I have recently discovered the wonders of coconut oil. For years, we’ve thought that coconut oil is bad for you, but the reality is coconut oil has just the right kinds of fats, the same medium-chain fatty acids found in mother’s milk and essential to optimum health and disease prevention. Coconut oil is in fact a miracle oil and one of the earliest oils to be used as a food and as a pharmaceutical. People who live in tropical climates with a coconut-based diet have fewer incidences of heart disease, cancer, digestive complaints and prostate problems.
Coconut oil adds protective and healthful qualities when eaten internally and used topically. How much do you need? Two to four tablespoons is recommended daily, obtained from cooking, as a supplement or through the skin. Use coconut oil in all recipes calling for butter, shortening or vegetable oil. It’s an ideal all-purpose cooking oil and has 100% less cholesterol than butter. You can also get the benefits from coconut milk which comes in a can and is used in lots of Thai recipes, or from drinking coconut water, hailed as Nature’s Sports drink. More potassium than a banana, it helps with rehydration, replenishment and concentration. (I also hear it helps alleviate hangovers.)
- Image from ficusdesk Flickr.com
Coconut oil applied to the skin and hair is absorbed quickly and not only adds luster and shine, but helps with dandruff, blemishes and other skin ailments. It’s the only moisturizer you need and a must try for winter’s dry, chapped skin! It is also anti-microbial and a natural germ fighter.
Coconut oil is known to reduce blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. It stimulates metabolism so that you burn more calories (we all love that) and may promote lower cholesterol. Coconut oil is a concentrated source of medium-chain fatty acids. Research has shown that these fatty acids may help prevent and treat a wide variety of diseases too numerous to list here. Recent studies are showing its effectiveness in treating Alzheimer’s disease.
I keep one jar of coconut oil in the kitchen for cooking and one jar in my bathroom for use as a moisturizer. As with olive oil, make sure you buy extra virgin, expeller pressed. You can purchase coconut oil, coconut milk and coconut water from Whole Foods, Trader Joes or natural food stores.
I highly recommend replacing the fats you eat now with coconut oil. You’ll be amazed!
Information compiled from The Coconut Oil Miracle byBruce Fife, C.N., N.D. I suggest you buy this easy-to-read and informative book explaining very succinctly the benefits of coconut oil. It also includes lots of delicious sounding recipes, a few of which I have listed below.
Coconut Milk Smoothie
1 ripe banana, 1 cup coconut milk, 1 cup orange juice
Chill all ingredients before using. Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Contains 2 tablespoons coconut oil per serving.
There are lots of variations to this basic smoothie recipe. Try adding fresh organic berries in place of or along with the orange juice. For a Pina Colada Smoothie, blend 1 cup coconut milk, 1 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple. Chill ingredients before using.
1 cup water, 1 8 oz. bottle of clam juice, 1/2 cup minced yellow onion, 4 cloves minced garlic, 1 stalk celery chopped, 2 cups diced potatoes, 1 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp white pepper, 1 14 oz can coconut milk, 1 8 oz can minced or chopped clams, 1/4 tsp paprika
In a medium saucepan heat water, clam juice, onion, garlic, celery, potatoes, salt and pepper to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add coconut milk and clams with their liquid. Cook for about 5 minutes until heated through. Sprinkle with paprika. Each serving contains 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Feel free to add more coconut oil if desired.
Vegetable Beef Stew
1/4 cup coconut oil, 1 lb beef cut into bite size pieces, 1/2 chopped onion, 2 chopped carrots, 3 cups water, 1/2 cup tomato sauce, 2 medium chopped potatoes or cauliflower, 1 cup green beans, 1 tablespoon diced cilantro, salt and pepper
Heat coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add beef and lightly brown. Add onion and carrots and cook until tender, stirring frequently. Add water, tomato sauce, potatoes (or cauliflower), and green beans; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add cilantro and salt and pepper to taste and cook 1 additional minute. Each serving contains 1 tablespoon coconut oil.
3 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups grated or shredded coconut, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 1/4 cups coconut oil, 3 eggs, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together flour, coconut, baking powder, and salt and set aside. Blend coconut oil, eggs, sugar, and almond extract. Mix wet and dry ingredients together. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Flatten balls to about 1/2 inch thickness. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until pale tan. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Each cookie contains 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil.
Fish or Chicken with Red Curry Paste and Coconut Milk
Rub red curry paste on fish or chicken; pour ½ to 1 can of coconut milk on fish or chicken to cover. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until done.
Caribbean Coconut Fish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small sauce pan heat up onions, garlic and butter. Saute for two minutes, pour in tomato sauce and cook for two minutes.
Pour in can of coconut milk, cilantro, lemon grass, salt and pepper. Turn off heat and let sit.
In baking dish place the fish and pour coconut sauce over top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove foil and bake uncovered 10 more minutes or until fish is fork tender.
