Coconut Un-granola Parfait, Auto Immune Protocol & Other Stories


Currently I am trying to get to the bottom of some newly discovered autoimmune issues and have been eating an Auto Immune Protocol (AIP) for about three months which has really helped overall with reducing inflammation. I was already eating a very primal diet before this but an AIP elimination seemed like a good plan since my symptoms were screaming inflammation. Food, coupled with non-optimal digestion, is one of the primary sources of inflammation there is, at least that you have control over. MY current healing diet or well spell as I like to call it, doesn’t include dairy, grains, seeds, legumes, soy, refined sugar, seeds, nuts, nightshades (as well as seed and nightshade spices.) And while not a AIP elimination foods, pork, onions and mushrooms are out too since they do me dirty ie. cause inflammation. Some of these things will probably be in my life again once more healing takes place, but for now this is where it’s at for me. I am a health nerd and a foodie and my commitment to eating delicious food is only trumped by my commitment to keeping my body functioning optimally. Check out this blog for more information about the AIP protocol if you are curious.

It’s worth stating that as a nutritional therapist, I am a huge believer in bio-individual solutions to support health so I am not advocating for any particular way of eating as much as investigating the needs of my clients and myself using a variety of tools from functional testing and elimination diets to nutritional assessments, food journals and lab reviews. Properly prepared and nutrient dense are my flagships. My personal recipes will change as I change but I will always talk about alternatives that might suit you best.

Anyway, one of the things I found challenging at first about eliminating so many possibly inflammatory foods, was finding a few easy treats/occasional non-savory breakfasts that didn’t involve baking some AIP – approved dessert that would accidentally get eaten in two sittings. Often times when people start a diet overhaul they end up mainlining the least healthy but “approved” options available to them which in the end doesn’t support balanced nutrition that the overhaul was hopefully about initially. I’m talking about you “junk food but it’s Vegan” or YOU “Pales baking addict” and I’m not throwing stones, I’ve been both of you except I’m way too freestyle to enjoy baking.

This Un-granola Coconut Parfait doubles as a quick breakfast or snack for my daughter and since most people eating AIP know that overall there’s nothing quick about eating a diverse, properly sourced and nutrient dense autoimmune protocol diet, this treat saves the day. That is IF coconut is something you can digest. Insert the crying/laughing emoji here. I do not pretend that there is no struggle involved in eating to heal.

Ironically, eating the way I eat these days has pretty much eradicated the kinds of cravings I used to have before when I wasn’t eating enough fat and when my diet was full of stuff that was technically healthy but messing with my blood sugar and my metabolic integrity.  But this mix of creamy and crunchy is pretty amazing. If I’m feeling festive I even drizzle some more maple syrup around it and add layers. If I was eating nuts which I’m not at the moment [shaking fist in the air,] I would add a few of those too. But freshly toasted coconut has a delightful nutty taste that goes perfectly with creamy, coconut yogurt. And beware that eating the whole recipe will spike your blood sugar like a good old-fashioned naughty treat. Moderation and Reduced Inflammation may be my first book.

Coyo, the brand of coconut yogurt I use exclusively – and am NOT sponsored by – is AMAZING! If my body was on board I would hands down be a pastured, organic, raw, full-fat dairy girl. I lived in Minnesota while in graduate school for public health and was known to religiously visit the dairy princess butter sculptures at the Minnesota State Fair totally obsessed with their likeness in butter sculptures. In fact, I would live on a damn farm and churn ice cream between clients if and when my body could do it. But in lieu of that, the magicians at Coyo have created something that I use a million different ways and don’t miss my dairy princess aspirations quite as much. I never thought the words “all hail the mighty coconut” would come from my mouth. There. I said it.

Coconut Un-Granola Parfait

(Dairy, Grain, Refined Sugar free/AIP option) approximately 4 servings

  • 2 cups of organic coconut flakes (the large kind- I like this one from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons of dark organic maple syrup (My favorites are aged in a bourbon barrel like this)
  • A sprinkle of salt. ( I use Real Salt  and other similar brands because I’m a stickler for unrefined, mineral rich salt and NEVER use table salt- EVER which is stripped and has added creepy, anti-caking agents)
  • A teaspoon of vanilla extract (or vanilla powder if AIP)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • Dried fruit (optional)  I sometimes use organic raisins or dried cherries
  • Coconut yogurt (I use the Natural/ plain flavor from Coyo)

Put the coconut oil in a large skillet and begin to melt it. Then add the coconut flakes, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Stir over medium heat being careful not to burn until the mixture is light golden brown. This should only take a few minutes and you should keep the mixture moving and watch it closely. Then remove from heat and place mixture on a piece of natural parchment paper to cool before storing it in a glass container in the fridge.

When storing the mixture add any dried fruit and keep in refrigerator for up to three days.

To make a parfait, scoop coconut yogurt into a dish and sprinkle with the un-granola for a probiotic rich, sweet and creamy treat with a crunchy topping. See, I’m basically holistic nutritionist Martha Stewart right now but this simple recipe has been a lifesaver.

Some days I just eat it granola-syle with some homemade *hemp milk (hemp milk is not strict AIP.)