I’m a relative newcomer to the coconut oil bandwagon. A few years ago, Charmaine told me how I could evenly substitute coconut oil for butter when making cookies or while cooking. It took me a while to warm up to the idea but once I did, it was bub-bye butter.
Shannon has told me she uses organic, unrefined coconut oil for almost everything. She takes tablespoons of it each day to help with her Fibromyalgia, reduce her sugar cravings and allow her to feel satisfyingly full. She uses it as a facial/body moisturizer and mixes essential oils with it for a deodorant. She tells me it’s the MacGyver of oils. If she can’t use coconut oil with or for something, it’s not worth doing. Connie, who has a strong background in cosmetology, tells me she uses coconut oil as a deep conditioner for her hair and a moisturizer for her lips and cuticles.
Ahhhhh, the humble coconut; so unassuming and yet so multi-dimensional. According to Mercola.com, these two gals are spot on with their uses. In fact, here’s a few more:
· Shaving lotion: Just apply a thin layer and shave as usual. The lauric acid in the coconut oil will also act as an antiseptic for shaving nicks and cuts. Good to know for people like me who, um, like to get the most out of their disposable razor.
· Insect Repellant: Mixing coconut oil with a high-quality essential oil(s) such as peppermint, lemon, rosemary, tea tree, citronella or catnip oil can help repel those little buggers. Wait. Catnip oil? Really? Yep. According to one study, catnip oil is 10 times more effective than DEET. Well, shizzle my dizzle! I wonder if you’ll have all the kitties in the neighborhood after your milkshake?? I also wonder if this study was done on ND/MN mosquitos!
· Head Lice: LICE?! Yep. Combine coconut oil and anise to create a treatment that is nearly twice as effective as the prescription Permethrin.
It can also be used alone, or in some cases, in combination with a high quality essential oil for cold sores, ear infections, bug bites/stings, athlete’s foot, chicken pox and eczema. I can attest to the eczema part as my daughter is prone to bouts of eczema during the winter months. This year I am using organic, unrefined coconut oil on her and her eczema is almost non-existent. In contrast, last winter we went through a tube of (sparingly used) hydrocortisone.
It’s also said that coconut oil destroys free radicals and can help your skin look more youthful by diminishing fine lines and wrinkles. If looks aren’t your thing, how about your health? Coconut oil contains 50% of a ‘miracle’ ingredient called lauric acid. This acid can actually destroy viruses such as measles, HIV/herpes, influenza, pneumonia, UTI’s and vaginitis.
What are some of the physical benefits to using coconut oil over others? Well, a HUGE one is organic coconut oil isn’t genetically modified, however over 90% of soy, corn and canola oils are. Zoinkies Scoob! Organic coconut oil promotes weight loss, metabolism, immune system and heart health as well as providing immediate energy. Yes, you read right: immediate energy. That’s because coconut oil is immediately converted to energy, via your liver, instead of being stored as fat. No kidding.
I was curious about the difference between refined and unrefined (virgin) coconut oil. Refined is good for baking and cooking as it can withstand higher temperatures (450 degrees). It also doesn’t have any coconut smell. The reason for this is because unrefined coconut meat is often dried in open air and, because of this drying method, can result in salmonella poisoning. To ensure this doesn’t happen, the coconut meat needs to be purified and is put through a bleach filtration system. Once that’s done, it’s heat treated to remove any odor.1
Unrefined (virgin) coconut oil uses fresh, not dried, coconut meat. This ensures the oil is sanitary and doesn’t need additional purification, however it can only withstand 350 degree heat. To produce unrefined coconut oil, there are two methods used and while I’m not going to go into detail (you’re welcome), I will say that both methods result in a coconut oil that wasn’t purified by bleach. Because of this, it does maintain some (mild) coconut odor.
Through personal experience, I find the unrefined coconut oil to be a better choice for lotion as it melts like buttahhh when rubbed between your palms. The refined is more difficult to melt and now that I know bleach is used to purify it…well….. (gulp).
And what coconut oil blog would be complete without dispelling what you think you know about the saturated fats in coconut oil? Pishaw, my faithful readers! Not this blog! It’s not the enemy you may believe it to be. The saturated fats in coconut oil are naturally occurring. Ding ding! The key words here, in the saturated fat fight are, ‘naturally occurring.’ You see, again according to Dr. Mercola,2 there are other fats which are “artificially manipulated into a saturated state through the man-made process called hydrogenation.” If this is the case, it will result in trans-fats which actually contribute to heart disease. Fair warning! Some of the coconut oils on the market contain hydrogenated oils and trans-fats. Blasphemy!
I guess the long and the short of it is coconut oil is a dynamo. It has healing, healthful properties and is safe to use both internally and externally. Be sure to read labels (check for trans-fat, hydrogenated oil and even ‘animal byproducts’ – euwwwww) and buy a good quality organic coconut oil; don’t just go for the cheapest.
Maybe make the switch in cooking first and then baking. Then, maybe think about switching your expensive facial moisturizer or maybe even your methyl paraben’d body lotion for plain old coconut oil. Why stop there? Toothpaste? Sure! Polish furniture? Yes! Oil rusty door hinges? You bet! Moisturize leather, including the interior of your car? Yes, Yes, YES! Coconut oil could quite possibly become your MacGyver, too.