Monday, June 19, 2017

I blame my grandmothers!

Coconut trees cover the Kerala landscape, like the Douglas Fir here in Oregon.


Having grown up in the Travancore kingdom (now the state of Kerala), my mother and grandmothers and aunts used coconut oil in the cooking and in preparing the tasty savories.

As a kid, I always got excited with the unique and intense aroma of hot coconut oil, because it meant that there was magic happening in the kitchen.

Our taste buds were set.  Foods and snacks at other places--homes and restaurants alike--that did not use coconut oil or real ghee were, well, we did not care for them.  I grew up with such spoilt tastes ;)

Going to weddings and other social events, or even eating at restaurants, became increasingly a nightmare for us because of the rapid infusion of the dreaded dalda into the foods.  Not only did we hate with a passion the taste and smell of dalda--a hydrogenated vegetable oil--our systems also often reacted with upset stomachs and worse.

A few months ago, I spotted on the grocery store shelves potato chips that were fried in coconut oil.  Of course, I had to buy that.  And I continue to get that every once in a while.

Source

Recently, when my peeps were visiting, I offered them those chips.  They are way younger than me, and were not raised on coconut oil, which is why I warned them that most people not used to coconut oil are put off by its taste and aroma. Turned out that they liked it!

Coconut oil has been the rage for a while here as the next best miracle oil.  My grandmothers would have laughed at this fad.

And they would have laughed even more with news reports like this:
According to the AHA, 82% of the fat in coconut oil is saturated. That's more than in butter (63%), beef fat (50%) and pork lard (39%). And, like other saturated fats, studies show it can increase "bad" cholesterol.
Some claim that the mixture of fats in coconut oil still make it a healthy option, but the AHA says there is no good-quality evidence for this.
It says people should limit how much saturated fat they eat, replacing some of it with unsaturated vegetable oils - olive oil and sunflower oil
If only people, including scientists, would understand that it is not about the sat-fat alone.  My grandmothers lived long lives for their generations despite coconut oil everyday--not only in the cooking but even on their hair.   Instead, it is all about how we consume anything.

The butter that I use is real butter, with the highest possible fat content.  But, I am not feasting on butter.  It is not really about the coconut oil.  It is all about moderation.  As my grandmothers often said அளவோட சாப்பிடு.    


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