Thursday 3 September 2015

Chi coconut

Just to give you guys a heads up, this is not a post about the wonders of coconut products. I could go on about the health benefits of coconut water, or the myriad of ways that I use coconut oil. Let me see: to shave with, as a moisturisier, hair mask, oil pulling, in my coffee. There are lots of well written post about it, I won't be reinventing the wheel. I want to talk about why I use Chi coconut oil and water in particular.


Let's start with the easy part. They taste good. I like good food, while eating is necessary for survival it is also a pleasure. I will always choose the best food I can afford. Yes I was a teenager once, I went through a fase of thinking that living off spaghetti so I could spend my money on shoes, dresses and new lipstick was acceptable. I'm older and wiser now, I know better. Nutritious, varied diet is my priority. However, I am also not prepared to eat something that tastes atrocious just because it's healthy or good for me (unless I'm ill and the autrocious tasting thing is medicinal).

It was after Eat, Nourish, Glow event at whole foods, when I was doing a spot of shopping, that I first saw Chi coconut oil. I saw the Soil association organic stamp and wanted to give it a try. You see Mr RF is super fussy, and while he is happy to glug down coconut water like there is no tomorrow, he doesn't like the taste of other coconut products. So finding a coconut oil for cooking that wouldn't have a super strong flavour, but also met my high standards of being organic and raw has been interesting.

I lucked out, the taste is distinct but mild, and in most dishes undectable as I only use very little ( I tend to use half a teaspoon to stir fry, or to brown veggies for the soup), but still very flavourful if I want to use it in another way. Now I'm guided by a lot of different reasons when choosing food. I prioritise organic, sustainability and taste first, price to me is secondary. I know that is not how most people operate (including Mr RF, but he is starting to see things my way).

The jar of Chi Coconut oil at the time of writing will set you back £9.54 for 500ml, yes I could find a different one for half the price. Yet at the rate that I've been using this jar, strictly for cooking, I'm only about to approach the bottom and it's been 7 months. I'm sure it will last me at least few more weeks, but even if it runs out tomorrow, the jar cost me £1.36 per month. Now what would I have done with all that extra cash, chocolate probably, I know for a fact it would've been spent on something.


When low fat everything was the craze, the humble coconut came in a bit of disrepute due to the high fat content. It was almost impossible to find coconut milk, let alone a fresh coconut. Now I'm seeing young coconuts on the shelves of M&S. Cracking one open yourself is your best bet to get the most out of coconut water. Well ok, I get Mr RF to do it, I would probably chop off my finger. The point I'm getting to is that I love a fresh coconut, but it's not convenient if I want to use coconut water in a smoothie or just fancy grabing it to drink on the go (it might work for some, but not for me).


So I simply assumed that the bottled stuff would be just as good, boy was I wrong. It's like the difference between your parents taking you to Disneyland and the local fun fair on the green. Forgetting the taste for a minute, a lot of the coconut waters are not actually raw (also some have added sugar and other stuff). If it's not raw you might as well have some bottled apple juice. If that is what you are after that's obviously fine, you might enjoy the taste, but don't be expecting health benefits. Coconut water is highly perishable, so it is actually very tricky to get it bottled. Finally coming across some raw water: I was like yeah jackpot, only to find it tasted like feet. Eventually I did come across a few brands that did taste nice, but never quite like the real deal, I mean not like sipping on a freshly cracked young coconut. After loving the coconut oil from Chi, and coming across their distinctive logo on a bottle of coconut water, naturally I picked it (even though £2.65 for 250ml bottle did give me pause).

Every time I look at a product several things go through my head: how much are similar products by other brands, if I'm paying let's say £1 for this, how much did the person producing it get. It's actually a very hard question to answer, first of all you have to compare purchasing power of £1 between the producing country, because a pound won't get me very far in UK, but elsewhere I could get a restaurant meal, or even food for a week. While farmers are producing a primary product (in this case coconuts), they will never see the same profits as the companies selling value added products made from these primary products (in this case coconut oil and water). What matters is the value that trickles down to the farmers, is it actually representitive of the effort put in, can they make a living? When there are a lot of producers of the same perishable goods market price may not always reflect the true cost of production, that's just how it is. And farmers don't have a lot of choice but to sell at that price, their produce will go bad otherwise. With coconut water gaining popularity the effects are not actually trickling down to the farmers, there is an interesting article about this in the guardian.

Chi trade fairly, and some of the profit that they make from their products goes to charitable projects, that makes my coconut water taste a bit sweeter (well actually it tastes amazing to begin with). I'm not trying to make anyone feel guilty or appeal to a social conscience, as with everything that people are involved in, fair trade is a tricky issue in itself. Everyone is entitled to their choice, this is just the way I see things. I want to get the best quality food, I want it to be grown in the best possible way for the environment, and I want people that are growing my food to get a decent return on their work. If that means that I can't afford an extra trip to the cinema, I'm ok with that, I love playing board games at home anyway. How we spend money is all about priorities, these happen to be mine.

That doesn't mean that you can put a bunch of things in front of me and I will just pick up the most expensive one. There has to be a reason why I would pay extra. In this case, both Chi coconut oil and water (especially water I would say), taste amazing. In fact the coconut water is the best I have ever had out of the bottle. It tastes pretty much like putting a straw in to the coconut. The reason for this is beacuse they only use young Nam-hom Thai coconuts, harvested at specific times for optimum nutrition, and never mix the types or ages of their coconuts. The plastic bottles used are BPA free and recyclable. If you are guided by taste and nutritional value, this is as good as it gets.



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