Oh, the mysterious coconut flour. It can be a great addition to your gut healing diet because it’s anti-inflammatory, it’s high in protein and fiber, and it gives those of us on a gut healing diet a healthy way to eat baked goods like cookies and muffins.
Unfortunately, I see moms with Crohn’s and colitis try it and quickly give up. Truth be told, it’s tricky to use and it just doesn’t bake like other flours. But before you give up on coconut flour after one attempt, listen to this episode of The Cheeky Mom.
It’s going to help you look at coconut flour in a whole new way. And before it’s done, you’ll have everything you need to be a coconut flour baking pro!
We’re talking about:
And so much more!
After the episode, you’ll be ready to start dive into coconut flour with confidence and excitement as you add this superfood to your gut healing tool belt.
Episode at a Glance:
Mentioned in This Episode:
Additional Resources from the Episode:
INTRO: You are listening to The Cheeky Podcast for Moms with IBD, a safe space for moms with Crohn’s and colitis, connect, explore powerful tools for healing and transform our lives to thrive in motherhood and in life. I’m your host, Karyn Haley, IBD health coach, integrative wellness enthusiast, and mom to three outstanding kids. After having Crohn’s disease for 30 years and working as a health advocate exclusively with IBD clients for the last 10 years, I know it’s time to bring the types of candid conversations I have with my clients out into the open. It’s our time to go on an IBD healing journey and do it like only a mom can. Let’s do this.[music]
[00:51] Hello and welcome to our little slice of heaven, The Cheeky Podcast. Did you know this is our 25th episode? Yes it is. I can’t believe it. Time has flown by and I’m still loving sharing this space with you. Thank you dear listener for spending this time with me each week. I so appreciate you for being on this IBD healing journey with me.
Let’s keep the journey going, shall we?
This week, I’m loving our topic. It’s one of my favorite IBD foodie topics. We’re talking all things coconut flour. What is it, Why you should use it, how to use it, what IBD healing diets use coconut flour, and the best places to get your hands on it.
Now, how familiar are you with coconut flour? Have you heard of it before? It’s risen in popularity in recent years, especially since grain free diets have made their way onto the gut healing stage. It often gets lumped in with almond flour, but actually it’s quite different in many respects. Let’s find out more about this amazing superfood flour so that if you want to try it out for your own gut healing (and in my opinion flavorful) journey, you’ll be able to get started today.
GET YOUR OWN COCONUT FLOUR RECIPES TO HELP YOU GET STARTED
In fact, if you’re really excited by the end of this episode, I suggest you download a copy of my coconut flour for beginner’s recipe collection. It’s three recipes with coconut flour as the star ingredient and I created these recipes specifically made with beginners in mind. You can grab your copy of my coconut flour for beginner’s recipe collection by looking in the show notes or by going to karynhaley.com/coconut
For all my coconut flour newbies out there, let’s start at the very beginning.
COCONUT FLOUR… WHAT IS IT?
Coconut flour is made from the meat that’s on the inside of the coconut. When coconut milk is made, there’s a natural byproduct of that production. These leftovers are little bits of coconut meat. They get dried and ground, and that becomes coconut flour.
[03:55] When I recommend coconut flour to clients, I often get asked about the taste. Everyone knows that coconuts themselves, shredded coconut, even coconut oil and coconut milk have a distinct coconutty taste. Some people love that taste, like me, and others, like my son who’s got the nose of a black bear when it comes to coconut, detests it. The good news about coconut flour, whether you like traditional coconuts or not, is that coconut flour doesn’t really have that strong coconut smell or taste. When you bake with coconut flour, it almost takes like Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker yellow cake mix. You know, yellow cake? Not white cake, not lemon cake… yellow cake. Oh yeah, that’s gotta be good for you! Chemicals, preservatives, added sugar… Well, this “yellow cake” is good for you.
Coconut flour is denser than traditional flour and it definitely bakes differently. It’s not a 1 to 1 flour so you can’t just swap it out for any other flour. We’ll talk more about how to use it in just a bit, but for now, know that coconut flour is highly absorbent so it increases the amount of liquid you use when baking with it.
