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Responding badly to coconut oil AND butter

by (80)
Updated about 11 hours ago
Created April 26, 2012 at 2:24 PM

Hi all,

For over a year now I've been having very unusual symptoms every time I introduce butter and coconut oil into my diet. I can confidently point the finger at these foods as the symptoms appear literally within the day once I introduce either one of these foods. The physical symptoms include scaling between the eyebrows similar to what's seen in seborrheic dermatitis, however the other symptoms are more subtle like mental fog (though energy wise I feel very stable) as well as pronounced memory loss. I spent about 4-5 months eating grass fed animals with lots of butter and coconut oil thinking that this might simply be 'detox' related symptoms that will go away and experienced quite concerning 'mental blackouts' where I had trouble accessing abstract memory like names, location as well as just general forgetfulness. Once I stop eating these foods and introduce nuts, particularly cashews and macadamia nut oil, my mental wellbeing as well as the ability to recall dramatically improves very quickly and the scaling goes away. I have tried to take a break from butter and coconut oil for 3 months and reintroduce it later but once I did (each at a time, separately), the same symptomology immediately returned.

I am a little confused here. Am I simply allergic/sensitive to these fundamental paleo foods or am I undergoing a 'detox'-like reaction? Is there a reliable way to test for for a sensitivity/allergy to these foods as well as possibly identify tolerable alternatives?

Really appreciate you taking the time,

Jason.

C39808bffe1667f19f3bd9a2c663e727
0 · February 10, 2014 at 3:34 AM

what about lard/tallow? Can you tollerate them?

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11254 · April 30, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Thanks. I now realize I am allergic to coconut oil. The evidence was right between my eyes, but it never occurred to me it was the coconut oil.

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8757 · April 26, 2012 at 7:56 PM

saving duck fat to fry eggs and veggies in is heavenly!! One duck will give you quite a bit of fat

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8757 · April 26, 2012 at 7:54 PM

make your own Ghee at home, cheaper and easier and is pure ghee, no preservatives in store bought versions...http://www.bodyearth.net/recipes/making-ghee-in-the-oven/

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2379 · April 26, 2012 at 7:04 PM

"Storage protein-related plant food allergy" page 20 ;)

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2379 · April 26, 2012 at 7:02 PM

This will answer your first question: http://www.networks.nhs.uk/nhs-networks/paediatric-allergy-network-of-east-anglia-panea/documents/educational-material/Cross-%20Reactivity%20in%20plant%20food%20allergy.pdf I use high quality olive oil (cheap oil is often diluted with soy oil, even when it's 'extra virgin'). I prefer koroneiki olives due to their low pufa content. Lard from a nearby farmer is also a option. I dont tolerate ghee, palm oil, coconut oil, tallow.

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80 · April 26, 2012 at 6:41 PM

To be honest I haven't really noticed what my reaction is like when the coconut oil/butter used as part of the cooking, I don't normally use them in the cooking since I cook on low heat using a slow cooker utilising the meats own fat however when i eat a butter stick raw/table spoon of coconut oil the side effects kick in. Your suggestion seems valid as heat could theoretically alter the outcomedepending on what it is that's causing the negative reaction and is something I'll definitely have to test out, thank you!

041a9afd5412908ebc93ab6110c0fb0a
80 · April 26, 2012 at 6:39 PM

To be honest I haven't really noticed what my reaction is like when the coconut oil/butter used as part of the cooking, I don't normally use them in the cooking since I cook on low heat using a slow cooker utilising the meats own fat however when i eat a butter stick raw/table spoon of coconut oil the side effects kick in. Heat could alter the outcome potentially depending on what it is that's causing the negative reaction and is something I might actually try out, thank you!

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1515 · April 26, 2012 at 5:53 PM

You're not missing out on anything. Those fats aren't "fundamental paleo foods", they are quite neolithic really. Now if lard and tallow caused issues, I'd be worried. Those happen to be higher in monounsaturated fats, same as olive oil, so what could be your problem are inappropriate amounts of saturated fats. Of course, both butter and CO contain secondary compounds that can be problematic. Proteins in all dairy, salicylates in coconut, for example. Those are also problems with leaky gut.

