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February 20, 2015

Coconut Oil Wears Many Hats

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We are all many things.  Whether we decided to be these things or others bestowed the title or expectations upon us, we all wear many hats.  Think about all of the roles that you play – mother, father, partner, sister, brother, neighbour, caregiver, cook, employee, employer, listener, problem solver, teacher, driver, shopper, humanitarian…and of course, you.  Many of us don’t get to spend too much time in that role – the getting to be one’s self role, but maybe that is why it feels so darn delicious when we do get the chance to check in and just be.

connected

Much less than a hundred years ago there were very few products of convenience. There wasn’t a cleaning product for every job, but rather things like vinegar, baking soda, castile soap and elbow grease (plus lots of tricks passed down).  Our grandparents also didn’t have the plethora of beauty and hygiene products that we do now and made due with treating the hair with things like beer, egg yolks or even making a baking powder wash.

What is the point?

The point is that it is a funny thing that we have come to think that we need a different bottle for everything.  Coconut oil was not readily available to our grandmothers in our part of the world so we may not realize all of the roles that it can play.  Imagine the clutter we could rid ourselves of (not to mention the consolidation of costs!) if we took one product and made it work for a multitude of uses?

solid-coconut-oil

Christine Naidu is the roving Community Ambassador of our Amaranth Enjoy Centre location, serving St. Albert and Edmonton.  The Enjoy Centre is a modern, sustainably built event centre built around Hole’s Greenhouses in St Albert and Christine plans lots of interesting classes and events to share the tale of whole food and health.  She has been an avid student of Yoga for over two decades and is a certified Yoga instructor as well as a runner working towards checking off her bucket list “running a full marathon” this year.

St. Albert Fall Challenge 2013

Christine is also very practical and has found many uses for coconut oil beyond replacing other oils in baking, putting it in smoothies and the like.

  1. Replacement for butter on toast (avocado is also a delicious choice!).
  2. Makeup remover. Apply coconut oil on a lightly damp cotton square to remove makeup (a damp cotton reduces the pulling on delicate facial skin).
  3. As a lipgloss on its own or make your own lip balm with the recipe below.
  4. Add shine & condition hair. Take a tiny pea size amount, rub between the palms & gently smooth onto hair.  Avoid using excess amounts otherwise your hair will be oily.  A deep conditioning treatment can be given by massaging a larger amount into the ends of dry hair and wearing a shower cap for a few hours and then washing hair normally.
  5. Facial & body moisturizer or as a massage oil.  Use small amounts & gently massage into skin until absorbed.  Great for cuticles too.
  6. As a base ingredient in do it yourself personal care products such as toothpaste, deodorant, body butters, etc (see body scrub recipe below).
  7. Coconut oil is antiviral and antibacterial and can be put on cuts or burns to speed healing and reduce the chance of infection.  It can also be used for yeast infections, sunburns, hemorrhoids and even cold sores.
  8. As a coffee creamer when gently blended into coffee (think bullet proof coffee).
  9. Diaper cream alternative to petroleum, massage oil to remove cradle cap and for healing of the perineum after giving birth.
  10. As a light sunscreen (about spf 4-10).
  11. As a shaving cream.
  12. As an anti itch remedy for mosquito bites, chicken pox, poison ivy or even eczema.

WOW!

Coconut oil has been a staple in India for thousands of years.  It is available in a traditional format or is fractionated. Fractionated coconut oil stays in a liquid form where traditional coconut oil will be liquid or solid depending on the temperature.  To store coconut oil, keep it at cool to room temperature and away from direct sunlight.  Try to select a coconut oil that is extra virgin, cold pressed, organic, fair trade, sustainable and hexane free.

What are the health benefits of coconut oil?  The medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil have been studied and some of the touted benefits are:  healthy cholesterol levels, reduced abdominal fat and healthy weight management.  Coconut oil contains lauric acid which the body converts into monolaurin which has been linked to enhanced immunity.  In Ayurveda, traditional Indian medicine, coconut oil is considered cooling and is perfect for Pitta constitutions.

Simple DIY Body Scrub

1 cup white or brown sugar

1/2 cup coconut oil

a few drops of your favorite essential oil (optional)

Directions: Mix together in a jar, put a lid on it and keep it in your shower.  With very gentle pressure, use about a TBSP once a week when you shower to leave the body (and feet!) smooth.

Hand Cream or Lip Balm

3/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup beeswax (the leftover from a 100% beeswax candle works perfectly!)

3-4 capsules vitamin E

essential oils of your choice (optional)

Directions: You can use a double boiler or just a metal bowl loosely fitted in a pot of water on the stove.  Pierce the vitamin E and squeeze out the oil and melt everything all together.  Stir to combine and pour into jars or lip balm containers.  Store on the counter until hardened.

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Lemon Frosting for Cake or Cupcakes

1 cup coconut oil

3/4 cup finely shredded & dried unsweetened coconut

2 TBSP maple syrup

zest from 1-2 organic lemons (or lime/orange)

little pinch of sea salt

Directions: In a high speed blender or bullet of some kind, blend all ingredients until really smooth.  Scrape into a bowl and put in the fridge for about 30 minutes allowing it to harden back up.  Once firmed up a bit, whip up with a spoon or whisk and apply to completely cooled cupcakes or cake.

Posted by Amy Buckman with super content contributions from Christine Naidu.

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