In my posting from this weekend, I mentioned that a trip to Rollin’ Oats was not only about the only social interaction I had all weekend, but it was also incredibly enlightening!

One lesson was my introduction to the many ways to use psyllium beyond just taking a capsule with a glass of water.

But, that wasn’t the only discovery I made. Standing in front of the coconut oils and reveling in the fabulousness of the magical substance and its many uses, I began talking to a woman who, I soon came to learn, had lost about 150 pounds — and she did it the healthy way, simply eating better foods and getting moving.

As I shared with her my not-so-secret secret about a Tampa-based coconut oil company, Kelapo, she told me about her little guilty pleasure, coconut crystals!

coconut crystals

Rollin’ Oats had the brand Coconut Secret. I didn’t know much about it. My new, and smaller, friend from the oil-aisle told me she uses it like brown sugar. Her one suggestion was using it on roasted, mashed squash. From what I can tell, you can also use it like any other sweetener in tea, dessert recipes and on cereals. Supposedly it is more sweet than coconutty but it sounds to me like it’d be amazing in oatmeal and possibly even my morning pleasure…  coffee.

It’s important to note here that when I changed my diet, there’s one of the common practice of vegans that I refused to fall into – and that is finding substitutes for unhealthy foods that just happen to be vegan — translation, foods that may not be made with animal products but are still made with a whole lot of ingredients not found in nature, i.e. all those fake chicken-like products you can find in the freezer section, etc. The same goes for sugar and sugar substitutes. Most of the time I would rather eat something less sweet than add a sweetener that’s just going to send me looking for more and more sweets. It’s no secret that eating sweet foods send us down a slippery slope of wanting more and more sweets. Granted, sweeteners with a lower glycemic index temper this slightly, but it’s still a practice I would rather avoid most of the time.

But, of course, the grocery store conversation still piqued my interest, which meant coming home and doing a little more research.

The crystals are made from the sap of the coconut tree and are sometimes called palm sugar and it DOES have some health benefits.

In addition to its low-glycemic index (GI 35) which makes it diabetic-friendly, the crystals are chock-full of other nutritional benefits including:

  • 17 amino acids
  • High levels of vitamin C
  • Broad-spectrum B vitamins, including inosital which has a calming effect along with reducing blood cholesterol
  • Nearly neutral pH.
  • It also is high in inulin which means it’s digestive friendly.
  • Now, I can’t speak for all brands, but this particular one is supposedly also good for raw foodies. The makers of it say it is enzymatically alive.

The other aspect of coconut crystals that is especially appealing is that it is not artificial like so many sweeteners out there. It’s not even a by-product of sugar like so many of the sweet-things out there today. Instead, it is an all-natural, whole food that just gives a little oomph to other foods – and to your body!

In the sake of full disclosure, I didn’t end up buying coconut crystals this weekend, but my order is in with Vitacost.com (the lowest price I could find) so I’m excited about getting my canister and trying it out.

I will be sure to report back with any updates!

In the meantime, here are some links to the various brand pages and where to buy.

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