Last week we reported on the ill effects of canned foods, which I was also unaware of prior to the writing of the article. After this knowledge, my family and I began to transition from canned foods. We were surprised at how seamless the transition seemed until we needed coconut milk.
Now, in my family, coconut milk is a staple item and increases the taste of any dish, not to mention the slew of health benefits that it has. We walked down the aisles of the supermarket looking for a “non-canned” food grade coconut milk substitute. You can imagine how ecstatic we were to find coconut milk powder! This coconut milk is packaged as a powder and in sealed in a mylar bag, which is used for food preservation as opposed to canning. Awesome!, or so we thought. While waiting for my veggies to simmer before adding my new found coconut milk, I decided to read the package, mind you, I’d already used this multiple times prior to this dish. What I saw, I was appalled, to say the least!
The ingredients read:
Fresh Coconut Cream 85.20%,
Glucose Syrup 11.80%,
Sodium Caseinate ( MILK PROTEIN) 2.00%,
Silicon Dioxide 0.50%,
Dipotassium Phosphate 0.50%
Ok, yes, I do see all the other ingredients that are not necessary for a Coconut Milk product, but MILK PROTEIN? Dairy in coconut milk? But, why? So, I dug a little to find out exactly what this milk protein is. “In cow's milk, approximately 82% of milk protein is casein and the remaining 18% is serum, or whey protein. The casein family of protein consists of several types of caseins (α-s1, α-s2 , ß, and 6) and each has its own amino acid composition, genetic variations, and functional properties.”  In a nutshell, it is the derivative of a dairy product, cow’s milk. I continued to dig and found that the popular belief that lactose free is dairy free, is not the case at all! “People with lactose intolerance can eat foods that contain casein and whey, which are milk proteins, not sugars. If a product is labeled lactose free, that does not mean it is necessarily dairy free. People who seek dairy free products may be vegan or have an allergy to dairy (usually the proteins, casein or whey)” 
At this point, it is becoming extremely worrisome to purchase foods in the local grocery store, nothing is what it seems and even not as it reads! The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has even made a statement concerning the labeling of foods, essentially stating that all ingredients do not have to be listed. Take a look at the FDA Food and Labeling Guide here.
I’ll be making my own coconut milk from now on. Here’s the recipe I will be using
Coconut milk recipe:
The flesh and water from one fresh coconut
1 + ½ cup plain filtered water
Add coconut flesh, coconut water and 1 cup water to the jar of your blender
Process on the highest possible speed for 5 to 10 minutes; you really want to get the most out of that coconut flesh as you possibly can. You'll notice, as the flesh spins around, that it will get looser and looser and will spin more freely after a while. You want to be able to see some liquid in there. A good amount of liquid!
When you feel your coconut has given all it had to give, transfer the contents of your blender to a fine mesh sieve that's been lined with cheesecloth.
Add another half cup of plain water to the jar of your food processor and give it a quick spin just to get every last bit that was left behind. Add that to the rest of the fragrant pile of coconut.
Now tightly squeeze out of your coconut. Squeeze until can’t get another drop out. You will be left with a bunch of dry, VERY dry, and pretty bland and tasteless, shredded coconut. You could discard this, or use in muffins.
Transfer your beautiful coconut milk to an airtight glass jar or container and keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.
For those wondering about the brands of Coconut Milk Powder Purchase, here are the pictures.