All About Coconut ~ Part 1

by laury on March 20, 2012 · 37 comments

I’ve posted about coconut oil a few times before. It’s something that plays a big part in my diet, and I am ashamed to admit how often I need to replenish my stock.

CoconutOilNutiva

Recently many readers and friends who read the blog have asked me:

is coconut oil really healthy for you?

or…

“Okay I bought it, what do I do with it?”

and my favorite:

“I bought coconut oil and it got hard? There must be something wrong with it/me?”

I know this has been talked about a ton on here, but instead of link, link, linking I thought I’d put it all in one place. Even if some of the information is being repeated.

coconutoil

the first time I ever bought it I was freaked out that it was solid too!!

Is it healthy?

Short answer —YES times a thousand! It’s one of the best things you could put into your body!

The thing with coconut oil is although it is saturated fat, which is traditionally known as a “bad fat” {I will get to that in a minute}. The saturated fat found in coconuts are made up of short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids that the body will quickly convert to energy and burn instead of storing as fat!

So when you consume coconut oil it may help you to lose weight! As well as increase your energy, improve digestion and lower your risk for certain diseases!

Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which makes up half of the medium-chained fatty acids. Lauric acid is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal fat that is used medicinally to treat influenza, bronchitis, yeast infections, cold, ulcers, and many other ailments! Lauric acid is present in breast milk so if you think about it, nature intended for us to eat it! If it provides amazing benefits for your growing baby (brain food!) then why wouldn’t it be healthy for us as adults?

 

It’s solid? What gives?

Coconut oil is liquid above 75 degrees F. It can easily be melted on low heat. Or you can just spread it like butter!

Where do I start? What do I do with it?

You can use coconut oil anywhere you would use butter or oil. Anywhere!  In baking and cooking and everything in between!

I simply put a tablespoon into my hot oatmeal in the morning and it gives it a buttery, delicious flavor. I cook my eggs in it, or anything I make on the pan. I even melt a little to put on top of Ella’s veggies and she loves it! I recently pan seared some tilapia with coconut oil and lime…and it was unbelievable!

You can melt it and roast veggies, use it in dessert, or basically spread it on a piece of toast and sprinkle some cinnamon {<-great suggestion from Morgan!} I’ve mentioned this before, but my favorite pre-workout energy bites are pitted Medjool dates filled with a little coconut oil. I’ll do 3-4 dates with 1/2 Tablespoon before an intense workout and it provides the fuel I need! Many people even love it in smoothies!

I’ve even heard that when you place it in the refrigerator or into freezer trays it tastes like candy! I have so many ideas running through my head with that one!

But does it taste real “coconutty”?

No. To me it has more of a rich, buttery flavor. I was never a fan of a strong coconut taste. I actually used to think it did when I used it in a raw vegan dessert once, but learned shortly after that it was just plain delicious, nothing overpowering! My picky husband even prefers it on our popcorn over the movie theater stuff! You have no idea what kind of testament that is, unless you know him!

I know you said the saturated fat isn’t bad, but what about all the years of doctors and dieticians, and media, etc telling us it is???

More and more is coming out about saturated fats and how they may not be root of all things evil. In fact, all of those studies that doctors based their advice on studies that were often sponsored by the companies selling margarine. Yes, the same stuff that we found out actually DID cause a raise in all the health problems over the past few decades. How about that?

I highly recommend you reading this article on saturated fat by Lisa Beach over at Thrive Style. Lisa is a PhD and a nutrition professor, and she’s pretty damn smart and informative! When you’re finished with that you should go ahead and read this article written by a heart surgeon who swallowed his pride and bravely came out the speak the truth about saturated fat and it’s link to heart disease!  I will touch more on the real culprit (cough- sugar, trans fats, processed foods) in a future post!

ChocolateCherryProteinCake

Here is a round-up of some of my favorite treat recipes (other than my regular use which is what was mentioned above)!’

Chocolate Cherry Protein Cake

Movie Theater Popcorn

from Pure2Raw:

Thin Mint Protein Cookies

Raw Triple Chocolate Cheesecake {<—you will die when you see these!}

Mini Coconut Lime “Cheesecakes”

from Little House of Veggies:

another great suggestion from Morgan:

Use it in whole fruit dressings. I make these all the time, and it is a little trick that I do to keep my dressing as healthy as they can be. You would assemble a salad, for instance, organic lettuce, jicama, cucumber, tomato, and sprouts, herbs (or whatever you prefer) and then for the dressing keep is as whole food based as possible. Choose a fruit (I love to use mango) and then add a little citrus (i.e. lime), then add a touch of sweet so I would add a few dates, or a some liquid stevia if keeping it sugar free as far as no added sugars aside what naturally occurs in the fruit. Then add 1/4 cup or so of coconut oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Its like a fruity, lime, coconuty, tropical goodness.

Yum! Thanks, Mo Mo! (I have a truffle recipe from her for the next post!)

from Thrive-Style

Peanut Butter “Magic Shell”

Food is not the only thing I use it for! Your skin is the largest organ on in your body….we absorb more toxins and chemicals that way than we do any other way! I have switched from chemical laden night creams to using pure coconut oil! Ella gets it on her skin and bottom too! It’s amazing! Now do you see why I go through so much????

