The first time I ever paid attention to coconut oil was about a year or so ago, when I was trying to follow the Atkins diet and was participating on a very large low carb forum. There was a several-page thread on that forum all about the benefits of virgin coconut oil for both health and weight loss.
All I knew about coconut oil at that time was that it used to be the primary fat used in baked goods, but that it had fallen out of favor, especially during the years at the height of the “low fat diet” craze.
The people on the low carb forum (http://www.lowcarbfriends.com) were discussing all sorts of potential benefits that they were discovering about coconut oil. Some mentioned that they were experiencing more energy while using coconut oil. Others talked about appetite suppression, fat burning, and a greater weight loss. A few of the women were using the coconut oil as a skin moisturizer, and some were putting it on their hair to condition it.
I learned that it was best to use organic virgin coconut oil whenever possible, and there were many ways to incorporate it into one’s daily diet. Some people dropped a spoonful into their morning coffee. They said it was delicious, but that you had to get past the “grease ring” that floated on top of the coffee. I didn’t try this because it didn’t sound appetizing to me.
Others were making something they called “coconut bark” with the coconut oil. This consisted of melted coconut oil with cocoa and Splenda added in, and little blobs of the mixture dropped onto wax paper to harden. This recipe I did try, and it was delicious. It would be easy to eat a bunch of these, so you have to be careful because they are high in calories.
I ordered Organic Virgin Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions, because this was one of the brands that had been mentioned most often in the forums. It was very expensive. I think my first order ended up costing approximately $25.00 per quart, once shipping and handling were added in.
Additional health benefits of coconut oil that have been touted are: potent anti-viral; strong anti-bacterial; anti-fungal; protective against heart disease, diabetes, improves thyroid function.
We started frying our eggs in the coconut oil. Coconut flavored eggs took a little time to get used to, but they weren’t bad.
We haven’t used the coconut oil long enough to experience for ourselves some of the health benefits that I’ve learned about, but one thing I read that seems to be working is that coconut oil works to relieve itchy, dry skin in cats and dogs. Our Shih Tzu has terribly itchy skin, and nothing that we’ve tried has seemed to relieve him. Since we’ve started giving him a spoonful of melted coconut oil mixed into his food, the itchiness has been improving.