I love food and I love to eat. So you would think the whole breastfeeding-eat-all-the-food situation I’m in right now would be heaven. But let me tell you this, getting in enough calories every single day, to maintain my milk supply is really tough! Eating has become a full-time job!
Full-fat coconut milk has been a life saver – mainly in the form of smoothies but recently with quick blender puddings, like this Banana Coconut Pudding! I love it because it takes me about the same length of time to make as a smoothie, but I make a huge batch that stays in the fridge and I can eat it for days! (as long as the hubby doesn’t get to it first…which happened…words were exchanged…)
Additionally, my stomach has been a little off in the mornings – it always is when I don’t sleep well and the kiddo is teething, so clearly not sleeping well. Starting with a small bowl of pudding has been a great way to start the day with food, but not overdo it on my digestive system!
Gelatin vs. Chia – chia seeds are fun. I’ve made chia pudding before, and it’s yummy (as long as you use the full fat coconut milk and not the white-water-no-nutrition almond milk). But chia seeds are the plant-based alternative to gelatin. Which for someone like me, is counter intuitive. I’m always looking for extra ways to get gelatin (especially the grassfed kind) in for gut-healing, so I would much rather make a real pudding, instead of a chia-one. But that’s just me!
Banana Coconut Pudding
Quick blender pudding, with nourishing and satiating ingredients! Dairy-free, sugar-free, paleo and AIP!
Fermented foods are a staple in every single traditional culture, and their absence in the typical North American Diet, is likely a major contributor to poor health. I’ve written about gut heath and fermented foods many times on this blog already, so feel free to check out those posts:
Sauerkraut was my introduction to fermented foods, and for a lot of people this is an easy add-in to their diet – especially if you like sauerkraut, pickles and olives. However, the combination of fermentation and cabbage can be a little too much for the fermented food rookie. And if you are interested in making your own fermented foods (which I highly recommend for 2 reasons,  it becomes inoculated with microbes from your environment and  it is a fraction of the price), sauerkraut has a fairly long fermentation period – 3-4 weeks. So instead, I recommend Fermented Carrots.
These are my favourite way to introduce fermented foods to kids and adults alike. A little sweeter for the rookie-palate, and with a 4-7 day fermentation period, they are a great intro to home-fermenting.
(Option: Garlic Dulse Fermented Carrots)
Ingredients & Equipment
2 lbs carrots
4 tsp fine-ground sea salt, or garlic sea salt (my preference!)
OPTIONAL: 1 heaping tbsp dulse
2 cups filtered water
2 more heaping tsp sea salt, or garlic sea salt
silicone muffin liners (my preference, but you can get creative)
1. Slice carrots as thinly as possible. I recommend using the slicer attachment on your food processor. (Note: save your carrot tops for making broth!)
2. Add to a bowl, and toss with sea salt, or garlic-sea salt.
3. Optional – add a heaping tbsp of dulse for extra minerals and thyroid support!
4. Toss well. Spoon into jars, packing carrots down as tightly as you can.
5. Create a brine by mixing 1 tsp salt (garlic salt) with 1 cup of water, and adding to the jars of carrots. Add enough brine to cover carrots completely.
6. Use something to hold the carrots under the water. I like to use my silicone muffin liners!
7. Place in a cool, dark corner of the room, out of direct sunlight. But don’t put them in a closet or cupboard where you can forget about them (learned this one the hard way!). Check on them every day to make sure the carrots are still below the water. If not, add a bit more brine, or push down the muffin liner. Let ferment for 4-7 days. Start checking at 4 days to see if you like the tangy flavour. I usually ferment for 5 days.
I love adding a spoonful to salads, or just on the side of a meal. When I was breastfeeding, my favourite snack was to toast 2 pieces of GF bread, spread half an avocado on each piece and top with these bad boys. Delish!
What’s your favourite fermented food? Have you tried making it yourself? Share in the comments below!
Yogurt is one of the foods I miss the most, since having to avoid dairy. Unfortunately there are no good alternatives out there. And while there are some expensive cultured almond or coconut snacks available, they are filled with stabilizers, gums and other weird ingredients – so I don’t touch them. Not to mention they’re always super low fat, so what’s the point? I had resigned myself to not having any yogurt ever again, until I got an Instant Pot and can now make homemade Coconut Milk Yogurt! I guess I could have used this recipe with a standard yogurt maker, or the old school way of a pot in an oven overnight, but alas, it took me getting this awesome kitchen gadget to figure it out!
