Health Benefits of Coconut Oil | Organic Facts

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has a multitude of health benefits, which include but are not limited to skin care, hair care, improving digestion and immunity against a host of infections and diseases. The oil is used not just in tropical countries, where coconut plantations are abundant, but also in the US and the UK. People are discovering the wonders this oil can create and it is again gaining popularity throughout the world. Let us see how many of these benefits you are aware of.

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Skin care: Coconut oil is excellent massage oil that acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skin, including dry skin. Unlike mineral oil, there is no chance of having any adverse side effects on the skin from the application of coconut oil. Therefore, it is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. It also delays the appearance of wrinkles and sagging of skin, which normally accompany aging.

It helps in preventing degenerative diseases premature aging due to its well-known antioxidant properties. It also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections. For that exact reason, coconut oil forms the base ingredient of various body care products like soaps, lotions, and creams that are used for skin care.

Hair care: Coconut oil helps in healthy growth of hair and gives your hair a shiny quality. It is also highly effective in reducing protein loss, which can lead to various unattractive or unhealthy qualities in your hair. It is used as hair care oil and is used in manufacturing various conditioners and dandruff relief creams. It is normally applied topically for hair care.

Coconut oil is extensively used in the Indian sub-continent for hair care. It is an excellent conditioner and helps the re-growth process of damaged hair. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing and healing damaged hair. Research studies indicate that coconut oil provides better protection to hair from damage caused by hygral fatigue.

By regularly massaging your head with coconut oil, you can ensure that your scalp is free of dandruff, even if your scalp is chronically dry. It also helps in keeping your hair and scalp free from lice and lice eggs.

Heart diseases: There is a misconception spread among many people that coconut oil is not good for heart health. This is because it contains a large quantity of saturated fats.In reality, it is beneficial for the heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in actively preventing various heart problems like high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. Coconut oil does not lead to increase in LDL levels, and it reduces the incidence of injury and damage to arteries and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis. Study suggests that intake of coconut oil may help to maintain healthy lipid profiles in pre-menopausal women.

Weight loss: Coconut oil is very useful for weight loss. It contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. Research suggests that coconut oil helps to reduce abdominal obesity in women. It is also easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and endocrine system. Further, it increases the body’s metabolic rate by removing stress on the pancreas, thereby burning more energy and helping obese and overweight people lose the weight. Hence, people living in tropical coastal areas, who use coconut oil every day as their primary cooking oil, are normally not fat, obese or overweight.

Immunity: It strengthens the immune system because it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which research has supported as an effective way to deal with viruses and bacteria that cause diseases like herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. Coconut oil helps in fighting harmful bacteria like listeria monocytogenes and helicobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.

Digestion: Internal functions of coconut oil occur primarily due to it being used as cooking oil. It helps to improve the digestive system and thus prevents various stomach and digestion-related problems including irritable bowel syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have antimicrobial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can cause indigestion. It also helps in the absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

Candida: Candida, also known as Systemic Candidiasis, is a tragic disease caused from excessive and uncontrolled growth of yeast called Candida Albicans in the stomach. Coconut provides relief from the inflammation caused by candida, both externally and internally. Its high moisture retaining capacity keeps the skin from cracking or peeling off. Capric acid, Caprylic acid, caproic acid, myristic acid and lauric acid found in coconut oil help in eliminating Candida albicans.

Further, unlike other pharmaceutical treatments for candida, the effects of coconut oil is gradual and not drastic or sudden, which gives the patient an appropriate amount of time to get used to the withdrawal symptoms or Herxheimer Reactions (the name given to the symptoms accompanying body’s rejection of toxins generated during elimination of these fungi). But, in the treatment of this condition, people should systematically and gradually increase their dosages of coconut oil and shouldn’t initially start with a large quantity.

 

Healing and Infections: When applied to infected areas, coconut oil forms a chemical layer that protects the infected body part from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria and viruses. Coconut oil is highly effective on bruises because it speeds up the healing process of damaged tissues.

