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Coconut Oil – Who Knew It Could Be So Handy??

Ok, I’m sure some of you savvy readers already knew about the magic elixir of coconut oil. But until 2 months ago, I was totally in the dark. So I’m hear to share with others not in the know why you really should run out and snag a jar right now! And just to be clear…the stuff you want is virgin, unrefined coconut oil; it’s a white semi-solid substance often sold in wide-mouthed glass jars.

My trusty jar and my first attempt at coconut oil cookies

My coconut oil introduction came as a result of what I thought might be a yeast diaper rash on Eleanor. We weren’t sure if she had a wee bit of thrush or not and when she started to get a bit red, I wanted to head things off at the pass. Several wise friends suggested coconut oil…so I did a little research and found out some interesting uses. Since then I’ve been doing a bit of experimenting with the stuff and discovered it’s quite good for…

  • Curing Diaper Rash:  Coconut oil is particularly good at tackling a yeast rash as it has natural anti-fungal properties.  It’s also cloth diaper safe so you don’t have to worry about using liners or sposies (although if you do in fact have yeast, you may want to take other steps to kill it in the wash so it doesn’t keep coming back).  I’d guess one could slather some on any yeast overgrowth that springs up.  Coconut oil has a pretty low melting point; it’s semi-solid in the jar (unless your house is on the warm side!) but will melt right in as soon as it hits skin.  A little goes a long way.  And as a bonus…baby’s bum smells like pina colada 🙂
  • Taming Cradle Cap:  Eleanor had a touch of cradle cap that left her with a not-so-lovely crust along her hairline, in her eyebrows, and behind her ears (side note:  who knew that eyebrows and behind the ears were very common spots for cradle cap?).  You can use any plant based oil but since the jar of coconut oil was sitting handy in the bathroom from diapering use…I rubbed a bit on the crusty parts and scrubbed them gently with a baby toothbrush.  The crust flaked right off.
  • General Moisturizing:  Have some rough skin?  Maybe your feet look as bad as mine after a winter in hiding?  Dip your toes in a bit of coconut oil and you’ll be ready for sandals in no time.
  • Standing in for Butter:  Eleanor seems to have a bit of a dairy sensitivity so I’ve gone dairy free.  But I have a hard core chocolate sweet tooth that must be fed so I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect dairy free snack.  My latest experiment – dairy free cookies made with coconut oil in place of the butter.  Some sources advise using an equal amount of coconut oil for butter (so a cup for a cup); others recommend cutting to 3/4 the amount of butter (so 3/4 cup of coconut oil for a cup of butter.   For my first test batch, I went with the one to one ratio but I think they might have turned out better with a little less.  And of course, you can use coconut oil in lots of other cooking in place of butter as well.  It’s also worth mentioning that coconut oil is a healthier option than butter or any other animal based fat you might use.

Know of any other fabulous uses for coconut oil?  Do share!

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Published in Cloth Diapering Food Health