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

The Definitive Guide to Dairy

I knew going in this was going to be a tricky one, because dairy, especially raw and/or fermented full-fat dairy, resides in a Primal gray area. The literature, the evolutionary reasoning, and the anecdotal reports all unanimously point to sugar, cereal grains and legumes, processed foods, and industrial vegetable oils as being net negatives on the human metabolic spectrum, but dairy is somewhat different. The other Neolithic foodstuffs we can rule out because the science condemning them is fairly concrete and they weren’t on the menu 20,000 years ago. Heck, they weren’t just off the menu; they were basically unrecognizable as food in the raw state. Dairy, on the other hand, is a relatively recent food chronologically, but it is most assuredly and obviously a viable nutritive source in its raw form. It’s full of highly bioavailable saturated fat, protein, and carbs – in equal portions. You could conceivably survive on milk alone (I wouldn’t recommend it, but you could technically do it; try doing the same with honey or raw millet). Milk is baby fuel. It’s literally meant to spur growth and enable a growing body. Our bodies definitely recognize dairy as food, even foreign bovine dairy. But is it good nutrition?

I don’t know. I’m not sure anyone really does, in fact, which is why I place dairy firmly in Primal limbo. And so, this Definitive Guide to Dairy may come across as being a bit less than definitive, but that’s only because I’m being honest: we simply don’t know whether dairy is suitable for regular human consumption. Whether you include or exclude it from your diet, the decision must be borne from a review of the available literature (Cordain v. Weston Price, for example) with an assessment of the potential risks and benefits, followed by a personal assessment of dairy’s effect on your body (try it, then strictly eliminate it, and note the differences). If you’ve been eating dairy your entire life, your body doesn’t know anything else. In that case, you’ll want to fully drop it for at least a month to get an accurate assessment. Remember – pre-Primal, you probably “felt fine” eating grains and sugar every day. You may have to take the same approach if you really want to figure out what dairy does to you.

You could listen to Dr. Loren Cordain and other strict paleos who adamantly oppose all forms of it. They offer a number of reasons why dairy doesn’t belong in the human diet – mainly lactose intolerance and casein intolerance. Yet, the truth is,  lactose (a form of sugar) and casein (a form of protein) are both found in human breast milk, so each of us – and certainly every one of our ancestors – was not only able to tolerate but to thrive for some time during infancy depending on both of these “questionable” molecules. That’s the main thing that makes eliminating dairy a little less clear cut than eliminating grains and legumes. But let’s look a little closer at the intolerance issue.

Lactose Intolerance

The widespread presence of lactose intolerants, who still make up a majority of the world’s inhabitants, is somewhat compelling evidence that maybe dairy isn’t the ideal food many assume it to be. Worldwide, we see that most people aren’t adapted to lactose consumption after age four, when many of us lose the ability to properly digest lactose (actually gene expression for the enzymes involved in lactose digestion are down-regulated). Nevertheless, it would appear that among many people, most of whom can trace ancestry back to herding cultures, some adaptation has taken place that allows them to continue to effectively digest lactose throughout their lives. I would never argue that a lactose intolerant person should drink milk; if it makes you feel like crap, don’t eat it! At the same time, though, if that same person were to complain about getting enough fat in his or her diet, and olive oil and coconut oil weren’t cutting it, I would suggest incorporating some cream, butter, or ghee. Little to (in the case of ghee) no lactose to speak of, and you’d be hard pressed to come up with a better all-purpose cooking fat. Lactose intolerance won’t kill you if you ignore it. It’s actually pretty impossible to ignore rumbling guts, explosive diarrhea, cramps, and bloating, so I doubt the truly lactose intolerant will miss it.

