I’m about 6 weeks into my “elimination diet,” wherein I’m off all cow’s milk dairy and fermented products.  And you guys?  I’m feeling better!  Less sluggish!  Better able to concentrate!  I really think that between the vitamins D, C, and B supplements I’ve been taking and clearing my body of the milk proteins and yeasts that it’s sensitive to, I’ve improved my general everyday wellness level.

Which is great.

Except.

It’s holiday baking season, and me wants my butter.  See?  I can’t even type a proper English sentence, it’s got me so wound up.  Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been baking up a storm, preparing to give away buttery treats. There’s lots of holiday joy and meaning and blah blah blah in creating something and giving it all away, but come ON already!  Don’t I get to have a treat?

Why, yes. Yes I do.  This weekend, I plan to experiment with Heidi Swanson’s delectable–and natural!–fudge recipe, substituting coconut butter for the moo-ish variety the recipe calls for.  Coconut butter is actually just the oil extracted from dried coconut meat.  It solidifies at room temperature–and doesn’t require refrigeration–and melts clear when heated.  According to our friend Wise Geek, coconut butter contains amino acids that are a) extremely healthful and b) don’t require bile to digest, so they’re tummy-friendly.  Plus, did I mention you can use it in fudge!  

If you don’t like the taste of coconut, this isn’t the dairy-substitute for you, but I think in something like fudge, it will be great.

One word to the wise, though.  I bought a jar of Artisana raw organic coconut butter at my local Whole Foods.  When I got it home and eagerly opened it up, this is what I saw:

IMG_5171.JPG 

After I finished freaking out and going “ewwwwww,” I wrote an email to the company.  Not only did I receive a reply right away, I was reassured that the white formation on top of the butter is just a harmless separation of coconut solids from the oil.  When warmed or melted, the formation will dissolve and re-integrate–and, allegedly, not separate out again.  I even sent them this photo, and they showed it to their Quality Control officer.  I’m assured.

Stay tuned for the results of my fudge-y experiment.  But meanwhile, does anyone out there have favorite dairy substitutes to share?

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