Milk

June 4, 2014

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I think I’ve spoken about my childhood milk behaviour before. I wasn’t the most milk-loving child, adding but a few droplets to my cereal and only consuming a glass if it contained half a tin of milo, whirled into a chocolate stream. Milky cocoa pops were a fine holiday treat because it was just like a chocolate milkshake. But I was certainly not a fan of pure milk. I grew up on Rev and the thought of a glass of milk, let alone full-cream milk, made me want to barf. Skinny milk was like water, you know? I was able to deal with it. Just.

Easing into my early twenties, my coffee order was always skim. I’d be horrified if I were presented with a full-fat latte, the creaminess was entirely too much to handle. Needless to say I hated cream, too. Ahhhh to be young and foolish.

I find the way our tastes change to be fascinating. These days I’m nutty about milk, it’s a prime feature in my fridge. I still cannot quite fathom a plain glass but I’ll decorate it with just a touch of raw cacao (exercising such refined adult restraint, my younger milo-mad self would be proud/ashamed) and a banana, maybe some nut butter and cinnamon and call it a smoothie. I adore milk in porridge, there’s nothing more comforting in the morning than a creamy bowl of warm rolled oats and milk. And while I will likely top it with a few fancy embellishments (some things never change), my preference towards the flavour of pure milk and oats is quite new to me. And I’m loving it, I really am. I’m a full-cream girl now.

Let me just explain why…

Alright, there’s a few things to mention along with my full-cream fan girling. It might seem like a big deal over nothing, I mean, it’s milk!! But “what milk do you drink?”, “why do you use butter when you’re a Dietitian?”, “is full-cream dairy better for me?” are questions I receive terribly frequently. And while diet is a very personal, individual thing, I’m going to talk about my choices for a moment in the hope it clarifies a few things about the way I eat.

For me, personally, full-cream milk feels like the right choice. It is a food that sits well with me, I feel energetic and vibrant and nourished drinking it and I source my milk intentionally.

I am proud of the fact that I have a supremely healthy diet and lifestyle. Farm-fresh and organic vegetables make up the bulk of our meals, and we jazz things up with a variety of wholegrains (rolled oats, quinoa, pasta, wild rice, freekeh, millet, the list goes on…) and quality sourdough bread plus lots of extra virgin olive oil (oh, the research in that area is compelling and delicious). I also eat at least a handful of nuts and seeds every day (almond butter, tahini, walnuts, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds…) as well as a little fruit, some dairy with minimal added ingredients, sustainable happy eggs, oily fish (predominately anchovies and sardines, the small and sustainable omega-3 rich beauties) and a little grass-fed meat and organic, free range chicken (where I can, I am not perfect with this endeavour but whenever I buy it I make sure it’s in line with my desire to consume mindfully and sustainably). I’m not perfect, no-one is, but I do generally eat fantastically well and this is something I am proud of. I cannot tell you the last time I ate a pre-packaged highly refined snack, I just dislike them, they makes me feel blah. If I want a doughnut, I make or buy a good one, if I want hot chips I get the best darn hot chips I can find (or duck fat roasted potatoes…). Food and cooking is a hobby to me, so I happily spend time in the kitchen in place of other activities and if I know I’m busy, I meal prep (which is key to consistently eating well). I’m fortunate in the location I live and the fact that I can generally choose my own work hours, but I love my lifestyle so I work hard to keep it a reality. Eating well does not have to cost more money but it might take more time. I am also active with nature walks and yoga, I drink in moderation (Campari or red wine, please), I don’t smoke, I do not suffer a lot of stress and I get 7-8 hours sleep most nights. And I drink full-cream milk.

Dietitian speak.

It’s funny that I need to justify my choice with this self-loving paragraph (I know, I know, I sound like I’m just tooting my own horn and the amount of “I do this” in that paragraph makes me cringe), but I feel it’s important to do so.

You see, I eat butter and drink full-cream milk. And I am also a Dietitian. In my profession, we tread carefully around these foods. The recommendations are to avoid full-fat products after the age of two, however there is research that suggests dairy fats are perhaps not the significant contributor to disease we once thought. Hallelujah, right? Well, yes, but wait a second…before you go loading up your toast with butter you need to be real and answer a few important questions….