According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil kills the viruses that cause influenza, measles, hepatitis, herpes, SARS, and other serious health risks. It also kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and gonorrhoea. Finally, coconut oil is also effective in the elimination of fungi and yeast that cause ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, and diaper rash.

Other Benefits

Coconut oil is strongly recommended for a number of other benefits that are explained below. Using coconut oils has been shown to mildly help the following:

Liver: The presence of medium chain triglycerides and fatty acids helps in preventing liver diseases because those substances are easily converted into energy when they reach the liver, thus reducing the work load of the liver and also preventing accumulation of fat.

Kidney: It helps in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases. It also helps to dissolve kidney stones.

Pancreatitis: Coconut oil is also believed to be useful in treating pancreatitis.

Stress relief: Coconut oil is very soothing and hence it helps in removing stress. Applying it to the head, followed by a gentle massage, helps to eliminate mental fatigue. According to research virgin coconut oil gives relief from stress and has antioxidant properties.

Diabetes: Coconut oil helps in controlling blood sugar, and improves the secretion of insulin. It also promotes the effective utilization of blood glucose, thereby preventing and treating diabetes.

Bones: As mentioned earlier, coconut oil improves the ability of our body to absorb important minerals. These include calcium and magnesium, which are necessary for the development of bones. Thus, it is very useful to women who are prone to osteoporosis after middle age.

Dental care: Calcium is an important component of our teeth. Since coconut oil facilitates absorption of calcium by the body, it helps in developing strong teeth. It also stops tooth decay. Recent research suggests that coconut oil is beneficial in reducing plaque formation and plaque induced gingivitis.

HIV and cancer: It is believed that coconut oil plays an instrumental role in reducing a person’s viral susceptibility for HIV and cancer patients. Preliminary research has shown an indication of this effect of coconut oil on reducing the viral load of HIV patients.

Coconut oil is often used by athletes, body builders and by those who are dieting. The reason behind this being that it contains less calories than other oils, its fat content is easily converted into energy, and it does not lead to accumulation of fat in the heart and arteries. Coconut oil helps boost energy and endurance, and generally enhances the performance of athletes.

Coconut oil and Alzheimer’s disease: The research conducted by Dr. Newport states that the oil is useful in treating Alzheimer’s disease. Apart from this there is no scientific evidence or traditional knowledge of coconut oil being used for treating Alzheimer’s. In fact, it is not traditionally thought that the oil helps in boosting the function of the brain in any form.

Use as Carrier Oil

Carrier oils are those oils, which easily penetrate or absorb into the skin and thus facilitate seepage or absorption of other oils (such as essential oils) and herbal extracts through the skin when mixed into it.It is easily absorbed through the skin’s pores and thus is used as carrier oil. Furthermore, being one of the most stable oils, it doesn’t go rancid, nor does it let the other oils, herbal extracts, or medicines spoil inside of it. It does not alter the properties of the oils and herbs mixed within it. It also protects the herbs and oils from microbial or fungal interactions. Coconut oil is expensive in several countries; however, in tropical countries its cost is low enough to make it affordable as carrier oil.

Buying Coconut Oil

There are primarily 6 varieties of coconut oil: pure, refined, virgin, organic, fractionated and extra virgin (this is most debated form as there are no standards on virginity and it is unclear as to what qualifies as extra virgin oil). When you want to buy coconut oil, first of all, you need to decide why you need it and where you are going to use it. Your choice should be based on your need, like whether you want it for edible purposes or as a carrier oil to be used in aromatherapy, for massaging, for weight loss, or for medicinal purposes. Below is a list of such purposes and the type of coconut oil to buy.

Purpose————–Preferable Type to Buy

Cooking—————-Refined

Weight Loss———–Virgin

As a Carrier Oil——-Virgin, Fractionated

Good Health———-Virgin, Organic

Massaging————-Pure, Refined

Hair——————–Pure, Refined

Medicinal uses——–Virgin, Virgin Organic

Furthermore, before you buy coconut oil, you should keep in mind that for edible and therapeutic uses, refined oil is the best as it is hygienic and clean. Unrefined oil is good for external applications like hair care and skin care.

