4

votes

Giving up dairy

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 10, 2012 at 1:36 AM

In January of 2012 I became convicted to give up all grains. I of course had the withdrawal period and felt much better than my previous life with grains. A week or so later I also decided to give up all sugar except for the occasional use of honey. I still eat fruit, but definitely less than previously and no processed foods. I do feel better, but do not feel I am at my prime. I have done a lot of research on a paleo style diet, and have concluded that I am pretty much there except for the dairy. So this brings me to my question, Has anyone out there experimented with just giving up grains and then transitioning to full paleo? What kind of effects did giving up the dairy have on your body? I do understand that milk products are not exactly ideal, but I need to be convicted to give them up before I actually give them up. Maybe it would help if I share some of my symptoms that I still have. I still have headaches, acne, and the occasional upset stomach that I can't explain. Any information you have for me would be greatly appreciated!

23fe01308e3320ecf144b47b99a135a4

(149)

on August 30, 2013
at 02:26 PM

I should mention I quit all dairy except for butter.

571e631577f6d001c79049ab79280ef2

(150)

on March 21, 2012
at 09:08 PM

Nance, that is so good to know. Have been considering getting some kefir culture for a while. Def will try now!

571e631577f6d001c79049ab79280ef2

(150)

on March 21, 2012
at 09:06 PM

Would love to know how you've got on. I am having the same dilemma myself at the moment. Partly because I don't want to restrict my diet any more (mom with kids), but also because I value the fat content (I can easily lose too much weight if I'm not careful, and can't afford as much meat as I'd like to!) However, I have reached a standstill as far as eliminating symptoms, reckon I'm 90% of the way there but somethings still bothering me..and I sneeze when I eat cheese! Or maybe some cheeses :/ Did you give uo everything or keep yoghurt for instance? (me hanging onto dairy with fingertips..:P)

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on March 13, 2012
at 01:44 PM

It's common practice for making kombucha and makes sense to me.

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on March 13, 2012
at 01:21 PM

I have never found any reason to "sterilize" - if you have good kefir grains, they will overpower just about anything - that is their JOB. (Plus, you can tell if they haven't done their "job" - you would end up with something *other* than kefir!). I use raw milk, do not sterilize a thing, and just let the magic happen on my countertop. I am so confident in this method, I feed it to my little girls.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on March 11, 2012
at 03:34 PM

To eliminate stray bacteria & mold spores.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on March 11, 2012
at 02:55 PM

Thanks. Why the sterilization, if you're not heating the milk anyway? I use kefir grains because I can't buy kefir in the stores here.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on March 10, 2012
at 05:48 PM

Be sure to use the container the raw milk came in or "sterilize" a glass jar with white vinegar.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on March 10, 2012
at 05:47 PM

If you are making yoghurt, I think that you may need to heat the milk, but not with kefir. I make "lazy" kefir and for my first batch use 1/3 storebought plain organic kefir to 2/3 raw milk. Shake it up & leave it on the counter for 12-18 hours. I make subsequent batches using 1/3 homemade kefir to 2/3 raw milk. Of course you can use the kefir grains instead. Here's a recipe: http://www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/12/my-version-of-homemade-raw-milk-kefir.html

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on March 10, 2012
at 05:35 PM

do you boil the milk before making the kefir? I have been making cow's milk kefir and just found a source of raw milk. The guy said I should heat it so that bacteria in the milk wouldn't compete with the bacteria in the kefir.

Medium avatar

(10663)

on March 10, 2012
at 08:07 AM

You should include what those "better sources of calcium and fat" are, Devon.

429e01b74c31847aed3af35ef9973256

(427)

on March 10, 2012
at 06:02 AM

I've seen that article before. Lots of epidemiology and one pilot study that replaced the highly nutritious mongolian milk with crap made in America. Where has it been shown that the hormones, specifically the estrogen in the milk is biologically active in the body when eaten as food though? For instance I know that only a minute amount of testosterone makes it's way into circulation when taken orally. Thats why baseball players have to inject the stuff into each others asses.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:37 AM

I'm not suggesting anything, but just so you know I was lactose intolerant until I started drinking water kefir. After a few weeks of drinking that, I accidentally discovered I could handle yogurt (and ice cream.) I suspect that if I were to stop drinking water kefir there's a chance I'd lose the dairy tolerance again.