Not only is yogurt super delicious, but it is another probiotic rich food. Supporting the gut bacteria through regular consumption of probiotic foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut, is one of the best things you can do for the health of your entire body! And when probiotic foods are as delicious as this coconut milk yogurt, it’s not hard to consume it on a regular basis!
Coconut Milk Yogurt in the Instant Pot
4 cups of coconut milk (I like the brand Aroy D because it doesn’t contain any guar gum or carrageenan. I get it at an Asian Supermarket, but apparently it’s been found at places like Walmart and Superstore.)
1. Heat 4 cups of full-fat coconut milk (I prefer the Aroy D brand) in a pot, to 110F. Use a candy thermometer, or an electronic meat thermometer ( <– another favourite kitchen gadget). Stir frequently, it only takes a few minutes. As soon as the temperature hits 110F, pull it off the heat.
2. Immediately whisk in ½ cup of a previous batch of yogurt (you can use dairy if tolerated, store-bought or your previous batch) or 2 packets of Vegan Yogurt Culture (I love the Cultures for Health product, although it does have a bit of rice starch in it – something to note if you’re sensitive or following the AIP protocol). NOTE:Apparently you can use 2 or 3 probiotic capsules, but I haven’t tried this. (UPDATE: a friend told me she uses ¼ tsp of probiotic powder, or 2-3 capsules, and 1-2 tbsp of maple syrup)
3. Whisk in 2 tsp grassfed gelatin. Without this, it won’t thicken. You will still have a yummy, tangy coconut milk, but it will definitely be milk, not yogurt. NOTE:Apparently you can use agar agar to keep it vegan, but I haven’t tried this since I’m always looking for extra ways to get in gelatin!
4. Pour into jars, or a glass bowl (that fits in the pot), and place in the bottom of the Instant Pot. NOTE: don’t put the yogurt directly in the Instant Pot. Since it is stainless steel, mine retains a slight hint of what was previously cooked – usually broth. And trust me, broth-flavoured coconut yogurt is not good.
5. Secure the lid (or place the glass lid on), press the “yogurt” button, adjust the time to 12 hours and walk away. NOTE: if you don’t like really tangy yogurt, start checking the flavour around 8 hours.
6. 12 hours later, remove from Instant Pot and store in fridge for a few hours to let set. If you are planning to make another batch, store ½ cup in a separate container to use again later. NOTE: I have found that I can only do this a few times, before I need to reinoculate with a new batch of probiotics/yogurt starter. Likely because there isn’t enough sugar in the coconut milk to support continual growth. You might have success by adding sugar or a simple starch like potato or tapioca, to encourage more growth.
7. Yogurt lasts about 2 weeks in the fridge, although it will start to separate after about a week. That’s just what happens when you don’t use any emulsifiers! It’s perfectly fine to eat!
In step 3, I also add in a liberal amount of collagen peptides, which doesn’t gel. This adds extra protein and extra gut/joint/skin healing goodness.
In step 5 you can add in additional flavours such as:
– honey or maple syrup
– vanilla extract
– cocoa powder
Alternative Methods of Yogurt Prep
I love the Instant Pot because it’s a one-stop shop. It quickly became the most used (and loved) gadget in my kitchen. If you make bone broth regularly, it’s a no-brainer to add to your arsenal. However, it’s definitely not the cheapest item, and there are other ways to make yogurt that don’t require this gadget. Check out the following resources if you want to make coconut-milk yogurt sans the Instant Pot.
NOTE: the directions in the above links use cow milk. With coconut milk, you do not need to heat it to 200F first because there is no bacteria that needs to be pasteurized out.
If you tolerate dairy, you can absolutely follow the same instructions, just make sure you heat the milk to about 200F first and let it cool before following steps 1-7 above. Cow, goat and sheep milk can all be used! The reason for making your own dairy-yogurt is purely for nutritional value (and cost!). It can be extremely challenging to find quality dairy that is also higher in fat, and since the fat is what contains most of the nutrients from dairy, that’s what you want to be eating! Look for grassfed or organic yogurt that is as high fat as possible. I’m talking at minimum 2-3%, but ideally higher than that. Since that kind of product is hard to come by, purchasing organic or grassfed milk (or goat/sheep milk) and making your own yogurt is a solid option – not to mention friendlier on the wallet!