How to use and store it?

Unlike most other oils, coconut oil has a high melting point – about 24 to 25 degrees Celsius or 76-78 Fahrenheit. Therefore it is solid at room temperature and melts only when the temperature rises considerably. It is often in this form, and obviously, don’t keep it in your refrigerator.

If you are using coconut oil for topical purposes, especially hair care, just melt the oil (if it is solid) by keeping the bottle in the sun or soaking it in warm water. You can also take some oil out and put it in a small bowl and heat the bowl over a flame (don’t use a microwave). Then, take the oil on your palm and apply it to your hair. If you want to use it for internal consumption, simply replace butter or vegetable oils with coconut oil in your recipes. Remember, you don’t need to completely switch to coconut oil, because then you will lose the other benefits of more traditional oils and dairy products.

In colder countries, coconut oil comes in good, broad containers. However, if you get it in a pack (tetra-pack or plastic pouch), after opening the pack, be sure to keep the oil in containers with tight lid and broad mouth so that you can scoop it out with a spoon if it solidifies. Keeping it sealed or lidded is necessary because there are other admirers of coconut oil (ants, cockroaches, other insects and rodents just love it!).

I don’t like the taste of coconut oil. What should I do?: Try using it in a variety of different recipes. However, if you get nauseated after eating coconut oil, don’t force yourself to eat it. As can happen with any food item, your body may be allergic to coconut oil and it is best not to consume it.

Where to buy from?: Pure and refined coconut oils are easily available in most grocery stores, especially in tropical countries. For other varieties, you may need to search in larger department stores or drug stores. In countries which do not produce coconut oil, like the US, Canada, and most of Europe, you will need to visit big grocers or grocery stores in localities which have higher populations of people from India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Philippines, and coastal Africa. Obviously, you can order it online as well and have it delivered wherever you live.

Which brand to buy?: When you are buying coconut oil in packs, go for the reliable and reputable brands. Read the contents carefully and check the manufacturing date (although it has a long shelf life, fresher is still better).

How much to pay?: The price of coconut oil depends on many factors such as its availability (cheaper where it is produced and more costly in other places, and it is even more expensive when ordered via phone, Internet etc.). The price is also affected by demand, variety (the refined one costs the least, followed by the fractionated, the virgin, the organic and the organic virgin coconut oils), brand, and quantity (buying in bulk costs a little less).

How much to buy? Buy only as much you can consume in few months, because despite the fact that coconut oil does not go rancid for a long time, it is not wise to store it unnecessarily. You will get better results with fresh coconut oil.

Composition of Coconut Oil

More than 90% of coconut oil consists of saturated fats (Don’t panic! It’s not as bad as it sounds, read to the end of this review and your opinion may change), along with traces of a few unsaturated fatty acids, such as monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Virgin coconut oil is no different from this.

Saturated fatty acids: Most of them are medium chain triglycerides, which are supposed to assimilate well in the body’s systems.

  • Lauric acid is the chief contributor, representing more than 40% of the total, followed by capric acid, caprylic acid, myristic acid and palmitic. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin. Lauric acid is helpful in dealing with viruses and diseases.
  • Capric acid reacts with certain enzymes secreted by other bacteria, which subsequently convert it into a powerful antimicrobial agent, monocaprin.
  • Caprylic acid, caproic acid and myristic acid are rich in antimicrobial and antifungal properties

Unsaturated fatty acids: Polyunsaturated fatty acids- linoleic acid, monounsaturated fatty acids- Oleic acid

Poly-phenols: Coconut contains Gallic acid, which is also known as phenolic acid. These polyphenols are responsible for the fragrance and the taste of coconut oil and Virgin Coconut Oil is rich in these polyphenols.

