nuts about coconuts

Since I neglected Tuesday food day yesterday, I will make up for it today…my love affair this week is with coconut oil.

Coconut oil, where have you been all my life?

I have loved coconut for a long time. I began to notice it as a kid in Halloween candy (Almond Joys) and macaroons. I live far from the tropics and we don’t get many coconuts around these parts. So my early exposure was limited to dried coconut flakes. Delicious and kinda crunchy. But they don’t hold a candle to a real coconut with its subtly sweet nectar and distinctly creamy flesh.

I spent the better part of 2007 living in Thailand. When I wasn’t working as a high school English teacher, I was living at The Health Oasis, a Wellness Detox Spa Resort located right on the beachfront of the tropical island of Koh Samui on the southeast coast of Thailand.

At the Hell Oasis, I mean Health Oasis (when the bitchy owner from hell wasn’t around), I worked for the General Manager and Resident Naturopath, creating videos and marketing materials. Learning about alternative medicine, holistic wellness, and detox cleanses. And working on my own health. After completing a seven day fast (which was hell on earth in case you were wondering), I was cleansed. And determined to keep my body as clean and healthy as possible.

Every single morning, before 90 minutes of yoga on the beach (yes, I know I had it good), I cracked open a fresh coconut. All. By. Myself. I hacked away at that coconut with a machete until the blessed fruit yielded to my blade. Not easy, but more than worth the effort to slurp down the fresh juice and scrape out the fleshy insides, savoring every morsel. I probably savored it with greater attention since I had to work hard for it.

Considering my passion for coconuts, I don’t know why it took me so long to discover coconut oil. I used it in a stir-fry for the first time last week and the result was a light, coconut-flavored melange of vegetables and tofu. I added a spoonful of coconut oil to the rice cooker as it cooked and was rewarded with delicate, coconutty brown rice. Yum. I’m hooked.

And to make me really sing and dance, coconut oil offers a plethora of health benefits. According to, this includes hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. These benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing, etc.

I have the absolute perfect photo of me slurping down a giant coconut, but thanks to technology, it is currently floating somewhere in the black hole that is my broken computer. So I’ll leave you with this one instead. Enjoy. And don’t forget to pick up some coconut oil at your local Whole Foods or health foods store. You can thank me later.

image courtesy of


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