Paleo Zucchini Bread

Posted by Maria Emmerich in almond flour, coconut milk, coconut oil, Stevia, thyroid, vegetarian 25 Jun 2010

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“Hi Maria, You have been helping me get my life back by getting healthy. My main request was to help me get pregnant. Since starting your way less than 3 months ago I have lost 31 pounds and am off all my autoimmune disease medications. And today, I can tell you that I found out I am expecting. I am only a few weeks along and so I can’t share with everyone yet but I owe you my gratitude. After a year long emotional journey, your way restored my body back to health.” Carrie


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Many Americans suffer from symptoms such as cold hands and feet, low body temperature, sensitivity to cold, a feeling of always being chilled, headaches, insomnia, dry skin, puffy eyes, hair loss, brittle nails, joint aches, constipation, mental dullness, fatigue, frequent infections, hoarse voice, ringing in the ears, dizziness, loss of libido, and weight gain, which is sometimes uncontrollable.

We all would like to blame the thyroid when it comes to weight gain. The thyroid isn’t just responsible for weight gain or loss, it also contribute to how well we sleep, it produces stomach acid, can cause high cholesterol, and helps with absorption of nutrients. Studies show that the thyroid isn’t going to make us gain 100 pounds, it really is only responsible for 5-12 pounds of weight gain if it is malfunctioning. Instead of focusing just on weight, there are some serious issues that can happen because of a thyroid issue.

There are a few main causes of thyroid issues:

1. It could be an iodine deficiency. This is a simple thing to fix. Get iodine tested if TSH is over 3.

2. Excess Bromide, (I suggest a blood test for this!). Excess bromides are endocrine disrupters which can be found in:

a. Strawberries due to the massive amounts in the pesticides sprayed on them
b. Citrus drinks like Mountain Dew, Fresca, Gatoraide,
c. Medications: inhalers, nasal spray, as well as others
d. Bread (it is a dough conditioner)
e. Plastics
f. Others include: hot tubs, fire retardants and swimming pool cleaners

3. Autoimmune disorder, such as Hashimoto’s (under-active thyroid) or Graves (over active thyroid): Thyroid nodules (cancerous or not) are often precursors to autoimmune thyroid disorders. I would request thyroid antibodies run (TPO and thyroglobulin if you have hypothyroid symptoms) (TPO, thyrogloblulin and TSI if hyperthyroid symptoms). This often happens after giving birth. During pregnancy, the immune system starts to change and circulate to protect the fetus. Once the fetus is born, the mother develops antibodies against her thyroid. In this case, adding 200mcg selenium while pregnant is not only very safe for the mother and fetus, it also lowers the autoimmune response after giving birth.

4.  Many dietary oils can negatively affect thyroid health. We cook with them almost every day and they are plentiful in commercially prepared foods. It is possible they are among the worst offenders when it comes to the thyroid. They are known as vegetable oils or polyunsaturated oils. The most common source of these oils used in commercially prepared foods is the soybean.

Unsaturated oils block thyroid hormone secretion, its movement in the circulatory system, and the response of tissues to the hormone. When the thyroid hormone is deficient, the body is generally exposed to increased levels of estrogen. The thyroid hormone is essential for making the ‘protective hormones’ progesterone and pregnenolone, so these hormones are lowered when anything interferes with the function of the thyroid. The thyroid hormone is required for using and eliminating cholesterol, so cholesterol is likely to be raised by anything which blocks the thyroid function.

Coconut oil, on the other hand, is a saturated fat made up primarily of medium chain fatty acids. Also known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), medium chain fatty acids are known to increase metabolism and promote weight loss. Coconut oil can also raise basal body temperatures while increasing metabolism. This is good news for people who suffer with low thyroid function.


It is extremely important to know what is causing the thyroid issue before you begin any medication prescribed by your doctor. If it is an autoimmune disorder, then you would like to work with a person like myself who knows how to treat autoimmune disorders. If you decide to just jump into medication, then start to eat correctly to control the autoimmune response, you most likely will be taking too high of a dose. Once you address and eliminate what is causing the autoimmune response, we can most likely lower the dose.

