As you may or may not know, I’ve got high cholesterol, which I’ve had for many years. It has stayed around the same level, 7’ish, for the past 5-6 years. On my last check up with my doctor, she told me to start cutting down on a few foods. Cheeses, eggs, butter, of course bacon, pork belly, pizza, processed meats, full cream dairy including ice cream, pastries, sausages and milk chocolate, which of course are all my favourite foods! But it was time to start listening to the doc and get my health in check.
Heart disease and high cholesterol go hand in hand. For women over the age of 40, high cholesterol can be quite common, yet is usually left untreated or undiagnosed. Most women, including myself, don’t actually think they can die from high cholesterol. But the truth is that “more women die of heart disease than breast cancer”! (blurb taken from the Heart Research Australia). Keeping fit with regular exercise, like daily walking, eating plenty of fruit & vegetables and maintaining a low-fat diet will help keep cholesterol down.
There’s still a couple more changes I need to make in my day-to-day life, starting with eating more fruit & veg. I’ve started swimming twice a week and made a few changes to my diet – avocado (healthy fats) in replacement of mayonnaise; Nutalex instead of butter; low-fat cream cheese instead of tasty cheese; low-fat baby boccincinis instead of parmesan on my pasta; poached eggs instead of fried eggs on weekends only; bacon only on Saturday OR Sunday, not both and rice cakes or rice crackers instead of potato chips for snacks. So far so good, but still a long way to go.
Which is where I come to coconut cream and milk. I love coconut cream, always have. I prefer preferred cooking with coconut cream, especially in my Thai & Indian curries. But as I’m cutting down on fat, as well as hubby starting a fitness regime, light coconut milk seems like the better option. Until I started looking at light coconut milk in the supermarkets – always read the label!
We usually trust what it says on the labels when we go grocery shopping. If that cereal box shows ‘low in sugar’, we believe it! If bread is low GI, it must be so! Tinned tomatoes ‘made in Australia’ is something we trust 100%! Yet, the front of the labels don’t always tell the whole story.
Should we believe everything we see on the front of the packaging? Do you ever check where your food comes from? Do you ever check if it really is low in sugar? Is that 100% Australian made produce? This is something I’ve been quite big on for the past few months, checking the back of labels of most items I buy.
I want to ask you a question, what does light coconut milk mean to you? To me it means the fat content should be lower than regular coconut milk, do you agree?
When I went grocery shopping last month, I automatically just grabbed two tins of light coconut milk, placed it in the trolley and kept walking. Why should I question if its low-fat, it says so on the label, right?! As I kept filling up the trolley, I had a niggling feeling that I should check the fat content on the tin. Thank goodness I did as the fat content was quite high! I stopped dead in my tracks and headed straight back to the Asian food aisle. What I noticed next shocked me – most of the light coconut milk on the shelves in Woolworths is not low in fat at all!
Here’s what I found with 6 different types of ‘light’ coconut milk. The Woolworths Essential coconut milk (main photo above) has less fat than the other light coconut milks on the shelves! The least fat content is what’s important to me, not what the label says.
Disclaimer: As I’m writing this, you need to know that I have not been to every supermarket chain around my area, I only went to my local Woolworths (Prahran & South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia). I still have more research to do by checking out Coles, IGA, Aldi and any Asian grocers around my area, which will be happening and posted about in the near future.
If you have seen any low-fat coconut milk, take a photo and share it with me. Be a part of this conversation by adding your comments and photos below x