Well, friends…we’re almost done with this healthy series. Tonight we’ll talk about another controversial food group – dairy. I know, you either love it or hate it, but I’d like to share my viewpoint with you and let you decide whether you want to consume dairy. Of course, there are healthy dairy alternatives that are really delicious, and I’ll add some of those into this categorynas well. I like to mix it up a little, and while I do like dairy, I also have some favorite non-dairy products that I absolutely love. Flavor wise, nothing beats a cup of coconut milk, especially if you add some raw cacao and a little honey and cinnamon. Oh my! So even though it isn’t dairy, I’m adding it into this category for those who prefer not to consume dairy or maybe just need a little change every once in a while.
Dairy is one of those food groups that have a lot of controversy surrounding whether it’s a healthy food or not. Some people say that dairy is an inflammatory food, and that we should avoid it for that reason. Vegans don’t drink it (or eat it) because it’s an animal product. Many people don’t use dairy due to allergies or because it causes congestion. Some people believe that milk is not meant to be consumed after a child has been weaned from breast milk. Humans are the only species that drink milk after childhood (unless you happen to let your kitty lick your cereal bowl; in which case, you might notice that she gets sick)
I love dairy, though. I’ve always been a milk drinker. I went through a time when I wouldn’t touch milk for a few years actually. I’m not even sure what that was about, but let me tell you what changed my mind. When I started on my healthy journey, I was encouraged to consume three or four servings of dairy a day. I love yogurt and cheese, but needed to add in a little milk to balance it out. I started to tolerate drinking milk again. But when I kicked up my health quest to the next level and started getting raw dairy, that’s when I fell totally in love with drinking milk again.
We are fortunate enough to be able to purchase full fat, raw dairy products fresh from the farm, and I can tell you, I will NEVER go back to any pasteurized, homogenized dairy products ever again. I don’t want to include a lot of detail in tonight’s blog, but soon I will post a detailed post about why feed lot dairy is so bad for you. Truly, if I had to buy that kind of dairy, I would not drink it at all. Let’s just say, it’s nasty and if it weren’t for the pasteurization process, it would be toxic. That’s why many people have allergies and sensitivities to dairy, and have so many issues with it. That kind of dairy cannot be processed efficiently by the human body. However, farm fresh dairy products from grass fed, pastured cows have lots of calcium, natural Vitamin D, and tons of healthy fat. Our bodies can properly process the larger (non-homogenized) molecules so that the proteins are not leaked into the body through the gut. The milk we buy is from grass-fed, pastured Jersey cows, which produce some of the richest milk. In fact, many people who cannot tolerate store bought milk, can tolerate raw milk from organic pastured cows.
Anyway, let’s talk about the kind of dairy products that I have in my healthy pantry – well, my healthy refrigerator.
- Raw milk
- Raw cream
- Raw sour cream
- Raw cream cheese
- Raw cottage cheese
- Plain yogurt
- Milk kefir (for smoothies)
- Several varieties of raw cheeses (sharp cheddar, garlic and chives, swiss, mozzarella)
- Raw, cultured butter
- Canned coconut milk
- Fresh almond milk (made from properly soaked and dried almonds…it’s really not too hard)
This is what I typically buy each week. I can make a myriad of luscious, cheesy dishes with all the different cheeses (no, I don’t worry about the fat). On a side note, please avoid any product that has “low fat” or “non fat” on the label. These products have tons of chemical additives to replace the fat and make the product more palatable. Remember, our purpose is to get to as close to nature with our food as possible. Minimal or no processing should be what we’re striving for.
I cook with the cream (try it in an omelet) and add it to my coffee. The milk kefir and yogurt are staples in my breakfast menu. I make power yogurt and kefir smoothies that give me energy all morning until lunchtime. I will share my power yogurt in the recipe section soon. I love to cook with the coconut and almond milk and it is a nice change once in a while to just drink it, too. Most any recipe that calls for milk can use coconut or almond milk in the same ratio.
We’ve covered dairy pretty well tonight, and tomorrow night we’ll talk about healthy treats to have in your healthy pantry. Of course treats are allowed! That’s one of the best parts of eating healthy! Sleep tight, healthy pantry partners!