motion- (so sumo squat, rotating squat and standard squat over the minute alternating plane with each squat) with 30 secs between each body area.

Even with 4 basic exercises and 4 different ways of doing them in a circuit you will have 4 very different body responses and results!

Try it with our favourite exercises write down your circuit and share it with us….

Most of all enjoy and have fun with it.

Examples of Exercises to use (by no means a conclusive list- any movement is an exercise) If in doubt always consult a professional before doing any exercise.

Upper Body:

Press up- wide hands, narrow hands, one hand in front of the other, with rotation, tricep push ups, clapping push ups, one arm push ups, in box position, on knees, on toes, on one toe, on a ball, on a bench, against the wall, hands higher than feet, feet higher than hands, on a wobble board, held, staggered- ie halfway, down, half way up, slowly down- quick up and the reverse

Pull up- On a overhead bar, handles, horizontal pulling to the bar on the squat rack

Lat Pull down- with cable, band, dumbells

Over head press- with bar bell, band, dumbbells

Chest press-band, bar bell, dumbbell, uni laterally, bi laterlly, incline, decline, on a ball, on a bench, with rotation

Lower body:

Squat- Sumo (stepping out to the side), narrow, wide, with rotation, with one foot in fron of the other, half squat, quick drop squat, toes in toes out, holding a ball, weights, with a band, with kettle bells (squat swing)

Lunge- round the clack, side lunge, forwards, backwards, one foot higer, toe pinting in, toe pointing out, walking, lunge into leg balance, wide, narrow, with arms up, reaching forward, holding a ball. with a swing, slow up, slow down, jumping alternate leg.

Clean- with dumbbells, barbell

Deadlifts- wide, narrow, with rotation, half way, full, alternate arm, straight leg, with dummbells, with bar, with band.

Bridges- Heels on a ball, back on a ball, single leg, Heels on a bench, on a wobble board, against the wall

Core:

Plank- on knees, on toes, on ones toe, long arm, with rotation, on side, single arm, with knee rotation, reverse plank, with leg to the side, one arm one leg, bringing elbow to knee.

Vsit- explosive, with feet on floor with arms up, with legs straight, with rotation,moving, held,

leg cycles- armpit to knee, slow motion, quick quick fast, held to one side, with a ball, toes pointed, heels flexed, arms wide

Cardio

Burpees

Hops- on one leg, side to side, with foot rotation, in a circle, compass points, onto a step, forward and backwards, in a line, between cones

Shuttle runs forwards, backwards, sideways

High knees

High heels

Mountain climbers

Skipping rope

Squat jumps

 

 

Chia- Not just a pet!

I have added Chia seeds to my muesli mix for ages now. I knew as a seed they would add great protein and fat to my breakfast. Also when added to liquid they become very mucilaginous and added to the oats in the muesli would help to calm and repair my digestive system. beyond that I am only just learning its other benefits. Many are claiming great things from the humble seed. From weight loss, Cardiovascular, blood sugar, detoxification, akaline the body, and even have hormonal and mood related properties. They even supposedly bring out the flavour in your foods, so make chocolate more chocolatey!

Seeds are designed to grow new life, therefore they are a bit like eggs in that they have everything you would want to grow and develop. Protein, fats and all the vitamins and minerals. However much like an egg you have to ‘crack’ them to release the nutrients so they can be absorbed. Seeds and nuts should be soaked or sprouted or at the very least ground to get the full benefit from them. With Chia the longer they are soaked the better, but 10 mins should do the trick.


I have been drinking 2 tbs in half a cup of coconut water and a tsp of greens. I really like it and have found it has helped to settle my digestive system, balancing my blood sugar, giving energy and I am finding my skin and hair is also improving. I have been doing it for 4 weeks and along with exercising and eating a healthy balanced diet rich with nutrients, I am losing size. Especially around my belly button and hips- a stubborn area for me due to my poor blood sugar control and digestive issues. It’s all in the combination. I am also breast-feeding and so still also losing baby weight. Do I think they are a wonder food- they are pretty good-but I think most foods high in nutrients and unprocessed are pretty wonderful

I have tried to compile the information I have found about them but I have found myself just copying what others have already successfully written… Here are the links I have found

Chia recipes and information:

http://www.rawreform.com/content/view/345/127/

http://www.chiaseedrecipes.com/40-ways-to-use-chia-seeds.php

http://chiaseeds.co/

btw they are the same…

 

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