Although I’m very interested in nutrition, diet, and food, I’m not a foodie. Instead of trying new things all the time, I prefer to just find something that works and then stick to it. This is partly due to the fact that I’m a creature of habit, but also because I’m not that into the whole cooking thing. That’s not to say that I don’t spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen; I’m just not the type of person who enjoys spending hours every week trying new dishes and recipes (I can appreciate those who do). So, when I first include a new dish/food in my diet, I usually eat it fairly regularly. That means it has to fulfill certain requirements: it shouldn’t be too expensive, it should be healthy, it should be easy to make, and it should taste good. So, does coconut cream and banana qualify? It’s not very expensive. Check! It’s definitely easy to make. Check! I’m not that fond of eating a lot of coconut by itself, but the mix of coconut and banana is a tasteful combination. Check! But what about the nutritional value?
Contrary to what dietitians who still cling to the flawed diet-heart hypothesis claim, coconut is a very healthy food that provides a good supply of medium-chain triglycerides. In my previous article on the blog I highlighted the fact that paleo diets aren’t synonymous with massive amounts of meat and an extremely high-fat intake. However, as we know, ancestral diets are generally higher in fat than the diets most people in the world consume today. The reason for this is simple, fatty foods are dense sources of calories, and for hunter-gatherers who don’t have access to high-carbohydrate foods such as grains, fat often becomes the main source of energy.
One of the questions contemporary humans who switch from a grain-based diet to a paleo-type diet face is where to get their calories from. You can certainly replace cereal grains with more tubers and fruits, but for most people, fat intake has to go up as well. So, where should you get your fat from? Animal products are the go-to option for many, and there’s no doubt that increasing your intake of grass-fed meats, organic eggs, and seafood is a great way of getting more fatty acids into your diet.
However, it’s definitely possible to boost your fat intake without eating a lot more animal source food. Plant foods such as olives, avocados, and coconuts are some of the healthiest sources of fat you can include in your diet, regardless of whether you’re a paleo dieter, vegetarian, low-carber, or someone who eats according to the food pyramid. Coconuts have traditionally been an important staple food among many non-westernized populations living in tropical areas. Perhaps best known are the Kitavans on the Island of Kitava, who thrive on a diet that primarily consists of coconut, seafood, fruits, and root tubers.
The biggest concern with this recipe is not with the coconut itself, but rather with the additives that are used in coconut milk and the possibility that chemicals such as BPA can leach from the container into the food. If you’re worried about these things, consider the following solutions: Find a brand of coconut milk that is free from additives (Aroy-D, which I use, is), make your own coconut cream from coconut flakes, or find a brand of coconut milk that is stored in cardboard containers.
Contrary to many of the so-called “paleo treats” out there which contain large amounts of sweeteners, nut flours, oils, etc., this meal is actually something a hunter-gatherer would have recognized as food (at least a tropical islander). Both coconut and bananas are healthy foods. So, check!
How to make it
Step 1: Store coconut milk in the fridge
Step 2: Gather the necessary equipment
Step 3: Use a spoon to gather the meat portion from the coconut jar, and try to leave as much of the water as possible. Whip for a couple of minutes!
Generally, when you store coconut milk in the fridge, coconut extract and water separates. If it hasn’t, leave it in the fridge for longer or buy a different brand. You can still make coconut cream if the coconut extract and water has only partly separated, it will just get a more fluid consistency.