Are Dairy Products Good For You?

I had a client previously who was 72 years old and came to me because she was having stomach issues and wasn’t sure of the cause. We dug a little deeper into her diet, which for the most part was fairly healthy! One thing that she noticed was that at night she burped a lot and had discomfort when she slept.

With a little more probing she described her nightly routine for “dessert” was a yogurt. The yogurt she had had fruit in it, and other fillers. My educated guess was that the combination of dairy, sugar and fruit at night might be the culprit to her stomach pain and gas. We had a little more discussion, and she agreed to change up her yogurt to plain, non dairy yogurt. She had never tried or heard of nut yogurts before, but was open to the possibility and curious to hit the grocery store and see what was offered.

Since dairy can be a trigger for many people, the food industry has risen to the challenge and many different types of dairy free yogurt can easily be found at most stores. There are almond, cashew, and coconut to name a few. The caution here is to still be mindful of added (unhealthy) sugars and artificial sweeteners. The good news is that a simple swap can be the answer to calming stomach problems.

For this client, it absolutely was the answer to her stomach gassiness at night. I do remember her saying, though, “Why do I have to worry about dairy now? I have lived my whole life with no problems!” This is a common theme with many people, and primarily is due to the “advancement” of factory farming and getting away from traditional farming, which was much healthier for the animals.

Dairy is not the root of all evil, mind you, but as with all items that go into our shopping cart, we have to be mindful of where it came from. Think of it this way: if your child came home with a loaf of bread, for example, or a candy bar, or a soda… you would ask, “Where did it come from?”, and question its safety, and most likely throw it away. That same level of caution is important for everything that we bring home from the grocery store.

In the case of dairy products, dairy cows are raised in conditions that would sadden you. Overcrowded, unsanitary conditions and substandard feed contribute to their health conditions. Dairy cows are forced to give birth every three to four years until they are no longer able to produce enough milk to make them financially viable. They then are sent to slaughter about the fourth year. The cattle are raised indoors where they are hooked up to machines on their udders and their excrement and urine are removed mechanically. As usual my advice is to look for organic, pasture raised dairy products.

I have an Alfredo Sauce recipe that I made up years ago to make it gluten and dairy free. I have three grown kids, our youngest is our daughter. She always loved alfredo sauce, or “white sauce” as she called it. Alfredo sauce is typically made with heavy cream, parmesan cheese and other ingredients. I make this dairy free with coconut milk and the addition of nutritional yeast. Nutritional Yeast is a wonderful ingredient to keep in your pantry. It has a nutty and savory flavor. It is a non-active (not for baking) product made from sugarcane and beet molasses. 2 Tablespoons have 8 grams of protein, and it is popular in vegan cooking.

Alfredo Sauce Redux

2 T grass-fed butter or ghee

2 T Cassava flour

1 ½ cans full fat coconut milk

1 T spicey mustard such as Dijon

2 garlic cloves minced

¼ teaspoon cumin

1 splash chardonnay (about 1 Tbs)

½ cup nutritional yeast

½ c parmesan cheese (omit if going dairy free, use 3 Tbs goat cheese instead)

2 T fresh parsley minced

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Put the butter in a saucepan on medium heat and melt.

Add the cassava flour and whisk together until incorporated, about 30 seconds.

Add the coconut milk, mustard and garlic.

Whisk together until thick and bubbly.

Add in the nutritional yeast, the cheese and splash of wine.

Set heat to low and continue mixing until cheese is incorporated into sauce. Taste for seasonings.

Can be made 1 week ahead.

Serve with red lentil pasta for a gluten free meal

Add a heaping spoonful of pesto for pesto-alfredo sauce!

Roast vegetables, add to pasta and top with sauce

Kick it to unbelievably good: add about 2 cups of cauliflower rice to it

Add spices to it: a can of diced green chile, a quarter cup of salsa

It is really good as a base for baked artichoke dip 😊

Recipe by Janet Neustedter

Here4You Health Coach

I help people identify, shop and prepare healthy food so they can feel amazing!

Restaurant Trained Chef, Functional Medicine Health Coach, Wife, Empty Nester Foodie