Derivatives of fatty acid: Betaines, ethanolamide, ethoxylates, fatty esters, fatty polysorbates, monoglycerides and polyol esters.

Derivatives of fatty alcohols: Fatty chlorides, fatty alcohol sulphate and fatty alcohol ether sulphate

Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamin E, vitamin K and minerals such as iron.

Hope this will be of some help to you. Got any suggestions? Your comments are welcome! You may also share this information with your friends. Thanks!

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10 Things You Need To Know About Soy

10 Things You Need To Know About Soy

Tackling the topic of soy is a little like trying to untangle my four year-old daughter’s hair. First, I feel overwhelmed just looking at the mess. And then, when I tackle it, more and more tangles keep appearing!

That’s why, for years, I avoided looking at all the data on soy.

Finally, folks, I did it for you. As a health professional, I get asked about soy a lot, as it’s one of the most common food allergens in the westernized world.

And it’s only gotten more confusing recently. A few years ago, soy manufacturers funded a PR push after some studies showed it helped ease some menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. But then the pendulum swung the other way and soy became the scapegoat for almost everything under the sun, including cancer.

If you’re adopting a plant-based lifestyle, this is an even trickier topic, since you’re faced with soy in practically every product in the vegetarian section of your grocery store. It’s difficult to completely remove soy from your diet as it’s practically everywhere; you’d have to drastically move away from all mainstream food choices to avoid it completely.

But what is the real risk of moderate consumption? And why is there so much polarized information?

I’ve tried to boil it all down to the top 10 facts you need to know about soy:

1. Soy feed is the major ingredient in modern animal feed.

Along with corn, fat-free (defatted) soybean meal is a significant and inexpensive source of protein for animal feeds. Without soy, it would be impossible to raise farm animals (such as chicken, hog, turkey) on a large industrial scale. Did you know that the US produced over 90 million tons of soy in 2011, making it the largest soy producer in the world?

2. It’s estrogen-like.

Soy’s role as a natural hormone replacement was touted for many years because soy contains isoflavones, which are similar to estrogen. While isoflavones may act like estrogen, they can block the more potent natural estrogens from binding to the estrogen receptor. So, it’s much more complex[1] than is usually presented in the media.

How does this affect kids? I am concerned about my son, who tends to like soy meat replacement products. How much is OK? A few experts on the subjects weighed in on this question[2] and concluded that about two servings a day should be the upper limit of soy intake for boys and girls.

3. It may contribute to breast cancer.

This, to me, was the thorniest issue. Some articles supported the idea that soy contributes to breast cancer, but most of them studied soy consumption at extremely high levels. Also, many of them were animal studies. And most of them had the participants eat processed soy.

However, the Weston A. Price foundation made a nice summary page of all literature that supports soy and breast cancer[3]. Quite a few sources say that soy does not correlate with an increase of risk of breast cancer and I found a good summary of it here[4].

4. Soy may affect your thyroid especially if you are already hypothyroid.

It’s now accepted, even by soy advocates, that people with hypothyroidism should avoid consuming more than 1 serving a day of soy[5].

Because soy is a goitrogen (meaning that it promotes the growth of a goiter), it can slow thyroid function, and sometimes, trigger thyroid disease[6] if taken in large quantities. Also, children who drink soy formula tend to develop problems with their thyroid at a higher rate than other children.

5. Most soy is GMO.

In fact, 93% of all soy in the US is genetically modified[7]. Also, in the US, there are no rules to separate GMO soy from non GMO fields of soy.

6. It is often highly processed.

Like wheat, part of the problem with soy is that it often presents itself in the processed form of snacks, cakes, and meat alternatives. In my practice, I find that cutting out soy and wheat from the diet is partially beneficial because it also means you cut out processed foods such as cakes, cookies and other junk food.

7. Soy is a complete protein.

Soybeans are a source of complete protein[8]. They are considered as being almost equivalent in protein quality to animal proteins.

