Dairy Low-Down

Photo by Digital Vision./Photodisc / Getty Images

Photo by Digital Vision./Photodisc / Getty Images

There are conflicting theories on dairy in our diets. Many people attribute their skin, stomach, even pain issues with consuming dairy. My personal philosophy, with dairy and most dietary choices, is that every person is unique, and diet is a personal decision specific to our individual makeups. I include dairy in my coffee, yogurt for probiotics, eat eggs regularly, and will occasionally indulge when on vacation or special occasions. I prefer organic, locally sourced whenever possible.

Eggs are a great source for protein and B vitamins. I love two eggs scrambled with turmeric (for anti inflammatory benefits), black pepper, nutritional yeast and greens. I make the same recipe for my daughter and she cannot get enough! I am happy to give her the best quality eggs locally available and she tolerates it extremely well (no rashes, tummy troubles, or fussiness!).

Cows milk dairy is a different story. I usually only include cows milk dairy in my coffee (an indulgence I have yet to kick!) - and it's generally organic or locally sourced. The rest of my dairy - generally yogurt - is goats milk. I find this easier to digest, and less allergenic than cows milk. I give the same to my daughter, who reacts poorly to cows milk but can handle moderate amounts of goat milk. Yogurt is a good source of protein and probiotics for digestive health, and is an easy way to mix in fruits, nuts, and seeds (hemp and chia are our favorites!).

Pay attention to the signals your body sends when you have dairy of any variety. Does your skin break out? More trips to the bathroom? This may be a sign that your body is not processing the dairy well. While on a recent vacation I had cheese at breakfast two days in a row and my body soooooo felt the repercussions!

My favorite brands for goat milk dairy are Meyenberg milk, Redwood Hill Farms and Trader Joe's yogurt. I also like small amounts of Lifeway brand kefir (cows milk).

Plant Based Protein

When people find out that I do not eat meat, their first question is ALWAYS "But where do you get your protein?". We all know that protein is important, but do we know why?

Protein helps keep our energy up, our blood sugar stable, and is the building block of our cells and tissues. Important stuff! However, it is debatable how much our bodies actually require. We certainly do not need to be dumping protein powder into every drink and adding chicken to every single dish we eat!

Protein is actually in WAY more foods than we think, it's all around us! If you choose animal based sources, you can find protein in meat, chicken, and fish - of course. Protein is also in whole grains such as quinoa and oats. Beans, soy (tofu and tempeh) are versatile components of many main dishes that are good sources and can be easily incorporated into everyday life. Protein exists in varying degrees in veggies such as broccoli, spinach, kale, collard greens, bok choy, romaine lettuce, and watercress.

My go-to high protein meal (when I need more energy, feel like I haven't gotten enough in that day, or just crave this easy and yummy dish!) - is 2 eggs (preferably pasture raised) scrambled, steamed broccoli and spinach, and sprouted grain toast. Balanced, easy, and contains ingredients you most likely already have in the kitchen!

Share with me your protein-related questions, or your favorite sources!