coconut milk

Is Coconut Milk Paleo?

Coconut milk photo
Photo by simpleprovisions

Is Coconut Milk Paleo?

Coconut milk has a few misconceptions swirling around the evolutionary foodie-verse about it— both about what it actually is and about whether it’s Paleo-friendly. Many think that coconut milk is the liquid inside a fresh coconut (that’s actually coconut water), but the milk is actually a prepared beverage. Made by mixing shredded coconut and water, the mixture is simmered, strained and squeezed to create the rich, creamy drink we call coconut milk.

Found in both cans and cartons, not all coconut milks are created equally. While a can of pure coconut milk sporting an ingredient list of coconut and water is pretty clear on where it falls on the Paleo spectrum, there are other health factors to consider. If it’s in a can, BPA (Bisphenol-A), a component of the can’s metal lining, can potentially leach into the milk. BPA has been found to have estrogenic activity and has been linked to a role in a host of diseases, from diabetes to cancer. Look for brands that are BPA-free.

Additionally, many companies turn out milks with not-so-nice additive s and ingredients. Some add in thickeners, gums or carrageenan, which can cause digestive problems, especially for those with compromised gastrointestinal systems.

Coconut milk in cartons can fall even farther away from a clean ingredient list, prompting it be called a “coconut beverage . ” Many companies turning out coconut milk in cartons sweeten it, flavor it and add thickeners — not the real deal when it comes to coconut milk.

To avoid any additives or ingredients that might cause issues, many Paleo advocates recommend making your own. Try using shredded dried coconut and mix it with water to create your own coconut milk.

So, is it Paleo?

If you make your own from just coconut meat and water, then the answer is a resounding yes. Things get murky, however, when choosing store-bought brands. Depending on ingredients and personal preference in avoiding BPAs, it can be a bit of a judgment call on what type of coconut milk is acceptable on a Paleo regimen.

What do the Paleo gurus say?

Chris Kresser says: “Coconut milk is often a staple fat source for those following a Paleo diet. From a nutritional perspective, it’s an excellent choice.” However, he cautions that “Women who are trying to get pregnant, are pregnant or breastfeeding, children and other vulnerable populations (chronically ill) should avoid canned coconut milk products except for those that are BPA-free. Healthy people may be fine with canned coconut milk, provided they don’t react to the guar gum, and provided they’re willing to take the side of industry scientists that claim BPA doesn’t cause harm in humans.”

Stephanie Greunke, RD (and member of Robb Wolf’s RD consulting team) says: “I’ve read countless recipes that list coconut milk as an ingredient and want to make sure that people realize coconut milk means just that – coconut milk in the can, prepared from a whole coconut, or shredded coconut mixed and prepared with water. While a multitude of companies are coming out with their own version of coconut milk by the quart and half gallon, these new innovations are truly coconut beverages, not milk. In short, do not use the coconut milk beverages in your recipes.”

Mark Sisson says: “If you find yourself holed up in a dingy Albuquerque motel room littered with empty tetra-paks of Aroy-D, you’ve got a problem. Other than that, as long as you’re not gaining unwanted body fat, or drinking so much that it displaces other, more nutrient-dense foods in your diet, you’re probably fine. ”

Conclusion?

Yes, coconut milk is Paleo-acceptable. But watch where it comes from and what’s in it, what it’s called and how often you drink it to ensure that it’s a healthy addition to your diet.

Issue No. 23

Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

Transforming dinner into restaurant-quality. The coconut milk make the soup creamy with a smooth texture.

Print Recipe
Coconut Curry Chicken Soup
Instructions
  1. Saute the chicken in the coconut oil in a medium-sized saucepan.
  2. When the outside of the chicken has all turned white, add in the coconut milk and the chicken broth and mix well.
  3. Add onions and cook 3 minutes more.
  4. Add in the carrots, celery, and tomatoes.
  5. Add in the ginger and curry powder. and corn starch.
  6. Add garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice.
  7. Cook on medium about 3 hours in your slow cooker.
Share this Recipe

Is Coconut Milk Paleo? 

Coconut Milk photo
Photo by Veganbaking.net

Coconut milk has a few misconceptions swirling around the evolutionary foodie-verse about it – both about what it actually is and about where it’s Paleo-friendly. Many think that coconut milk is the liquid inside a fresh coconut (that’s actually coconut water), but the milk is a prepared beverage. Made by mixing shredded coconut and water, the mixture is simmered, strained, and squeezed to create the rich, creamy drink we call coconut milk.

