I'm very happy to report that our family is still enjoying all the benefits of living the Paleo lifestyle. For those who aren't familiar, last summer, we took our healthy eating a step further, and cut out all processed foods, including grain products. It's actually been much easier than we thought it would be, and it really helps that there is a huge, supportive online Paleo community out there, providing tremendous resources, useful hints, and always a patient, listening ear. The result? Mysterious rashes have cleared up, mom and dad are leaning out, the little one is happy, energetic, and growing like a weed, and we're not suffering through repeated bouts of respiratory infections like we used to. Sounds like we've found a winner ;)
In perusing all the mouth-watering primal recipes out there, many Paleo bloggers rely on coconut oil as their primary cooking oil. Coconut oil has now taken the spotlight as the reigning healthy fat among the "super foods". Healthy fat, you say? Yes, not all fat is bad. This great post by Hybrid Rasta Mama spells out 160 ways that coconut oil is good for us; using this naturally anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, shelf-stable, and delicious food for everything from cooking, baking, hair treatments, bug repellent, you name it! I know we've only seen the tip of the iceberg in our household. That five-gallon drum that we just ordered is going to get a lot of use!
A huge thank you to both George at Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations, and Esther at Paleo on Main Street, for introducing me to the Tropical Traditions brand of coconut oils. Not all coconut oil is made the same way, and not all of it tastes the same, either. Tropical Traditions has a great FAQ. When buying coconut oil, just be sure that yours is coming from a reputable source. Some manufacturers source their oil from multiple locations. The jar you see on the grocery store shelf could be a blend of oils from several different countries in itself. Tropical Traditions was born in the Philippines, and all their oil is made with care by local community farming families.
Coconut oil has a host of benefits, including aiding metabolism. This is now our primary cooking oil for everything from scrambled eggs to sauteing vegetables. For these savory dishes, we use Tropical Traditions' Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil. Processed this way, expeller-pressed coconut oil doesn't have that distinct coconutty flavor or taste, making it a better choice for regular cooking. This is different from virgin coconut oil, which is fantastic for baking; adding hints of sweet, nutty flavor to your favorite recipes.
My ultimate favorite use for coconut oil is actually not for eating. A big shout-out to Liz Wolfe at Cave Girl Eats for changing my entire beauty routine; making it simpler, pure, free of chemical additives, and not to mention, frugal! I don't know what to do with all of my stockpiled face washes, creams, lotions, and potions, because it's now coconut oil to the rescue! I've always had issues with very sensitive, combination skin, with plenty of clogged pores, and a random painful zit. Toss in the occasional bout of eczema, from some kind of allergy cross-contamination (always resulting from eating out), and dealing with my skin has definitely not been easy. That is, until now. Liz, if you're reading this, you are my hero ;)
Every morning, I reach for a jar containing a mix of 2/3 coconut oil, and 1/3 castor oil. Castor oil is another super oil, with great anti-inflammatory properties (perfect for my eczema). Just don't eat the stuff ;) As I wait for the tankless hot water heater to kick in, I massage a bit of this mixture on my face, making sure to get it into those problem T-zone areas. Once the hot water is flowing, I gently wipe my face with a steamy hot wash cloth, which really does take off all the excess oil. Coconut oil is considered to be a "dry oil", as it is readily absorbed into your skin. By the time we're finished a quick breakfast, the oil has absorbed, and I'm ready to apply my makeup.
This same jar works to remove my makeup at the end of the day, too. I massage this onto my face, before stepping into the shower, and I take it a step further, by massaging with the Olay Professional Pro-X rotating brush. Call it the Clairsonic for us broke girls. LOL ;) Just a little bit of mild bar soap goes on the brush head. At the end of my shower, I apply a few dabs of another homemade blend of half coconut oil, half jojoba oil. Thank you again to Liz for suggesting the jojoba oil, which she points out is very similar to our skin's own sebum. I noticed a difference within just a few days. My pores are shrinking, the trouble spots are clearing up, and I don't have that aggravating, dry, tightness, immediately after washing my face anymore. My skin is definitely much softer now, too. As a bonus? No more having to read labels to find "natural" skin care products. You can't get much more triclosan/SLS/fragrance/paraben-free than pure plant oils.
If you want to give this a try, but don't have the other oils on hand, that's okay. Some people use straight coconut oil. Give that a try first, and see how you like this cleansing method. I'm pretty sure you're going to be hooked when you see and feel the results ;)
No promotional consideration was paid for this post. Review based on personal purchases.
Coconut & coconut oil image courtesy of Care2.com.
Spa facial image courtesy of Carlabelladayspa.com,
Spa facial image courtesy of Carlabelladayspa.com,