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New to Paleo...wondering about milk!

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 22, 2012 at 6:18 PM

I am new to paleo and am easing my way into it after deciding to eat local, humanely raised meat after 7 years as a vegetarian.

But, I can't seem to find a clear-cut answer to the dairy question, even after searching this site's posts. I don't drink milk excessively, and exclude yogurt and cheese from my diet as well... I mainly just enjoy a small glass of whole milk after a good work out. I do have access to goat milk, but I'm not sure if dairy should be totally avoided and therefore I should drink a milk alternative instead? Basically I want to do what's best for my exercise recovery without throwing off the benefits of a paleo-based diet.

Thanks!

5b0f25610421dc54a8373e7d3e4a0f94

on February 23, 2012
at 02:10 PM

Grass fed butter seems to be OK, though... And is SO delicious!

0d3d2fa06999e099057745203107035b

(20)

on February 23, 2012
at 02:04 PM

I would love to be able to drink raw milk, but I do not (yet) have a farm in mind that I feel comfortable buying it from. Maybe one day! :)

016de26fe61daf799662d3b7b2468324

(688)

on February 23, 2012
at 01:36 PM

Chris, I just read the second link & reading that seriously breaks my heart. I'm most paleo for awhile now, shunning dairy completely until I moved to India 3 months ago, at which time I struggled immensely in balancing my diet, avoiding grains but without meat, I decided to consume dairy. I have milk tea daily (cannot find my Almond milk here), eat a small amount of yogurt with lunch and dinner, and paneer regularly. The bad news is, I've just decided to stay for a year. :( I'm scared of diabetes, which is rampant in my family.

0d3d2fa06999e099057745203107035b

(20)

on February 22, 2012
at 07:00 PM

Thanks for the tips. I think what I'll do, since this is all so new to me, is continue with the single cup post-work out. I'm still learning so much about even how to cook meat (!) that too much change may be too overwhelming. My goal is to do the 30 day paleo-intro in the future, but for now I'll stick with transitional habits.

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on February 22, 2012
at 06:27 PM

Robb Wolf advocates cutting out all dairy for 30 days then bring it back and see how you feel. Just one approach to figuring out if dairy works for you...

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10 Answers

3
Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

on February 22, 2012
at 06:55 PM

Without seeking to be prescriptive, I'll share my understanding on it.

Historically milk sits in an unusual place. It's not a completely alien food, in fact it is by definition the most essential food for all mammals when we're young. But we didn't evolve to drink the milk of other species, and we didn't evolve to drink milk into adulthood. Except, well, maybe some of us did.

The main argument for cutting it is that it's the only way to find out if you're sensitive to it in some way. It's basic elimination diet stuff, and it's worth checking to see if you actually handle dairy as well as you think you do. There's several things in milk which can cause a reaction in your digestion, so different people can handle different products. Butter is mostly fats, which no-one really struggles with. Yoghurt and cheese are traditional fermentation methods that remove most of the sugars (Lactose, the main culprit for dairy problems) making the milk both keep longer and digest better. Some people have problems with the proteins in milk, which may be unavoidable. Goat's milk may or may not avoid these problems, similarly a lot of people find that raw cow's milk doesn't cause the same reaction as what they learnt to fear in the shops. There's also a lot of relation to skin problems, but if you don't have these then, well.

If you decide that dairy doesn't compromise your health in any obvious way then the main 'problem' with it is that it's such a damn good food. For people trying to lose weight this can be a disaster, but for people wanting to build muscle and/or recover from exercise a small glass of whole milk is a great option. So there's no absolute requirement to avoid dairy, and even for people who have particular problems with it there's still usually 'good' and 'bad' dairy. It's usually optional in most paleo-based diets. As with everything though, if you're not happy with some aspect of your life or health, try something different and see what happens.

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 22, 2012
at 06:41 PM

To help recover from exercise, simply eat a meal when you become hungry.

0
5b0f25610421dc54a8373e7d3e4a0f94

on February 23, 2012
at 02:09 PM

It really depends on the individual. I would recommend a month of no dairy to see what changes. Trust me, you won't die without that glass of milk! ...or humanity never would have survived thus far, right?

I had to go nearly a full month completely dairy free before my lifetime symptoms of chest congestion, joint aches, and flatulence went away... Now every time I "cheat" and have some cheese or ice cream, I get a little gas and congestion for a day or so. Due to the seriously delicious nature of dairy, I "test" the dairy thing every once in a while. -Just for the sake of science, of course :)

5b0f25610421dc54a8373e7d3e4a0f94

on February 23, 2012
at 02:10 PM

Grass fed butter seems to be OK, though... And is SO delicious!