Do you eat pre-packaged foods regularly or even semi-regularly? Are packets of highly refined crackers and breads and snack bars and cereals and yoghurts loaded with added sugar and soft drink (diet or otherwise) a part of your diet? If so, your fat and sugar and sodium intake is likely edging higher and therefore I’d encourage you to cut back on processed foods completely before you jump on the full-cream bandwagon. Unfortunately not everyone is willing to give up on these “food-like” substances found in the supermarket, we’ve come to rely on these convenience foods, I get that. But adding butter and full-fat dairy to a diet full of highly processed, pro-inflammatory (disease-encouraging), high sugar, high sodium “food” is likely not the best health move (especially if you’re trying to manage your weight). Get back to real food, use extra virgin olive oil as your preferred fat source (with some good omega 3s) and then we’ll talk about full-cream milk. Some yoga and time in nature might be a more important immediate health switch, though. As I said, everyone is different. Phew.

So, what milk do I choose?

Milk from happy, grass-fed, sustainably raised cows, that’s what! There is just no comparison in the end product and the impact on our environment. Yes, it’s more expensive than Supermarket milk but that’s a choice I make. I skimp on other things and prioritise quality food. I hope I can encourage you to pay a bit more for milk from happy cows (if you’re not already), or find a farmer near you who can provide you with quality milk. Milk is a fundamental part of many people’s diets, so I think it makes sense to ensure your drinking the good stuff. Taste and nutrition is good motivation in itself, without even considering the significant environmental impact you can make by switching your support as a consumer towards sustainable farming practices. Milk from happy cows that aren’t stressed and are eating what they’re born to eat (pasture fed!) is better for us, the environment and the cow. If you aren’t convinced, do a little research and taste the difference.

A brand I favour is Demeter Biodynamics, and you can find good, local-to-you brands via this link. The goal is finding a farm where the cows are sustainably farmed and pasture-fed, with bobby calves raised alongside retired dairy cows (usually in factory farming they’re sent to be slaughtered). Demeter Biodynamics have a range of products (not just dairy), but we usually buy their full-cream homogenised milk and sometimes their organic butter (which isn’t local to us but it’s delicious). If you’re not a full-cream lover, Demeter have a low-fat product as well (see their milk range here and search for stockists near you -their goods are quite widely available). We don’t buy this all the time, in fact, often we are at Ritchies and go for Paul’s organic. But that’s a pretty fine choice at the end of the day too. It’s about small, sustainable steps in the direction of supporting the right people.

Wednesday Breakfast Club.

I’m a few days late for my May addition to My Mindful Kitchen (where I search for sustainable producers to support and devour, one each month for 2014!). These photos were taken last week but I wanted to share it with you for Wednesday Breakfast Club, so I made this smoothie bowl again today. It’s made with Demeter milk, and although it is topped with a few fancy things I believe milk to be the key ingredient, the shining star, the true reason for its greatness. And because this milk is so sweet, you really don’t need additional sweeteners.

It’s better than a chocolate milkshake, that’s for sure.

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Milk Loving Smoothie Bowl

Serves 1

Ingredients
1 frozen Banana
1 & 1/2 cups quality Milk
2 heaped teaspoons Maca Powder (optional)
1 heaped tablespoon natural Peanut Butter (or almond butter)
A sprinkle of Bee Pollen (something indulgent I’m playing with), toasted Sunflower Seeds and Pepitas plus a sprinkling of Sea Salt to decorate

Method
Slice the frozen banana (if not already sliced) and puree in a blender with the milk, maca, peanut butter. Taste and adjust as desired (add a little honey if you want it sweeter). Pour into a bowl and top with some bea pollen and toasted seeds and sea salt.

 

What did you have for breakfast today? and what milk do you drink? Please share any great producers you know of or are supporting. We’re in this together!

 

Heidi xo

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43 Comments

  • Reply Alexia June 4, 2014 at 9:04 am

    What a lovely read Heidi! I am starting yoga tonight, maybe I can think about my milk next 🙂 I see they sell one of the brands you discuss at my local fruit and veggie shop.

    • Reply Heidi June 4, 2014 at 10:08 am

      Thanks, Lex! Enjoy Yoga. It’s been life changing for me!! xx

  • Reply Jane June 4, 2014 at 9:26 am

    hi, great post! I’m always glad when I check your blog, its has a great feel to it.

    my milk of choice is cows milk, and I occasionally have unsweetened almond milk in smoothies because its lower calorie but I don’t really like the taste on its own.

    Just wondering what your dietician thoughts are on soy milk?

