September 28, 2015

The Best Uses for Coconut Oil (Other than Cooking)

Coconut oil. Do you have a jar in your kitchen, bedroom or bathroom? Yes you read that right. I said bedroom and bathroom. Because not only is coconut oil one of the best oils to cook with, it is also great for so many other things. Seriously. Just read on.

But first things first. Why is coconut oil one of my favourite oils to cook with? Lots of reasons. It's a great source of medium chain triglycerides, is heat stable, and contains a lot of lauric acid. Say what? Don't worry I will explain.

Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are a special type of short chain saturated fat. Yes saturated fat. Don't be scared. This type of saturated fat is different than the longer chains found in animal fat (although you don't need to be scared of animal fat either - but that lesson can be left for another time). MCTs are special because they don't require bile salts for absorption in the gut; they diffuse directly from your gut to your blood and can be used by yours cells for energy without modification. Cool right?

Coconut oil is heat stable. This means that you can heat it to high temperatures without worrying. It won't produce any nasty free radicals or oxidize when it is heated (unlike other oils such as olive oil).

Coconut oil contains a lot of lauric acid. Almost 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil are lauric acid, which actually has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. Yep that's right, food really is medicine!

Plus there are many other health benefits associated with eating coconut oil, including weight loss, improvements in your cholesterol, better brain function etc etc. I will do another post dedicated solely to the health benefits of coconut oil in the future. In the mean time let's get to my favourite uses for coconut oil (other than cooking).

1. Moisturizer

Most conventional creams and lotions are filled with chemicals and synthetic ingredients. Just look at the ingredient list on your favourite cream and I bet you can't pronounce most of the things listed there. That's a bad sign my friends. Those things don't belong on your skin. At least in my opinion. We are exposed to so many chemicals, fuels, carcinogens etc. on a daily basis that we can't control, so why not take control of the things that go on your skin? After all, besides your gut, your skin has the second largest surface area of any organ in your body. That means there is a lot of room to improve your health simply but changing what you put on your skin. Coconut oil is a great moisturizer because it absorbs quickly and is non-comedogenic. I use it on my body, but I know many people that use it as their facial moisturizer as well. Just be cautious if you are acne prone, in some people it seems to help their acne, but in others it can make it worse. Again, everyone is different so you will need to see for yourself. An added tip is to add a few drops of your favorite scented essential oil to your coconut oil to make a scented moisturizer without the artificial scents found in conventionally scented products. One of my favourite additions is peppermint oil. But lemon and lavender are also great.  

2. Teeth Cleaner

I am sure by now you have heard of oil pulling. And if not you are living under a rock. Okay maybe not, but seriously this method has been all over the blogging world recently. I for one have been oil pulling for almost a year now (has it really been that long???). And I have definitely seen improvements in my oral health. Not only can this method whiten your teeth, but it can restore your gum health and even help heal certain chronic diseases. Briefly, to oil pull, you put 1 TBSP of oil in your mouth, first thing in the morning, (coconut oil is my favourite but other oils can be used as well) and swish it around in your mouth for 20 minutes. Then you rinse your mouth and carry on with your day. 20 minutes may seem like a long time, but trust me you get used to it quickly. I started oil pulling after I was told I had my first cavity at age 28 (although in hind sight I'm not sure if I really believe that I did... but I will keep my skeptical opinions to myself). Needless to say I was horrified so I started researching what I could do to improve my gum health and prevent further cavities. And oil pulling has been the answer. The dentist has been amazed at the improvements in my gum health. But oil pulling has the potential to improve your health in so many other ways. There is no way I can summarize it here but you can learn more by reading this book that goes into much more detail.

3. Wound Healing

As I mentioned, coconut oil contains a lot of lauric acid which is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral. Hence it has the potential to help heal cuts and wounds. Now I would never recommend that you go against medical advice if antibiotics are recommended for a more seriously infected skin wound or infection, but most day-to-day scrapes, cuts and injuries don't require antibiotics. Simply use coconut oil as you would polysporin or other topical agents. You can even add a few drops of an essential oil with anti-bacterial properties for even more potency.

