8 ways to use Coconut Oil

Extra virgin coconut oil is regarded by many as the ‘must have’ nutrient for the brain. The recommendation for over 60s is “a table spoon a day to keep dementia at bay”. (Good Mercadonas in Spain have a 450ml pot for under 5 euros).

The only problem is that Liquid coconut oil is like medicine. It sticks in the throat and can cause reflux – ie can make you want to throw up. So the answer is NOT to take it as a liquid. In the summer, keep your coconut oil in the fridge where it becomes hard like butter.

Here are some ways to eat / drink it.

  1. Lettuce wrap – use lettuce instead of bread. Place cheese or ham and a tea spoon of hard coconut oil in the middle – fold over and eat. Add salt etc to taste.
  2. Salad bowl – add flakes of hard coconut oil to the mix as you would add seeds or nuts. Dress with olive oil and apple vinegar. The sharpness of the Apple vinegar masks the slightly sweet taste of the coconut oil.
  3. Celery & cream cheese – a good snack is a stick of celery dunked first into the jar of hard coconut oil, then into cream cheese. The cream cheese masks the taste of the coconut oil.
  4. Pork Rind & cream cheese – instead of celery you can use pork rinds. (Look for Corteza de cerdo in Consum).
  5. Pork Rind & Sobrasada. you can use sobrasada (meat paste) or paté instead of cream cheese
  6. Yoghurt mix – First melt a table spoon of coconut oil in a bowl – 30 seconds in the microwave won’t do it any harm. Then mix in seeds or chocolate powder, and some stevia, if you want it sweet. Then add a small pot of Greek yoghurt or natural yoghurt and stir briskly. The coconut oil goes hard quickly, so to get a stracciatella effect you need to move quickly.
  7. Liquid Yoghurt mix. Add some melted coconut oil to the jar of liquid yoghurt and stir briskly. The cold will make it go solid. So it wont be unpleasant.
  8. Fried onions / veg – when you fry an onion or veg, add a tea spoon of coconut oil first, then the butter or oil. The coconut oil stops butter burning. This works well in soups. Not so good in fried or scrambled eggs where the taste of the coconut oil is very noticeable.

Coconut oil & Coffee is a No No – you will see on the internet that some people get there daily dose of coconut oil by mixing it with cream in their mid-morning coffee. This a good way to ruin a nice coffee and put you right off coconut oi . There are so many other more palatable ways to get your daily dose of coconut oil.

Sugar + gluten = inflammation

Brain cells in the gut

This has nothing to do with property management.  But it had to go somewhere!

Research in the USA has found neurons in the wall of the gut that give our gut the same brain size as an average dog.   Tests on patients with Parkinsons have found that the abnormalities in the brain are matched by abnormalities in the gut neurons.

It is now possible in France to do a biopsy of the gut that will give you advance warning of Parkinsons.  Plans are to do the same with Alzheimers.

Maybe the subconscious mind is in the gut!

You can see this and more in a documentary film called Las Tripas (guts) on Spanish Amazon Prime.

Sugar + Gluten = inflammation

It is becoming clear that inflammation is the main cause of most ill health.  The biggest causes of inflammation are sugar and gluten.
This has nothing to do with property management. But it had to go somewhere!

