Lainie enjoys cooking as a hobby. When possible, she loves to integrate the healthy with the tasty.
Getting Your 2-4 Tablespoons Per Day
There has been a lot of talk about coconut oil's benefits in the alternative health and bodybuilding communities. Coconut oil promoters recommend that you consume minimally processed virgin coconut, which both smells and tastes of fresh coconut. (Don't worry, fresh coconut oil does not smell like suntan lotion!)
Virgin coconut oil advocates (such as Mary Enig, Bruce Fife, Sally Fallon, etc) recommend the consumption of two to four tablespoons of virgin coconut oil per day. While it is possible to take coconut oil straight, many people, including myself, find this to be unpalatable and it can also cause an upset stomach. While there are coconut oil capsules available, one would need to be swallowing 50+ .5 gram capsules per day to get just two tablespoons of oil. This is impractical and costly.
The best way to to get your coconut oil is in measured amounts, added to the food you eat during the day. You can always use it in regular cooking and baking, of course, but below are some suggestions for more intensive supplementation.
A Spreadable Oil
Coconut oil is great on bread, rolls, bagels, crackers, etc alone or blended with nut butters, cream cheese, or fruit spreads. Try adding some cinnamon and honey to make a quick, tasty spread.
Mix and Match
Virgin coconut oil has a pleasant, slightly sweet taste that mixes well with many foods.
Here are some ideas for incorporating it in the foods you enjoy:
- For breakfast, top your oatmeal or other hot cereal with a tablespoon of coconut oil.
- Try it on brown or white rice.
- Add a spoonful of coconut oil to your yogurt cup and stir.
- Add a tablespoon of coconut oil before blending smoothies and shakes.
- Add coconut oil to protein powder for a quick pudding.
- Coconut oil goes particularly well with curries, soups, and stews, and can be great mixed with potatoes.
Make Eggs More Edible
Coconut oil is wonderful in fried or scrambled eggs. Add a tablespoon to your frying pan and cook your eggs. Just be sure to keep the heat reasonably low to prevent scorching.
Many people add coconut oil to a hot beverage, such as coffee, tea, or an herbal such as rooibos. This not only melts the oil so it is easily consumed, but the coffee/tea/herbal dilutes the coconut oil, making the dose more palatable.
The main problem with adding coconut oil to a hot beverage is that the oil has a tendency to pool on top of the hot drink. The oil gets very hot and can burn your lips or mouth. The best way to address this is to blend your coconut oil into your hot coffee, tea, or herbal using a mini hand blender or foamer.
Blending not only integrates the oil into the beverage, eliminating the pooling effect, but also cools the drink down so you don't get burned. Even better, you'll end up with an even tastier drink. Coconut oil in hot coffee, for example, is an excellent substitute for milk or cream. Blended, your drink will look, and taste, like a foamy cappuccino. Add a few drops of flavored stevia for even yummier results.
Caution: Be careful when blending to avoid splattering yourself with hot liquid. In addition, the steam from hot liquids can make using small container blenders unsafe, as the steam may pop the lid. Use a large cup and begin blending slowly with the mini hand blender or foamer.
If you don't like the taste of liquid oil, try freezing it. Solidly frozen virgin coconut oil is a lot more palatable than drinking liquid oil straight, particularly if you add additional ingredients. This recipe, for example, incorporates cocoa almonds into frozen coconut oil "bites". Experiment with other herbs, nuts and supplements: I add both cocoa almonds and maca powder to my coconut oil bites.
Keeping Coconut Oil on Hand
One of the best things about virgin coconut oil is that it is very shelf-stable. It does not need to be kept refrigerated unless you prefer to use it in its solid state. Thus, you can keep a jar in your desk to add to your tea/food throughout the day.
Because of its long shelf-life, I strongly encourage purchasing coconut oil in bulk, as this will save you a lot of money. Check out online and brick & mortar retailers for sales and specials and stock up when prices are low.