Casein Intolerance

Casein is the primary protein in dairy. It shares structural similarities with gluten, a highly problematic grain protein that can shred the intestinal lining and lead to severe auto-immune issues. Bad, bad stuff, and a big reason why grains are so unhealthy. (And if you’re still not convinced that grains are unhealthy read this (PDF).) Now, paleo opponents of dairy say casein wreaks similar havoc on our guts, and it’s true that gluten intolerance goes hand-in-hand with casein intolerance. But is casein a primary cause of leaky gut, or does it slip in only after gluten has opened the floodgates? Once a floodgate is opened, any protein can enter and cause issues. And after all, casein is the primary protein in human breast milk…


Cordain thinks milk leads to cancer, citing a fairly impressive array of studies that seem to suggest a link between milk consumption and various types of the disease. He fingers betacellulin, one of milk’s epidermal growth factors, as the causal agent. In the fetus and suckling newborn, betacellulin helps with growth and tissue differentiation. It’s completely essential for growing infants. In adults, Cordain says it passes cleanly into the gut, completely intact and free to enter circulation, where it can bind to receptors and enhance cancer cell growth. What Cordain doesn’t mention is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is also found in milk fat (especially raw, grass-fed milk, which is never included in any study) and has been shown to possess anti-cancer effects by inhibiting breast cancer cell growth and reducing the activation of insulin-like growth factor receptors (the same receptors Cordain identifies as sensitive to betacellulin). The studies Cordain cites as support of the milk-cancer connection are interesting, but their messages are muddled. As Chris Masterjohn points out, milk proteins mostly appear harmful only when separated from their natural fat. Low fat and skim milk appear to have associations with certain cancers (like prostate), while whole milk appears protective (of colorectal cancer) or neutral. It would be nice to see researchers take a good, long look at full-fat, pastured dairy’s effects on cancer rates. Conventional milk consumption probably isn’t advisable, but the jury’s still out on whether raw, pastured, whole milk is also problematic. We need more data.

Insulin Response

Milk is highly insulinogenic, more than most carbohydrate sources. We’re all aware of the dangers of chronically elevated insulin levels, but that’s also what makes milk such a popular post-workout recovery drink. If you’re insulin sensitive following a tough strength training session, milk’s insulin response can be an effective way to shuttle in protein and glycogen. I don’t do it myself, because I like to fast post-workout (and I don’t like the taste of regular milk) but some people swear by it. This is just speculation, but perhaps the potentially negative effects of milk are negated by the post-workout internal environment (starved muscles, depleted glycogen, insulin-sensitive tissue). Or perhaps those powerlifters are slowly but surely eroding their gut lining. To be on the safe side, maybe limit your milk drinking to immediately post-workout if you’re going to drink it at all.

There isn’t a whole lot of consensus on the subject. People with whom I normally agree on everything regarding nutrition have completely different takes on dairy. Some MDA forum goers report no ill effects, while others complain of joint pain and clogged sinuses from consuming even a single ounce of dairy. More than any other food, dairy seems to be entirely subjective. There is no “one size fits all” approach to it. To be on the safe side and to go “full Primal,” you would technically eliminate it completely, but that may be unnecessary for a relatively large number of people.

In a strange way, this entire blog is just a detailed, science-based map of my own personal journey augmented with anecdotes and experiments from others on similar, but slightly divergent, paths. Much of what I write is founded in science but based on my experiences, and this particular post is no different. When things are gray and murky and the science is unclear and far from definitive, I generally go with anecdote and personal, n=1 experimentation. Personally (and, in a way, this entire blog is just a detailed map of my own personal journey), regular dairy doesn’t generally agree with me. I don’t buy or drink milk. Having said that, I’m a big fan of heavy cream in my coffee and butter in my eggs (and on my steaks and vegetables). I like a nice thick yogurt sauce on lamb, and occasionally either Greek yogurt or fresh whipped cream with berries for dessert. I even have a bit of artisan cheese once in a while. It works for me. I don’t get cramps or gas, and I don’t get leaky gut symptoms from casein alone (gluten is another thing altogether). I’d say, on average, I consume at least one dairy item each day (usually butter), but that’s not a hard and fast rule.

As I mentioned in my book, I think there’s a continuum, a cascading scale of suitability when it comes to dairy. It’s not all created equal.

Raw, fermented, full-fat dairy is probably best.

Tons of traditional, fairly disease-free groups lived with dairy (just as tons of traditional, fairly disease-free groups lived without it), and they all included some form of fermented or cultured product. Cultured butter, yogurt, kefir, clotted milk, cheese – these are traditional ways of increasing shelf life, improving digestibility, and incorporating beneficial probiotics into the gut. Fermentation takes care of most of the lactose, and some posit that it may even positively alter the structure, function, and safety of casein.