8. Soybean oil is processed with Hexane.

Most of the soy crop in the U.S. is used to produce soybean oil, and uses hexane (a chemical solvent) in its intial stages of extraction[9]. If you choose organic soy products or unprocessed soy (like edamame)—you don’t have to worry about hexane use.

9. Soybean provide a large amount of protein with moderate amounts of fat.

This is a fact. 100g of soy contains 173 calories[10], with 9 grams of fat, 10 grams of carbs (6 of which are fiber) and 17 grams of protein.

10. Soy has been eaten in Asian countries for thousands of years.

Soy farming in China and East asia started in 1100 BC. The Japanese and Chinese eat 10 grams of soy protein[11] per day (although some groups in these countries eat as much as 50 grams). Also much of the soy that is consumed is fermented, which makes it a healthier choice. But in America, many soy supplements and powders can have as much as 50 grams of soy protein in one serving.

Ok, so what’s the final verdict?

I’ll let you decide … but if I were you, I’d avoid consuming processed soy.

That said, having edamame at restaurant, or a couple of whole organic, non-GMO or fermented soy meals per week is fine for most people.

I know that everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but I wanted to present the facts as I see them so you can make an informed decision. What’s your stance on soy?

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10 Things People In Their 20s Should Do NOW To Be Healthy Later In Life[12]

Young men and women in their 20s don’t always do all that they can to prevent problems later in life. After all, a 20-something is young and healthy, right? The future is so far away! Read [13]

5 Foods and Herbs for Healing Cancer » Natural News Blogs

5 Foods and Herbs for Healing Cancer

Much research has been done on cancer treatments in recent decades to improve therapies for the millions of Americans who are fighting this disease. What some may not be aware of, however, is that many foods and herbs have demonstrated potent anti-cancer properties and can improve both longevity and quality of life. Five of these are discussed below.

Sea Vegetables
Popular in Asia, sea vegetables such as kombu, kelp and nori (the seaweed best known in the preparation of sushi dishes) have all demonstrated remarkable abilities to fight cancer. They are a rich source of natural iodine, a deficiency of which has shown up in many ovarian and breast cancer patients. They also alkalize the body with high levels of calcium and potassium: the alkaline environment is very unfriendly to cancer cells.

Algae
Consumption of algae has been commonplace in Africa and Asia for generations, and the publicity received in recent years for the remarkable properties of algae like chlorella and spirulina has introduced it to the West. Algae are wonderful detoxifiers that can remove heavy metals from the body and strengthen the immune system by encouraging the growth of beneficial bacteria. They are also rich in Vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K as well as minerals like iron, zinc and magnesium. In addition, they contain incredibly potent antioxidants like beta-carotene which are renowned for their cancer-fighting power.

Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables include cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower and are another powerful and natural way to fight cancer. Vegetables from this family all contain sulforaphane, a phytochemical that is able to detoxify cancer-causing agents before they are able to damage healthy cells; it also contains chemicals which believe help activate enzymes that detoxify the body. Inclusion of these vegetables in the diet is believed to lower the risk for cancer and halt the growth of tumors in the breast, female reproductive tract, colon, liver and lung.

Medicinal Mushrooms
Mushrooms like reishi and chaga also have the ability to fight cancer; this is due to the fact that they contain a rich array of active compounds including polysaccharides (a complex carbohydrate which can boost the immune system), polyphenols (molecules that are strong anti-oxidants), as well as flavonoids, folates, carotenoids and various enzymes and organic acids. This combination packs quite a powerful punch and have drawn the interest of researchers and oncologists. One recent study showed that regular inclusion of reishi in the diet did in fact prohibit the growth and proliferation of tumors.

Aloe Vera
Most people are aware of aloe vera as a topical medicine only, but when taken orally, its polysaccharides have been proven to modulate the immune system and fight the formation and growth of cancerous tumors. One study published in International Immunopharmacology found that these polysaccharides were able to stimulate the production of nitric oxide, which inhibits tumors. Aloe vera is also rich in minerals, vitamins, amino acids and phytochemicals that can eliminate bacteria, viruses and fungi from the body. This can make it a powerful tool for the body to use when fighting cancer.

