COCONUT OIL : voluntary steemplicity : part 5 :
One way to simplify is to find one tool with many uses.
This is the opposite of what our consumer culture tells us to do. The message of advertising is that we need a myriad of specialized products to solve our various household problems. They will try to sell you seven different products that essentially do the same thing. One easy way to simplify your life is to consolidate your household tools, and find one that will do the job of many.
Today, let's talk about coconut oil.
This is definitely one tool with many uses. The most obvious use is for cooking. It's a good oil for cooking in high heat. It's got a lovely aroma that fills your house. Its smoke point is 350 degrees F, as compared to 320 for EVOO. It can be used in place of butter (identical smoke points), but also in its congealed form as a spread, and is delicious in frostings or as a topping for popcorn. (I'm not suggesting butter is bad. Coconut oil is just a nice alternative to offer variety.)
And when using it in your cooking, coconut oil promotes good health. Because it's antifungal, coconut oil is helpful in keeping candida yeast in the gut down at normal levels, preventing its overgrowth. Coconut oil is a saturated fat which means it cannot be hydrogenated (made into trans fat). It's also an antibacterial, antiviral, and antiprotozoan. These properties mean coconut oil keeps the population of bad bacteria down in the mouth and digestive tract. For this reason, it's also a great addition to homemade toothpastes or turning tooth powders into a paste and for oil pulling, the daily habit of swishing oil in the mouth for several minutes (and then spitting) to loosen and remove bad bacteria.
Fifty percent of coconut oil's fat content is in the form of lauric acid, which is capable of being digested whole and converted directly into energy. Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which is a monoglyceride that can kill lipid-coated viruses like measles, herpes, and influenza. Lauric acid can also destroy gram-negative bacteria.
Coconut oil is a wonderful skin moisturizer, and its medium-chain fats have skin healing properties. It can reduce the pain of hemorrhoids when used topically. Coconut oil can be used to condition hair, and as a lip balm. You can use coconut oil on the skin and lips as a mild sunscreen: it has an SPF of 4, which blocks 75 percent of UV rays. It's a wonderful personal lubricant, as its antifungal properties are actually beneficial to vaginal flora and helpful in preventing vaginal yeast infections. It's a great ingredient in salves, balms, and bug repellants. It can be used as a natural shaving cream; it softens the skin, preventing ingrown hairs. And it can be used alone or in combination with baking soda and essential oils as a natural deodorant.
Around the house, coconut oil can be used to shine shoes, remove gum from carpet, and to polish furniture. Obviously, any oil can be used in this way, but coconut oil is less likely to stain and offers a pleasant scent that fills the home.
In your medicine cabinet, you can substitute coconut oil for several other over-the-counter remedies. Many people swear by coconut oil for treating constipation. Several studies suggest that it may be an effective treatment for alzheimer’s disease. In fact, one double-blind study recommends taking 1 tbsp three times per day. This isn't terribly surprising; the brain relies on rich, quality, healthy fats to function properly. It's great to use in dry climates, dabbed inside the nose to stop bleeds. And using it this way will help keep your sinuses free from fungal overgrowth.
Coconut oil allows me, in purchasing just one item, to solve many problems and employ it for many uses. I love knowing that by just buying one jar of coconut oil, I've avoided the expense and storage of many other mainstream and quite possibly unhealthy or toxic products.