Taste Testing: Coconut Oil

by Rachel on March 31, 2010

coconut so good

Fact: I spend a lot of time talking food and boys with Leah on G-chat. (Like right now.) We’ll meet there at 8 AM to discuss the Outside the Box Challenge, and before I know it, it’s noon, and we’ve consulted on very important topics like “Which kettlebell should I buy?” and “Should you have sex before you work out?”

I’ve always loved Leah’s blog because she covers food and nutrition so well; her blog was what really helped me give up processed foods. She’s always the first to have an informed opinion on new food issues, research, and controversy. I really trust her. So when she told me last month that saturated fat might not be so bad — after I peed my pants over my cholesterol results — I listened. And I turned to her with my questions about coconut oil.

Coconut oil has always been considered a “bad fat” because it’s so high in saturated fat. I always thought of it like a naughty Catholic school girl. Like, it’s a plant fat, so it looks innocent…but then you realize when you get into it…uh-oh! But the latest research shows that maybe this plant fat/girl gone wild is actually…good! Did she go to confession or what?!

I was pretty open to this, mainly because I freaking love coconut. Leah and I talked more about it and I read her blog post on it, which links to articles about saturated fat not causing heart disease. And because I do love me some good fats — and coconut oil comes with a list of benefits — I was dying to try it. Well, first, I had to ask Leah what was really on my mind….

“What does it taste like? Because it looks like it tastes like sunscreen.”

She assured me that it tasted very, very mild and that she’d been using it as a cooking oil for eggs and veggies. Then she said that you can put it in smoothies. My mind was racing with possibilities and I couldn’t even type fast enough. “OMG AND PROBABLY OATMEAL!?!?” I slammed out as she anticipated my next question and wrote, “I haven’t put it it oatmeal but I’ll bet that’s good too!”

I figured my entire life was about to turn into one pina colada flavored dish after another. I went to Whole Foods last week specifically to buy coconut oil. Two days later, I realized Spectrum makes it and it is sold at Kroger, and it’s $3 less per jar. Oh well.

I was so excited to try it! I opened it the next day at breakfast.

It totally looks like sunscreen, right?! I dabbed my finger in it and tasted it. It was…mild. Very, very light flavor.

For my first recipe, I put it in a smoothie with frozen pineapple and fronana. It was a delightful way to start the day and definitely felt tropical, but not in a “Where’s that pool boy to put lotion on my back?” sort of way. The coconut taste was very, very slight.

So far, I’ve only put it in smoothies, as I haven’t had the patience to do a new take on my pina oatlada recipe. But I’m liking it so far. It’s definitely satiating, which is awesome. A lot of the research I’ve read on the new saturated fat says to go for coconut milk, but personally, I find this thick and waxy coconut oil much sexier. I’m looking forward to sauteing shrimp in it, and using it for curry, which is one of my favorite dishes.

Have you guys used it at all? Any suggestions or creative methods??

It’s not going to replace all my MUFAs and nuts, but I really like that it’s bringing some variety to the fats I’m bringing into my bod. And it lets me pretend I’m on a beach when I’m really in suburban Michigan. Sure, the research is new, but hey…most girls around here pretend they are on a beach by spending hours in tanning beds. We know the research on that, so for now, I’ll stick with my coconut oil method, thankyouverymuch.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jessica @ How Sweet March 31, 2010 at 8:35 am

I love it in oatmeal, shakes, and even using it as moisturizer. It is also DELICIOUS when you cook fish in it. I melt some in a skillet and pan ‘fry’ the fish – gives it an incredible flavor. My hubby thinks it smells like popcorn when we cook with it. I also have made a coconut oil ‘fudge’ with it – melt it with some cocoa powder, flaxseed, and peanut butter, then freeze – really good!
.-= Jessica @ How Sweet´s last blog ..Strawberry-Lime Stuffed Cupcakes. =-.

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2 Ellen March 31, 2010 at 8:39 am

When I eat it, I use it mostly in stir-fry… but what I really bought it for was moisturizer. I began using it on my problem-ish skin (yes, primarily face) and now I use it all over. My skin has never looked or felt better, and the results happened almost immediately.
.-= Ellen´s last blog ..On the Road: Packin for (Healthy) Snackin =-.