Coconut flour is highly nutritious. It’s high in fiber, high in good quality fats that are good for your brain, your heart and your gut. It’s low in carbohydrates, high in protein, and high in minerals like manganese, selenium, iron, and potassium. It’s also high in antioxidants and it’s anti-inflammatory.
I love it when something that tastes great is also great for me.
[06:21] Besides what I’ve just mentioned, why would you, IBD mama, want to start using coconut flour?
Well, for starters, coconut flour is naturally gluten and grain free. This is music to our IBD mom ears. Both gluten and grains can be challenging to digest when we have Crohn’s or colitis. It’s nice to know that there’s a flour we can use to still make the baked goods we crave and love.
Coconut flour is great because you can still use it even if you’re allergic or sensitive to tree nuts because coconuts are actually considered a seed, not a nut. Weird, but true. And even if you don’t have an allergy, it’s still a better option than almond flour because nuts and nut flours can be quite inflammatory. That’s why several gut healing diets have you wait to use them until enough healing has taken place.
Coconut flour doesn’t have this problem.
In fact, most nuts and nut flours contain enzyme inhibitors that can do a number on your digestive system and your small intestine. If you’ve ever heard about soaking nuts before eating them, this is the reason why. We have to remove as much of these inhibitors as possible before we eat them so they don’t negatively impact our digestive tract. And when we look at other grain flours, even gluten free flours, they contain phytic acid, another gut disruptor. Phytic acid gloms onto foods and prevents our body from getting the nutritional benefit we’re looking for. Coconut flour only contains small amounts of enzyme inhibitors so it’s much gentler on our digestive tract, without preventing us from benefiting from its nutritional value.
Coconut flour is probably the healthiest flour around. It actually lowers the glycemic index of the baked good it’s in. So no sugar rush. How cool is that?
I use it for all of these reasons, but mostly I use it for how it tastes in my baked goods. Rich, almost buttery, like how real baked goods should taste.
Now that we know what it is, how do we use it?
Coconut flour, as great as it tastes and as healthy as it is, is not like any other flour you’ve ever worked with. Using coconut flour takes practice because it’s just so different that other flours.
[09:25] It’s not a grain flour or even a nut flour, so you can’t use it in a 1 to 1 ratio for baking. In fact, it’s more like a 1 to ¼ ratio. So, that means for every 1 cup of traditional flour you use (gluten free or not), you’ll use ¼ cup of coconut flour. And because it’s so absorbent, you’ll also use a lot more liquid with it. Plan on about 2 Tbsp of liquid for every 2 tbsp of coconut flour you use.
I mentioned before that coconut flour is dense, so when you’re measuring it for a recipe, there’s no need to pack in down. The lighter the better. Before you measure this type of flour, I recommend that you give it a quick whisk or a fluff with a fork. This aerates the flour a bit and makes sure there’s no clumps.
COCONUT FLOUR AND EGGS TO TOGETHER LIKE PB AND J
Eggs (lots of eggs) are a big part of baking with coconut flour. In most recipes, you’ll use about 1 egg per ¼ cup of coconut flour. So for example, it’s not that unusual for a coconut flour recipe to call for 6 eggs as opposed to 2 or maybe 3 eggs in other baked good recipes. The coconut flour just soaks those eggs right up.
Sometimes coconut flour recipes call for just the yolk or extra yolks. If I’m using coconut flour to make a special dessert, one I’m serving to friends or family and I really want a moist dessert, I’ll even separate my eggs out. Yolk in one bowl, whites in another. I’ll give the yolks a quick stir and drop them in with all the other ingredients. Then, in the egg white bowl, I’ll beat those up with a hand mixer until soft peaks form. Then I’ll gently fold them into the mixed batter. It makes a light, but still rich and moist dessert every time.
WHAT IF I’M SENSITIVE TO EGGS?
Now, if you’re sensitive to eggs, you might be thinking, oh no! I don’t eat eggs, but know that even if you don’t do eggs, you can still use coconut flour. Just use the same kind of egg substitutes as you would normally use. When it comes to eggless coconut flour baking, I like to use Vital proteins gelatin if I’m substituting eggs. Some people substitute with agar-agar. You can also use a ¼ cup of applesauce per egg or ½ of a ripe banana per egg. There’s work arounds there.
