Okay, not ALL refined coconut oil is okay, but some is. It depends on how they do the refining, but yeah.. certain brands have a gentle refining process that actually leaves you a decent product at up to a 1/5th the price of virgin coconut oil.

This is a discovery that has made my pocketbook soooo much happier.

Woah, back up there Missy, what are you talking about?

Okay, so I highly recommend the use of coconut oil. Coconut oil is… well, it’s the oil from a coconut. I’m sure you can figure that out. The reason it’s so good is because:

1) It’s, like, the best oil for cooking.

Fat is not bad for you, but almost all the fat that is commonly eaten these days – like nasty vegetable oils and trans fats – are very damaged and processed which makes them really bad for your body and skin. Coconut oil is a very, very stable fat that is not prone to going bad. You can heat it to high heats, you can leave it in direct sunlight – it will sit for years and stay good.

I personally think it’s pretty important to find a good solid, stable fat to cook with. Cooking with fat makes your food taste divine, so you don’t want to miss out on that. But if you don’t have a good stable fat, you’re stuck using yucky, health damaging seed oils. Coconut oil, or pastured ghee, lard, or tallow (which I also sometimes use) are the best choices.

2) It’s got a lot of unique health benefits.

From organicfacts.net:

“The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. These benefits of the oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial and soothing properties.”

Yeah, so.. coconut oil is good times.

However, it’s not good times for your wallet. Well, at least the organic virgin coconut oil sure isn’t, which is what I used to recommend. Virgin means that an oil is the least processed and of the highest quality. Often anything less than that (as is the case with, say, olive oil), isn’t good for you because the harsh extraction process leaves the oil damaged and full of impurities.

Well, it turns out that because coconut oil is so stable and it can really take a beating before becoming damaged, that it’s actually okay to use refined coconut oil. For most seed oils, they need to be extracted extremely gently at low heats because the fat in them is so delicate… but with coconut oil, that doesn’t really matter because it’s a real tough cookie. And you’re probably going to be scorching the heck out of it anyway, so who really cares if it was extracted at low heat.

However, not all refined coconut oil is made the same…

Right, so, as with everything, it’s not that simple though, because it all depends on HOW they do the refining. In most cases the oil is refined with the use of harsh chemical solvents, or they’re made from rancid oil byproducts leftover from making dry coconut flakes. They’re also usually bleached and deodorized to make them palatable and acceptable for selling. Some are even partially hydrogenated, which is the process that creates trans fats. We don’t want that. That’s really gross.

But the good news is that there are some quality refined coconut oils out there that are cleaned using a natural, chemical free process, which are A-okay for consumption. I believe they might have slightly fewer health benefits than virgin, but still retain most of them. And hey – if you are not in high finance, and it’s a choice between using refined coconut oil or canola for your cooking… it’s so worth it for your health to go for the refined coconut oil!

Besides, you can always keep a jar of virgin around if you really want the best quality with the most health benefits – like if you are using it as an antifungal during a candida cleanse, or using it as a moisturizer on your skin.

Plus – there is actually another benefit to refined coconut oil aside from money: refined coconut oil doesn’t taste like coconut. I know that some people don’t mind the coconut taste of virgin coconut oil (personally I never noticed it making my food taste coconutty), but some people really notice it and can’t stand it. So this is a great little bonus.

Here’s how much money I’ve saved:

I used to buy little jars of organic virgin coconut oil at my local health store for 18 or 19 bucks a pop (on the left in the photo below).

But then I discovered I could get this bucket of organic refined coconut oil for 42 dollars at the organic bulk food store next door:

The bucket has five times as much coconut oil as the other one or only twice the price, which means that I literally saved $100. A hundred dollars!! A hundred frickin dollars!!

Which Brands of Refined Coconut Oil Are Okay to Use for Cooking?

Well, I am sure there are more available than I am aware of, but a few brands that I know of that seem to have a quality refining process are the following:

Tropical Traditions

Omega Nutrition

I guess I should mention that if you really want to get a good deal on coconut oil, you should buy it in bulk! That’s why I linked to the one gallon pales. Also, if you are wondering about the refining process of a different brand of coconut oil, don’t ask me because I don’t know! haha… please visit their website or give them a call about it and they will be able to tell you.

Watch Me Talk About Coconut Oil in Video

Do you use coconut oil? If not, what oils do you use to cook your food in? 

photo by Island Girl Naturals