Category Archives: coconut oil

Ten Natural Health Life Hacks to Simplify, Save Money and Live Better

I am a huge fan of “life hacks.” Handy tricks that can greatly simplify a natural lifestyle create a win-win situation, allowing us to Natural Health Life Hacks
simplify our lives while improving our health. What could be better? Following are my Top 10 Natural Health Life Hacks. Use them to simplify your life, improve your health, save money, and live better. Have your own natural health life hack? Please share it in the comments!

Dr. Pamela’s Top 10 Natural Health Life Hacks

Stop wasting money on commercial colloidal oatmeal:  The word “colloidal” in relation to colloidal oatmeal simply means, “able to uniformly disperse in water.” That’s it. Nothing fancy and no chemistry required. Make your own colloidal oatmeal – and save a ton of money – by blending organic oats in a blender until they form a fine powder. It’s just that simple. Most commercial colloidal oatmeals contain chemical additives designed to improve the powder’s flow through processing machines, so by making your own you also reduce your exposure to potential toxins.

Freeze leftover smoothie in an ice cube tray:  Once the smoothie cubes are frozen, you can either use them as a cool treat on a hot day, can use them as ice cubes in water to create an “infused” beverage, or can toss them into a blender and make a frozen version of the original smoothie. You can also use the frozen cubes to save time. Make a double batch of smoothie every day for a week, freezing the excess and putting the cubes in a canning jar in the freezer. Use the frozen cubes to make a quickie smoothie on mornings when you run out of time for a healthy breakfast. Freezing the smoothie will detract a small amount of nutrition, but will retain enough nutrition to provide benefits. If you’d like a formula to use to make perfect smoothies every time, read this:  Perfect Smoothie Formula.

Keep a pre-packed bag with gym essentials in your trunk:  Having a back-up gym bag packed and ready to go will help eliminate most excuses for not working out. Keep one in your trunk, in your desk at work, or wherever it will always be ready. Items to pack might include a t-shirt and shorts, tennis shoes, deodorant, headband, water bottle, etc. 

Buy organic spices in the bulk section instead of individual jars:  When we buy organic basil in a jar, it costs $4.79. The same amount of organic basil in bulk costs us less than $1.50. Find a locally owned store that sells organic spices in bulk. The store we frequent even allows us to weigh our own container when we enter so we don’t have to use a plastic bag. We save loads of money by buying our organic spices in bulk. We wash and re-use glass spice bottles, but you can also find bottles on Amazon for next to nothing.

Measure your daily water need into a bottle in the morning and keep it with you all day:  We all need to drink half our weight (in pounds) in ounces of water on a daily basis. This means people who weigh 150 pounds should drink 75 ounces of purified water daily. Staying hydrated helps ensure our cells can work at their optimal level, helps us feel more energized, can eliminate headaches, and prevents the body from secreting hormones that make us feel hungry when what we actually need is water. The bottom line is that our cells work better when they’re hydrated and look like grapes than they do when they are dehydrated and look like raisins. So do we.

Ask for a to go box when you order at a restaurant, then place half your meal in the box as soon as it’s served:  Most portions of restaurant meals are huge, especially if they include side dishes, salad, etc. Boxing up half your meal as soon as it’s delivered helps ensure you don’t overeat and provides a meal for the next day. For more tips and tricks for eating healthily when eating out, read Ten Ways to Make Good Choices While Eating Out.

Use coconut water instead of sugary sports drinks:  Coconut water naturally contains every trace mineral present in human blood. It is also very easily absorbed and void of added sugars or corn syrup. It makes a much healthier alternative to sports drinks loaded with synthetic minerals and excess sugars. Coconut water is also often successfully used instead of infant electrolyte replacement drinks. (Discuss that option with your pediatrician or physician.) For best results, use a coconut water that is organic and that does not contain added sugars. 

Make your own “gel” icepack:  Simply blend 2 parts water with 1 part rubbing alcohol. Place in a zippered bag, force out as much air as possible, freeze, and use as needed. You may want to use two bags to help protect against having the zippers pop open. These ice packs are nice because they don’t leak all over but can easily fit around limbs and body parts. To prevent overchilling of the body part, place a towel or wash cloth between the area that needs to be iced and the gel pack. You can increase or decrease the ratio of water to rubbing alcohol to change the thickness and density of the “gel” as needed. Vodka or Everclear can be used instead of the rubbing alcohol if you prefer.

