Coconut Oil: My Big Fat Greek Windex

For those of you out there who have seen the movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” you’ll understand the title of this blog post. In the movie, the father of the bride touts Windex as something that can cure anything from poison ivy to warts. I pretty much feel this way about coconut oil. Crazy? Maybe. But here are my 4 favorite applications of coconut oil and why I believe in them.

  1. Coconut oil is an all-natural, healthier, alternative to shortening (Crisco). There is a lot of debate over the health benefits of coconut oil. I do think everyone agrees that partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats), like Crisco, are not healthy at all, so something all natural that is not hydrogenated, like organic extra virgin coconut oil, is a healthier substitution. I have substituted coconut oil in place of Shortening in all of my recipes that call for shortening with success. The textures are very similar and the way they melt is very similar.
  2. Coconut oil gets your gut moving. There are studies that show coconut oil contains properties that kill harmful microorganisms, including those that cause yeast infections. I personally have found that when I include coconut oil in my diet, I am more regular. If anyone in my family is having trouble with constipation, a teaspoon of coconut oil in a smoothie, or some muffins made with coconut oil will gently resolve their discomfort within a day.
  3. Coconut oil can ease dry skin. Coconut oil melts quickly in your hands and can easily be rubbed into mild eczema patches to relieve itchiness and scaling. It’s also great for dry scalp (massage into your scalp in the evening, wash your hair in the morning), and I will typically rub it all over my hands after spooning some into a smoothie or baking with it.
  4. Coconut oil can make mineral sunscreen application more effective. I learned this trick last year when our family switched to all mineral, reef safe, sunscreen. Mineral sunscreens are thick and white and a challenge to get rubbed in without white streaks everywhere. I discovered that slathering coconut oil all over the kids and myself before applying the mineral sunscreen allowed me to get the sunscreen rubbed in much better and I could almost get it transparent. It was also a lot more pleasant for everyone. The application was quicker and not so rough on the kids. I did read one study that said coconut oil is effective at blocking 20% of the sun’s rays. I can’t validate that claim, but I can say it saved my sanity when switching to mineral sunscreen last year.

I use coconut oil enough that I typically by the large organic extra virgin, cold pressed coconut oil containers at Costco. It can be expensive at the grocery store, so I try to avoid purchasing there. Trader Joes would be my second choice for quality and pricing. I want the least processed oil, as that is considered the healthiest. Most important is to make sure you don’t purchase partially hydrogenated versions.

There are many other uses for coconut oil from topical to ingesting, and a dozen other reasons that I believe it is a healthy fat to use in cooking and baking. You will have to decide for yourself. I am including links to a couple of resources, one pro and one not so sure about coconut oil. I hope you’ll share your favorite uses and applications of coconut oil in the comments section.


Not so sure:

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