    I observe a lot of people ordering it these days, usually young women, and to me it seems like a bit of a hipster fad, sort of like everyone going gluten free even those who have no need to. I have read so many conflicting things on it, especially on the estrogen qualities of soy being harmful which is why I stay away from it. Is the whole soy movement a fad or is it better for you than dairy? thanks xx

    • Reply Heidi June 4, 2014 at 10:16 am

      Hey Jane, thanks for your comment & kind words. I love almond milk in smoothies, it’s beautiful. Re soy, yes it is something to consider but I’d only really worry if you’re consuming a decent amount daily. A soy latte every now and then wouldn’t worry me, but if you’re drinking more than a cup a day I’d likely suggest looking for alternatives. Soy beans (and so products made from soy) contain phytoestrogens, which mimic the action of oestrogen in the body, which can contribute to hormonal imbalances (but is why women going through menopause often love soy & linseed bread). In our day & age, with all the products & sprays & chemicals that can contribute to endocrine disruption, I try to avoid too much soy or other potential hormone mimics. But I’ll sometimes feel like a soy latte or use tofu in cooking & that’s totally cool with me. There are health benefits to soy too, including reducing the risk of heart disease. If you do choose soy (and no I don’t think it’s better for you than dairy), certainly avoid soy from the US and ensure it’s not genetically modified. x

      • Reply Jane June 4, 2014 at 11:53 am

        thanks Heidi that’s really helpful!

        I don’t like the taste of soy in coffee except for in Chai lattes, I reckon it compliments the chai flavour! anyway now I won’t worry about having the odd one.

  • Reply Ash Jones APD June 4, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Brilliant post and one I can definitely relate to – everyone *is* different. A combination of genetics, healthy eating and endurance exercise means I have hypotension to the point I need to consume additional sodium (to avoid fainting), which I do with good quality sodium sources. But you’ve got to love the food scrutiny that comes with this profession – if I had a dollar for every time someone said “but you’re a dietitian!” as I put a little extra sea salt on my meal, jeez, I could probably retire early. My diet is the right diet for me, but probably not for anybody else. Great post, and I’m very jealous of your location, such amazing produce!

    • Reply Heidi June 4, 2014 at 10:17 am

      Amen to that! I use sea salt quite keenly, I’m similar to you in that regard. Really it’s the processed food that’s the worst sodium contributor – but you know that 😉 Thanks, lovely x

  • Reply Kelsey June 4, 2014 at 10:00 am

    I absolutely adore this post. I’m studying to become a Dietician, and sometimes I feel… conflicted about my future career. There are so many influences from industry and “research” (I work in the Nutritional research field, so I feel I can use the quotations) that confuse issues such as high-fat food products. I love how clearly you’ve articulated that high-fat dairy is a good move, IF you have a clean diet. Nutrition is not black and white, there’s not one cure-all for health.

    What an inarticulate comment on my behalf! I just wanted to say that your wholesome, holistic lifestyle is an inspiration for a budding Dietician such as myself. So, thank you.

    • Reply Heidi June 4, 2014 at 10:18 am

      Thanks, Kelsey! That’s nice to hear 🙂 x

  • Reply KittyCate June 4, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Love this post! I am a self confessed milk addict, nothing is better than a glass of creamy, chilled whole cream milk, preferably non homogenized. I try to buy mine from The Pines local dairy farm in Kiama NSW it’s beyond amazing!

    • Reply Heidi June 4, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      Thanks, Cate, I remember your full cream loving from way back! I just googled The Pines, it looks fab – they have a farm stay too! How cool x

  • Reply laurasmess June 4, 2014 at 11:36 am

    This is a fantastic post Heidi. So well written, well thought out, beautifully balanced advice. I’ve been drinking milk since I was a wee bairn. I mostly choose Hi-lo these days (for both myself and Aaron, we figure it’s a good balance) and as much as possible from Bannister Downs dairy in Western Australia. A few friends of mine are now hooked on that A2 milk but I’m yet to be convinced… any thoughts??
    As for diet on the whole, I try to follow exactly what you’re doing (imperfectly, but I try as much as possible). A few of my friends use prepackaged stuff when having us over for dinner though. I never thought twice about it in my younger years but I recently ate burritos made by a friend who used Old El Paso packet mix and I woke up overnight with stomach issues. Hm.
    One last question: coconut oil. Like you, I normally use EVOO in everything but I’ve been trying to read up on the benefits of coconut oil and there is so much conflicting advice. I’m stuck. Anyway, to save this becoming a novel, thanks SO much for sharing these views with us Heidi xxx

