When I first read about The Coconut Cult's $25 coconut yogurt, I let out an audible, "seriously?", followed by a 180-degree eye roll. Unless that yogurt came with its own coconut-bearing palm tree, I just didn’t see the point.
Curiosity consumed me until I found myself at LA’s fanciest natural food store, Erewhon, asking about the $25 Coconut Cult yogurt. When I learned it was sold out, my curiosity turned to determination.
Erewhon’s dairy-free shelf had several other $20 coconut yogurts like Coco Rico, CocoYo, and New Earth, but the probiotic levels were less than The Coconut Cult’s, and many of them used sweeteners.
Why $25 for Yogurt?
One of The Coconut Cult’s claims to health fame is their uber-fermented formula that contains 800-billion colony forming units (CFUs) of probiotics. I’ve paid well over $25 for a jar of probiotics with 5 billion CFUs, but that’s a supplement and that’s different, right?
“People often see better results with the yogurt than with a probiotic pill,” explains The Coconut Cult founder Noah Simon-Waddell. The Coconut Cult uses human probiotic strains, which doesn’t mean you’re going full Jeffrey Dahmer. Rather, it means you’re ingesting a high-quality strain that can offer better bacteria for your gut than what lives in the soil. “The probiotics stay in you and grow," says Simon-Waddell. "They change your overall health in a much bigger way.”
The $25 yogurt price tag is due to the quality probiotics used in combination with just organic coconuts. When you don’t use fillers, you need a lot more of the real deal. "We’re taking top-end medical probiotics and are waking them up," says Simon-Waddell. "We combine them with food so it’s more active and can do more.”
As a nutrition coach, I’m always preaching the importance of probiotics. Probiotics keep your gut in check, help balance your immune system, and can reduce inflammation. Getting your probiotics from food instead of a pill is a definite win-win, though not everyone can tolerate straight up cow's milk yogurt, including me.
Simon-Waddell and I share a similar story of turning away from store-bought yogurt after learning of a dairy intolerance. We both found frustration in the ingredient list on the dairy-free yogurts. The fillers, unpronounceable names, and stabilizers led me down a path not nearly as successful as Simon-Waddell’s.
I attempted to make my own coconut yogurt at home. After sterilizing jars, playing with probiotic proportions, and letting my oven run for 24 hours, I was left with a mouth-puckering, soupy-thin concoction that made me give up my beloved yogurt completely. Though I never forgot.
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Luckily Simon-Waddell achieved much greater success with his homemade coconut yogurt than I did. He shared his yogurt with family and friends who couldn’t get enough. They requested more and more, and soon his hobby turned into a small business. The first jar of Coconut Cult was sold in 2016, and in just five months, the company outgrew its production facility, with demands for the yogurt all across the country.
You can buy The Coconut Cult yogurt online and in stores in eight states across the country. Luckily I live in Calif., one of the lucky states where The Coconut Cult is sold in stores - if it's in stock. Two calls, two store visits, and one week later, I had the $25 glass jar of The Coconut Cult in my hands.
I was nervous. The build-up to the event had heightened my anticipation. What if it tasted like, well, you know how some things taste that are really good for you, that you just have to find a way to get down? Worse, what if I loved it and became a Coconut Cult addict, socking pennies away until I could get my next fix? There was only one way to find out.
I didn’t even get a bowl out. I lowered my spoon right into the wide-mouthed glass jar, filled it up and launched it into my mouth. I was pissed. I took another bite and confirmed that I was ruined. It was that good. The third bite had me brainstorming odd jobs I could do to afford my new Coconut Cult habit.
The yogurt is tangy, but not cheek-suckingly so. There’s a lovely light sweetness to it that led me to double-check that there was no sugar or the like in it. Nope. There are just two ingredients – organic coconut and probiotics. The texture wasn’t nearly as runny as my DIY creation, but you’re also not going to prop a spoon straight up in it, Greek yogurt-style. It was love at first bite and yet I felt equally doomed at my new high-priced crush.
The Coconut Cult yogurt is the best of all worlds. It straddles being a helpful pill with a healthy meal. Simon-Waddell says, “It combines the benefits of a high-end probiotic with the enjoyment of eating a sweet treat.”
If you’re new to probiotics, start with a tablespoon or two per day until you know your body is ready for more. How will you know? Oh your body and bowels will be sure to alert you to any discomfort. Seeing as I already have a strong probiotic regimen, I was not worried, but also tried to refrain from blowing through $15 of the yogurt in the first sitting.
Should you join me in my new obsession? If you’re already used to shelling out $20+ dollars a bottle for the worthwhile benefits of probiotics, you might as well try the yogurt, because at least you get a bonus snack. If you don’t do dairy and miss a good yogurt, then you might want to splurge on The Coconut Cult from time to time as well and call it your special occasion treat. If you simply want to see what others are obsessing about, give it a whirl, but don’t be surprised to be pissed after you try it, and love it.
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