If you take too much thyroid hormone and your TSH falls below 1.5 this can cause bone loss and other issues. Inflammation is a main cause of bone loss. This is why you need to address WHY first.

Another question I get is what is the best medication to take. Well, that really depends. If TSH is high, but t4 is normal the prescription medications called Synthroid or Levothyroxine is just going to give you more t4 which will help a little because there is more to give but not solve the problem. The problem is converting t4 to t3. This conversion doesn’t happen in the thyroid, it happens in the gut and the liver. Levothyroxine and synthroid won’t help much. Armor would be better because it has t4 and t3.

But if it is low t4, some people do better on the synthetic medicine (Synthroid and Levothyroxine) because of the fillers in natural medication (Armor). A few years ago everyone became upset because armor “changed their formula” but they didn’t change the amount of t3 or t4. They change their binding agents and just by doing that, many people reacted terrible. Some of these binders are cornstarch and gluten! No wonder! Those are common food allergens that can cause autoimmune responses.

In the case of a thyroidectomy it is like removing gum from the bottom of your shoe. There is still some thyroid present. The thyroid is in a venerable area. In the case of Hoshimotoes (cancerous or non-cancerous nodules) there will still be antibody production against that small amount. You need to address the foods causing autoimmune responses.

Now, what is really interesting, is that there is a common misconception in the paleo world that increasing carbs is required for thyroid conditions or conversion of T4 to T3. I have had many many clients with a T3 conversion issue heal with proper supplementation (such as selenium, kelp and other nutrients their thyroid is screaming for) heal in a matter of months.

What is also interesting is that the thyroid produces stomach acid. If you are deficient in hydrochloric acid you can’t absorb the nutrients for bone health and thyroid function. A helpful supplement would be HCL with pepsin 500-700mg caps before meals.

In cases where you have the autoimmune disorder, Hashimoto’s or Graves, it is important to optimize glutathione status (click HERE to find), I suggest to optimize your vitamin D level, add in a low-dose naltrexone (LDN) to help immune status. LDN works by blocking opioid receptors so the pituitary will somewhat normalize and the immune system functions better.

Also, adding in selenium which essential for the conversion of T4 to T3, which is the active form of thyroid hormone. You can eat 2 to 3 Brazil nuts a day or to ensure the proper amount, I recommend you can take a supplement: Click HERE to find.

Zinc also is responsible for converting T4 to the activated T3. I suggest 30-50mg zinc at breakfast (but note that as you increase zinc, it can cause nausea… slowly increase this). Click HERE to find.

GLA is an activated fatty acid that supports thyroid health. I prefer women to take 1,300mg of Evening Primrose Oil three times a day to help with hormone balance. Click HERE to find.

I also would seriously consider investing in a Reverse Osmosis water filter to get rid of all chlorine and fluoride in the water you drink. Click HERE to find.

If you or someone you know could use more help with their thyroid, Click here to get started on your journey to health!


Thyroid-supporting zucchini bread:

3/4 cup loosely packed shredded zucchini
6 eggs (4 of them separated)
1/2 cup coconut milk (or 2 more eggs)
1/2 cup coconut oil (or butter) melted (plus extra from greasing pan)
1/2 cup Swerve (or Erythritol and 1 tsp stevia glycerite)
1 tsp pure vanilla
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp Celtic sea salt
3/4 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Unsweetened coconut flakes (optional topping)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan with coconut oil or butter. Separate 4 eggs into two bowls. Whip the egg whites until very fluffy. In the other bowl, blend together the 4 egg yolks, zucchini, oil, coconut milk, sweetener, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Then add the other 2 eggs (or 4 if not using coconut milk), one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine coconut flour and baking powder and sift into batter. Blend until there are no lumps. Fold in nuts. Gently fold in the egg whites to the batter. Pour into a greased pan. Top with unsweetened coconut flakes and bake for 60 minute or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool and enjoy! Makes 14 servings.