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3 Jocelyn @ Peace.Love.Nutrition March 31, 2010 at 8:54 am

I love coconut oil! Check out my post on it for ways I’ve used it : )

http://peacelovenutrition.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/coconut-oil/
.-= Jocelyn @ Peace.Love.Nutrition´s last blog ..India-Culture Shock =-.

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4 Caitie March 31, 2010 at 9:43 am

I have coconut butter that is also very high in saturated fat. I melt it then drizzle it on my oatmeal or toast. I wonder what the difference is between the butter and oil?!

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5 katherine March 31, 2010 at 10:07 am

I love cooking with it instead of using vegetable oil! I also use it as a conditioner for my hair :)
.-= katherine´s last blog ..No Brainer =-.

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6 Ros March 31, 2010 at 10:35 am

I use it for pre-workout fuel. Spread a little on a piece of toast and sprinkle with brown sugar, absoutely divine!

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7 skinny latte March 31, 2010 at 10:38 am

I’ve always thought of coconut oil as a body moisturiser, not something to eat – how cool to find all these great suggestions!
.-= skinny latte´s last blog ..10 out of 10 =-.

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8 sarah @ syrupandhoney March 31, 2010 at 11:23 am

@Jessica – actually, it makes delicious popcorn too! sometimes i make popcorn on the stovestop using olive oil, but sometimes i use coconut oil and it is AMAZING! the scent may remind your husband of popcorn because many movie theaters (i believe including AMC) use coconut oil to make their popcorn.
.-= sarah @ syrupandhoney´s last blog ..Beet Pasta with Orange-Balsamic Vinaigrette =-.

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9 Cal_runner March 31, 2010 at 11:31 am

Ooh..coconut oil. I am South Indian and I grew up applying it to my hair regularly, after washing hair. But I find that a little gross today. Also because I live in the U.S. and people will probably think I am weird if my hair looks oily all the time. So, about every week, I use coconut oil and let it soak on my hair for a while (1/2 hour to overnight) and then wash it off with regular shampoo and conditioner. I find that this helps my dry, itchy scalp, especially in winter. Coconut oil probably looks like sunscreen during winter, but it will melt and look like any other oil during summer time. You could microwave it a bit to melt it and use it on your hair.
If soaking your hair overnight, DO cover your pillows with a towel. :)
I just asked my mom about cooking with coconut oil and I will have to agree with her when she says that it is best to use a variety of oils when cooking many dishes and not stick to one particular oil all the time. I remember most homes back in South India will have a minimum of at least three different types of oil (including coconut oil) for cooking purposes. I am not sure about using coconut oil in everything, but it sure does go well with curry dishes, especially ones with coconut milk.

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10 Melissa (It's a Veggieful Life) March 31, 2010 at 1:30 pm

I’ve only used coconut oil in my hair. It’s great for curly hair as a moisturizer. Maybe I’ll have to try the oil for cooking with instead of doing a hair wrap. :) I recently bought coconut butter based on another blogger’s LOVE for the stuff, but I have to say it wasn’t as good as I expected and I can’t figure out good things to do with the stuff.
.-= Melissa (It’s a Veggieful Life)´s last blog ..Babies: We All Start Somewhere =-.

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11 Lauren @ BIOCHEMISTA March 31, 2010 at 1:42 pm

I’ve never tried it but now I really want to! hmmm I’m suddenly in the mood for a pina colada ;)

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12 Tara Michener March 31, 2010 at 3:24 pm

You’ve convinced me! I saw a tivo’d episode of Oprah last week about coconut oil and how it makes you look younger if you cook with it and use it as a moisturizer. It’s so important to take care of ourselves. I guess I will be grabbing some soon! :) Smiles!
Thanks,
Tara

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13 Brie (The Fit Bride) March 31, 2010 at 5:52 pm

Coconut oil can also be used as lube. It smells delicious, doesn’t have nasty chemicals, and keeps things, well, lubricated. Plus, it makes his junk smell nice.

(Don’t ask me how I know this.)
.-= Brie (The Fit Bride)´s last blog ..Low. =-.

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14 Rachel March 31, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Holy shit. You. Are. Awesome.

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