    • Reply Heidi June 4, 2014 at 7:23 pm

      Thanks for the post love, Laura. Love your style! A2 milk contains more of the A2 beta casein protein (compared to the A1 protein, common in regular Supermarket milk). People with various allergies & intolerances report improved symptoms using A2 milk, anecdotally there’s a bit of support for this so if you like it better so I think it’s worth a shot. Still waiting solid research on whether it has overall superior health benefits. Just had another look now on the interwebs…watch this space! & I know what you mean re the old el paso-style pre-packaged foods. I used to love that stuff! But yep, much prefer making my own now. & re coconut oil, we’re still yet to have firm evidence on the reported health benefits. In the mean time, it’s contains predominantly saturated fat & though metabolised differently due to the fat chain lengths I feel it is best to use in moderation. I use it sometimes as I love the flavour & texture. But stick with the EVOO in my opinion! x

  • Reply Kate June 4, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    YES! So much yes to this post! While I have never been able to stomach milk or cream, I do love whole fat organic yoghurt and your food philosophy of eating local, sustainable, organic food completely aligns with my own philosophy towards cooking and eating. I love that you note that each person is different in relation to what dietary choices work – I feel that people are so easily caught up in trends these days that they forget to listen to their own body! Thank you for such a wonderful post Heidi, and as always, your breakfast looks so delicious 🙂 Kate xx

    • Reply Heidi June 4, 2014 at 7:24 pm

      Thanks Kate! What a lovely comment 🙂 x

  • Reply InTolerant Chef June 4, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Great article Heidi. Having grown up InTolerant I really had an understandable aversion to dairy as it made me sick! I’m so grateful now for all the lactose free varieties, but still can’t really stomach a whole glass just from habit 🙂
    I buy Liddells and Zymil products for me, and full fat Canberra milk for the rest of the family.

    • Reply Heidi June 4, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      You’re all class, lady x

  • Reply Wendy June 4, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Such a beautiful post as always Heidi. I can totally understand the having to justify your choices bit. I get it especially when I eat out with my non dietitian friends as they watch everything I pick! And I’m a full fat cheese kinda girl 😉

    • Reply Heidi June 4, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      High five! x

  • Reply Mariam June 4, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Wonderful post Heidi! I’m a full cream girl too and it often shocks people because I’m such a health freak haha. I often have almond and rice milk in the fridge as well.

    • Reply Heidi June 4, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      Variety is so important in our diets, Mariam!! You’re onto a good thing, I feel x

  • Reply Sharon June 4, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Hi Heidi,
    Another thoughtful post by you – thank you! I choose full-cream milk too. At the moment I’m buying Schultz Organic, which I notice is on the list you link to 🙂 But I need to use more of it (I often end up only using a little before the use-by date so I unfortunately waste a lot)…this recipe will definitely help me stop doing that!
    Also, I’m really keen to know how else you’re using bee pollen and what you see the benefits to be? I’ve been sprinkling it on my oats every morning for a few weeks now for some natural sweetness – but not sure if I’m being too indulgent buying it!

    • Reply Heidi June 4, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      Hey Sharon, great stuff, I adore Shultz, their quark is incredible!! Re bee pollen, it’s my first time buying it & I’ve only really sprinkled it on smoothie bowls & porridge. I was curious about the flavour & interested in it’s use as it’s quite high in protein. But really, I don’t think I’ll be buying it again. It’s expensive, you’re right, so was a bit of a splurge & though it seems to last a while (only using a sprinkle here & there), I don’t think it’s a particularly necessary “superfood” x

      • Reply Sharon June 5, 2014 at 9:26 am

        Thanks Heidi, I can’t help but agree. I discovered bee pollen via kimberlysnyder.net – she promotes its benefits and I was intrigued. I do like the subtle flavour it adds and will enjoy what I have left too (you’re right, it does last ages – I’ll probably still be eating it in 6 months!) but not sure I’ll buy again either x

  • Reply Tori June 4, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    I’m about to embark on trying sardines Heidi – I’ve never really had them before. Can you give some ideas for what to do with them? I’ve long been worried I eat too much canned tuna, what are your thoughts on this front?

    • Reply Heidi June 4, 2014 at 7:40 pm

      Yes I’m trying to eat more sardines as not only are they more sustainable than tuna, they have a great fat profile (much higher in omega 3 fats, which we often lack in our diet today!). I like tinned sardines in tomato-based or olive oil based pasta sauces (Sicilian style). Fresh sardines rolled with breadcrumbs and herbs (again, Sicilian style), is divine! Try this: http://siciliancuisine.blogspot.com.au/2011/03/sarde-beccafico-unique-sicilian-sardine.html Or just simply grilled and served with lemon – beautiful! x

      • Reply Tori June 4, 2014 at 10:00 pm

        Thank you! Looking forward to trying them.

