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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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April 29, 2009

Is All Cheese Created Equal?

By Mark Sisson
195 Comments

The answer to that question is (hopefully) pretty obvious, but I’ll still explain why.

Short answer: No.

Slightly longer answer: C’mon – you really think that stuff you can spray out of an aerosol can is qualitatively identical to a 2-year old Gouda?

Long answer: The paleo purists shun all forms of dairy, but the Primal Blueprint takes a more nuanced stance. We note that while dairy certainly shouldn’t form the basis for an eating regimen, certain forms of it can easily be integrated seamlessly into a healthy, Primal eating strategy as a sensible vice, especially the highest-fat choices (a bit of heavy cream in the morning coffee, some real whipped cream with strawberries for dessert) or even a staple (pastured butter for sautéing and drizzling over vegetables). Of course, for those who can more easily digest (lactose-wise) certain forms and who insist on including it in their diet, sticking to dairy that’s as close to the state it was in upon exodus from the animal in question is important (raw dairy, kids), as is avoiding the stuff treated with all sorts of preservatives and processing (homogenized semi-skim milk product with antibiotics, anyone?).

But we’ve tackled the dairy issue before. To recap, though – if you must have it, raw, full fat dairy, especially fermented, is best, followed by organic, non-homogenized dairy (for reference, milk homogenization involves exerting extreme pressure onto milk and forcing it through small holes so that the fat breaks up…. Yum!). I do think the paleo set is a bit too gung-ho about dairy, but they’ve got it mostly right. The long-purported link between osteoporosis and lower milk/calcium intake is grossly exaggerated (how else would you explain the US, one of the biggest dairy consumers in the world, having some of the highest osteoporosis rates?), but some people have obviously developed digestive systems that can handle dairy reasonably well. The most sensible position is this: if you can handle dairy and insist on including it, then have at it in reasonable amounts.

Cheese, though, is a different beast altogether. It’s technically dairy, but much of what makes dairy so problematic for people is mostly absent from the best cheeses. Take lactose, for example. Lactose, or milk sugar, is what keeps the roughly 2/3 of the world’s population that are lactose intolerant from consuming dairy (other than availability or cultural issues, of course). When most cheese is made, however, the lactose in milk is converted into lactic acid by bacteria. The resultant acid begins the curdling process that eventually results in cheese, and little – if any – lactose remains at the end. Sometimes even trace amounts of lactose can trigger sensitive individuals, but cheese is usually fairly safe. A good general rule is the longer a cheese is aged, the less lactose it’ll have. Another thing to remember: the less lactose a cheese has, the less carbohydrates.

Another problematic dairy component is casein, a type of protein that makes up the bulk of the dairy proteins (along with whey). Casein is a “slow burning” protein, making it popular among body builders who place a premium on maximum absorption, but casein is also an allergen for a small segment of the population. Casein allergy is more insidious than lactose intolerance, because it can result in tearing of the gut lining (akin to celiac disease), skin rashes, breathing problems, and hives. Though it’s fairly rare, people who are allergic to casein might want to avoid cheese: when cheese is made, most of the whey protein is removed (hence, curds and whey) while most of the casein protein is retained.

So depending on your sensitivities, cheese could either be incredibly agreeable or horribly antagonistic. It exists in Primal limbo along with raw dairy, a sort of gray area. On the one hand, cheese has admirable levels of fat, protein, and flavor, but on the other, it has the lactose and casein issues (as well as another, which I’ll get to later). As such, I can’t give you a definitive answer as to whether or not you should eat cheese. Personally, I enjoy a bit of aged cheese on occasion paired with fruit or wine, or in an omelet. It’s not a staple of my diet (don’t pull a George Costanza and eat a block of cheese like an apple), but it can definitely add texture, flavor, and aroma to a dish as a sensible vice. If you’re so inclined, there’s no reason cheese couldn’t be a harmless part of a healthy Primal eating plan.

But what kind should you be eating?

