It is the Year of the Coconut! Or so you would think based on all the coconut products that are littering the shelves these days. And for good reason. Coconuts supply us with medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), a saturated fat that has numerous health benefits, including weight loss, improving your gut bacteria and improved energy. Check out this article for a more complete look at the benefits of coconut oil.
Coconut milk is one easy way to get your daily MCTs, but not all coconut milks are created equal. Like many nut-milks, processed milk substitutes often contain potentially harmful additives such as calcium phosphate, magnesium phosphate, sulfur dioxide, guar gum...the list continues. There are a few brands that do their best to keep their milk clean (Natural Value, Aroy-D and Golden Star), but your best bet is to make your own!
There are a few ways to tackle this project, including cracking open a fresh coconut and blending the meat with the water, or using shredded coconut if you misplaced your machete, but I think the easiest/fastest way is with coconut butter, aka coconut cream concentrate.
Homemade Coconut Milk
1-2 tablespoons coconut butter (Tropical Traditions is one of the best brands on the market)
1 cup water
Blend above ingredients. Play with the ratio to increase or decrease creaminess. Refrigerate and use within 4 days.
Simple! Either enjoy it as is or throw in your favorite smoothie ingredients. My go-to is the Green Monster.
Green Monster with Coconut Milk
1 cup homemade coconut milk (see above)
1 cup baby spinach
1 frozen banana
1/2 scoop protein powder (optional)
Blend all of the ingredients in a blender for 30-90 seconds and enjoy!
I find this a simpler option than making your own almond milk, which requires a nut bag, or even cashew milk which requires some forethought as you have to soak the nuts for 4+ hours. Think of it as the lazy man's milk substitute.
This article draws from Dee McCaffrey's The Science of Skinny Cookbook, which is a good resource not just for coconut milk, but also for clean eating in general. It's worth picking up.