A diet which includes any or all of the following foods does more than just boost the health. It nourishes the immune system and can help those battling cancer to live longer and have a better quality of life.

Giving Tofu the New Look It Deserves – NYTimes.com

Giving Tofu the New Look It Deserves

Evan Sung for The New York Times

By MARK BITTMAN
July 7, 2014

It’s not likely that tofu will become anyone’s favorite food; this we know. Those who grew up in households where it was well prepared may relish it, but for the rest of us it’s a bit of a requisite, something we think we “should” eat in place of chicken or eggs whenever we can stomach it.

However. With meat substitutes and even alternative animal protein like bugs surging in popularity — or at least media attention — it’s time to re-evaluate and finally embrace the original plant-based mock meat. (There are others, of course: seitan, or wheat gluten, which in the current anti-gluten climate is difficult to talk about, and tempeh, a fermented soy and grain product that I don’t cook with much. That could change.)

I like tofu. I cook it a couple of times a week, which is more often than I cook chicken. It’s as natural a product as mozzarella, arguably simpler (you don’t need a cow, for one thing) and similarly produced: In both cases, you take milk and you add something that will clump it up. Period. In one case the milk is dairy, and in the other it’s soy.

The differences between the two are obvious, and we could argue about whether good fresh mozzarella offers a better eating experience than good fresh tofu (neither has much flavor without some condiments), but what’s inarguable is that tofu is our most versatile form of nonanimal concentrated protein, as well as the least processed and the most traditional. Andrea Nguyen, in her valuable “Asian Tofu,”[1] says tofu has been made for about 2,000 years and has been popular since the 10th century.

 

Scrambled tofu with tomatoes.

Evan Sung for The New York Times


There are, of course, hyperprocessed or preflavored forms of tofu, or both, that range from Tofu Pups to pressed tofu (usually flavored with five-spice powder or something like it, and incredibly easy to cook well), to fermented tofu, which is both ancient and delicious, if somewhat stinkily off-putting to some.

I’m not talking about any of that. And I’m not talking about making your own tofu, although that’s easy enough. I’m talking buying bricks of plain old tofu, the kind you cut into cubes or, if you’re fancy, diamonds; the kind that we dutifully stir-fried with broccoli and soy sauce back in the ’70s. I’m talking about using tofu in ways that really play up its strengths and make it if not the best choice for a dish then a substitute that doesn’t feel like a compromise but simply another way of doing things.

All of the recipes here make a point, none better than Tofu “Chorizo.” It starts with taking tofu and crumbling it finely, as if it were ground or coarsely chopped. You can do that in 20 seconds, with no utensil other than your hands. Then you then cook it until the water is driven out, as you would ground beef or chicken, to get a result that’s very similar to ground meat. What you wind up with are little crispy bits of fat and protein that have some chew and the flavor of whatever you cooked with them.

I don’t want this to be a competition — I eat meat — but put this stuff in tacos and no one will know the difference. You’ll have saved money and cooked a product with a lighter carbon footprint, no animal welfare issues and fewer health threats than any meat. That kind of proselytizing aside, try the dish and see whether you think it’s any good.

 

Evan Sung for The New York Times


I love silken tofu in soups and soupy stir-fries because it puffs and firms up a bit, becoming quite juicy and, if the other ingredients are right, quite delicious. But silken tofu has other properties very akin to cream. The Chocolate Tofu Pudding[2] I ran in these pages five years ago is among the most popular and surprising recipes I’ve ever developed. A more recent development, Chocolate Avocado Mousse, is in my latest book, “The VB6 Cookbook[3]” and, I think, equally successful.

