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The Coconut Secret Revealed
Submitted by Leslie, Founder of Coconut Secret

It all began in the spring of 2008, when my brother and I had an overwhelming desire to create a low glycemic, gluten-free snack line that was truly safe for diabetics—using the purest, most organic, minimally processed ingredients we could find. A few years earlier, our parents were diagnosed with diabetes and we quickly became appalled at what was being passed off as "diabetic-safe" foods, especially in the snack category. We discovered that oftentimes, sugar is disguised on food labels in a myriad of creative technical terms, such as imitation sugars, honey, fruit juice, and worst of all, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)—now widely known as one of the primary contributors to diabetes and obesity. None of these sweeteners are truly "safe", no matter how they are purported to breakdown in the body.

We started by creating products from agave syrup. But, we soon discovered that the well-researched organic agave syrup supplier we were purchasing from was no longer selling the brand we had been using. Upon further investigation, we uncovered that this so called "reputable" raw, organic agave was not raw or organic and was watered down with corn syrup. But, what an incredible blessing in disguise this turn of events ultimately morphed into!

By this time, I didn't trust ANY agave syrups. People are now starting to recognize that most agave syrup is very processed; therefore, lacking in the majority of naturally occurring nutrients and enzymes needed in order for our bodies to properly digest and utilize it nutritionally. I then learned that most agave is hydrolyzed at temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit, for approximately 36 hours in order to turn the agave juice into a sweet tasting syrup. The end product contains nearly 90% fructose! Even though fructose breaks down in the body at a much slower rate than sucrose, a 90% ratio still seemed very high to me.

Then, we quite literally scoured the globe in search of a high-quality, low glycemic syrup. Nearly out of options, I stumbled upon a product that was relatively unknown in the American marketplace. Wow, what exactly was this new thing I found called "coconut sugar"? Here's what I learned.

Coconut sugar is made by collecting the sap from coconut tree blossoms. Who knew?! There are specific species of coconut trees that can be tapped, much like maple trees are tapped in the maple syrup making process. Bamboo containers are used to collect the sap of the coconut trees right at the blossoms. When the coconut trees are tapped, they produce a continuously flowing inflorescence juice or sap, which exudes from the coconut blossoms. This naturally sweet sap has a very low glycemic index (GI of 35), is raw and enzymatically alive, and has an abundant source of 17 amino acids, minerals, vitamin C, broadspectrum B vitamins, as well as an almost neutral pH. The sap is then minimally evaporated at low temperatures to remove excess moisture, but never exceeding temperatures over an average summer day in the tropics. The end result is a syrup-like product known as coconut toddy, which is then further evaporated into crystal form to produce the coconut sugar.

A gigantic light bulb went off in my head. Who cares about the sugar end-product; I want the toddy! If it is in syrup form, then who knows, maybe it will work as our long sought after replacement for agave. Numerous communications with companies in the Philippines ensued and a short time later, I received the coconut toddy.

I must admit it wasn't an immediate love connection. The toddy we received initially was very dark and pungently sweet. We continued to work closely with our Philippine affiliates and over time discovered that the evaporation process could be adjusted to produce many variants of toddy, from lighter to darker with equal variation in flavor. We finally landed on the exact perfect viscosity and flavor of our liking. But, the miracles weren't over yet! Through our affiliation with this Philippine company, we were offered the opportunity to bring the coconut toddy, which we now call Nectar, and coconut sugar, which we now sell as Crystals, as well as other sap-related ingredients to the American marketplace. The sap also produces an amazing vinegar and a soy-free seasoning sauce we call Coconut Aminos.

It all began to make sound business sense to first introduce these coconut sap ingredients into health food stores, even prior to our snacks, which are now made with these wonderful low glycemic sweeteners. Everything we create is certified organic, non-GMO, and gluten-free. After everything was said and done, we found exactly what we were looking for and were able to create some amazing products that taste great and are safe for people with diabetes and other glycemic conditions. We hope you enjoy our healthy snacks and sweetening substitutes!

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