Use a piece of spaghetti to light candles:  Believe it or  not, spaghetti is flammable. Light a piece and you can use it to light multiple candles with hard to reach wicks. Note that gluten-free spaghetti doesn’t work as well as regular spaghetti.

Ditch artificial makeup removers:  The best makeup remover on the planet is organic, high oleic sunflower seed oil. The oil easily removes makeup and contains fatty acids known to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also very inexpensive. To use, apply the oil to a natural cotton ball or cotton wash cloth (use black wash cloths for removing eye makeup) and gently use to remove makeup. You’ll protect yourself from artificial chemicals while nourishing and moisturizing your skin. It’s a winning combination!

Bonus Natural Health Life Hack #11:

Use coconut flour instead of corn starch as a thickener:  Coconut flour is ultra-absorbent and makes a fantastic thickener for soups and stews. It does not add any flavor to the recipe. Since most corn starch is made from genetically modified corn and is high in carbohydrates, I prefer to avoid it. Coconut flour not only works better as a thickener, it has better nutritional value, adding protein and healthy essential fatty acids.

Bonus Natural Health Life Hack #12:

Store natural peanut butter upside down on its lid:  That will allow the natural oils to rise to the bottom of the jar. Shaking the jar before opening it will make it easier to stir and blend the oils back into the butter.

What are your favorite natural health hacks? Please share!

Top 20 Quick and Easy Healthy Snacks

This article contains product links for which I may receive a very small amount of compensation if an item is purchased. Please know I only share links for products which I use or have used personally and which I feel are worthy of recommending

Many people trying to eat healthier are stumped by what good options are for snacking. Eating a sensible snack between meals is a good way of maintaining energy and stable blood sugars throughout the day. For some people, it may also be a way of encouraging the metabolism to kick into a higher gear.

Following is a list of my favorite snacks. As always, please note that all ingredients mentioned are organic:

  • Make or buy dehydrated veggies to use as a great portable, no-mess snack. Make your own using a food dehydrator to Appleensure no added chemicals were used.
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  • Make a custom blend of nuts, seeds and goji or acai berries.
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  • Slice a zucchini into slices and top them with hummus, almond butter, salsa or guacamole.
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  • Slice veggies and dip in pesto.
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  • Slice an apple and dip the slices in almond butter or other nut butters.
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  • Blend one part chia seeds into two parts green tea and two parts coconut milk. Add stevia to taste if needed. Cinnamon or other spices also liven this up. Allow to sit for about ten minutes, then drink it down. It is very filling and provides powerful nutrition!
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  • Make a veggie pate from soaked nuts, soaked seeds, leafy greens and soft veggies. Eat it by the spoon or spread on veggies or gluten-free crackers.
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  • Spread roasted garlic on zucchini slices or on a few gluten-free crackers.
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  • Stir cacao chips and sunflower seeds into vanilla coconut yogurt.
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  • Wrap slices of organic turkey around tomato boats, fermented pickles or other veggies.
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  • Wrap wasabi seaweed snacks around avocado slices.
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  • Stuff dates with almonds. Dates are incredibly high in sugar, so it only takes a few of these snacks to be very filling and energizing.
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  • Load toothpicks with a cherry tomato, mozzarella cube and basil leaf.
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  • Make guacamole to eat on veggies or by the spoonful.
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  • Stuff celery or mini-peppers with hummus, almond butter or guacamole.
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  • Make a plate of avocado slices and tomato slices.
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  • Make a smoothie with 1/3 dark leafy greens, 1/3 veggies and 1/3 fruit.
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  • Stuff half an avocado with a small scoop of chicken, egg or tuna salad.
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  • Pop organic popcorn in organic extra virgin coconut oil and top with a bit of Himalayan Sea Salt and Organic Garlic Powder.
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  • Dip non-GMO corn chips into homemade salsa.
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  • Pack a salad in a jar. Place chopped veggies on the bottom of a Mason jar, top with a variety of mixed greens, then place a dressing on top. Shake when ready to eat. (Don’t forget to pack a fork.)

Oops. That was 21 instead of 20. Oh well!

What snacks would you add to the list?

