Meet Our Sponsors: Viva Labs Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Viva Labs coconut oil_

Remember when no one had heard of coconut oil? Those days are long gone, thankfully. We’re crazy about coconut oil around here.

And today and tomorrow, you can get a 24% discount on a 16-ounce package of our favorite coconut oil, Viva Labs organic extra virgin coconut oil, our latest sponsor. Simply click on this link on Amazon (Viva Labs Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil) and enter the promo code GFGPROMO. You’ll receive 24% off your purchase.

Of course, coconut oil is great in curries, since it complements all the flavors of ginger, turmeric, cumin, and garlic so well. (I love this Madhur Jaffrey lentil curry, but I use coconut oil in place of the canola oil.) But it’s also great as the oil for popping popcorn. Once I popped corn with coconut oil, I’ve never used another fat for it. (Try that popcorn with finely chopped fresh rosmary, a tiny of bit of lavender, and sea salt.) A friend of mine insists that her sweet tooth is sated by sucking on frozen coconut oil (it actually tastes like white chocolate); she puts it in ice cube trays so she can have a couple a day for a week. Some folks use coconut oil as a moisturizer, a shaving cream, and a topical ointment for other beauty and medical concerns.

Take a look at this fascinating piece about the great cookbook author, Paula Wolfert, who is trying to fight her Alzheimers’ with her consciously chosen diet. She drinks Bulletproof coffee, a combination of coconut oil and grass-fed butter. “The butter and oil in the coffee fill me up until lunchtime. And my doctors explain that your brain is 75 to 80% fat, and what you want to do is get energy from fat rather than from sugar.” (I love the Kickstarter to raise funds to create a biographical cookbook of Wolfert.)

My favorite use for coconut oil? Making gluten-free cakes. We’re going to start telling you more and more about our upcoming cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl: American Classics Reinvented, starting on the 4th of July. But I’ll give you a sneak peek: coconut oil is much better than butter in gluten-free cakes. Its lovely buttery texture makes those cakes delicious and fluffy. You’ll want to stock up on coconut oil soon.

However, not all coconut oil is the same. Some taste flat. Some taste a little cheap. And some taste rancid. You don’t want that.

This is why Viva Labs Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is our latest sponsor. This is our very favorite coconut oil.

The coconut oil from Viva Labs is organic and cold-pressed to maintain its quality. It has no bleach, deodorizers, or secret ingredients. And it tastes richly of coconut oil.

So many gluten-free folks find they have to be dairy-free as well.  Viva Labs Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is a gift for those who have to be dairy-free. We use it all the time and we don’t miss the butter when we do.

Today and tomorrow, Viva Labs is offering a 24% discount on their 16-ounce package of coconut oil for readers of this site. Simply click on this link on Amazon (Viva Labs Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil) and enter the promo code GFGPROMO. You’ll receive 24% off your purchase.

This offer is only good through Monday evening so act now!

Great gluten-free cake awaits you.




like sisters, really

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If you’re in New York City, take a trip to the East Village. In a tiny sliver of a storefront on the north side of East 10th Street is Jennifer’s Way Bakery. Go hungry.

I’ve been hearing about Jennifer Esposito’s valiant work for the celiac community for years. First known as an actress in Hollywood, Jennifer threw herself into the world of gluten-free food and advocacy for those with celiac when she was diagnosed with the illness. It took decades of terrible pain and suffering for Jennifer before she finally emerged healthy. And once she realized what drove her life, and how many other people are in pain needlessly, Jennifer decided to dedicate herself to making great food that heals, without gluten.

Hm. Sounds familiar. Danny and I know this story well, after all.

I loved reading Jennifer’s Way: My Journey with Celiac Disease–What Doctors Don’t Tell You and How You Can Learn to Live Again when it came out last year. It’s a brave, boldly honest account of how Jennifer suffered and how hard she had to fight to find her health. As she and I talked about at the bakery, it’s amazing to us how doctors will say to patients, “Just stop eating gluten and you’ll be fine.” That’s not enough, in most cases. Celiac is an autoimmune disorder. To heal, we have to listen to our own bodies and find the foods that work. More than that, as I have been realizing more deeply as I go into this process — now nearly a decade after being diagnosed — that I need to have less stress and more joy, far fewer things on the to-do list and a good sleep schedule, regular exercise and a daily meditation practice to keep healing my body.

Just eating a crappy processed food product that happens to be without gluten is not a healing practice.

Jennifer’s bakery is a haven for those who want to heal and taste great food. And for both Jennifer and me, healing means consciously, happily splurging on a chocolate cupcake once in awhile. (That was Lucy’s favorite. When I was processing these photos, she walked by and pointed to the ding-dong-like cupcake. “That one!” she said. “I really like that one.”) Jennifer’s baked goods are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, refined-sugar-free, nut-free, and organic. The fact that they taste good with that long list is a testament to Jennifer’s drive and passion for baking.

And I mean good. Jennifer’s breads, including a yeast-free bread, are some of the best gluten-free breads I’ve yet tasted. She and I talked about hydration levels, chia seeds, the use of vinegar, sorghum flour, and the best way to bake gluten-free bagels. We talked so fast, our hands flying in the air, trading ideas and laughing that Danny said to me when we left the bakery: “It’s like you two are sisters.”

We are, of course. We’re celiac sisters.

If you’re in New York, go to Jennifer’s Way Bakery. It’s an astonishing little place, run by an equally astonishing strong woman.

Jennifer’s Way Bakery
263 E. 10th St.
New York, NY 10009

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