Most of you know that I am slightly obsessed with GUT health, with good reason! Essentially every cell in your body is affected by the gut, and a healthy gut is KEY for helping to rid your body of toxins (which is why I place so much emphasis on supporting gut health during my detox programs). Conversely, poor gut health is linked to a whole host of illnesses and inflammatory diseases.
Focusing on GUT HEALTH can help prevent and eliminate many health issues at their root, and is part of the foundation for a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. In order to support your gut, it’s extremely beneficial to add PROBIOTICS to your diet, via fermented foods (and supplements if/when needed).
One easy and yummy source of probiotics is yogurt. However, most traditional store-bought yogurts are highly processed, filled with sugar, and your common dairy-milk version can be irritating to the gut for many people, therefore canceling out the positive effects of the probiotics! So instead, I suggest trying dairy-free (unsweetened) Coconut Yogurt!
Coconut yogurt is made by adding live bacteria cultures to coconut milk (preferably full-fat and organic and/or homemade) which then ferments some of the carbohydrates, producing a bit of acid (which contributes to the yogurt’s texture, and slightly tangy flavor.)
HERE ARE SOME KEY BENEFITS OF COCONUT YOGURT:
- Taste. Its naturally thick, creamy and sweet even without adding any sweetener.
- Dairy free. It's said that about 75% of the world population lose their ability to digest milk after infancy! Not to mention that milk tends to be mucus-forming in the gut, and linked to a ton of health issues, ranging from constipation, to rosacea or acne, and allergies. Read more HERE about why you should consider cutting out dairy.
- Probiotics. If properly prepared, coconut yogurt is filled with healthy probiotics (as mentioned above). Eating fresh coconut yogurt is a great way to consume probiotics to help balance the microflora (bacteria) in your gut, which adds beneficial bacteria while keeping the bad bacteria under control. Read more HERE on why you should be consuming more probiotics.
- Healthy Fats. A 6-ounce serving of unsweetened coconut yogurt contains approximately 75 calories and 6 grams of fat, of which about 5g are a “healthy saturated fat” composed of medium-chain triglycerides, which studies show can help control weight, reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and boost immunity (1).
- Fiber. A 6-ounce serving of unsweetened coconut yogurt contains (approximately) a whopping 6 grams of fiber. Fiber is key for many aspects of optimal health, including normal digestion (reducing risk of constipation), balanced blood sugar levels and cholesterol, weight loss, and more.
- Minerals. Your average 6-ounce serving of coconut yogurt gives you roughly 25-30% of your daily needed amount of Calcium and Magnesium, which help keep your bones healthy, muscles relaxed, and much more!
- Vitamins. Coconut yogurt is rich in Vitamin B12 - which is key to maintain healthy red blood cells, for heart and brain development, and much more (especially women and vegans tend to need extra B12), and rich in Vitamin D (one of the most common deficiencies nowadays, which is necessary for many bodily functions including calcium absorption).
HOW TO EAT COCONUT YOGURT
1. Have it for breakfast (or as a snack) together with some fruit (I love it with berries or sliced mango) and some seeds and/or maybe some healthy, low-sugar granola. Plus, while traditional dairy yogurt does NOT combine well with fruit nor most nuts/seeds/grains, I personally find that non-dairy coconut yogurt actually digests well with the above!
2. Add to your smoothies as a source of probiotics, healthy fats, extra fiber, and delicious creaminess.
3. Add a scoop to your favorite healthy dessert (instead of ice cream), like my dairy and gluten free chocolate cake/cupcakes, an apple pie, or personally, I love adding it to some stewed apples (prepared Ayurveda style with some ghee and cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg) tossed with a few walnuts and goji berries, or with my healthy breakfast sweet potato pancakes. It really pairs well with almost any dessert or sweet snack/breakfast!
4. Use on your face for a probiotic-rich, hydrating, acne-busting mask. Stay tuned on the blog for my glowing facial/mask recipe!
Lastly, I wanted to share one of my favorite guilt-free EASY-TO-MAKE desserts using coconut yogurt.
COCONUT YOGURT ICE CREAM RECIPE
This recipe is absolutely delicious, that anyone in your family is likely to LOVE, and actually extremely healthy! Plus, it takes 2 minutes to make!
Ingredients (serves 1):
- 6 ounces of coconut yogurt (typical serving size, or about 1 cup)
- 1 frozen banana (option to add up to 2 frozen bananas for a thicker more “frozen ice cream” texture)
- 1 tbsp natural almond butter
- 2 pitted dates or 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
Instructions: Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Enjoy right away, or if you can resist, place in the freezer for 15 minutes then enjoy!