  • Reply Elisa June 4, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Long time listener, first time caller, I felt compelled to comment. Heidi, a wonderful post. In an age where the media has made us fear fats and sugar, confused us with EVOO vs coconut oil vs canola oil (thanks, Toxic Oil), and yet bombards our TVs with McDonald’s latest meal deal, it’s making it impossible for the general public to “get it right”. As a result, I believe a dietitian’s diet is so often scrutinised because the general public is under so much pressure to eat the latest “superfood” and follow the latest fad diet, so well, if we “stuff up”, it gives them permission to also do so. I love the respect you give to food, to real food (and in particular, to butter!). Food in bright packages and twenty claims on the label more often than not does not respect the food and where it came from. So how can we expect it to respect and nourish our bodies? So here’s to a sprinkle of salt on our dinner, some butter on our bread, and making time to run, not sit on your bum!

    • Reply Heidi June 4, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      Hi Elisa. “Long time listener, first time caller” – love it! Thanks for the support & thoughtful comment. I cannot agree with you more – “here’s to a sprinkle of salt on our dinner, some butter on our bread, and making time to run, not sit on your bum!” INDEED! x

  • Reply Maggie June 5, 2014 at 8:31 am

    Hi Heidi-
    I am a (nearly) 16 year old with a passion for healthy eating and food in general. I can truly say that your blog is my absolute favorite to read! I adore your way with words; you make everything sound so lovely. I am a self-taught baker/cooker (I know that isn’t a word, but I don’t think I’m talented enough to call myself a chef! 😉 ) and I always come to your blog for inspiration! I have considered pursuing the path of a dietitian, and your blog has certainly encouraged me that it would be a wonderful choice!

    • Reply Heidi June 7, 2014 at 9:22 am

      Thank you Maggie! What a sweet comment 🙂 Dietetics is a great profession! Ups and downs like every job, though – pros and cons, rather. Shoot me an email if you need to chat about it. In the mean time, happy cooking! x

  • Reply Hannah June 5, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Oh, but you are such a gem. Such a dear and darling gem. When I forget/run out of my almond milk at work, I have started going down to the cafeteria to purloin a little of the 10% or the half-and-half. Much delicious, very cream, so joy.

    • Reply Heidi June 7, 2014 at 9:22 am

      I’m so intrigued by this half and half business! Thanks, lovely x

  • Reply Jetpepper June 6, 2014 at 12:05 am

    What a wonderful post Heidi! Thank you for sharing your views on diet and in particular on full cream milk. The last few months in the UK have seen a U-turn regarding sugar v fat, and slowly there seems to be a ‘fat is acceptable’ stance emerging. Oof. If ever there was a case for eating amazing quality produce, as locally grown as possible, with everything in moderation, I think it is now! So I buy Yeo Valley organic cows milk for everyday here in the UK (I was getting increasingly concerned about the antibiotics/hormones etc in the standard UK milk sold at supermarkets). Then its a new brand of organic almond milk by a company called Rude Health for much smoothie-ing…granola-ing etc! And finally, for cooking a real rice pudding and so on I buy a full fat Jersey cows milk! Thanks again Heidi! x

    • Reply Heidi June 7, 2014 at 9:23 am

      Sounds like you’ve got a great milk spread there, lovely 🙂 Thanks for the support x

  • Reply Georgia June 7, 2014 at 12:27 am

    Gorgeous post! I cannot fathom full cream milk either. Not sure what it is but I can completely relate to you!! G xx

    • Reply Heidi June 7, 2014 at 9:26 am

      I so get that! I’m happy to be loving it now though 😉 x

  • Reply Courtenay June 7, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Hi Heidi 🙂
    I’ve been an avid stalker (for want of a better word!) of your blog and Instagram for a while now and I really just wanted to say a big thank you. Thank you for having such a balanced and healthy view of food. Thank you for enjoying food and showing us that it is ok to eat what makes us feel good, even if it may not appear to be the healthiest food ever! Thank you, thank you, thank you. After getting way too swept up in the “clean eating” scene I became far too restrictive with my diet and sadly developed an eating disorder, but your account has always been a little reminder of what being truly healthy is all about, balance! Don’t stop doing what you’re doing! 🙂
    Much love,
    Courtenay

    • Reply Heidi June 7, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      Thanks, Courtenay, that’s really really nice to hear 🙂 I feel really chuffed that you find my food chatter helpful. So pleased to hear you’re appreciating the balance. Much love right back to you x

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