(This article was featured on Dr. Sears’ Wellness Blog!)
This week my children were pleasantly surprised (ok, astonished) when I served them small bowls of vanilla ice cream with strawberries and chocolate sauce drizzled on top. The “sauce” hardened when it hit the ice cream – in a very good way! One day this summer I will dip a vanilla ice cream cone into it, simultaneously creating a hard shell and going down in history as the best mom ever.
This sauce is a much healthier alternative to the store bought stuff since you can choose quality chocolate chips and because it contains coconut oil, a super healthy saturated fat.
Over the last couple of years my family has been eating more coconut oil. My 2-yr old daughter even requests a teaspoonful now and then when she sees me cooking with it. I am happy to give it to her.
Here are three reasons why we love it:
- Coconut oil is efficiently metabolized (burned up into energy) and can contribute to weight loss in some people when used in place of refined vegetable oils. It is rich in medium-chain fatty acids, a.k.a. medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are easily digested since they do not require bile salts to break them down. Most of the fats we consume are long chain triglycerides (LCTs) and are not processed so quickly. Some oils containing LCTs are a healthy and essential part of the diet, such as fish, flax and olive. But refined vegetable oils (also LCTs) such as sunflower, safflower, cottonseed and margarine are usually over consumed and very taxing on the body. We avoid them.
- Coconut oil is a superb immune booster. It is antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal and antiprotozoal. This is because it contains generous amounts of lauric acid, a fatty acid found in very few other foods. Lauric acid is converted to monolaurin in the body where it takes on all of these amazing immune-building properties. One of the only other major sources of this is breast milk!
- Coconut oil can alleviate digestive issues, and I have seen evidence of this in my own experience with it. There are several reasons for this. (1) Coconut oil eases the burden of digestion since it is quickly metabolized. (2) Studies show that coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties so it can be healing if there is inflammation in the intestines. (3) Coconut oil is a known treatment against the overgrowth of Candida albicans, bringing bacterial flora into a healthier balance.
Plus, it just tastes good. Really good. Enjoy!
ONE-MINUTE CHOCOLATE SAUCE/SHELL
3 oz. dark chocolate chips (about 1/2 cup)
2 Tbsp coconut oil
Combine ingredients and gently heat in a small saucepan or melt in the microwave (~30 seconds). Stir, then drizzle over fruit or ice cream. Served warm or at room temperature it remains a sauce, over ice cream it becomes a shell.
(Shared on the Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter, 5/30)