Tonight Joel and I are going to a potluck tonight and the ride is going to be cold. What could we bring that wouldn't suffer from a cold ten mile bike ride? And what about the vegans (they eat no animal products), how can we include them? What about vegan Pumpkin Oatmeal cookies? Perfect! Since I had to go to the grocery store anyways for the pumpkin I decided I would look for coconut oil. Since I can't use butter and I have moral conflicts with many vegetable (canola and soybean especially) oils I figured I would try something else.
So when I went down the aisle of oils to look at my options, and keeping other options open (not just coconut but what else is saturated besides olive and canola oils) I deliberated over what to get. I wanted to support a small company if possible, coconut oil if possible and there were three companies that had unrefined coconut oil available. Two were big companies that I don't necessarily have problems with but I wanted to support something smaller. And that was when I picked up Hope's Harvest Coconut Oil. After getting home I researched the company and coconut oil.
It turns out a.) Hope's Harvest is a small business started with a Yehu microloan in rural Kenya. And whenever a new employee is hired they plant a coconut tree in their honor as a symbol of their embarking on a "new life." They also use all of the coconuts they harvest, including the meat and the husk, and I highly respect any company that strives to reduce their waste in regards to food (all waste is more or less bad but I am really excited when people keep food waste down).
And b.) Coconut oil is really great for you -- NOT bad like the American Soybean Association would like you to believe. It actually lowers cholesterol and helps you absorb Vitamin E when applied to the skin. Because it is a saturated fat (a stable molecular composition) your body realizes that it is a good thing, as opposed to unsaturated fats which your body does not recognize due to its unstable molecular make up (i.e., canola oil, vegetable oil and soybean oil etc.). For more information I highly recommend this website which, albeit is very preachy but full of good information.
You can use coconut oil anywhere you'd use any other oil, butter or margarine. It's a bit expensive for frying foods in but other than that its totally worth it. And when you don't heat it above 450ºF you won't have the issue of the oil tasting coconut-y. My cookies only baked at 350ºF and I couldn't taste the coconut at all, and for some people (like Joel who isn't a big fan of coconut) this is a great thing. It also has no salt so you're able to regulate the saltiness of whatever you're cooking (granted you could get unsalted butter with the same result).
It also lasts up to 2-3 years and is solid below 76ºF. I'm very excited about using this oil in the near future and I wanted to share the information with the people I love and care about. I apologize if this sounded preachy!
In Other News
School is steadily barreling along to the end of the semester. I will be done 15 December and I'm really looking forward to it. I am also feeling really good about my thesis paper and my thesis work. I've been keeping that under wraps for the most part because I want to make a whole post at the end about my process, what the work is about and what it looks like when it is done. Needless to say is that yes, you will see the work in the end and no, I will not be posting my paper (over 15 pages on a blog just seems ridiculous to me) but if you're interested I'd be more than happy to send my paper to whomever wants to read it.
And Joel and I have been talking about what happens after I graduate. At this point in time there are so many options and ideas that we have been tossing back and forth and none of them are remotely concrete so until we have a clearer idea I'm not going to be posting about those either until we know better.