I used to think dairy was my enemy. I remember always being sent home during my high school years battling stomach issues after breakfast or lunch. Literally it was like clockwork. After a few month into my sophmore year, finally my Doctor diagnosed with a dairy intolerance because that was the only thing that made sense. I went 4 years without ice cream, milk, cheese, etc and when I did have it, it was pure hell. My family used to tease me because every night after dinner I was mysteriously sick in the bathroom when the dishes had to be done. (I still get teased for this during family dinners because they expect me to disappear for chores). It’s sorta funny, I guess.
As you may know by now, I kept off of dairy during my strict paleo years and eventually built (accidentally) an unhealthy relationship with food. I thought dairy was BAD, grains were BAD and everything that wasn’t paleo was BAD. It wasn’t until I once again, dug deeper into some of my health problems and approach to training that I rediscovered my love and appreciation for dairy. Low and behold with some careful (SLOW and controlled) trials, my body accepted full fat dairy with zero side affects. I’m not suggesting everyone can make the switch back, but do some research and look into “why” you don’t eat dairy. If you can’t come up with a medically necessary answer, think about doing some research. Our friends over at Mark’s Daily Apple dive into the dairy myth’s and suggest that “dairy’s insulinogenic effect is good for some groups (lean, insulin-sensitive, athletes or trainees looking for muscle recovery), bad for others (insulin-resistant).” Context is important. Read more in the link provided.
By no means am I suggesting that if you are dairy free that you should go to the store and buy a gallon of milk or hunk of cheese, but let me do my best to share my findings. I’m more in line with a primal style of eating now (but I really hate to associate with any “diet” like people want me to). I just eat for me. More on that later. One thing that is different with primal is that dairy fat is an acceptable form of food, which sets them apart from other ancestral diets. Obviously if you can’t tolerate it, you shouldn’t eat it (like me in my younger days) but there may be a significant number of you that aren’t eating it, just because you think it’s “bad.” I’m going out on a limb here I know and I may get called an asshole, but a fair amount of you may be able to handle the high-quality, full-fat dairy options. (Think of kerrygold butter, greek yogurt, and cheeses). Aren’t these so yummy? They are nutritious in themselves and contain healthy fats and important minerals. I think a lot of other diets seems to be adding these options back in so if you are too, you are ahead of the diet curve.
Whatever your diet stance is, I’m posting this recipe with full-fat dairy options because I believe that it can help improve our health vs. that of low-fat dairy options. What does this mean? I’m hopeful that full fat dairy got a bad rap (just like the egg yolk did) and will continue to benefit the folks who eat it.
- 2 chicken breasts, pounded into 4 cutlets
- sea salt and pepper
- garlic powder
- 8oz soft goat cheese, room temp (so it's soft and spreadable)
- 1-2 cups spinach, chopped
- Cream Sauce:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 T grass-fed butter
- 2 tsp gluten free flour, or 1 tsp arrow root powder if you live paleo
- 2 T fresh thyme and rosemary blend, chopped (any variety will work or whatever you hand in your fridge fresh)
- Sea Salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 T Capers
- 1 large bunch asparagus
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut chicken breasts in half (hamburger ways lol). Pound out chicken until they are ¼" thick or can be rolled up.
- Season "pretty side" of the chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
- Flip over and spread soft goat cheese on the other side. If it doesn't spread easily, it's okay, it'll still melt when it cooks.
- Top each with chopped spinach. Roll up chicken breast and place seam side down on parchment covered rimmed cookie sheet. You may need to fasten with skewers like I did.
- Place in oven and cook for 35-40 minutes. While chicken cooks prepare cream sauce and asparagus.
- Add butter to a medium-high heated saucepan. Add arrowroot or flour to melted butter and whisk. Slowly add cream while whisking. When cream thickens a bit, turn off heat. Add pepper, salt and fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, dill, etc). Add capers and serve immediately or reheat when assembling.
- Steam asparagus in a steamer.
- Assemble stacks of asparagus with chicken and pour a few spoonfuls of sauce over. You can also slice into pinwheels.