I have taken both heaps of praise and heaps of criticism for the coconut milk yogurt recipe since it was published. Praise from those who are dairy-free and looking for ways to expand their probiotic intake or are happy to have a replacement for the expensive coconut yogurt that their kids love. I have received criticism from those who are unhappy I wouldn’t push raw milk consumption over coconut milk, even for those who are dairy allergic, and that the recipe would use canned coconut milk instead of directing people to first make their own.
First, to address those who come here for help and support- I understand that you do not have an unlimited budget and all of the time and resources in the world. You will not receive any condemnation from me for not being able to source and use the best ingredients possible for everything that you do. You do not have to be a food snob to be accepted here and on the CTF forums. We welcome you, as you are, wherever you are on your traditional foods journey.
Now, to address the critics. First, there are many people whose guts are so damaged that not even 100% grass-fed, totally raw from a top notch dairy can be tolerated. Personally, my milk intolerance was so severe that I could not stand upright for six weeks after even one sip of 24-hour kefir. Yes, of raw dairy. Yes, of raw, grass-fed dairy. Yes, of raw, grass-fed dairy that had been kefired to the point of sourness. My joints would scream and ache and I had horrible bone pain. I would vomit and have diarrhea. The fatigue was crushing. And I didn’t begin to get better until I took all dairy, even raw dairy, out of my diet. Not everyone can tolerate raw dairy, and not everyone who is pasteurized dairy intolerant can find or afford raw dairy. These people shouldn’t be denied access to the health benefits of a cultured food just because it doesn’t fit your definition of ‘ideal.’
Secondly, I’m hearing a great outcry from many women in the traditional foods community that can’t source, afford or have the time for the best of the best for everything. Yes, we should hold the best up as the ‘gold standard,’ but we must recognize that not everyone can achieve that for whatever reason, and help those people pick the best alternative for their situation. We should not heap guilt upon these women for the limitations that are their reality. Yes, fresh coconut milk made from your own coconuts would be ideal for this recipe, but not everyone can find them, afford them, or has the time to do it. This is especially true of those in the health problem/food allergy/non-neurotypical children communities, because they already have to cook every.single.thing from scratch without exception, eating up great amounts of thier time, energy and money. That’s especially difficult right now due to the economy. Many of these people are totally crunched for time and energy, and are out of resources. I already spend an enormous amount of time in the kitchen. I honestly do NOT have an extra hour to squeeze out of my week to make coconut milk from scratch two or thee times. But I can not afford the coconut milk yogurt that is commercially available, and I don’t like their ingredients. So making my own with canned coconut milk that is BPA-free works for us. It is also cheaper, when I can get the coconut milk for $1 a can from the local salvage, and that helps our incredibly tight grocery budget so I have a little extra money for better quality meats. Right now, if I had an extra hour a week, I honestly can say I would spend it sleeping instead of making my own coconut milk.
I’m seeing that the traditional foods community has a great many alienated women who can not afford or have time for the absolute best, and they’re being looked down upon, instead of being encouraged to do the best that they can with what they have, where they are. By continuing to ignore these women, the traditional foods community sacrifices these children’s health and future, all because we couldn’t agree over a few semantics or blamed a mother who needed help but didn’t have the time to make every little choice the ideal. They aren’t receiving a lot of guidance on how to pick the best quality they can do, because they can’t do the gold standard. Is it ideal? No. But it is reality and these women will have no condemnation from me. Do I encourage women who can afford it and have the time to do best of the best? Absolutely. But I’m finding the vast majority of people can not right now, and my whole point is to make traditional foods accessible to those on a budget, in a time crunch or who are
dealing with other constraints. These women also need help and support, and they don’t need to be ignored.
In the coming weeks, I will be laying out a series of ‘good, better, best’ choices for a variety of foods in hopes that those of you who are struggling to make the best choices you can will be helped along in your journey.
KerryAnn Foster runs Cooking Traditional Foods, the longest running Traditional Foods Menu Mailer on the internet. KerryAnn has over nine years of traditional foods experience and is a former Weston A. Price Foundation chapter leader. Founded in 2005, CTF helps you feed your family nourishing foods they will love. Each mailer contains one soup, five dinners, one breakfast, on dessert and extras. You can learn more about our Menu Mailers at the CTF website. For a free sample Menu Mailer, join our mailing list. You can also join our forum to chat with other traditional foodists and learn more.