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Coconut Oil- Try it and You'll Never Go Back!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Have you ever heard of coconut oil? I hadn't either, until I read about it in Tosca Reno's "Eat Clean" books. She says she eats 3 Tablespoons of it a day. Now, Tosca doesn't eat any foods that are not clean, so I'm sure that 360 calories of a good source of fat don't hurt her. But for the rest of us it might not be the best idea to consume this quantity if we are trying to lose weight. However, it's a great food to substitute for some other fats in your diet for a myriad of reasons. Here's an article that goes into detail, because I am too lazy to type it all out:

At any rate, I have discovered how versatile this oil is and how wonderful it makes food taste! I have tried substituting it in almost all of my recipes that call for fat, from stir-fries to baked goods. Every time, without exception, it improves the recipe tremendously. The texture makes even recipes where whole-wheat flour is subbed in for regular white (which usually results in a tougher product) melt-in-your-mouth.

Case in point: I'm GREAT at making pie crust, but have always had to use refined white flour for it to be flaky enough to grant my approval. Last night I made my traditional pie crust (my own recipe and technique), but substituted 1/4 of the white flour for whole-wheat and all of the shortening with coconut oil. It was wonderful! Next time I am going to try it with all whole-wheat flour. I'll bet it turns out terrific.

Coconut oil can be substituted strait over for any kind of fat a recipe calls for, but is especially good in recipes that call for butter or shortening, the latter of which is particularly bad for your heart and arteries.

An unusual property of coconut oil is that it holds solid at temperatures 76 degrees Fahrenheit and below. Above that and it starts to melt. I was keeping it in a cabinet where I always had and it was beginning to liquify. It finally occurred to me that it was being stored next to an exterior wall: With the Texas summer heat on the other side of the wall, the coconut oil was getting a little too warm to hold it's solid state. I moved it to my pantry, which is on an inside wall, and it went back to solid.

If you want to use it in a recipe that calls for liquid oil, just melt it first. In a recipe that calls for a solid fat (butter, margarine, or shortening), use it strait out of the jar.

Unlike olive oil (which is also heart healthy), coconut oil is heat stable. So you can use it for types of cooking that call for prolonged exposure to heat and it won't destroy the flavor of your food.

And it's not just good for cooking- I like to stir a teaspoon of it into my oats or whole-grain cream of what in the mornings. It adds a nice flavor and texture to it, and the added fat slows digestion and helps to keep me full longer.

Most stores carry coconut oil on the shelves with other types of cooking oils.

One caveat of coconut oil is that it is more expensive than most other commonly-used fat sources. But I think that once you've tried it you'll be sold and never go back to shortening, at least, again. It's worth the investment to get that artery-clogging stuff out of the diets of yourself and your family.
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  • JULIA1154
    I've been using coconut oil for a while but hadn't thought of subbing it for shortening (which I've not used in years). I'm looking forward to using it in pastry crusts. Thanks for the suggestion!
    1824 days ago
  • MIZINA730
    I like coconut oil too. I just found another thing that coconut oil is good for in Bottom Line. It may help with Alzheimer's disease! With Alzheimer's, the brain doesn't use glucose efficiently. Coconut oil helps the brain compensate for its reduced ability to use its main fuel, glucose. Studies are promising. They recommend usng several tablespoons in place of other oils for cooking and in salad dressings. They do not say if this is per day.

    I have even tried it when I make eggs and I like the slightly sweet taste that results. Sometimes I mix it with olive oil when I cook.

    1848 days ago
    I use coconut oil-recently started, first saw it in a recipe my mom had got off Dr.Oz. Though it is a little pricey-it doesn't take as much of it to cook with and it is healthier so in the long run I don't think it is as expensive as doctor bills can be for heart problems! Great blog!
    1860 days ago
  • IRP1114
    Oh yea I also add about a quarter cup per pound of nuts to my nut butters. So that adds more to my day as I do eat nut butter daily.

    And it is actually not as expensive as it use to be. More places have it now so prices have gone down a little. Trader Joe's has some now too. So you can find the 14-16oz jars for around $6 instead of around $10 or more like before.

    1860 days ago
  • IRP1114
    Great blog Nancy :-)! Nice of you to share your experience with adding coconut oil to your clean eating. You made many great points. Coconut and coconut oil is listed on my page as one of my favorite superfoods. You are so right. Benefits are endless. And on top of being better for cooking than olive oil it remains a healthy fat unlike olive oil once heated. It does work well with whole wheat. I use it in all my baking as well. Just baked hubby's cake with some yesterday. And in a few other cakes I have been baking this month. (lots of b-days here this month lol) I also add it to my oatmeal! It does make the calorie count sound scary but they are definitely worth it as far as taste and benefits. I have shared this with many of my spark friends and some think I am a little weird but I keep an extra jar by the boys tooth brushes and have them rub it into their gums after brushing to keep their gums healthy. And I do the same when I have my teaspoon in the mornings along with my greens. Tosca had mentioned the book coconut oil miracle a few years ago in an article in the oxygen mag too! That is a great book. Very interesting stuff.

    Can't wait to hear more about your experiments with coconut oil :-)!
    And Kristin hope you finally tried the fresh coconut lol ;-)!
    1860 days ago
    I've seen someone on Dr. Oz mention it. but the price has kept me saying "I'll try it next time." However, I love oatmeal and may have to try it for just that reason.
    1860 days ago
  • CICI510
    I have been wanting to try coconut oil and I think I will now! Thank you so much for another awesome blog!
    1860 days ago
    Thanks for sharing. Bought some recently and just started using it. A dear Spark friend (who will probably be chiming in) has used it for awhile and loves it. I am adjusting to the flavor. Have had a freaky dislike of the texture of coconut for years and decided it was time to climb out of my box:)
    1860 days ago
    I have been using it since about March. Have my adult children hooked on it also. My Dutch store has it the cheapest, so it is a good reason for them to come home to visit and stock up :)

    I find it very satiating also :)
    1860 days ago
    I no longer use shortening, but your blog has convinced me to give cocunut oil a try for baking and frying.

    Thanks for the info!
    1860 days ago
    Just bought some this weekend!!! I had read about all of its benefits,.. it peaked my interest mainly because of its "brain benefits" since ALzheimers runs in my fam. I will be using it for cooking and as supplement!

    1860 days ago
    coconut oil is good for your hair, make it shiny!
    1860 days ago
  • HOLLY255255
    I like the comment about the mixture coconut oil and whole wheat flour - I will this! Thanks!
    1860 days ago
    I love coconut oil. Started using it earlier this year after reading some articles about its effects on people with Alzheimer's and dementia. My grandmother was diagnosed with dementia last summer. I've noticed a definate improvement since we started putting coconut oil in her food. We go through a jar a week and it's well worth it.

    1861 days ago
    Will try this. Thanks!
    1861 days ago
  • BERRY4
    Thank you for taking the time to share your experience(s) with this. I have held back from coconut oil since it seems to be the latest "craze" and I've not been convinced that it is so great.
    But, since I've quit buying shortening, and have avoided recipes calling for shortening, it IS nice to know that there is a better alternative. -- I've seen it at my local COSTCO, and I figure the cost should be fairly doable from that source.

    With the holidays coming, I think I may try this, based on your recommendation.
    Have yourself a great week! emoticon
    1861 days ago
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