Any coconut fans out there?
On Whole30, coconut in its many forms can be a total lifesaver.
Coconut oil is a stable fat for high heat cooking, coconut milk is a dreamy non-dairy milk substitute, and coconut flakes add some satiating fat to your meals and snacks.
Coconut cream—one of its more underrated forms—is absolutely compliant on Whole30 and is an excellent addition to your program! Since coconut cream is a little less widespread than other forms of the ingredient, figuring out how to use it may be a little more mystifying. Don’t worry! We’ll shed some light on this wondrous pantry staple in a moment.
What’s So Great About Coconut Anyways?
Chances are if you’ve been around the Whole30 community for a while—or even if you’re a newcomer—you’ve heard of the many wonders of the coconut.
The reason it is so revered in Whole30 and Paleo communities is that it is an excellent source of fat—in fact, it is one of the primary fats recommended on Whole30.
There are numerous reasons it is touted as so many peoples’ favorite fat. For one, it is very low in Omega-6s and PUFA, meaning it does not contribute to the inflammation-causing Omega-6 overload we get as a result of our western diets.
Another reason is that coconut is a concentrated source of medium-chain triglycerides or (MCTs), a very digestible and bioavailable form of fat. MCTs do not need to be broken down by our bodies in order to be used as fuel, making them ideal for people who may suffer from fat malabsorption issues.
It also has antiviral, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties that can be extremely helpful in fighting unwelcome visitors in our bodies (such as infections and parasites).
Not only is coconut tasty and versatile, but it has some truly impressive health benefits! Awesome, right?
What Is Coconut Cream?
Have you ever found a can of coconut milk in the back of your pantry that you’d forgotten about for a while only to open it only to realize it was…different?
Often when coconut milk does not contain additives to keep it uniform, it will separate into two layers: a liquid bottom and a solid top. That solid top? That’s coconut cream!
Essentially, coconut cream is a thicker form of coconut milk that has less liquid, making it richer and higher in fat. It is an amazing substitute for heavy cream or whipping cream in non-Whole30 recipes for things like soups and creamy sauces.
Beware of Additives
Although the only ingredient technically necessary for coconut cream is coconut, often packaged varieties contain other additives to help shelf stabilize the product.
The most common additive you may find in coconut cream is carrageenan, a popular additive for thickening and stabilizing. Carrageenan is a problematic ingredient because it is associated with intestinal damage and ulcers and is therefore at the top of the list of off-limit additives on Whole30.
Another banned ingredient you might find in coconut cream is sugar. Since sugar is never allowed on Whole30, no matter what form it takes, any coconut cream or “cream of coconut” that has sugar listed as an ingredient is off-limits.
Ready To Shop?
Check out some of our Whole30-approved picks for coconut cream:
- AROY-D 100% Pure Coconut Cream. This Thai product is 100% pure coconut cream and a Whole30 favorite of many.
- Thai Kitchen Coconut Cream. Although this version contains guar gum, it is an acceptable additive used to keep it from separating.
- Native Forest Organic Premium Coconut Cream. Looking for an organic option? Native Forest has your back! Just make sure you’re getting the unsweetened version.
Have a can of coconut milk, but wish you had coconut cream? Throw it in the fridge overnight—when you open the can the next day, the cream will have solidified at the top. Scoop it off with a spoon and proceed as usual!
How Do I Use Coconut Cream on Whole30?
Stumped on what to do with this wondrous, newfound ingredient?
Miss your coffee creamer? A scoop of coconut cream in your black coffee does wonders!
What’s your favorite way to use coconut cream? Have a preferred brand? Post a comment and let us know!