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Saturday, September 23, 2017

THE RETURN OF CISCO KID, CRISCO AND COCONUTS?

Saturday morning is a good time for nostalgia.  Growing up in Kakaako, I regularly participated in the Woody Woodpecker Club at the Kewalo Theater.  One of my favorites was the Cisco Kid.  Shows ended 40 years ago, and the building is now a scuba shop.

Going back to O. Henry more than a century ago, the original Cisco Kid was a cruel outlaw.  He began to become a good guy around 1928 when Warner Baxter almost won an Oscar.  Yes, there was The Return of the Cisco Kid (all 1 hour 40 minutes) in 1939 starring him, with  Cesar Romero as sidekick.  Ward Bond was in this film.  Romero then was promoted to Cisco Kid for six later films.

The series was revived with The Cisco Kid Returns after World War II, starring Duncan Renaldo, with Martin Garralaga as Pancho, later replaced by Leo Carrillo.  Reynaldo originated the flowery Charro suit, which he wore for seven seasons on TV until 1956.  Renaldo is my memory as The Cisco Kid.

There have been 28 Cisco Kid films.  In 1972 came War with The Cisco Kid.  Got up to #2 on Billboard.  How many of you know that both Cisco and Pancho are nicknames in Spanish for Francisco, which in English is Francis or Frank?

Today, you can go to Hulu or order box sets at Amazon.  Amazingly enough, there are 31 used sets of 35 episodes for as low as $1.47, although a new one would set you back $9.99, about the cost of going to a movie.

Changing subjects to Crisco, I bought a bottle yesterday.  The original was produced by The J.M. Smucker Company for Proctor & Gamble in 1911.  This was the first shortening made entirely of vegetable oil using a hydrogenation process to solidify the liquid.  Crisco comes from crystallized cottonseed oil.  The problem is that hydrogenation introduced trans-fats.  Studies showed that Crisco increased blood sugar by 20% and lowered your body's high density lipoprotein.  As of 2012 Crisco has marketed an oil blend with no trans fats, giving the same cooking properties and flavors of the original product, supposedly great for making pie crusts.

But this is not what I got.  I decided to replace olive oil with coconut oil.  Call it a second trial experiment.

Like for frying an egg.  Incidentally, if you were concerned, there is no hint or smell of coconut in this oil.  Frankly, I like the taste of coconut.

It was six years ago that this blog site reported on the benefits of coconut.  A few months later I said:

I've recently investigated coconuts, which, purportedly, can prevent or delay Alzheimer's, and, even, that debatable seafood concern, mental disease.  Well, apparently, like eggs and butter, coconuts are today, again, okay for you to consume.  For the longest time, it was thought that these large nuts caused cardiovascular problems and even obesity, although you still can gain weight, if you eat too much of them.  But are coconuts a remedy for memory loss and a host of other reported ailments?  The jury is still out, although initial signs look favorable.

Then the following year, 2013, I bought a pint of coconut oil for $17.  My purchase yesterday of 1.69 fluid ounces cost $9, or $5.33/pint.  Price has considerately dropped.  The benefits of coconuts have also grown.  Here is one list of 101 uses:
  • for your hair
  • moisturizing skin and reducing cellulite
  • softens leather
  • good treat for dogs
  • bug repellent
  • baking
  • add to coffee
  • health
    • lowers low density lipoprotein while raising high density lipoprotein
    • lowers blood pressure
    • aids digestion
    • has healthy fat (50% lauric acid, and you can read about why here)
    • also has caprylic acid with  antibacterial properties and capric acid to aid immune ability
    • provides mental boost
    • also hormone support
    • increases absorption of calcium and magnesium
    • remineralizes teeth
    • speeds weight loss
    • improves sleep
    • aids thyroid function
    • improves insulin level
    • helps with depression and anxiety
    • relieve hemorrhoids (use topically)
    • nourishes baby in pregnant women
    • prevents Alzheimer's
    • alleviates allergies (rubbed inside nose)
    • kills yeast infections
    • improves toothpaste and aids gum health
    • reduces cholesterol
    • speeds recovery from cold and flu
    • lessens arthritis
    • reduces itch
    • resolves acne
    • clears up cold sores
There were more, but if only a small fraction of the above turns out to be true, and there is some reason to believe that most of them should work, the only downsides are the extra calories, and, for some, diarrhea (cut back input and not on an empty stomach).  So exercise more and eat less.  

Anyway, I went to Snopes, and this site to confirm rumors indicated that the research on this subject is in its infancy, but the mechanisms indicated seem plausible.  Snopes also analyzed the frequently quoted factoid:  FALLING COCONUTS KILL 15 TIMES MORE PEOPLE THAN SHARKS EVERY YEAR!  The average for sharks is around 10/year.  Coconuts?  You can hardly find any in a given year.  There seems to be a constant reference to a 1973 article of a 2-year old tot in Honolulu being killed when a cluster of 57 coconuts fell on her.  Her aunt was changing the child's diaper when this happened, and only suffered a few cuts and bruises.  Again, coconuts got a bad rap which was almost surely untrue.


Okay back to coconut products, here is where it becomes confusing.  There are so many different kinds of coconut products that you need a scorecard.
  • Like extra virgin oil is good for olive oil, unrefined organic coconut oil is the gold standard.
  • Important that the product comes from fresh coconut using a wet-milled fermentation process, retaining the highest antioxidant level.
  • HOT extracted coconut oil produces more antioxidants than COLD extraction.
  • Fractionated oil (MCT) is liquid and does not get solid below 76 F.
    • Supposedly doesn't contain all the beneficial properties of unrefined coconut oil.
    • But is higher in brain-boosting fats.
  • There are also coconut flour, milk, vinegar...and more.
  • There is such a thing as coconut sugar, but it's expensive with a few more nutrients and is lower on the Glycemic Index than sucrose, glucose or fructose.  Coconut sugar is still sucrose.  However, if you want to be convinced to try this, read this article.
  • Coconut butter is like peanut butter, but made from coconut meat.  Said to be one of those new superfoods, but costs three times more.
Just one more list, exporters of coconut:

The bottom line is that coconuts, once to be avoided, are now not only okay to consume, but might have a range of benefits worthy of your immediate consideration.  You will spend more money for coconut products and the hype is overwhelming, but even if all those health aids are not totally true, the self-fulling prophecy factor will make you feel better.  However, watch those calories.

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Hurricane Maria remains formidable at 115 MPH, but computer models project a turn left away from the USA:


For the record, Tropical Storm Lee, also in the Atlantic, will become a hurricane, but will mostly revolve in a circle:


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