Brain Power Diet

My $1 Diet Lifehack: Coconuts

By Jonathan Roseland  Connect    

diet lifehack

This article is about what is maybe my number one lifehack - Coconuts, yes coconuts. I'm serious about coconuts. Whenever I learn a new language I start by learning phrases like
Soy el commandante del cocos (Spanish) - I'm the commander of the coconuts
Я босс кокосов (Russian) - I'm the boss of coconuts
Sunt regele nuci de cocos (Romanian) - I'm the king of coconuts

Coconuts are my number one diet hack because they are economic, simple, social, nutritious, delicious, and fun:

Economic

one dollar billYou can replace one of your meals a day with a coconut that is going to cost you about one dollar. I've eaten thousands of coconuts over the years while living in Latin America - South America - North America and Europe. Interestingly coconuts cost about the same all over the world, you would think the price of coconuts would vary significantly as you got further away from the tropics but even in Eastern Europe, during the winter time I could easily find coconuts for about a dollar. I always try to buy my coconuts from the fancy, organic grocery store in town, since I assume they are a higher quality supply and they still always cost just about a dollar. Nobody watching this can use the excuse; that they can't afford to eat healthy! Unless you live in someplace like Iceland, you can replace one of your meals a day with a coconut that will cost about a dollar.

Simple

Coconuts are super simple easy to prepare and consume. On the top of every coconut are three eyes, at least one is a soft spot that you can poke out, I just use my keys to do this. Drink the coconut water with a straw, drain it into a cup or just skull it - as I often do.
Opening the Coconut
Most people use a machete or a big knife to open a coconut, which seems like a great way to lose a finger to me, especially considering the amount of Coconuts I eat. I have figured out a much more fun way to open coconuts:

  1. Put them in a plastic bag and throw them on the ground. You want to ideally throw it on the ground just hard enough to break the coconut shell but not tear the bag. If you chuck it full force at the ground the bag will explode and pieces of coconut and shell will fly all over the place, which you will have to clean up.
  2. You'll want to throw it on the ground at several different angles to break or weaken the shell all over.
  3. Then bring the coconut inside to the kitchen. You'll need two plates and a spoon to get rid of the rest of the coconut shell and you'll want to do it by the sink to wash the white pieces of coconut meat.

It's a meal that takes about 3 minutes to prepare.

Social

It's funny, I find that because it kind of makes a scene throwing the coconut on the ground, a lot of time people ask me what the heck I'm doing, then I explain that I eat coconuts everyday and a lot of times I will offer them a little piece of coconut, and I've actually made some friends this way. So it's a little more social meal than, say, a sandwich.

Nutritious

Coconuts consist of very dense fat; now you probably remember from your nutrition education that there is good fat and there is bad fat, coconut meat is comprised of medium-chain fatty acids, which is the good kind. You body doesn't store it as fat, your body burns it immediately for energy and it doesn't raise your cholesterol. From a 2015 paper specifically on dietary coconut:
"[medium-chain fatty acids] are unique in that they are easily absorbed and metabolised by the liver, and can be converted to ketones. Ketone bodies are an important alternative energy source in the brain, and may be beneficial to people developing or already with memory impairment, as in Alzheimer's disease..."
The Abstract of the paper goes on to clarify that coconut will definitely not make you fat:
"Coconut is classified as a highly nutritious 'functional food'. It is rich in dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals; however, notably, evidence is mounting to support the concept that coconut may be beneficial in the treatment of obesity..."
I can confirm this, I've been eating coconuts almost every day for the past 4 years and during this time while I have stayed somewhat active, walking to work, using a stand desk, going salsa dancing, doing push ups daily. However, I have a fairly sedentary lifestyle as a web developer. I haven't exactly been training for a marathon, I only exercise once or twice a week, sometimes less actually. Yet while consuming thousands of calories from my daily coconut my weight has stayed very stable, I'm as lean as I have ever been and I'm 30, I'm older than I look, also thanks in part to the coconuts.
Coconuts really provide a slow burn of energy for about 5-8 hours after you consume them. I've traveled around the world eating at plenty of fancy restaurants and as a biohacking blogger I've tried a lot of health food and very few things fill me and provide me long term energy like a $1 dollar coconut does. They are so filling that they relieve food cravings and the desire to snack. A lot of times I will get cravings and just want to have some snacks in the evening while I'm reading or whatever. I find that if I've eaten a coconut in the past 5-8 hours I'm able to easily resist this.
They are also a way of beating the mid afternoon energy lull, coconuts always give me the energy to power through the afternoon with the same focus, motivation and intensity I had at 9:30AM after I had done my smart drugs and drunken my Bulletproof Coffee.
Interestingly, a 2010 study found that the fragrance of coconuts was actually stress relieving and improved heart rate variability. From it's abstract:
"Thus, the results of this pilot test suggest that coconut fragrance may alter cardiovascular activity both at rest and in response to stressors"
How to tell if a coconut is bad?
You might think that eating overripe coconuts could make you really sick but I've eaten thousands of coconuts, some probably overripe, and I've never gotten sick from them.
If a coconut has a very pungent aroma when you poke out the eye and the coconut water is very bitter then it's gone bad and you should throw it away but if it just has an earthy scent and a slightly bitter taste it's fine, you can go ahead and consume it.
If you store coconuts at room temperature they will go bad after a few days - which is what you should expect from real, organic food. So I recommend storing them in a refrigerator and they will last about a week.

Delicious

Coconut meat and water is naturally sweet and will satiate your sweet tooth somewhat. However, a lot of people find the taste of coconuts boring, I suggest eating them with some dark chocolate (+80% cocoa), the two tastes really do compliment each other. Dark chocolate is a super food as well and is one of the most antioxidant rich things you can consume.

Fun

Finally, it's actually a lot of fun to throw coconuts on the ground. It's kind of become a daily ritual for me.

There's a bunch of gurus out there who debate about the nuances of diet; types of calories, GMOs, mechanism of mitochondria, and what's actually organic and what's not. So if you are confused by diet that's totally understandable but the good news here is that you can significantly improve your diet and simplify your life right now by replacing one meal a day with a coconut that's going to cost about a dollar.

Finally...

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