It goes without saying that the ultra-processed cheese that comes in plastic sleeves or pre-shredded in bags should be avoided. That stuff isn’t real cheese; it’s cheese product engineered in a lab and loaded with preservatives and emulsifiers that render it supremely meltable, spreadable, or (shudder) spray-cannable. I liken it to fast food – it’s somewhat reminiscent of the food it purports to represent, but the amount of processing and adulterating it undergoes makes it closer to plastic than actual food we should be eating. This includes American cheese singles, Velveeta, Cheez Whiz, and most shredded cheeses.

Try to stick to grass-fed cheese, raw if possible.

Raw, Grass-Fed Cheese

The best kind of cheese, in my opinion, is raw cheese from grass-fed milk. Depending on your state or country’s stance on raw dairy products, it can be difficult to obtain, but the benefits – both in terms of nutrition and flavor – are worth the effort. Betacellulin, a potentially dangerous epidermal growth factor that has been linked to cancer, is present in most cheeses. Paleo critics often point to the betacellulin present in dairy as a major deterrent to its inclusion in a healthy diet (rightfully so), but they tend to focus on pasteurized, homogenized non-organic dairy from grain-fed cows – the most common type of dairy consumed in the country. Raw, grass-fed dairy, on the other hand, contains high levels of conjugated lineolic acid (CLA), which has been shown to have anti-cancer properties. Raw dairy supporters suggest that the higher levels of CLA present in raw, grass-fed cheese may act as a counterbalance to the negative effects of betacellulin also present.

Specialty grocery stores and cheese shops might carry a few types of raw cheese, but a surefire bet is to visit local farmer’s markets or family farms. Most states in the U.S. have strict regulations on raw dairy, and, since cheese requires a bit more time to develop, raw cheese can be hard to come by. As I understand it, quality cheeses in European countries are more likely to be raw and grass-fed (I hear the best Brie and Camembert in particular tend to be raw and grass-fed), so Blueprinters across the pond probably won’t have too much trouble. For those Stateside readers unable to find anything, check out Eat Wild for listings of local farms and cheesemakers.

Grass-Fed Cheese

Pasteurized grass-fed cheese isn’t chock full of the delicious bacteria common to raw dairy, but it does retain the higher levels of CLA. Grass-fed cheese, pasteurized or not, also contains the heat-resistant vitamin K2, which Weston Price asserted was the key (along with vitamin D3) to the excellent bone and dental health in the primitive (but supremely healthy) groups he studied. One recent Rotterdam study noted that consumption of Dutch foods rich in vitamin K2 – which include grass-fed cheeses like Gouda, Edam, and Leyden – had a protective effect against cardiovascular events.

Raw might be hard for many of you to find, but grass-fed shouldn’t be too difficult to come across. Stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s carry various kinds, such as the Kerrygold Irish cheeses (they also make good, affordable pastured butter). Whole Foods usually has a fairly knowledgeable cheese monger who can tell you a lot about each cheese they carry (and you can sample most everything, too). If I’m ever curious about a cheese’s origins (and the workers can’t answer), I do a quick Google search of the farm’s name, and I’m usually able to get the info I want.

Goat and Sheep

For people who absolutely cannot tolerate cheese from cows (grass-fed or otherwise), give goat or sheep’s cheese a chance. Goat tends to be more tart and crumbly, while sheep’s cheese varies in flavor as much as cow’s cheese. Again, ask for samples and experiment with different kinds (while trying to stick with cheese from pasture-raised animals).

Other Types

Of course, we can’t always find grass-fed cheese. Other, more conventional cheeses are fine in moderation. The occasional cheese plate isn’t going to kill you, but if you are going to eat a cheese that isn’t organic or range-produced or raw or Primal, make sure that you enjoy it. Make sure that your sensible vice is a worthy one. After all, the best cheeses – regardless of their animal’s dietary habits – are full-flavored, with a little bit going a long way (especially with a nice glass of cab).

