The Fit Student—Are You a Health Nut or a Coconut?

Do you want to tip into health-nut status?  No shame in that label.  But do one better and claim the status of health coconut.  Now, that’s a tasty way to shine your skin, teeth, and hair.

I use coconut oil throughout the day.  With coconut oil, you can “condition your hair … hydrat[e] your skin … speed up metabolism … remove your eye makeup … use as a natural sunscreen … [use as] natural toothpaste … soothe eczema or skin psoriasis … [use] as a natural chap stick … alleviate allergy symptoms … improve your insulin levels … promote healthy gums … soothe your sore throat … soothe your skin if you have chicken pox … help your nails grow … make a natural baby lotion … help improve your digestion” (Sharpe, location 69 of 602, 11%).

That’s why I buy coconut oil.  “You should only buy virgin coconut oil and extra virgin coconut oil which are free of trans fats and other manmade chemicals” (location 45 of 602, 7%).  I mix organic virgin coconut oil with four drops of eucalyptus essential oil.  I then slather it on my face and chest.  The mixture heals my headaches (Burgess, Sep 21, 2017) and eases my congested lungs (Ashley, n.d.).

I brush my teeth with a coconut oil and baking soda mixture.  In my mind, it’s no surprise that kids dislike brushing their teeth.  After all, some toothpaste may have toxic ingredients:

Triclosan, by definition, is a pesticide but it’s been used as an antibacterial agent in toothpastes with the claim that it helps fight plaque and gingivitis ….  Saccharin is commonly used in diet foods, soft drinks, lip balms, and you guessed it, toothpaste.  It’s approximately 350 times sweeter than your run-of-the-mill sugar … Saccharin was linked to cancer in a few clinical studies in the 1970’s ….  Parabens are a fairly common additive in cosmetics, including toothpastes.  Used as a preservative, parabens are chemicals that can mimic the hormone estrogen and can potentially cause cancer, developmental, and reproductive issues.  (Radius, n.d.).

And so on.  Who wants to swish toxins anyway?  Not me.  But coconut oil mixed with baking soda offers a nontoxic, tasty way to brush your teeth.  After all, “if you can’t pronounce it and you can’t eat it, then don’t put it on your skin” (Herczegh, Dec 14, 2015).  And I believe it was author Dr.  Amen who said that what goes on you goes in you—and becomes you:

Substances that affect your overall health and wellbeing don’t simply work their way through your system by travelling the gut alone.  An often-overlooked route … through the skin … allows substances ranging from the beneficial to the bad to enter your bloodstream and circulate throughout your body.  So, if you are what you eat, and you are what you apply, the question is: What are you?  (Myers, n.d.).

I use coconut oil mixed with baking soda for deodorant, too.  I love the scent of coconut.  And the mixture neither stings nor causes rashes.  I also use plain coconut oil as a massage rub to heal athlete’s foot: “Eighty percent of the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are antimicrobial against bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa” (Holzapfel, Cynthia, as cited in Roizman, n.d.).

As well, I aim to find a coconut oil recipe for shampoo and conditioner.  This week, I went into a store that sells nontoxic shampoos and conditioners.  They were made with coconut oil but cost too much.  So, I plan to reverse engineer the formula as best I can to make my own shampoos and conditioners.  I used to go to grocery stores and read ingredients of sauces, hoping to reverse engineer those, too.  By doing so, I reduced my costs and bolstered my health.  Nothing like homemade.

I now beware of clerks who say they sell organic nontoxic shampoos.  One clerk nodded when I asked if her shampoos were organic and nontoxic.  I asked for proof, and she smiled, hesitated, and then said it’s on the ingredient list.  A quick glance at the ingredients revealed plenty of alcohols and hard-to-pronounce chemicals.  “This is as toxic as it gets,” I told her.  She blinked a couple of times and smiled shyly.  So, I now seek only shampoos that have the words “organic” or “nontoxic” written on them.

On the topic of hair.  I’ve been having two steam baths a day, each followed with a shower, shampoo and condition.  As a result, my hair has dried out.  So, I dab my hair in coconut oil: “Rubbing it into your scalp can keep your hair naturally moist, shiny, and prevent split ends and excess frizz.  Likewise, massage your skin with a few tablespoons of coconut oil everyday to keep it feeling soft and supple” (Sharpe, location 99 of 602, 16%).

You stand to gain by buying a tub of organic (extra) virgin coconut oil.  But before you dip into the coconut delight, check yourself.  Do you eat fruits and veggies and hit the gym?  If so, say so long health nut, hello coconut.

Ashley, Jennafer.  (n.d.).  “Breathe Easy DIY Eucalyptus Vapor Rub.” PaleoHacks.  Retrieved May 12, 2019 from
Burgess, Lana.  Reviewed by Wilson, Debra Rose, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT.  (Sept 21, 2017).  “Five Effective Essential Oils for Headaches.”  Medical News Today.  Retrieved May 12, 2019 from
Herczegh, Alyssa J.  (Dec 14, 2015).  “If You Can’t Eat It, Don’t Put It on Your Skin.”  Bluffton Sun.  Retrieved May 12, 2019 from
Keong, Lori.  (Sep 19, 2016).  “15 Surprising Beauty Benefits of Coconut Oil.”  Marie Claire.  Retrieved May 12, 2019 from
Myers, Amy, M.D.  (n.d.).  “What You Put ON Your Body IS as Important as What You Put IN It.” Mindbodygreen.  Retrieved May 12, 2019 from
Radius.  (n.d.).  “Toxic Ingredients Commonly Found in Toothpaste.”   Retrieved May 12, 2019 from
Roizman, Tracey.  (n.d.).  “Coconut Oil for Athlete’s Foot.”  Retrieved may 12, 2019 from
Sharpe, Samspon.  (n.d.).  Coconut Oil Cures: The Miracle Handbook on Coconut Oil.  E-book.
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