The Coconut Existential Crisis

I don’t know about you but I woke up this morning to some devastating news. Ok, devastating may be an exaggeration but it was definitely upsetting enough to require extra time on the thigh master (total side note, isn’t #legday just super calming?!) Yes, the news (still news here since it takes a few days for wellness trends to cross the pacific) I’m speaking of, is of course the AHA debunking of the coconut oil trend. Cue the panic.

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Oh no! Say it ain’t so!!

For some time now, heaps of health food/ wellness gurus (ahem, #goop) have been convincing us that slathering ourselves with coconut oil is good. From consuming it directly to applying it to our skin for literally everything, this “healthy” trend is single handedly up holding the sales of Whole Foods everywhere (probably) while we walk around with coconut smelling hair and skin. Got some blemishes? Slather some coconut oil on it. Want pearly white teeth? Swirl some coconut oil in your mouth (oil pulling, recommended by GP. I wonder if this makes her breath smell like coconuts. #realquestions). Got dry and brittle hair? Coconut hair mask! Like Windex in My Big Fat Greek Wedding (still one of my favorite wedding movies of all time fyi), for a while coconut oil seemed to be the wander drug/ super food that we’ve all been waiting for. That is of course until the AHA study.

In case you missed it, the American Heart Association released a study a few days ago that essentially let the world know that coconut oil could increase the risk of heart disease. In other words, bad news. This report sent the goop-verse into a major panic with clean eating disciples feeling betrayed and hurt like me after every GA season finale (I’m still not over McDreamy, McSteamy and George).

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Now, before we all freak out and toss out all our entire coconut oil collection (or is that just me?!), let’s all calm down and take a closer look at the report. The AHA report, in all honesty, highlighted two things. One, coconut oil is a saturated fat. And two, we really shouldn’t consume too much saturated fat. In other words, coconut oil is very much like butter and really shouldn’t be consumed for more than a certain amount each day (AHA recommends about 30 grams per day for men and 20 for women) or run the risk of heart disease. What is saturated fat you ask? Basically, every kind of ‘oil’ you see that is solid in room temperature (ie, butter, coconut oil) that have no double bonds with carbon because they are saturated with hydrogen molecules. While the verdict is still out on how much saturated fat should we really consume, one thing can be certain, if I eat a tub of butter or 1 lb of bacon everyday it can probably be safely assumed that my body is probably not as healthy as Misty Copeland (Misty really doesn’t have anything to do with this debate, but I was just trying to think of a really healthy role model and her name just popped in my head.)

In other words, it’s not the product that’s the problem, it’s how we consume it. We as a society tend to over do everything. I mean, who else here have been living and breathing coconut oil like a scene in Moana (LOVE this movie, seriously underrated). If we consider coconut oil like butter, would we really be slathering the stuff in our hair and eating it with everything? (Just imagine oil pulling – the practice of gurgling oil like it’s mouth wash – with butter)

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Moana- the Wrath of the Coconuts XD

A lot of times, a good thing is only good in moderation.

The evil here is excessiveness, not the coconut oil. The truth is, our body is intricate. It requires a balance of the good and the bad in moderation. Coconut oil is just like every other clean movement craze, be it vajayjay steaming (seriously, why) or juice-cleanses or avocado toast everywhere (although to be fair, I can personally eat avocado toast every day), it’s simply too much. It’s not the product that is bad, it’s just that we’ve consumed so much of it, it’s now causing our body to reject it. Excessive deprivation and excessive consumption alike are all throwing our body out of balance, which can cause more harm than good. It’s really not the saturated fat in coconut oil that’s killing us (because without it, your skin will loose its protective outer layer, which will dry you out — ie. age you significantly), it’s the over consumption.

So, problem solved, don’t eat so much coconut oil. Now onto the real problem at hand, what do I do with the 12-month worth of coconut oil in my pantry. #hairmask party anyone?

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