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The Thai Cocojito was inspired by a drink I had at a beach shack in Koh Lanta, Thailand. Koh Lanta is a beautiful, pristine island off the Andaman Coast. While in Koh Lanta, I ate the most delicious Pad Thai on planet earth and kept hydrated with the freshest coconuts and natural fruit juices/smoothies. While tourism is growing in Koh Lanta, it remains mostly untouched and true to its cultural and food traditions. The people of Koh Lanta are some of the most genuinely kind and warm people I’ve had the pleasure to encounter.
My love for Koh Lanta inspired the creation of the Cocojito. A healthy take on a happy hour classic, the Cocojito is tangy and refreshing. Drink a virgin version of this smoothie or turn it into your new go to BBQ cocktail.
Thailand’s mountains, beaches, and wildlife are stunning, but I was most enthralled by the warmth, openness, and humble nature of its people. One of the many cultural aspects I cherish about Thailand is the reverence of the traditional Thai greeting.
In Thailand when you meet someone or when you are greeted at a restaurant, you place your hands together in prayer and bow your head slightly down. When a server brings food to your table, you also place your hands together in prayer and bow your head while saying “Kob kun ka“, which means “thank you.” I love this tradition, because it allows me to have a moment to stop and be mindful of the present moment. When I pause to put my hands in prayer, I acknowledge the person who is kindly serving my food. By bowing my head, I demonstrate reverence and gratitude for the farmers and cooks who played a role in harvesting and cooking the food I am eating. While in the West bowing your head may be symbolic of weakness, in the East, bowing your head is a sign of grace and gratitude.
In order to cultivate a nurturing and healthy relationship to food, it is crucial that we practice gratitude when eating. Instead of mindlessly eating to get through the day, perhaps we can eat in a way that gracefully energizes our day.
Taking the time to be grateful for your food and acknowledging how food connects you to others is the first step in mindful eating. Once you begin to be mindful and reflect on where, when, and how your food is produced and prepared, you will be able to make more healthful, conscious choices about the food you eat. Most importantly, once you become conscious of the food you eat, you’ll be able to savor and enjoy each and every one of your meals more fully! You have all the potential to be healthy and happy
“Don’t chew your worries, your fear, or your anger.If you chew your planning and your anxiety, it’s difficult to feel grateful for each piece of food. Just chew your food.
― Thich Nhat Hanh, How to EatDon’t chew your worries, your fear, or your anger....feel grateful for each piece of food. Just chew your food. Click To Tweet
Start today by practicing gratitude at every meal. You don’t need to bow your head or pray to show gratitude if that’s not your thing. Simply take a few deep breaths before each meal to observe the food that is on your plate and slowly chew and savor each bite. Meditate about the food that is on your plate and ask yourself:
- How does the food on my plate smell, taste, and look?
- Where did this food come from?
- How is this food nourishing my body?
- Am I expressing loving kindness and gratitude for my body when I eat this food?
I loved the mindful traditions that are a staple of the Thai food culture and I encourage you to give them try in your daily life!
Now let’s break down the luscious nutrition benefits of the ingredients used in Foodieland’s Thai Cocojito:
Coconut is rich in electrolytes like potassium and sodium, which are important for muscle, kidney, and heart function (1). Coconut is also a good source of magnesium (crucial for hearth health), manganese (crucial for metabolic and neurological function), riboflavin (crucial for metabolic function and protein and energy synthesis), calcium, and vitamin C (1). While coconut is rich in saturated fat, mindful consumption of coconut can be a part of heart healthy diet! Stay tuned for an in-depth look at the nutritional properties of coconut.
Peppermint has been shown to help alleviate spasms and indigestion, and it’s used for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and abdominal pain/cramping (2,3). Note: If you suffer from GERD, acid reflux, or frequent heartburn, mint may not be ideal for you. Mint causes the lower esophageal sphincter, the valve that opens and closes as food passes from your esophagus to your stomach, to relax (4). When the esophageal sphincter relaxes, it allows for gastric acid to enter the esophagus causing heartburn. You can always substitute mint with fresh basil.
