28 Uses for Coconut Milk: The Ultimate Dairy Alternative

Coconut is a dairy-free girl’s best friend. It’s that huge sigh of relief when you realize creamy ice cream can still be a part of your life. I did a little dance the first time I tasted coconut whipped cream. I wanted to shout, “Yay! My tastebuds are no longer deprived!” Coconut makes a delicious alternative that’s rich in key nutrients.

High in magnesium, 1 cup of coconut milk contains 88.8mg and this combined with it’s content of calcium keeps muscles and nerves functioning properly. It is also an excellent source of potassium, where 1 cup has over 630mg compared to 422mg in 1 banana. It is also rich in vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6.

A saturated fat, coconut is a medium chain fatty acid and quickly absorbed as energy in the liver. The body views it as priority energy and is therefor less likely be stored as fat. Coconut’s fat make-up contains lauric acid which the body converts to monolaurin, an antiviral and antibacterial that protects against infections and viruses. It is easily digested, making it a good choice for people working to heal their gut.

This table is a good run-down of all the nutrition in coconut milk.

For the best results and the most nutritional value, I recommend using organic, canned full fat coconut milk or cream. Native Forest and Let’s Do Organic are good brands I like. Coconut milk separates into water and cream in the can. When you open the can, drain off the water and use the cream for all the substitutions below. You can drink the water or add it into smoothies. Watch my video on how to do this here.

1. Coffee & Tea Creamer – add a spoonful of coconut cream right from the can into your cup.

Chai Tea dairy free

2. Creamy Soups – stir 2-3 tablespoons into any cream-based soup, such as a bisque or cream of mushroom soup.

3. Chowders – substitute coconut milk for the heavy cream

4. Substituted for cream and milk in any recipe

5. Whipped Cream – How to Make Dairy Free Whipped Cream 

6. Creamy Dressings – Dairy Free Ranch Dressing by Grass Fed Girl 

7. Creamy Dips like Spinach Artichoke Dip from Paleo Parent’s Real Life Paleo

8. Substitute for Sour Cream in any recipe + ½ teaspoon lemon juice

9. Curry Sauces

10. Smoothies – add ¼ cup to any smoothie – Find my Green Super Smoothie recipe here.

green super smoothie

11. Ice Cream – Sugar Free Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream by In Sonnet’s Kitchen

12. Milkshakes – substitute coconut milk for the ice cream

13. White Chocolate Candy – Better Than Candy Nut Crunchies by Free Coconut Recipes 

14. Candy Bark – Holiday Salted Peppermint Bark by PaleOMG

15. Cream Cheese – 5 Minute Coconut Cream Cheese by The Spunky Coconut 

16. Cake Frosting – layer thick coconut cream between cake layers and on top

17. Pumpkin Pie – Find my recipe here

Pumpkin Pie - dairy free

18. Frozen Pudding Pops

19. Chia Seed Pudding

20. Hot Chocolate

21. Combine with eggs for custard

22. Add to Scrambled Eggs

23. Substitute for Creme Fraiche

24. Alfredo Sauce – Find my recipe here.

 dairy free alfredo

 

25. Added to Mashed Potatoes

26. Substitute for condensed milk in any recipe + 1 tsp honey

27. Caramel Sauce – 3 Step Honey Caramel by The Urban Poser

28. Coconut Yogurt – Simple Coconut Yogurt by Paleo Plans 

 

References:

Harry Belafonte and the secret proteome of coconut milk, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22037231

Coconut Milk Benefits, http://www.med-health.net/Coconut-Milk-Benefits.html

1 Can Full Fat Coconut Milk Recipes, https://www.pinterest.com/recipes/1-can-full-fat-coconut-milk/

Green Super Smoothie

Green Super Smoothie

Happy New Year! Here’s to another year of happiness and continuing the health journey! I have an abundance of goals and ambitions for 2015 and the top of my list is focusing on my health. This means more greens and less sugar. Even those sneaky sugars in fruit and my ultimate weakness, raisins. Dried fruit is candy in disguise. Don’t let it fool you.

An easy way to get in more greens is by adding a handful of spinach to a smoothie. I choose smoothies over juice. Juicing removes all the good stuff and you miss out on the whole food benefits. Why waste all the pulpy goodness? I like to keep my smoothies simple with just a few ingredients. This version is a true green smoothie with no filler fruit. You can play around with different combinations using coconut milk, avocado and lime as a base.

Think of smoothies as a side dish, not a complete meal. It’s important to eat protein at each meal to keep you satiated enough throughout the day. So eat an egg, some sardines or liver to make this a breakfast. Spinach is full of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and folate. Although, our bodies can only absorb about 5% of the calcium in spinach. It has a high oxalate content and this binds to calcium making it unavailable for our bodies to use. Include a source of protein rich in vitamin D to help synthesize the calcium.

Green Super Smoothie
Green Super Smoothie
Makes 1 serving.

½ cup coconut milk
½ avocado
½ cup water
1 ½ tbsp fresh lime juice
1 cup raw spinach – packed down tightly

►Add all ingredients to your blender except the spinach. Blend until fully incorporated.
►When measuring the spinach, really pack it down to maximize the amount. Add into blender and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Green Super Smoothie

Resources:

Calcium and Vitamin D: Important at Every Age, http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Bone_Health/Nutrition/

What are the health benefits of spinach?, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270609.php

Coconut Milk Chai Latte

coconut milk chai latte
Hot chia is served for celebrations at my yoga studio. The spicy blend warms and soothes the body, a mimicking of yoga’s euphoria. It’s my version of a hot toddy, spiked with spice instead of liquor. I replaced the milk in this traditional recipe with coconut milk and to cut down on time, I used tea bags rather than blending my own spices. You can make your own chai of course. I decided to go the easy route and use the very convenient decaf chai tea bags. Danielle Walker of Against All Grain has a wonderful recipe and I encourage everyone to make it themselves at least once.

The trick to a creamy dairy-free latte is in the type of coconut milk. Fullfat canned coconut milk produces the best results. It contains the thick coconut cream that will separate from the watery part. That cream is the part to use when making this recipe. The canned light variations have a higher water to coconut milk ratio. Water is added to thin out the cream so you’re getting less coconut than if you were to use fullfat. It’s more economical to buy the fullfat and thin it yourself if you wish. I recommend going all in and choosing the cream for a delicious, rich drink and more healthy fat too.

Coconut Milk Chai Latte
Makes 4 servings. 

1 cup fullfat canned coconut milk (I like this brand)
2 cups water
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp maple syrup
4 decaf chai tea bags (I used this)

►Heat coconut milk and water over medium high heat in a saucepan. Once it begins to simmer, reduce heat to low.
►Add tea bags and allow to steep for 5 minutes.
►Remove tea bags. Stir in vanilla and maple syrup.
►Serve hot or cold.


Resources:

Chai Tea Concentrate, http://againstallgrain.com/2012/12/20/chai-tea-concentrate/