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Coco crazy

by Marlies Dekkers

Stranded on a deserted island? No problem! As long as I have a huge jar of organic virgin coconut oil with me. Let me tell of the many ways I use this multi-tasking miracle.

But first, I want to share my number one favorite thing about coconut oil. People talk about its great taste and many health benefits, but they never mention… the wonderful smell! You see, I have a thing against harsh, chemical perfumes. Especially when people use them to completely drown out their own scent. If I like you, I like your scent. I want to be able to smell it. I want to be able to smell myself! Coconut oil smells sweet and subtle, and perfectly complements any natural scent. The best part: I smell like I’m on a romantic tropical getaway, all the time!

So, what do I use it for? The question should be, what don’t I use it for? I cook with it -it’s got a high smoke point, meaning it won’t emit harmful free radicals as readily as other oils-, and use it as a spread instead of butter. It tastes amazing, and has so many health benefits! The unique combination of fatty acids can kill harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi. Additionally, it boosts your metabolism, and for those of you trying to eat less: it makes you feel full. (that’s how it has deserved its nickname: the fat that makes you thin)

Cooking tip: Pop some organic corn kernels in coconut oil and sprinkle with Himalayan salt for a healthy, savory-sweet snack.

Coconut oil is also a fantastic natural way to make hair en skin soft, radiant and healthy, so I also keep a big jar of this all-purpose goodness in my bathroom. Besides being very hydrating it contains vitamine E and proteins that help repair damaged tissue. I use it as soap, shaving cream, make up remover (apply it, than use a warm cloth to remove) and body butter. And did you know that coconut oil, because of its chemical structure, can actually penetrate the inner part of hair, also known as the cortex? This can help improve its strength and flexibility so much more than products that merely ‘sit’ on the hair. So whenever I feel my hair is getting a little dry, I warm some some oil between my hands and massage it into the ends of my hair. Et voilá: happy hair, happy hands!

Hair and skin tip: whip up an at-home hair and face mask by mixing one tablespoon of honey with one tablespoon of coconut oil. If you like, you can gently heat the concoction in a sauce pan. Apply to the hair or skin –or both!- and let ot work its magic for about half an hour. Rinse the mask off your face with lukewarm water or a warm washcloth. For you hair, follow up with your regular shampoo and conditioner routine. Softness and shine all over..

Last but not least, I’ve really gotten into oil pulling; using (coconut) oil as a mouthwash. I put about a tablespoon of coconut oil in my mouth, wish it around for 15-20 minutes, then spit it out. Supposedly, the oil attracts and removes bacteria and toxins that live in your mouth and lymph system. It can even pull congestion from you sinuses! I love running my tongue along my teeth afterwards and feeling how squeaky clean they are..

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