Traditional Zucchini Bread = 377 calories, 43 carbs. 2 fiber
“Healthified” Zucchini Bread = 135 calories, 5.2 carbs, 2.3g fiber

Option Topping: Melt 1 cup coconut oil with 1 cup confectioners Swerve (or powdered erythritol) and spread over warm bread.

  • EmilyB August 9, 2010 at 11:11 pm / Reply

    I made this today with my daughter and it is very good! I do think I may use one less egg next time as it seemed to taste very eggy. I was pleased with how the coconut flour baked up and it was nice to use the zucchini from the garden. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Maria Emmerich August 9, 2010 at 11:54 pm / Reply

    Thanks Emily! I will try that next time;)

  • Anonymous September 9, 2010 at 3:56 pm / Reply

    could you post the nutritional information for the zucchini coconut bread?



  • Maria Emmerich September 9, 2010 at 4:30 pm / Reply

    I just posted the nutritional info:)

  • Anita August 26, 2011 at 11:57 am / Reply

    While using the right dose, natural thyroid hormone works quite well and are recommended by almost all “natural” or “alternative” physicians. Expert review journal articles have proven that the main benefit of ‘natural thyroid’ and T3 is to strengthen the general well being of a person thus lessening their depression.

  • Southern Belle September 3, 2011 at 12:41 am / Reply

    I just made this tonight and it was amazing…….one mistake though. My fault. Thought I was using Coconut milk…..I used coconut Creme instead (w/ sugar) ugh! Will have to be sooooo careful next time! I whipped the whites together and added the truvia and vanilla like a meringue and then folded it into the other mixture……..

  • Maria Emmerich September 3, 2011 at 1:23 am / Reply

    Thanks SO much! I’m so happy you liked it. I have a loaf in the fridge right now too!

  • Southern Belle September 4, 2011 at 2:58 am / Reply

    I just also made your cream cheese frosting to spread on top for tomorrow for breakfast! Yummy!

  • Larisa Rodriguez September 10, 2011 at 5:10 pm / Reply

    I made it last night and really like the taste of it. The only issues is that it is so moist that it does not stay together. Maybe next time I will add little more coconut flour or add in some almond meal. Anything else I could do to make it bind together better?

  • Larisa Rodriguez September 10, 2011 at 5:10 pm / Reply

    I made it last night and really like the taste of it. The only issues is that it is so moist that it does not stay together. Maybe next time I will add little more coconut flour or add in some almond meal. Anything else I could do to make it bind together better?

  • Maria Emmerich September 11, 2011 at 1:22 pm / Reply

    Hmmm, mine stayed together… You could also try adding 1 tsp guar gum or xanthan gum.

    Happy baking!

  • Anonymous February 21, 2012 at 11:07 pm / Reply

    Mine ended up a little flat…did I do something wrong or does it not really rise? Thank you!!

  • Maria Emmerich February 21, 2012 at 11:41 pm / Reply

    Since this bread doesn’t contain yeast, it won’t rise a lot. I hope you still enjoyed it!

    Happy Baking!

    • Anonymous September 7, 2012 at 9:50 pm / Reply

      Maria, confused – In ingredients, it says 6 eggs, separated. In instructions, it says to separate only 4 of the eggs into 2 bowls.
      After whipping the 4 egg whites and blending together the 4 egg yolks with the other ingredients, it says: “Then add the other 2 eggs (or 4 if not using coconut milk”… My questions are:

      1 – Do we seperate 6 eggs or only 4?
      2 – Are the 2 (or 4 eggs) that we are adding “the whole egg” or are they separated, using just the yolks and whipping the whites?
      3 – Are we supposed to whip all the egg whites?

      Love all your recipes. I can’t get anough of this blog and have ordered 1 of your cookbooks, but still waiting anxiously for it to come. Thanks for all the invaluable information.

