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I really love to drink and use coconut milk. It's super healthy, it smells and tastes delightful, and frankly it's by far my favorite non-dairy milk beverage. I have tried all of the different brands and enjoy a wide array of different coconut milks. What I really wanted to taste, is fresh homemade coconut milk. I just knew it had to be better than the store bought coconut milk (isn't everything always better homemade???).
All the coconut milks in your grocery store contain additives
The sucky thing about all of the coconut milks at the grocery store, is their ingredients. Even the organic coconut milks contain the same additives as the non-organic coconut milks! Some of the additives to look out for in nut milks, coconut milk, and soy milk are:
Carrageenan – I first learned carrageenan from reading about it on Vani Hari's blog Food Babe. She has a lot to say about it! :
“when I found out that it’s used in many dairy-substitutes like nut milks. Carrageenan is added as a thickener and to keep ingredients from separating as an emulsifier, but it’s known to cause digestion problems and is contaminated with“degraded carrageenan”. Tests have found as much as 25% degraded carrageenan in “food-grade carrageenan” (the kind used in some coconut milks). As reported in the news recently, a new study published in Nature, found that emulsifiers may be contributing to the “rising incidence of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease by interfering with microbes in the gastrointestinal tract”. Many mainstream brands are removing (or have removed) carrageenan from their products, like Silk and So Delicious – but it’s still found at Starbucks and in Coconut Dream brand.”
Gellan Gum, Locust Bean Gum and Guar Gum– These ingredients are known to cause stomach issues like bloating and gas in people who have sensitive digestive systems. I prefer to use these in my body care products than in my food! You can find these in more than just nut milks. These gums can be found in salad dressings and more!
Added Sugar – Milk from a cow does not come sweetened with sugar, nor should milk from any other source. I am trying to avoid processed sugars in my life, so if I really want this sweetened, I will add chocolate or strawberries to it in my blender, instead!
Natural Flavors – I don't understand the need for natural flavors when you are making something from the source! Natural flavors are very concerning to me because they are a proprietary concoction of chemicals could contain just about anything, and as recently reported on CNN, may contain:
“anywhere from 50 to 100 ingredients. And all of the extra ingredients in flavors often aren’t as innocent as you’d hope they would be. The mixture will often have some solvent and preservatives — and that makes up 80 to 90 percent of the volume”
Making your own coconut milk is super easy!
The best part about making your own coconut milk? It's so easy that even the kiddos can do it! Seriously, get the kiddos in your kitchen right this instant, because they will be super excited to find out just how easy it is to make their own milk…and you know how they usually eat/drink what they make themselves? You can compost the leftover coconut flakes, or throw them in your smoothies! I have even re-used them again to make a second batch of coconut milk!
Homemade Coconut Milk
- Combine all of the ingredients in a blender/food processor/ninja/vitamix/Blendtec etc.
- Blend ingredients for 3-5 minutes, or until creamy looking.
- Strain out coconut milk, using a nut milk bag or a fine mesh strainer. (I like to use these for all of my straining purposes!)
- Drink immediately or store in your fridge. Drink within 1 week for best taste and nutrients.
- Chocolate Milk – after straining coconut out of all of the milk, add to the blender the coconut milk, 2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Vanilla Milk – 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Strawberry Milk – 1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
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