Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Secret Weapon #3 - Coconut Milk

This week I'm sharing some of my "secret weapons" for eating healthier! Today's weapon of choice: Coconut Milk
 
I'm not talking about the kind of coconut milk you get in a can.
 
I'm talking about this:
 
How do you milk a coconut?
Haha!  Coconut milk is made from the grated meat of a coconut.  Similarly to other alternative milks (soy, almond, oat, hemp, rice, etc.) you mix the coconut meat with water to get coconut milk.  I've seen people online who've made their own - but I buy mine!
 
Where can I get this stuff?
My local grocery store sells the SoDelicious brand (my favorite) in the organic dair section.  Target carries some coconut milk, too - I think they carry the Silk brand maybe?  You can also check with the unrefrigerated milk items.  My store carries smaller cartons of this with the almond/rice/oat milk.
 
What kind should I get?
I use the unsweetened (the green carton in the picture) variety in my smoothie every morning, and in cooking/baking.  I add a few drops of Stevia to the smoothie to make it a little sweeter.  I choose this one because it has less calories - only 50 per cup!  The vanilla and regular are tasty too - and some stores carry chocolate, which is divine!! It makes the best hot chocolate when it's heated and it's only 100 calories for a cup!
 
They also sell ice cream made with coconut milk that is AWESOME!
 
This has a lot of fat in it. Isn't 5g of saturated fat bad for me?
Well, it depends on the type.  The saturated fat found in coconut milk is a medium chain fatty acid (MCFA).  The type of saturated fat that is harmful for our health is long chain fatty acid.  MCFAs are absorbed differently by the body.  And, the "no fat" diets of the past were bad for us anyway!  Your body needs some fat to maintain good health!
 
How do I use this?
I use it just like regular milk - anytime a recipe calls for milk, I use SoDelicious! I've never had any trouble.  I also use the SoDelicious coffee creamer on occasion, too. 
 
Does it taste like coconuts?
Nope.  I think the original might, but I can't remember.  The unsweetened really doesn't have a lot of flavor, similar to cow's milk.  It definitely doesn't taste like you're drinking a coconut.
 
Why do you drink this?
I have switched totally to coconut milk.  I started noticing that everytime I had coffee with cow's milk, I found myself  - ahem - rushing to the restroom within the next hour.  I thought it was the coffee.  Then, I tried drinking my coffee with the SoDelicious French Vanilla coffee creamer (made with coconut milk) and noticed the problem went away.  So I stopped drinking milk.  Yogurt doesn't have the same affect on me, which I believe (after a little research) is because of the cultures in yogurt.
 
Why use coconut milk?  Why not soy or almond?
I prefer the taste and texture of coconut milk.  I don't like the taste of soy or almond milk as much and they're both a little watery.  The unsweeted coconut milk blends with anything, but I notice the flavor of soy and almond milks when I use them.  Also, soy is one of the leading genetically modified and pesticide sprayed crops in our country.  So I'll only drink soy milk if it's organic.  (Luckily, Starbucks uses organic soy milk so I can get my latte!)  Almonds are also heavily sprayed with pesticides, so go with organic almond milk too!  SoDelicious is organic, but non-organic coconuts are also very minimally treated with pesticides so it's a safer bet!
 

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