CoconutOilCotton

Beauty

Eye makeup remover and moisturizer!!!

 

Stay tuned –part 2 will be covering coconut water as well as the rest of the coconut. And more recipe round ups from some of my favorites!

Tip: When you shop—look for “expeller pressed extra virgin coconut oil.” Preferably organic!

——

What’s your favorite use for coconut oil?

(Links welcome for those that check the comment section…and me!)

Coconut oil “virgins” –do you now feel more comfortable trying it? How do you think you will use it now that you have more information?

If I didn’t cover something let me know and I will address it in my next post!

I have some taxes to get done. Wish me luck :/

Talk soon!

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Yellow Haired Girl March 20, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Yay! Thank you for sharing this info – I’ve definitely been wondering about adding this into my diet. I already put it in my hair as a deep conditioning mask … but cooking?! Didn’t know where to start. This helps a lot :)

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2 Alana March 21, 2012 at 3:39 am

I use this recipe for making diaper cream for my infant. The only change I make is replacing 1 oz. of the coconut oil with almond oil so that it’s softer at room temperature. This stuff works wonderfully and returns my baby’s butt to perfection when he gets a little diaper rash. I’ve been making it for all my friends who are having babies – they love it and it makes a great shower gift.

http://www.wabisabibaby.com/blog/2008/all-natural-diaper-cream-with-coconut-oil/

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3 laury March 21, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Awesome, Alana! Thank you for sharing I will definitely be trying that for Ella! Great gift idea too!!!

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4 Lisa March 21, 2012 at 6:26 am

Yayayayay—BIG fan of this post. And thanks for the mention! You and I should started a coconut oil/fat fan club! Lol.

Other things I learned recently about coconut oil: you can make toothpaste out of it (have not tried yet!), and it can significantly reverse dementia (and even alzheimer’s–still trying to figure out how to get my grandma to eat it…).

I heard also that to get the same amount of lauric acid as in a “day’s worth” of breast milk, you’d ingest about 3.5 tablespoons of coconut oil. I am not quite at that amount, but I’m gonna try to bump it up with my new motivation from your post :-)

On the smoothie thing–I used to hate it in smoothies because I’d scoop some in, and it would be in little solid chunks throughout the drink. Then someone told me to melt it first and drizzle it in while the blender is running—that works great (but it’s a pain in the butt since I don’t have a microwave to melt it with!).

Thanks for putting out this great info—I’ll post, re-post, and talk about it!

Oh, and I’ve been dying to try Lori and Michelle’s thin mints…maybe I’ll do that today, right after I remove my eye makeup with coconut oil! hehe.

Hope you and your super baby have a wonderful day!

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5 laury March 21, 2012 at 1:23 pm

You got it, my smart friend :-)

Dementia runs in my family…so I need to get my mom eating more of it too. So scary!

It’s such a superfood, huh? It just does everything! Inside and outside! I am SO on board with starting a coconut oil fan club with you ;-)

Have a great day!

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6 Sherri March 21, 2012 at 7:09 am

It’s a shame that the public is so uneducated about the benefits of cocunut oil and the fact that it is a medium-chain fat, since it is unlikely food manufacturers will use cocounut oil in their products for fear of upping the fat content on their nutrition facts panel.

For now i will spread the good word as much as i can! Great post, thank you.

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7 laury March 21, 2012 at 1:22 pm

All we can do is keep spreading the word and hope that it sticks!!!!

I agree completely about food manufacturers. We would also have to worry about it being full of fillers too because it’s not the cheapest stuff in the world

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8 Heidi March 21, 2012 at 7:25 am

I use coconut oil A LOT! I first read about it in Thrive, by Brendan Brazier. I use it to saute veggies, make granola, pop popcorn…

One new use I have found is combining coconut oil and dates to fuel for running. You stuff a little coconut oil or butter in place of the pit of a medjool date. Tastes much better than that gel goo!

Can’t wait to hear about coconut water. That’s one of my more recent loves!

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9 laury March 21, 2012 at 1:21 pm

I love Thrive! I actually posted the date and coconut oil as one of my favorite ways to use it :-) Great pre-workout snack! I’m trying to get some of my clients on board but they are still a little weird about it :/

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10 Felicia (Natural + Balanced) March 21, 2012 at 10:47 am

Don’t be ashamed… I go through the stuff like crazy too :)

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11 Whitney @ Whit Likes Fit March 21, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Thanks for this great post. I actually bought some coconut oil at Trader Joe’s over the weekend because I’d been reading so much about it. I think I’m going to try it in my roasted veggies for dinner tonight.

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12 laury March 21, 2012 at 4:38 pm

you will love it! I love trader joes coconut oil! SO inexpensive too

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13 Lisa@Healthy Diaries March 21, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I’m totally a coconut oil lover and believe that it’s so beneficial to us!
I love sauteing veggies in it and I use a lot of it when I bake!
I have used it on my skin before, but never got into using it daily as a moisturizer. Think I’m gonna put some on my face tonight!