Found in both cans and cartons, not all coconut milks are created equal. While a can of pure coconut milk sporting an ingredient list of coconut and water is pretty clean on where it falls on the Paleo spectrum, there are other health factors to consider. If it’s in a can, BPA (Bisphenal-A), a component of the can’s metal lining, can potentially leach into the milk. BPA has been found to have estrogenic activity and has been linked to a role in a host of diseases, from diabetes to cancer. Look for brands that are BPA-free.

Additionally, many companies turn out milks with not so-nice additives and ingredients. Some add in thickeners, gums, or carrageenan, which can cause digestive problems, especially for those with compromised gastrointestinal systems.

Coconut milk in cartons can fall even farther away from a clean ingredient list, prompting it to be called a “coconut beverage.” Many companies turning out coconut milk in cartons sweeten it, flavor it, and add thickeners – not the real deal when it comes to coconut milk.

To avoid any additives or ingredients that might cause issues, many Paleo advocates recommend making your own. Try using shredded dried coconut and mix it with water to create your own coconut milk.

What Do Other Paleo Experts Say?

Chris Kresser says: “Coconut milk is often a staple fat source for those following a Paleo diet. From a nutritional perspective, it’s an excellent choice.” However, he cautions that “women who are trying to get pregnant, are pregnant or breastfeeding, children and other vulnerable populations (chronically ill) should avoid canned coconut milk products except for those that are BPA-free.

Healthy people may be fine with canned coconut milk, provided they don’t react to the guar gum, and provided they’re willing to take the side of industry scientists that claim BPA doesn’t cause harm in humans.”

Stephanie Greunke, RD (and member of Robb Wolf’s RD consulting team) says: “I’ve read countless recipes that list coconut milk as an ingredient and want to make sure that people realize coconut milk means just that – coconut milk in the can, prepared from a whole coconut, or shredded coconut mixed and prepared with water. While a multitude of companies are coming out with their own version of coconut milk by the quart and half gallon, these new innovations are truly coconut beverages, not milk. In short, do not use the coconut milk beverages in your recipes.”

Mark Sisson says: “If you find yourself holed up in a dingy Albuquerque motel room littered with empty tetra-paks of Aroy-D, you’ve got a problem. Other than that, as long as you’re not gaining unwanted body fat, or drinking so much that it displaces other, more nutrient-dense foods in your diet, you’re probably fine.

Is Coconut Milk Paleo?

Yes, coconut milk is Paleo-acceptable.

If you make your own from just coconut meat and water, then the answer is a resounding yes.

Things get murky, however, when whoosing more store-bought brands. Depending on ingredients and personal preference in avoiding BPAs, it can be a bit of a judgement call on what type of coconut milk is acceptable on a Paleo regimen. So watch where it comes from, what’s in it, what it’s called, and how often you drink it to ensure that it’s a healthy addition to your diet.

Issue No. 49

Starbucks Is Adding Almond Milk

starbucks photo
Photo by Howtedious

I’m from Seattle, so it goes hand-in-hand that I love coffee, and most notably Starbucks. It’s no surprise that I have a sweet tooth, and occasionally indulge in one of those sugary treats. However, recently Starbucks has made some changes to their menu. Most notably, Starbucks has added:

Prior to these additions, I always ordered my Starbucks Breve (with cream). However, there are now more PALEO choices at Starbucks!!

The best thing about coconut milk and almond milk is that they are naturally sweet. This is important, since there are NO syrups that are currently approved for Paleo.

So, what are some Starbucks options and still stay on Paleo:

Hot Drinks:

  • Coffee, of course
  • Hot tea
  • Espresso or American (espresso and water)
  • Latte
    • Breve (with Cream)
    • Almond Milk
    • Coconut Milk

Cold Drinks:

  • Unsweetened iced tea
  • Iced coffee
    • Breve (with Cream)
    • Almond Milk
    • Coconut Milk

Stay Away From:

Syrups, even sugar-free syrups (they have unnatural sweeteners and are heavily processed)

What I hope Starbucks Adds:

Stevia – a Paleo-approved sweetener that

Some Starbucks Ideas:

  1. Iced Coffee with Coconut Milk (bring a little Stevia to sweeten)
  2. Latte with Almond Milk with added cinnamon
  3. Iced Tea with Coconut Milk – Yum!

I looked on the Starbucks website, and do not see the coconut milk or almond milk in their nutritional information:

https://news.starbucks.com/uploads/documents/nutrition.pdf

Hopefully they update this soon so we know exactly what we are putting into our bodies!

Photo by Howtedious