Coconut milk is a very nutritious alternative to cow’s milk – for those who are allergic, vegan, or just want to switch to a healthier alternative. Unfortunately, many of the coconut milks in the store contain additives, sweeteners and preservatives that I’m not comfortable consuming. So, I make my own!
I went off dairy products a few months ago when I went on the GAPS diet (read more about that here) and to hopefully cure my eczema. I found dairy, sugar and grains to be the kickers that really make the eczema worse, along with lots of other symptoms like exhaustion, fatigue, brain fog, moodiness, anxiety, and even chronic pain. So, I’ve switched to making my own coconut milk because store-bought coconut milk often contains Carrageenan (and so do many other dairy products) which has been known to cause inflammation, gut irritation and even cancer (source) and Guar Gum (which can irritate the gut lining and isn’t good for folks with digestive problems (source). Canned coconut milk can be really good, though, I just don’t like the taste as much as homemade. So, in a pinch, I do use the canned version from Natural Value (where to buy) which has BPA-free cans and no added chemicals (but it isn’t organic, which is okay for me. The organic brand has guar gum in it.). Please make sure you buy a BPA-free can!!
Coconuts Are SO Nutritious!
What makes coconuts so nutritious? Well, the BBC writes it best:
Coconuts contain significant amounts of fat, but unlike other nuts, they provide fat that is mostly in the form of medium chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs) in particular, one called lauric acid. Lauric acid is converted in the body into a highly beneficial compound called monolaurin, an antiviral and antibacterial that destroys a wide variety of disease causing organisms. It is therefore now thought that consumption of coconut milk may help protect the body from infections and viruses.
Regular consumption of coconut products is a great way to reap all the benefits. I use coconut oil like crazy and buy it by the gallon from Tropical Traditions. I use it for cooking oil, sometimes as a butter replacement, in the oil pulling method (to extract toxins from the body via the mouth), and in my beauty products (like deodorant and lotion).
Gather Your Supplies
- Nut milk bag (canvas ones are the best (where to buy)) or cheesecloth. A nut milk bag is really nice to have if you will do this on a regular basis as it is sturdy and can be used, reused and washed.
- Mason jars or other glass storage containers (1 quart size)
- A large bowl
How to Make Coconut Milk from Shredded Coconut
Coconut milk is a delicious and nutritious alternative to cow’s milk and it’s easy and healthier to make at home without added preservatives, artificial sweeteners and chemicals.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 10 mins
- Yield: 1 quart 1x
- 1 cup shredded coconut – I buy Bob’s Red Mill Shredded Coconut (where to buy) or this one from Tropical Traditions
- 4 cups hot water (filtered is best)
- Optional, for flavor: 1 to 2 teaspoons organic or homemade vanilla extract (like Rodelle Pure Organic Vanilla Extract (where to buy), 1-2 tablespoons raw organic honey (I buy honey by the gallon from Tropical Traditions – it’s the BEST!)
- Bring the 4 cups of water to a light boil. Remove from heat and let cool about 5 minutes so it’s no longer a roving boil, but still hot. Basically, you’re creating your own hot, distilled water.
- Pour the water and all the ingredients into your blender (again, make sure it has cooled down some or the pressure from the boiling water will cause the water to explode out of your blender!)
- Blend for about 2-3 minutes to really break apart the coconut to extract the meat from it. If you have a really high-powered blender, it might go faster.
- Let cool to warm, since the water was hot.
- Then, gather your large bowl and nut milk bag.
- Pour the coconut milk into the nut milk bag while it’s OVER the bowl.
- The milk will start to strain immediately, then close the bag and squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can (it may take several minutes).
- Keep squeezing until the coconut inside the bag is mealy and nearly dry.
- Pour into your milk container and enjoy!