There is no doubt that cheese is a wonderful food in the Ray Peat line up. When weight loss is a consideration however, the protein vs fat equation comes into play in all the cheeses you are eating.
This post was inspired by two of the members of our private Facebook group who were discussing cottage cheese and the fact that it was awful and tasteless. Another issue was gut irritation.
Before I delve into that though, I want to show you this chart I put together because I couldn’t find it online anywhere and it’s really important.
(Note: I forgot to include skim quark which is also amazing and similar to cottage cheese.)
In nearly all cases the cheese protein vs fat ratio is one to one. This means for every gram of protein you are getting you are also eating a gram of fat. So say if we are aiming for 100g of protein a day and you hate cottage cheese and don’t eat much meat, so this cheese is your main source of protein, then it comes along with 100g of fat as well.
Now if you are exactly the weight you want to be and don’t need to lose anything then great, carry on and eat all the cheese you want. However when weight loss is a consideration, this becomes unworkable in terms of balancing your diet and fitting in the carbohydrates. For me for example, I’m aiming for 40g of fat a day. So I need to find other lower fat alternatives for my protein.
Animal Proteins High in Fat
The problem I have found as well is that most animal protein sources are high-ish in fat. Eggs are the same as cheese – I finally understood why body builders went so crazy over egg whites. I used to think “just eat the whole egg.” And I personally wouldn’t want to waste the yolks which are nutritious, but they need to be eaten in moderation. (I have two a day, so that’s 10g fat.)
So there are some lower fat animal protein sources like white fish, prawns/shrimp, tuna in spring water, grass fed chicken breast and turkey. Again there is the issue though that we are not supposed to be eating too much meat. It has to be super balanced with gelatin or bone broth, so you are balancing the amino acids. Also excess phosphorous is a consideration. Get it all wrong and you cause inflammation in your body and cause negative thyroid implications.
Balancing your diet
So say if you eat meat even 4 days in the week for two meals on those days, there are more days and meals to cover.
Milk is another option but again, with whole milk you are looking at 8 grams of fat per cup with 8 grams of protein.
So here’s the thing.
If you have full fat dairy everything, red meat, butter, cream, coconut oil, ice cream, and eggs, then you will very quickly be exceeding your daily fat intake. Weight gain is usually the result along with bad triglycerides, high cholesterol ( not always bad but it depends how high you go) and a body that soon won’t function very well.
So to make sense of it all, we need to be open to low fat/reduced fat dairy options as well. Ideally having combinations of the two to balance things out. This is why I keep harping on about good cottage cheeses, because it is invaluable in this line up and the protein vs fat equation.
Best Protein Choice
In fact I would go so far as to say it’s probably the number one best choice for protein in this diet because it’s not meat, it’s not yogurt with lactic acid, and the cheese protein vs fat equation is spot on. When you can find a really good one like the Barambah High Protein one for half a cup it is 10g of protein for only 0.1g of fat! (This company has quark too.)
So yes it is tasteless, I totally agree! But so are many things like minced meat until you add salt, spices, sauces etc. to make it palatable. So it is totally worth our while to first of all source a really good cottage cheese or make it yourself. Grass fed is best and while it doesn’t say it on the package, the Barambah one is actually grass fed, if you read their story.
Then we have to find or create recipes that include this miraculous cheese, so it does taste better and we love it. Here are a few suggestions to start:-
Cottage cheese mixed with skim sweetened condensed milk and salt
Cottage cheese mixed with honey or marmalade and salt
Ice cream made from cottage cheese – see recipe here.
Fruit smoothies – add cottage cheese for the protein & creamy factor and mostly taste the fruit
Mushroom Cottage Cheese dip – see recipe here.
Cottage cheese mixed with PB2 peanut powder
Grated parmesan, cottage cheese and salt.
Cottage cheese mixed with tomato sauce (ketchup) to have with baked potato chips.
Pumpkin soup with parmesan and cottage cheese
If you have any other suggestions please let me know and I will add them to the list. As I said it is too important and valuable in the Ray Peat diet to dismiss.
NB: Gut irritation is usually happens for those who are just getting back to dairy and are not used to it yet. In that case, just go slowly. Also some brands work better for some, so keep experimenting.
One other factor is animal rennet vs non animal rennet. Most brands have moved to non animal because it appeals to the vegetarians but this also can be a source of irritation. Problem is that not many brands still do animal rennet, so we can only do the best we can.
A protein chart with other protein vs fat measures are in my Zen Beach Diet book.