The Definitive Guide to Ending Dry Skin: Part 2

This is the second part of a two-part series on how to combat dry skin. Please read The Definitive Guide to Ending Dry Skin: Part 1 for information on the potential causes of dry skin and ways to address them. This article focuses on easy ways to moisturize and protect from the outside in. This article assumes you are already doing everything mentioned in Part 1. I’ve shared several recipes that allow you to make your own all-natural moisturizing products. I Dry Skin Helpincluded links so you can easily find the ingredients on Amazon. To find more natural ingredients you can use to make your own skin care products, please visit my Toiletry Making Supplies page.

The following items are easy to find and provide moisturizing benefits that can help alleviate the symptoms of dry skin:

  • Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil:  Few oils are as versatile or as beneficial as organic extra virgin coconut oil. It can be applied to the skin, nails or lips by itself or blended with other ingredients. It makes a wonderful moisturizer! My favorite coconut oil is made by Tropical Traditions. If you have never tried their coconut oil, I highly recommend it!
    .
  • Organic Vegetable Glycerin:  Vegetable Glycerin is a humectant, meaning it pulls moisture out of the air down to the surface of the skin. It is a bit sticky and is therefore best used blended with other ingredients. I recommend only using organic glycerin, as the vegetables used to make non-organic glycerin are often genetically-modified and coated with potentially harmful chemicals. Glycerin has the unusual trait of warming the skin when blown on. For that reason it is a popular ingredient in many adult products. It is a very beneficial moisturizer in spite of that.
    .
  • Unrefined Cocoa Butter:  Cocoa Butter is a fantastic moisturizer which also forms a barrier that protects the skin against wind, moisture and other drying elements. Cocoa Butter is very hard at room temperature but melts on contact with the skin. It can be used alone or blended with other butters and oils to make a softer blend. (See recipe that follows.) Cocoa Butter smells strongly of chocolate, a fact many people love.
    ..
  • Unrefined Shea Butter:  Unrefined Shea Butter is a fantastic moisturizer that is rich in vitamins and other nutrients known to provide healing benefits to the skin. It is softer than Cocoa Butter, allowing it to be easily spread into the skin. Shea Butter can be used alone or blended with other oils and butters. It is one of my favorite stand-alone moisturizers. It has a slightly smoky odor but can easily be blended with essential oils that will cover the aroma. I recommend only using the unrefined version of Shea Butter, as the refined version is processed to the point that most of its benefits are removed. Be aware that Shea Butter will crystallize if melted at too high a temperature. The crystals do not affect the moisturizing ability of the butter, but will affect the texture. To avoid crystallization, melt or soften the Shea Butter over the lowest temperature possible. You will find it doesn’t have to be softened much to be easily blended with other ingredients.
    .\
  • Jojoba Oil:  Jojoba oil is an amazing oil because its chemical structure almost exactly matches the skin’s own sebum. It is actually not an oil but is a wax that is liquid at room temperature. It is considered one of the best moisturizing oils for skin and hair. Although it may feel a little oily when first applied, it quickly soaks in. It also makes an excellent massage oil and oil for hot oil treatments applied to hair.
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  • Grapeseed Oil:  Grapeseed Oil is another oil that makes a great moisturizer. it is a little bit lighter than Jojoba oil, so some people prefer it. It sinks in quickly and is known to be excellent for “mature” skin.

Recipes 

Super-Simple Cleanser Recipe

Ingredients:

To make a super-simple cleanser that will not dry the skin, blend together:

To use, massage into skin, allow to sit for 30 seconds-1 minute and rinse with warm water. Your skin will be toned, moisturized and cleansed without using harsh cleansers. Feel free to add a few drops of an essential oil of choice if you’d like to enjoy the benefits of the essential oil and a nice fragrance while cleansing. I recommend adding PatchouliLavender or Chamomile essential oils for their known healing benefits for the skin.

Super-Simple Lotion Bar

Ingredients:

Combine oils and butters and melt over very low heat until just blended. (I recommend melting the cocoa butter first and then stirring in the other butters and oils.) Stir well and allow to cool for ten minutes. Then add desired essential oil(s). Pour into molds and allow to cool. (Egg cartons or small yogurt containers make excellent molds.) When cooled and solidified, pop out of the molds and enjoy. These create a solid lotion that melts on contact with the skin. I recommend using a plastic zippy bag for storage and to enable them to be tossed into a purse or put in a pocket. If you want the lotion bars to be harder, add more cocoa butter; if you wish them to be harder, add more jojoba oil. Many nurses swear by these, as they keep their hands soft and moisturized in spite of all the hand washing the nurses do. 