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41442 · April 26, 2012 at 3:53 PM

My go-to fats in order frequency of use: olive oil, butter, coconut oil, beef and pork fat, red palm oil. Yes, I cook with olive oil. It doesn't smoke as much as most folks like to think it does, and yes, it's real olive oil, it solidifies in the fridge. I supplement with around 15 grams of fish oil weekly (down from around 60 grams weekly).

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19120 · April 26, 2012 at 3:28 PM

@primallykosher most of the MUFA-high oils/fats that people cook with are very heat stable, and have generously high smoke points. I wouldn't use EVOO at >=400F (or less, really), but that or pan-frying at lower temps with OO is completely fine. I've never had an issue with lard ~400F, ever. Avocado oil has an incredibly high smoke point for a MUFA-heavy oil. Pan-frying should be done with more care (i.e. lower temps) as the pan surface temp is the temp you're working with, while a 400F oven is most certainly not 400F inside whatever you are cooking.

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80 · April 26, 2012 at 3:19 PM

It's not so much that I am desperately trying to cling to coconut and butter (and most nuts), it is just that I don't know of many suitable alternatives both nutritionally as well for cooking purposes.

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4111 · April 26, 2012 at 3:10 PM

I dunno how safe MUFAs are for high heat cooking. I don't believe they are that heat stable.

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80 · April 26, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Appreciate the replies. Regarding nuts, I actually seem to do very well with cashews though with most other nuts (macadamias, almonds etc) I seem to get the scaling though the impact on cognition isn't as severe. Could you possibly elaborate a little regarding to these storage proteins? how did you figure that out? What fats do you use yourself? I haven't tried ghee actually Kelly, might give it a go though, it is a little harder to get here in Australia. EVOO seems to work quite a bit better, other coconut products are exactly the same. Thanks for your helps guys.

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80 · April 26, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Appreciate the replies. Regarding nuts, I actually seem to do very well with cashews though with most other nuts (macadamias, almonds etc) I seem to get the scaling though the impact on cognition isn't as severe. Could you possibly elaborate a little regarding to these storage proteins? how did you figure that out? I haven't tried ghee actually Kelly, might give it a go though, it is a little harder to get here in Australia. Thanks for your helps guys.

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2379 · April 26, 2012 at 2:34 PM

Same thing here. I'm allerigc to dairy and sensitive to all kinds of storage proteins (including coconut). Also flaky dermatitis-like skin especially between eyebrows. Just avoid those. You may also be prone to other storage proteins like seeds/kernels/nuts/legumes etc.

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8757 · April 26, 2012 at 2:33 PM

just curious if you have tested with ghee instead of butter, same results? very odd indeed..but at least you know what doesnt work. Same with other fats? (EVOO, regular coconut products/milk, flakes)?

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15400 · April 26, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Welcome to the club. I cannot tolerate ANY oils. EVOO, nut oils, seed oils, you name them. I think it comes from poor digestion or something.

The worst oils for me are flax seed and extra virgin coconut.

My experience with flax seed - one time I almost passed out. I swore never to try it again for as long as I live .

As for coconut oil I get a very very weird reaction - as if blood is rushing to my brain, which creates brain fog. Very weird, but I am not touching this stuff anymore.

I am okay with butter, but I don't like the taste. And I don't like ghee. So... I am desperate to find oil that would work for me.

In a little while I will try to re-introduce olive oil, to see how it goes.

C39808bffe1667f19f3bd9a2c663e727
0 · February 10, 2014 at 3:34 AM

what about lard/tallow? Can you tollerate them?

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19120 · April 26, 2012 at 2:57 PM

My cousin is lactose intolerant (like me) and allergic to coconut oil (unlike me). I don't find your reactions odd at all -- although the symptoms are possibly worrying (especially memory loss). I don't think you are undergoing "detox" -- I think you are mildly allergic or intolerant to these foods.

