t h e m a y f i l e s is foremost a family blog, chronicling everyday life. Life including natural, healthy eating (with recipes thrown in at random), home educating (with ideas popping up sporadically), an attempt to homestead on .2 acres (with very meager yields), raising 3 of 4 children with a rare genetic disorder, and lots of highly personal family triumphs and failures. You may also find an eclectic array of musings on politics, exercise, sewing, emergency preparedness, backyard chickens, and religion. This blog isn't a campaign to glorify anyone or anything. Just simply a record.

8.21.2009

What to Do about Dairy?

The Dairy Dilemma

I've been on a quest to figure out dairy. Is it good? Bad? The independent research (not funded by the dairy industry) continues to drive me away from commercial dairy. One huge problem is dairy products today do not resemble the family dairy cow products of the past. Genetic selection of cows has created milk-making, bacteria and mucous ridden, monstrosities. The milk, cheese and yogurt no longer contain the healthy balance of nutrients, bacteria and enzymes they once did. The average U.S. diet includes 23% commercial dairy products. But we need all that calcium, right?

My Kids Need Calcium for strong bones! I Need Calcium..I'm a Woman...Right?

Yes! We need calcium. But NOT from animals. No matter how much calcium we stuff into our bodies through dairy or supplements, if we can't retain it, trouble brews. Consuming animal products creates an acidic state in our bodies. To counteract this, the body uses calcium to neutralize and protect the critical pH balance of our blood. To maintain the proper calcium critical to bone and blood health, it seems best to obtain our calcium from plant sources. The best sources are dark leafy green, and solid green vegetables. One more reason to eat your kale smoothies and spinach salad. Your body can use around 60% of the calcium from these plant sources, and only 31 % from dairy sources. Add the dairy to a diet already high in animal products, like meat, and it is far less as your body fights to maintain healthy pH levels.

What to Do?

So what have I done? I have almost completely eliminated dairy in our family for the past month. The only dairy we do consume is now Raw, organic, and grass-fed. This means the milk is unpasturized and the non-genetically manipulated cows are allowed to roam freely and graze in the pastures. The benefits of this type of dairy are myriad. Untreated milk is far more easily digested and does not bother even lactose intolerant people. The claims go on and on. What is important to me is how little my food has been manipulated before it gets to my table and where and how it was produced.

A Little Bit of Raw

Am I giving my family dairy for calcium? No. I thought this transition would be much more difficult than it has been. My children loved cheese. Cheese worms (grated cheese), string cheese, slices of cheese.... I sat them down and told them about what I had been learning. I told them we could finish the cheese and yogurt in the house but that was it. They protested and for about a week asked for cheese. And then they stopped. I would liken it to giving up the pacifier. You never imagine they can function without it, and then they just do. In fact they flourish. (Which reminds me I really need to wean Emmett of his "nukie".) My new friends are almond milk and coconut milk. Coconut milk is a wonderful satiator. Creamy and full textured. It makes delicious smoothies and is readily available at the grocery store or you can make your own. I will post some recipes soon!

But for the occasional taste, raw is how we go. (Excluding myself. I am 100% dairy weaned.) There is only one retail location in Utah licensed to sell raw milk. Lucky you if you have your own cow. I began purchasing raw milk and cheese there in early July. Last week, the farm that produces the milk had a field day. It was a perfect opportunity to check things out. My sister came down the night before with her children and caravaned our minivans for the 2 hour trek into the wilderness to Redmond Farms. I was impressed by the farm, the managers and workers. It was clean and well run. Small but efficient. In short, I feel very comfortable purchasing my raw milk products from these "happy cows."

Here are a few photos from our adventure. I missed the best photo-op though. One of the ladies on the tour fell in love with a day-old swiss jersey cow. She was the color of creamy chocolate milk, with those gorgeous long lashes and gigantic brown eyes. In short, she purchased the cow and brought it home in the back of her Expedition with her 5 grandchildren. Wow.

I'm sorry I didn't get any pictures of the beautiful cows as well. But we have lots of the hens and hogs.

Touring the Redmond Farms. We got a bit lost on our journey upward. Our tardiness did provide a great chance to ride in the back of a rusty pick-up truck to meet our fellow farm goers on the tractor pulled flat-bed.
Chasing chickens in the brooder. This was one huge brooder. These hens were ready for pasture.
The hogs were a bit stinky. Apparently they favor romping in sour milk. Appetizing. No wonder I have zero desire to eat pork of any variety.
One of five chicken coops in the free range pastures.

Searching for eggs in the hen house.
Using light to make sure there aren't any little chicks growing in these eggs.

3 comments:

EmJay said...

I'm curious to see if this helps eliminate ear problems in your household. Keep me posted!

Brittney said...

Oh, goodness. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do about this one. I did just buy one gallon of milk at the store today instead of two. That's a start, right? :)

jacque said...

The dairy eating is an ongoing debate in my household. Thanks for your insight on calcium though. My daughter hates vegetables, but I refuse to give her milk and I know she needs the calcium.