So now we know what it is and why how to use it, the next question to answer is: What can you make with coconut flour?
OH THE PLACES COCONUT FLOUR CAN GO!
Oh so many, many things… my favorites are breads, biscuits, cookies, muffins, waffles, crepes, scones… to name some desserty foods. But coconut flour can also be used as a coating for chicken or fish fingers, you can fry with it, and it also thickens soups and stews.
Speaking of stew, my husband’s family, being from the south, has this passed down for generations this delicious gumbo recipe. This is some seriously delish gumbo. Although my hubby used to make it for me before we were married, he would never share the recipe with me. I guess it was kind of like my family’s secret Italian sauce recipe. My grandma wasn’t sharing that for anything in the world.
But finally, on our wedding day, at the reception, I was deemed worthy of the gumbo recipe and it got passed down to me. Guess I was finally in the gumbo club. We’ll, of course, this recipe has a roux—a stir continuously, never stopping for 30 min roux that’s the whole basis for the gumbo. If you don’t have a good roux, your gumbo falls flat. And just in case you’ve never cooked with a roux before, and I never had before I met my southern hubby, a roux is this paste (I’m sure every chef is cringing at the word paste, but that’s what it looks like to me) made with meat drippings, oil, and flour. The roux thickens the gumbo and if you stir it just right for exactly 30 minutes, and you also drink a beer while you stir it (at least that’s what my hubby’s family does). It also gives the gumbo its rich, golden brown color.
Once I started the SCD, I figured I’d seen my last days of gumbo, until one fateful day when my hubs said, I’d really like you to be able to eat this gumbo. What do you say we try making a coconut flour roux? And wouldn’t you know it (or this story would have a terrible ending), the coconut flour worked beautifully. The roux was thick and golden brown, and ever since, the coconut flour roux has been our go-to for gumbo night.
[16:55] Bottom line? Coconut flour is super versatile. It’s not just for baked goods. Oh no! Stews and soups and gravies too. I should also mention that it works great as a combination flour too. I like to blend it with almond flour, but it can be blended with traditional or gluten free flours too.
THE BEST INFORMATION FOR COCONUT FLOUR NEWBIES
This is a wealth of great information and you’ll need all of it if you want to branch off into the wilds of experimenting with coconut flour. But truth be told, it’s a tricky one so if you’re ready to give it a go, but you’ve never tried it before, do yourself a favor, pick a tried and true coconut flour recipe. And there’s a lot of them out there. I have to give a plug for my favorite one. It’s called The Healthy Coconut Flour Cookbook and it’s by Erika Kerwien. I highly recommend her waffles. Yum! And also her popovers, delish! I’ll link the book in the show notes.
And of course there’s my coconut flour beginner’s collection recipes to get you started as well. They’re great for experimenting at first and if you love them, do yourself a favor and grab a copy of Erica’s cookbook. Hopefully these recipes are just the nudge you need to get started. Of course, the internet is full of recipes too. So anyway you decide to go, you’ve got to start trying this wonderful flour.
Moving on to gut healing diets. What diets do we see this flour the most?
[19:28] All of the grain free diets. Specific Carbohydrate Diet, GAPS, Paleo, Keto… of course you can use it on any diet, even gluten free diets, but those are the diets who talk about coconut flour specifically.
A WORD OF CAUTION BEFORE YOU GET STARTED ON COCONUT FLOUR
Now, I want to mention just a couple notes of caution before you start using coconut flour:
[20:10] I don’t recommend coconut flour for anyone new to a gut healing diet like SCD or GAPS. Wait until all your symptoms clear up before getting started with any type of flour. Even though it isn’t as inflammatory as almond flour, there are still mild amount of those digestive inhibitors. Plus, you want this to be a small part of your diet, not the whole enchilada. So use the broth and the veggies and other gut healing foods first, before you get started with this. But if you are just dipping a toe in, or if you already follow a whole foods or a gluten free approach to help your Crohn’s or colitis, or you’ve been remission for a while, go for it. Try trying a few different recipes to see what you like. Go for it.
