Coconut oil is not poison

coconut oil
Time for another jar!

I love coconut oil. It goes everywhere in me and on me. I make deodorant with it, use it as a deep conditioner for my hair, put it in my secret recipe for frizz-taming ‘beach hair’ spray, use it as a moisturiser, to treat thrush, to groom my eyebrows, to soothe minor scrapes… 

I also cook with it – OMG! Apparently the worst thing you can do, ‘pure poison’ according to some Harvard bod. Cue the coconut oil brigade (including me) getting all indignant, and the general media’s glee at the chance tromp all over another thing those superfood lovers think is so great.

Lots of irritating articles and fence-sitting from nutritionists later, I read a decent report in i where it was concluded that two tablespoons a day would smash through your recommended saturated fat levels. Well, duh. It’s 86% saturated fat.

Do they think we’re all completely brainless? If you eat coconut oil, you most likely do it because you’ve heard about various alleged health benefits and/or you like the taste. But you are not a moron. You know that it’s fat, and you’re not going to eat two tbsp a day. I’d bloody struggle to! I can happily use a teaspoon to make my eggs (yum), and if I’m tracking my calories at the time, in it goes. I eat it all the damn time, and I’m not fat, thanks (I also don’t have a cholesterol problem – if you did, it’d be off the table along with a lot of other stuff).

Leave coconut oil alone, and all the other glorious rainbow of ingredients native and exotic that people into health, fitness and just variety like to incorporate as part of their lives. Focus instead on the twpsyn who eats Maccy D two, three times a week and thinks nothing of ten pints of cider (aka ten doughnuts’ worth of sugar) Friday and Saturday night.

Rant over 😀

PS: Coconut oil is just one thing; I could write this same post about clean eating, or how Deliciously Ella is often attacked, or the recent ‘probiotics labelled quite useless’ reports (oh yes? Deduced from a trial where they looked at a full 25 people?!). This is more a post about the way the media seizes headlines and buries the actual science, and the ‘boring’ bits where experts say it’s actually fine, in sensible amounts.

Second biggest cause of workplace sickness

Lord Dennis Stevenson, CE of Mind, and Paul Farmer, chair of the NHS Mental Health Taskforce, have written an independent mental health review which says 300,000 people lose their jobs over mental health every year.

300,000? Three HUNDRED THOUSAND?! This is the second biggest reason for workplace sickness. Wow. And yet…why does it surprise me?

From a personal standpoint, this issue has affected every stage of my life and career. College, where I was paralysed for about six months, doing nothing but reading books (that were nothing to do with my A-Level subjects) and rearranging my room. The deputy head was a saviour there, but they had no particular path to help available.

Two jobs, both of which I had to leave because I simply couldn’t do the work any more. One job was a major factor in my depression; the other team couldn’t have been more lovely and supportive. And the latter part of my PhD, where I had more than the usual amount of ‘I am never, ever going to get this done’ (the institution were great about it, and I did get there!).

It’s taken so, so long for me to be diagnosed, deal with and manage depression. Even knowing it isn’t just ‘a bit of a bad time’ or ‘moodiness’, and that it is a chronic condition. (Chronic just makes me think of Snoop Dogg and his blunts…I prefer ‘longtime’.)

Theresa May said: “It is only by making this an everyday concern for everyone that we change the way we see mental illness so that striving to improve your mental health – whether at work or at home – is seen as just as positive as improving our physical wellbeing.” Yes. Just yes. Which is why I ain’t gonna hide it from anyone I work with again. (Difficult anyway, if I blog about it!) Sometimes I’m not very well, and I need to do whatever I need to do to feel better again. Simple enough…but often not. 

So the review has lots of good and positive steps, though we’ll see how they will translate into real action in real organisations, where managers are already stretched and maybe don’t have the capabilities to come up with a mental health plan. And it has to happen in smaller businesses too – they need support in order to be able to help employees.

Applause for the review, and of course for the Royals and other notables who are getting involved, and also the people like the ones on the Sky page, putting their experiences out there. On video. I ain’t brave enough for that!