Category Archives: Coconut

Learning From A Pregnant Woman

I’ve been a bit MIA for a while…perhaps you noticed. The last time you heard from me, I was hating on the microwave.

Well, I haven’t forgotten about you. And I have missed you. But I’ve been quite busy…busy growing a baby!

As you can imagine, I have been researching up a storm. No surprise, I’m all about being pregnant and raising a child in the most organic, healthy way possible. As a result, I have come across some amazing info over the past several months – info I will be sharing with you now and in future posts!

But don’t stop reading if you’re not a pregnant woman, or if you’re not a dad-to-be, or if you’re not someone who knows someone who is pregnant.

This is all good info for everyone.

And I’m not just talking about the typical things, which I will mention just in case we need a refresher:
1. Get up and move. Don’t sit for too long in one place.
2. Drink lots of water.
3. Get plenty of rest.
4. Reduce stress.
5. Get plenty of fiber.
6. Eat your veggies.
7. Eat whole grains, not white stuff.
8. Exercise.
9. Embrace changes in your body.
10. Laugh daily.

Okay, that’s all old news – good stuff – but let’s get to some NEW information.

Here’s what I’m needing now…

1. THE BODY PILLOW
If you’re pregnant or just someone who needs more body support while sleeping (backaches? insomnia? other concerns?), this pillow has been a lifesaver…I mean a life raft…no, wait…both? Yes. It’s a lifesaver…but we call it the life raft. This thing is huge. But I will say, I couldn’t sleep without it right now. Best if you have a king bed, but doable in a queen. (That’s not me, btw.)

Body Pillow

2. COCONUT OIL
Organic, unrefined, virgin. This has been my go-to moisturizer. Pregnant skin gets very dry and itchy and I’ve been slathering coconut oil on my face, arms, and hands and it really makes a huge difference. So, if you’re the dry skin type, you don’t need any fancy, stinky, chemical-laden creams. You just need some high-quality coconut oil.

Coconut Oil

3. TREATS
Every pregnancy is different and mine has been, how shall we say…not so much in the food department? I have had no strange cravings. In fact, I have had serious food aversion for months now. No joke. There are just a few things that actually taste good to me, and one of them is chocolate.

While I try not to eat too much, as it does have caffeine and sugar, sometimes we all just need something a little sweet. These days, I’m really enjoying Theo, which is organic, fair trade, and soy-free and available at local specialty markets and grocers like Whole Foods.

Theo Chocolate

Another way I enjoy chocolate is with Chocolate Nuttzo, which is an organic nut and seed butter with chocolate…and it’s delicious (they also have other nut and seed butters without chocolate).

With only 2g of sugar per serving, it’s a good way to have dessert. And when I’m being especially naughty (yes, you can all breathe a big sigh of relief – Health Coach Jillian ain’t perfect!), I put it on Strauss Organic Vanilla Ice Cream and it’s like a sundae. 😉

If I’m going to indulge, I always try to make it healthier – with organic and wholesome ingredients…and by eating in moderation!

Nuttzo and Strauss

4. CALCIUM
Now that I’m responsible for someone else’s bones, I’ve had to try a little harder to beef up my calcium intake. Here are my favorite (and unexpected!) sources:

1) Chia Seeds – 1 tbsp will give you 8% of your daily calcium intake. 2 tbsps now find their way into my day.

2) Greens – Greens are the absolute best thing to eat, for calcium and other vitamins and minerals. We could all eat more of them.

A half bag of Trader Joe’s Power to the Greens or Spinach gives me another 8% of my daily intake. I make sure to get at least one serving of one of these each day.

Green juice gives me yet another 8% per serving. I drink two servings of Columbia Gorge Organic Just Greens every day.

Now, fresh juice is better, and whole veggies are best, but I like that this brand has several greens only (no fruit), almost no sugar, and is pasteurized, which is safest for pregnant women and anyone else with a compromised immune system. I don’t have time to juice every day…sometimes you just have to be practical. If you can juice organic greens regularly, or get organic green juice from a local, reliable source, do it.