inflammation sucks
inflammation sucks.. search google images for ‘inflammation’ for more charts
LOW FAT  –  Low fat, high sugar has been the norm for 40+ years. The big problem with low fat is that if you don’t use fat in processed foods, you have to replace it with sugar or a sugar substitute.  So skimmed milk or low fat yogurts have more sugar than the full fat equivalent. Fat fills you up.  If you don’t eat fat, it is hard to stop eating.
SUGAR –  Sugar fuels the diabetes & obesity epidemic. Cancer cells feed off glucose. Alzeimers is regarded by many as type 3 Diabetes. Eliminate / reduce sugar in your diet, is the best way to increase your chance of good health.   Sugar is in nearly every processed food… breakfast cereals, jams and condiments, snack foods, sugary fizzy drinks (beer included sorry), pre-cooked meals.  To avoid sugar you need to read the labels closely of packaged food products carefully.  A glass of wine is OK.  But wine has sugar, so ….
GLUTEN – Gluten is the sticky protein that makes bread, pasta, cakes and  processed food taste good.  Combine gluten with sugar and you have a deadly combination.  Studies show that avoiding gluten and sugar will reduce your chances of getting diabetes and dementia considerably.  It also is connected with other conditions such as hypothyroidism and Ataxia Cerebellum. see paper on  Gluten-Ataxia (2012)
Gluten is addictive and it is best to give it up slowly.  Even so you will be lucky if you do not experience withdrawal symptoms.  I had three months of unpredictable mood swings, before I adapted to a life without gluten.  Now I am free of gluten, I find that I think more clearly and I feel much happier in myself.
GOOD FAT –  The best way to cut down on sugar and gluten is to increase your consumption of good fat.   Good fats include coconut oil,  olive oil, butter, animal fat, fish oils, avocadoes, most nuts, full fat cheese, eggs.  The less processed the food,  the better.  So Virgin oils and grass fed meat is best.Bad fats included vegetable oils, margarine, most processed meats. Nuts fried in palm oil are not good either.
See The real truth about fat in Coconut Oil
CHOLESTEROL – Doesn’t fat cause cholesterol?  you may ask.  Good saturated fat promotes good HDL cholesterol.  Sugar and bad unsaturated fats promote bad LDL cholesterol.  When you eat cholesterol, it does  not automatically increase your levels of cholesterol, which is why eggs are so popular .

As you get older, cholesterol levels rise.  In 2013 a cause for concern were “very high levels (above 190) of the harmful cholesterol known as LDL — not a patient’s total cholesterol”.   If you eat good fat and avoid sugar and gluten, cholesterol is not such a problem.

CARBOHYDRATES – When you are young you can eat anything, provided you exercise to burn it off.  But as you get older your metabolism slows down and it is best to reduce the intake of carbohydrates, especially carbs high in sugar, such as bread, pasta, pizza, potatoes, cakes, snack food.

Carbs like oats or rice may not include much sugar in their composition.  But when carbs are digested they generate glucose (ie sugar).  So if you are trying to avoid sugar in all its forms, you need to restrict your intake of carbs.

KETO HIGH FAT, LOW CARB –  Keto is short for Ketones.  The body and brain have two sources of fuel Glucose and Ketones.  If you eat a ‘normal’ diet you will be eating more than enough glucose, which creates inflammation and prevents your body using the ketones that are stored in your body fat.  To make Ketones the primary source of food for your brain and body, you need to eat high fat low carb.  if you have ill health – physical or mental – or carry too much weight , then a Keto diet (partial or full) could be a solution.
FOOD SUGGESTIONS  –  The internet is full of recipes for those on the Keto (high fat low carb) path.  Recommended books include :  The Grain Brain and Brain Maker by Dr David Perlmutter and Wheat Belly by Jimmy Moore.

Dr Perlmutter‘s father had severe Alzheimers in his later years.  His interest is to avoid that fate and to help others do the same.  Jimmy Moore was a big 24 stoner.  He went keto and lost almost a third of his weight.  Since then he has been an Keto evangelist.  Neither are in it just for the money.

Dr Permutter’s  Brain Maker tells us why a healthy gut is so important.  Here is some of what I learnt from it, without the long words.

The gut is full of stuff that the body cannot use, which should be eliminated on a daily basis.  The gut is separated from our blood system by the gut wall.  When the wrong things build up in the gut, the gut wall becomes permeable and when it becomes really bad, it is given the name ‘leaky gut’ or ‘celiac’.  When the wrong things get into the blood system, your immune system has to work overtime to correct them and you get ill.

Most people who eat a normal diet low in fat and high in sugar and gluten will have problems brewing in their gut.  Most don’t  know it, till it’s too late.

People will also probably have poor gut bacteria, as explained in the book,  if

  • they were born by caesarean,
  • were not  fed with breast milk,
  • have taken a lot of antibiotics especially when young,
  • have taken regularly drugs like Nurofen/ Ibuprofen

When too much of the wrong stuff is in the blood stream, then the blood brain barrier becomes compromised, which is another way of the saying that the bad stuff then gets into your brain to cause all sorts of problems.

