Monday, March 25, 2013

Eat Coconut Palm Sugar Instead Of … Take Your Pick

Palm trees line a path in Brazil

Coconut Palm Sugar is a savory tasting sweetener  that's been historically used by people living in tropical latitudes around the globe. It's  a nature-made alternative to the products in the blue, pink and yellow packages.

How To Enjoy Palm Sugar's Taste

I use tapped palm sugar in robust flavored beverages like dark roasted coffee and Moroccan mint tea. I like the aromatic flavor with its exotic, syrupy aftertaste as a change of pace from white cane sugar.
The aftertaste is pleasant, different and not too sweet. It's taste is somewhat similar to brown sugar but with better flavor.

This is very unlike some controversial sweeteners produced under virtually pharmaceutical manufacturing conditions, and which seem to taste bitter and sickeningly sweet to me. 

Brazillian Coconut Plantation
Coconut Palm Tree Plantation in Brazil

How Coconut Palm Sugar is Produced

Palm trees produce sugary syrup  in two ways--
  • One, sap exuded by coconut flower blossoms is tapped for coconut sugar;
  • Two, from a tap placed directly in the tree trunk, just like a maple tree tap, to collect palm syrup.
Both products are then heated under low temperatures to produce syrup or crystals.

The Global Love Of Palm Wine

Interestingly, coconut and palm sugar are both made into alcoholic beverages, like palm wine, throughout Asia, Africa  and Pacifica (especially in India, Nigeria and the Philippines).

King Coconut Palm Tree in Bud
King Coconut Palm Tree in Bud

Coconut Palm Sugar Farming

According to coconut oil producer Tropical Traditions, there is some controversy about whether coconut and palm sugar production is a sustainable agriculture practice. Here is the link to Tropical Traditions’ blog about coconut palm sugar agriculture: The Truth About Coconut Palm Sugar.

Many brands of palm sugar are available at health food stores or at online stores.

Diabetes and Palm Sugar

Coconut palm sugar’s effect on blood sugar levels is currently being studied at Wageningen University in the Netherlands with support from a WHO medical research grant. 
Many producers claim that coconut palm sugar is low-glycemic.  It may well be.  But if you are diabetic, please test your own blood sugar level. Then test again and lastly, test once more.

Take To The Air With Kite Flying

Kite flying at a tournament

It's blustery today  in Chicago and I started thinking about kite flying.  I haven't  done that in years!  I wonder if there will a tournament at the lake front sometime soon.  It's awesome to watch the participants smoothly handle their kites so far up in the air.  And it's great family fun!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Bible Meditations For Palm Sunday

I am ever thankful for all of God's gifts which include palm trees. Here are the  blessings of Bible  verses for  meditation on Palm Sunday:

Prosper like a Palm Tree

But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose  leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
Bible Psalm 1:2-3

The Righteous Are Like a Palm Tree

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon,
planted in the house of the Lord,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,
 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;
 he is my Rock, and there is no
 wickedness in him.”
Bible Psalm 92:12-15

Why We Love God

Your stature is like that of the palm,
and your breasts like clusters of
I said, “I will climb the palm tree,
I will take hold of its fruit.”
May your breasts be like the clusters
 of the vine,
the fragrance of your breath like
and your mouth like the best wine.
Bible Song of Songs 7:7-9

With God There Is No Fear And No Worry

“But blessed is the man who trusts in
the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the
that sends out its roots by the
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
Bible Jeremiah 17:7-8

Jesus Told Us Not To Fear and Don't Worry

The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his was on his way to Jerusalem.  They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the King of Israel!”
Bible John 12:12

Note:  All verses are from the NIV Bible

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Give Orchids Coconut Water For Lush Blooms

orchid potted in a coconut shell
Orchid potted  in an organic coconut shell
Just 6 or 7 years ago, if I wanted a cup or so of coconut water there were only 2 ways to get it: 1) Fly out to Jamaica or 2) Find a local grocery store that sold brown coconuts. Back then, I didn’t drink the coconut water:  I fed it to my orchids and successfully bloomed and re-bloomed plants!

Lot’s of times I wondered if the Jamaican option would be easier because the grocery store coconuts would often be almost dried-up.