Also, if you’re pregnant, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT substitute a meal with green juice. Now is not the time to be cleansing. Add green juice into your day along with everything else you are eating. And DO NOT drink unpasteurized juice unless it was made fresh at home or somewhere reliable (and drink immediately) – it could have harmful bacteria and that’s too risky.

Greens3) Garbanzo Beans – Add ’em t0 a salad, pasta or quinoa, or mush ’em up in guacamole, or make some hummus. Whatever. We all know what to do with these guys. But did we all know that a serving (1/2 cup) gives us 6% of our daily calcium needs (plus a good dose of fiber and protein)? Choose Eden Organics for BPA-free cans.

Garbanzos
4) Sparkling Water – Pellegrino and Perrier both have 4% of daily calcium per serving. Big bottles have about 3 servings…12% of your calcium! Extra bonus is it’s in glass, not plastic. Ditch the soda and drink one of these, with or without some fresh fruit added. I choose Perrier first, as it is sodium-free.

5) Sesame Seeds – These little powerhouses top people’s list of favorite seed. And they are tops in the calcium department. 1 tbsp delivers 8% of your daily calcium needs.

**Now, one thing of concern just recently came to light. Salmonella can be found in spices and seasonings. This includes sesame seeds. Best thing to do is cook them instead of adding them straight into your food. I now sauté my sesame seeds with a little coconut oil before adding them in – and I’d never know the difference. Read more about this HERE (and if you want to get interesting articles like this on a regular basis, follow me on Twitter 🙂 ).

5. FRUIT AND VEGGIE WASH
With our immunities down, us pregnant gals and other immunocompromised folks are more susceptible to infection. And an infection is the last thing I want. So I make sure to wash all of my produce really well. But the rest of you should do this, too. Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and other markets sell produce wash, which gets the dirt, waxes, and pesticide residue off your food.

Fruit and Veg Wash
Think I’m being extreme? Then think for just a moment about where your food has been. Have you ever driven down the highway and either seen it growing two feet away (love those freeway-adjacent farms), or on the back of a truck, open, traveling next to you, getting a fine coat of dirt and exhaust?

And have you ever seen the Porta Potties on those farms? Let’s face it, Porta Potties don’t really allow for a good hand-washing in between food handling.

Well, if you haven’t driven the I-5 up and down California for this agricultural view as many times as I have, then I ask you this – ever seen produce fall to the floor at the grocery store? Or ever seen someone feel a piece of fruit and put it back? That produce goes home with someone…

So, do yourself a favor and wash your food well. Bottom line is, you don’t know where it’s been and what it’s wearing.

And my final lesson learned in this remarkable journey of pregnancy is something I’ve said before but I feel needs repeating:

Listen to your body.

Tired? Rest. Hungry? Eat. Just listen to your body. Really listen. It will tell you what it really needs. Don’t eat just to eat or fuel yourself with caffeine and sugar because you’re tired. Get back to basics and treat your body right…whether you’ve got someone growing in there or not.

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Filed under Chocolate, Coconut, Health, Organic, Spices, Sugar, Superfoods, Tips and Tricks, Vegetables, Water

Day of Pumpkin

Halloween is almost upon us! Halloween is a favorite holiday in our house, so I thought I’d get in the spirit a little early with a day of pumpkin.

Yup. Pumpkin for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Two posts ago, I had some requests for pumpkin soup. I heard you loud and clear and here’s what I’ve come up with…

Take a fresh sugar pumpkin, cut it in half, and scoop out seeds and strings.

(For roasted pumpkin seeds: separate out the seeds, wash and dry them discarding the strings, and roast them at 350 for no more than 20 minutes with sweet or savory seasoning – a great snack for you pregnant gals!)

Put a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake the halves skin up, flesh down at 375 for about 30 minutes. You should be able to slice a knife through it.

Scoop out baked flesh and put in blender or food processor.

