Coconut Milk: My Personal Dairy Alternative of Choice

Hey there! Did you know that June  is Dairy Alternatives Month? It’s also Dairy Month, but since I can’t consume any dairy without having a coconutmilkcrazy autoimmune response that makes my arthritis flare like a raging brushfire, I’m just going to focus on dairy alternatives.

I’m sure you have noticed a whole slew of commercial dairy alternatives on the market recently. First there was soy milk, rice milk, and almond milk. Now you can even find pre-packaged hemp milk, oat milk, cashew milk, etc.

There are so many options available on the market if you have a dairy allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity. The downside is that most commercial dairy alternatives are highly-processed foods.  Most of them contain additives like Carrageenan and guar gum. Some of them also have added ingredients like sugar, salt, and canola oil. If you have autoimmune or digestive issues, you have to be careful with additives and extraneous ingredients.  For this reason, I recommend making your own dairy alternative at home or searching for a commercial brand that only contains two ingredients (the main ingredient and water).

My personal dairy alternative of choice is coconut milk. Firstly, my girls have life-threatening tree nut allergies so I am not about to fool with any nut milks–plus I have my own autoimmune issues with  nuts (in case you’re wondering, coconuts are tropical fruits in the drupe family, not nuts). Secondly, coconuts are a very nutritious choice. They are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Since I don’t eat any processed foods at all, I actually have to consciously add adequate amounts of healthy fat in my diet. Coconuts are high in healthy fats called, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), that help lower your risk of heart disease. They are also high in lauric acid which helps the body to fight harmful bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

While coconuts are a nutritious choice, I am careful not to consume too much coconut milk. I usually save it for an occasional berry smoothie. I have IBS and coconuts are FODMAPS. Research has shown that diets low in FODMAPS do help reduce the symptoms of IBS.

If you decide you would like to make your own coconut milk, it is very simple.

I just add 1 cup of shredded coconut and 2 cups of filtered water in my Vitamix blender and blend until it reaches my desired consistency.

Don’t have time to make your own?

Here are 3 things to look for when shopping for quality commercial coconut milk:

1) Make sure it only contains 2 ingredients.

Coconut and water. Enough said.

2) No chemical concoctions.

Watch out for stabilizers, emulsifiers, and whiteners (no carrageenan, guar gum, or other gums)

3) Make sure the can is BPA-Free.

BPA is an unstable compound and it’s lipophilic (fat-loving) so it can leach into your food, especially a high-fat food like coconut milk.

I have been able to find one brand that meets this criteria and is also kosher. It is called Natural Value. If you know of others, feel free to leave a comment below and spread the word. I would love to hear your tips on living dairy free!

 

 

About Tiffany deSilva

Hi I'm Tiffany deSilva, MSW, CPC, CHC, Founder of BrightFire Living, LLC. I am a social worker, speaker, author, certified health, wellness and lifestyle coach, certified green living coach and toxic-free consultant. I am passionate about helping women like you to detox each area of your life, safeguard your family's health, and live life fully charged and completely lit up! I am on a mission to empower women and families who are managing food allergies, autoimmune disorders, and other modern chronic health conditions to live a safe, happy, and healthy life that truly lights your fire!

Feedback & Comments:

  1. Good article, Tiffany. I especially like that you mention we should avoid guar gums and carrageenan in many prepared non dairy milks.

    One point (although hopefully everyone reading a health blog knows this): use unsweetened coconut flakes in the coconut milk recipe above.

  2. Making mine today! I already make almond milk. (No Allergies) and this looks even easier. Thanks for the information:-)

  3. Loving this. Had never really thought about making my own coconut milk before, definitely will have to try this out. I don’t have a nut allergy and do drink almond milk and know from experience finding one without carrageenan and any gums has been a mission.

    • Tiffany deSilva says:

      Thanks! Yes, it can be hard to find milks without stabilizers and emulsifiers. Let me know how the coconut turns out for you.

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