Bottled or packaged coconut water was unheard of in most of  America just a decade ago.
Jar of cloned orchid seedlings
Cloned orchid seedlings

The potassium in the coconut water made a huge different during the initial root growth spurt of my miniature Cattleyas. I used coconut water and banana peel organic supplements to successfully bloom my orchids.

I used traditional fertilizers as well but I wanted to wean my plants off of the stronger inorganic fertilizers as much as possible.

I no longer grow orchids because I do not have the proper light conditions.  I always used some supplemental light in the past. But in my current location I would have had to raise them 100% under grow lights. That would have been just too time-consuming, too costly and not esthetic-looking at all.

My Tips For Starting A Successful Orchid Program

  • Buy blooming plants only from dedicated orchid growers.  I have had success with plants from Orchids by Hausermann and Santa Barbara Orchid Estate. Avoid plants from florists, big box stores and grocery stores.
  • Respect the light, water and food requirements of the specific orchid you purchase:  Do some research or ask your grower. If you cannot provide the correct types and amounts of light, food and water, you will not get any blooms and you will condemn the plant to a slow death.
  • Use organic fertilizer supplementation along with traditional fertilizers to save money and to avoid excessive growth which insects love to munch on.

Bicolor miniature Cattleya
Beautiful bicolor miniature Cattleya
 The best organic supplements for any plant, not just orchids, are banana peel, fish emulsion and coconut water. Add these supplements to your orchid program and you will get strong plants with lush blooms.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Use Coconut And Technology For Spring Cleaning

Dirty bathroom sink
This Sink is overdue for cleaning and disinfection

Trash some of the harsh, scary-smelling chemicals in your cabinet and start Spring Cleaning with coconut. Here are some ways to use coconut products for house cleaning that's done right.

  1. Coconut oil based liquid castile soap for general cleaning and degreasing
  2. Coconut and banana oil jewelry cleaner for removing adhesives (test first)
  3. Plain coconut oil for shining metal appliances and art d’ objects (test first)
  4. Coconut coir cleaning brushes
  5. Coconut coir doormat to keep outdoor soil from entering your home

After having my lungs seared by a mold remover I bought from a big box store, I started rethinking the whole harsh chemical approach. I reduced my harsh cleaner use to small, meager amounts of ammonia, bleach, pine and “easy” green.


For most cleaning purposes, I use liquid castile soap formulated with a fragrant medicinal essential oil that antimicrobial.  It cleans very effectively and degreases in a flash. What’s more is that I can use the soap by the drop- it’s that economical!


Redesigned floor mop
Redesigned floor mop

But to truly clean AND disinfect, I follow-up with a non-chemical technology to control the growth of bacteria, viruses, mold and mildew, like one of the following types of equipment:

  1. UVA light scanner
  2. Steam Cleaner
  3. Ion generator
  4. New designs of mops, brooms and sponges
Cleaning and disinfecting larger areas with technology is the biggest timesaver of all and very economical. Cleaning products made with coconut really work, save time, reduce waste and aren’t harmful to me or the environment.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Party Smart On Spring Break, Drink Coconut Water

Backlight Beach Seen
Party at the beach until dawn with coconut water instead!

Don’t wait to happen upon a street vendor selling coconut water while cruising... I mean, strolling during Spring Break. It's almost like coconut water was made for Spring Break but BYOB to drink while partying under strenuous and exhausting conditions, like:
  • Playing volleyball on hot sand,
  • Lolling on the beach under a hot sun,
  • On the street buffeted by a sea of college students,
  • At concerts,
  • Sightseeing.
You can avoid fatigue by staying hydrated with coconut water, instead of marinated with alcoholic drinks.
Drink coconut water on Spring Break to stay fresh and energetic while you party hearty because: Fresh and energetic is really sexy on the beach. (Safety 1st, Stay Safe, Stay Alive!)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Estee Lauder SENSUOUS Satin Body Lotion Review – Smoldering Oud Drama