I don’t eat cheese very often, but when I do, these are my favorite choices:

Bucheron – A tangy semi-aged, rinded goat cheese with a semi-firm center. As you get closer to the rind, the cheese gets softer, almost gooey. It’s like having two cheeses in one, and letting it mature heightens the difference between the two layers.

Gouda – A Dutch cow’s milk cheese, Gouda (especially aged Gouda) is full flavored. The longer it ages, the sharper and firmer it gets. I like my Goudas aged and find the young ones a bit too mild.

Cheddar – The classic. Aged cheddar, in my opinion, is the only way to have it: sharper, denser, and with less lactose.

Blue Castello – An intense blue-veined cheese, Blue Castello is creamy and overpowering. A decent-sized wedge will last me for a month; it’s that flavorful a cheese.

Feta – Feta can be made with goat, sheep, or cow’s milk, and I love it all. It crumbles well and goes great with salads.

Grok probably didn’t eat cheese. But like chocolate, wine and other sensible vices, it doesn’t mean we can’t fit this more civilized food into a Primal lifestyle if we just know the loopholes. I hope this was a helpful, general guide to cheese. I’d be interested to hear your views on this particular incarnation of the much-maligned dairy. Anyone else have favorites?

Further Reading:

The Original Sensible Vices

Sensible Vices: Round 2

Is All Chocolate Created Equal?

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195 Comments on "Is All Cheese Created Equal?"

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JE Gonzalez
7 years 4 months ago

A question about lactose intolerance: Doesn’t the lactase present in raw milk and burned off in pasteurization curb the effects of lactose intolerance?

Primal Palate
Primal Palate
5 years 4 months ago

Lactose intolerant means your body can’t produce lactase, the enzyme naturally attached to milk sugar for its own digestion.
Therefor nobody is lactose intolerant to RAW milk because the enzyme is present and alive and takes on a different path in the body.

Pasteurization destroys lactase and turns lactose into beta-lactose, a mutilated, denatured piece of lactose that our bodies don’t recognize.

Marissa
5 years 1 month ago

Another bacteria/enzyme that helps digest lactose is e. coli. I know it has a modern stigma, but e. coli should account for 0.1% of a healthy gut flora. As the gut heals, becomes stronger, and the bacteria constitution evens out, people should be able to digest wholesome dairy portions in moderation. 🙂

rawmilkmike
rawmilkmike
2 years 25 days ago

Actually the Mayo Clinic calls it milk protein intolerance.

Nina
7 years 4 months ago
Thank you for all the cheese info! I have been trying to live by the PB for almost a month now, and I am doing pretty well (lots of weight loss that I need thank you!) but I was missing cheese hard core. Last night I was craving cheese and had made some of those carb-free buns from a link from your site so I really wanted to make burgers. I used cheddar, but the best quality I could find at my local chain grocery store was Kraft (shudder) but made without hormones and antibiotics. I have to remember to… Read more »
fiona
fiona
1 year 2 months ago
I lost a lot of weight when i chose a vegan diet. A very interesting and informative video is Gary Yourofsky’s Best Ever Speech -on youtube which totally opened up my eyes to the health benefits and also ways to respect and help animals which are being hurt for us. Its quite a long video but something that will really stretch how you think and help you- you will be glad you’ve watched it. My health improvements are enormous since going vegan. There are many online websites and support vegan groups online with the most amazing and unusual recipes. I’ve… Read more »
MerryKate
MerryKate
1 year 20 days ago

Spam much?

Gaz
Gaz
4 months 21 days ago

Yuk, Vegan

Christine Crain
Christine Crain
7 years 4 months ago

I LOVE cheese. Pretty much any kind. I’m lactose intolerant (like most people) and I always wondered why cheese didn’t bother me so that’s definitely good to know!

As for cheese/milk being primal or not, I’d say it is for sure in my opinion. Horses were domesticated long before the agricultural revolution and there is ample evidence of people using horse milk for all kinds of things.

