News & Notes
Thanks for all the comments about my autoimmune/thyroid elimination diet. I love hearing your perspective on the whole thing, not only in terms of my Hashimoto’s disease, but simply your thoughts on medically restrictive diets in general.
I promised to start sharing autoimmune- and thyroid-friendly recipes with you soon, and today, I begin to fulfill that promise. And boy, do I ever have a treat for you!
This recipe was originally inspired by a strawberry “cream cheese” recipe that my friend Brittany over at Real Sustenance came up with. The first thing I thought, upon seeing it, was “Why have I never mixed coco butter with strawberries?!” I then promptly forgot about it for a few months. But when organic strawberries showed up at Whole Foods recently for $4.99 a pound (they’re $5.99 year-round, but I don’t let myself buy them till they start coming into season and the price drops by a buck. Every dollar counts!), I snapped them up, and luckily had the presence of mind to remember that I wanted to blend them with coconut butter. I make my own coconut butter at home on the cheap (I even put a “recipe”/set of instructions for homemade coconut butter in Practically Raw), so throwing this together was a cinch. And luckily, this recipe is completely autoimmune- and thyroid-friendly! Want to know why?
- Coconut: Coconut is one of THE most healing foods for the thyroid. Its medium-chain saturated fats (i.e. medium chain triglycerides, or MCTs) can potentially boost the production and conversion of thyroid hormones in those of us with sluggish metabolisms. Coconut fat is also particularly excellent for anyone with digestive ailments. It’s antibacterial and antimicrobial, and since MCTs don’t require bile from the gallbladder to be digested, they can be sent directly to the liver and burned for energy instead of being stored as fat. Don’t listen to the misguided low-fat preachers—fat does NOT make you fat!
(Side tangent: I can’t help but give you my take, as a linguist, on the very word “fat.” It’s an unfortunate circumstance of the English language that the words for dietary fat and body/adipose fat are the same word: fat. In many other languages, this is not the case—they are two separate entries in the lexicon. For example, in Spanish, you’d say a person is “gordo/gorda,” but that a food contains “grasa.” Make sense? Fat rocks; don’t be afraid of it!)
- Strawberries: Strawberries are low-sugar, low-glycemic, high-fiber little wonder fruits with a high content of potent antioxidants such as vitamin C, which help reduce the oxidative stress associated with inflammation. Strawberries do contain goitrogens – compounds that can inhibit thyroid function in some people – but their goitrogen content is so low, it’s not worth worrying too much about.
- Stevia: Since I have quite the sweet tooth, I wanted to add sweetness to this recipe beyond the natural sugars contained in the berries. Using stevia allows me to keep this recipe free of added sweeteners, which lessens the impact on blood sugar levels and keeps the pancreas from releasing too much insulin.
- Sea salt: Good-quality sea salt contains trace minerals and is very important for proper adrenal function. People with thyroid and autoimmune diseases often have overtaxed adrenal glands; a healthy amount of sea salt in your diet can better help your body deal with mental and physical stress.
Make sense? Sound good? Then on to the recipe! If you’re a fan of my raw white chocolate coconut-macadamia nut butter, you will LOVE this.
- 1 cup coconut butter (or 3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut*)
- 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh (or thawed frozen) strawberries
- 1 to 2 packets stevia (preferably NuNaturals)
- Big pinch of sea salt
- *If you don't have coconut butter on hand, place 3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut in a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until completely smooth and buttery. In a Vitamix or Blendtec, this will only take about a minute (use the tamper to move the mixture downward). In a food processor, this will take 5 to 10 minutes; be patient!
- Combine the coconut butter, strawberries, stevia (I used two packets, but if you have less of a sweet tooth, you may want to start with just one), and salt in a high-speed blender or food processor. (Or, if you made coconut butter from scratch as directed above, simply add the strawberries, stevia, and salt to the blender/food processor.)
- Blend until completely smooth; taste for sweetness and adjust as desired.
- Transfer to a glass jar to store—the butter will keep at room temperature for up to two days; for longer storage, keep in the refrigerator.
Substitution option: If you don't have (or don't like) stevia, you can use coconut palm sugar, xylitol, or organic granulated white sugar in its place; start with 1 tablespoon, then sweeten to taste.
Freshly-made coconut butter
Heap up your measuring cup with strawberries
Blend, baby, blend
I’m sure this lovely pink butter would make an amazing spread for toast.
You could also go crazy and dip more fresh strawberries in it.
How about slathering it on graham crackers? (I put a recipe for raw Graham Crackers in Practically Raw!)
I’ll be honest with you, though…
…I pretty much ate this entire jar’s worth of Sugar-Free Strawberry Coconut Butter…
…right off the spatula.