Last week I made this gorgeous (not fried) eggplant parm inspired by our Easter trip to Italy earlier this year. I received eggplant from a local farm here in NC as part of my organic vegetable box I get delivered each week. Instead of traditional cheese that would normally be on top, I used raw unpasteurized goat’s milk cheese and parmesan. I was able to obtain this cheese because it had been aged 60 days or more, allowing it to be sold at my local health market.
The milk debate has driven me up the wall. I’ve been studying milk for a while now and its finally taken toll on my anger. I am angry at the dairy industry, I am angry at food politics and I am even more angry that I can’t get RAW milk here in North Carolina legally. Pasteurized milk is a dead food with little to no nutritional value or reason to drink it or eat it at all.
Giving up dairy is something I have yet to succumb to. I use it in very limited quantities and have made many substitutions that feed my innate childhood cravings. Dairy has been fundamental in my upbringing. I am Indian, so we eat fresh yogurt made at home with our meals to help complement and cool the various spices used in cooking our traditional dishes. Lots of our wonderful authentic desserts are made with fresh cream and homemade cheeses that come from cow’s milk.
Before the industrial revolution, my parents and their ancestors ate dairy products as part of their everyday diet. They were able to do this without negative health consequences because the type of milk they received from cows was unadulterated raw milk. It was not laced with pesticides, chemicals, antibiotics, growth hormones or toxins from CFAOs. The milk they received was completely free of chemical processing and unpasteurized, making it a healthy nutritional addition to a strict vegetarian diet.
Raw milk has several benefits to the human body, however, most of us never get to experience this because raw milk is extremely hard to get if its not legal in your state. Raw milk keeps all the natural minerals intact, allowing the body to easily absorb calcium. Pasteurizing milk eliminates the mineral called Phosphatase. Without this mineral, the calcium stays in your bloodstream and can cause cardiovascular disease.
Understanding the Pasteurization process is key to figuring out why America is still one of the top nations suffering from bone related illnesses even though we are one of the top 3 dairy consumers in the world and why our rates of heart disease continue to rise.
Additionally, raw milk has several types of natural occurring probiotics that help your body digest it without producing mucus in your intestines. The mucus that coats your intestines from pasteurized milk causes several issues with digestion and malabsorption of nutrients. Furthermore, Lactase found in raw milk is the enzyme that people who have been deemed lactose intolerant lack, allowing them to tolerate raw milk just fine in most cases.
Traditionally in India, the cow is allowed to give its milk to its baby calf first and only what is left over is used for human consumption. Leaving a very small amount to use throughout the week for cooking (not in gallon size containers that can stay fresh for weeks). In typical farms in the United States, calves are slaughtered shortly after birth for their meat, causing a great deal of pain and suffering for the mama cow, making the cow secrete massive amounts of stress toxins to be released into her milk. This is then passed down to us, including all the other unknown anti-biotics, growth hormones, and chemicals the industry uses to produce the milk. The cow is sacred in India and the majority of Indians don’t eat beef– this just doesn’t happen there.
Most of my family has migrated from India to the United States and it saddens me that they cannot get the original nutritional content of milk in their bodies like they did in their childhood. Indian immigrants and other immigrants from raw milk producing countries are being duped by the US dairy industry and don’t even know it. I’d really like to see my family recipes get passed down from generation to generation, but I am not sure we can do this safely for our future children and grandchildren unless we all can get access to real raw milk.
In conclusion, I leave you with my supremely healthy eggplant parmesan recipe and Food Babe tips to help you navigate the dairy world one step at a time….
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 cup quinoa cooked to package instructions
- 8 ripe tomatoes diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large onion chopped
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup fresh basil
- 3 ounces of crumbled raw goat’s milk cheese
- 2 ounces of shredded raw parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Prepare 1 cup dry quinoa according to package instructions and set aside
- Meanwhile, thinly slice eggplant (½ inch thick) and place it on a large baking rack, spray lightly with olive oil
- Cook slices eggplant for about 10-15 mins at 400 until slightly golden
- For the tomato sauce, start by sauteeing onions in olive oil for 5 mins on medium heat
- Once onions are cooked tender, add garlic and sautee 2 more minutes
- Add tomatoes, red pepper, half of basil, and salt and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer
- Allow tomatoes to cook for at least 10 mins and then smash them with a potato smasher or big fork
- Place about ½ of the cooked tomato sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish
- In this order layer the following ingredients one at a time – eggplant slices, quinoa, rest of sauce and top with cheese and basil
- Bake covered with foil at 350 degrees for 30-40 mins
Food Babe’s Raw Dairy Tips -
1. Buy and consume only unpasteurized organic milk products if you can get your hands on it, if not, extremely limit or eliminate it. I mean, think about it – cow’s milk is originally intended to take a 35 pound calf and grow it into a 1300 pound adult? What is wrong with this picture? Why would already grown adults want to drink this as a beverage anyways? I can’t believe the government recommends 3 servings a day! It just doesn’t make any sense, especially if you already eat meat. Milk is acidic. Remember – we want to keep our bodies alkaline to help fight off disease.
2. Yogurt is still beneficial for the immune system because of all the helpful probiotics. However, you don’t need to eat yogurt to get the benefits. Several studies have been conducted on how people from India who ate raw milk yogurt came to the US and could not tolerate pasteurized milk yogurt. They developed IBS, and other digestive issues. Luckily I don’t have this problem, since I was born here and tolerate yogurt just fine but I still only eat it only a few times a week with my mom’s home cooked delicious indian food and for a snack occasionally. If you experience any stomach issues after consuming yogurt or dairy, consider taking a supplement for probiotics instead. Check this to find out what brand I use.
3. When cooking at home, only use raw cheese from your local farmers market or health market – I go to Earth Fare for mine – they have several raw unpasteurized cheese options and carry one of my favorites which comes from a huge wheel of parmesan from Italy.
4. I fortunately can drink my tea and coffee without any milk – but for those of you that need that creamy texture – there are several alternatives to check out. Almond, Rice, Coconut, Hemp are all good options to try. (I do not recommend soy, I’ll talk about in a later post). Make the switch fun – buy a small carton of each and have a blind taste test to see which one like you the most!
5. If you eat chocolate, try to find chocolate that doesn’t contain dairy. Pacari is one of my favorite brands. Milk chocolate is definitely my weak spot, as I love italian hazelnut chocolate like no other.
6. If you have never tried raw milk and have apprehensions – Check out this link to view a video and article about a family making the switch to raw milk.
7. To find real raw milk near you and learn more, check out this link.
8. In the end, if you still can’t give up pasteurized milk – please only consume organic from grass-fed cows (Organic Valley has a fabulous one available at Whole Foods).
I have lots of more information and feel like I may have left some questions unanswered, if you have anything specific you’d to ask me – feel free to comment below or Facebook Me.
I absolutely LOVE hearing from you all – please keep talking, writing and sharing with me!