So 2 days ago that once-a-year occurrence happened, that really means the cold weather is a ‘comin: The heat turned on in my apartment. “What?! Big deal,” some of you non-New Yorkers are probably saying. But in NYC, guys, most of us have NO control over the heat in our apartments. It goes on when it goes on, and stays on at whatever temperature your landlord dictates. There are minimums it shouldn’t drop below, but I have friends in Brooklyn that would argue that that rule is not always enforced- and attest to it with the use of their multiple space heaters.
Fortunately for me, my apartment gets STEAMY HOT. I live on the ground floor, so I’m not sure if that is a factor, but my apartment gets nice and toasty, just the way I like it. So when the heat turned on the other day when I got home from being out all day, it was sort of like walking unexpectedly into a sauna!! Cozy but also wow….hot!!!
Well, whether we control our apartment heat or not we all have to deal with one thing: dry winter skin. It is already time to start warding it off and keeping our skin healthy!
One of your best weapons to fight dry, scaley skin is the mighty coconut oil. In Sanskrit, the translation for the word for coconut tree literally means “Tree of Life.” Coconuts indeed will give us life- and beauty- in different forms.
We’ve talked a lot about young coconuts that you can crack open and eat and drink fresh (I sort of recall a rather embarrassing video that took me WAY more cracks than usual to get open! I swear!! ). But today we’ll focus on coconut oil, which is made from the hardened white flesh. In countries like French Polynesia and the Philippines, I have seen coconut milk pressed out of the white flesh with hand-made tools from the local forest, which is always an amazing-looking process to witness.
But raw, unrefined coconut oil is made when the white flesh is shredded up, and then the oil is pressed out further to make the concentrated essence: the coconut oil. Because the pressing process doesn’t get hotter than 100 degrees Farenheit in raw coconut oil, the coconut oil can remain raw and unaltered, with its natural enzymes intact. (Around 116 degrees is generally accepted as the temperature when enzymes can start to become denatured, as well as vitamins and amino acids).
Consuming coconut oil is a great way to beautify and moisturize your skin from the inside out. It has a plumping and softening effect, which makes your skin look and feel more healthy and attractive (and so much nicer to the touch! ).
Coconut oil is great in desserts. Check out the recipes for the cacao truffles, macaroons, and key lime pie bars that are in the Recipe section. I talk about coconut oil in the key lime pie bars dessert recipe post also. It is also great in certain smoothies- but not the Green Smoothie!! You want the greens and fruit alkalizing your system first, and not getting slowed up with any kind of fat, even this amazing one. Save it for later on in the day. Also, you can cook with it. It stays stable at higher temperatures, meaning it won’t oxidize and get rancid the way other oils become when heated, which includes even olive oil.
Coconut oil is a healthy saturated, cholesterol-free fat made of medium chain fatty acid that our bodies can break down and be emulsified easily, and without overburdening our livers, the way other fats can (like clogging animal fat- yuck. Sorry, I had to insert that!:) ). Coconut oil contains Lauric Acid, which supports the thyroid and can help increase our metabolic rate.
Well, not only can you eat coconut oil, you can put it all over your hands and body. It makes a great body moisturizer- and absorbs right into the skin. It can be used on your hair as a conditioner (leave in or rinse out, depending on the texture of your hair), and for massage as well. It will keep the skin tight and moisturized. There are natural anti-bacterial properties in coconut oil as well, due to its content of Capric Acid, which makes up about 6% of its fatty acids. It can even be great to alleviate stretch marks! Some of us may feel funny about using the same bottle for kitchen purposes, that we also use to slather on our bodies in the bathroom and bedroom. It just seems a little…gross? I personally keep separate jars in the kitchen and in my bedroom. Don’t worry if the coconut oil gets liquid or stays a white solid. In either case, it works great! You don’t have to refrigerate your coconut oil, by the way.
“What about putting it on my face?” Some of you are asking. Ah, the face. The face, the face. The face is to me, is a whole separate territory. The thing with the face is, that it is especially important to all of us to keep our faces looking our best. And we do not live in a completely natural environment. Our faces are constantly exposed to environmental toxins and pollution, and we live stressful lives surrounding by radiation and electropollution. And yes, if we overdo it, just the way we can overdo anything, the sun can be harmful, and especially if we are toxic on the inside.
So no! I trust my elbows and calves to coconut oil, but not my face.
Make sure to get coconut oil brands that are raw and unrefined.
Take care, and let me know how you do with your skin!