 Base Graphic Courtesy of Ayurveda Samskara

Natural Sunscreen Recipe

I have received many requests to share a natural sunscreen recipe. I developed this recipe several years ago because I wanted to be able to protect myself from sunburn without exposing myself to the harmful chemicals found in most OTC sunscreens. I have found it to be very effective. Please note you may need to apply it more frequently than other sunscreens.

This time of year, it’s not uncommon to hear many frightening warnings about the “dangers of sun exposure.” These warnings make me cringe. The truth is that sun exposure is very beneficial to our health. Severe sunburn is not. Recent research found skin cancer is not caused by simple sun Sunshineexposure but is caused by severe sunburn. In addition, several studies found the most common ingredients in OTC sunscreens actually CAUSE skin cancer. Even newer research discovered sun exposure (without sunscreen) increases the levels of nitric oxide in our system. Nitric oxide is known to lower blood pressure and improve heart health. Please read Shining Light on the Truth About Sun Exposure for more information about the necessity of sun exposure.

What’s the solution? Here are my tips for allowing sun exposure to improve health:

  1. Get 10-20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure every day. After you have a good base tan, it’s fine to spend longer periods of time in the sun as long as you do not burn.
  2. Use a natural sunscreen. See links at the end of this article to a few pre-made versions I really like.
  3. Keep a close eye on how much sun you’ve gotten. If you think you’re in danger of burning, take time to put on more clothing or to apply a natural sunscreen.

My sunscreen recipe follows. This is easy to make and has ingredients which are easy to find. I included links to make it easier to find the ingredients. Each of the oils used has a natural SPF ranging from 6-30. I added zinc oxide powder to the recipe to provide added protection. This sunscreen is very effective, but may need to be applied more frequently. You can feel free to add a few drops of essential oil to add fragrance if you like.

Good Works Wellness Natural Sunscreen Recipe

Ingredients:

o 1/2 cup beeswax pastilles
o 1/2 cup unrefined shea butter
o 1/2 cup organic extra virgin coconut oil
o 3/4 cup combination of organic hempseed, macadamia nut or wheat germ oil(s)*
o 5 tablespoons zinc oxide powder
o Optional: 1/2 tablespoon essential oil

*You may use a single oil or a combination of oils to total 3/4 cup. Note you can make the natural sunscreen thinner by adding more liquid oil or thicker by adding less.

Instructions:

Gently melt the beeswax over a double boiler, then whisk in the other oils until all oils and butters are melted. Gradually stir in the zinc oxide powder and blend until well blended. Add essential oils after that if desired. This is best stored in a glass container.

Pre-Made Natural Sunscreens

If you don’t have time to make your own sunscreen, I recommend the following, some of which are water-resistant:

Photo Courtesy of Rhys Asplundh

References:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/09/29/sun-exposure-vitamin-d-production-benefits.aspx

Benefits of Moderate Sun Exposure, Harvard University

Scientists Say Benefits of Sun Exposure Far Outweigh Risks

Win a Gallon of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil!

This contest is now over. Please do not add additional comments, as they will not count. Thanks much! Have a glorious day!

I am a huge fan of Tropical Traditions’ Organic Virgin Coconut Oil and their many other organic products. Having been a customer for many years, I have consistently found their products and their customer service to be superior to that of other companies’. I am excited to partner with them to offer my readers a chance to win a GALLON of organic virgin coconut oil. I listed the ways to enter later in this post.

Tropical Traditions‘ Gold Label Organic Virgin Coconut Oil is the best I’ve found. I have yet to find another brand whose quality, sustainability and free trade philosophies even come close to theirs. Organic Virgin Coconut Oil is a staple in our house. We buy it by the gallon and use it for far more than cooking. Please visit the Tropical Traditions website if you would like to learn more about their organic coconut oils and other organic products.

I have many reasons to love Tropical Traditions’ products. They use the finest processing available and are very committed to providing healthy, natural foods ethically and at an affordable cost. The company not only sells Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, but also sells:

You can enter this contest in six different ways. Note that the only way your entries will be counted is if you post a separate comment for each entry. You may also share one additional tweet and/or one additional Facebook share of this page each day during the contest. (I have a variety of reasons for not using Rafflecopter and apologize to those of you who find this method of gaining entries more cumbersome.)

