I’ve been a big fan of coconut products for the last 18 months or so, which actually makes me pretty late to the party compared to a lot of people. But what I lack in experience I make up for in enthusiasm, with some coconut-related product making an appearance in almost every meal. From my quinoa and sweet potato salad to the choc-coconut paleo cupcakes through to my fave chicken curry, there’s really not much that this magical fruit hasn’t done for me.
Recently I was lucky enough to trial the new Vitasoy Coconut Milk. Unlike ordinary canned coconut milk, this product is low in fat and sugar and is ideal as an alternative to regular dairy milk. I’ve been using the unsweetened version on my porridge and in smoothies to give myself a little break from dairy, and it truly is dee-licious. Yep I could wax lyrical about coconuts and this new Vitasoy product, but I’m not an expert so beyond ‘it tastes really good’ what more am I going to tell you? Luckily Zoe Bingley-Pullin of Good Chef, Bad Chef is a highly-respected nutritionist, chef, author, coconut lover and also happens to be the Vitasoy brand ambassador. I was fortunate enough to corner her to discover a little more about exactly why she goes nutty for coconuts.
What are your three favourite things about coconuts/coconut products?
1. I’m happy we’re finally recognising coconuts and coconut products as nutritious because they have been perceived as being bad for you for a long time.
2. They’re really versatile; they produce coconut cream, milk, water and oil, all of which taste good and have nutritional value.
3. Low sugar coconut products like Vitasoy Coconut Milk can be used in smoothies to make the texture and taste more decadent, yet it’s no more than 75 calories per 250mL serve.
What is one thing that most people don’t know about coconut/coconut products?
There are two things that people don’t know, actually!
Firstly, there’s a significant difference in the fat content between coconut milk that you find in a can, and new coconut milk products such as Vitasoy Coconut Milk, which you find in the long life milk section. Canned coconut milk contains up to 20g of fat per 100mL on average*, making it ideal for making a thick creamy curry. But it’s too rich for breakfast. By comparison, Vitasoy Coconut Milk contains 2g of fat per 100mL so it’s great in the morning when you fancy a change from your usual milk. There’s definitely more education needed about the different types of coconut milk available these days.
Secondly, there’s been a lot of discussion around the possible benefits of coconut oil in the media, social and blogs lately, but we don’t have enough research yet to know its impact on our health. The Heart Foundation is still advising us to eat saturated fat in moderation, regardless of whether it comes from a plant source, like coconuts or from an animal source.
What are the health benefits of using Vitasoy coconut milk over dairy/almond milk in smoothies or on cereal? For me, the best thing about Vitasoy Coconut Milk is the fact that it’s lactose-free and contains the goodness of calcium. I like to vary my repertoire of milks, so having a new choice of non-dairy milk that is low in sugar, with less than 2.5g sugar per 100mL is a real bonus. Also, Vitasoy Coconut Milk has a lovely, milky texture. It helps me to feel really satisfied from my morning breakfast cereal, porridge or smoothie.
What is your favourite way to enjoy Vitasoy Coconut Milk?
What I really enjoy at the moment is using Vitasoy Coconut Milk to make Fruit & Coconut Milk Ice Blocks. I absolutely love making these, and they’ll be great during summer! I’m a fan of using fruits like mango and banana in frozen recipes because it’s such a delicious tropical combination with the coconut flavour. My daughter is going to be a big fan of these soon too!
Sounds delish! Can we have the recipe?
Summer is just around the corner and Vitasoy Coconut Milk is going to be huge, so here’s the recipe for my Fruit & Coconut Milk Ice Blocks which work really well as a refreshing post-beach or workout snack.
Zoe’s Fruit & Coconut Milk Ice Blocks
1 Cup of Vitasoy Coconut Milk
½ cup of mixed fruit, puréed
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
Ice block mould
Pour the Vitasoy Coconut Milk, mixed fruit and cinnamon in a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth.
Pour the mixture into ice block moulds.
Put in the freezer overnight. Enjoy!
* NATTAB 2010, from HERE
FYI: I was gifted Vitasoy Coconut Milk to trial, but have since purchased it for myself because (as mentioned above) I find the unsweetened version a great addition to my smoothies and porridge, particularly as I am currently trying to cut down on the amount of dairy I consume. Rest assured I will never recommend a product I haven’t trialled (and loved!) myself.