0
79b187d791eae49070a90d6ca7ee5547

on February 23, 2012
at 01:22 PM

I have to say that I no longer use pasteurized dairy products, unless they are fermented (such as plain yogurt from grass-fed cows). The other thing I use quite a bit is Kerry Gold butter - I could literally eat it with it a knife. I think dairy should be eaten in moderation and should by all means be eaten raw from grass-fed cows if at all possible. I know this is hard to find, but it's definitely worth it. There's a lot of bull circulating about the perils of eating raw dairy, but according to the Weston A. Price Foundation raw dairy, particularly butter and cheese, is one of the most nutritionally complete foods that you can ingest. That being said, it is true that many have intolerances to dairy, myself included to the pasteurized kind. I find that when I eat raw dairy products though, that I feel great and have no digestive upset at all. There are essential fat soluble vitamins (A & D), fats (CLA to name one) and benefits from ingesting raw dairy. This is why I recommend it to my clients if they can tolerate it. I do agree with Robb Wolf's stance that it is something that should be eliminated from the diet initially (for 30 days) to see how you feel. When it's added back, it should be done in a raw form from grass-fed cows. From my perspective, pasteurized dairy is completely different from raw. All of the good bacteria and enzymes are destroyed by the high temperatures, the proteins are damaged, and the body doesn't recognize it as food. Our stomachs lack the enzymes to properly digest it and it causes allergies and intolerances. It's simply not a good thing. Raw milk, on the other hand, comes from nature in its true form and is equipped with all of the enzymes, bacteria and intact proteins to be digested properly. If you drink it, do so in it's most natural, raw, full-fat form. It's the way God made it and intended it.

0d3d2fa06999e099057745203107035b

(20)

on February 23, 2012
at 02:04 PM

I would love to be able to drink raw milk, but I do not (yet) have a farm in mind that I feel comfortable buying it from. Maybe one day! :)

0
Bece741db5f5fed6bafa12e3548f973f

(715)

on February 22, 2012
at 07:53 PM

Simply can't be answered from a historical viewpoint if you are an evolutionist, however, the Biblical record has several references to cheese milk and cheese.

Job 10:10 "Did You not pour me out like milk And curdle me like cheese;

2 Samuel 17:29 And honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of kine, for David, and for the people that were with him, to eat: for they said, The people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness.

However, I grew up on a farm and in my early post high school years worked in an occupation linked to genetics in the dairy industry. The modern day dairy cow is nothing like it was even 50 years ago. They've been bred for greater production, fat, protein etc. Some (not all) farmers use bovine growth hormone, feed cattle soy (much of which these days is genetically modified and or sprayed with chemicals) Truthfully, when drinking milk, I'd make sure I pick from those that don't contain bovine growth hormone and if possible drink only certified organic. I also don't believe that raw milk is harmful. Grew up on the stuff, so if you can find a good raw source from an organic farm and they aren't getting in trouble passing some along, then by all means go for it. I think moderation is the key as long as you aren't allergic to it or something.

My husband can't drink milk or eat a huge amount of cheese. He gets terrible sinus infections. For him it's out of the question. I'm not bothered by it at all.

To make a certain writer your guru, god, authority or whatever is not always the best decision. Do the research, decide what works best for you. No caveman carved it in stone.

0
193b7fb0fec8913d5ebb3b99a04d21c6

(2918)

on February 22, 2012
at 07:45 PM

Different people have different views on dairy in the Paleo world, I've noticed. If milk doesn't bother you, by all means drink it. If you're sensitive to dairy, don't.

0
2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on February 22, 2012
at 07:20 PM

MarksDailyApple has covered dairy questions in a bunch of different articles. Here are a couple of articles I found helpful when starting: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/dairy-intolerance/#axzz1n8jn56hj

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/dairy-insulin/#axzz1n8jn56hj

Hope this helps!

016de26fe61daf799662d3b7b2468324

(688)

on February 23, 2012
at 01:36 PM

Chris, I just read the second link & reading that seriously breaks my heart. I'm most paleo for awhile now, shunning dairy completely until I moved to India 3 months ago, at which time I struggled immensely in balancing my diet, avoiding grains but without meat, I decided to consume dairy. I have milk tea daily (cannot find my Almond milk here), eat a small amount of yogurt with lunch and dinner, and paneer regularly. The bad news is, I've just decided to stay for a year. :( I'm scared of diabetes, which is rampant in my family.

0
Medium avatar

on February 22, 2012
at 06:52 PM

It's hard to find a "clear-cut answer" because there isn't one. That's to say different people who subscribe to Paleo/Primal thinking hold different positions. If there were a "unanimous" pro-dairy stance in the Paleo/Primal world, and yet if dairy didn't work for me personally, I would not consume dairy. I cannot remember the last time I consumed milk. No desire to, but also no "rule" not to. I reached for a piece of cheese at a social gathering recently. Enjoyed the taste, did not suffer convulsions, physical or mental.

0
360fcaf60855a8d410edaab30d54928e

on February 22, 2012
at 06:51 PM

Kris,

I was wondering the same thing when I started and I like to include an occasionaly cheese with my meals and haven't had any problems with it. I don't think you will have any problem with enjoying whole milk after your workout. Try it yourself and see what the results for you are. Do you crave more after drinking it? If it fills you up then that would be a good sign that it is not an addicting substance. If you get bloated or gassy then you may not want to drink it.

Jim

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