Please note you MUST enter a new comment for every entry – including a new comment
for every retweet or Facebook share. 

Selection of winner is completely automated. You must add a separate comment for each entry activity. (I’ve said that three times in a row … is it sinking in? The only entries that count are those for which you leave a comment.) Contest ends Friday, August 2 at midnight EST.

To select the winner, I am using a WordPress plugin called And the Winner Is written by @spencersokol who resides in the great state of Indiana. The plugin only pays attention to comments made on this blog post, so be sure to add a separate comment for each entry. Please also note I will verify all entries.

You can earn an entry into the contest by doing any of the following. Please feel free to use the share buttons at the top of the post to simplify entries:

  1. Subscribe to the Tropical Traditions Newsletter
  2. Join my newsletter
  3. Like my Facebook Page: Good Works Wellness
  4. Follow me on Twitter: @IndyHealer
  5. Share the link to this post on Facebook using the hashtag #gwwr. (You may share one entry daily. Be sure to post a comment after posting it.)
  6. Tweet about this contest using the following text: I just entered @IndyHealer’s contest to win a jar of @TropTraditions coconut oil! http://ow.ly/n3Z55 RT to enter! #gwwr (And then enter a comment below. You may retweet this once per day.)

More information about Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil and their philosophies 

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - gallon.Win 1 gallon of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!

Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil and other oils. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.

Disclaimer: I was under no obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway of this product. Please also note that if you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.

Tropical Traditions Organic Coconut Oil Give-Away!

This contest ended July 29, 2012. Many congrats to the winner, Lynn from Fort Hood, Texas!! I will be offering more contests in the future … stay tuned!


I recently received a great invitation to review Tropical Traditions’ Organic Virgin Coconut Oil. I was especially excited to receive their invitation because I have been a very happy customer of Tropical Traditions for many years. I’m excited to say Tropical Traditions has offered to give one of my readers a free quart of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil! See ways to win later in this post.

Their Gold Label Organic Virgin Coconut Oil is the best I’ve found. We use it in our household on a daily basis, but not only for cooking. We also use it as a moisturizer, as a base for many body care products, and have found it even works well to quiet squeaky hinges! We use nothing else for cooking. If you’ve never tried it, cook a batch of organic popcorn in Organic Virgin Coconut Oil. It is absolutely delicious and requires no butter!

I could ramble on for quite a while on the health benefits of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, but the Tropical Traditions website provides ample information for you. I promise to share a future blog post on the health benefits and to debunk the many myths that surround it. Those of you who know me know I devote ample research to any product I’m considering using in my home and know I would not promote a contest to give away any product I did not fully believe in and support.

I have many reasons for loving their products. They use the finest processing available and are very committed to providing healthy, natural foods ethically and at an affordable cost. The company not only sells Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, but also sells:

You have seven ways to enter this contest. Note that the only way your entries will be counted is if you post a comment below! You may also share one additional tweet and/or one additional Facebook share of this page each day during the contest. Please note that you MUST enter a new comment for every entry – including a new comment for every retweet or Facebook share. Selection of winner is totally automated, but you must add a separate comment for each entry item you complete. (I’ve said that three times in a row … is it sinking in? Only  The only entries that count are those for which you leave a comment.) Contest ends July 29 at midnight.

To select the winner, I am using a WordPress plugin called And the Winner Is written by @spencersokol who resides in the great state of Indiana. Each entry must have a separate comment to be counted. (That makes four.)

You can earn an entry into the contest by doing any of the following. Please note I will verify each entry. YOU MUST ADD A SEPARATE COMMENT FOR EACH ENTRY ITEM YOU COMPLETE:

  1. Subscribe to the Tropical Traditions Newsletter
  2. Like the Tropical Traditions Facebook Page
  3. Join my newsletter
  4. Follow me on Twitter: @IndyHealer
  5. Like my Facebook Page: Good Works Wellness
  6. Share one of the posts about this contest that was posted on my Facebook page on your Facebook page
  7. Tweet about this contest using the following text:I just entered @IndyHealer’s contest to win a jar of @TropTraditions coconut oil! http://ow.ly/ch62F #coconutoil RT to win!  <– And then enter a comment below!

 

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz.

Win 1 quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!

Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

You can also watch the video they produced about Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil:

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. Please also note that if you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.