The first thing Dr Perlmutter does, when he gets a new patient with neurological (brain) problems, is to prescribe a diet free of gluten, high in fat and low in carbohydrates (sugar).  He has found this to benefit people suffering from most neurological conditions including depression, autism, ADHD, diabetes, even Parkinsons and Alzheimers  (provided they are not too advanced).  He also recommends

  • pro-biotics taken orally or by enema.  A Pro-biotic suppository would work well, if you can find one.
  • eating home made fermented food like natural yoghurt, saukraut, pickled veg, fish or meat.

Prevention is better than cure and the best prevention is to eat and drink right.

Click Keto Tips to see how I get by

Iberdrola and Gas Natural are not cheap

Our Property Management includes getting the best deals for our clients.  You can save approx. 10% on your fuel bill by changing suppliers.


If you have Electricity and Gas, we recommend moving both to EDP (the French company) for best rates.  Gas Natural also bills for electricity.  But after the initial offer the price goes through the roof.

EDP contact:  900 907 000  / atclientes@edpenergia.es


Right now, our preferred alternative to Iberdrola is Endesa.  You still pay Iberdrola, so no need to make changes there.   But instead of 0.17 euros per KwH, the price is 0.14 euros  (17.6% less) and you get two hours of electricity free every day.  Most people chose 8pm to 10pm for their free hours.  The only catch is that there is a monthly maintenance charge of 2.60 euros + IVA.  For most users, this is nothing compared with the savings.  Also the maintenance will be useful, if ever you get a problem and need to get someone in.  Emergency call out electricians are very expensive.

Endesa contact:   666 095 590 (whatsapp Fran/Angela)

Save electricity with a timer

If you use an electric water heater you can reduce your energy bill by using a timer and setting to be on a few hours at the beginning and end of the day.

An electric water + timer + Hydroflow
An electric water + timer + Hydroflow


However there is an undesired side effect, you get even more problems with limescale.  In hard water area, limescale forms when there is a change in temperature or in pressure.  If the water heater is switched on and off, the water will cool down then warm up.  So the water heater will scale up, which has two effects.

1)  limescale absorbs heat.  A layer of scale in the heater and in the pipes will increase the amount of energy consumed to get hot water to shower.

2) the water heater will become clogged up with scale and need to be replaced every 5 years or so.

If you use an electric water heater, you need something to stop the formation of limescale. And that something is the Hydroflow S38 (Itash).

Hydroflow S38/ Itash prevents limescale
Hydroflow S38/ Itash prevents limescale

Hydroflow uses radio waves with signals measure in kiloherz (kHz) to prevent the formation of hard limescale and to dissolve existing limescale.  This is the same Hydroflow that is used to prevent scale in Steam ovens and steam baths and works very well with the very hard water in Spain.

Our sister web site ww.aguaeco.com has more info and a very good offer for  on-line customers.  Click AGUAECO to find out more

Haga clic en AGUAECO-ESP para ver la pagina en castellano.

Hydroflow protects a gas water heater
Hydroflow also protects a gas water heater from limescale

Plasterboard vs Plaster

If you are doing a ‘flat reform’, the typical Valencian builder will expect you to lower the ceiling with escayola (plaster), to make it easy to rewire the flat.  However Escayola does nothing to insulate the flat from the cold / heat or from noise.  Also you lose much more headroom with Escayola.

The cost effective alternative is pladur (plasterboard), fitted with a layer of roofing felt between the old ceiling and the plasterboard.  Insulation against temperature changes is important in top floor flats and on walls that get hit by the afternoon sun.

Sound insulation is also important.  In the main bedroom I recommend sound insulation in the ceiling and on the wall where your bed head will be.

ceiling insulated

When contracting for ‘pladur’, make sure that the contractor puts in the best / thickest roofing felt.  If you do not include painting in the contract, make sure that the installer prepares the board for paint. Ie applies tapes to the joints and filler to the holes left by the nails.


