By Shannon Keirnan
My love affair with coconut oil started recently, but sometimes when you find the One, you just know you're meant to be together forever.
Coconut oil came into my life when I started making the change to eating more like a Foodie Bitch. I didn't know why, at the time, coconut oil would mean so much to me. I just knew that it tasted fine (not like coconut meat - coconut oil's unfortunate mother I just hate).
More importantly, it cooked food just as well as the other oils I was used to, like vegetable and canola. Usually I preferred cooking with olive oil, but I had learned shortly before that olive oil is degraded by high heat, and not only loses its healthful components but may even become carcinogenic. Olive oil and I decided it would be best for both to part ways (though I still drizzle it over completed meals now and then).
Best of all, coconut oil was inexpensive and low maintenance. A solid at room temperature, I found a little can go a long ways. I like the things in my life to be easy like that.
Plus, it tasted kind of good in my coffee.
The more I used coconut oil, the more I found myself interested. I wanted to know more. So I took to reading (Internet stalking, one might say), and everything I saw made fall a little more:
- As one of the "good fats" to ingest, coconut oil in moderation can reduce overall body fat. It can also lower the level of "bad" lipids in the bloodstream.
- Small doses of coconut oil given to Alzheimer's patients and those with mild cognitive impairments led to improved cognitive recall. In layman's: it can help with and help prevent memory loss.
- Coconut oil can help heal wounds by prompting accelerated skin regrowth.
- It's also anti-fungal. Just in case you had any need for that.
- It can help control the growth of candida in the body - that lovely yeast which leads to yeast infections, gut leak, and thrush, for example.
I was hooked, and this was just the tip of the iceberg. I wanted to incorporate coconut oil into other parts of my life.
I started using it on my skin as a moisturizer - yes, I know what you're thinking. Oil on your skin! It's wrong, it's not natural! But I gave in, and I'll never look back.
I use it on my legs after shaving, on my lips, and on any zit I might have gotten too stern with (did I mention those healing properties yet?). I even use it on my face, in moderation, and around my eyes as a nightcream-eqsue wrinkle fighter.
One night, feeling adventurous, I melted some coconut oil, ran it through my hair, hit it with the blow dryer for a few minutes and (after a good shampoo) bam, I had silky-soft hair with bounce and pizazz. Even my split ends were tamed. People asked me if I had dyed my hair, because with all that added moisture it was a few shades darker.
Now, after a night out (and damaging my hair with my straightener), I'm sure to heat some oil up as a repair treatment. I even use a little during the day to hold my fly-aways down.
I discovered oil pulling around this time - an ancient Ayurvedic practice that's lately coming back into fashion. While I was skeptical at first, my teeth are now whiter and cleaner and my gums are happier (when I remember to do it). Letting oil melt in your mouth might not be the most pleasant experience first thing in the morning, but I figure a shiny smile is worth it.
At this point coconut oil has become an indispensable part of my life. Even my pets benefit - I use a little on my dog's dry skin during the winter... and for whatever reason my cat likes to jump up on the bathroom counter and lick the dish of solid oil I (used to) use as a lip balm. I've crammed some into glass jars and passed it out to friends, telling them to give it a try, and no one comes back to me disappointed (unless it's been licked by the cat. Sorry about that.).
Now I'm encouraging you, Friends, to let this marvelous oil find a place in your life. Give it a shot yourself - you'll see, and you'll fall just as deeply as I did.