Is it true that “April Showers Bring May Flowers”? I hope so! I am so excited for all the beautiful blooms, farmer’s markets, beach weather, and the great outdoors. It’s officially spring and that means summer is almost here.
It is no secret that I absolutely love coconut oil, but I have been finding new and amazing things to do with it and have a growing appreciation for this wonderful oil! Did you know that it could be used in just about anything? So far, I haven’t gone a day without using it in some way.
Coconut oil doesn’t just taste yummy in recipes; it contains a unique combination of fatty acids with powerful medicinal qualities. Coconut oil is one of the healthiest fats around. Research shows that medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) actually use up energy when they are metabolized. The calories the body uses to oxidize the fatty acids in coconut oil is greater than the calories they provide. Coconut oil also has the “thermogenic effect,” which means it raises your body temperature and boosting your metabolism and energy level.
I could go on and on about the benefits of coconut oil, but instead I’ll give you the highlights:
- Coconut oil can increase energy
- It has been known to have therapeutic affects on several brain disorders like Alzheimer’s (read one study here)
- Can actual help ward off infections by killing bacteria, viruses and fungi (More info here)
- Can curb hunger
- May even lower your risk of Heart Disease by improving blood cholesterol levels (read one study here)
- Can protect hair against damage
- Moisturize skin (and you can even function as sunscreen)
- Can help regulate daily digestion of foods; ie: makes you regular (everybody wants that!) (more info here)
- Can help you actually burn and lose fat, especially around the mid-section, when combined with a healthy diet and exercise – bikini season is coming, so this is great news!
Wow! Those are just some of the health benefits of coconut oil. Now, what about other uses? Here are some other things I have found coconut oil can be used for (and most of which I’ve tried!):
- Makeup remover – it can be used to take off stubborn eye makeup (and has been known to help improve wrinkles and skin elasticity)
- Dandruff remedy
- Shaving – doesn’t leave skin irritated or dry!
- In cooking – doesn’t break down in high temps, so is great for virtually any cooking use.
- Butter substitute
- Skin lotion (you can even add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a great scent)
- Massage Oil
- And my favorite…try putting a teaspoon or so in your coffee or tea in the morning. It can replace your creamer – and is an easy way to enjoy those health benefits I pointed out 😉
Don’t take my word for it; here is an article that I found listed 77 (Yes, SEVENTY-seven) uses for coconut oil. I would love to know what you use coconut oil for; tag me on Facebook or Twitter with your favorites!
I have many recipes on my website that use coconut oil; you can check them out to find your favorite. I have one in particular I’d love to share with you. Here’s one of my first recipes I’ve created combining coconut oil with a unique Asian Flair. You’ll love it.
Cilantro & Lime Shrimp over Rice Noodles:
- 8oz rices noodles
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons tamari
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon Sriacha
- 1/4 teaspoon wasabi
- 2 Large shallots, thinly sliced and separated into rings
- 6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 2 Medium limes, zest and juice
- 1lb large shrimp, shelled and deveined (seasoned with salt and pepper)
- 2 scallions, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- lime wedges, for serving
Step 1 – Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook, stirring, until tender, 2 minutes. Drain.
Step 2 – In a medium bowl, combine 2 tbsp of the oil with soy sauce, tamari, agave syrup, sriracha and wasabi.
Step 3 – Add the noodles and toss.
Step 4 – In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp of the oil.
Step 5 – Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden brown and crisp, 3 min.
Step 6 – Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to paper towels.
Step 7 – Add the garlic to the skillet and cook over low heat until golden and crisp, 2 min.
Step 8 – Transfer the garlic to paper towels.
Step 9 – Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. In a bowl, combine the lime zest and juice with the remaining 1 tbsp of oil.
Step 10 – Stir in the shrimp and season with salt and pepper.
Step 11 – Grill the shrimp over high heat, turning once, until glazed and just white throughout, 3 min.
Step 12 – Arrange the noodles on a large platter.
Step 13 – Sprinkle with the scallions, cilantro, crushed red pepper and the fried shallots and garlic.
Step 14 – Arrange the shrimp on top, sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges alongside.
Calories 580, Fat 16g, Carb 72g, Protein 39g
On Easter weekend, JDFF had the privilege of being part of the LA Dream Center’s Easter Extravaganza! The people that we served were incredible families with children battling very serious health conditions. Often times they rarely get to leave the hospital, but the Extravaganza made Easter different for these families as they came to be blessed with loads of eggs, candy, food, activities and friends! It was awesome to celebrate Jesus together on Easter Sunday. You can see all our photos from the event on JDFF’s website here.
Another exciting event coming up this month that I have the honor of participating in with JDFF is the Free the Children’s “WE Day” on April 7th. WE Day is a powerful, life-changing event that combines the energy of a live concert with the inspiration of extraordinary stories of leadership and change. WE Day brings together world-renowned speakers and award-winning performers with tens of thousands of young people to celebrate their contributions and kick-start another year of change.
WE Day has evolved from a single event nearly eight years ago into a series of 14 stadium-sized events held across Canada, the United States and the UK. This past year, 200,000 students attended WE Day and left inspired to create change at local and global levels. To learn more about WE Day, you can find information on their website here. JDFF is proud of the work we have done with Free the Children and continue to be impressed by their impact on young people across the globe. You can read about JDFF’s work with Free The Children on our website here.
Next month, JDFF is hosting the second annual women’s luncheon at the LA Dream Center. Last year, the event was a huge success! Joyce Meyer delivered an incredible message of hope and encouragement and ladies left feeling rejuvenated – in addition, we raised funds for an amazing cause! You can see pictures of last year’s luncheon here.
This year, “Fostering Hope” is the theme for The Dream Center’s annual women’s luncheon. The event will be held on May 4th and is geared towards raising funds for The Dream Center’s Foster Care Intervention Program. Our Foster Care Intervention program provides food, clothing, diapers, cleaning supplies, appliances and furniture to assure that homes with minor children meet the requirements of Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services. In some cases, the simple addition of a bed or safe crib is all a home needs to welcome back their child. To learn more about this amazing program, see the full details on The Dream Center’s website here. If you live or plan to be in the LA area on May 4th, and would like to attend please shoot me an email and I will send you a personal invite. Tickets are $50 per seat. Check back on JDFF’s website, Facebook, or Twitter for more details.
Last month, I had a routine checkup that resulted in unexpected surgery. Don’t worry, it was minor and everything is fine – but it did get me thinking. We can never be too careful with our own health and I have learned the importance of regular checkups and screenings. Do you know what kind of screenings to get at your age? Do you know what questions to ask your doctor? These are very important things to ask yourself, and it is vital to know your own body and pay attention to what it is trying to tell you! I have found this super helpful article on 10 screenings every woman should have – I think everyone should read and do their own research as well! Men, I haven’t left you out! Here is an article just for men’s health pointing out some vital facts you should know and talk about.
Be happy and healthy!