Removing dairy from my diet was absolutely crucial in gaining my health back. As a child I always had stomach issues and in hindsight, dairy was likely the culprit. Not only was constant consumption (seriously, I was obsessed!) causing chronic low-grade inflammation in my body and setting the stage for recurrent ear infections and strep throat, it took a serious toll on my digestion. Let’s just say it slowed everything down to a crawl. I had to eat 3-4 hours before any exercise, otherwise I’d lose my meal! Knowing what I know now about exercise and nutrition – this is not ideal. Cutting dairy vastly improved my digestion (I can now eat half an hour before working out if I need to), helped my body heal from the chronic inflammation, reduced length and duration of illnesses that (rarely) get me and really opened my eyes to the dramatic healing that can occur by identifying food sensitivities. I haven’t looked back since and to be honest, I very rarely miss it!
The only thing I tend to miss is yogurt! Growing up in the 90’s and 00’s during the low-fat greek yogurt phase, I was fully addicted. Yogurt parfait’s were a regular occurance and oh how I loved them! Now there are cultured coconut and almond “yogurts” available at grocery and health food stores, but they tend to have questionable ingredients, so I avoid them. I was okay with just not having it – after 4 years of being truly dairy free you kind of forget what all those dairy-filled foods taste like! But suddenly this summer, I had a serious craving for yogurt out of nowhere. It was a hot morning, I was over my traditional egg breakfast and I just needed something fresh and cool. Enter the Coconut Milk Parfait!
- coconut milk is high in medium chain triglycerides (specifically lauric acid), a fat the body LOVES burning as fuel. Lauric acid is absorbed in the upper part of the small intestine, without any assistance from bile (i.e. it is very easy to digest, absorb and utilize). It is interesting to note that lauric acid is prominent in human milk – likely because it does not require a fully functioning digestive tract to be utilized!
- most of its fat is saturated in chemical nature, so it oxidizes (goes bad) very slowly. This is one of the main reasons saturated fat is so healthy for you – stability!
- it is naturally antimicrobial, so it fights fungi, bacteria and viruses in the body
- it is full of satisfying fats that keep you full longer
- it is delicious!!
Ok, so I ended up going went on and on after all. That’s how it goes with me – coconut is up on a well-deserved pedestal!
- ½ cup full-fat coconut milk (Aroy D is my favourite brand)
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of sea salt
- ½ cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- ½ banana, sliced
- Combine coconut milk, chia seeds, vanilla and sea salt in a small bowl. Mix well.
- Place in the fridge and let sit for 10 minutes (or overnight).
- Top with desired fruit.
- If your coconut milk is particularly thin, you may need more chia seeds to thicken it up.
- Add nuts for a crunchy texture.
- Make in bulk on Sunday and have breakfasts prepared for the entire week!
- If you don't like the consistency of chia/coconut milk, blend the milk mixture after it has soaked for a while to achieve a smoother consistency.
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well.