The joys of June: Dairy Month!

“It is the month of June,

the month of leaves and roses.

When pleasant sights salute the eyes

and pleasant scents the noses.”

— Nathaniel Parker Willis

June is a month full of marvelous celebrations; the beginning of summer, the ending of school, love for our fathers and grandfathers and  a traditional month for lovers to tie the knot.

June also happens to be National Dairy Month and a good time to consider some of the merits of including moderate amounts of dairy in our diets.

Milk, yogurt, ice cream and cheese are not well tolerated by everyone. Listen to your body after eating dairy and if you feel uncomfortably bloated, gaseous or experience stomach cramping, then limiting or avoiding dairy completely may be necessary.

For those who thrive on dairy, you are reaping the benefits of a food group that offers healthy nutrients such as calcium, potassium, vitamin D and protein. According to the United States Department of Agriculture; “An intake of milk products is especially important to bone health during childhood and adolescence. Adults who consume dairy products may reduce the risk of low bone mass, thereby reducing the risk of osteoporosis.”

Dairy products are available in low-fat and non-fat versions, which can be a better choice for reducing your intake of saturated fat and cholesterol. I, however, am an advocate of consuming small amounts of high quality dairy products, particularly cheeses.

Seek out hand-crafted, locally produced cheeses at farmers markets, health food stores and cheese shops and do a little experimenting. Try a French Beaufort with fresh strawberries and a crusty baguette, or a Spanish Cabrales, a superb, soft blue cheese with meaty olives, summer tomatoes and a chunk of bread.  All through our own country, including New England, cheesemakers are producing amazing cheeses. These dairy products are both satisfying and satiating and a little goes a long way.

Listen to your body, feed it the foods that make your skin glow and fill you with vitality as you prepare your delicious life.

Try this excellent appetizer at one of your June celebrations.

Warm Feta Cheese with Olives

Crumble one block of feta (Liuzzi’s in North Haven carries an excellent French feta) over toasted pita bread wedges or slices of whole grain baguette.

Drizzle with extra virgin olive and pop under the broiler for a few minutes, until cheese warms through and is bubbling a bit. Remove from oven and place on a platter.

Sprinkle cheese with finely chopped fresh oregano, basil and chives. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil and fresh squeezed juice from one lemon. Serve along with sweet cherry tomatoes, and your favorite black and green olives.

Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, “The Conscious Cook”, is a passionate food and wellness professional who earned her certification in holistic health counseling from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Columbia University Teacher’s College. She earned her cooking experience in the kitchen! Robin specializes in teaching healthy cooking classes to children and adults utilizing fresh, natural ingredients and super simple, extra delicious recipes. She also conducts cooking demonstrations for many local organizations and is available for cooking parties and private instruction as well. For more information go to www.theconsciouscook.net.

Robin’s blog is confessionsofaconsciouscook.blogspot.com

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