Coconut milk is an absolutely deee-licious non-dairy alternative.
It’s a staple in my kitchen, where I primary use it for chia pudding. Which I’m very into.
Yes, I make so much chia pudding that I consider coconut milk a staple.
Unfortunately, most store-bought coconut milks are filled with some questionable additives.
One of the most offensive: carrageenan.
A Little Reminder About Carraggenan
Carrageenan is a substance that is extracted from red seaweed (so naturally-derived) and widely used in the food industry for its thickening and stabilizing properties. It is most commonly used in milk and milk products including non-dairy milk alternatives such as coconut, rice, soy, and almond milk.
Carrageenan is one of the additives that has been ushered through the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) technical review process in the scandal that has been referred to as the “Organic Watergate.” In essence, it really should not have been approved for use in organic food (or any food!) but due to corporate pressure, now appears in many brands of “organic” as well as non-organic milk and non-dairy milk alternatives.
So why shouldn’t carrageenan be in our food? As much as 25% of the carregeenan on the market is characterized as “degraded.” Furthermore, all carrageenan can degrade in the body, in the gastrointestinal tract and liver, where it causes serious inflammation and intestinal abnormalities. These side effects are well-known among the scientific community as carrageenan is given to lab animals to produce inflammatory symptoms in order to test anti-inflammatory drugs. What’s more, degraded carrageenan is also a potential carcinogen. In fact, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer and the National Research Council of the United States have deemed carrageenan to be a carcinogen.
The packaging of coconut milk can also be concerning.
The coconut milk with the least additives is often sold in BPA-lined cans.
And as we know, BPA-free is a load of BPS, so even those coconut milks sold in BPA-free-lined cans isn’t as wonderful as they’d like us to think.
Luckily, coconut milk is so cheap and easy to make at home! And even more yummy than the store-bought versions.
- 4 cups filtered water
- 2 cups shredded coconut
You’ll also need:
- A nut milk bag (this one is made from organic cotton and hemp fiber)
- A high-speed blender (I love my Vitamix soooo much and highly recommend investing in one, especially if you are a smoothie lover)
Add the water and shredded coconut to your blender, and blend on high for 30 seconds to a minute. Pour the blended mixture into a pot, and heat on the stovetop until it is hot but not boiling. Then turn the burner off and allow the mixture to cool for about half an hour.
Finally, position the nut milk bag in a large bowl so that you can pour the mixture into the bag. Pour the mixture, and wring the milk out of the bag — the coconut pulp will be left behind in the bag.
Bottle your coconut milk (I like these glass swing-top bottles) and enjoy it within 5 days!
If you’d like, you can flavor your coconut milk.
My favorite combination has been 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract and a few drops of liquid stevia for a little sweetness.