In any case, I think it’s a delicious source of fat and definitely splurge on the good stuff. My personal favorites are goat’s cheese and brie. The older the better.

rawmilkmike
rawmilkmike
2 years 25 days ago

Actually lactose intolerant has nothing to do with lactose that’s why the Mayo Clinic calls it milk protein intolerance. It’s really all about pasteurization and homogenization.

Lauren
Lauren
1 year 6 months ago
Thank you for writing that. Most people are not lactose intolerant (some truly are) but the majority of individuals are intolerant of the terribly low quality milk that floods the market. The reason milk was pasteurized was to kill off bacteria that should not be in the milk to begin with. True healthy dairy cows and goats do not produce rotten milk. Something a lot of people do not realize is that raw milk, cheese and butter are essential for good teeth health. Also properly fermented (not cooked) cod liver oil is too. These contain fat soluble vitamins, A, D… Read more »
madMUHHH
7 years 4 months ago
Once again, very nice article. I’m definetly still consuming waayy too much dairy. But at least I do make yogurt and kefir on my own now, even though I still don’t use raw milk yet. I guess I have to take it one step on a time, but unfortunately the last days I started to eat some more dairy again. Emptied a 300ml can of self-made kefir today, but then again, my gut is causing a little trouble right now and so I think, it wasn’t the worst thing to do. I could also make coconut milk kefir, that would… Read more »
rawmilkmike
rawmilkmike
2 years 25 days ago

Cut down the pasteurized dairy. Mozzarella is not raw.

Henry Miller
Henry Miller
7 years 4 months ago
JE Gonzalez Some people find that raw milk works where “regular” doesn’t. However most people can’t take either. You have to figure it out for yourself. Nina: I’m surprised you can’t find better cheese in your local chain. Most have a display case full of it. This is a loss leader: people pass the display, think cheese, and buy the kraft nearby. One of the tricks the stores use to get you to buy something that wasn’t on your list. However they generally stock some nice cheeses in that display once you think to look inside instead of passing it… Read more »
rawmilkmike
rawmilkmike
2 years 25 days ago

That is very true. It is easy to overlook the good cheeses. But most lactose intolerant have no problem with raw milk. Some may have to ease into it with kefir and yogurt. Some people just don’t like milk.

mike
mike
7 years 4 months ago

question. I heard that dairy contains a lot of estrogen compounds from the cows, which isn’t exactly a hormone I feel like boosting. Is this true, or do you think the Saturated fat in the dairy will offset the estrogen by raising T-levels…also I heard about this in terms of milk, bu is it the same for cheese, or does the aging process effect the estrogen levels?

Mike OD - Life Spotlight
7 years 4 months ago

Good cheese is very tasty especially when added to things like eggs….Yummy. I’ve seen too many overweight people addicted to cheese…so like I tell them, add as compliment to a meal (like some cheese on eggs) have at it….as the meal itself (like eating a whole bar with crackers) not a good idea.

Marci
Marci
7 years 4 months ago
Mike- excellent question, wish I had the answer.I’m sure someone out there will. I’d like to know myself as I’m estrogen dominant (working on fixing that!) As for raw milk cheeses – if you live in NYC you can get them at the Farmer’s Markets. But you cannot get raw milk here unless you have a cowshare (but we can still buy it in CT). I think a little raw milk cheese is a fine thing and I love all of it – sheep’s milk yogurt, goat cheese, raw milk gruyere…I probably eat too much! But a day without cheese… Read more »
Adam Steer - Better Is Better
7 years 4 months ago

You’ve hit me in my weak spot. I LOVE cheese (the good stuff). My favorite right now is an organic cheddar aged for 5 years. It’s sooo good.

We’re lucky to have a strong cheese culture here in Quebec and it is pretty easy to find artisanal cheeses. Unfortunately, a small outbreak of food poisoning from cheese sent everyone into panic mode and sent a lot of cheese makers into financial trouble.

Thanks for a great post.

Cheers,
Adam

rawmilkmike
rawmilkmike
2 years 25 days ago

It’s called diarrhea and there is little evidence that it has anything to do with food other than it’s possible lack of nutrition. Don’t stipulate to their propaganda.

