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Coconut Manna Chocolate Mousse

Dairy free, gluten free (check your vanilla too), egg free?  Yes. Fat free?  Not even close.  But the creamy decadence has healthy properties too.  Here’s Adam’s bit from another newsletter.  But isn’t coconut full of saturated fats?  Why yes, it is.  And aren’t saturated fats bad for us?  Well, yes and no.  It’s complicated.  But even in a worst-case scenario, where saturated fats are as bad as they’re made out to be, none of the research implicating saturated fats in heart disease, etc., has looked specifically at coconuts.  This is important because coconuts contain special saturated fats called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) that are different from other saturated fats in the diet.  They’re digested differently, they’re absorbed differently, they’re burned differently, and they’re stored differently.

“Perhaps the biggest difference is in how the body burns MCTs – very efficiently compared to other fats.  This efficiency means two things for us: energy and weight loss. Most ‘normal’ people won’t feel especially energized after a meal containing coconut oil, but it does make a difference for endurance athletes & others who burn through energy more quickly.  And coconut oil may also give more energy to people with fat malabsorption syndromes.

“And yes, coconut oil supports weight loss too.  The key here is the term diet-induced thermogenesis, which means ‘the burning of calories stimulated by a meal.’  In one study, a meal that got 40% of its calories from MCTs doubled the diet-induced thermogenesis of an identical meal that got 40% of its calories from regular vegetable oils.  In another study, where the ‘meals’ consisted entirely of fats and oils, the MCTs increased diet-induced thermogenesis three-fold.  And while the vegetable oil raised blood triglycerides by 68%, the MCTs had no effect.  So much for ‘artery-clogging’ saturated fat!

“(Of course, coconut oil has calories, and when you sit there eating coconut oil by the spoonful, you’re getting more than you’re burning.  So for weight loss, coconut oil shouldn’t be an addition to the diet as much as a substitution for oils that are already there.)       

Serves 12          

½ C coconut oil 1 C Butternut Grade B maple syrup
½ C Nutiva coconut manna or coconut cream 2-3 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 C organic cocoa (aka cacao) powder 1 C raw cacao nibs for garnish and crunch

In a food processor, using the steel blade, pulse, then blend all the ingredients except the nibs for a minute or two.  Spoon into a pie plate, sprinkle with nibs and put into the frig. Just before serving, cut into wedges to serve.  This goes wonderfully with peaches and/or nectarines.

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