Dairy is a huge dividing issue in the paleo world. Strict paleo would omit dairy, but a lot of people take a more primal approach and include good quality dairy in their diet. My study showed most people who identify with paleo do in fact consume some dairy. The deciding factor here is if you are dairy intolerant or not. And how would you know?
Whilst not scientific, there are a few warning signs that will give you a pretty big clue you don’t tolerate dairy well. But what is it in the dairy that may not agree with you? Well, it’s not as simple as saying it’s the dairy, you could well have a reaction to the lactose, or the casein contained in dairy.
Today, I'm going to look at a Lactose Intolerance specifically, as this is the dairy component that seems to be most troublesome for so many people. Whilst Northern Europeans seem to tolerate lactose fairly well due to a long, long history of doing so, in other populations most people are lactose intolerant.
What does lactose intolerance mean?
Simply, this occurs when you stop making the enzyme lactase, which is required to digest lactose. Without lactase, bacteria will metabolise the lactose instead. Whilst not a serious condition, it is going to be uncomfortable and frustrating for the unwitting dairy consumer.
So what are the symptoms?
1. Symptoms are going to centre around your digestive system, so look out for:
3. Gas…. Say no more
4. Crams and pains in your abdomen
5. How to put this nicely… loose bowel movements, sometimes very loose
6. Strange noises coming from your digestive system
7. In severe cases vomiting
8. Unexplained tiredness
Important to note is how soon they symptoms came on after consuming the dairy? And what type of dairy was it?
If you suspect you may be intolerant to dairy, you need to find out.
The best way to test this is by an elimination diet. No dairy whatsoever for 30 days. See how you feel, are the symptoms still there? If you've been symptom free, you can test this further by gradually introducing back in certain dairy products. I've heard some people will be fine with hard cheeses for example, but not soft cheese. Whatever you introduce, make sure it’s in isolation, and wait at least three days before bringing another dairy variable into the mix. You can experiment with raw dairy, fermented dairy, perhaps you’ll find clarified butter; ghee has a different impact on you.
Do you suspect you're dairy intolerant? Do you consume it?