hi there, coconuts ;)
Any other people out there obsessed with coconut oil? I grew up in an Italian household, so olive oil was always our oil of choice. Hey, it still is, usually… but I have definitely expanded my palate when I adopted a plant-based lifestyle. I started to experiment with different oils in both cooking and baking. Coconut oil definitely ranks near the top, and I have really learned to embrace its subtle, sweet taste. I think it adds a lot of depth to meals, and also has proved to be amazing as a beauty ingredient, too.
I use coconut oil in a lot of random ways in my life, so I wanted to share a few of my key coconut oil habits (as well as some health benefits). It’s important to shed light on products that you may not necessarily feel compelled to try. If you are not a coconut oil believer, maybe this can change your mind.
The Benefits of Coconut Oil
I wanted to kick it off with a few benefits that you should be aware of going into this. Whenever I try a new product, the first thing I do is Google what the health benefits are (if any). Educating yourself on what you are putting into or on your body is a habit that you should definitely get into. Dr. Axe actually has a great list of coconut oil benefits HERE, but I wanted to pull out a few from the article that caught my eye:
- Features medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), which are easier to digest, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, energizing, and not readily stored as fat
- May lower the risk of heart disease
- May help clear up UTIs
- May lower risk of cancer
- Boosts immune system
- Great way to boost energy
- May help treat skin problems (eczema, burns, etc.)
- May help prevent gum and tooth decay/disease
- May help burn fat
- Can improve dry hair (tried and true, for me!)
- May naturally balance hormones
Just from this list, coconut oil is a jack of all trades. So, how do I use it in my everyday life? These are the top ways that I’m currently enjoying coconut oil. Even adopting a few of these habits will increase your use so that you can reap the benefits that it has to offer.
How I Use Coconut Oil
Coconut Oil + Popcorn
This is my favorite way to enjoy coconut oil. Actually, my friend Sara gave me this idea (because I was using olive oil) and I love her for it. It changed my life. I add 2 tbs of coconut oil to my Whirly Pop before I add the kernels. Pop as normal. It gives the popcorn a warm, rich hint of coconut – not overpowering at all. It just feels more decadent compared to olive oil. I actually skip the salt this way, too. It’s just too good.
Coconut Oil Hair Mask
My second favorite way to use coconut oil is on my hair. Once a month, I will warm about 1/4 cup coconut oil so that it is liquified and use my hands to work it through my entire head (use more or less depending on how long your hair is). It feels very oily and awkward, but just go with it. Once my hair is coated, I throw it in a top knot and cover with a shower cap. Leave it on for about a half hour or so, then wash hair as you normally would. Make sure you get it all out when you wash – really scrub. I’ve found that it makes my hair soft, fresh, and actually believe that it helps it to grow faster. Since I started doing this, I have noticed that my hair grows like weeds. I’m not complaining.
Coconut Oil + Tempeh
I love toasting tempeh in coconut oil vs. olive oil. Tempeh is already nutty in flavor, but the coconut oil adds a touch of sweetness to it and it toasts beautifully over the stove.
Coconut Oil + Coffee
Yeah, it blew my mind too. Adding a tbs of coconut oil to your morning cup of coffee is a great way to get that healthy fat into your diet, and boost your energy. It adds nice flavor to it, too. I only do this once in a while, but it is always a treat when I do.
Coconut Oil + Skin
Coconut oil is great for dry, flaky skin. I’ve rubbed a bit of oil onto the pads of my feet when they feel dry in the summer (barefoot life, ya’ll) and even on my knuckles or elbows. Just a pinch is all you need, because it goes a long way. I’m not sure about people with sensitive skin, so you may want to test it out on a small portion of your skin before you do this. I am not a doctor, so I cannot say if this will or won’t work for you. I just personally know that it works for me!
So these are just a few ways that I use it, but there is so much more. I also use in most stir-fries, all my curry dishes, in baking, etc. Coconut oil is definitely worth keeping in your pantry and experimenting with. And if you are a New Englander, just know that Job Lot is where it’s at in terms of coconut oil for cheap! They carry a variety of brands at different price points (the pic above is from Job Lot). You can’t go wrong there. If you are not local, you can find coconut oil anywhere, really. Look online to see if you can grab a good deal, too. Speaking from experience, coconut oil can be very expensive in certain stores, so definitely browse around before you become intimidated by price and avoid it all together.
So now, show of hands – anyone else use coconut oil in their home? I’d love to hear how you use it. xx bianca