Michelle’s Intro & a discussion on dairy & paleo budgets

MichellePhoto

Howdy hi there folks. (Wow, did I seriously just type that?) My name is Michelle and I’m a foodie & voice actor out on the West Coast (currently in the LA area, but moving up the coast to the Seattle area soon). I’ll be one of your hostesses for “Coast to Coast Paleo”. I’m addicted to modifying recipes to fit my family’s dietary preferences and am so excited to be sharing my work on here along with Lindsay’s!

Now true Paleo types will probably scoff at me calling our family “paleo” or “semi-paleo” or “primal” or whatever. In all honesty, we’re not paleo/primal at all. At best, we could be called “lacto-paleo”, but again, there is a lot of debate amongst Paleo eaters if those who consume dairy can even be considered paleo. The reason I use the term is simple. Saying we eat “Paleo” or “Paleo-ish” is a heck of a lot easier than listing all the different things we avoid eating or eat sparingly. What you’ll find here on my recipes are grain free or very low grain recipes that use coconut sugar, maple syrup/sugar and honey as sweeteners. I try to keep the sweetener level low and the protein high so I use almond flour as my flour of choice.

I love dairy. I grew up in Wisconsin, okay? For me, it’s something I cannot live without, but like everything, moderation is key and it is important to buy the best you can find/afford. Characteristics that I look for when choosing dairy products.

  1. Is the dairy raw, pasteurized or ultra pasteurized? Avoid ultra pasteurized at all costs. That stuff is disgusting. It doesn’t even NEED to be in the cooler. They just put it there so you don’t get grossed out. It ruins the flavor & the creaminess of milk to the point that for things like ultra pasteurized heavy cream, producers are forced to add thickeners back into the cream in order for it to have the right texture. It also doesn’t behave the same way as pasteurized milk in baked goods, sauces, cheeses, etc. If you can find dairy that has been vat-pasteurized, even better. This is the most gentle (and unfortunately most expensive) pasteurization process.
  2. I love raw dairy, but again, not always available and honestly, if you’re baking with it, it kinda defeats the purpose. I primarily use raw dairy for things like the butter I’m putting on my veggies, etc.
  3. What was this cow fed? Is it grass fed (preferred) or at least organic? Look for local farms or co-ops like Organic Valley. If you can’t afford either, try to find out how the dairy treats its cows and avoid store brands which can be a hodge podge of factory farm milk. Look for things that were produced in your state or smaller brands.
  4. Here’s a list of my preferred dairy brands. Some of these are only available in Southern California.
  • St. Benoit Dairy – website. The flavor here is outstanding and their yogurt makes an awesome yogurt cheese. My toddler also loves it!
  • Kalona Organics – this one is available nationwide. This is my butter of choice. (And their cottage cheese is also delicious!)
  • Clover Dairy – Love their cream, half & half, pasteurized milk, and butter.
  • Organic Valley – My go to back up brand when the above three aren’t available. Watch their cream though. It’s ultra pasteurized and has carrageegan in it. (Click here for info on why to avoid carrageegan.)

So, to wrap things up, welcome and it’s nice to meet ya. I hope you’ll enjoy my contributions to this site whether you’re strictly paleo (just don’t yell at me when I post a recipe using butter!) or just someone who wants to try something new. There will be no preachy posts from me or Lindsay about why you should eat the way we do. I know that the way my family eats isn’t for everyone and can be a bit expensive, but before I sign off for today… I just have to tell you the way I see this whole food thing. Your body and health are your most precious possessions and should be treated as such.

Obviously, everyone has different budgets, but think about the way your money is distributed. Back in the 1950s, according to the US Dept of Labor’s statistics, almost 30% of the monthly budget went towards food. Nowadays? It’s down to 13%. Just think about that. Think about rearranging your budget, do some research on what’s available in your area, use Google to find great websites on how to go paleo, eat real food, etc on a budget. There is a TON of information out there and it IS doable. Will you be able to always afford grass fed organic dairy and organic produce? Probably not, but you can learn how to prioritize and at least find real, whole foods instead of a meal that comes in a box.

You can do it. You just have to want to make your health and your taste buds a priority.

And scene. Coming up very soon… my very first recipe on this new blog! Stay tuned.

Resources:
Vegetalion: America’s Grocery Spending Habits 

EWG’s Good Food on a Tight Budget 

Eating Real Food on a Tight Budget 

Paleo on a Budget Tips – 
Some good tips, but I don’t agree with his statement that it can be cheaper to eat paleo. These tips would make a stereotypical diet cheaper too!

Paleo on a Budget -an entire blog dedicated to the topic

Photo by AKeigan Photography