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Forget margarine, forget I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, the best butter substitute is coconut oil. Hands down, this is the best! I have been cooking with it for about a year now, and have not turned back. We use coconut oil (also found by the name coconut butter) for not only everything that calls for butter or oil, but also as body lotion.
Why is is so good, you ask?
1. It smells amazing! Every time I cook, the kitchen smells like we are on some exotic island (who wouldn't want their house to smell that way?) When used as lotion, you smell all islandy and summery, yummy!
2. I suppose some would say the second reason is a better reason to use it, but I would use it just for the smell. We are programmed to believe that ALL fat is bad, but this is a myth. You actually need fat in your diet to have silky hair, smooth skin, and to lose weight. I know it seems counter-intuitive to think that you have to eat fat to lose fat, but its true. Mostly. Maybe some day I will write about fats on a molecular level, but for now, lets just call it good and bad fat. Some examples of good fats would be Omega - 3's, monounsaturated, and the saturated fat that is coconut oil. Omega - 3's can be found in fish and flaxseed. Monounsaturated fats can be found in olive oil, almonds, and avocados. Coconut oil is kind of in a category of it own because most saturated fats are considered "bad fats", but because coconut oil contains no cholesterol, and is full of Lauric-acid it actually supports your metabolism. I could write about this all day, but you would be bored silly, so just try it instead!
3. The third point I want to make is how good it is when used on the outside of your body. My hair is very long and has some serious split ends. Recently, I ran out of my favorite conditioner and used coconut oil instead. Weird, I know, but it actually worked!!!! The ends of my hair look so much better now. I do still need a hair cut, but until I see my hairtician (aka Emily), this will do. I also use it as a general skin moisturizer. Use it right after shaving, and no next day itch. AMAZING!
I will point out that I was not paid to write about this product, but if you use my link to order it, I do receive a (very small) portion of the proceeds. That being said, I just think coconut oil is amazing and it does so much in terms of healing and it seems that everyone I know is in need of a "miracle drug", and this just might be it!
If you would like to know more, here is a great informational site: http://www.coconutoil.com/research.htm