Coconut oil has been a great change for us! I battled for quite a while trying to decide what I wanted to use as a primary cooking oil. Olive oil is great for dressings and dipping sauce, but it isn’t meant to cook with. It is actually converted into a bad fat once heated at high temperatures. I used to only use butter for cooking, but have since found the amazing properties of coconut oil and we made the switch to using it exclusively with olive oil sparingly for dressings and dips. Life is such a process! After I went to cooking with only the coconut oil I started learning more about Weston A Price and the benefits of butter and the healthy fats that are present in organic grass fed raw butter. (I did a post not that long about how to make your own butter.) As a result of the gathering of more information, we use coconut oil for most cooking, butter for toast, bread and to eat fresh, and olive oil exclusively for dips and dressings.
So what did I learn that made me want to use coconut oil? There are huge health benefits that I just couldn’t pass up. I know you might not say it, but you are thinking…”but it’s a saturated fat and that is BAD”. Well… not as true as you think it is. If you read [amazon_link id=”B003WUYOQ6″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]“Why We are Fat and What to Do About it”[/amazon_link] (Click here for a review of this book)it will give you a lot of information about the different types of fats and what types we should and should not be eating. Weston A Price also provides a lot of info backed by cold, hard research about saturated and unsaturated fats. Cococnut oil is a saturated fat that is from a plant source and acts differently because it isn’t from an animal. Also different than most saturated fats, it becomes a liquid at 76 degrees.
So the fat type aside (although this is not a trans fat which ALL parties agree are bad for us!), this oil boosts your immune system, aids digestion, increases metabolism (which can help with weight loss), is rich in lauric acid and also has antiviral, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It protects from heart disease, cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases. It has fewer calories than other fats and is quite heat resistant which means it doesn’t alter the chemical make up with heat.
Coconut oil can be on the pricy side which is always a factor in my diet and grocery choices, as I think it is for most people. I did find that when cooking I used less of it for sautéing than I would have if using olive oil, so that is a cost savings! I have also looked long and hard to find the best price. I have scoured the internet and looked at grocery and health stores all around us and the best option I’ve found is online… [amazon_link id=”B003QDRJXY” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Amazon[/amazon_link]. If ordering two containers of 54 oz, I can usually get it for around $36, including shipping. The price does fluctuate, so you may need to keep an eye on it and watch for the lower prices. (Stay tuned for a post to come on how to save money with Amazon.)
I do prefer to buy organic unrefined/ extra-virgin and cold pressed. Wow! What a mouth full! Unrefined or extra-virgin almost mean the same thing. Basically, the oil isn’t over processed or hasn’t had chemicals added to act as preservatives or to help in the oil extraction. Even without preservatives added the shelf life is about 2 years for the unrefined oil and it doesn’t need t be refrigerated either. Sometimes it might be easier to use a little hard, especially in the summer, but it does become rock hard in the fridge! Expeller pressed versus cold pressed basically applies to the temperature in the pressing process. When the fruit is pressed it heats depending on the amount of pressure exerted. In expeller pressed the heat can reach up to 450 degrees F and if it is cold pressed it is ensured that it doesn’t exceed 120 degrees F. By heating the oil to higher temperatures some of the health benefits are lost.
This merely brushes the surface, but these were some of the deciding factors for our switch! I hope you find this helpful so that maybe you won’t have to do so much research on your own!
2 thoughts on “Coconut Oil”
Would you use it exactly like vegetable oil (or canola, etc) in a baking recipe? E.g., instead of using a tbsp. of veg. oil in a loaf of bread, using 1tbsp of coconut? I’ve been curious about trying it for a while.
Yes, Even substitution. I also use it to saute onions, etc. Brian says he can taste a slight difference, however, I cannot. Maybe a bit sweeter, but the smell while cooking is AMAZING especially if you like coconut! 😉