Coconut Oil: Why My Family Eats It and Other Saturated Fats, Our Favorite Coconut Oil Brand, and a BOGO Sale!

June 16, 2012

Coconut oil is a staple in our real food-eating household, and, first-off, I want to share a link to a buy one get one free (BOGO) sale on my preferred brand/variety of coconut oil with my readers!

When Tropical Traditions does a BOGO special on their Gold Label Extra Virgin Coconut Oil my household stocks up!  Right now they are having a buy one get one free special on their quart size jars and the sale will continue through June 21, 2012.  We took advantage of the BOGO sale this morning and bought a couple of months’ worth.  I wanted to share the BOGO sale with my readers and pass on the savings on this wonderful oil that my family feels enhances our health.  (Disclosure:  If you click through to Tropical Traditions’ site through my site, you pay the same price and get the same specials as you would if you went to Tropical Traditions’ website via other ways;  however, if you click through my site, I receive a small commission that helps me keep this site up and running.)



Tropical Traditions Weekly Sales

 

Tropical Traditions was the first brand of coconut oil our family tried, based on a recommendation from a friend.  Our friend told us, “It just tastes better than the other brands I have tried.”  We liked it immediately.  We have since tried other brands, but we have been disappointed.  We have learned to stock up when Tropical Traditions is having one of their BOGO sales, lest we get stuck eating the brands that are available locally.

What exactly makes Tropical Traditions’ Gold Label Extra Virgin Coconut Oil taste better to us than the other brands we have tried?  Well, I have no way of knowing for sure, but I suspect it has something to do with the very traditional way in which their Gold Label product is produced.  You can learn more about that in this informational video by Tropical Traditions, which also tells the story of their company.


Why Does My Family Love Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil is packed with medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are fatty acids that can be beneficial to the body.  Nearly half of the fatty acids in coconut oil are comprised of lauric acid, which is converted by our bodies into a subtance called monolaurin.  Monolaurin is a potent anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial.  As a matter of fact, lauric acid is major constituent of human breast milk and is at least partially responsible for the health-giving benefits of human breast milk.  Infant formula manufacturers know this–that is why coconut oil is used in infant formulas (not that I would ever recommend use of formula where breast feeding is possible).

Other fatty acids in coconut oil are caprylic acid and myristic acid.  Both of these fatty acids also have anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties.  Caprylic acid has long been used in capsule form to treat fungal infections such as candida (yeast), and has also been used for many years as an energy enhancer by endurance athletes.

 

Why I like Tropical Traditions’ Gold Label Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Coconut oil got a bad rap in the 1990′s and early 2000′s because industry had taken to including it in baked goods in hydrogenated form.  Obviously, we all need to completely avoid hydrogenated oils of all types (hydrogenated coconut oil included), as they will rob us of our health.  Furthermore, my family also avoids non-hydrogenated coconut oils that are processed using solvents (like hexane) and/or high heat.  Industrial solvent residues have no place in the human body and high heat can destroy much of the health-giving benefits of coconut oil.  My family prefers a cold-pressed, raw, organic, extra virgin coconut oil like Tropical Traditions’ Gold Label Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, because it has all of its vitamins, minerals, lipids, and other beneficial substances (many of which science has likely not even identified yet) intact.  We also avoid non-organic coconut oils, because it is common for conventional coconuts to be sprayed with mold-inhibiting chemicals–YUCK!  As you can tell from the video above, Tropical Traditions takes the word “raw” to a whole new level when preparing their Gold Label Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.

 

How We Use Coconut Oil?

