With the exception of gluten, there really isn’t any more hotly contested food than dairy.
While many have shunned it claiming better digestive health, clearer skin, and overall improvements in general health, there are swaths of others who liken good cheese to a near-religious experience and feel slightly cheated when a carton of almond milk lends a tannic bite to an otherwise perfectly good latte.
For those of us that don’t have an allergy or intolerance is there a way to have our cake and eat it too?
Not Just Organic But Grass-Fed
We often say “you are what you eat” and the same holds true for cows.
Cows were meant to eat grass—their bodies are designed for it. When we feed them corn it upsets their digestive system. Therefore, it can result in poorer quality meat and dairy.
When cows eat grass, their milk is just simply better. Lower in saturated fat, higher in antioxidants, and double the omega-3’s of conventional milk, it also contains a unique fatty acid known as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is a powerful nutrient when it comes to promoting weight loss, heart health (including blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels) and immune function.
Think Outside the Cow
If you have trouble digesting cow dairy, goat or sheep dairy may be your answer.
Both these kinds of milk have smaller protein molecules and less curd tension than cow milk. That makes them easier for humans to digest. Also, they’re a great choice for those that feel a little clogged (i.e. stuffed up, bloated, or constipated) after consuming cow dairy.
Both goat and sheep milk also contain impressive amounts of nutrients. These include higher amounts of calcium, magnesium, and potassium than conventional cow milk. Even if you find you’re able to tolerate cow milk, switching to goat or sheep milk every so often is a great way to prevent dietary sensitivities from developing.
One of the biggest arguments against the consumption of milk is that it’s a 20th-century phenomenon. Therefore, it’s only available to us because we invented that handy kitchen tool known as the refrigerator.
This, however, is only true of milk as we know it today. For thousands of years, in cultures spanning the globe, fermented milk products like yogurt, kefir, and a dizzying array of cheeses, have been dietary staples and valuable forms of nutrition.
When it comes to choosing fermented dairy, no matter what they type, choose ones that are minimally processed and have no added ingredients including flavours (yes that includes your vanilla yogurt), colourings (orange cheese), preservatives, or sugars.
For those of us that can stomach it, there is a place for a little dairy goodness in our lives. When it comes to consuming a little moo juice (or the products that are made from it) moderation is key. Think 1 or 2 servings a day tops, and varying the source goes a long way.
As with all animal products, it’s crucial to choose the best quality, and be rigorous about consuming only trusted brands.
To learn more about the dairy debate check out Authority Nutrition’s piece Is Dairy Bad For You? The Milky Cheesy Truth.