Holly
Holly
7 years 4 months ago

Fortunately, I only can “stand” cheese in limited quantities… EXCEPT for parmesan. That is a huge weakness, but only the super good stuff directly from Italy (and then the price tag keeps the quantity limited). Like the post on yoga yesterday, its about a balance. Cheese (and some dairy), IMO, can be added into that Primal balance.

Ryan Denner
7 years 4 months ago

Good post Mark. I know you covered something similar in “Did Grok grow the cheese plate?” but this is really good. Personally, I really enjoy the taste of cheese, but am very lactose intolerant! Bummer!

rawmilkmike
rawmilkmike
2 years 25 days ago

Lactose intolerance has nothing to do with lactose. That’s why the Mayo Clinic calls it milk protein intolerance. It’s really all about pasteurization and homogenization.

Icarus
Icarus
7 years 4 months ago
Grok probably didn’t eat cheese, but, assuming for a moment that our paleolithic friend lived in the Mediterranean, he probably didn’t eat olives or their oil, either. I’ve met a few dairy-tolerant paleolithic eaters who nevertheless insist on avoiding dairy while happily consuming large quantities of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, most assuredly a neolithic food – but I digress. Personally, grass-fed butter is a staple of my diet, and I ate Kerrygold (absolutely delicious stuff) before I knew that it was grass-fed – or healthy. There are a lot of things I’d give up before I’d ever think about giving… Read more »
rawmilkmike
rawmilkmike
2 years 25 days ago

Grok probably ate curds and whey. Lactose intolerance has nothing to do with lactose. That’s why the Mayo Clinic calls it milk protein intolerance. It’s really all about pasteurization and homogenization. Most lactose intolerant have no problem with raw milk. Some may have to ease into it with kefir and yogurt. Food allergies can take a few months on a good diet to cure. Some people just don’t like milk. Lactose malabsorbers are generally not lactose intolerant.

JohnS.
JohnS.
16 days 17 hours ago

Back when I could get good raw dairy, I had absolutely no problems and plenty of energy. But the guy sold the cow and I can’t find anyone who works cleanly when milking. I am a big proponent of RAW dairy.

musajen
7 years 4 months ago

Thanks for talking about this topic more! I’ve been trying to decide what to do about dairy as I move more to a primal diet so this i very helpful.

I’ve only been reading MDA for about 4 months and I’ve seen you make references to past dairy related posts, but so far, I’ve had a hard time tracking them down through your search function.

Could you provide some links to previous dairy posts?

Thank you!

Mike M
Mike M
7 years 4 months ago

Thank you for this post. I have been wondering about cheese for some time now. My hopes are that grass feed beef and raw cheese and milk will become more conveniently available and less expensive!!

Emily
7 years 4 months ago

Excellent post. I’m a huge fan of raw goat cheddar. Our Whole Foods has a number of raw and grass-fed cheeses.

Marc Feel Good Eating
7 years 4 months ago

My favorite, from Spain, Drunken goat cheese. AMAZING.
Mark, you would like the aged variety.
It’s called drunken because they dip the wheel of cheese in wine. It gives the rind a reddish color.
I buy it every now and then as a special treat.

Marc

Peggy
Peggy
7 years 4 months ago

Last night’s dinner: 2 egg omlette (locally grown eggs) with spinach, chopped brussel sprouts & topped with feta… ’nuff said

Sonya
Sonya
7 years 4 months ago
Mark – thanks for all this info as it was really great to hear the facts on cheeses. I love cheese but since going primal several months ago I have got use to the idea that cheese needs to be eaten sensibly. Previously before PB I use to be on low fat everything. I use to think simply that if the cheese was low in fat that it was good for you…HA! So with dramatic changes I now hardly have hard cheeses but if I do I aim to eat the very mature sharp cheeses. The main cheese I now… Read more »
Greg at Live Fit
7 years 4 months ago

