We love natural, common household ingredients that can work as multitaskers – you may begin to notice this as a common theme throughout the Gardening by Design journal. Today we would like to highlight one of our personal favorites: coconut oil. There are just SO many wonderful uses for coconut oil; we hardly even know where to begin. In the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom – we like to keep a few little jars strewn around the house for easy accessibility as this simple, inexpensive ingredient really does it all. Continue reading below for our top three reasons for keeping a solid stock of coconut oil in your household, too!
1 // Oil Pulling
Oral Health is something we all value greatly but must admit, can tend to get a touch neglected when you slip out of routine. Something that can make this routine a little more fun is to add natural remedies such as oil pulling to your daily oral care. A few years back we caught on to all of the hype surrounding this new ‘oil pulling’ trend and had to test it out for ourselves to see just how well it really worked. We went down to the market and picked up a massive tub of this newly claimed ‘magic’ oil, and as advised, started swishing a tablespoon in our mouths for 10-15 minutes once a week to ease into it, and then upped this to a couple times a week once we got the hang of it. The ideal time to do this is when you first wake up – before your morning tea or coffee, smoothie or breakfast, and prior to cleaning your teeth. You just pop a spoonful of coconut oil into your mouth, let it melt (warning: yes, this part is STRANGE to say the least until you get used to it, but as coconut lovers this didn’t take all too long), and swish it around as if it were your standard mouthwash. Once finished, spit it into the trash bin (NOT into the sink – as it will re-harden as it does in the jar and inevitably do some damage to your drains! Trust us, we learned this one the tough way), and complete this process by rinsing and gargling with warm or hot water. Then you can finish up by brushing your teeth as usual and flossing as well. If you think 10 minutes is a long time, try oil pulling while you shower – this passes time and kills two birds with one stone! Only downside is you can’t do your usual singing in the shower… for better or for worse…
Why Oil Pull?
Advocates of oil pulling claim that it can help protect against decay, aids gum health, rids you of poor breath, helps remove toxins in the body via the mouth, and even boosts your immune system. After a while of doing this, Erin’s dentist actually commented on the whiteness of her teeth and if she had been bleaching them… she certainly hadn’t and the only seemingly fitting answer was to blame the coconut oil! Erin was worried the doctor would call her out on this ‘bogus’ alternative medicinal action, but surprisingly had only good things to say about this new oil pulling trend. Thumbs up! Do note, however, that coconut oil is a healthy part of your routine, but isn’t meant to replace toothpaste and a toothbrush entirely – balance!
2 // All- Purpose Beauty Balm
You heard us, All-purpose beauty balm. Literally. Everywhere. Yes. We love to keep an extra jar in our bathroom cabinet to throw on post-bath or hot shower! Apply coconut oil in place of your usual body lotion, rubbing all over after a warm shower whilst your pores are still open. This is especially nice following a tough exfoliation (post coming on this soon!) or shaving your legs, as it has many soothing and extremely moisturizing benefits. We like to focus on our dry elbows and knees after a day spent kneeling in the garden. Coconut oil also seems to sooth extra dry patches such as eczema or burns. It also proves as a lovely substitute for massage oil after a long, treacherous hike on sore and strained muscles! Side note, it also makes a great lip chap before bed!
Coconut oil can also serve as an all-natural Mosquito Repellent! Keep some handy for those bug-filled summer evenings, as the coconut oil deems your skin too slippery to land on for these little pests. Another fun thing to try is to add some essential oil to you coconut oil before applying it – this is because A) most essential oils are far too concentrated for our delicate skin to handle, and B) mosquitos are also repelled by the strong scent of lavender, tee tree, and witch hazel. Voila! You can stay relatively insect bite free and smell lovely while doing so! You should keep a 4:1 ratio between carrier (coconut oil) and the oils; see the following link here for more info on this topic: https://www.moringasource.com/blogs/news/133004291-coconut-oil-can-help-to-keep-you-mosquito-free-this-summer. It’s like a treatment for your skin and it doesn’t involve harmful DEET! To try a more fun, complex recipe follow here: http://coconutoil.com/non-toxic-bug-repellent-recipe-with-coconut-oil/.
3 // Cooking
Try replacing your usual cooking oil with coconut for to mix it up a little bit! You must be a fan of coconut flavor for this as the taste isn’t quite as neutral as olive, vegetable, or avocado oil – but if you’re into it – you’re in for a real treat and can reap all of the health benefits as well. We actually discovered this one by accident when preparing for dinner one night and realizing all of the extra virgin olive oil was gone! So we ran to our handy jar of all-purpose coconut oil, tossed it in the pan, and hoped for the best… Turns out it was DELICIOUS and after a little online research and consult the almighty google for more recipes, it suddenly became a common ingredient in nearly all of our dishes! Our dinner guests simply adored it too. Our favorite dish to incorporate coconut oil into is vegetable stir fry; heat up your wok or pan with a spoonful of coconut oil, allow it to melt, add your veggies, and voila! It keeps the food nice and moist and smells great while you’re cooking it too. Try frying up some tofu in it for a crispy, indulgent protein treat atop your veggies! Here’s a link to some exciting uses for coconut oil in the kitchen; https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/15-coconut-oil-recipes/ Let us know if you’ve tried any!
Coconut oil can withstand higher temperatures. “Heat, along with light and oxygen, can destroy the beneficial fats in some oils. Polyunsaturated fats are the most fragile and are not recommended for cooking. Coconut oil, being mainly a saturated fat, is able to withstand higher temperatures than other oils, making it one of the best oils for cooking. It also gives a delicious taste and superb texture to foods. Use organic extra-virgin coconut oil for the best quality.” - http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-pros-cons-cooking-coconut-oil-3530.html Rendering it our ideal cooking and baking oil! We’ll wrap up our praise of this do-it-all oil here, or else we could write an entire novel on all of the reasons why you should incorporate coconut oil into your routine on a day to day basis! Hope this inspires you to run down to your local health food supply shop and grab a glass jar or two of it and put it to the test. Let us know what YOUR favorite uses for it around the home are, or if you have another go-to oil to recommend.