Thursday, November 15, 2012

I like it raw, baby.

I haven’t had my cholesterol checked, but my butter & cream diet is working for me in one regard: my clothes are fitting better*. Eating such rich food is so sating. In part, I think there is an Atkins-esque effect which dampens my appetite so that
I’m getting hungry less frequently and even skipping some meals, an unprecedented state of affairs. (I typically eat three meals and three snacks a day.)  But I don’t think that is the only reason I’m eating less. The food I’m eating is so satisfying and delicious I need less. Long ago, I noticed this odd effect with chocolate. If I eat my favorite sort of chocolate— fancy-pants dark chocolate— I’m satisfied with several squares.  Paradoxically, if I eat my least favorite kind of chocolate—cheap milk chocolate—I’m much more likely to binge on it. So weird, but so consistent for me. It seems food works the same way. I’m sated much sooner eating rich, deeply delicious food than when I eat lower fat fare. (Which certainly can be delicious, too, but not in the same way.) It feels like fat nourishes my soul. But all of this doesn’t explain what started me on this tasty path.

When we first moved to Maine in 2008, we bought a gallon of raw milk just because we could. Raw milk is illegal in New York, but not in Maine.  We didn’t think much about it. Then we kept buying gallons of raw milk because it tasted so damn good and was cheaper than pasteurized milk. Aaron calls raw milk “liquid ice cream.” Seriously, that shit is delicious. If you pasteurize it, you kill the magic. By which I mean, both the fantastic taste and the biodynamism of the milk itself.
 Back on 2008. I didn’t believe the claims that lactose intolerant people can tolerate raw milk. I just was too busy and stressed to remember to take my lactose pills when I drank milk. Turns out, I can consume all the raw dairy I want without any bloating or stomach aches.
This is nice and all, but not nearly as interesting to me as what happens to raw milk over time, the biodynamic part. (And by biodynamic, I mean biologically active vs biologically inert. Not the farming method based on Rudolph Steiner’s views on agriculture.) Give it enough time and pasteurized milk rots. It is not anything anybody in their right mind would drink. Give raw milk enough time and it gets more interesting. People have long been shaping that change, especially prior to refrigeration, by introducing lactic acid and allowing their milk to ferment into kefir or piima or lassi or yogurt or any number of other tasty treats. You can ferment raw cream for cheese or crème fraiche, among other things.

I’ve made kefir and crème fraiche from both pasteurized and raw dairy. The complexity and depth of tastes in the raw product trounces the pasteurized, but it also is a much easier process. It’s like the milk wants to go there, as it were. I’ve found (thanks to inaction and oversight) I can just let raw cream sit in the fridge and in time it sours and thickens in a most delicious way. (But it is better to take the time to send it in the direction you want. There was one time the right bacteria didn’t get the upper hand and the result smelled like baby vomit. In any case, it is very obvious from one quick sniff if you have something edible or not.)

Phyllis of Dash and Bella has easy-peasy directions for making (pasteurized) crème fraiche.

My gut tells me biologically active diary is better for me and got me even more interested in less processed foods and going back to the Old Way of doing things. (And by gut, I mean both my actual guts and my spidey sense.)

*I should also mention I've been developing a new exercise class, so I've been more active. Which reminds me of another beef I have with Nourishing Traditions: they make no mention of activity levels. All the populations Weston Price were studying were very physically active in their traditional lifestyles. I suspect high fat diets do not pair well with sedentary lives, health or weight-wise.

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