    • Maria Emmerich September 17, 2012 at 7:02 pm / Reply

      Thank you! Here are your answers:

      1) Just 4 are separated. I updated that above.
      2) The whole egg
      3) Per answers 1 and 2, no, just the 4 you separate. 🙂

      Happy Baking! 🙂

  • Anonymous June 8, 2012 at 5:45 pm / Reply

    I can’t get enough of your blog! I think I need to order your books.
    This bread is so delicious – I made it twice already. It turned out much better than I even hoped!

    I just stopped treatment for Lyme disease (antibiotics and supplements) and I’m trying to heal myself with just food now. No sugar, no starch, lots of vegetables, grass-fed meat, probiotics etc. In just 1 week, I am feeling so much better! I have a long way to go, but I’m hopeful.
    Anyway, it feels like I am cooking all. the. time. So it’s been so nice to have a loaf (or two!) of this in the fridge for an easy snack!

    Thank you so much for the great recipes! And I’ve been trying to vote every day that I remember for your little Kai – he’s such a cutie! 🙂

  • Melissa June 20, 2012 at 5:35 am / Reply

    I made these this morning- but I fried the batter (like “donut balls”) in palm oil and then rolled the fried “donuts” in truvia/cinnamon. Yummy! Thank you for all these delicius recipes! <3

  • leanandclean27 August 16, 2012 at 8:00 pm / Reply

    the bread came out looking great (nothing like the picture though) but sadly, it didnt taste good! 🙁

  • Mr.D September 1, 2012 at 11:57 pm / Reply

    Is ther a substitute for Swerve

    • Maria Emmerich September 2, 2012 at 12:38 pm / Reply

      Next to it it says “(or Erythritol and 1 tsp stevia glycerite)”. That is an option. 🙂

  • Unknown September 12, 2012 at 12:58 am / Reply

    I made this in cupcake molds about an hour ago, OMG, SUPER DELICIOUS!!! I was hesitant because I ran out of stevia glycerite & wasn’t sure of cooking time, so only used Erythritol and baked for 45mins and they turned out fabulous. I’m not much of a baker, but I cannot believe how much I enjoyed the process of making them and how moist they turned out. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

  • titivillus September 23, 2012 at 10:20 pm / Reply

    can home grown dried stevia be used in your recipes and how do I discover the amount to use? you have the most amazing website; many thanks

    • Maria Emmerich September 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm / Reply

      I have never tried it. I think the taste in pretty bitter from what I understand. Let me know how it works if you try it. 🙂

  • Annie B.Ros November 20, 2012 at 11:46 pm / Reply

    Maria, just stopping by to praise this recipe. My husband and I tried it for the first time today and it came out AMAZING! Finally, I enjoyed bread-like consistency after having given up wheat 6 months ago! happy dance 😀
    We added a shredded carrot (even though you suggest considering it a treat that is to be used sparingly) and a bit more zucchini than it says in the recipe. I also substituted baking powder with a mix of baking soda and cream of tartar, as it is impossible to find gluten-free baking powder where we currently live. Thanks again for the amazing recipes and happy Gotcha & Thanksgiving! 🙂

  • Natasha Iglehart December 1, 2012 at 1:26 am / Reply

    Oh my!! I just made this recipe today and it was amazing. I’ve made other variations in the past, but they were always too moist. Your recipe is by far the best. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Maria Emmerich December 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm / Reply

      Thank you Natasha! 🙂

    • Natasha Iglehart January 5, 2013 at 12:26 am / Reply


      Do you have the protein calculation figured out? I’m trying to keep track of my calories (protein in particular), but I don’t think I am doing the calculation correctly. Thanks!

    • Maria Emmerich January 5, 2013 at 8:43 pm / Reply

      About 3g per serving. 🙂

  • Cici July 19, 2013 at 1:53 pm / Reply

    Canned coconut milk or the carton variety?

    • Maria Emmerich July 19, 2013 at 2:28 pm / Reply

      I always use canned coconut milk. The cartons usually have junk added (sugar and other junk). 🙂

  • becca August 13, 2013 at 10:42 pm / Reply

    Maria is magnesium asparate an ok form to take?

