The Benefits of Cooking With Coconut Oil

Vegans already know about the power of coconut oil as a replacement for butter, and now Dr. Oz recently spoke about it on his daytime talk show, explaining it is also a great weight loss tool.

While coconut oil remains hard at room temperature, it melts quickly when warmed, and Dr. Oz explained it fights fat because it actually keeps us fuller for a longer period of time. It also helps to speed up the metabolism. He actually recommended taking two tablespoons of it daily to increase metabolism.

Also, always look for virgin coconut oil – organic preferred, but at least one that does not have any hydrogenated products in it. And many brands offer coconut oil with a neutral flavor, so it can be used for any dish.

Babycakes NYC, a vegan bakery in downtown Manhattan, recommends Omega Nutrition 100 Percent Organic Unscented Coconut Oil in their cookbook, “Babycakes Covers the Classics: Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes From Donuts to Snickerdoodles.”

While some argue coconut oil contains saturated fat, some saturated fats are actually good for you, and coconut oil falls into this category, according to physician and author Dr. Joseph Mercola, who has cited a number of health benefits from the oil including improving the heart, boosting the thyroid, increasing metabolism, promoting a lean body/weight loss, and supporting the immune system.

“Nearly 50 percent of the fat in coconut oil is of a type rarely found in nature called lauric acid, a ‘miracle’ compound because of its unique health promoting properties,” he said in an article on Huffington Post. “Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties.”


RECIPE: Babycakes Gluten-Free Vegan Pancakes

Babycakes is a famous NY- and LA-based, gluten-free, vegan bakery, and in its second cookbook “Babycakes Covers the Classics,” there is an awesome pancake recipe, and a sugar-free syrup recipe to match!

For those living a gluten-free, vegan lifestyle – welcome back to the classic pancake! According to the cookbook, the founder of the bakery recommends using the exact measurements given here for the best results. Enjoy!


NOTE: For banana pancakes, add 2/3 cup of mashed or chopped banana to below recipe.


2 cups Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
½ tsp xanthan gum
2/3 cup agave nectar
2/3 cup rice milk
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup melted refined coconut oil OR canola oil, plus more for the pan2 tbsp vanilla

In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and xanthan gum. Add the agave nectar, rice milk, applesauce, ½ cup coconut or canola oil, and vanilla, and mix with rubber spatula until the batter is smooth. Stir in banana, if using.

Place a large nonstick skillet or pancake griddle over medium heat. Add 1 tsp coconut oil to the pan and tilt the pan back and forth to coat. Working in batches, pour ¼ cup portions of the batter into the pan. Cook for 3 minutes, or until most of the surface batter is dimpled with tiny holes, and flip. Cook on the other side for 2 minutes more, or until the center bounces back when tapped and the pancake is golden brown. Transfer pancakes to warm plate and repeat with the remaining batter. Serve with Agave maple syrup (see recipe below).

Agave Maple Syrup


1 cup agave nectar
2 tbsp maple flavor or to taste


Put the agave nectar in a small bowl. Add the maple flavor and stir until fully combined. Taste and adjust maple flavor to desired intensity. The syrup can be stores at room temperature, covered tightly, for up to 1 month.

Makes 1 cup.