Organic Diet Step 2: Dairy

Not everyone can tolerate dairy products, but for those who can, it is a rich source of minerals, protein, and healthy saturated fats IF sourced from healthy animals. Some people groups in Africa thrive on a diet made up nearly entirely of raw milk from their herds.

Clean Starts

  • Change from conventional milk to¬†organic milk. Skim, 1% and 2% milks have thickeners added to them; opt out by choosing whole milk. Homogenization has been linked to arterial plaque; opt out by choosing unhomogenized. Your choice to skim the cream for your coffee, or shake the whole jug before pouring. Raw milk (unpasteurized) from pastured (grassfed) animals is the BEST milk, as it is richest in minerals, enzymes and probiotics. Dungeness Valley Creamery supplies this delicious cow milk to WA state; if you prefer goat milk, search for a local source.
  • Change from conventional yogurt, cottage cheese, and kefir, to organic products, or make your own from raw/organic/pastured milk.
  • Change from conventional butter, sour cream, and cream to organic butter, sour cream, and cream. Conventional butter was listed on a recent “top ten most toxic foods” list, which is not surprising since so many of todays petrochemical toxins settle in the fats of animals. Yet organic butters and cream have been highly revered by healthy indigenous people groups for their health giving properties.
  • Change from conventional cheese to raw, organic cheese, if you can find it (see notes about raw milk below).
  • Change from “soy dairy” products (soy milk, soy protein) to almond, hemp, hazelnut, or rice milks (hemp having the best nutrition, and it’s delicious) if cow/goat dairy is not tolerated. Organic coconut oil can be used in place of butter for those with a dairy allergy. See note below on why I avoid soy.
  • If lactose intolerance is the reason you avoid dairy products, try culturing your own yogurt from organic milk. When you use a 24 hours process to culture the yogurt (or kefir if desired), nearly no lactose is present at the end of the process. Making yogurt and kefir is not difficult; find directions here. The long culturing process yields a very sour “European” flavor, which can be sweetened if you desire with jams, maple syrup, or honey. I have found that fresh goat milk loses its “goaty” aftertaste when cultured this long. The same process for 24 hour yogurt can be done with whipping cream for amazingly delicious Creme Fraiche.

Some people find that they can tolerate goat and sheep milk products if cow products bother them. Others find that raw milk (unpasturized) is tolerated as it has all the enzymes and probiotics intact to aid in digestion. In addition, high heat pasteurization appears to damage the protein molecule in milk. (The stable saturated fats in cream/butter seem to hold up better to heat than the protein in the milk, making pasteurized butter/cream still a great choice.)

Worried about contamination? Studies which purposefully introduced pathogenic bacteria into raw milk (still “living” with enzymes, probiotics, and immune factors) show that the milk protects itself by destroying pathogenic bacteria. Conversely, pasturized (“dead”) milk no longer carries this protection; hundreds are made sick on pasturized milk annually in the US. Once milk is cultured (into cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.) this risk is lowered by the competing bacteria of the culture. Certified Raw dairies undergo far stricter testing of products than conventional dairies.

Buying Tips

Trader Joes has the best prices around (by far) for a full range of organic dairy products. I buy butter, cream, sour cream, and cottage cheese there. They also have a stunning selection of cheeses, most at fabulous prices. I sometimes buy the Grassfed Cheddar (New Zealand), and sometimes the Raw Cheddar. We also love the Cotswold cheese from England (which is neither organic, or raw, but you can taste the richness of the milk which makes me confident the cows are grazing grass). The Shredded Parmesan cheese (in a bag) is a raw cheese (and high in absorbable calcium); and excellent choice.

I make my own kefir from Dungeness Valley raw milk, which we drink on occasion as well, when I’m not making it into pudding, ice cream, etc.

Goat milk is best fresh (for flavor), so I don’t really recommend buying it from Trader Joes, although if that is your only option (say for a toddler who can’t tolerate cow milk) I would certainly recommend it over any “milk substitute”. Best to find a local dairy for raw milk (as I have), or if you are inclined, buy a goat as a pet which actually contributes to the family table!

If you have to use dairy substitutes, hemp milk is cheaper when you buy a case through a co-op; this option may be available at your health food store. You can make your own rice milk really cheap (and pretty easy) using this Rice Milk Recipe.

