Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil Review and Giveaway



About Tropical Traditions:
(Directly from Tropical Traditions:)
The founders of Tropical Traditions are Brian and Marianita Shilhavy.

Brian W. Shilhavy, BA, MA
Brian earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible/Greek from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and his Master of Arts degree in linguistics from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. He is currently the CEO of Tropical Traditions, Inc., and the Editor of Health Impact News.

Marianita Jader Shilhavy, BS, CND (Certified Nutritionist/Dietician in the Philippines) earned her bachelor of science degree in nutrition in Manila. Understanding the nutrition of Filipino foods, Marianita worked for over eight years as a hospital dietician and nutritional counselor in the Philippines.

In 1998 Brian  and Marianita returned to the Philippines with their three children and renovated Marianita's old family farmhouse. By this time the coconut industry was severely depressed due to the negative U.S. campaigns against tropical oils in the 1980s and 1990s. Coconut farmers could no longer support their families on the income generated from harvesting coconuts.



What I Recieved: Tropical Traditions sent me a 32 ounce jar of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil. (Taken from Tropical Traditions website:)
This Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is a truly unrefined coconut oil. This coconut oil is made on Mt. Banahaw and surrounding areas from organic coconuts. Coconuts are used fresh (within 24-48 hours of harvest) from small family farms on Mt. Banahaw and other rural places in Quezon Province, the coconut capital of the Philippines. Only the highest quality coconuts are hand-picked from each harvest. The volcanic soil of Mt. Banahaw makes these organic coconuts some of the most nutritionally rich coconuts in the world! Testing done in independent laboratories reveals higher levels of phenolic antioxidants than other coconut oils. The fresh coconut meat is shredded (wet milled), and then cold-pressed using the water from inside the coconuts to make coconut milk. The milk is then allowed to sit for about half a day, while the oil naturally separates from the heavier water. The oil is then filtered from the curds (coconut solids). No chemical or high-heat treatment is used, and this oil contains no trans fatty acids. We do NOT mass produce this oil. It is made by families who are coconut farmers using old-fashioned traditional methods that have been used in the Philippines for hundreds of years. Our coconut trees and family producers are certified organic according to strict USDA standards. The families who produce the oil are also trained according to GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) standards and re-certified each year. This high-grade Virgin Coconut Oil has a long shelf life due to the high antioxidant properties. The Gold Label Standard is our highest standard for Virgin Coconut Oil.
My Review: My first "meal" I cooked with the coconut oil was breakfast, specifically hashbrowns (with previously made and frozen pancakes). I added about 3 tablespoons to my 12" cast iron skillet and after it heated up, I added about 3 cups of shredded potatoes. The smell was wonderful, and I thought the hashbrowns browned up nicely. However, when it came down to eating, we noticed a few things right away. While we both thought the coconut smelled good lingering in the hashbrowns, J said it made them taste too different, and I ended up making him new ones with olive oil. I ate mine just fine, and the hint of coconut was nice with the pancakes too. I did notice an oily feeling in my mouth though, and I think this is because the coconut oil is thicker than olive oil or vegetable oil. I spent a better part of the day feeling like I swallowed a gallon of oil, and quickly decided that the next round of cooking would need much less oil than I usually used. I learned my lesson and went on to try making egg rolls using the Tropical Traditions coconut oil. I use my own recipe which includes a whole chicken (boiled or baked), peanut butter, cabbage, bean sprouts, and use soy sauce, teriyaki, or Worcestershire sauce to taste. I boiled the chicken, and then heated 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large skillet, and added the cabbage bean sprouts, and the cooked (and shredded) chicken. The delicious smell of coconut filled our apartment once again, and it was a beautiful accent to the smell of the egg roll filling. I pulled out another skillet, heated up one cup of coconut oil and used this to fry the egg rolls once they were wrapped. And let me tell you, they were a-m-a-z-i-n-g!!! Even J said they were the best I've ever made.



Tropical Traditions dedicates an entire portion of their website to recipes you can use their coconut products with, absolutely free!

There are many claims regarding the health effects of coconut oil, however I did not feel like I was eating any healthier. I do know, that using coconut oil while cooking is a great way to add a little extra flavor, and I honestly feel that food seemed to cook better when I used this versus the olive oil I usually use. I know I won't make a permanent switch to coconut oil over the oils we usually use for cooking, but I feel that I will always have some on hand for certain meals that would definitely benefit from a hint of coconut and could use a little healthier method of cooking (vs lard or cooking oil). Try It For Yourself: You can purchase your own Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil HERE, or you can win your own 32 ounce jar below!
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This giveaway is open to both the US and Canada, and ends 9/25 at 11:59pm CST Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

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