Coconut milk is a popular alternative to cow’s milk, particularly if you’re following a plant-based diet. But here’s the big question I hear regularly – is coconut milk paleo?
The good news is that coconut milk is suitable for those following the paleo diet! You may be wondering what the paleo diet is, or perhaps what it is about coconut milk that makes it paleo-friendly.
By the end of this article, you’ll know all the basics on the paleo diet, as well as some information around coconut milk and the paleo diet, plus a comparison with cow’s milk too.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about coconut milk being paleo!
What is the paleo diet?
Let’s have a quick refresher on what the paleo diet actually is, before I bring coconut milk into the mix.
The paleo diet is a style of eating that essentially takes inspiration from what hunters and gatherers ate in the Paleolithic era (hence the paleo) 2.5 million years ago – 10,000 BC. Also known as the caveman diet, it’s often considered a healthier alternative to a modern-day diet because more nutrient-dense foods are consumed than today’s processed foods.
Here’s a brief outline of the foods that are restricted when following a paleo diet:
- Dairy products
- All grains
- Pseudocereals (e.g. quinoa)
- Refined sugar/sweeteners
So, is coconut milk paleo-friendly?
Coconut milk is considered to be paleo-friendly because it is made from coconuts, which are suitable for the paleo diet.
While coconut milk is essentially processed from coconuts and could be considered ‘man-made’, coconuts do not fall into any of the restricted categories detailed above, which therefore makes coconut and its byproducts paleo-friendly.
However, you should always double-check labels when purchasing coconut milk, as coconut milk with refined sugar/sweeteners would not be suitable for those following a paleo diet. Coconut milk can be purchased from many large stores and retailers; here are a few of our favorite coconut milk brands for you to check out.
If you want to be super sure that your coconut milk doesn’t contain any ingredients that are restricted on the paleo diet, you could always try making your own with this coconut milk recipe!
Other paleo-friendly milks
There are a fair few other paleo-friendly kinds of milk on the market if you’re looking for a few alternatives. As long as your milk is dairy-free and doesn’t contain any ingredients from the list above, it should be considered suitable for those following a paleo diet.
Here’s a list of other paleo-friendly milks to get you started:
- Almond milk
- Cashew milk
- Hazelnut milk
- Hemp milk
Which is better for paleo – coconut milk or cow’s milk?
In short, coconut milk is better for the paleo diet as cow’s milk is a dairy product and therefore not appropriate to drink on the paleo diet.
Coconut milk is a highly popular alternative to cow’s milk for those following a paleo diet as it provides a creamy consistency to recipes that require a milk substitution, plus it can be used in hot drinks such as tea and coffee.
It is however very high in calories and fat, so if you’re following the paleo diet for health reasons it’s best to consume coconut milk in moderation.
|Per 1 Cup Serving||Coconut Milk||Cow’s Milk|
|Best for baking||Soups, pies, curries, rice, puddings/sweet treats||Yogurt, butter, cheese, sauces, cakes, pies, ice cream, quiches, pancakes|
Pros and cons of coconut milk vs cow’s milk
Here are a few pros and cons of coconut milk to give you more information on which milk would be best for you.
- Not a dairy product
- Plenty of flavor
- Good source of calcium and vitamins D and B
- Anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial
- High in fat/calories
- Some contain added sugar/sweeteners
- High in calcium and vitamins A and D
- Good for pregnant/breastfeeding women
- High in fat/calories
- Contains lactose
- May contribute to increased chance of heart disease
- May increase chance of acne
I’ve put together a few frequently asked questions to help you further understand coconut milk as a paleo-friendly product. Check these out below!
The best coconut milk for the paleo diet is any that does not contain sweeteners or added sugar. These ingredients are restricted on the paleo diet, so it’s best to stick to unsweetened coconut milk if you’re following this diet.
Here are some coconut milk recipes that you can follow – make sure to check all other ingredients are suitable for the paleo diet.
Other paleo substitutes for coconut milk include nut milks such as the following:
– Almond milk
– Cashew milk
– Hazelnut milk
– Hemp milk
Coconut milk is not generally difficult to digest unless you have sensitivities when it comes to digesting fats. It is also very high in dietary fiber, which may be difficult for some people to digest if not used to high fiber levels. Avoid increasing intake quickly if this is the case for you.
The paleo diet does restrict different types of milk, here’s a list for reference:
– Dairy milk (cow, goat, buttermilk, etc)
– Soy milk
– Grain milk (oat, barley, rice, wheat, maize, etc)
Oat milk is not considered to be suitable for the paleo diet as it is derived from grains which are not permitted.