Fat is incredibly fashionable. Pope Francis, I concede. There really must be a god.
It turns out that all saturated fats are not equal. Each saturated fat has its own structure, and their individual differences influence the way they work in your body. (Scientists, look away while I mutilate your language).
Several saturated fats, called medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) are metabolized more like carbohydrates than fats, and quickly used for energy. Coconut oil is the best example, favoured by sporting magnates like Gordon D’Arcy. Pure palm oil is another, but tricky to find in its purest, unadulterated form. This is because pure palm oil is bright red and alarmingly whiffy. Commercial brands prefer to deodorise and bleach it, making it more palatable but at the same time, disfiguring the oil’s health benefits.
Expect to get about 8g of MCT in one tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil. Butter will deliver 1-2g, and ghee around 4g. Bulletproof Coffee relies upon a distinctive MCT oil, which is pure diesel for our mitochondria at 14g per tablespoon. It is, of course, created in a lab with isolated extracts of coconut and palm oils, so hasn’t won a place on my virtuous pedestal. Nevertheless I’m interested in its cult following, and the impossibly delicious athletes thriving on it.
Coconut oil’s real deal lies with its immune-boosting compounds like lauric and caprylic acid. The predominant MCT in coconut oil is lauric acid, known for their mega antimicrobial, antiviral and antibacterial properties. Think Ninjago in a tub. Much of the research on lauric and caprylic acids have shown that many pathogens can be deactivated by these particular MCTs. These same MCTs are found it mama’s milk to give her baby the best start in life.
A Healthier Marzipan
I don’t like marzipan. Never did.
But real marzipan? You need apricot kernels for that (see photo of walnut, almond and apricot kernel above). Apricot kernels can be outrageously pricey, so most marzipan manufacturers will use cheap flavours instead.
Wait until you try this marzipan recipe, free from gunk and guilt. I’m so excited to share them because they truly are life-changing. Well, at least for yuletide.
Not that you need reminding, but apricot kernels are classed like nutmeg – do not consume a packet! Our bodies cannot process large amounts of apricot kernels or nutmeg (in truth, humans don’t go beyond using a whisper of a taste. That’s because both foods are ridiculously strong. Try eating a whole apricot kernel, and I bet you’ll spit it out!)
4-6 apricot kernels
4 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup or raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or powder
80g ground almonds
65g of 85% chocolate, to coat
Line a very small container with cling film.
Start by crushing the apricot kernels in a pestle and mortar.
In a saucepan, gently melt the coconut oil over a low heat. Stir through remaining ingredients using a fork to release any lumps. Don’t fret if it looks like wet sand – it doesn’t taste a thing like it.
Scrape this marzipan mix into your pre-lined container and let it set in the fridge before chopping into marzipan pieces (see photo below). Melt your preferred chocolate over a bain marie until gorgeous and glossy. Drop each marzipan into the chocolate and remove with a fork. They dry well on a wire rack with parchment paper underneath to catch any delicious drips. Store in the fridge, ready to impress unexpected carol singers. Fa la la la lahhhh