Eating, Featured, Health, Uncategorized
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California and Coconuts 

“The Dark, Blue Sea… Thou Glorious mirror, where the Almighty’s form glasses itself in tempests.” -Byron

This week I sunk my feet into the California beach for the first time in my aware-life (since 2 years old). After hours of driving, we rushed to the beach for fish tacos and to see the orange sunset, hovering over the ocean rim, like an overly ripe Georgia peach, about to drop from the tree on a muggy summer day. I mean, the only thing that could have improved this heavenly moment would be a penguin clothed waiter with a linen towel over his arm, telling me how they came up with a low calorie Pina Colada and asking how many he could bring me. But, actually, the silence was enough. See, even though I learned that California is massively and understandably overcrowded, like a cod on a table at Pike Place, Seattle on a gray, downy morning after a good fish, the sounds of the ocean drown all those people out. So, I closed my eyes and just…..was.

I realized that it’s so rare for me to just be. Do you find that too? Everything seems to involve rushing, conflicts to resolve (I have 7 kids, people, and they can go all “kill the wabbit” on each other pretty fast), worries, new puzzles to solve, money to come up with, gas to pump and normal life can pile on my head like an overzealous and petty starlet who nasally says, “cha,” instead of, “yes,” thinks the Revolutionary War had to do with freeing the western World of the style atrocity called corduroy and loads down her butler with shopping packages.

In California, I heard a whisper on the ocean breeze, “You can’t control it all anyway, so stop trying and enjoy life. Do you have what you need in this moment here? Enjoy today.”  Whenever it’s God speaking to my soul and not something I just made up in my brain after too many slices of red velvet cheesecake, I feel a peace that I cannot muster roll over me, like the cobalt, frothy, cold waves, deeply soothing and starkly true. Side note and fair warning: avoid Cheesecake Factory’s Red Velvet Cheesecake at all costs! Red velvet cheesecake is like Sylvester the cat’s mini, cartoon devil on a plate, luring people with his finger, “Come to Papa.” Now, I would never describe myself as a control freak; in fact, I strongly believe in freedom to choose. But, I can get my hands all over my own life too tightly, like a child afraid of the dark who needs a blanket pried from her fingers with care and placed over her after she falls asleep. I left California with a decent tan, some rocking family memories but, most of all, with a tender reminder to take my hands off and trust my good and big God.

Exodus 3: 13 & 14

“Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people… what… <A whole pile of self doubting questions>. God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.'”

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Coconut Oil

I’ve long been pining to write about Coconut Oil. Many people ask, “How is coconut oil different than other oils?” There are a few key things that are unique: 1. Coconut oil is resistant to oxidation when heated because of its high content of saturated fat. (https://authoritynutrition.com/why-is-coconut-oil-good-for-you/) Oxidation is the scientific word for the production of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules with a missing electron in their outer shells. They will do anything to replace this gap, “including stealing electrons from your body’s cellular structures.” When cells are damaged in this way, that lays the groundwork for the formation of disease. Additional note: coconut oil is best for medium heats, like sautéing. For high heat cooking, use a virgin oil with a higher smoke point, such as grapeseed. 2. As we’ve mentioned, coconut oil is high in saturated fat, around 90%, which is higher than even lard, ringing in at 40%, and if you buy into the American age old belief that all saturated fat is bad for you, you might want to limit your coconut oil. However, an analysis of the studies that have been done by the Harvard School of Public Health showed that while coconut oil increases LDL (bad Saturated fat) it also increases your HDL (fats with important health benefits) much more “potently” than other common fats do. (http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/coconut-oil). 3. Additionally, simply put, most of the American diet is composed of long chain fats, while coconut oil (and butter actually) are medium chain fats. This refers to the number of carbon atoms that are linked together in these substances. Medium chain fats are more “rapidly absorbed by the body and more quickly metabolized as fuel.” The effect of this is that, “instead of being stored as fat,” the calories are, “very efficiently converted into fuel for immediate use by organs and muscles.” (http://nutritionreview.org/2013/04/medium-chain-triglycerides-mcts/) 4. Coconut oil is rich in Lauric Acid which can kill “bacteria, fungi and viruses.” (https://authoritynutrition.com/why-is-coconut-oil-good-for-you/)

Another interesting fact that multiple studies have found is that when populations are examined from the Pacific islands, where up to 60% of their, “total caloric intake <is> from saturated coconut oil,” there is almost no cardiovascular disease. Many believe that not all saturated fats are “created equal” and that it is actually our over processing of oils (hydrogenation) that creates the problem. (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/10/22/coconut-oil-and-saturated-fats-can-make-you-healthy.aspx) I would like to do more research but from what I have read, when choosing a coconut oil, look for a raw, virgin, unrefined and expeller pressed.

Coconut oil has hundreds of uses but I mostly use it in five ways.

  1. I use it as a healthy fat in cooking, as detailed above.
  2. I use it straight on a throw-away cotton pad to remove eye makeup. Then, I wash with warm/hot, soapy water on a washcloth.
  3. I cover my hair with it, put a shower cap on and leave it for 2 hours or overnight. I then wash my hair twice to remove it. It revitalizes dry hair!
  4. I use it on dry skin patches, my lips as a balm, sun burn or minor cuts after washing.
  5. I use it mixed with lavender essential oil as a nighttime moisturizer. By the way, adding Frankincense essential oil would be great for the skin too. I find if I wash my face well with hot soapy water, dry it and then apply the moisturizer, I love how soft it makes my skin.

Coconut Lavender Nighttime Moisturizer: 

A. Spoon the coconut oil into your container and flatten the top of it to determine the amount. Then, remove and place in a blender. In the summer, you may prefer to refrigerate the oil prior to mixing, as it is often in a more liquid state.

B. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil. Add slowly with the dropper and mix, until it is a smell you like. I use about 1/3 cup of coconut oil and 5-7 drops of lavender oil. Not all essential oils are of the same ilk and quality. Do your research. Two North American brands that are considered high quality would be Young Living and Doterra.

C. Return to your container. Apply nightly to the face and neck

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