Keto & Excercise

You can eat as well as you can, but without regular exercise your body will let you down eventually.  If weight is an issue, then exercise will help you get to where you want to be, and stay there.

“Advice is offensive” as per Samuel Johnson.  Everyone has their own way.  So this is not advice, rather a record of what I do.

WALK LOTS  – on the flat in Valencia

GYM TWICE A WEEK – A typical session is no more than an hour long.  15-20 minutes in the gym, 10 minutes in the steam bath and 10 minutes in the jacuzzi.  The rest of the time is changing, showering etc.  I do this just before lunch, when I am not tired out.

My 15 minutes in gym involves short bursts of intense activity.  For example I start with 5 minutes on the elyptical machine – a sort of treamill with handles so you cannot fall off.   I do one minute to warm up, then a I go as fast as I can for 10 seconds.  then back to normal.  At the start of the next minute I ‘give it 10’ again.

I used to do 6 minutes.  But by going for it in short bursts, I have cut it back to five minutes.  I see others in the gym, doing a steady speed for 20 minutes or more, which could become very boring I imagine.

After the elyptical machine, I do some mat work, trunk curls, bottom lifts, leg lifts.  two sets of 20.  I do one leg at a time, which suits an older body.

After that I do one set of 20 pushes and pulls on 6 different machines.  I go a weight I can manage without straining myself …. 5 or 6 out 10.  I do the sets quite quickly.

The monitor in  the gym would have given me a much longer routine.  So I haven’t troubled the monitor, apart from getting myself weighed once a month.

I don’t do medical insurance .  Instead I pay a monthly sub to the gym, which is my preventative maintenance.

Keto Food

In the words of Samuel Johnson, the great writer from the 18th century, the giving of unsolicited “advice is offensive”.  So what follows is not advice, it is simply what I eat day by day.


  • A glass of water with a teaspoon of salt and a splash of cider vinegar
  • A cup of tea  (often with 2 or 3 table spoons  of oats in the mix)
  • Scrambled eggs made with loads of butter, a splash of milk

Mid morning

  • 1 or 2 eggs, if I did not have them for breakfast
  • Black coffee (Café largo)
  • or  A slice of full fat cheese wrapped around a slice of hard butter
  • Or  Cheese/butter/ham wrapped in a lettuce leaf or two.  You can make a sandwich of anything using lettuce instead of bread.
  • Or a selection of Nuts
  • Corteza de cerdo (like pork scratchings) dipped in cream cheese or sobrasado
  • Celery with sobrasado is also nice.  Sobrasado is processed fatty pork and maybe is not the best fat.  but it’s gluten free, so it cannot be all bad.


  • A Rice dish (see below)  this is not proper Keto, but I like it
  • A salad + cheese and half an apple
  • Butternut squash with cream cheese
  • grilled meat or fish

Merienda (tea time)

  • PG tips, green tea or another coffee
  • plain popcorn with a bit stevia and salt.  has a carb content, so not for the hard line Ketoner.  But at least they are gluten free.
  • nuts – mercadona do a good range of natural nuts and seeds (ie not fried in palm oil).  Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are great mixed with almonds, cashews, hazels, brazils.
  • Consum do salted peanuts in their shells.  Peanuts are not approved by hard liners.  but again they are gluten free, so they can’t be all bad.
  • Mercadona  gluten free Maize chips have a carb content, so not for everyone.

NUT TIP – to bring them to life, heat up a big frying pan with a little bit of olive oil, empty the packet of nuts or seeds into the pan, add a pinch of salt.  move around for 3 or 4 minutes and take them off before they burn.  Then empty the next pack into the hot pan. The best natural (not fried) nuts and seeds are to be found in Mercadona


Vegetables grown under the ground have a relatively high sugar content.  So best to avoid potatoes.  Cabbage, broccoli, squash, lettuce, tomato are all good.