Your point about the American love affair with dairy is well-taken. A few years back I had occasion to spend a week with a German national. He was surprised by the amount of milk we drink.

riceball
riceball
7 years 4 months ago

gilty of munching on them with no discipline…

so I only buy them when I REALLY want them, when I do, I just finish them all at once…I’m not so sensible on my vices…=(

=P
mouth watering …

Rodney
Rodney
7 years 4 months ago
I am fortunate to have access to raw milk which I use to make kefir. The same dairy farmer provides me with raw milk butter and homemade cheeses. I rarely buy the cheese even though it is tasty. I think it goes back to my days of wrapped single slice “cheese food.” My friend and I usually made it into little balls and shot it at each other through straws and rarely ended up eating it. Maybe we were smarter than we realized. I think dairy in moderation is fine if you can tolerate it, but if you have to… Read more »
Roger De Rok
7 years 4 months ago

Great post! Once again Mark, it’s like you were reading my mind. Cheese is one thing I’ve been having a hard time abstaining from or leaving out of my daily diet. I have actually been thinking to myself that I wish I knew which cheeses to buy so I can instead get the “right” ones. This definitely helps a ton.

Sabrina
Sabrina
7 years 4 months ago

Thank you! I’ve been searching and searching and just found a local source of grass-fed beef at the Eat Wild link contained in this article!!

Now if I could just find someone local who makes raw, grass-fed cheese…

Tate
Tate
7 years 4 months ago
“How else would you explain the US, one of the biggest dairy consumers in the world, having some of the highest osteoporosis rates?” Maybe because as a nation we are obsessed with cutting out the fat… which results in a vitamin K2 deficity? Doesn’t matter how much calcium you get if your body can’t use it. I really liked this post. I wrote this for an earlier post, but all humans are born with the ability to utilize milk. Human, cow, goat, sheep and any other mammal are similar in structure and composition. Milk is THE ultimate primitive food. The… Read more »
gai
gai
5 years 8 months ago

Thanks for the comment. Cheese is the one thing I refuse to give up right now. I have no problem with lactose and have kept my PB diet fairly strict except for the cheese, and wine on the weekends. I am only 3 weeks in and have only lost 5 lbs so I have been wondering about the cheese. I plan to cut down on nuts instead. I love this way of eating and have not missed a thing.

food scientist
food scientist
4 years 1 month ago

“Human, cow, goat, sheep and any other mammal are similar in structure and composition.”

Not at all. The composition of milk varies massively between species. eg seal and whale milk contains up to 55% fat (more than double cream).

Human milk has 70% less protein, 50% more lactose and 10% more fat than cow’s milk.

The proteins in non-human milk have different structures to those found in human milk. That is why non-human milk is potentially highly allergenic.

rawmilkmike
rawmilkmike
2 years 25 days ago

Pasteurized, homogenized milk is highly allergenic. Raw milk is not.

rawmilkmike
rawmilkmike
2 years 25 days ago

Lactose intolerance has nothing to do with lactose. That’s why the Mayo Clinic calls it milk protein intolerance. It’s really all about pasteurization and homogenization. Most lactose intolerant have no problem with raw milk. Some may have to ease into it with kefir and yogurt. Food allergies can take a few months on a good diet to cure. Some people just don’t like milk. Lactose malabsorbers are generally not lactose intolerant.

Ellen
Ellen
7 years 4 months ago

Question. What do you think Mark, (or please-anybody else), about raw whole milk for a post workout drink? Should the fat be a consideration in slowing down the protein absorption?

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Sully
Sully
7 years 4 months ago

We are lucky enough to have raw sheep’s milk cheese (Manchego) at the local grocer. Great stuff, if you can find it.

Tate
Tate
7 years 4 months ago
Ellen, As insulin sensitive as you will become on the PB diet, your muscles will be plenty able to take in the nutrients. Plus, the whey protein in the milk is even more bio-available then egg protein (which is the standard). You will get plenty of protein and sugar as a post workout drink. The fat will damper the insulin/blood sugar response a little bit, but you probably don’t want that large of a swing ever, even post workout. Then the casein protein, in combination with the fat, absorbs slowly, giving you a positive nitrogen balance for a good amount… Read more »
Ellen
Ellen
7 years 4 months ago

Thanks Tate!

