Hey friends. I wanted to write quickly about something I've been making regularly as a better alternative to animal milk and commercially-made plant milks: homemade coconut milk. I've been animal-milk-free for about nine years, and have switch between different plant milk alternatives, mostly hemp milk. However, there are several issues with these commercially available alternative milks: sustainability (where and how is the plant material grown, the energy and water used for that growth and processing, the waste involved in the packaging, and so on); hidden ingredients; not enough fat (for a CFer); and price. The best solution I've found to all these is to make your own milk, specifically from canned coconut milk. Yes, there are sustainability problems for a person in a northern climate to use a milk made from a tropical plant grown thousands of miles away, and the fossil fuels that transport depends on. There's no denying that. So a better alternative would be something like sunflower seeds, which grow in my bioregion. However, that requires some infrastructure that I don't have. Using canned coconut milk is a quick and easy solution and solves the issue of waste from milk containers. In addition, this milk alternative is very high in fat, which is great for CFers and others who need more nutrition. So here I'll give directions how to make it in addition to the nutrition facts.
Why I use these ingredients
Lecithin is an emulsifier, meaning that it helps break up fats and allow it to be suspended in water. This helps us digest fats better. Lecithin is contained naturally in many foods including eggs, nuts/seeds, soybeans, etc. Stevia is a plant native to Brazil and Paraguay. It is very sweet but has no sugar and therefore has no impact on my blood sugar (I am diabetic so I need to minimize carbohydrates). It is very easy to grow in most climates (including Vermont), so I've grown my own supply (I only needed two plants for about a year's supply, you only need a small amount of stevia). Guar gum enables suspension of the fat in water so that the coconut milk doesn't clump and float to the surface, which it will if there's no gum in the milk. It also thickens the milk to feel more creamy. You can adjust the amount of gum to suit your preference for thickness. If you wanted it to feel more like cream, add a little more (but a little goes a long way, so be careful it doesn't get too thick).
It gets nice and frothy after blending, so it's great to put right in tea.
Mica (they/he) is a clinical herbalist, nutritionist, ecologist, and writer living in Abenaki territory (Vermont).
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Disclaimer: The content of this website and blog is for educational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. The information provided here is not intended to replace medical care.