Aa6717c2a045f299009541b941e8a821

(340)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:03 AM

Me too! I have a history of skin issues that have cleared up. After some elimination & re-introduction of dairy I found out I had a problem (2 days later a flare up of psoriasis on my fingers which are almost gone now after two weeks). Even though I never experienced stomach issues with dairy, when I re-introduced it, I had stomach pain. Also, now that I'm off the dairy, I no longer crave it....talk about addictive!

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15 Answers

6
6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157

on March 10, 2012
at 04:34 AM

Karen,

Fellow PH member akd posted this somewhere, and I think it is good info to know about dairy.

http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/2006/12.07/11-dairy.html

429e01b74c31847aed3af35ef9973256

(427)

on March 10, 2012
at 06:02 AM

I've seen that article before. Lots of epidemiology and one pilot study that replaced the highly nutritious mongolian milk with crap made in America. Where has it been shown that the hormones, specifically the estrogen in the milk is biologically active in the body when eaten as food though? For instance I know that only a minute amount of testosterone makes it's way into circulation when taken orally. Thats why baseball players have to inject the stuff into each others asses.

5
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 10, 2012
at 02:26 AM

I gave up dairy for about 5 months and experienced no health benefits as far as I could tell.

I currently eat Kerrygold butter, put heavy cream in my coffee and eat home-made, extra-fat yogurt every other day.

It's working for me so all you can do is test it both ways.

3
361e96d70d6d3b91d63f6ad975e60ab6

(840)

on March 10, 2012
at 02:41 AM

Did dairy free for 2 and half years at the same time as stopping gluten. Felt so much better! Recently introduced goat dairy and feeling fine... I definitely notice that dairy does SOMETHING, just not the negative effects that I had read about on others.

I think it's really personal. Some people might see huge benefits, others not any benefits at all. For me, having dairy makes life so much yummier, and easier to find affordable quality calories.

3
9255d6163a7114b8392079bfb8fd6151

(216)

on March 10, 2012
at 02:01 AM

i was VERY resistant to giving up dairy when starting my paleo challenge. i rationalized to myself that based on my genetic history of dairy farming and exposure (i'm as white and irish as they come) that dairy wasn't an issue for me. then i gave it up.

when i'm dairy-free: no acne, no skin irritations (heat rash, dry skin, eczema). all of my skin problems clear up. totally worth it. only by giving it up completely for a week or two will you be able to see if it affects you or not.

believe me- there are just as many good sources of calcium or fat. better, even.

Medium avatar

(10663)

on March 10, 2012
at 08:07 AM

You should include what those "better sources of calcium and fat" are, Devon.

Aa6717c2a045f299009541b941e8a821

(340)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:03 AM

Me too! I have a history of skin issues that have cleared up. After some elimination & re-introduction of dairy I found out I had a problem (2 days later a flare up of psoriasis on my fingers which are almost gone now after two weeks). Even though I never experienced stomach issues with dairy, when I re-introduced it, I had stomach pain. Also, now that I'm off the dairy, I no longer crave it....talk about addictive!

2
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on March 10, 2012
at 05:25 PM

I think grass-fed raw milk is a totally different food than what most folk call dairy.

Even with my lactose-intolerance, I happily drink homemade goats kefir made from local raw milk and raw cheeses. I limit pasteurized cream. I do eat KerryGold butter.

This is worth reading: http://www.naturalnews.com/035130_raw_milk_infographic_pasteurized.html

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on March 10, 2012
at 05:35 PM

do you boil the milk before making the kefir? I have been making cow's milk kefir and just found a source of raw milk. The guy said I should heat it so that bacteria in the milk wouldn't compete with the bacteria in the kefir.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on March 11, 2012
at 02:55 PM

Thanks. Why the sterilization, if you're not heating the milk anyway? I use kefir grains because I can't buy kefir in the stores here.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on March 10, 2012
at 05:48 PM

Be sure to use the container the raw milk came in or "sterilize" a glass jar with white vinegar.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on March 10, 2012
at 05:47 PM

If you are making yoghurt, I think that you may need to heat the milk, but not with kefir. I make "lazy" kefir and for my first batch use 1/3 storebought plain organic kefir to 2/3 raw milk. Shake it up & leave it on the counter for 12-18 hours. I make subsequent batches using 1/3 homemade kefir to 2/3 raw milk. Of course you can use the kefir grains instead. Here's a recipe: http://www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/12/my-version-of-homemade-raw-milk-kefir.html

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on March 11, 2012
at 03:34 PM

To eliminate stray bacteria & mold spores.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on March 13, 2012
at 01:44 PM

It's common practice for making kombucha and makes sense to me.

