Baking with Coconut Four
Indulgence is part of the holiday season as temptation lies everywhere. Of course splurging can be fun, but often once we get on that sugar train its real hard to get off. Then comes the inevitable crash because what goes up must come down. With all the stress and chaos that ensues for most of us during this time of year from family, traveling, gift buying etc., taking care of our bodies can be a good thing. All those extra cookies might not be the most uplifting thing for our mental state, or our microbiomes
So how do we indulge in a way that doesn’t destroy us physically and mentally? Let’s face it, gluten leaves a nasty hangover all the way around. Even if you do not have celiac disease (allergy to gluten), doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Often the issue lies not just in response to the toxicity of gluten, but also in the other proteins in wheat -wheat germ agglutinin and amylase trypsin inhibitors to be exact. These proteins are gut irritants to most people; especially nowadays because our guts are in such vulnerable states due to all the chemicals we inhale and ingest, our stress levels and pharmaceuticals. These proteins can literally be compared to a papercut or splinter into the mucosal lining of our gut causing inflammation, all red and hot-like (how’s that for a sobering visual?). This inflammatory immune response starts stimulating immune cells, and not in a good way. This is what leads to our intestines literally becoming permeable. The inflamed tissue becomes “leaky” allowing undigested food into the bloodstream. And this, dear ones, is why gas, bloating, foul smelling stools, constipation/diarrhea, brain fog, headaches, fatigue, muscle/joint pain, skin issues and depression or anxiety follow.
Well, thank goodness, these days there are tons of alternatives available right at our fingertips. So…….excuses won’t go very far
So instead of that crazy holiday frenzy binging then crash dieting come the new year, I propose just substituting as much as possible. And in the process, you just might convert a person here and there, and who knows how the ripple effect of happy guts translates into the universe! Those coconut flour cookies you bring to that Christmas party could potentially change the world (dramatic but true).
There are so many delicious alternatives to flour out there, but my absolute favorite is coconut flour. Baking with coconut flour has become a staple in my life; it’s incredibly moist and favorable, packed full of fiber and essential nutrients, and super easy to digest as it is naturally low in digestible carbohydrates. It is literally made from finely ground coconut meat with most of the moisture and fat removed. You can make almost anything and everything you traditionally make: cookies, bread, pie-crusts’, cakes as well as main dishes that call for flour. It’s also pretty high in protein, which can be a major plus for vegetarians and vegans.
Did I mention fiber? Like, serious fiber. Food is either made up of digestible carbohydrates (starch and sugar) or non-digestible carbohydrates. Non-digestible carbs are simply dietary fiber. Coconut has three times as much fiber as it does digestible carbohydrate. This form of carbohydrate pass through the digestive system without being broken down or absorbed and exits the body unaltered. Fiber can do wonders for the digestive system, and most people are not consuming enough. Lack of fiber causes things like constipation, diverticulitis, appendicitis, hiatal hernia, hemorrhoids and varicose veins. High fiber diets reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and IBS.
The best source for exploring cooking and baking with coconut flour is a book that was actually released back in 2005 by Bruce Fife, called “Cooking with Coconut Flour.” It’s over 100 pages of incredible recipes, offering substitutions when it comes to sugar, too. I’ve looked up other recipes online and from other resources, but I always come back to Bruce. He just nailed it!
Because coconut flour absorbs moisture like crazy, it can look pretty different from typical batter. Don’t be tempted to add more liquid- you won’t get the results you want. When baking with coconut flour, coconut oil and butter can be used interchangeably (except with cookies which requires butter). Definitely follow an exact recipe when exploring this alternative flour……it’s sensitive and demands exact proportions and following close instructions. Keep in mind it cannot just be used as an exact substitute for wheat in standard recipes. It will be a complete flop.
Cooking and baking with coconut flour can support weight loss, no question because you will be greatly reducing carbohydrate consumption. Also, this flour is very unique in that it is composed of a special group of fat molecules known as medium -chain triglycerides (MCT’S). MCT’s are digested and metabolized quite differently than other fats. Instead of being packed away into fat cells, MCT’s are used to produce energy. This boost in energy production also stimulates metabolism. As metabolism increases, the rate at which you burn calories increases. Such a win-win.
OK, so here’s my ultimate favorite coconut flour recipe. It’s amazing…..this bread is more moist and flavorful than any other baked goods made with traditional flours while being healthy. And, it’s the best thing ever for any holiday event. Pretty close to perfect, actually.
Cranberry Walnut Bread
½ cup coconut oil or butter, melted
½ cup coconut milk
½ cup sunacat or sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon extract
½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sifted coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup dried cranberries
½ cup walnuts, chopped
Blend together eggs, oil, coconut milk, sugar, vanilla, lemon extract and salt. Combine coconut flour with baking powder and whisk thoroughly into batter until there are no lumps. Fold in cranberries and nuts. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.
- For No sugar simply omit sugar and replace with 1 teaspoon liquid stevia (about 50 drops).
- I have found that placing batter into a blender or food processor really improves quality of batter
- Let melted butter or coconut oil cool before you add to egg mixture or it will cook the eggs
- Coconut flour baked goods have pretty short shelf life- 3 days max. I have found refrigeration helps prolong
P.S. You just might get the best poops ever from eating this