4. Face Wash 

Oil cleansing. Have you heard of this? Basically it's a way to wash your face with oil. Yes I realize this might sound a little crazy, but the idea is that you are trying to restore the natural oil production of your face by not stripping away the oil the way that modern cleansers tend to do. This method is used by many people with great success. However, it is not for everyone. I started oil cleansing about 3 weeks ago and I am still undecided. Many people have an initial worsening of their skin while it adjusts (which I have definitely seen) and then people tend to see improvement. However, not everyone does. I will let you know how the rest of my experiment goes. I am going to try and give it about 6-8 weeks to test it properly.
To oil cleanse you apply the oil of your choice to your face, and massage it in for 1-2 minutes. You then apply a hot face cloth to your face for 1 minute, or until the cloth cools. Then you remove all the oil with a washcloth. You can use coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil etc etc for this. And different oils are better for different skin types so make sure you do your research before starting.

5. Lubricant 

Yes I really mean lubricant. I have to say that when I started my blog a couple years ago I never would have thought I would be talking about sex. But since we are discussing all things health related here it was bound to come up eventually. And a healthy sex life is so important to a healthy relationship and your overall health, so it's time we talk about it. So here goes.
Let's just say that coconut oil makes a great lubricant. It melts quickly, contains no chemicals and even tastes good. So go to your cupboards and please throw out all your jars/bottles/tubes of convention lubricants. You don't even want to look at the ingredient lists. They are horrifying. If you ask me that stuff has no business being near your genital area. Or your mouth for that matter. For an added bonus you can even add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to the coconut oil for a cooling/ tingly sensation. 

Bonus Uses

  • Make up remover
  • Shaving gel
  • Tooth paste

There you go friends. My favourite uses for coconut oil other than cooking. I would love to know if you try any of these! And if you are totally new to coconut oil I highly recommend the Nutiva brand. It is the one I use in my house. You can find it here.

Until next time, happy eating friends!

As always I would be thrilled if you followed me on my social media pages on  Instagram, FacebookPinterest and  Twitter.

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September 21, 2015

Paleo Apple Recipe Round-Up (Gluten Free, Paleo, Whole 30)

Apples, apples, apples. That is what today is all about. Since it is officially apple season I have put together the ultimate Paleo Apple Recipe Wrap-up for you guys. There are over 75 recipes here for you to choose from. Because I mean, who doesn't love apples? Right? Raw, cooked, in desserts, in salads, as part of main dishes, you just can't go wrong with this magical fruit. There are breakfasts, main dishes, side dishes, sauces, drinks, and of course desserts included in this collection. Something for everyone I guarantee it.

I am writing this post from my temporary home in Boston, MA. No I haven't moved. I am only here for 5 days for a rheumatology course. And before you get too jealous I should let you know that I am spending 9 hours a day in a lecture theatre learning, learning, learning. Yep we residents sure know how to have fun don't we? It's all good though. It's all the things I need to learn before I write my rheumatology exams next fall (still in total denial about them I must admit).
One nice thing about Boston though, is it's nice and warm. I am a summer girl through and through and there is no sign of fall here my friends. It is delightful. If only I could bring this weather back to Calgary with me. Yes a girl can dream.

So what have I been up to in Boston besides learning? Not a ton. But we did have a bit of time on our first day to do some exploring. And shopping. Now nothing crazy because the Canadian dollar is sucking big time right now (cue the tears) but I did find a pair of cowboy boots for an amazing deal (Stampede 2016 here I come!) and a pair of pretty workout crops. Because you can never have too many workout clothes right? I also need to get to a real grocery store at some point so I can stock up on grassfed butter. It's just so hard to find that stuff at home! Darn food regulations. You Americans don't know how lucky you are to have it everywhere. We are staying right in the middle of China Town so I also got to enjoy my first Chinese Food Market shopping experience. That was interesting. There are so many bizarre looking food items in those stores! Although since I can't decipher the ingredient lists I don't know if you can really call them food items... but I will leave my rant about real food for another time. You have better things to get to. Like 75 Paleo Apple Recipes!

I really hope you guys like this collection. Please let me know which ones turn out to be your favourites! And as always I would love it if you followed me on my social media pages on  Instagram, FacebookPinterest and  Twitter.

Until next time, happy eating everyone!