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on March 13, 2012
at 01:21 PM

I have never found any reason to "sterilize" - if you have good kefir grains, they will overpower just about anything - that is their JOB. (Plus, you can tell if they haven't done their "job" - you would end up with something *other* than kefir!). I use raw milk, do not sterilize a thing, and just let the magic happen on my countertop. I am so confident in this method, I feed it to my little girls.

2
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:28 PM

I gave up dairy for health reasons. Soft cheese, milk, and pretty much any lactose give me gas, bloating, leaky gut, and lots of pain. I still indulge (quite often) in grass fed butter, very occasional heavy cream, and hard cheese when the mood takes me (not very often at all). Considering when I started eating Paleo, "Primal" was a glimmer in Sisson's eye, so I started this journey with the "no dairy, period" stance and I was cooking everything in coconut oil, tallow I rendered in my crockpot, bacon fat, and olive oil - so the transition wasn't that hard.

I will say, that cheese was one of my favorite foods. A plate of various hard and soft cheeses, with cured meats, roasted nuts, and fruits is probably the meal I would ask for if I were to die tomorrow. Washed down with a bitter, hoppy beer preferably.

But once the association with lactose struck - and I got sick of going to the bathroom 3-5 times a day to painfully evacuate, it became a non-issue. For me, cheese is like an abusive friend, it makes you feel good sometimes, but it always ends up hurting in the end.

2
Af939911afa817f79a4625d4f503c735

on March 10, 2012
at 10:20 AM

Dairy is highly individual, as far as I can tell. I do better without it. When I let a little dairy sneak back in, I usually break out a little, might get itchy patches on my skin, and often experience more congestion. If I've had a lot of dairy, I may even experience asthma-like symptoms during intense exercise.

That said, I have some friends who eat Paleo who do just fine with tons of dairy. As with the rest of this stuff, the only way to know for sure is to eliminate it for a month, then add back in small amounts and see what happens.

I would suggest sticking with free-range, grass-fed varieties as much as possible. Find a local dairy farm with properly raised cows and buy directly from them. Some people also do better with goat than cow.

2
D3921bf1a4e27fdf65c52e98f845dd45

on March 10, 2012
at 01:49 AM

Gosh Karen, I am with you, I love my cottage cheese with blueberries. I would love to hear some of the results that people have had as far as weight loss success after giving up dairy. I also use that to get part of the fat that I need.

1
F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:07 AM

I am gluten intolerant, I have gastric erosion and I am very very sensitive to food. I do not make decision about giving up something - my body does it for me.

As soon as I went gluten-free, I became lactose intolerant, and I stayed like that since October 22nd, 2011. I am also coconut milk/oil/EVOO intolerant, I used to be nuts intolerant, etc. At one time the only thing I was able to eat was meat and cabbage.

About a week ago I have tried dairy for the first time in months. I just felt like it. I know I am no longer lactose intolerant - my body did not react as violently as it used to, but I definitely felt different and not in a good way. It is hard to describe, it is a very peculiar feeling. Then I tried gluten-free lactose-free cheese. I did not get sick either, but the feeling I got in my body was very weird.

I don't know what to tell you. I definitely don't miss dairy, except for the ice cream. I am not going back to having dairy because my body does not want it and feels weird about it.

I also recently gave up on all fruit - that was a conscious decision. I have decided to make an experiment - what is going to happen if I do that? My body likes fruit and I never get any weird reaction to it.

What happened as a result of me giving it up - I stopped feeling hungry and my cravings have been greatly reduced. So I am happy and I am going to avoid fruit at any cost even though my body is fine with it.

