Reluctant dairy queen

Shortly after I stopped eating meat five-and-a-half years ago, I also eliminated almost all animal products from my diet.  I traded in cow’s milk for soy milk, and stopped buying eggs, cheese, and other dairy products.  To make this manageable, I never set a hard and fast, “Thou shalt not eat any animal products” rule, so if you offered me a nice homemade baked good, I enjoyed it, knowing full well that it had eggs in it.

I was a bit more stringent with the dairy, especially avoiding cheese and other fatty dairy products. My dairy avoidance was due, in part, to some anti-dairy explanation of milk as, “Filtered cow’s blood.”  Scientifically, that may be true, in a sense, but stating it as such shows some definite anti-milk bias.  Though if you want to talk about bias in the dairy industry, the pro-milk studies funded by dairy associations would be a better starting point.  I digress.  (I have other issues with/questions about milk, both on the environmental and health fronts, but I’ll save those for another day.)

Time passed, and my not-so-hard-and-fast rule turned into a less-hard-and-fast rule, and next thing you know, I’m writing posts like this one.  Since writing that post, we continue to purchase raw milk, though we switched to another local dairy, Greenwood Farms, because they sell certified raw milk, meaning they test their milk regularly and comply with stringent standards.  For all I know, Lavy Dairy’s milk MAY meet those same standards, but I do kind of like having the assurance.  Greenwood Farms milk does have a couple of downsides: 1) It costs more than 3 times (!) as much as the certified organic milk from Lavy Dairy and 2) Greenwood Farms uses standard plastic (read: non-reusable) milk jugs.  On the upside, they offer pick-ups at Tower Grove Farmers’ Market, which, compared to driving to Silex, MO, is almost as good as home delivery.

Although freezing milk, which we did with our large Lavy Dairy purchase, does not ruin it, it does change it a bit, and we prefer to avoid that with our premium-price product.  However, for two people who don’t actually drink milk, consuming a gallon of the stuff before it goes bad presents a bit of a challenge (it seems to stay good for about 10 days, which is similar to the point when pasteurized milk goes bad).  We plan to experiment with cheese making, but we don’t have the cultures and vegetable rennet.  In the meantime, we’ve been making yogurt and ice cream.

After several edible but imperfect yogurt attempts (flavor not quite right, too thin, strange consistency), I remembered that we had a yogurt maker growing up.  A quick call to my mom confirmed that said yogurt maker still existed, plus two others that my parents acquired at garage sales over the years, all sitting in the basement, quite neglected.  While I certainly was not about to go out and buy a yogurt maker, I happily adopted one of my parents’ trio.

I greeted the new appliance with some suspicion, since it just barely felt warm when I plugged it in to preheat it.  After about seven hours, I very skeptically opened one of the yogurt containers to find . . .  perfect yogurt!

What with the milk, homemade yogurt and ice cream, and local cheese purchases, I somehow find myself eating dairy (often a relatively small amount that wouldn’t count as an official “serving”) at least once a day, if not more.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.


  1. Ha! I have tried to give up dairy so many times, but it keeps luring my back. I suppose the fact that soy milk gives me migraines, and I’m allergic to so many nuts and seeds might have something to do with it.

    I finally found a local dairy that has milk in returnable glass bottles with a deposit. Their milk is lightly pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized like most that you get in the grocery store) I fear I’m a bit afraid to try raw milk having heard horror stories about ecol i and the like.

    I really want to try making yogurt and farmer’s cheese, but I’ve sort of been afraid that I might poison myself. I’m gonna give yogurt a try though, but maybe a yogurt maker would help…

    1. Melissa @ HerGreenLife says:

      I don’t know the details, but in Supersize Me, they talked about some of the compounds in cheese (maybe dairy in general?) being addictive.

      I need to contact someone at Greenwood Farms about switching to reusable bottles. Some people extol the health benefits of raw milk, but I’m not one of those. The local, small-scale, organic practices milk that I buy here just happens to be raw.

      I wouldn’t go to too much trouble to find a yogurt maker. There are many options for keeping it in the desired temperature range (95-110 degrees F). If you have a good vacuum thermos, that will do the trick, or place the tightly sealed yogurt jars in a slow cooker filled with hot water (you can turn the slow cooker to low to preheat it, but turn it off when you actually put the in the jar(s) of yogurt). There are tons of other tricks out there. Start with small batches (1 quart or less), and see what works best for you!

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