Also, just like you can overdo it with almond flour, you can overdo it with coconut flour. A treat is a treat, no matter which flour you use.
And there’s two cases where I see coconut flour not go over so well with IBD moms. #1 is with people who have active gallbladder challenges. Coconut flour is high in fat. Add in the eggs, and you’ve just added in more fat. Good fat, but more fat and the gallbladder doesn’t distinguish between the good and the bad fats. If your gallbladder is not functioning properly, coconut flour may not be for you.
And the other case where coconut flour might be not advised is if you are sensitive to salicylates. These are a natural chemicals made by plant products. This sensitivity can cause headaches, rashes, hyperactivity. You’ll want to stay away from coconut flour in that case as well.
But let’s say you’ve got no problems with coconut flour, your in the right place on your gut healing journey, and you’re ready to dive in. You’re ready to buy. Let me help you get started.
If you just want to check it out in one or two recipes, don’t bother with large bags or buying online. Just buy it at your local grocery store. Most sell it now, maybe on the health food isle, but they have it. Bob’s Red Mill or Arrowhead will do, but if you decide you like it and want to get bigger bags, I’d order it online. A company called nuts.com sells organic coconut flour in bulk at a good price and Tropical Traditions organic is also a really high-quality brand.
OK mama, today we answered several common questions about coconut flour to make sure you are ready to get started—today if you want to. We talked about what it is, why to use it, how to use it, we talked about what gut healing diets it’s used on and I gave you a few cautionary ideas to think about. Lastly, we talked about where to buy it when you’re ready to get started.
ARE YOU READY TO GET STARTED?
As always, I’m here if you have any questions at all. Coconut flour is different and it can be a challenge in the beginning. Stick with it though. It’s so work your time for nutrition as well as taste.
Happy coconut flour baking and cooking my friend.
Until we chat again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD healing journey.
[26:12] Thank you so much for joining me today and for listening to today’s episode. When it comes to IBD, I know there’s a lot of resources out there, and I’m truly honored that you chose the Cheeky Podcast to get your IBD information today. If you found this information helpful, please give us a rating and review. It helps other moms find the podcast and see what we’re doing over here to help IBD moms everywhere. And if you feel called feel a call to do it, share this podcast with an IBD mom who you know could really use an uplifting message today, ’cause that’s what we’re all about over here at the Cheeky Podcast.
One last thing, if you’re still with me, and if you are, you’re definitely my kind of gal. We have to get to know each other better. If you’re tired of living on the hamster wheel of IBD with all the ups and downs between flares and remission, if you’re struggling to get control of your abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea and other troubling IBD symptoms, go to my website. It’s karynhaley.com, and my mom had to be just a little bit different, she spelled my name with the Y. So it’s K-A-R-Y-N H-A-L-E-Y.com and schedule your very own free 30-minute IBD root cause trouble-shooting session with me where we discuss the challenges you’ve been having, we set goals to help you move forward, and we talk about how we can work together to help you get your life back. It’s a power packed 30 minutes. You don’t have to live in IBD status quo. There’s so much that can be done to transform your life so you can thrive in motherhood and thrive with IBD. I’ve seen my clients walk this path and it gives me so much joy to take that journey with them.
My entire coaching practice is run online, so you never have to leave your house and you never have to get out of your jammy or yoga pants for us to work together. You know I’m wearing them to. If you’re ready to take your first amazing step towards healing, I’m ready to chat with you. Schedule your free 30-minute IBD root cause trouble shooting sesh today at karynhaley.com. Click on the work with me tab and I’ll see you soon. It’s important to note that the information in this podcast and in this episode is for general information purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The statements made in the Cheeky Podcast for moms with IBD, either by me or my guests, is not intended to diagnose, treat, to cure, or prevent any disease. Before implementing any new treatment protocols, do yourself a favor and consult your physician first.
Thank you so much for listening, for being here, for saving this space for us to spend some time together. Until we chat again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD journey.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.