It’s all very well reading the Paleo theory about why we should and shouldn't consume certain foods, but what I find most valuable is finding out how people actually eat – and how different foods affect them.
With over 79,000 followers on the Paleo Network’s Facebook page, it’s become a great place to ask questions. A lot of the questions I've been asking seem to resonate with a lot of people, so I thought it would be useful to share some of the questions here.
Dairy seems to be a source of a lot of controversy in the Paleo-sphere. Whenever I post about dairy, I get equally large numbers of people condemning me for mentioning it, as I do people who comment that they enjoy it regularly in their diet. I don’t agree with taking a dogmatic approach to “Paleo” – surely it’s more important to learn how you tolerate things like dairy and eat accordingly?
So when I asked my Facebook followers for their thoughts on dairy – what did they say?
Out of 218 people who left a comment, I counted 48% of people avoid dairy – and 52% of people do consume it. However, in almost all cases those who consume dairy seem to do so with quite limited constraints.
Of those who eat dairy, almost everyone said that they do so “in moderation”, with most people only eating a certain type of dairy, and avoiding others. Some of the responses included:
- Only cheese
- Yoghurt only
- Raw & organic
- Kerrygold butter only
- Fermented full fat only
- Butter & cheese minimal
- Can’t do milk but eat cheese
- I use cheese as a condiment on occasion
- Only sour cream, aged cheese and buttah
- Only raw dairy from grass-fed Jersey cattle
- I can never give up fine cheese and ice cream!
- Yes but only pure grass fed! Bio dynamic etc!
- Only a bit in my Coffee, and only goat's milk
- I love my cheese so allow a little as a treat and kefir
- Butter and a very limited amount of special cheeses
- Only organic butter and a tiny smidge of occasional cheese
- Grassfed always – raw and local when possible. One serving a day.
- I'll only ever have a tiny bit of white cheese that hasn't been processed a lot.
Why avoid it?
It seems that most of the people who avoid dairy, do so being aware that their bodies do not tolerate it well. Here are some of the reasons people gave as to why they don’t consume dairy:
- No, it makes me sick
- Cannot handle the casein.
- My tummy doesn't tolerate it
- Gives me pimples but I love it.
- Gives me bloating & bad skin.
- I break out with eczema and asthma.
- It gives me Brain fog and belly aches!
- My heart says yay, but my tummy says nay
- Hot flashes stopped when dairy was eliminated!
- My body does not like and it causes inflammation
- Never did work well with me – since childhood.
- I may love dairy, but it definitely sets off my auto immune disorders.
- I dream of cheese but unfortunately the casein protein in it burns my GI tract
- In very small amounts. It causes acne for me. I'm 40 and just figured this out!
- Yay for me but nay for my 20 months old. Makes him as constipated as anything.
- Allowed it to creep back in last year, felt crap and body composition/weight plateued.
- Quitting dairy is the only thing that cured my skin condition I've had since childhood (keratosis pilarus)
- I've learned the hard way after a dose of post surgery pancreatitis. It's extremely alarming that people would suffer like I have at their own hand.
- I didn't worry about my normal no-dairy or no-grain for about ten days over Christmas and now my forehead and chin have lots of pimples. Yuck!
Quite a few people commented on alternatives that they use instead of dairy, with the most common being:
- Almond milk
- Coconut milk/ cream
- Coconut Yoghurt
- Hazlenut milk
- And, er, Soy (I think this person maybe didn't realise they were on a Paleo page?)
It’s not dairy…
There were also quite a few comments from people who only have almond milk, or eggs – and others pointing out that eggs aren't dairy – and that almonds don’t have udders…
I’d love to hear your perspective on dairy. Do you consume it – and why? Please share in the comments below. Also, if you have a question that you’d like a broader perspective on, please let me know and I’ll post it on Facebook.