▪ 1 – 2 eggplants
▪ 3 Tbsp Nutiva Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
▪ 2 Tbsp Nutiva Shelled Hempseed
Directions: Chop up fresh eggplant into cubes a bit wider than a french fry– and 2-3 inches long. Place in steamer for 10 minutes until the eggplant is slightly soft, but not over done. Just before the steaming is done, heat up a saucepan to medium heat with several Tbsp of Coconut Oil. Place the steamed eggplant into the hot pan for 3-4 minutes, and add more coconut oil as the eggplant soaks up the oil. Drop in tamari or soy sauce for an extra flavor edge. Turn the pieces over with a spatula so the eggplant cooks evenly
Baked Butternut Casserole | Coconut Oil Recipe
Here’s a great recipe from Nutiva Recipe Club member Marlene Dickerson, from New York. It’s a delicious vegetarian entrée. Feeds 6.
Ingredients: 1 large butternut squash
1 or 2 medium to large onions, chopped
1 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
4 tbs. coconut oil.
Split your squash and place cut-side down on a greased cookie sheet, using 2 of your tablespoons of oil. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.
While squash is baking, sauté the onions and mushrooms in one tablespoon of coconut oil until fork-tender.
Remove from oven, scoop out squash and season to taste.
Place in a greased 9×13 in. baking dish, using the rest of your coconut oil to coat pan. Spread squash in pan but making two ditches, one on each side. Place your cooked onion and mushroom mixture into the ditches of the squash. Cover with foil and place in oven for about 15 or 20 minutes, or just long enough to heat the squash.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with mozzarella just over the ditches. Place back in oven just long enough to melt the cheese.
MORE FUN RECIPES WITH COCONUT OIL – BODY CARE RECIPES
If you have tried coconut oil, most likely you have fallen in love with coconut oil as I have. As Stephanie Tourles notes in her book Organic Body Care Recipes, coconut oil in Sanskrit means “the tree that provides all the necessities of life”; in Malay it’s called “the tree of a thousand uses”; and in the Philippines, it’s called “the tree of life”.
Have fun trying these easy coconut oil recipes (including personal care products). I think you’ll discover it’s your “tree of life” too!
Make sure you buy unrefined, virgin oils (Virgin Coconut Oil VCO) made from fresh coconuts, best for making food and personal care products.
Simple Homemade Deodorant
Mix in about 1/3 cup each of cornstarch, baking soda, and coconut oil. Drop in two drops essential oil. Let it sit outside in the sun, or melt it on the stove by placing the container in a little hot water.
Stir it up, and if your coconut oil was solid at your room temperature, let it harden up and just scoop a little out to use it. If your coconut oil was liquid at your room temperature, you can put it in the refrigerator and try to scoop a little out each day. Or you can get a Dixie cup; fill it with the mixed up liquid deodorant and let it harden in the refrigerator. Tear the paper down and apply just like your stick deodorant. You will probably have to store it in the refrigerator during the summer. If it melts and separates, stir it up and refrigerate again.
Basic Cold Cream
(From Organic Body Care Recipes by Stephanie Tourles)
Use for make-up remover or an ultra thick moisturizer. Perfect for dry winter skin!
1-tablespoon jojoba base oil
7 tablespoons pure vegetable oil (I use coconut oil)
10 drops lavender or Roman chamomile essential oil
In a small saucepan over low heat or in a double boiler, warm the jojoba and coconut oils until the two have completely melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Add the essential oil, then begin stirring slowly with a small spoon or whisk until the mixture begins to thicken and become opaque. (Mine doesn’t become opaque but works just fine anyway.) Pour into storage jars and cap. Apply with a soft cloth or your fingers, and apply approximately ½ to 1 teaspoon to cover entire face, throat and décolleté.
Depending on the temperature of your workspace, the product may take a couple of hours to completely set up and attain its thick, creamy consistency. If you wish, you can place the container(s) in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. No refrigeration of the finished product is required, but please use within 6 to 12 months.
Crazy for Coconut Balm
(From Organic body Care by Stephanie Tourles)
Recommended for all skin types except for oily and combination; use daily if desired.
7 tablespoons coconut base oil
1-tablespoon cocoa butter
40 drops vanilla or sweet orange essential oil (optional)
In a small pan over low heat or in a double boiler, warm coconut oil and cocoa butter until the butter is just melted. Remove from heat and let cool 15 minutes. Add the essential oil and stir to blend. Pour into storage container(s) and cap. Allow the mixture to set for 2 hours. Apply immediately after a bath or shower while your skin is still damp and massage into your skin. Start with 1 teaspoon at a time since it is highly concentrated.
No need to refrigerate but use within one year.
You can directly apply coconut oil all over your body. It only takes a small amount to moisturize and absorbs easily and quickly. It smells heavenly and is the best moisturizer around!
Supreme Hair Conditioner
Try it on your hair for a supreme conditioner. Put a teaspoon in your hair, rub it in completely and let it sit for 30 minutes. Follow with your usual wash and conditioner routine. You’ll be amazed at how soft your hair will be.