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14 laury March 21, 2012 at 4:39 pm

yes, it’s great! I never wear it under makeup because the makeup will melt off but as a night cream–amazing! My skin looks great!

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15 Maria@healthydiaries March 21, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Thank you for writing all this in one post! I have it starred for future reference. So glad I don’t follow a low-fat diet any more. It’s so much more fun to eat healthy fats :-) I look to you and Lisa as two blogs where I can learn so much, your both awesome at explaining the important stuff! Thanks again!!

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16 laury March 21, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Yey for healthy fats!! And Lisa is great!

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17 the delicate place March 21, 2012 at 4:03 pm

i ADORE cooking my eggs in it! i ran out! i’m using up the last of my grapeseed oil before i buy another jar it’s my fave! do you warm it up to remove eye makeup? or let it melt on your skin laury?

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18 laury March 21, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Yum Yum! I know, right?? So good!! I’m out too and all this talk is making it sad. I need to go stock up tonight!! Mike wanted my special popcorn last night and I didn’t even have a drop left. Boo.

I just smear it on solid. As the eye makeup remover I use solid on a cotton ball and it works like cold cream almost. For a night cream, same, just rub it in my skin, although after a hot shower it’s pretty soft in the jar I keep in the bathroom

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19 Morgan March 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Wow! Such an awesome post on cocnut! I am totally obsessed with it for sure! I use it for everything! I is by far the healthiest oil to cook with hands down. I LOVE using it for popscorn too! It makes the whole house smell like the movies! I can see that I didn’t really bring it with awesome ideas once I looked at the others! ha ha ha. The Pure2Raw cheesecake things, um, yeah…i want those. They look awesome!! I also use it for my face, eye makeup babies, butts, on my kids skin especially after a long day on the beach…its just seriously the best.

Oh and this is TOTALLY TMI, but hey, I think its good for people to know??? It is good for dryness in the lower regions (if you know what I mean. ) . It is a much more natural way for people to get a little extra comfort. I know from experience because when Im prego my hormones make my skin EVERYWHERE extra extra extra dry, so yeah, you get it. Sometmes a little coconut oil is very soothing and moisturizing to the lower areas and all natural, so I dont’ feel like Im putting some weird substance all over my body.And that is the end of me getting WAY to personal. I’m kinda embarassed but oh well…someone had to say it. The end.
p.s. You know I only have like 8-10 weeks to go right??!! I’m so ready!

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20 laury March 21, 2012 at 9:27 pm

You made amazing suggestions, are you kidding!!? Always do, my friend :-)

Not TMI–anyone with babies or BFing KNOWS what that’s like! I never thought of that! Thanks for the tip!!

Eeeeekkkk!!! I want to see your cute preggo belly! And I need your new address! <3

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21 Pure2raw twins March 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm

you know we love our coconut oil :)
thanks for all the link love!
love ya girl!
and we love coconut oil for just about everything food and body related.

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22 laury March 21, 2012 at 9:28 pm

love YOU girls!

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23 jen March 22, 2012 at 6:56 am

what an amazing post! i have been incorporating coconut oil in my diet for a couple of months, not being too sure if it was right or not (stupidly following blind faith haha), but now i know its awesomeness! also, i made the mini key lie pies last night and they were SO DELICIOUS!!! i cant wait to make the choco cherry protein cake next! thanks!!

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24 laury March 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Ohhh Jen I want to come over for pie!!! They are amazing, huh?

For the chocolate cherry cake I did use a regular egg. Not sure how it will do with a flax egg, you may have to add more. I’ve been meaning to make a note but didn’t realize HOW dry it can get. One egg worked great though :-)

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25 Barhi@medjool cultivation April 3, 2012 at 11:58 pm

I really love your recipes. I will have to try some of them out. Nice blog.

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26 Barhi@origin of medjool dates April 4, 2012 at 5:49 am

The best thing I like about coconuts is the liquid that is inside. Drinking it makes me feel vital and strong. But the coconut oil looks like an awesome deal too.

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27 Karen May 27, 2013 at 9:23 pm

I’m a recent convert to coconut oil but I use it for everything. I actually started using it on my skin last year, then on my hair and now I’m cooking and baking with it.
The other week I made some awesome breakfast bars and breakfast cookies with it. Used it to sauté veggies or almost anywhere you would use oil.
We just adopted a dog last week and I’m adding about a tbsp a day to her kibble.

Love this stuff and thanks for the links to the articles.

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28 Karen May 27, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Oh and I forgot I use it to ‘wash’ my face. Rub the coconut oil in with your fingers, giving yourself a mini massage, then wipe off with a warm damp wash cloth (exfoliates). Leaves just enough oil behind to lightly moisturize.
I also use it to shave my legs.

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29 laury June 4, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Yes I recently got into oil cleansing as well!!!!! so much better than soap!

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30 laury June 4, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Awesome, Karen!!! I use it for anything and everything too! It’s awesome!

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31 uses of virgin coconut oil on skin August 8, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Awesome article.
uses of virgin coconut oil on skin recently posted..uses of virgin coconut oil on skin

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