Evan
7 years 4 months ago

Inspired by this post, yesterday I went out and got a little bit of sheep’s cheese. Fantastic.

John
John
7 years 4 months ago

When I was eating a vegetarian/vegan diet, I craved cheese — probably craving fat I suppose! Now that I’ve reintroduced meat in the form of fatty fish or good beef, I really don’t feel those same cravings and cheese, good cheese, has taken it’s “rightful” place as a secondary component of my diet. The primal approach seems to be working much better for me overall.

fiona
fiona
1 year 2 months ago
Oh, thats funny, the longer I am vegan ( over 5 years now, maybe 6- losing track!! ) the LESS I crave cheese. I just don’t find I want that kind of food anymore. I’ve also found my health has improved so enormously I just wouldn’t want to go back. I get a lot of fats from olive oil ( with spices) mashed into chick peas and baked or fried when i have veggies. Or olive oil baked veggies in the oven- or occasionally coconut fat ( which is delicious) put as whole block into sprout and butter bean stew… Read more »
Patricia
Patricia
7 years 4 months ago

I went off of cheese for a detox for 3 weeks…. never really craved it again! I used to eat it everyday on my salads or heaven forbid… GASP – CHEESE WHIZ with nachos!

I do ocassionally have some goat cheese, but I will now ready the label more clearly to see what exactly I’m ingesting! (I’m scared!)

Patricia
Patricia
7 years 4 months ago

P.S. Calcium from milk and cheese? Pssshhhh… get it from broccoli!

pjnoir
pjnoir
7 years 4 months ago

Been working with a Paleo/Warrior diet for a few weeks now saddled on the back of a few months of Atkins/SB- Low Carb style diet. Id rather eat dairy than soy products like tofu or any of the oils. Real butter is part of my daily diet (joy of fats) and I adore Greek Style yogurt (Fage or Trader Joe’s). Cheeses but not everyday.

Nice work Mark

Trinkwasser
Trinkwasser
7 years 4 months ago
We have a mass of different cheeses in the UK, and more from over the water in Europe. OK not totally primal but we graze cows on land not usable for other forms of cropping, and the manure is spread onto arable land so it fits into current agriculture quite nicely and reduces dependency on high tech fertilisers. Not good with milk (too many carbs) but butter and especially cheese are good stuff for sat fats and seem to have a built in can’t eat too much factor. I like real farmhouse type cheddar (used to live near Cheddar, it’s… Read more »
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John E V
John E V
7 years 4 months ago

If two thirds of the world’s population is lactose intolerant that must mean there are a of people walking around who are and don’t know it. What exactly are the symptoms? How would you know if you were? Doesn’t mother’s milk have lactose? Or is this a case of entire populations of people (India, China come to mind) being deemed lactose intolerant because their cuisines and diets don’t feature dairy foods. A statement that “two-thirds of the world’s population is lactose intolerant” is one of those factoids that is meaningless without some context.

shrimp4me
shrimp4me
2 years 11 months ago

Use of dairy in Indian cuisine varies by region; the more affluent areas use dairy (ghee, yogurt, paneer [acid-set fresh cheese similar to ricotta but pressed into blocks] etc–more in the northern part of the country. The drier, less food-secure areas use more legumes; dairy in these areas is too expensive for mass consumption. So, I doubt if Indians (who are Caucasian, BTW) are as a whole lactose-intolerant.

rawmilkmike
rawmilkmike
2 years 25 days ago

The Mayo Clinic calls it milk protein intolerance. It’s really all about pasteurization and homogenization. Most lactose intolerant have no problem with raw milk.

rawmilkmike
rawmilkmike
2 years 25 days ago

Factoid for sure. Lactose intolerance has nothing to do with lactose. That’s why the Mayo Clinic calls it milk protein intolerance. It’s really all about pasteurization and homogenization. Most lactose intolerant have no problem with raw milk.