Other Coconut Products
To get additional coconut oil in your diet, try incorporating other coconut products into your daily menu. Cookbooks that contain coconut-based recipes are available and a Google search will lead you to thousands of quality recipes online. Another option is to substitute coconut milk or coconut milk blends for other dairy or non-dairy milks.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Catherine on January 12, 2015:
MsLainie, i love your site , i also love coconut oil , been using it a year now on my skin and as a makeup remove, and does wonders for my dry hair.and I also put a tablespoon in my morning coffee.do you suggest not using non dairycreamer with coconut oil? I miss my non dairy creamer.
Vi Sisson on October 23, 2013:
I'm just getting started on CO, used it on my toast, but see it can be used lots more ways, thanks!
Jen on January 24, 2013:
I like 1 TBSP spread on toast with jam. Yum,
Lainie Petersen (author) from Chicago on December 23, 2012:
Turtlewoman: Yes, those are great ways to take coconut oil!
Kim Lam from California on December 22, 2012:
I don't like taking "shots" of oil either! however I do put some in my oatmeal and smoothies for the health benefits. ;-)
Cindy on August 01, 2012:
I make a pudding like mix with a banana and as much CO as you want, it is like dessert.
Tammy on June 23, 2012:
What is the difference between organic refined coconut oil and the virgin coconut oil??
Penny on May 14, 2012:
Manny I think the coconut oil made you feel bad in the stomach because you might have started off by taking more than you body can handle. For example start off with half table spoon two times daily for 7 days then you can gradually increase. As you increase the dosage if you don't feel well, decrease the dose to where you don't feel bad, as time go by increase gradually until you are taking 3 table spoons a day.
innie w on April 14, 2012:
I bought a lot of VCO when I came back from the Philippines and they have different flavors like corn, jackfruit, strawberry etc. they are not as hard to take when they solidify.
Lainie Petersen (author) from Chicago on March 06, 2012:
Some people find that oils and fats, taken on an empty stomach, can cause digestive troubles. I'd advise taking it right after a meal or with food.
steven grey on February 14, 2012:
I keep a container of cereals and to that add a variety of nuts and seeds. I recently warmed up a several tablespoons of Virgin Coconut oil and poured it into the container and tossed it so the becomes a part of the cereal mix.
Manny on February 10, 2012:
Any reason as to why it causes me to have an upset stomach. Been taking abouy 2-3 Tablesppons daily. Heard it might be due to its antifungal properties?
Lainie Petersen (author) from Chicago on February 02, 2012:
Spangs: No, I just add a scoop to the hot beverage. It liquifies almost immediately.
spangs on February 02, 2012:
do you warm it before adding it to coffee and tea?
Lainie Petersen (author) from Chicago on January 22, 2012:
Let me know how it works, Noelle!
Noelle on January 22, 2012:
Just getting ready to try it for the first time. Bought mine at MOM. Thank you so much for the ideas!
Lainie Petersen (author) from Chicago on December 23, 2011:
Sharon: I guess I'm just not crazy about swallowing a mouthful of oil!
sharon on December 23, 2011:
How is taking it straight "unpalatable"? It's delicious!
Where to Buy Coconut Oils on April 07, 2011:
I really like this post! I very much agree that it is goo with coffee and tea. It has lots of healthy benefits and has a pretty long shelf life. Thank you for posting this. Informative and well presented.
Eric on September 17, 2010:
I eat 2 plain table spoons of it everyday. One before breakfast at 11am, then another before dinner at 9pm.
Lainie Petersen (author) from Chicago on October 24, 2008:
Susan, I am sorry that I never replied to your post...I haven't found that it alters the taste much...it has a sweetness that is pleasant and that meshes well with coffee and tea.
Again, sorry for the delay, and thanks for commenting!
SusanBonfiglio from Woodmere, NY on September 28, 2008:
When you use the coconut oil in coffee or tea does it alter the taste? I am glad I found your hub. I have just started to learn about the benefits of coconut oil. Thanks
Shawna Atteberry from Chicago on August 01, 2008:
I picked some up at Whole Foods today. And I'm thinking about having a cup of tea.