Use organic coconut flakes, which does not contain preservatives (sulphur).
Coconut flour is made by drying and grinding the meat of a coconut to a fine texture. Coconut flour is an excellent source of dietary fibre and protein. It's a good grain-free and nut-free alternative but does require a larger amount of liquid than normal when used for baked goods. When replacing in a recipe that calls for wheat flour (or almond meal), use this guide; 1 cup of regular flour = 1/3 cup coconut flour, add an extra egg and an extra 1/3 cup of liquid. There are now quite a few brands of coconut flour available and they all seem to perform differently depending on how coarse the texture is. In my recipes I have used Organic Coconut Flour from 'Let's Do Organic', I like its finer texture (I purchase from iherb.com).
I use this extensively throughout my recipes; from soups to dinners to desserts and cakes. I think it is the best dairy-free alternative. It gives so much flavour and creaminess to a wide variety of dishes. See coconut milk recipe on page 299 of The JOYful Table cookbook. If purchasing in the can read your labels, even some organic brands contain gums and thickeners, choose full-fat not low-fat versions. I use Honest To Goodness organic cream 400ml and Ayam which isn't organic but has no additives or thickeners and is much creamier and thicker than other brands (that's why I love it), it comes in 400ml, 270ml and 140ml size cans.
Coconut oil is one of the most nutritious fats to cook and bake with. Use organic extra-virgin coconut oil which is unrefined and unbleached from non GMO coconuts. Coconut oil has a high smoking point and it is slow to oxidize due to its high saturated fat content, thus, resistant to going rancid. Some studies suggest coconut oil helps with digestion, including irritable bowel, tummy bugs, candida and parasites due to this oil containing short term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which is a healthy form of saturated fat.
Coconut palm sugar is produced from the sap of the flower bud of the coconut palm tree and is a natural food sweetener. I use it when a dry sweetener is required. It has the benefit of a low glycemic index (low GI 35 compared to sugar at 68) and nutritional content. Use in baked goods as an occasional treat but don't over indulge.
100% pure organic coconut syrup is another liquid natural food sweetener that can be used in paleo recipes as an alternative to raw honey or 100% maple syrup. Coconut syrup is extracted from the sap of the coconut blossom. It has a sweet caramel or toffee flavour and blends well into homemade chocolate and delicious on pancakes. It has two reasons it stands out, its low glycemic index (low GI 35 compared to sugar at 68) and the nutrient content (vitamin B complex, vitamin C, amino acids and other important minerals). Use as a treat just like other natural food sweeteners and don't over indulge.
Coconut Vinegar is make from raw coconut tree sap. It's perfect for adding to salad dressing, it's a little sweeter than Apple Cider Vinegar. My favourite brand is 'Coconut Secret', which is organic, gluten-free and non-GMO. Coconut vinegar is unheated and is a live product which is naturally aged, full of prebiotics that promotes digestive health. Purchase from health food stores or online.
This is the liquid found inside young coconuts. It is packed with electrolytes, excellent for after exercise. Coconut water contains potassium, calcium and magnesium and is also a natural hydrator. I use it in my smoothies and have added it to a few of my recipes. You can find it in health food stores and supermarkets. Ensure you read the label carefully as some contain preservatives and/or sugar and may not be 100% coconut water.
You will be able to find a recipe for cultured coconut yoghurt online using grass fed gelatin or tapioca starch for thickening. If purchasing a commercial yoghurt, read labels as many use vegetable gums and additives. Coconut yoghurt can be made in a yoghurt maker or a Thermomix machine. If you can tolerate some dairy natural organic Greek yoghurt can be used in it's place.
Coriander is also know as cilantro. The fresh chopped green leaves in large amounts are a good source of vitamin C. The fresh leaves are an ingredient in many Indian, Thai, and Mexican dishes. They are usually tossed through just before serving as the heat can diminish the flavour. The dried fruits are known as coriander seeds, the seeds have a lemony citrus flavour when crushed. The word coriander in food preparation may only be referring to the ground seeds not the plant.
Cos or Romaine lettuce is a variety of lettuce that grows a taller head of firm leaves. It also tolerates heat, unlike most other varieties of lettuce. The heart of the cos lettuce with the outer dark leaves removed, is known as a baby cos lettuce and is a touch sweeter than the outer leaves. They are very easy to grown yourself, we have a small back yard and grown them in pots. Harvest when the leaves are crisp and head is full of colour (the more mature the plant the more bitter the leaves).
Cucumbers grow on a creeping vine and come in several varieties. Some varieties have a tender skin and can be eaten without peeling. Cucumbers are eaten in salads, as a vessel to scoop up dips, grated in yoghurt dressings to eat with hot and spicy dishes and the smaller varieties are perfect to pickle. Cucumbers are mainly water (a 100 gram serve of raw cucumber is 95% water).
Cumin is a medium - hot spice which blends well in curries and is the main spice in the Middle Eastern dip, hummus. It is being studied for potential anti-oxidant and anticancer effects.
Curry powder is a mix of spices, different brands can have different combinations. Most curry powder recipes contain coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, chili peppers, garlic, caraway and can also contain mustard seed and cinnamon. Read your labels as some cheaper brands container fillers like maize (corn), I purchase the 'Simply Organic' brand.
In some of my recipes I have used Paleo approved dark chocolate chips, they are dairy, soy, and gluten-free (the brands I like are 'Absolute Organics' 70% chips or ‘Enjoy Life’ (48%), purchased online or at health food stores). I also used 70 - 85% organic dark chocolate blocks broken into pieces or I make my own chocolate from: coconut oil or cacao butter, raw cacao powder and sweetened with 100% maple syrup, pinch of sea salt and vanilla extract.
Dehydrated chicken broth powder is a great option for when a small amount of broth is required or when extra flavour needs to be added to a dish. Add 3 teaspoons of powder to 250ml of boiling water or add the powder directly to a pot of simmering soup or stew to added extra nutrients and flavour. I use the Nutra Organics brand or Broth of Life.
Tomatoes are acidic which increases the rate at which BPA enters food and this can be a concern with canned tomato products, make sure you purchase in a BPA free can. Organic is best and read the label to avoid high sugar and salt content. Tomatoes are a useful source of vitamin C, beta carotene folate and potassium, also contains properties that may protect against prostate cancers. Tomatoes are a nightshade vegetable.
Mustard is a condiment made from various varieties of seeds from the mustard plants (white or yellow mustard, brown or Indian mustard and black mustard). The seeds are ground to make different kinds of mustard. Dijon mustard is made when ground into a paste with added ingredients like water, salt, lemon juice and flavours and spices. It is a much milder mustard and is excellent to add to sauces and dressing.
Dried apricots are an excellent source of vitamin A, a good source of vitamin C, copper, dietary fibre and potassium. Choose organic dried apricots that have been dried naturally without preservatives (sulphur free). The colour will be darker, as sulphur dioxide (E220) has not been used to preserve the colour. My favourite brand is Fruit Bliss, the apricots are infused with water and keep lovely and juicy.
Choose organic dried cranberries that contain no preservatives (sulphur). Cranberries have a tangy sweet flavour and deliver a big healthy dose of antioxidants. My favourite organic brands are Edan or Dr Superfoods, which can be purchase from health foods stores or online.