Breads, Muffins and Cupcakes

Warm Caramel Apple Pie Bread from Living Healthy with Chocolate 

Apple Cinnamon Banana Bread from Flabs to Fitness 

Apple Streusel Muffins with Pumpkin Frosting from Savory Lotus

French Apple Pie Bread from  Beauty and the Foodie

Apple Cinnamon Grain Free Bread from Healy Eats Real

Apple Cardamon Cupcakes from Gutsy by Nature

Grain Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins from Delicious Obsessions

Apple Cinnamon Muffins from Nummy for my Tummy

Harvest Bread with Apple Coconut Icing from Pure and Simple Nourishment

Squares and Bars 

Cinnamon Apple Bars from Pure and Simple Nourishment

Apple Pie Bars from Merit and Fork

Grain Free Apple Turnovers from Life Made Full

Apple Mint Coconut Butter Bars from Nourishing Time

Crisps, Cobblers and Granola

Grain Free Apple Cinnamon Granola from Raising Generation Nourished

Apple Pecan Cobbler from Real Food Outlaws 

Apple Crisp from Meghan Birt

Autoimmune Paleo Apple Crisp from The Curious Coconut 

Paleo Apple Crisp from My Natural Family 

Skillet Apple Crumble from Real Food RN

Paleo Grain Free Apple Crisp from The Curious Coconut 

Apple Muesli from Delicious Obsessions

Grain Free Apple Crisp with a Twist from GI365

Cakes and Pies

Paleo Apple Cake from Zen Belly

Rustic Apple Custard Cake from Plaid and Paleo

Paleo Apple Galette from A Girl Worth Saving

Paleo Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Cake from Primally Inspired

Pumpkin Apple Pie From A Girl Worth Saving

Grain Free Apple Cake from Grok Grub

Paleo Apple Cinnamon Poke Cake from Beauty and the Foodie

Apple Funnel Cake from Nummy for my Tummy

Paleo Rustic Apple Tartlets from A Girl Worth Saving

Paleo Apple Pie from Zen Belly

Raw Fruit Tart from Healy Eats Real

Paleo Apple Pie From Paleo Flourish Magazine

Caramelized Apple Dutch Baby from And Here We Are

Green Apple Bundt Cake with Caramel Frosting from Meghan Birt

Apple Pie Skillet Cake from GI365


Apples and Bacon Loaded Sweet Potato from A Squirrel in the Kitchen

Kale, Apples and Pancetta Salad from Merit and Fork

Caramelized Cabbage with Bacon and Apples from On Diet and Health

Baked Sweet Potato with Caramelized Apples and Honey from Comfort Bites

Waldorf Salad from Virginia is for Hunter Gatherers

Plantain and Apple Fritters from A Girl Worth Saving

Harvest Time Soup from Pure and Simple Nourishment

Paleo Green Beens and Apple Stir Fry from Paleo Flourish Magazine

Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Apples and Carrots from A Girl Worth Saving

Squash Soup with Apples from Paleo Gone Sassy

Roasted Delicata Squash, Apple and Fig Stuffing from Real Food with Dana

Apple Dill Coleslaw from Meghan Birt

Pomegranate, Bacon Arugula Salad from Virginia is for Hunter Gatherers

Butternut Squash and Apple Puree from Pure and Simple Nourishment

Sauces, Dips and Drinks

Crockpot Apple Butter from Plaid and Paleo

Apple Cider Applesauce from Merit and Fork

Apple Peel Cider from And Here We Are

Simple Baked Applesauce from Raising Generation Nourished

Slow Cooker Apple Pie Applesauce from A Girl Worth Saving

Hard Apple Cider Without A Press from And Here We Are

Raw Kombucha Applesauce from Real Food With Kids

Apple Clove Kombucha from Real Food RN

Simple Cinnamon Applesauce from Virginia is for Hunter Gatherers

Crockpot Apple Sauce from GI365

Ice Cream

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Ice Cream from Downshiftology 

