It is Tuesday evening and I am relaxing with my furry children enjoying the cool breeze outside. It is a great day to be alive. I think we forget to be thankful and appreciative for just being able to wake up and smell the air, see the sky, to just be alive. We take a lot for granted so I really try to make every effort to be thankful and be in the moment. Ok I am already off on a tangent!
Lets get to the real topic, “Coconuts” which I think is probably one of my favorite fruits or drupes in the entire world. Just in case you were wondering a drupe is a fruit with a hard stony covering enclosing the seed (like a peach or olive) and comes from the word drupa meaning overripe olive. Ok enough with the scientific jargon. Whatever a coconut is, it is AMAZING and I am so happy that this amazing creation has so many uses.
When I first began my journey into the holistic world, coconut oil was one of the first things I discovered. I like many people, I thought it was a bit odd to use coconut oil to cook all my meals. Most of us grew up using butter, margarine, olive oil, vegetable oil etc. Being the type of person that thrives on structure, routine, and control, you can imagine how big of a deal it was to switch my oil to a coconut. I was a daunting task for me, but once I used it a few times I was hooked. It smells good and it actually adds a great flavor to all the foods I make. Once I got in the routine of using coconut oil to cook I began researching all the different uses for it. I was blown away at how versatile this oil was, not to mention how amazing it is for you.
I will share with you what I use coconut oil for and why. You may be surprised at what you read. Like I always tell people, don’t take my word for it, Dr. Google is a great resource, you just have to look. 🙂 There is a world of information out there on coconut oil.
- Coconut oil vs. Olive oil, Vegetable Oil, or Butter
The main reason I made this permanent switch was due to the health benefits and the lack there of with other cooking oils and butters. I was amazed at the lack of knowledge I had when it came to what I was cooking with every single day and what advertisements and even health coaches/nutritionists were saying. Like many people I believed all the companies that were saying that they had healthy vegetable oils or spreads; I took their word for it.
Ok I am not going to go into full on detail about the scientific research on using coconut oil vs. Olive oil, Vegetable Oil, or Butter because one can literally write a book just on that topic alone. What I am going to do it give some information that has been researched that is just on the surface of this whole debate.
Lets get a few things clear, not all olive oils are created equal. The way in which our ancestors created olive oil is very different then the way that it is created commercially today. When olive oil is created commercially, it is being processed and diluted, in turn losing a lot if not all of its nutritional components. Unfortunately this is just the tip of the iceberg because one of the biggest things people do not realize is what happens once olive oil is heated at high temperatures. Yes it is completely ok to put an organic extra virgin olive oil that is unfiltered, and cold pressed in your salad. The problem is that, that oil is rarely seen. The really clear “extra virgin” olive oil that has been refined, and mixed with other oils is what we see on our shelves and once that is heated you have a whole other problem. It completely changes the molecular structure and the oil becomes rancid, making it very toxic to the body because of the carcinogens it creates. And yes carcinogens are cancer causing. Not only that but heating the oil loses any sort of nutritional value that was even there to begin with.
I am not even going to go into the topic of butter. I think it is safe to say that we all know butter, spreads, margarine etc. are all bad for you. When the label clearly states, “I can’t believe it’s not butter” you must ask yourself, what the heck is it then? Just a bunch of chemicals processed to mimic what was already unhealthy to begin with. If you just stop and think about things for a minute it all seems kind of clear.
Coconut oil on the other hand is stable at very high temperatures. It is instant cell food that contains Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) that become instant energy and fuel for the body. The wonderful thins is that your body does not have to do anything strenuous to absorb those nutrients because it metabolizes so quickly. How great is that! Yes there are people that say “but it is high in saturated fats,” well duh we want that. What people fail to realize is that these are GOOD saturated fats, similar to the ones in avocados. They are soooooo good for you and good for your brain. The brain is made up of mostly fat, so to feed your body good fats means you are feeding your brain the good stuff. This is the only time I would ever want anything fat in my body. LOL But in all seriousness, you cannot go wrong with coconut oil.
- Deep Conditioning
I do not wash my hair everyday. For those of you wondering of course I shower everyday I just don’t wash my hair everyday. I typically wash my hair every two to three days so that I am not stripping the oils from hair. Of course that varies on the activity for that week.
Before I am ready to get in the shower (maybe about an hour or so before) I lather a bunch of coconut oil and I put it all over my hair. I clean, do laundry, read, blog, I do whatever I can to keep myself occupied and i let all the goodness soak in. After about an hour or so I jump in the shower and wash my hair like I normally would. My hair has never felt better.
- Makeup Remover
Yup, you can ditch all the makeup wipes, oil remover, etc. All you need is a very very soft towel or face pad, a little coconut oil and that is it. I use the wash clothes that are found in the baby section, they are the perfect size and are super soft. The coconut oil will take off every bit of makeup you have on your face. I love it! Ever since I started using coconut oil I rarely break out. Plus you know exactly what you are putting on your face. I think girls especially forget that what you put on topically is absorbed into your body so it is something that you should be very conscious of.
After I shower I put it all over my body. Yes it is a little greasy but your body absorbs while you are sleeping and your skin will feel soft and supple the next morning. I put it on my face at night too. I actually alternate between an organic night cream and the coconut oil.
I get this weird rash on my ring and index finger usually during allergy season. With the change in my diet I have been able to eliminate a lot of my allergies but this weird annoying rash keeps coming back. My dermatologist wants me to take allergy meds and put this steroid cream on it but of course I am not doing either. Very recently it occurred to me to put coconut oil on the rash. In three days it was completely gone and I have not seen it ever since. YAY!
- Oil Pulling
When I first heard about oil pulling I was on the fence. After trying it I have to say it works. Basically oil pulling is when you get an oil of your choice and swish it in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes. It pulls stains off of your teeth, freshens breath can have massive improvements on your oral hygiene. Because the stains on your teeth are not soluble in water, brushing will do nothing. Stains not the teeth are soluble in oil that is why this method works so well. All you need is about a tablespoon of coconut oil. Others use sesame, sunflower or hemp oil for this but I prefer coconut oil.
- Shaving lotion
It is so soft and will keep your legs smooth and you will never have dry skin.
- Massage Oil
The cool part about coconut oil is that once you put it on your hands the heat will melt it, making it a great massage oil that smells good (in a subtle way) and does not leave you all sticky after.
- Dry Feet
Lather a good amount on your feet, especially the heel area and put socks on and go to sleep. In the morning your feet will feel like a babies bottom. Of course if your feet are extremely bad you may have to do this a few times.
- Coconut Water
I know this is not coconut oil but I had to add this to the list. I love coconut water so much. I actually took me a while to like it, I used to get grossed out but now aside from spring water it is my go to drink. Be careful on what coconut water you are reaching for. Make sure it is organic, raw, and un-heated coconut water. A lot of companies jumped on the bandwagon and took the idea of coconut water and ran with it. Sure those other coconut waters are better than reaching for a soda but a lot of them have a lot of added sugar to make them taste fruitier. Another thing is that they have been processed and heated and in turn nutrients are lost.
- For the Furry Children (dogs and cats)
This might be my favorite one! 🙂 My two dogs (I don’t even like to call them that lol) are my children and they are treated like part of the family. They get to eat coconut oil every day. It is good for their coat, flea allergies, skin conditions, digestion, immune system, metabolic function and bone health. So it is good for the entire family, how amazing is that?!
If you have other uses for coconut oil, please share. I love hearing new ways to use this awesome oil.