The Why

Conventional dairy products in the US come from “factory farmed” cows, which may or may not ever see a pasture, but most certainly dine on soy and corn based feed laced with pesticides, antibiotics, and by-products from slaughter houses. In some states, farms are allowed to inject the cows with growth hormones with cause them to produce more milk, which wears out the cow and results in fewer productive years (but at heavier production) before going to the slaughterhouse herself. (This is not allowed in OR or WA.) Since the food she receives (grain based) is such a poor diet for her, she is likely to be sick often, and treated with antibiotics. You can bet that all the toxins going into her make their way into her milk, and the butter, cheese, yogurt, and other products made from it.

Conventional soy is one of the most pesticide laden crops in the US, and even organic soy can hardly boast a health claim as soy is an endocrine disruptor (mimics estrogen in the body). There are tons of “studies” done to show the “health benefits” of soy. Guess who pays for these studies, and their publicity? The Soy Industry. Lesser known studies link soy formulas to early puberty in girls, delayed or decreased fertility in boys, and doubling of diabetes risk for all children. I avoid it like the plague (except fermented soy products used in traditionally small amounts, such as Tamari).

Is Organic Certification Necessary?

Although USDA Organic certification brings with it peace of mind for the consumer, there is a cost to the farmer (passed on to the consumer) for this rubber stamp. You may be able to find a local dairy which can demonstrate to you the health and humane treatment of their animals, and quality of their product so that you don’t need the label to feel good about using their products. Especially important is to inquire about the feed of their animals; even a cow fed 100% organic grain but kept in the feedlot will not be as healthy as the cow allowed to graze on green grasses.

Great Customer Service from Seventh Generation

Message sent to Seventh Generation question box, via their website:

The dishwasher packs have been reformulated, and now come in a resealable bag.

Hello, this isn’t a question, but unfortunately a complaint.

I have been thrilled with so many of the Seventh Generation products, from diapers to laundry soap, so I was disappointed to find that the Automatic Dishwasher Detergent Concentrated Packs were terrible. (SKU# 732913227907 and box code of AF 09050 xxxxxxx 1)

I bought these at Walgreens in the spring, hoping for something to throw in alongside the SG automatic dish detergent when I had an especially dirty load. However, the granules in the packs only seemed to get baked onto all of my dishes! I still have most of the box of packets, which I tried to take back to Walgreens, but it seems that I bought it just before they discontinued and deleted it from their system and they can’t refund it now.

So I wanted you to know that this product does not do as promised on the front of the box: “Gets Dishes Sparkling Clean”.
Thank you for your time,
Bronwyn Deiter
cleangreenstart.wordpress.com

 

Reply from Seventh Generation:

Hi Bronwyn,

I was sorry to hear of the less than stellar experience you had with our dishwasher pacs. I am sorry for the inconvenience & extra washing they caused you.

When you mentioned a box of dishwasher pacs, I said to myself “oh no, those are old.” The lot code you provided indicates the box was manufactured in 2009. The dishwasher pacs have been reformulated since 2009 & now come in a plastic see-through, resealable pouch.

I would be happy to compensate you for the dishwasher pacs. Do you prefer a voucher for a free dishwashing product or a refund? In either case, I will need your mailing address. In the case of a refund, I will also need to know how much you paid.

And now for the reason why you were using the dishwasher pacs … if you have an especially dirty load, I recommend you add a bit more detergent than usual. I suppose that is what you were actually doing when you added the dishwasher pacs but because they were old, they didn’t work well at all. The American Cleaning Institute (a website that is a treasure trove of info … http://www.cleaninginstitute.org) recommends you use dishwasher powders/pacs within 2 months of purchase, otherwise they can cause small particles (food or detergent) to be left behind. If you do a search on their website using the word “dishwasher,” you’ll learn more than you ever wanted to know about dishwasher problems & their causes.

Thank you for purchasing our products and giving us the opportunity to address your concerns. I will look for your reply about the voucher or refund.

Deb Lane
Customer Service
www.seventhgeneration.com

 

My Reply:

Hi Deb,

Thanks so much for your thorough reply, and offer of compensation. A voucher is best for me, as that will save me from digging out my receipt. I have been quite happy with the liquid automatic dishwashing soap, and would love to just replace it with that.

Thank you again,
Bronwyn Deiter