A guide to Dairy
A question I get asked the most is can I have dairy?
The answer is not as simple as yes or no. As with many other food, there are different types of dairy and these different types can have different effects on the body. There are many factors that weigh in on whether or not someone should have dairy in their diet. In the paleo or clean eating world dairy is a grey area. Some researchers have a strong stance on no dairy, sugar, grains, processed foods and industrial vegetable oils as these are the foods that have negative effects on our bodies. Some of these effects may not be as quick to come around as bloating or intestinal trouble but are more long term damage, slowly weakening your immune system until one day it cracks and disease is the result.
Now diary has it’s positive nutritional points. Yes, it tastes great and is part of many delicious dishes but more importantly, in it’s raw form, it is full of highly bio-available saturated fat, protein and carbs. Milk is baby fuel, designed to spur growth and has everything a growing body needs.
Lactose intolerance - Most people are lactose intolerant. This gives a clear indiction that dairy isn’t meant to be part of most people’s diets. Research shows that after the age of 4, many of us lose the ability to digest lactose properly. So if drinking milk makes you feel like crap, don’t drink it, if cheese make you have gas, don’t eat it. These are not normal reactions to ingesting food.
Casein intolerance - Casein is the main protein in dairy and it has the same structor as gluten which is a protein in grains. This has it’s own health concerns. People who are gluten intolerant are normally casein intolerant too.
This then leads the question, which is causing the damage? Dairy or grains or is one as bad as the other?
Cancer - Cordain says milk leads to cancer and has the research to prove it. His research shows that in adults betacellulin, one of milks epidermal growth factors, binds to receptors and enhances cancer cells growth. This make sense, as this is what milk is designed to do - speed up growth. Now this research doesn’t use organic raw dairy only the normal dairy you find in the supermarket.
Dairy in it’s raw form - raw, fermented, full fat - is probably your best choice when it comes to dairy. Everything else is heavily processed, loosing the natural markers that your body would recognise. Processed dairy should be avoided. The worst is the altered milks, yogurts and cheeses, low fat and skim. The best part about dairy is the high amount of healthy fats which contains most of the nutrients. Removing this leaves dairy with little to no nutritional value, plus once fat is removed sugar and salt is added to bring the taste back.
Raw butter and cream are minimally processed and are a great source of healthy fats that cause no bloating, gas, intestinal or stomach upset and are a great way to increase the amount of fats in your diet.
Can you handle dairy? Assess how your body reacts when you consume dairy. If you have been eating dairy your whole life your body doesn’t know any better so cut it out for 1 month and then reintroduce it to see the real effects. If you get no bloating, gas, intestinal or stomach upset then chances are you can handle dairy. If you show signs of bloating, gas or stomach upset, it’s better to avoid dairy.
Bottom line - If you can handle diary, buy only organic, unhomogenized and unpasteurized.