If you’ve ever picked up a box of coconut milk from the store and read the ingredients, it probably looked something like this: water, coconut cream, cane sugar, tricalcium phosphate, carrageenan, guar gum, coconut water concentrate, natural flavors…
The list of ingredients in most store bought coconut milks is absolutely ridiculous, especially since you only need 2 ingredients to make it – COCONUT AND WATER!
I’m here to show you 3 ways to make coconut milk with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. I think some of you might be shocked at how easy it is…
Watch the brand new Food Babe TV episode here:
This is why I don’t buy store bought coconut milk, just look at all the unnecessary ingredients…
Packaged coconut milks are full of unnecessary additives like these :
Carrageenan – I’ve written extensively about carrageenan since 2012, 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 personally try not to consume these ingredients on a regular basis especially for foods that I have often like coconut milk and other nut milks.
Added Sugar – There is no need to sweeten coconut milk, and you can always sweeten it with sweeteners you prefer at home. Also, some of us would like to drink a coconut milk Starbucks latte without added sugar, and if customers want a sweet drink they can request that sweeteners are added when they order.
Natural Flavors – If they simply used more coconut cream and less “thickening agents”, would these fake flavors be needed? This proprietary concoction of chemicals could contain just about anything naturally-derived, 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”.
Synthetic Vitamin D2 – This form of vitamin D isn’t natural (created in a lab), and you’ll often see it added to non-dairy products. Vitamin D2 has been shown to be insufficient and not suitable for fortification, but food manufacturers continue to needlessly fortify their products with it.
Corn Dextrin & Xanthan Gum – These are more thickening agents, typically made from GMO corn. Xanthan gum is often derived from corn, and its consumption can cause gastrointestinal issues. Corn is an increasingly common allergen and more people are reporting an intolerance to eating corn-based products. What’s corn doing in coconut milk, anyway?
The bottom line: None of these ingredients belong in coconut milk, and they certainly don’t improve the nutritional value.
The crazy thing is that coconut milk is one of the easiest things to make in the world (as you can see from the video above). There’s absolutely no reason to ever buy coconut milk at the grocery store (or from Starbucks) when it literally takes less than five minutes to make – and you don’t even need to crack a coconut!
Supplies for homemade coconut milk:
- Natural Value Coconut Milk (12-pack) (option 1 in the video) FYI – I buy these cans in bulk so I always have something in the pantry, and it’s cheaper!
- Organic Shredded, Unsweetened Coconut (option 2 in the video)
- Organic Coconut Manna (option 3 in the video)
- Stainless Steel Mesh Strainer
- Glass Pitcher
- Check out my favorite blenders here