Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kitchen Tip: Health Benefits of Coconut Oil and Why We Use It In Our Kitchen

Since we realized years ago that artificial trans-fats were dangerous for consumption, we've been using more butter, olive oil and for baking, coconut oil. When a recipe calls for shortening we usually use half butter and half coconut oil because it provides the same texture as shortening but without all of the dangers of artificial trans-fats. I'd read about the health benefits of coconut oil many times (great article here and lots of information here on the Weston A Price Foundation website), but had never tried taking it daily until last week when my friend Paula mentioned adding it to her morning coffee. Bryan and I tried it starting last Monday and so far, the results have been amazing!

Bryan's job is very stressful. I won't go into details, but lets just say that it takes all weekend to "recover" from his work week (just in time to start all over again). I did not tell him that coconut oil purports to have a soothing effect on stress, just about how it aids in vitamin and mineral absorption and that it is anti microbial, but yesterday, after a only week of adding it to his coffee, he asked me if it had a soothing effect because he was relaxed, even after a very stressful day. It amazes me that the effects could be noticed so quickly.

Nineteen years ago, I had thyroid cancer and have been on replacement therapy ever since. My weight has fluctuated since then, on its own, without much of a pattern and I have found it very difficult to lose weight, much less keep it off. Even trying to eat low carb works for a short while, as long as I don't eat ANY carbs (which is so difficult, what with carb cravings and all). The minute a carb crossed my lips, though, all of the work I'd done to get to that point was lost as carb cravings would return with a vengance and they are hard to fight. If you've every had carb cravings you know that the cravings are often accompanied by light-headedness, shakey hands, seriously unpleasant mood swings and painful hunger pangs - things that are hard to ignore ( and will last for days if you do ignore them).

The coconut oil in my coffee has helped me with those cravings. I drink it in my coffee at around 5:00 am and am not usually hungry until 9:00 or 10:00 am. Then a small bowl of yogurt or an egg and some veggies will satisfy my caloric needs for many hours. Then, when i do get hungry my tummy rumbles for a few minutes and if I can't get to a snack or meal, the rumbling goes away for a little while - no cravings, no side effects. I'm filling up faster when I do eat and am satisfied without any carbs and with smaller portions of veggies and protien. If I do eat carbs, like oatmeal (to which I add coconut oil - it is so delicious) or a tortilla, I still do not have the cravings and swings in mood if I've had coconut oil that day. It is amazing! And the best part is that my clothes are literally falling off my body - in just a WEEK! Yesterday, I reached up and touched my chin - and it felt like half of it was gone! I looked in the mirror and my double chin had disappeared! I'm losing weight and I feel GREAT, not tired or grumpy.

There are many, many more benefits to coconut oil and by itself, coconut oil cannot cure all of your ills, but as part of a healthy diet consisting of mostly veggies with some fruit and protein, coconut oil can be beneficial.

**Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor am I a nutritionist. I am just a mom who reads a lot, both on the internet and in books. Don't take my word for anything. Do your own research and talk to your health professional so that you can make smart, informed choices concerning your health and that of your family.

This post is linked to Kitchen Tip Tuesday.

5 comments:

Alea said...

I have coconut oil in my cabinet, but have not know how to use it. How much do you add to your coffee? Is that the only thing you add or do you add milk and sugar too?

I have had Hashimoto's for years so I can relate to the diet/health issues.

motherhen68 said...

Lori,

I'm so excited for you! I wish I had known about coconut oil when I first began low-carbing. It would have made all the difference in the cravings and mood swings. Let's just say, I was not a pleasant woman to be around for like 3 months!

This January, I gave up "sweet" taste, which means I gave up the artificial sweeteners. I was drinking coffee w/heavy cream & splenda, but since I started adding the coconut oil, you really do not miss the sugar/splenda at all.

And just as you've experienced, I find that one large cup of coffee (travel mug sized, about 2.5 cups) with a teaspoon & a half of oil & about a 1/4 cup heavy cream keeps me satisfied until after 11am, sometimes till 1, depending on what I'm doing. During baseball season, this was such a Godsend as concession stand food is less than spectacular and drinking a few cups of coffee w/coconut oil kept me from dying of hunger and succumbing to nachos! :)

The Book Lady Online said...

Alea,

Hshimotos - wow! I've read that coconut oil can help with thyroid function. I wonder if it that is true.

You know I just realized in researching coconut oil that migraine headaches and sensitivity to cold are sometimes thyroid related. All of the women in my family experience horrible headaches and serious sensitivity to cold (I can't have a fan or a/c vent blow directly on me or I end up very sick) and all have thyroid issues. Interesting.

I use half a tablespoon of coconut oil twice a day in about 4 ounces of coffee (I drink a half cup at 5:00 am and another around 1:00 pm). I also add a little bit of brown sugar (I prefer the taste of brown sugar) and heavy cream (because it is so delicious - yum!). If you try it, I'd love to hear if you like it.

Paula,

I'm hoping to drop the brown sugar from my coffee completely. I have found that I need MUCH less than before, now that I add coconut oil.

You said you were not pleasant for 3 months - my poor family had to deal with me "trying" low carb for over 3 years! Poor things - I was such a grump!

lol about succumbing to nachos :o) I've been there.

motherhen68 said...

Lori,

Once I gave up the carbs/sugar and the mood swings ended around the 3 month mark, my moods are so stable now. Even during the dreaded PMS time, I rarely notice a difference. In fact, I"m always surprised by my period as I have no idea it's already time again! LOL

I think once you get past the "hump" the cravings disappear. I do note though, if I eat sugar, I find I crave it strongly for a couple of days, but I'm not a grouch about it!

Kelly Crawford said...

I love coconut oil and I use it for my skin and hair but I didn't know that it can be used for loosing weight, too. Got mine from http://products.mercola.com/coconut-oil/ What other things can I do with coconut oil to help lessen fats?