“You know what ELSE everybody likes? Parfaits! Have you ever met a person, you say, “Let’s get some parfait,” they say, “Hell no, I don’t like no parfait.”? Parfaits are delicious!” Name that movie….. I cannot hear the word parfait without thinking of the movie Shrek and being transported straight back to my childhood. I used to watch that movie all the time. I could probably still quote it to this day. It’s the best.
Just like Donkey, I love parfaits, but for a long time I couldn’t eat parfaits. Shortly after going gluten free back in 2011, I decided to also give up dairy. Although giving up gluten had given me some relief, I was still having digestive issues. Going dairy free wasn’t the magic cure, so to speak, but it certainly helped alleviate some of the bloating and gassiness I was experiencing at the time.
Over the following three years or so I consumed almost no dairy, and the year after that I would just have a little raw cheese on rare occasions or a little scoop of ice cream (and grass fed butter and ghee but I don’t fully count that as dairy) when I was at an ice cream shop that served ice cream made from grass fed cows. Some high quality ice cream from Salt & Straw or Lick was worth a little bloating and gas.
About six months ago or so though, I started to notice that I wouldn’t really get bloated or gassy when I had a little high quality cheese or a little ice cream. In fact, full fat grass fed yogurt and kefir made me feel pretty freaking fantastic. So I thought to myself, how is it that these foods that used to make me look pregnant and have gas all night long, now make me feel great? I think the answer is in my gut.
You see, since I changed my diet to one composed of real, nutrient dense, whole foods about two and a half years ago though, I’ve done a lot of healing. I’ve had a lot of digestive issues over the years and I can pretty much trace them all back to a case of leaky gut and some imbalances in my bacterial flora. But after a couple of years of eating real foods and avoiding those that I didn’t tolerate, I was able to rebalance my gut flora and greatly reduce my symptoms of leaky gut. And this healing that I’ve done has allowed me to reintroduce foods I didn’t tolerate before… foods like dairy! WOOHOO!!!
I’m not going to go into the science behind how/why this could happen because, frankly, that’s kind of boring and someone like Sarah Ballantyne or Chris Kresser could likely explain it way better than me anyway. And no, being able to reintroduce dairy does not mean I’m going to be reintroducing gluten, refined foods, or any other SAD staple. That’s not how this works. But I’m happy to be able to include such a nutrient dense real food in my diet again.
So what’s so good about dairy, you ask? I’ll tell you! Milk, when it comes from a cow fed it’s natural diet and raised on pasture, in it’s whole, unprocessed form (aka raw, non homogenized whole milk or things like cream or butter or ghee that are made from the fat that’s “skimmed” off the milk), is chock full of the fat soluble vitamins A, D and K2. It also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has been shown to prevent cancer. Liz Wolfe does a great job explaining the benefits as well as the issues associated with consuming dairy so if you want to read more about that you can do so here.
So after reading this long drawn out story of why I consume dairy now and Liz’s posts about whether or not dairy is a real food, if you’re convinced that dairy is something you’d like to include in your diet (or if you didn’t need convincing because you already consume grass fed, full fat dairy), I highly recommend you try this Dark Chocolate Strawberry Kefir Parfait with Coconut Cookie Crumble (man that’s a mouth full). It’s a delicious way to get those great fat soluble vitamins and CLA in, along with some probiotics from the kefir. (If you’re not familiar with kefir, it’s a lot like yogurt except it’s cultured with different strains of bacteria and is typically a little thinner in consistency.) And if you still can’t do dairy because you’re not in a place where you can tolerate it yet or you have a casein allergy or lactose intolerance, you can always sub the kefir with some coconut milk kefir (either store bought or homemade).
If Donkey could try this recipe I think he’d say, “[this Dark Chocolate Strawberry Kefir] Parfait’s gotta be the most delicious thing on the whole damn planet!”
- For cookie crumble:
- ½ cup medjool dates (about 5 dates)
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- ½ cup walnuts (can be raw or toasted depending on your preference)
- ¼ tsp salt
- For parfait:
- 24 oz (3 cups) plain whole milk kefir (or coconut kefir for dairy free)
- 2 Tbs >maple syrup
- 16 strawberries
- 1 cup Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips
- For the cookie crumble: add dates, shredded coconut, walnuts and salt to food processor and process until it starts to come together and form a sticky ball. Set aside.
- To assemble the parfaits: Mix kefir with maple syrup. In an 8oz mason jar or other glass, add 2 oz (1/4 cup) kefir, top with 1 sliced strawberry, 1 Tbs chocolate chips, and about 1 Tbs cookie crumble. Then add another 2 oz kefir on top, another sliced strawberry, another Tbs chocolate chips and another Tbs of the cookie crumble. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
So what about you? Is dairy something you include in your healthy real food diet? Are you a parfait fan like Donkey?
In vibrant health,