Ten years ago we received an amazing letter from Donald Agar in Pittsfield, Massachusetts: “I have had Crohn's disease for 40 years, and during that time I have had a never-ending battle with diarrhea. Lomotil helps some, but it doesn't eliminate the problem.
“Three months ago, I bought a box of Archway Coconut Macaroon cookies. I've been eating two a day and I have not experienced diarrhea in that time. If by chance I eat three in a day, I get constipated. Believe me, I have a new life now.
“My brother-in-law has a friend who just had cancer and suffered diarrhea as a consequence of the operation. We told him about the cookies and they corrected his diarrhea. I would be delighted if others were helped by my discovery, too.”
We invited others to share their experiences with coconut macaroon cookies for diarrhea. Over the next decade we heard from hundreds of readers, most reporting amazing results. Here are just a few examples:
“I read your column on the effect that coconut macaroons might have on Crohn's Disease. Having suffered with this dread disease for years with little relief, I bought four boxes of Archway's product. Much to my shock, there has been dramatic improvement in my symptoms in less than one week. My gastroenterologist pooh-poohed the idea, but I can honestly state that the macaroons have given me far more relief than any medication I have taken.”
Another reader had a different health problem that caused diarrhea: “I had a kidney transplant (donated by my beautiful daughter Lizzie) and the medicines I have to take really do a number on my stomach. I was having so much diarrhea that it made my hemorrhoids bleed. When I read about the coconut cookies, I tried them and you know what? They worked!”
This reader offered another story: “I shared this information with my brother-in-law who'd had diarrhea since radiation treatment on his prostate burned his colon and caused demoralizing daily diarrhea. The macaroons worked for him. He is elated and is actually planning to take some extended driving trips. He eats two a day.”
Sadly, all the enthusiasm for Archway Coconut Macaroon Cookies wasn’t enough to keep the company out of bankruptcy. A reader just lamented: “We recently learned that Archway has gone out of business. No longer will we be able to get their coconut macaroons. Do you have a suggestion for another brand or will any coconut macaroon work?”
We have heard from many readers that the coconut is the critical ingredient in the cookies. Homemade coconut macaroons have been used effectively by a number of readers. Here is one recipe from Stephanie Muravchik of Charlottesville, VA: Preheat oven to 250. Cover a cookie sheet with greased tinfoil. Mix 2/3 c. sweetened condensed milk, one egg white, 1.5 tsp. vanilla, and a pinch of salt until well combined. Add 3.5 c. shredded sweet coconut and mix well. Drop by tablespoons onto sheet and bake 20 to 25 minutes until well browned.
For a fluffier cookie, beat the egg white separately and fold in after the coconut has been added. We make no guarantees that these cookies will work as well as the Archway brand. Since Archway is no longer available, though, they are worth a try.