    • cemmerich August 14, 2013 at 12:45 am / Reply

      From what I have read, it is not. The glycinate form is much better.

  • becca August 18, 2013 at 12:05 am / Reply

    Maria, im on a low carb clean diet of all chemicals and processed foods and staying away from soybean oils and all others besides olive and coconut oils and take an omega 3 pill so do I need to take an omega 6 fatty acid as well? I eat nuts on occasion are those enough omega 6 in a heakthy diet?

    • cemmerich August 18, 2013 at 1:36 pm / Reply

      I would only take extra omega-6 if you have symptoms (like dry skin, etc.) 🙂

  • becca August 18, 2013 at 12:48 am / Reply

    And with the magnesium you say not to take with calcium nut every where I go it is often togetherbas calcium magnesium and sometimes with zinc and then I read that mag and cal needs to be a 2 to 1 ratio or a 1 to 1 ratio. Can you help me understand this?

    • cemmerich August 18, 2013 at 1:37 pm / Reply

      It makes no sense. I don’t know why they do that.

  • Stephanie August 26, 2013 at 5:57 pm / Reply

    Do you eat this cold or warm? How long can it be stored in the fridge?

    • cemmerich August 26, 2013 at 10:40 pm / Reply

      I eat it both ways. I store in fridge for up to 2 weeks. 🙂

  • leslie dapper September 9, 2013 at 1:12 am / Reply

    This is delicious. I used the coconut milk. Even my husband loved it. We ate it for dessert. Can’t wait to have it for breakfast.

    • cemmerich September 9, 2013 at 5:51 pm / Reply


  • Michelle M September 25, 2013 at 1:48 pm / Reply

    I’ve made this twice now. The first time I followed the recipe exactly…it was good, but “eggy” and a little crumbly. The second time I doubled the zucchini and added a tablespoon of psyllium husk powder to soak up the extra liquid. I loved it!! I’m sure my modification altered the calories/carbs/fiber counts, but it’s still better for us than traditional style with “enriched white flour”!

    Thanks for all of your great recipes, Maria!

    • cemmerich September 25, 2013 at 2:56 pm / Reply

      Awesome! Thanks for the tips. 🙂

  • Megan N November 3, 2013 at 7:30 pm / Reply

    This is another one to add to my list of favorite Maria recipes. I made this bread for the first time today and it is delicious. It was easy to make and turned out great. It was a little flakey when I cut it up and broke around the corners. Is there a trick to cutting the bread? Should I put in the fridge first and than cut it?

    • cemmerich November 4, 2013 at 2:35 pm / Reply

      Cooling it may help. Thanks!

  • […] Zucchini Coconut Bread from Maria Mind Body Health […]

  • Valerie Pergolizzi June 14, 2014 at 1:42 am / Reply

    This is my by far, my favorite bread recipe! I’ve learned to ‘scoop and sweep’ when using coconut flour and this bread is awesome! I skipped the icing and can’t wait to toast it tomorrow for breakfast! I emailed the recipe to my sister who I am trying to introduce to a ketogenic lifestyle since she has fibromyalgia. #bestbreadever!

    • cemmerich June 14, 2014 at 1:14 pm / Reply

      Thank you!

  • Adrienne July 11, 2014 at 11:58 am / Reply

    Very yummy! My kids even liked it. I find though that to make 14 servings, those are VERY small servings – like slivers of bread, not full pieces. Is the nutritional value really based on 1/14 of the recipe? Seems like a lot of calories and not much fiber for that small a piece. Also wondering how much the consistency would chance if I subbed half the eggs for egg whites alone and if I used half as much stevia (was pretty sweet with the full half-cup).