Add 1 tsp of ground vanilla bean, 1 tbsp of coconut crystals, a few shakes of nutmeg, and liberal shakes of cinnamon. I recommend purchasing organic spices, of course.

Add in water, coconut milk (I made my own – see below for the recipe!), or broth (if for soup), and blend until smooth. Amount of liquid needed depends on how much pumpkin there is – start with a little and just keep adding until pumpkin is smooth but not watery.

You now have a delicious, sweet base! (Alter spices to make it more or less sweet.)

First, I had it in my oatmeal for breakfast. I added in chia seeds, raspberries, oats, cacao nibs…you can get creative with it.

Then I ate it by the spoonful for a sweet snack throughout the day. It made a great dessert after lunch!

And lastly, I turned it into a soup for dinner. I put the puree back into a pot, added in all kinds of veggies – mushrooms, celery, carrots, cabbage, broccolini – and cooked it all for a few minutes. Then I added a few pieces of leftover chicken on top and…Voila! Soup! And a one-pot dish, no less!

Make sure to either use a bit of coconut milk or coconut oil in the mix so you absorb the vitamins. We cannot absorb all the vitamins and minerals in our veggies without a little fat. That’s especially important for my pregnant readers – getting the most out of your food is critical now!

Now for the Coconut Milk Recipe

Combine 1 cup shredded unsweetened dried coconut and 3 cups hot water in a blender. Blend for about 2 minutes or until it looks creamy and you have a good froth on top. Then strain through a fine mesh strainer.

That’s it! Quick, easy, and without all the additives you’ll find in store-bought coconut milk.

I, of course, added a couple shakes of cinnamon (as always!) to the mix because I love cinnamon and it serves as an anti-microbial while adding a little hint of flavor. Double bonus!

See Adventures in Nut Milk for more nut milk recipes.

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Filed under Chicken, Coconut, Health, Recipe, Snacks, Soup, Spices, Vegetables

No More Cheeri-(GM)Os!

That’s right. I finally weened The Husband off GMO-tastic Cheerios. They have that ubiquitous “Whole Grain” stamp on them, but they’re loaded with GMOs. So I can’t stress to you enough how huge this was for me.

HUGE.

How’d I do it?

As always, I’m so glad you asked.

Answer: BABY STEPS!!!

It was, at times, a bit tricky. The husband was not always thrilled. But after trying countless organic cereals to a less than enthusiastic response, we finally found some honey flakes that worked great. I was happy.

But then I thought I’d try one more thing…

…because box cereals are still processed and there are healthier options out there…

So what’s he eating now?

That’s just the best damn part.

He’s now eating and loving…drumroll, please…

HUBBY OATS!

(It ain’t so pretty but it’s oh-so-tasty)

Ingredients (all organic)

1/3 cup of Old Fashioned Rolled Oats 
1/4 cup-ish of homemade cashew milk (basically, just enough to wet the oats without being really wet and sloshy)
1 tsp of chia seeds
2 tbsp of raisins
1 tbsp of dried currants
2 dried figs (he asked for more of those without even knowing – didn’t see that one coming!)
1/2 banana
1 tbsp of organic peanut butter 
1 tbsp of chopped walnuts
1 tsp of coconut sugar
a sprinkle of salt
shakes of cinnamon 

What Do I Do?
Put it all in a bowl and mix it up. No heating necessary. Serve.

You could add berries, hemp seeds, different nuts. The sky’s kind of the limit on this one. And it’s so easy being a one-pot-dish. Have fun with it and report back on what you add in!

Speaking of baby steps, if you’re a mom or mom-to-be looking for help in getting healthier for you and your kids (or kids-to-be!), contact me. Initial consultations are always free!

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Filed under Baby Steps, Coconut, GMO, GMO-free, Health, One Pot Dish, Organic, Recipe, Superfoods, Victories

“I Think There’s Something To This Whole Organic Thing…”

…my husband said to me at the airport Sunday.

I shot him a funny look. “Yes. There is. Duh.”