Tropical Traditions’ Gold Label Coconut Oil has a light and yummy coconut taste, which, in our opinion is a wonderful addition to many of our real food recipes.  It is especially yummy in baking, but we also like it added into our broths.  It blends well with savory spices and actually makes our broth taste like a soup one might be served at an expensive restaurant.  I personally love the taste of chicken cooked in coconut oil.  Our two-year-old ”sends back” her morning home-made kefir smoothie if her father or I forget “da yummy coconut oil.”  On the rare occassion I make myself a smoothie, I also like it better with the “coconutty yummy-ness” of Tropical Traditions’ Gold Label Coconut Oil, and find that smoothies keep me going longer with the oil than without.  The energy boost I experience from coconut oil is why I like to add it to the couple cups per day of organic green tea I drink.  Endurance athletes have long used coconut oil and other sources of medium-chain triglycerides to increase their stamina during hard training, so my perceived improvement in energy is not a surprise to me.  I also experience less cravings for sweets when I add coconut oil to the green tea I sip in between meals, and I feel like it eases the process of getting hungry for my next meal.  I tend towards not realizing I am hungry until my head is throbbing and I am sweating from hypoglycemia, despite my being very careful about glycemic load, so it is quite nice to be eased into needing to eat my next meal.

 

Not A Fan of the Taste of Coconut?  Tropical Traditions Organic Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil May Work Well For Your Needs

If you want some of the benefits of coconut oil, but do not think you would like the coconut taste of Tropical Traditions’ Gold Label Coconut Oil in any of your food you can check out Tropical Traditions’ Organic Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil (I have heard that some folks just hate the taste of coconut, I do not understand in the slightest . . . but no judgement).  There is likely nutrient loss due to processing; however, the coconut taste is absent in this product and this works well for those who do not want coconut flavor in their recipes, yet want to use a healthy oil that is better suited for cooking than olive oil (see below).  Tropical Traditions does not use solvents in the processing of their Organic Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil.  They do not use solvents in the processing of their conventional, Non-Certified Expeller-Pressed Coconut oil either, but I do not condone consuming non-organic food . . . as you may have concluded after reading some of my prior posts.  The processing that their Organic Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil does receive consists of old-fashioned mechanical pressure (using a machine called an expeller) and then steaming to remove the coconut scent and flavor.

 

Why My Family is Not Concerned With the Saturated Fat Content in Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is an excellent choice for cooking because it is stable at much higher temperatures than olive oil; that is, the overall chemical structure of coconut oil is not changed with exposure to high heat.  While coconut oil is indeed largely comprised of saturated fat, Mary Enig, a PhD in clinical nutrition (the same Mary Enig who was one of the very first to sound the alarm regarding deadly trans-fats in this country), and also many licensed physicians have begun endorsing the health benefits of coconut oil (see, for example, Dr. Dayrit’s article, Dr. Mercola’s article, Dr. Oz’s video #1, Dr. Oz’s video #2).

Additionally, in light of the more recent research (and re-analysis of the old research), suggesting that heart disease is more a result of inflammation resulting from excessive intake of Omega-6/vegetable oils and processed carbohydrates and sugars than a consequence of consumption of non-hydrogenated saturated fats, my family is not worried about consuming non-hydrogenated saturated fats that occur in nature (e.g., butter fat, animal fat, and coconut oil).  Check out the THINCS website and this trailer to the film “Fathead” for quick overviews of the questionable accuracy of the hypothesis that saturated fat causes heart disease and/or makes people overweight.

When researching to make decisions for your own family’s diet, pay special attention to the incidence of heart disease in the U.S. after the government told us that saturated fats were to be avoided–I can save you a bit of time here and tell you that heart disease shot up and continues to rise under the government’s dietary guidelines.  I do not think I have to comment on the current obesity epidemic–one cannot turn on a television or computer, or open a newspaper or magazine without seeing/hearing it mentioned.  One can also review the hundreds, if not thousands, of peer-reviewed journal publications from the past couple of decades regarding the interconnections between excessive Omega-6/vegetable oil consumption (i.e., those oils recommended by our government), processed carbohydrate and sugar consumption, inflammation, and atherosclerosis.  Be sure to read the whole articles though, not just the “Conclusions” section–let’s just say that industry sponsorship runs deep . . . even in the peer-reviewed literature.