While many here will extol the virtues of pastured butter/ghee and unrefined coconut oil, there are plenty of other options for oils. Olive oil (OO and EVOO) and Avocado oil are high in MUFAs, and are generally benign if not straight-up healthy. Most would suggest not to cook with EVOO at high temp, but OO and especially Avocado Oil is fine. For dressings (i.e. non-cooking), walnut and macadamia oil can be quite delicious.

Finally: lard and bacon grease. High in MUFAs and SFAs, and delicious. Reserving your bacon grease for cooking is affordable and healthy (if you use real, uncured bacon). I cook most of my white fish in a touch of bacon grease.

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106
19120 · April 26, 2012 at 3:28 PM

@primallykosher most of the MUFA-high oils/fats that people cook with are very heat stable, and have generously high smoke points. I wouldn't use EVOO at >=400F (or less, really), but that or pan-frying at lower temps with OO is completely fine. I've never had an issue with lard ~400F, ever. Avocado oil has an incredibly high smoke point for a MUFA-heavy oil. Pan-frying should be done with more care (i.e. lower temps) as the pan surface temp is the temp you're working with, while a 400F oven is most certainly not 400F inside whatever you are cooking.

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd
4111 · April 26, 2012 at 3:10 PM

I dunno how safe MUFAs are for high heat cooking. I don't believe they are that heat stable.

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137
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1515 · April 26, 2012 at 5:55 PM

You're not missing out on anything. Those fats aren't "fundamental paleo foods", they are quite neolithic really. Now if lard and tallow caused issues, I'd be worried. Those happen to be higher in monounsaturated fats, same as olive oil, so what could be your problem are inappropriate amounts of saturated fats. Not sure if that is heard of outside of high cholesterol. Of course, both butter and CO contain secondary compounds that can be problematic. Proteins in all dairy, salicylates in coconut, for example. Someone with leaky gut or just a known sensitivity should probably stay away from those.

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2913 · April 26, 2012 at 6:12 PM

Just curious - how do you usually prepare your food when you use these fats? Just wondering if you have played around with amounts that you use to see if your reaction changes? It would be too bad to rule out all oils, because it expands the ways you can prepare food!

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80 · April 26, 2012 at 6:41 PM

To be honest I haven't really noticed what my reaction is like when the coconut oil/butter used as part of the cooking, I don't normally use them in the cooking since I cook on low heat using a slow cooker utilising the meats own fat however when i eat a butter stick raw/table spoon of coconut oil the side effects kick in. Your suggestion seems valid as heat could theoretically alter the outcomedepending on what it is that's causing the negative reaction and is something I'll definitely have to test out, thank you!

041a9afd5412908ebc93ab6110c0fb0a
80 · April 26, 2012 at 6:39 PM

To be honest I haven't really noticed what my reaction is like when the coconut oil/butter used as part of the cooking, I don't normally use them in the cooking since I cook on low heat using a slow cooker utilising the meats own fat however when i eat a butter stick raw/table spoon of coconut oil the side effects kick in. Heat could alter the outcome potentially depending on what it is that's causing the negative reaction and is something I might actually try out, thank you!

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20353 · April 26, 2012 at 5:02 PM

If it helps I do not cook with oil. I will some times add EVOO to a meal once it has been cooked. For eggs I soft or hard boil or poach. Meat is oven, grill or crock pot.

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41442 · April 26, 2012 at 3:09 PM

If you don't do well with coconut, don't consume it. There's no paleo rule that says you have to. Coconut is a good fat, one of many, but it's certainly not necessary.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41442 · April 26, 2012 at 3:53 PM

My go-to fats in order frequency of use: olive oil, butter, coconut oil, beef and pork fat, red palm oil. Yes, I cook with olive oil. It doesn't smoke as much as most folks like to think it does, and yes, it's real olive oil, it solidifies in the fridge. I supplement with around 15 grams of fish oil weekly (down from around 60 grams weekly).

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80 · April 26, 2012 at 3:19 PM

It's not so much that I am desperately trying to cling to coconut and butter (and most nuts), it is just that I don't know of many suitable alternatives both nutritionally as well for cooking purposes.

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