But the best use for silken tofu is what you might call vegannaise, an egg-free mayo that takes five minutes. (I know, the recipe says 10, but that doesn’t allow for multitasking.) It’s a recipe that never fails and can be varied, say, by adding basil, in all the ways you’d vary real mayonnaise. (Eggs are nicely mimicked, too, when you scramble firm tofu with vegetables or grains. I wouldn’t say no one could tell the difference, but I will say this kind of scramble is easy and satisfying.)

A good meat substitute should at least occasionally offer some real chew, and one of the common complaints about tofu is that to make it chewy you have to process it somehow. (Of course, chicken breasts aren’t very pleasant in their raw state either.) Hence, we have the pressed tofu mentioned above, the new preflavored and even precooked products like grilled tofu or the long explanations and techniques for pressing and weighting tofu.

None of that is necessary. If you bake tofu, you can dry it out and firm it up as much as you like. I’ve developed a tofu jerky recipe that’s nearly as tough as beef jerky. When it becomes firm, you can turn it into a fine escabeche or sauce it in 100 different ways. I offer Manchurian-style here, but you can do this with Provençal, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, Sichuan or many other seasonings; stir-fry it like chicken.

This is not a dish that’s trying to fool people — it’s tofu, all right — but it is intended to persuade them, and you, that in an era when many cooks are looking to cut back on meat, this is an ingredient worth taking seriously. Finally.

Recipes: Tofu Escabeche[4] | Scrambled Tofu With Tomatoes, Scallions and Soy Sauce[5] | Tofu Mayonnaise[6] | Tofu ‘Chorizo’[7]

More recipes are at NYT Cooking[8], which is under development as the recipe resource of The New York Times. If you don’t yet have access, sign up for the wait list, at cooking.nytimes.com[9].

A List of Summer Picnic Bowls – 101 Cookbooks

A List of Summer Picnic Bowls

This coming weekend I’m planning a break from the fog. If all goes well, there will be sun-bright days, star-lit skies, pine trees, bare feet, and eating outdoors. There will be a river. There will be a grill. There will be a cabin. All the necessary components for California mountain summering. I’m incredibly excited. As soon as we solidified our plans I started going through my archives looking for ideas for good picnic-style salads to make, and found myself drafting a list of contenders. It occurred to me that it might be helpful to post the list here as well. Most of these salads are the sort that can be prepped, in large part, ahead of time. And they’re all meant to be served family-style as part of a larger spread. I hope it’s helpful. Here’s to long weekends, long days, and summer adventures. xo -h

 

Mung Yoga Bowl – The kind of bowl that keeps you strong – herb-packed yogurt dolloped over a hearty bowl of mung beans and quinoa, finished with toasted nuts and a simple paprika oil.

 

California Barley Bowl – Plump barley grains tossed with sprouts (or greens), nuts, avocado, a bit of cheese – all dolloped with a simple yogurt sauce.

 

Avocado Salad – thinly sliced avocado arranged over simple lentils, drizzled with oregano oil, toasted hazelnuts, and chives.

 

Roasted Vegetable Orzo – Roasted delicata squash and kale tossed w/ orzo pasta & salted yogurt dressing. For summer you can swap in seasonal squash or vegetables in place of the delicata.

 

Coconut Corn Salad – SImple. Butter a skillet add corn, fresh thyme, red onions, toasted almonds and coconut, and finish with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

 

Yellow Bean Salad – A summer yellow bean salad with a green chile-spiked, cilantro-flecked, and coconut milk dressing, toasted pepitas, and (if you want to make a meal of it) pan-fried tofu.

 

Heirloom Tomato Salad – A favorite tomato salad, made with roasted and ripe tomatoes, capers, mozzarella, almonds, and chives.

 

Ginger Soba Noodles – Soba noodles tossed with a creamy-ginger dressing and topped with crispy tofu, tarragon, and toasted delicata squash seeds.

Shaved Fennel Salad – Shaved fennel, arugula, zucchini coins, feta, toasted almonds.

 

Buttermilk Farro Salad – Farro with shaved radishes, zucchini, and fennel tossed with a tangy herbed buttermilk vinaigrette.