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Baby Steps: Real step 1, change your dairy.

Raw, local goat milk, my personal mecca of milk.
I'm finally moving on with the Baby Steps series, and I hope it will be a weekly feature, so be sure to tune in!

One of the first, easiest changes you can make when changing to a whole food diet.  If you are currently drinking conventional skim milk you have a lot of room for improvement.

I look at milk in different levels.  You can choose to improve one level at a time, or you can jump up as far as you want- the good thing is, the biggest adjustment will be to your wallet, and it is a small one.  The taste only improves, although it does take some adjustment to get used to non-homogenized milk.
  • Level 0: Conventional skim milk.
  • Level 1: RSbT free whole milk.  (I was tempted to list conventional whole milk as the next step, but I feel avoiding the hormones in milk is so important it should be as much a priority as full fat milk).
  • Level 2: Organic whole milk.
  • Level 3: Grassfed and/or non homogenized organic whole milk.
  • Level 4: Raw milk from grassfed brown cows (not Holsteins- it has to do with the milk protein).
  • Level 5: Raw goat milk.
I personally go back and forth between level 3 and level 5.  Since I don't have my own goats, raw goat milk is only available to me when my source has a surplus.  The rest of the year we use non-homogenized milk from grass fed cows from Cedar Summit Farm, a local dairy.  When we are using the Cedar Summit milk the kids and I don't drink much of it, it is mostly for my husband to drink and to use in cooking, and I buy goat milk yogurt for them to eat.  And during the part of the year we're using goat milk I still buy cream from Cedar Summit because their cream is AMAZING and goat milk is naturally homogenized, so it doesn't produce a cream layer (and by golly I need my cream!).

Concerning other dairy products, the same levels apply, although with cheese and sour cream I don't worry much as long as they are hormone free and full fat (full fat goes without saying... reduced fat or fat free dairy should be avoided like the plague).  Except for butter.  Butter has it's own levels, and while they're similar there are a few differences:
  • Level 0: non butter (it's an afront to nature, if you have any throw it away immediately)
  • Level 1:  Butter.  Real butter.
  • Level 2: Hormone free butter.
  • Level 3: Organic butter (cultured or not).
  • Level 4: Grass fed butter.
  • Level 5: High vitamin butter oil or Ghee from grassfed cows (you can make this from level 4).
I'm still working on this one.  The closest place I can buy grass fed butter is Trader Joe's (they carry Kerry Gold, which is grassfed but not organic), which is 40 minutes away from me.  However they do sell Purity Farms organic and grass fed Ghee at my local co-op, and I buy that, but it is expensive (twice the price of organic butter) so I get it for the kids.  It's generally recommended to consume some high vitamin butter oil every day, but this is easy.  I simply spread it on my kids' toast or pancakes or stir it into their oatmeal.  The best thing about Ghee is that those who are allergic to dairy can typically consume it with no problems, so Izzy, who is having a recurrence of her dairy issues, can still eat it.

Why grassfed?  Check out the benefits here.

Will you change your dairy?  What level are you on, and what would you like to change to?  What is stopping you?

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