Aztec Diet Day 2 Taming the Wild Coconut

OMG! Down three pounds! Woo HOO! Down 1/2″ on my waist! I am doing the happy dance!

This morning, I forgot about taking a couple cuties to the park with me. Fortunately, I had about 4 ounces of water in the car. I was shocked that this was enough to curb my morning hunger pangs. Note to self: Keep water in the car. I would keep cuties in the car, but they’d probably freeze.

Breakfast today was my own concoction, “Tropical Bliss.” The recipe is at the bottom of the post, along with tips on handling young coconut.

Anna showed up early for our monthly shopping foray out to Costco for dog food. Oops. Didn’t have time to make my lunch smoothie. Grabbed a half-carton of cottage cheese, an apple and a bottle of water. Told Anna as soon as I got in the car that I was on a liquid diet, so no chili-dogs! Ate the cottage cheese s-l-o-w-l-y while we ran Anna’s errands. Drank the water. Picked up some young coconut and seasoned nori at the chinese grocery. Nori isn’t on the approved list, but It’s low-carb and only has forty calories. I figure it’s okay. I said no when Anna asked if I wanted to share a pint of green tea ice cream. She put it back.

Then we got to Costco, and the nice lady was offering samples of artichoke stuffed chicken breast. Just these little bites, hardly a mouthful. I wasn’t hungry, but damn, I do love artichokes. Surely that won’t hurt? It’s low-carb, after all. So I had four samples of different items. Only low-carb stuff. I skipped the ravioli, the fried fish and the kettle corn. Apparently artichokes are a gateway food for me.

Ate an apple, slowly, while Anna made a quick dash into Target. That was my afternoon snack. We won’t talk about those samples.

On the way home, Anna asked if I wanted to come over later this week for Chinese spare ribs. I said no.

Had a Spinach/Portabella smoothie for dinner.

Made it through day 2, only slightly bruised. Thankfully, no more trips to Costco until I’ve completed the Chia Challenge. Will my gustatory indiscretion cost me? Stay tuned . . .

Tropical Bliss

    Water and meat of one young coconut
    huge handful of baby spinach
    One “thumb” of fresh ginger, sliced against the grain.
    1-1/2 cups of frozen tropical fruit mix (mango, pineapple, strawberry)
    2 TBSP ground chia
    1 TBSP ground cacao nibs
    1 TBSP green powder

Toss everything in the blender except the green powder, blend until you see a well formed whirlpool, then open your blender and dump the green powder in the center. This prevents your green powder (which typically contains spirulina) from clumping and sticking to the sides of your blender.

Wow! Sounds good, you say, but about that young coconut???

Young coconut forms a great base for a smoothie. The electrolyte balance of coconut water is so close to human blood, it was used to give emergency transfusions during WWII. Yes, you can buy coconut water in the grocery store. For less money, you can get the yummy flesh, too. And it hasn’t passed through human hands or factory processing.

I have seen so many ridiculous methods for getting into young coconut posted on the internet by Westerners. The peoples of the Pacific surely post these well-meaning instructions on their Facebook pages just to laugh at us. I tried most of these methods until I learned a secret. The people who grow young coconut process them in a way that is counter-intuitive to the naive end-user.

Young coconut shows up at the market as a a squat, fibrous cylinder with a conical top. This is the cut-down husk. The coconut is inside. It looks cute, like a tropical hut. Makes sense that you are meant to cut off the pointy end, right? Wrong! That side is hard as a rock underneath. Every instruction I’ve ever read about getting into a young coconut says to cut off the top. That doesn’t work. I have the mangled knives to prove it.

Turn your young coconut on its side and take a large kitchen knife (a serrated bread knife also works well for this step) and saw off 1/2 – 1″ of the bottom. Yes, the flat end. If you have removed enough, at least one white “eye” will appear (there are three) If only one “eye” appears, you’re good to go. Poke your knife in the “eye” and a hole will easily open up. You may need to poke around a bit to find the soft spot, but I promise you, it’s there. If you have exposed two or three “eyes” choose the largest one. It’s always the largest one. The hole will vary in size. If it’s large, the water will pour out easily. If it’s tight, take a drinking straw, cut it in half, and stuff the ends of both straws into the hole, upend your coconut over your blender, and Bob’s your uncle. Air will rush into one straw, coconut water will rush out the other, nice and neat.

Okay, easy-peasy for the water. We still want that lovely, soft textured meat. What about getting into that shell?

Take your 8″ kitchen knife (I bought a cheap one, just for this purpose), a hammer and your now-exsanguated coconut. You can do this on a butcher block or on the floor, but it’s likely to make loud booming noises. I step outside the kitchen onto my concrete terrace. Lay the coconut on it’s side on old newspaper. position the knife edge across the “waist” of the coconut. Tap the back of the blade with the knife to set it firmly in the shell. Now hold the knife handle with one hand and move the hammer down the back of the blade to the end just above tip, which should be protruding beyond the coconut. Tap here firmly, and keep going until it slices neatly through the nut.

Take your halved booty back to the kitchen and scoop out the flesh with a soup spoon. You might get a little “skin” from the inside of the coconut. Some people are fanatics about picking this off. It blends in easily and just gives you more fiber. But pick off any bits of shell.

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