  • Lightly sautéed Kale / cabbage that has already been steamed with fried bacon bits
  • Big bits of meat on the bone with lots of fat.  Best if grass fed, but good anyway.
  • Caulirice – steamed grated cauliflower makes a good rice
  • Caulimash –  Cauliflower steamed so it is soft, then masked with butter and nutmeg
  • Courgetini –  You need a gadget to do this to spirilise a courgette.  The result is a good spaghetti substitute.  Best steamed lightly so it does not go mushy              .
  • Pizza – with a base made from almond flour.   You could use a mix of chick pea flour (garbanzo).  But it adds to the carbs.  So best not if you want stay in Ketosis.
  • Meat and fish to taste.

Beans and pulses are not on the keto menu because they have a high carb content


  • 2 or 3 table spoons of home made or Greek yoghurt mixed with a table spoon of extra virgin cococnut oil and a spoon full of ground flax seed (lino in Spanish) or cacao powder
  • A handful of raspberries or strawberries with full fat cream.  They make a good iced cream.
  • Half an apple with cheese.  more nuts
  • Apples and fruit in general have sugar,  so no more than protion of fruit per day.  Half a banana is you must.
  • Dark chocolate 70%+ cacao with no added sugar, with stevia even better.  but watch out the stevia is often much less than the sugar.
  • menta poleo (mint tea) infusion to finish with.

There are lots of recipes for keto puddings / breads, but they all require time.  I eat anything I am given by my long suffering wife.


I cheat regularly and probably eat too many carbs.  But once you are fat adapted, it is easy to get back into Ketosis, so they say.  The truth is that I don’t know whether I am in Ketosis.  But I probably am.

Rice may not have gluten.  But is a carb and generates glucose when digested so best to eat sparingly.

Nevertheless here is Peter’s Arroz con cositas – my answer to Paella.

  • Heat a big pan up with some olive oil.
  • Add anything you want to the pan ie Fried onions, veg, beans, diced apples, apricots, squash chopped small, sausages or morcilla (blood sausage) or anything with a low sugar content
  • Add 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, turmeric for the colour.
  • tabasco or garam marsala if you want to spice it up
  • Add the water (2 bowls)  .. bring to boil
  • Add rice * (1 bowl) and cook for 14 minutes
  • You can use grated cauliflower instead of rice, in which case 8 minutes boiling should be enough.
  • Switch off and cover a leave it to finish cooking for 5 minutes.

I wash the rice before to eliminate the starch/arsenic! *

see Sugar+Gluten=Inflammation for background info.

Insulate to avoid extremes of temperature

Generally flats in Valencia are not well insulated for noise or for temperature.  The solution is to insulate, especially if you are in a top floor.

EXTERNAL WALLS   –  If a room is hit by the sun in the summer, you can reduce the temperature in the room by installing an extra layer of plasterboard with a layer of insulation .  This will cost 3 cms of room space. It is even better if you can leave an air gap between the wall and plasterboard.

CEILING INSULATION  –  Good insulation can reduce the temperature in a top floor room by 10%.  In a middle floor it will minimize the noise from the neighbours above you.

The best and most economical solution is as follows

  • Fit insulation felt to the ceiling
  • Install a metal frame with more felt,  leaving an air gap
  • Fit plain plasterboard to the frame.
  • Finish the plasterboard with a skim coat of plaster for a perfect finish.
  • Fit a ceiling fan for maximum comfort.
ceiling frame with insulation
ceiling frame with insulation

This lowers the ceiling by 4 cm, but makes all the difference

with new layer of plasterboard
with new layer of plasterboard
Finshed with a celing fan
Finshed with a celing fan

RENTAL FLATS  –   If the landlord objects, go to the local office for the Protection of the Consumer to force the issue.  Good insulation is energy saving and to be encouraged.   The Ombudsman for the Comunidad is in Calle Guardia Civil, which is the next level.

We work with specialists.  The price is 130 euros per square metre approx.  To get a quote, please fill in the contact form.

Denia beach house

  • Beautifully refurbished villa with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
  • 1 double and 2 twin bedrooms – sleeps 6
  • The villa is in a complex with communal garden and pool
  • 2 minutes from the best beach in Denia.
  • Air conditioning in the living room and the master bedroom.
  • Good TV and internet.
  • Terrace for al fresco meals.
  • Rents by the month in the summer.
  • Very close to prestige restaurant Quique dacosta
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