Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
29 Apr

Is All Cheese Created Equal?

cheese5The 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?

cheese 1

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?

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

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

    JE Gonzalez wrote on April 29th, 2009
    • 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.

      Primal Palate wrote on May 7th, 2011
    • 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. :-)

      Marissa wrote on August 19th, 2011
    • Actually the Mayo Clinic calls it milk protein intolerance.

      rawmilkmike wrote on September 2nd, 2014
  2. 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 get a little of the good stuff when I visit the health food store and keep it around for times like last night.

    Nina wrote on April 29th, 2009
  3. 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.

    Christine Crain wrote on April 29th, 2009
    • 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.

      rawmilkmike wrote on September 2nd, 2014
  4. 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 solve the problem. Guess I’ll have to look into that a little more and slowly cut down the dairy.

    What about mozzarella btw?

    madMUHHH wrote on April 29th, 2009
    • Cut down the pasteurized dairy. Mozzarella is not raw.

      rawmilkmike wrote on September 2nd, 2014
  5. 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 for where the kraft cheese is. (This trick can help you find a lot of other higher quality stuff in your local chain – though eventually you may want to go elsewhere)

    Of course maybe your area is different. I can only comment on the stores I’ve been in.

    Henry Miller wrote on April 29th, 2009
    • 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.

      rawmilkmike wrote on September 2nd, 2014
  6. 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 wrote on April 29th, 2009
  7. 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.

    Mike OD - Life Spotlight wrote on April 29th, 2009
  8. 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 is like a hug without the squeeze, as my grandpa used to say.

    Marci wrote on April 29th, 2009
  9. 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

    Adam Steer - Better Is Better wrote on April 29th, 2009
    • 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.

      rawmilkmike wrote on September 2nd, 2014
  10. 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.

    Holly wrote on April 29th, 2009
  11. 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!

    Ryan Denner wrote on April 29th, 2009
    • 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.

      rawmilkmike wrote on September 2nd, 2014
  12. 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 up omelets cooked in butter. With the large caveat that the majority of humans on the planet can’t tolerate it, I don’t think raw, grass-fed dairy is at all bad for those who do and, therefore, I wouldn’t classify it as a vice myself.

    Icarus wrote on April 29th, 2009
    • 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.

      rawmilkmike wrote on September 2nd, 2014
  13. 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!

    musajen wrote on April 29th, 2009
  14. 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!!

    Mike M wrote on April 29th, 2009
  15. Excellent post. I’m a huge fan of raw goat cheddar. Our Whole Foods has a number of raw and grass-fed cheeses.

    Emily wrote on April 29th, 2009
  16. 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

    Marc Feel Good Eating wrote on April 29th, 2009
  17. Last night’s dinner: 2 egg omlette (locally grown eggs) with spinach, chopped brussel sprouts & topped with feta… ’nuff said

    Peggy wrote on April 29th, 2009
  18. 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 eat is feta both cow’s and goat’s and am yet to try sheep. I find also cheese like Brie and Camembert great for the times you ‘need’ to have some cheese and wine followed by the dark chocolate which is a fantastic combination that I have no problem having on the weekend.

    I do have a question though, is Parmesan cheese ok as an aged cheese?

    Sonya wrote on April 29th, 2009
  19. 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.

    Greg at Live Fit wrote on April 29th, 2009
  20. 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 …

    riceball wrote on April 29th, 2009
  21. 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 ask, you are probably overdoing it a bit. If you don’t have access to the better quality stuff I would definitely cut back or eliminate it altogether.

    I highly recommend making kefir. It is so easy and is a good source of probiotic bacteria. Yum!

    Rodney wrote on April 29th, 2009
  22. 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.

    Roger De Rok wrote on April 29th, 2009
  23. 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…

    Sabrina wrote on April 29th, 2009
  24. “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 first food you ever get. However, like other mammals, as the human body matures it loses the ability to produce the enzymes required to use milk. Certain groups of humans evolved to continue producing enzymes allowing them to remain lactose and casein tolerant. Look at Maasai tribe in Africa. They STILL live a primitive style of life off of milk almost exclusively. And they are in excellent physical fitness, live long lives, and are extremely healthy.

    I have been eating the PB diet with the exception of cheese (as much as I want) and four cups of whole milk (no access to raw milk, I wish I did though!) drank after every time I workout. (I work out Five/Six days a week, one or two times a day. I alternate weightlifting, calisthenics, swimming, and walking. I also play Rugby, and haven’t felt this good on the pitch sense I was in college.) I have lost 17 lbs, 4.5 inches around my waist, and increased cardiovascular (anaerobic and aerobic) capabilities while maintaining all my strength… in the last two months. If I don’t drink the milk, I don’t have the energy to workout as much. With the milk, I am bouncing off the walls all day.

    Tate wrote on April 30th, 2009
    • 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.

      gai wrote on January 25th, 2011
    • “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.

      food scientist wrote on August 13th, 2012
      • Pasteurized, homogenized milk is highly allergenic. Raw milk is not.

        rawmilkmike wrote on September 2nd, 2014
    • 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.

      rawmilkmike wrote on September 2nd, 2014
  25. 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?

    Ellen wrote on April 30th, 2009
  26. We are lucky enough to have raw sheep’s milk cheese (Manchego) at the local grocer. Great stuff, if you can find it.

    Sully wrote on April 30th, 2009
  27. 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 of time; time enough to eat again. I am a big fan. Also, it is relatively cheap, ubiquitous, and tasty when it comes to sport supplements.

    Tate

    Tate wrote on April 30th, 2009
  28. Thanks Tate!

    Ellen wrote on April 30th, 2009
  29. Inspired by this post, yesterday I went out and got a little bit of sheep’s cheese. Fantastic.

    Evan wrote on April 30th, 2009
  30. 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.

    John wrote on April 30th, 2009
  31. 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 wrote on April 30th, 2009
  32. P.S. Calcium from milk and cheese? Pssshhhh… get it from broccoli!

    Patricia wrote on April 30th, 2009
  33. 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

    pjnoir wrote on April 30th, 2009
  34. 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 a place you know) also Brie which we produce in the UK at least as well as in France. And goat cheese. Well, and almost every other kind. The ultimate taste experience is Orkney Smoked Cheese. Never used to travel far south from Scotland but thanks to the internet now available by mail order, I don’t know how well it would travel to your side of the Atlantic and through Customs though.

    Trinkwasser wrote on May 2nd, 2009
  35. 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.

    John E V wrote on May 7th, 2009
    • 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.

      shrimp4me wrote on October 20th, 2013
      • 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 wrote on September 2nd, 2014
    • 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.

      rawmilkmike wrote on September 2nd, 2014
  36. 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 produce the enzyme through adulthood. One theory is that they domesticated cows early enough that their bodies adapted but I can’t be sure.

    People aren’t considered lactose intolerant just because they don’t eat it, it’s because in one way or another their body rejects milk products. Since cheese has a lot less lactose in it, that’s why even people who are intolerant can generally eat it without problem.

    Christine Crain wrote on May 7th, 2009
    • 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.

      rawmilkmike wrote on September 2nd, 2014
  37. OMG! I just bought some extra aged Gouda. OMG! It is so good.

    rob wrote on May 12th, 2009
  38. 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

    Walter Pittman wrote on May 18th, 2009
  39. 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

    mattigee wrote on November 8th, 2009
  40. 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?

    Maria wrote on December 9th, 2009

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