Thursday, March 15, 2012

Goodbye Philly!

It's time to kiss Philadelphia Cream Cheese good-bye and say hello to raw, nourishing, homemade cream cheese!

Have you ever read the ingredients in Kraft's Strawberry Cream Cheese??? They are as follows: cream cheese spread (pasteurized nonfat milk and milk fat, whey protein concentrate, whey, cheese culture, salt, carob bean gum, xanthan gum, guar gum, sorbic acid {as a preservative}, Vitamin A palmitate), sugar, strawberry puree, water, modified food starch, citric acid, xanthan gum (again??), natural flavor, Red 40.

Sound yummy?

Let's take a closer look at a few of those ingredients.

  • whey protein concentrate: This ingredient should not be confused with raw, liquid whey, produced by clabbering raw milk. Whey protein concentrate, commonly found in powdered protein drink mixes, is a highly processed, denatured form of pasteurized whey. There are no beneficial bacteria in this product, and there are no studies on the potential adverse effects whey protein concentrate might have on the human body. Some preliminary studies have shown that liver and kidney problems arise with the use of this product. I think I'll stick with raw whey and get my protein from a steak.
  • xanthan gum: This ingredient is often used to add volume and elasticity in gluten-free baking, however don't be fooled that it's in any way healthy. First off, it can be made from corn, soy, or wheat, so if you have an allergy to any of those and don't know which your xanthan gum is from, you could potentially be causing more gut damage. Also, xanthan gum swells once it hits your digestive tract, and many people have reported bloating and/or diarrhea as a side effect after eating food containing this mysterious ingredient. Finally, xanthan gum (like so many food additives) isn't just used in food. It is also found in cosmetics, pet food, and even the oil drilling industry uses it!
  • Red 40, a.k.a. Red Dye No. 40 or FD&C Red 40: Oh, I could really go on and on about this one. Red dye is one of the first ingredients we eliminated from Addie's diet and began noticing significant improvements in her behavior. Red dye is EVERYWHERE, including Kraft's Strawberry Cream Cheese. As if the strawberry puree didn't make it pink enough! Here is just a small list of the potential side effects of consuming this ingredients: ADD, ADHD, hyperactivity, learning problems, restlessness, cancer, DNA damage. It's actually made from coal tar!! Our road to changing our health and our diets began with throwing out and forbidding our children to consume anything with artificial colors, especially Red #40.
Ok, I'll step off my soap box now and get to the good stuff in my post today.

Making your own cream cheese is SO simple and quick.

You'll need:
5-7 fresh or frozen strawberries, preferably organic
Grade B maple syrup, to taste
a food processor

Combine everything in the food processor and let 'er rip until well blended. Transfer to a glass jar or pretty glass container and refrigerate. Enjoy on sourdough toast, sprouted bagels, or however you like.

I like to put mine in these small glass, swing-top jars and give away to friends. This will keep for about two weeks in the fridge if you use fresh curds, less if your curds are older.

*Remember, Philly cream cheese will last weeks, even months, in the fridge. This will not keep that long because it is a LIVING food, full of good bacteria and enzymes. Philly is a dead, processed, denatured, very poor substitute for the real thing. And, it takes less time to whip up a batch of REAL cream cheese than it does to make a trip to the store!

You can also play around with different flavors. I have made a blueberry cream cheese using the same ingredients as above, but replacing the strawberries with blueberries. I also left the berries out and added some cinnamon and vanilla. I gave a jar of that to my friend Kari, and she said it was wonderful on her sourdough English muffins.

Do you think you're ready to make the switch?


Kristin said...

Love this idea! I recently made some goat cheese and enjoyed that a lot. Question though, why does it have to be raw milk?

Lindsey said...

Kristin, raw milk from grass-fed cows is a completely different food than milk from the store. Raw milk is full of naturally occurring (and beneficial) bacteria and enzymes that proliferate throughout the milk's lifetime. Store milk is pasteurized, meaning it has been heated to such a high temperature that all those beneficial bacteria and enzymes are dead. Store milk cannot even be considered a food, in my opinion because it is dead...same as canned veggies and white bread. If you consume soured store milk, it will most likely make you sick. However, consuming soured raw milk is no different than drinking kefir or eating yogurt. If you're still wondering, I highly recommend a book called The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid, ND. You can also visit to learn more about raw milk and where to find it in your area.

Kristin said...

Great info, thanks! I'm hoping the library will have this book for me to look at! And thanks for the website, I bet it'll be easy to find raw milk in Austin!

Lindsey said...

Lucky you, Kristin! It should be VERY easy to find raw milk in Austin! It took me several months to find it here, but now I'm so glad I am able to purchase it and other raw dairy products on a weekly basis. I promise you'll never go back once you make the switch!