Coconut in its many guises are used a lot in the GAPs, SCD and Paleo diets. It is incredibly versatile, replacing dairy and wheat/gluten based products in many recipes. The best thing about coconut is also that it is incredibly good for you. High in fibre and easily digestible good saturated fats (needed for gut repair and hormone production) it provides excellent nutrition, not to mention its antibacterial properties that also benefit the outside of your body as well as the inside.
Here are some examples of different coconut products and their uses. I have my own favourite brands which I will mention, but that is not to say that others are not equally as good.
Used in gluten free/grain free baking. It is a light flour and very absorbent so you only need a small quantity which is good on a budget. You pretty much have to use eggs with it, so if you can't have eggs it is difficult to use. It can also be very dry and make baked goods dry if you aren't careful. It doesn't have a strong taste of coconut so can easily be flavoured with essences or the food it is consumed with. You can use it in cakes, muffins, waffles, pancakes, biscuits, sauces and pie crusts. It is high in fibre which is good to keep your bowel healthy, however those in the early stages of GAPs might find it further inflames the bowel. It can also feed bad bacteria if your bowel transit is not efficient. It is not usually available from supermarkets, but is available from health food shops or on-line.
A very versatile oil that is good used raw or in cooking. It is very heat stable, so does not become carcinogenic when heated. It can be used topically as a massage oil or moisturiser. It can also be used in any kind of baking, pie crusts and can also be used to make chocolate or icing. Taken medicinally in larger quantities (about half a cup a day) it can benefit those suffering from Candida or bacterial imbalance due to its antibacterial properties. It also makes a great natural deodorant.
You can make your own coconut milk by blending 60% fresh or dried (unsweetened dessicated) coconut with 40% water. It you don't have a high powered blender like a vitamix, you may have to do this for a good 10 mins. There are lots of premade coconut milks on the market. Thai Taste Coconut milk (in the packet not the can) contains no preservatives or gum which is ideal for GAPs. Other coconut milks in tins often have preservatives, or even in the organic ones there is added gum to stop separation. This gum can be irritating to the bowel. It can be used in smoothies or to culture with kefir or to make into yoghurt. It can also be used in savoury dishes and as a single cream substitute in baking recipes.
Coconut Butter/Creamed Coconut
This is essentially the oil with some of the coconut meat left in. It can make fantastic fudge/GAPs Coconut Ice.
Dessicated Coconut or Coconut Chips
Dried coconut in its many forms can be a great snack, and is a good addition to crumble toppings, granola and as a breadcrumb substitute. As I mentioned it can also be used to make your own coconut milk.
Coconut Sugar/Coconut Nectar
Sugar from the palm tree is a natural sugar and is a great natural sweetener for Paleo treats. It is not permitted on GAPs or SCD as it still contains sucrose which is likely to feed bad bacteria.
A delicious alternative to soya sauce for cooking stirfrys or marinades, made from fermented sap from the coconut tree.