More than a few months ago, starting to care more about my health and nutrition, I bought into the hype about cooking oils. Let me re-phrase that. I kept hearing that olive oil was bad for you when heated and used in cooking, and that coconut oil was a good potential replacement, because it was not denatured at high temperatures. At the time I wasn’t using much oil for cooking because I wasn’t cooking much, but decided to switch it out where I could and go back to using olive oil for fresh salads.
So off to Coles I trotted and picked up their coconut oil which happened to be Melrose brand (organic refined), thinking I was doing a good thing. And now, like the cinnamon, I discover that all coconut oils are not created equal as well. I should have known…
I’m really keen these days to make sure that where I make healthy choices, they are in fact healthy, so I tried to research online and post here what I found, without all the science, that you can find online yourself.
So, if you accept that coconut oil is good for us (is what they’re telling us THIS time true?) the best type to get is unrefined, which makes sense, like unrefined sugar or grains are better for you, basically it hasn’t had all the best bits taken out it – why do they DO that? I’m also assuming you know all the stuff about good saturated fats and how we were all sold a lie 20 years ago about fat. If not read here.
Ok so to get the oil, I believe it has to be ‘refined’ in some way, as the oil does not naturally occur i.e. grow on trees as oil, it needs to be extracted from the coconut, but there are different ways of extracting the oil that determine the final product. To be honest it all seemed a little too confusing trying to understand the methods but I think I ended up with a good policy.
Refined oil is made from dried coconut called copra. You don’t want any oils extracted with chemicals or using copra to make it up, it has to be 100% coconut oil. Copra is the dried coconut ‘meat’ from which the oil is squeezed and that’s fine but you don’t want any copra included to make up the final oil (make sense?) and you definitely don’t want anything which claims it’s hydrogenated – it’s the bad stuff – good oil turned into bad oil. Refined oil mostly doesn’t have a distinct coconut scent or flavour which makes it good for cooking.
Unrefined means it’s squeezed from the wet coconut and generally the cold-pressed refining doesn’t enhance the flavour too much. Organic is best but most coconuts will be free from pesticides etc. as they’re too damn high up to be affected by pests or need spraying. So Organic unrefined is good for use for the body where the glorious scent is relaxing and feels indulgent on your skin.
So I trotted off to Coles again and purchased Planet Food organic coconut oil (unrefined) and I could tell the difference straight away when I took the lid off the jar and breathed in. I honestly felt like eating the whole jar and I sat there for a few minutes just enjoying it!
So I had lucked into the right oil to buy for cooking and when I had in my possession the unrefined oil I tested it out by rubbing some on the soles of my feet, with a forewarning that a little goes a long way. I expected it to be, well, oily, and at first it was but I only took about a 20 cent piece worth, melted it into my palm and then smoothed it over both feet. The oil was quick to soak in and even after a few minutes the scent on my hands had faded as well so it wasn’t overly coconutty!
This morning, noticing happily that the scratches on my chest are healing well – unlike a cut on my wrist 6 months ago – which started my concern around my immune system, I also noticed that they were still a little itchy. Yesterday I rubbed Sorbolene into them (at the same time wondering what was in Sorbolene but it was there so I used it) and noticed it stung slightly before stopping the itch. Guess what didn’t? That’s right, a tiny bit of unrefined coconut oil on my skin. Smells great, feels wonderful, I’m a convert!
I’ve become very serious lately about taking notice of what I put into my body, after years of assuming my health was good and would stay that way, it’s had to be taken away for me to really want it back. Humans are dumb sometimes hey?