Cuckoo For Coconuts

****UPDATE 5/6/10 : GIVEAWAY CLOSED!ย  WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN SOON!!

Did you know that Early Spanish explorers called the coconut 'coco', which means "monkey face", because the three indentations (eyes) on the coconut resembles the head and face of a monkey?

I think that's pretty cute.

The coconut is very versatile, and is one few natural foods that is able to provide several different byproducts (meat, juice, milk, and oil).ย  According to the Coconut Research Center, "Nearly one third of the world's population depends on coconut to some degree for their food and their economy." I found that to be a very interesting fact, since the coconut is definitely viewed as a delicacy in the United States. In fact, I think it's viewed as more of a "what the heck do I do with that thing anyway?" type of food.

In addition to being mildly confusing to Americans, I feel that many people have also been programmed to shy away from the coconut due to the high fat content in the meat, milk, and oil. However, the benefits of coconut (especially coconut oil) are beginning to become more and more apparent. On Tuesdsay, it was mentioned in the Times of India that a UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering student is having positive results in treating acne with lauric acid (found in coconut oil), and plans to release the results of the study soon.

Research, especially in the area of coconut oil, is blowing up. If you click this link, you can see a search I did with the word "coconut" in both the title and abstract of the study. There are 68 studies listed since January 2008. The potential is there, now the research just needs to be followed through.

Coconut is our friend.

Personally, I have incorporated many coconut products into my life over the past year. Although I would consider myself to be more of a 'flexitarian' now, (although I primarily eat a vegetarian diet, I'll eat fish or chicken or eggs if I feel like it), I don't like the effects that dairy products have on my body. I know that there is conflicting research about the whole dairy/mucus problem, but personally, I notice a difference in my asthma when I eat conventional dairy products. I had ice cream last night while My Gazelle and I were enjoying a rare dinner out, and I woke up this morning searching for my sinus rinse because I couldn't breathe!

In place of the organic dairy milk that I was buying each week, I started buying So Delicious Coconut Milk instead. Seriously you guys...I do everything with the stuff. It's awesome. I also stopped using my standard Bath & Body Works and Victoria's Secret lotions and began moisturizing with coconut oil (this is the one I use). My skin has never been softer, and I don't feel bad when the dogs accidentally eat it. Yep, true story.

Speaking of ice cream.

Coconut ice cream, y'all!

I've tried a few different brands of coconut ice cream because, well...I love ice cream, but I hate being snotty.ย  Some of them have been mediocre. The usual problem I have with unconventional products are the texture. When we become accustomed to eating a particular product, we also become accustomed to the texture of the product. When a company comes up with an alternative to the original, they honestly have to hit the texture dead on for me to like the impostor version.

If the product tastes amazing, sometimes I can forget a minor flaw in the texture.

However, I make no exception when it comes to ice cream. Ice cream is gold.

A few weeks ago, I was probably ranting about something on Twitter (as I usually am), and Kiley from Luna & Larry's (Coconut Bliss) heard me. She probably just wanted me to stop complaining about having to go to the gym or something, but in any case, she offered to send me some Luna & Larry's coupons to try out their products.

"Umm...heck YEAH!" (said the ice cream lover)

She noted that she would send me coupons for two pints, as well as one box of ice cream bars, but also mentioned that I might not be able to find the bars right now because my nearest Luna & Larry's retailer (Whole Foods) just started carrying the bars.

Last weekend, I drove to Whole Foods (which was much closer and took me a lot less time to drive to than I originally anticipated) to pick up my booty. Miracle of all miracles...they HAD the ice cream bars, as well as several different flavors in the pints! I was very excited, and I might have done a happy dance right there in the aisle at Whole Foods. There's no shame.

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I "bought" a pint of Mint Galactica

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a pint of Vanilla Island

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and, the Dark Chocolate Bars

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Of course I tried both of the pint flavors as soon as I got home. In the same bowl. Eaten quickly to avoid melting together. (While I held a Dark Chocolate Bar in my free hand).

First, and most importantly, the texture is amazingly similar to conventional ice cream. It was not grainy (as I've often noticed in other products), and it also wasn't like the texture of Italian Ice or sorbet (which I've also noticed in other products). This was like the real deal...smooth, creamy, and it didn't leave that crazy film on your tongue like some other products do.

I tried the vanilla first, and I have to admit that there was a definite coconut flavor. Since I love coconut, this wasn't off-putting to me, but I would imagine that someone who isn't cuckoo for coconuts wouldn't enjoy the vanilla flavor. While trying the vanilla, I was simultaneously eating the Dark Chocolate Bar, and the texture and flavor amazingly resembles that of the traditional fudge pops that my mom used to buy. Loved it!

However...the mint galactica...

OH, THE MINT GALACTICA!

This flavor is like heaven in a cardboard pint. If a Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie and a peppermint patty had an open marriage with vegan buttercream frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and then had a baby together (I don't know how...you do the math on that one), THIS would be their lovechild. And she'd look like Halle Berry's daughter. Because Mint Galactica is beautiful.

And, because Kiley loves you, she wants you to try out your favorite Luna & Larry's love children for FRIZZLE!

You can be the proud Mama (or Daddy) of two pints and one box of bars of your choice, for the low price of one little comment on this post.

1) To enter, just answer this question in the comments section: "What is the worst impostor product that you've tried?"

2) If you've never tried an impostor product, just leave a comment and tell me your favorite kind of ice cream and I'll still let you enter...because I'm mostly just being nosy anyway.

3) If you'd like an extra entry, just tweet this: @joggerslife is giving away @LunaandLarrys Coconut Bliss, and I want some!ย  You can have some too! http://bit.ly/cb2aKW

4) You can also get an extra entry for mentioning the contest on your own blog. Just link to the contest (http://www.joggerslife.com/2010/cuckoo-for-coconuts/), I'll see it in my pingbacks, and I'll record it as an extra entry for you!

This contest will close next Thursday, May 6, 2010, at 12noon.

Good luck!!

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References: http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/

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