By Andrea Bosco
As previously in Edible Allegheny on February 2014.
There are few over-the-counter products that aid in minimizing illness, pure cooking, and 100-percent natural beauty care. There’s nothing quite like coconut oil. In fact, its infinite uses continue to flourish. Organic, expeller-pressed, or unrefined, virgin coconut oil contains lauric acid, a type of MCT found in breast milk. Research shows its properties help our bodies mount resistance to both viruses and bacteria, and can improve insulin use within the body.
I start and end my day with the island-scented goodness. I use it as makeup remover, as moisturizer/lotion, as hair conditioner, and for baking and cooking. Recently, I convened over coffee with life coach Robin Harakal Janis and supplement manager Vicky Thompson of Sunny Bridge Natural Foods in McMurray to get an even bigger scoop on what else this miracle material has to offer. “It’s one of the best immune boosters on the planet,” says Harakal Janis. “It’s been proven to be anti-viral, anti-parasitic, and it’s cleaner and burns off faster because it contains healthy saturated fats and is processed through the liver.”
Coconut oil’s protective properties include the restoration of normal thyroid function; an increase of metabolism, energy, and endurance; antioxidants; and the ability to eliminate plaque in the brain that causes the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. “There has been extensive research done on HIV patients showing that it’s raised their immune systems immensely,” she says. “It’ll hit Staph, and almost any bacteria or virus.”
The safe, simple procedure of oil pulling with coconut oil, and certified-pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils such as doTERRA, rids one’s mouth of harmful toxins and bacteria, preventing and curing diseases, and encouraging healing. “The neat thing about coconut oil is that you don’t need much,” says Harakal Janis. “Studies have shown its ability to pull out parasites and reverse cavities.”
She suggests using it as sunscreen, too. “I used to burn all the time until I really started to understand nutrition,” she says. “We burn because we don’t have enough essential fats on the inside—we are so loaded with Omega-6 fatty acids and inflammatory fats. I use it for sunscreen because I’ve done the research.”
The nontoxic, health-compromising commodity has been used for thousands of years by indigenous Pacific Islanders, and today, many sunscreens for sale are absolutely toxic, containing ingredients linked to cancer with the ability to disrupt hormones.
With one slather on the skin, coconut oil melts and absorbs. It can heal skin suffering from rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema, not to mention its curative abilities from the inside-out. Gina Snyder, owner of Sunny Bridge Natural Foods, shared a significant story during our interview. At a school health fair, she spoke with a man who attributed a tablespoon of coconut oil in two cups of coffee a day to better skin and diminished arthritis.
Coconut oil can complement a cup of coffee or tea, and the secret is blending. “It’s called Bulletproof Coffee,” says Harakal Janis. “You blend coffee, coconut oil, and grass-fed butter with a small immersion blender or a NutriBullet. It froths like a latte. It gets this creamy head on the top, and because it’s made of good fats, you’re not hungry for hours—you’re putting really good vitamins and healthy fats in your body. You can even add cinnamon!”
When it comes to plucking the best brand off the shelf, look for a few key words. Identify “[whole kernel] unrefined or extra-virgin,” “organic or raw,” and “expeller-pressed or cold-pressed.” Sunny Bridge Natural Foods carries brands like Artisana, Barlean’s, Nutiva, Living Foods, and Dr. Bronner’s, pictured at left, among others.
While shopping, be sure to snag a paleo muffin from the bakery, and, coming soon, you can order a Bulletproof Coffee, too. And, remember, before you bake, cook, or personally prep, consider cracking open a jar of versatility.