The Truth About Pre-Packaged Coconut Milk
I love to make smoothies. I have one just about every morning. When I cut out the dairy from my life I turned to alternative milk sources — primarily coconut milk. I like that coconut milk has a pretty neutral flavor, while still keeping up the consistency of regular milk.
I was using So Delicious’ organic coconut milk, or at times their coconut milk yogurt in my smoothies. Truth be told — I loved it. I acquired a taste for it and didn’t think twice about the harm it may have been causing me. It was organic after all….
Well I started to notice a few articles pop up in my newsfeed on Facebook about the dangers of an additive in most pre-packaged alternative milk sources (i.e. coconut, almond and soy) called carrageenan.
Honestly, I avoided looking more into this issue for a few months and continued on including coconut milk in my morning smoothies…. but the issue would not go away.
An article by food watch blogger Food Babe was posted on the same day in two Facebook groups that I am part of. The headline read: “Watch Out For This Carcinogen In Your Organic Food“.
This intriguing headline was enough for me to click on the article and on this day and for many thereafter my morning smoothies were ruined — Boo.
Dangers of Food Additive Carrageenan
Carrageenan is a highly processed additive extracted from red seaweed. It contributes no nutritional value or flavor, but is added to affect the texture of these alternative milk sources including the So Delicious coconut milk and/or yogurt I was consuming everyday.
Turns out this nasty little additive triggers an innate immune system response in the body, leading to inflammation — Uh, Oh. This inflammation occurs primary in the gastrointestinal tract and can lead to different diseases of the colon, including cancer.
Sigh. This news was bad. How could I continue to consume something that was countering my ability to heal? I believe the pathway to this healing is through the intestinal tract. I couldn’t keep adding in something that was degrading this…. right?
I told my husband about this news I learned and he rolled his eyes at me, telling me that I worried too much. This is quite possible 🙂
So while the article bothered me I shook it off and continued onwards with my morning smoothie routine. After all the FDA claims that small amounts of carrageenan are not detrimental to one’s health, which is why they are allowed to be used in “organic” products. A little was OK…. right?
Benefits of Coconut Water
I continued on drinking my morning smoothies with the coconut milk base but I couldn’t feel good about it. While still delicious (So Delicious, Lol) all I could think about was this drink doing more harm than good in my intestinal tract.
One day while shopping with my husband at Cosco, I noticed a 12 pack of coconut water and with little hesitation I added it to our cart — just like that — something new 🙂 I swapped out my coconut milk in my smoothies for coconut water.
Turns out that coconut water has good levels of potassium — a known electrolyte that assists with inflammation. Coconut water is also super hydrating.
It provides a small dose of healthy omega fatty acids that also help with inflammation. It is said to contain cytokinins — elements with anti-aging and anti-carcinogenic effects.
Sounds better right? 🙂
On the Positive Side?
Using coconut water instead didn’t really change the taste of my smoothies, though it did make them not as thick. I do feel better knowing that I am consuming something that is anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic in place of the opposite.
While I tried to avoid the issue of carrageenan, I could not avoid it forever. It can drive me a little nutty worrying about all the bad in our food supply but, I do appreciate those who spread the word about dangerous additives like these in so called organic products, which is why I am sharing this with you.
I apologize if this news ruins your use of these alternative milk sources. It is frustrating to think you are doing good only to find out there is something else bad. I came across a petition to the FDA to remove carrageenan from organic products. If this issue bothers you too, why not add your name?
Coconut water is available all over the place so you shouldn’t have a hard time finding it — just be sure to avoid the ones with added sugar and/or fruit juice.
Do you use coconut water in your smoothies? Have any good recipes? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.