Most people would say - listen to your body. Try giving it up for a month or two (completely) and see how it is going to affect your body. You can always re-introduce it later.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 10, 2012
at 03:37 AM

I'm not suggesting anything, but just so you know I was lactose intolerant until I started drinking water kefir. After a few weeks of drinking that, I accidentally discovered I could handle yogurt (and ice cream.) I suspect that if I were to stop drinking water kefir there's a chance I'd lose the dairy tolerance again.

571e631577f6d001c79049ab79280ef2

(150)

on March 21, 2012
at 09:08 PM

Nance, that is so good to know. Have been considering getting some kefir culture for a while. Def will try now!

0
23fe01308e3320ecf144b47b99a135a4

(149)

on August 30, 2013
at 02:25 PM

I quit sugar first (still had SAD diet in all other aspects) and felt worse than ever, probably because I was still a 'sugar burner' and was needing my (terribly unhealthy) energy source. Put up with this for about a month.

Then quit grains next. No sugar + no grains = feeling awesome. Continued with this for a few months.

Then quit dairy. No sugar + no grains + no grains = feeling a level of awesome I did not know existed. Clearer head, absorbing so much more information at work.

23fe01308e3320ecf144b47b99a135a4

(149)

on August 30, 2013
at 02:26 PM

I should mention I quit all dairy except for butter.

0
A9b7d5a6cc6c53566efc4c8004eede96

on August 30, 2013
at 01:52 PM

I gave up all dairy as of 10 days ago. It has been eye opening. I have kept track in a log of all the things I am feeling and mainly I am tired and very very hungry alot, no matter the fat or portion I eat, half hour later? hungry! I did research and if your body isn't fat adapted or having trouble the switch over can take some time and cause insulin to dip very fast because your body is looking for a quick fix. This morning I woke up clear headed and ready for the day BEFORE my alarm went off! that... doesn't happen. haha I can eat grains off and on with very little problem, although I avoid 90% of the time. I never had the reactions I have had to giving up dairy. the bloating is gone, my bathroom trips are easy and a few times a day (rare for me), and my skin has cleared up. I fully endorse seeing how you feel when you go off dairy, it may be the key to the lock you're searching for!

0
D9a30bbf6c91bedd330d09da27e6c486

on March 10, 2012
at 03:15 PM

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences! I will give it up for a while, see what happens, and report back. Thanks again!

571e631577f6d001c79049ab79280ef2

(150)

on March 21, 2012
at 09:06 PM

Would love to know how you've got on. I am having the same dilemma myself at the moment. Partly because I don't want to restrict my diet any more (mom with kids), but also because I value the fat content (I can easily lose too much weight if I'm not careful, and can't afford as much meat as I'd like to!) However, I have reached a standstill as far as eliminating symptoms, reckon I'm 90% of the way there but somethings still bothering me..and I sneeze when I eat cheese! Or maybe some cheeses :/ Did you give uo everything or keep yoghurt for instance? (me hanging onto dairy with fingertips..:P)

0
01adafcb4dd4147c6af543f61eee60a8

on March 10, 2012
at 08:19 AM

I have greek yoghurt maybe once a mth as a treat,but I dont tolerate too much of it well

0
Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on March 10, 2012
at 07:12 AM

It's an n=1, but dairy has always made me feel wonky, especially since ditching it. There may be some adaptation at play here, but I generally feel "cleaner" and "clearer" without it.

You sound very reluctant to let go of it, but have done a great job of embracing (mostly) Paleo and letting go of other things. Why not drop it for just a month and see how you feel? If you don't like the fit of it, you can always hit up the dairy again after the month.

I suspect that most people, aside from hardgainers and hard-charging athletes, would feel better off regular dairy consumption. I am talking from a biased standpoint though, as I do not actively seek out dairy.

The only dairy I really consume is butter (on a semi-regular basis) and heavy cream (occasional). When it comes to yogurt and cheese, I never really actively seek them out- but when enjoying a good time out, and there's some quality cheese or yogurt sauce...sure. Lastly, I generally avoid all milks.

Give it a shot. Experiment, and share your experiences!

-1
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 10, 2012
at 02:22 AM

It might clear up the acne. Take vitamin D3 if you don't get much sun. I tried giving up dairy but it was difficult and now I take dairy but mostly butter and cream.

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