Paleo Apple Pie Ice Cream from A Girl Worth Saving

Meat, Eggs and Fish

Slow Cooker Apple Rosemary Pork Roast from Pure and Simple Nourishment

Apple Chicken Salad from Downshiftology

Maple Apple Breakfast Sausage from Savory Lotus

Roast Chicken with Cabbage and Apples from Gutsy by Nature

Pan Roasted Chicken with Bacon and Apples from Zen Belly

Sweet Potato, Apple and Pancetta Hash from Gutsy by Nature

Apple Curry Tuna Salad from Paleo Flourish Magazine

Pan Fried Pork Chops with Apples from Paleo Gone Sassy

Smothered Apple and Onion Pork Chops from Bravo for Paleo

Bacon Wrapped Pecan Apples from Pure and Simple Nourishment


Apple Pie Pancakes from Paleo Gone Sassy

Gourmet Chocolate Caramel Apples from Whole New Mom

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September 14, 2015

Chimichurri Sauce Recipe (Paleo, Gluten free, GAPS, Whole 30)

Weddings, weddings, weddings. That is what I was up to last weekend. Erik and I had weddings on both Saturday and Sunday. He was a groomsman in one, and I a bridesmaid in the other. Needless to say it was busy! Super fun but super busy. And tiring! My poor body just can't party like that for two days in a row anymore. Thank goodness Monday was a holiday or I might not have survived. Man I sound like an old woman. Did I also mention it was freezing? Both weddings were scheduled to be outside but luckily the one on Saturday got moved indoors or we might have frozen to death. Think 2 degrees and pouring rain. Recipe for disaster if you ask me. Lucky it stayed dry on Sunday since that wedding was happening outdoors no matter what. What the bride wants the bride gets. I don't blame her, the whole point of the venue she chose was its amazing views. You can see what I mean from my photos below.

Otherwise it's been business around here as usual. I am in the middle of working on a ridiculous review article on lupus that is taking up all my spare time. But I will spare you from those boring details. Once it's published I will let you know. Since that's really the most exciting part of research. Seeing your name in print! But I have still managed to put some new recipes together for you. Like this chimichurri. I have to be honest and admit that up until a couple months ago I had no idea what chimichurri was. Erik and I recently tried a new restaurant in Calgary and our meat came with this amazing green sauce. Turns out it was chimichurri. So of course I had to go on a mission to make my own version. And this recipe is the result. I am pretty confident you'll like it. Plus it's really easy to make. Toss everything into your food processor or high speed blender and you're done! I certainly don't have hours to spend slaving away in the kitchen and I am sure you don't either. 

And since I had no idea what chimichurri was until recently I decided to do a little research. According to wikipedia (please don't judge my choice of reference) chimichurri "is a green sauce used for grilled meat, originally from the Rio de la Plata Argentina. It is made of finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano and white vinegar." Now wasn't that informative? You will notice I have made a few alternations in my own version, swapping olive oil for avocado oil, adding mint and cilantro and using balsamic vinegar instead of white vinegar. And I assure you that these modifications are worth it! So far I have tried this sauce with chicken, beef and pork and loved it with all of them. I am sure it would also be good with fish and other meats as well so if you try it please let me know. 

Otherwise I will be heading to Boston later this week for a rheumatology review course, so if any of you know of some great, paleo friendly, places to eat I would love to hear your suggestions! I have heard great things about Boston's food and I want to be sure I hit the best places. Normally when I go to the States I also like to enjoy some amazing U.S shopping, but sadly with the Canadian dollar being as pitiful as it is these days I think the shopping may have to be avoided. Tragic. Although I will still likely be filling my suitcase with Epic bars and some grassfed butter. Don't rat me out to customs please. The lengths us Canadians have to go to just to enjoy some grassfed butter. It's ridiculous. But why don't I save that rant for anther day. Instead I'll let you get to today's chimichurri recipe. 

And as always I would love it if you followed me on my social media pages on  Instagram, FacebookPinterest and  Twitter

Until next time, happy eating everyone! 

Chimichurri Recipe (Paleo, Gluten Free, Whole 30, GAPS)


1 bunch fresh parsley (either flat or curly will both work)
1/3 cup packed fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup packed fresh cilantro
3/4 cup avocado oil (buy here
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar (find it here
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp dried oregano (this brand is my favourite) 
1/2 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
1/2 tsp black pepper 


1. Place the ingredients in your food processor or blender
2. Puree until smooth
3. Place in the fridge and let sit for at least one hour (I prefer overnight if possible to allow the flavours to blend) 
4. Serve and enjoy!

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