Are Your Coconuts Costing The Earth?
Coconut products are everywhere at the moment and we can't deny that we at Honestly Healthy don't love them either. Coconut oil which is derived from the flesh of a
coconut is rich in medium chain fats, which are not only good for our immune system, but also for fat burning and energy production. Brilliant for cooking with too and great for our hair, skin and general wellbeing, while its nectar has a very low GI and is a fantastic alternative to refined sugar. Its uses and benefits go on.
But what cost does our environment pay for this exponential increase in the demand for this super food?
The news over the last couple of months has reported terrible smog problems in the likes of Singapore and Malaysia due to prevailing winds carrying smoke from the slash and burn deforestation going on in the likes of Sumatra. Slash and burn is illegal in South East Asia but is the cheapest and easiest way to clear the land of virgin forest, so everyone does it. But why are they chopping and burning this forest area in the first place? To grow palm trees – not only for coconut oil but for palm oil too.
As you can imagine, there is more than one warning sign with this sort of practice. Firstly, what sort of effect is this smog having on our health? Those with heart problems, asthma, respiratory issues, the elderly and most scarily children, can be at great risk if living in smoggy environments while the risk of lung cancer is greatly increased.
Secondly, the vast areas that are being slashed and burned are greatly limiting the living environment for hundreds of species, including the 400 remaining Sumatran tigers. Greenpeace are already protesting against the illegal clearing of forested areas and are coming up against big companies such as Wilmar (who supply palm oil to the likes of Oreo and Gillette) who are in on the production of these ‘dirty palms’.
Thirdly, what on earth is this doing to our environment!? Deforestation & carbon dioxide in poisonous quantities!
So what can we do to play a part in stopping this? The answer is:
a) Don't eat Oreos or buy Gillette!
b) Source your products responsibly.
c) Don't get obsessed with one product and over use it – diets should be balanced after all.
We are very lucky to work closely with TIANA
who have a fantastic relationship with the local farmers who supply their coconut products. The TIANA Fair Trade Project
started in 2009 with the aim of helping coconut farmers achieve a better livelihood. The TIANA Fair Trade Project guarantees a fair price for the coconuts it buys, guaranteeing that coconut farmers earn at least 25% more than the minimum wage requirements in the Philippines. So far the project has benefitted thousands of people in the Philippines by funding improvements in healthcare, education and infrastructure. The TIANA Fair Trade Project also involves the purchasing of seeds and planting coconut trees, thus providing sustainable agriculture by securing a permanent source of income for generations to come. TIANA does not purchase any product grown on land that has been cleared from natural virgin forest and is committed to the local environment.
It is important to know whether or not the product has been grown on land that has been cleared from natural virgin forest. As part of Fair Trade, the production is regularly checked by ECOCERT
, so look out for this symbol when buying any Fair Trade product.
By finding out this valuable information, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits and taste of great super foods such as TIANA Fair Trade Organic Raw Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
and also rest assured that this product is sourced using sustainable agricultural methods and the added bonus that by purchasing the product you are significantly benefitting to the communities that produce them.
Wheat has become a grain that we all eat far too much of. Every ingredient that we eat should be eaten in moderation - diets should be balanced. Don't therefore use coconut products in everything you make and check that palm oil is not being used in any other items that you might buy. Do your bit and your body will benefit as well as the environment!
Coconut oil is great to use as an alternative to olive oil when cooking at higher temperatures. Check out our feature on Alkaline Cooking Methods for more details.
Coconut water is also a fantastic way to rehydrate - read more about the importance of hydration for brilliant skin here.
Remember - all in moderation though!