Christine Crain
Christine Crain
7 years 4 months ago
There are different severities of lactose intolerance. I for one, can drink milk, but things like ice cream and yogurt bother me. My husband can only eat cheese. We both end up with stomach cramps and sometimes mild nausea. Yes, mother’s milk has lactose as well, but that’s the thing, since we evolved to eventually transition to solid foods, our bodies evolved to stop producing the digestive compounds to break down the milk in our digestive tracts. If you’re not going to need it, why both producing it? About 1/3 of the population (mostly from East Indian decent) continue to… Read more »
rawmilkmike
rawmilkmike
2 years 25 days ago

Theory is right. Lactose intolerance has nothing to do with lactose. That’s why the Mayo Clinic calls it milk protein intolerance. It’s really all about pasteurization and homogenization. Most lactose intolerant have no problem with raw milk.

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[…] Is All Cheese Created Equal? […]

rob
rob
7 years 4 months ago

OMG! I just bought some extra aged Gouda. OMG! It is so good.

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[…] Five Fingers, the Hunter-Gatherer Foot, and the Western Man’s Foot (via) Is all cheese created equal? (via) The Primal Blueprint […]

Walter Pittman
Walter Pittman
7 years 4 months ago

Good article, but it’s a bit confused on vitamin K2.

K2 in cheese comes from the bacteria during the fermentation process and has nothing to do with the origin of the milk. Cheese from factory-farmed, grain-fed cows will have as much K2 as 100% pastured cows.

And the various strains of cheese bacteria produce varying amounts of K2, from none to a lot. Cheddar cheese has little K2, whereas Emmenthaler and Jarlsberg have a lot. The Swiss-type cheeses with the bacteria-gas holes have by far the most K2

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[…] inevitable caveat, however, is this: not all beef is created equal. (Yesterday it was cheese, we know. It’s really about fact, not fussiness.) Most of the beef consumed today is not, by any […]

mattigee
mattigee
6 years 10 months ago

Hi Mark,

I’ve been a regular visitor to your site for last 2 months or so! Awesome stuff and it all really makes sense. I’m glad you’re realistic about our modern lifestyle too and inlcude some loopholes! I’m almost totally Primal, bread and pasta and potatoes have long gone, as has almost all dairy (occassionally a dash of milk in coffee) the only thing I’m really stugglng with is my morning oats (wihtout milk) I’ve gone over to buckwheat and will try to wean off that too.

anyway thanks for all your work and inspiration.

grok on!
m

Maria
Maria
6 years 9 months ago

What’s your opinion on Swiss? I love Alpine Lace and Baby Swiss, and I doomed if I eat 1-2 slices every other day?

SteveO
6 years 8 months ago

I used to think I was lactose intolerant, but when I switched off of pasturized and homogenized milk, and started drinking raw mik I haven’t had any digestive problems whatsoever. It’s amazing because I was downing those lactase pills everyday with a glass of milk, but now I don’t need them at all. Likewise with raw cheese (mostly sharp white cheddar) too.

Anthony D. Paige
6 years 7 months ago

Great post, Mark!

One of my favourite snacks – or even desserts, really, is thinly-sliced Asiago cheese topped onto slices of Roma or Gala apples, with some olive oil drenched on top.

Absolutely delicious!

Ethan House
6 years 7 months ago

Definitely one of my favorite snacks. Keeping it within reason after going primal. But lucky me, I am one of the few who have no problems with dairy.

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[…] sensitive to dairy or trying to fight a disease and eliminate all problematic foods. Read here to learn the different types of cheese and which one would be your best […]

Daphne
Daphne
6 years 3 months ago

As a Dutch Blueprinter I’m very relieved to hear I don’t have to give up my cheese necessarily! Among my favorites are: anything blue (Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Rochebaron), Feta, Mozzarella and the best of all: Huttenkase!

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