Now, I don’t say “duh” to most people, but my husband does like to give me a hard time, so sometimes I have to get sarcastic right back at him. He listens to me talk ALL THE TIME about the merits of eating organic, cutting out the chemicals, the processed food, the genetically modified foods, and the foods that are a bit mysterious (I like to know everything that goes into my food). He’s a patient one.

And he knows I’m right, even if he isn’t as…hmm…shall we say…hardcore? as me. But yesterday he saw, in the itty bitty Tucson airport, quite a bit of organic snacks for sale. And he was surprised. And I was thrilled! Because not only did it give me some snack options for the flight home, but it was support for my argument. What’s my argument? That more and more people are wanting quality food with real ingredients and it should be available to us.

He was about to buy some non-organic cookie until the salesgirl said it was awful, so he put it down and bought this, at my insistence, instead:

And hooray! Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups are amazingly delicious. With the exception of my tiny nibble, the hubby happily polished these off. And while these are still technically candy, they’re far better than any conventional candy you could buy – both in taste and in ingredients. We tried the milk chocolate because that’s what the hubby likes, but they make dark chocolate, as well. And I recommend dark chocolate if you like it, as it is healthier, of course. You can find these online (click on the links above) or in local health food stores.

For me, I chose three less “desserty” selections, two of which were granola bars from the company, 18 Rabbits. One was the Nibblin’ Apricot Granola Bar and the other was the Cherry Apricot Bunny Bar.

These two flavors taste very similar but are different in size, so if you want a smaller snack, go with the Bunny and if you want a heartier snack, go with the full size bar (it’s almost twice the size of the Bunny). Ingredients are great, texture is chewy (my favorite), flavor is oaty, and the apricots lend a nice pop of tartness to both bars. I did not eat both all at once – portion control, people! Look for them at your local health food store or buy online (click on links above). There are other flavors, too, but I only tried these.

Now, for the total fail:

I’ve seen Amande Coconut Almond Yogurt (soy-free and dairy-free) at Whole Foods and almost bought it many times. I figured airport hunger would be the perfect excuse to finally try it, as I wasn’t jazzed by the nutrition facts. Well, it’s official: I’m not a fan. It is way too sweet for me and kind of has a funny taste. I don’t recommend it.

But this just shows you how many organic options there actually were at this wee airport – and we didn’t even buy them all! I’m very happy to see organic products creeping into the most unlikely places. And very glad to be able to do this little product review for you folks. Keep your eye out for organic products where you least expect them.

Question of the Day: What is your favorite organic product?

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Filed under Chocolate, Coconut, Organic, Product Review, Snacks

Give Up The Agave

Stay away from agave nectar, folks. There is a major misconception that agave is a healthy sweetener. It’s not. It’s actually quite unhealthy.

For one thing, it is not low-glycemic, so it’s really not any different from sugar. It’s just sugar masquerading as a health food. Take off that mask, agave! You won’t fool us!

Second, it’s highly unregulated. So we really don’t know what’s in it or how it’s made – some even contain corn syrup. Yuck. Healthy is knowing what goes into our bodies.

As an alternative, cook/bake with coconut nectar or coconut crystals which are a low-glycemic option. The nectar is like syrup and the crystals are closer in texture to sugar. And if you don’t like coconut, don’t worry – these sweeteners don’t actually taste like coconut. Not at all. The Coconut Secret brand is organic, raw, gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, and GMO-free. Yay! Buy online or look for them at Whole Foods or your local health food store.

So make sure to read labels to see if the “health” food you’re about to buy has agave in it. And if a recipe calls for agave, sub in coconut nectar instead and you’re good to go. If I tweet or pin a recipe that contains agave, I’m only endorsing the rest of the recipe as healthy and assuming that you will sub out the agave. Glad we cleared that up!

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Filed under Agave, Coconut, Gluten-free, GMO-free, Low-glycemic, Organic, Raw, Sugar, Tips and Tricks, Vegan