I’m excited to have Ricki Heller join me today as part of the blog tour for her new book, Living Candida-Free. Today Ricki writes about one of my favorite cooking ingredients: coconut oil and shares her fabulous recipe for Grain-Free Apple Berry Crumble.
But that’s not all…you also have a chance to win a copy of Ricki’s book. Check out the end of this post for details and enter to win.
Now, here’s Ricki….
Anti-Candida Superstar Food: Coconut Oil
One of the myths about the anti-candida diet is that you can’t have indulgent-tasting food while following it. I love proving to people that nothing could be further from the truth!
Sure, you’ll want to consume foods that will help your body to kill off excess yeast, but surprisingly, there are many delicious foods that can help with that objective. One of the most enticing—and rich-tasting—is virgin coconut oil.
Coconut oil contains both caprylic acid and lauric acid, two powerful anti-fungal agents. And while some people will need to increase their consumption of these compounds with supplements, it’s always a good idea to use real food for healing purposes whenever you can. Enter coconut oil!
Coconut oil is also healthful in general. Although it’s composed mostly of saturated fats, this medium-chain fatty acid metabolizes differently from other saturated fats in the body. As a result, it doesn’t cause the typical negative effects on the cardiovascular system as other saturated fats (say, from animal products).
In fact, coconut oil actually contributes to healthy cardiovascular functioning; it helps to lower “bad” cholesterol levels, improve heart health, boost thyroid function, and even strengthen the immune system. In recent years, there has been evidence that consuming coconut oil may help prevent or reverse Alzheimer’s disease. Not bad for a delicious, versatile, vegetable-based fat!
When it comes to cooking, coconut oil can’t be beat. As a saturated fat, it’s solid at room temperature (it melts just below 76F), so it’s ideal for baking. It’s also extremely stable when heated, so it’s your best bet for sautéing, too. And it doesn’t degrade at room temperature—so there’s no need for refrigeration.
To help prevent or keep candida in check, use coconut oil liberally wherever you’d use another oil. Other coconut products, such as full-fat coconut milk and dried unsweetened coconut, also contain a fair amount of oil, so those can be beneficial, too. Whether for baking, sautéing or as an ingredient in desserts, coconut oil confers a creamy, luscious texture and flavor. And the bonus? You’ll be doing your health a favor, too.
Grain-Free Apple Berry Crumble
Good for: Stage 2 and beyond
This fresh, not-too-sweet dessert is a great way to enjoy fruit once you reintroduce it to your diet. Because the topping is grain-free, you won’t need to worry about consuming your coveted grain servings for dessert.
Makes 4 or 6 servings
- Coconut oil, for pan
- 2 small or 1 large sweet apple (I used Gala) or pear, cored and diced very small (about 1/2-inch [1.3 cm] cubes—feel free to leave the skin on)
- 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) mixed fresh or frozen berries (not including cranberries)—I use strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries; if cranberries are included in your mix, use 2 cups (480 ml) total
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh or frozen cranberries
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) water
- 30 drops plain or fruit-flavored pure liquid stevia (I use 20 drops lemon and 10 drops cherry-vanilla)
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) psyllium husks (optional—it prevents the juices from becoming too watery)
- 1/3 cup (55 g) raw natural almonds
- 1/3 cup (55 g) raw sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) coconut flour
- 1/16 teaspoon (0.25 ml) pure stevia powder, or 1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml) pure liquid stevia, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml) fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) virgin coconut oil, preferably organic
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 4- to 6-cup (1 to 1.5 L) casserole dish with coconut oil.
Prepare the filling: In a large bowl, toss the apples, berries, cranberries, lemon zest, and cinnamon. In a small bowl, mix together the lemon juice, water, stevia, and psyllium, then drizzle over the berry mixture and toss again to coat evenly. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. (Note: You can just toss everything in the casserole dish instead of dirtying a bowl, but I found the mixture very hard to coat evenly when the ingredients were so cramped in the dish!)
Make the topping: In the bowl of a food processor, blend the almonds, seeds, coconut flour, stevia, cinnamon, ginger, and salt until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Add the coconut oil and process until it’s incorporated.
Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling in the casserole dish. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the dish about halfway through baking, until the topping is lightly browned and the filling is bubbly. Allow to cool somewhat before serving. May be frozen.
From Living Candida-Free by Ricki Heller. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2015. Photograph by Nicole Axworthy.
I have a copy of Living Candida-Free for one person. (U.S. and Canadian residents only, please.) To enter, leave a comment below telling me what your favorite sugar-free vegan dish is. For extra chances to win, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and leave a separate comment for each one to let me know. This Giveaway ends Sunday, March 1, 2015 at midnight, EST. A winner will be announced on Monday, March 2rd.
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU TO ALL WHO ENTERED.