Smoldering wood chips
Oud is a fragrance note from agarwood
 Fragrance Reviewed: Estee Lauder SENSUOUS Satin Body Lotion
Rating:  4 out of 5 points
Where to Buy:  Fine Department Stores or online at                 
Type:  Body Lotion
Use:  Evening
Fragrance Notes:  Oud, woody
Price:  $45.00 for 6.7 oz.
Impressions:  The oud note is front and center in this lotion. Estee Lauder got it right, the Vietnamese oud note is masterfully blended for a smoldering incense-like experience. The lotion uses coconut oil, jojoba seed oil and dimethicone for moisturizers.
The woody note is much more pronounced in the lotion than in the perfume. Oud, AKA agarwood, is much beloved in Middle Eastern and Far East countries. All of oud’s intoxicating intensity is present in Sensuous Satin Body Lotion and is not muted by floral or musky notes.
The oud note in the perfume rollerball is no where near as heady as the body lotion.

While the perfume is suitable for day, the body lotion is a different story.  The lotion is definitely for evening wear.  Beware:  other people may just not ‘get’ the aroma of oud.
The coconut oil and jojoba oil make this lotion easy to apply.  The lotion is very long lasting and effective for moderately dry skin.
If you have been seeking the oud fragrance note in a Western fragrance product, you don’t have to look any further than Estee Lauder SENSUOUS Satin Body Lotion. The coconut oil makes the lotion a winner for perfumed skin care.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Coconut Oil Is The Best BB Cream!

Coconut oil BB cream
Coconut Oil is an edible BB cream

Millions of women  living in tropical latitudes use coconut oil as a  beauty balm (BB). Coconut oil is a multi-purpose BB cream and benefits my skin in a number of different ways. 

Ways I Use Coconut Oil As A BB Cream

  1. Moisturizing Facial Cleanser
  2. Dry Winter Skin Moisturizer
  3. Age Spot Remover
  4. Skin tone cream
  5. SPF 6 Sunscreen
  6. Make-up Remover (not on eye makeup though)
  7. Body Moisturizer that removes ashy flakes
  8. Body Sheen cream
  9. Hand cream
  10. Foot cream

How Coconut Oil Works As A BB cream

Coconut oil BB cream for the entire body
Use Coconut Oil BB cream on your entire body

Coconut oil is edible and packed full of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals that enhance and protect your skin. The fatty acids in coconut oil are remarkably similar to human sebum.

Best Things About Coconut Oil BB Cream

  • It’s vegan and cruelty-free.
  • It does not contain drying petroleum products.
  • It contains no artificial colors or whiteners that diminish skin tone.
  • There are no artificial fragrances that can irritate skin.

How To Use Coconut Oil On Your Skin

Massage a ¼ teaspoon on your fingertips and apply to your face. Remove the oil with a warm wet facial tissue. 
On your body, coconut oil can be layered over your regular body lotion for added moisture or used by itself.

I use coconut oil BB cream in one or more ways everyday.  It leaves my skin revitalized, smooth, spotless and remarkably softer.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner With a Taste For Coconut Oil!

Chemical Plant Superstructure and Worker
Chemical Plant Superstructure and Worker
 BASF and Cargill, two of the world’s largest agribusiness and chemical conglomerates, have teamed-up for a joint venture in coconut oil production in the Philippines and Indonesia.

BASF, the German chemical company and Cargill, the American agricultural company will provide palm seedlings, fertilizer and technical management services to 2,500 small producers of coconut oil in Pacifica.

BASF and Cargill Joint Venture Objectives

The objective is to establish an auditable, certified supply chain for coconut oil. The BASF and Cargill joint venture is partially financed by the German government. Since the Middle Ages, German state ministries have been at the forefront of developing government regulations requiring purity in consumer and industrial products.

Global Coconut Oil Production

According the USDA Indonesia, the Philippines along with Malaysia are the world’s largest coconut oil producers: USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Report-Coconut Oil.
The joint press release did not mention small producers in other countries that produce coconut oil  like India, Fiji, Tahiti and Jamaica.

Consumer Demand for Coconut Oil

The BASF and Cargill joint venture coincides with increasing consumer demands for coconut oil  for uses like the following:
  • For cooking oil use,
  • In cosmetics formulas especially moisturizers, and
  • Biofuel use in diesel engines.

Consumers are reading blogs, other media reports and medical research which document that coconut oil benefits human health in several ways.  The BASF and Cargill joint venture  may mean that major global corporations have recognized consumers’ demands for coconut oil.