If you think I am a few tools short of a tool-box for saying that saturated fat does not cause heart disease, then check out this article by cardiothoracic surgeon, Dwight Lundale, MD, and review the many other articles, by doctors not afraid to speak out against decades of ill-conceived dietary recommendations, on this site.  Here is a quote from the article by Dr. Lundale:

The bottom line is that there is no connection between the intake of saturated fat and heart disease or stroke. But there is a connection between the currently recommended high carbohydrate diet and heart disease and stroke.

Even if the hypothesis that non-hydrogenated saturated fats cause heart disease (a.k.a., “the lipid hypothesis”) were true (or if you are just not ready to let go of the idea despite the evidence that it is false), the fact that coconut oil is made up of medium-chain triglycerides means that it is metabolized quite differently than other saturated fats and acts quite differently in the blood.  For an in-depth explanation of the differences between metabolism of medium-chain versus long-chain triglycerides read Dr. Dayrit’s article, and, for a visual presentation of how the saturated fat in coconut oil acts in the blood, see Dr. Oz’s video #2.  Many experts (physicians like Dr. Oz among them) have publically claimed that coconut oil can heal stomach and intestinal issues (including infections), heal skin conditions, increase energy, and assist with weight loss.  Here is a link to a page containing both empirical research and anecdote regarding the benefits of coconut oil that is hosted by the owners of Tropical Traditions.  The owners of Tropical Traditions are passionate about spreading the word regarding the medicinal qualities and health benefits of natural coconut oil.

 

Do You Cook With Olive Oil?

If you are currently cooking with olive oil, please be aware that many nutrition and medical experts are now cautioning against using olive oil in any dishes that involve heat (see Dr. Mercola’s article).  The chemical structure of olive oil is very fragile and is easily changed at even low levels of heat.  We used to cook with olive oil, but we have stopped since learning the preceding.  We now use organic, cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil in our salad dressings or in other recipes where the oil remains room temperature or cold.  We use coconut oil or traditional non-hydrogenated animal fats for all of our stove-top cooking, because they retain their chemical structures at high temperatures.  If you do use olive oil in the oven (with roasts, etc.), please stay safe by monitoring temperatures during the cooking process.  I feel that frying on the stove-top with olive oil, especially since there is typically far less moisture involved than with oven roasts and such, is far too risky.  This page gives a more detailed account, including precise temperature ranges, of why I am not comfortable using olive oil on the stove-top.

The below trailer for the film “Fathead” drives home, in an amusing way, the reason why our household vowed to stop buying organic packaged foods, eat only real food, and stop fearing natural (as in non-hydrogenated) saturated fats, so I will close with it.  Enjoy!

Does your family use coconut oil in its cooking or as a health-enhancing supplement?  Has your family vowed to eat only real food?  If so, leave a comment and share your experiences!


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa F. "The Valley Vegan" June 17, 2012 at 18:30

I’ll never understand the aversion some people have with the taste of coconut! To me… it tastes like life itself…

After all the emails & now this article, I think you have my convinced! I actually think they carry your brand at Whole Foods, the label looks familiar. I’m excited! This may be the small edge my body has been looking for!

Thanks!!!

Reply

Nicole, The Non-Toxic Nurse June 18, 2012 at 01:39

Yes, I love the taste and the scent of coconut. That would be great if your Whole Foods has Tropical Traditions! Mine does not:-(

Reply

Megan June 18, 2012 at 20:08

I love Tropical Traditions coconut oil. I ordered their palm oil during their last sale and have been trying that too. Thanks for all of the scientific evidence to back up the use of coconut oil. I hope in years to come, this will be common knowledge!

Reply

Nicole, The Non-Toxic Nurse June 18, 2012 at 21:54

I have not tried their palm oil yet. It is definitely on my “to try” list though!

Reply

meg August 16, 2012 at 21:41

hi nicole…

agree with you with VCO as the best and i use my brand (Know-It-Oil form VMVhypoallergenics.).for everything…from removing make up, moisturizer(face and body), cooking….

very pleasant to read your blog btw knowing that you have informed many people about this

Reply

Nicole, The Non-Toxic Nurse September 3, 2012 at 16:34

Thanks for stopping by, Meg:-)

Reply

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