Limes are an excellent source of vitamin C ( a type of vitamin/antioxidant).
Studies have found that men who had lower levels of plasma Vitamin C had increased risk of stroke when compared with men who had higher levels of Vitamin C (5). The phytochemicals in kaffir lime have been shown to have protective effects for neurotransmitter, cardiac, and liver function and antibacterial, anticancer, and anti-fungal properties (6,7).
Vitamin C is considered a pro-vitamin for skin, since it promotes healthy maintenance of collagen (8). Collagen health translates to younger, more supple skin.
Dates are excellent natural sweeteners. Unlike artificial sweeteners and processed sugars, dates are a good source of potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, and fiber. Fiber is important in balancing blood sugar, since it promotes efficient digestion and slows down digestion of glucose (sugar). This allows for more balanced blood sugar levels. Dates are rich in antioxidants such as lutein, β-carotene, and phenolic acids. Antioxidants prevent cell damage by scavenging and terminating free radicals (irregular atoms in your body’s cells) (9).
Without further ado, here’s the recipe for the Tangy, Refreshing Thai Cocojito! Cheers…. kob khun kha (Thank you)
Please feel free to reach out to me with questions and feedback. I love connecting with you and hearing about your Foodieland recipes. Share pictures of your Thai Cocojito on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with the hashtags #aliceinfoodieland #plantcentered
Although it’s officially fall, I hope you get transported to a sunny, pristine Thai beach with a sip of this smoothie!
Happy Eating + Mindful Living!
- USDA Database. 28 July 2017, ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3656?fgcd=&manu=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=50&offset=50&sort=default&order=asc&qlookup=coconut%2B&ds=&qt=&qp=&qa=&qn=&q=&ing=.
- Ford, A C, et al. Effect of Fibre, Antispasmodics, and Peppermint Oil in the Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. 13 Nov. 2008, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19008265.
- USDA Database. 28 July 2017, ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/306?fgcd=Spices%2Band%2BHerbs&manu=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=35&offset=&sort=&qlookup=mint.
- Boeckxstaens, G E. The Lower Oesophageal Sphincter. June 2005, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15836451.
- Kurl, S, et al. Plasma Vitamin C Modifies the Association between Hypertension and Risk of Stroke. June 2002, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12052992.
- Abirami, Arumugam, et al. The Medicinal And Nutritional Role of Underutilized Citrus Fruit- Citrus Hystrix (Kaffir Lime): A Review. Jan. 2014, www.bing.com/cr?IG=6D8E062DEB264ACA98F7947C479597A4&CID=35D7470A5B4269C137894C065A446862&rd=1&h=Olxh7sNCGCiMXM69UuzwDqd0IY0y7LnaLN6Itkcztmw&v=1&r=https%3a%2f%2fwww.researchgate.net%2fprofile%2fAbirami_Arumugam%2fpublication%2f261345432_Underutilized_citrus_fruits%2flinks%2f0c960533e94c7b1b07000000.pdf&p=DevEx,5063.1. Accessed Sept. 2017.
- Padayatty, S J, et al. Vitamin C as an Antioxidant: Evaluation of Its Role in Disease Prevention. Feb. 2003, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12569111.
- Boyera, N, et al. Effect of Vitamin C and Its Derivatives on Collagen Synthesis and Cross-Linking by Normal Human Fibroblasts. June 1998, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18505499.Al-Alawi, Reem A., et al. Date Palm Tree (Phoenix Dactylifera L.): Natural Products and Therapeutic Options. 23 May 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5440559/.
- Al-Alawi, Reem A., et al. Date Palm Tree (Phoenix Dactylifera L.): Natural Products and Therapeutic Options. 23 May 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5440559/.