    • cemmerich July 11, 2014 at 2:02 pm / Reply

      Thanks! As you can see in my photo, a slice isn’t too small. Maybe yours didn’t rise as much as mine. Some brands of coconut flour can do that. 🙂

  • Kari Bryant July 31, 2014 at 7:09 pm / Reply

    Hi Maria,
    I’m loving this blog. We do a lot of these things in our diet, and I was happy to find this recipe as our garden is currently producing zucchini like crazy! My question is this: My son was actually born without a thyroid. So, I know that several supplements and dietary habits can support your thyroid, but I’m curious to know how you would go about tending to a child’s nutrition who does not have one altogether, but must take a synthetic thyroid hormone for survival. Would things like bromine even matter? He does have some sensory issues and sleep problems…but?? Thanks!!!

    • cemmerich August 2, 2014 at 1:26 pm / Reply

      Sorry, but not sure. I worked with many people who have their thyroid removed, but in those cases there is always some still left. Not sure about your sons situation. 🙂

  • Crystal August 5, 2014 at 11:17 am / Reply

    Made this zucchini bread last night and it was a SUCCESS! Taste was spot on and texture was quite bread-like. (Though it did have a little of that typical, coconut-floury, dry-mouth feel. If that even makes sense.) The only issue came when I attempted to remove the loaf from the pan. I ended up with three big chunks and a considerable amount of crumbs. I am thinking I may have made a mistake in removing excess water from the zucchini beforehand. Should I have left the zucchini alone?

    • cemmerich August 5, 2014 at 1:38 pm / Reply

      I would leave some of the moisture next time. 🙂

  • Petra August 8, 2014 at 8:16 pm / Reply

    Baking right now… the smell is amazing. Can’t wait to taste it! 🙂

  • Kathy August 31, 2014 at 12:54 pm / Reply

    I am anxious to try this Sugar free Grain free Zucchini Bread. Sounds delicious!

  • Kelley October 4, 2014 at 6:00 am / Reply

    any suggestions for an egg free option?

  • Pam January 12, 2015 at 6:48 am / Reply

    I made this yesterday and it came out perfectly with two changes. I squeezed out all of the water out of the zucchini before incorporating it into the batter. I also baked it for 20 minutes longer with a piece of foil over the top to keep it from getting too dark. It came out perfectly and I sliced it when it was cool. Delicious!

    • Maria Emmerich January 12, 2015 at 9:18 am / Reply


  • Margaret February 4, 2015 at 7:12 am / Reply

    Made into muffins and they’re great. Breakfast this week has been 2 muffins. Thank you for all of the recipes.

    • Maria Emmerich February 4, 2015 at 12:20 pm / Reply


  • Erin February 24, 2015 at 11:05 am / Reply

    Do you think this would still work with 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup instead of the 1/2 cup Swerve (or Erythritol and 1 tsp stevia glycerite)??

    • Maria Emmerich February 24, 2015 at 2:00 pm / Reply

      I don’t cook with those ingredients as they could cause huge blood sugar spikes and kick me out of ketosis. So not sure.

  • Francine June 10, 2015 at 3:30 pm / Reply

    I would like to know if coconut sugar can be used instead of the the sugars you mentioned, those are harsh on my stomach and I can’t have them. Coconut sugar is amazing for baking and has a great taste without the fake bitter sugar taste. If I were to use the coconut sugar, what is the amount you recommend using?

  • Ilyssa June 20, 2015 at 12:28 pm / Reply

    this recipe is wonderful!!! Tastes great. The external is perfect but internally mine came out pretty moist. Something I can do to fix that??

    • Maria Emmerich June 20, 2015 at 1:25 pm / Reply

      Thanks! It should dry out when you toast it. Next time try to ring out some of the moisture form the zucchini. 😉

  • Southern Summer | spencer family livin August 2, 2015 at 11:28 pm / Reply

    […] had some zucchini in the fridge for a couple weeks, so I looked up a healthier version of zucchini bread.  I don’t follow a strict paleo diet by any means…and frankly I’m still not even […]

  • jeri October 23, 2015 at 6:03 pm / Reply

    Love that recipe…. except I am allergic to eggs. Do you think it will work with egg substitutes? If so, which egg substitutes. I am new to this egg allergy. Thanks.

    • Maria Emmerich October 25, 2015 at 9:57 am / Reply

      It could. Not sure though.

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