Raw, high-fat dairy is next.

Raw butter and cream are minimally processed sources of good saturated fat. They’re free of most lactose and casein, and let’s face it: butter and cream just make everything taste better. If it’s essentially just pure, raw animal fat from grass-fed animals, without offensive levels of milk proteins and sugars, what’s not to enjoy? Ghee is another good choice, and though it technically isn’t raw, it is pure animal fat without a trace of lactose or casein.

Then raw milk.

I don’t advise regular consumption of raw milk, mind you, but if you can tolerate it (no stomach upset, no bloating, no gas, no intestinal issues) an occasional glass is probably OK as a sensible vice. Some farms will even supplement their raw milk with colostrum (the extra rich, “first run” milk that provides even more vitamins and nutrients), resulting in a lower-carb, higher-fat, higher-protein product. Look for that stuff if you’re thinking of buying raw milk.

Organic, hormone and antibiotic-free dairy (full fat, of course).

Bottom line: don’t consume non-organic dairy if you can help it. Avoid homogenized milk if you can, and try not to purchase pasteurized milk (organic or not) on a regular basis. If you’re out getting coffee or something, the regular half and half or heavy cream are fine, and Kerrygold makes a great pastured, pasteurized butter that’s available nationwide.

Other things to consider:

A2 Milk versus A1 Milk

Milk proteins are made up of different beta-caseins, which vary between cow breeds. There are two main categories of beta-casein: A1 and A2, each with different effects. A1 cows (Holsteins and Friesians) produce A1 beta-caseins, which release an opioid-like chemical upon digestion. This chemical, called beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM7), is a protein fragment that figures into the joint pains, digestive issues, and leaky gut symptoms that detractors typically blame on just casein. A2 cows (Jerseys and Gurnseys), on the other hand, produce A2 beta-casein, which has been vindicated. Raw, pastured milk tends to come from Jersey and Gurnsey cows; Holsteins and Friesians produce far more milk and so are used by conventional, factory dairy farmers. The Masai, for example, have A2 cattle.


Goat dairy is another option, with more fat (that’s never homogenized, even when pasteurized), less casein, less lactose, and fewer digestive issues. Structurally and nutritionally, goat milk is one of the closer corollaries to human breast milk, making it arguably more suitable for human consumption than cow’s milk.

In the end, is there a definitive stamp of Primal approval, or Primal disapproval? I just can’t go either way. Sometimes, the correct path is to admit that you simply don’t know. You can read all the blogs you want, pour over every comment, follow every link, and pontificate about every hunter-gatherer group on the planet, but if you don’t try things out for yourself – either by trying certain dairy products or by eliminating them and noting the effects – it’s all just speculation and hearsay. In the murky, milky world of dairy, it’s up to you to decide your ideal path.

Tell me about your experiences. Is dairy part of your Primal eating strategy? If so, what (butter, milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.) and how much?

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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. I haven’t had any type of milk in years (milk, not all dairy products). No other animal on earth that I know of drinks the milk of another animal as a regular practice, so why should we?

    Don wrote on January 28th, 2010
    • No other animal kills a cow cuts him up and throws him on the grill, and ejoys him while watching a good college football game either, what is your point?
      Also if you offer cows milk to dogs, cats, probably any animal they would drink it. Just a little tough to harvest what with the paws and such.

      Bill wrote on January 28th, 2010
      • They would if they had thumbs 😉

        My point is I don’t think it’s natural to drink another animal’s milk.

        Don wrote on January 28th, 2010
        • I mentioned in another comment that I’m from the farm. I grew up milking cows. The real point is, no mammal once it’s weaned ever has the need for milk again. In fact most animals in the wild never have access to it again once they are weaned. Most carnivores will eat or drink anything set in front of them.

          But if you set a bucket of milk in front of a yearling calf or older they won’t drink it. This is true of most herbivores. I can’t think of any off the top of my head that will touch it after being weaned.

          That being said, it is not unnatural for humans to drink milk or eat many things that come from the ground or animals. It’s just called personal choice…enjoy yours!

          DH wrote on January 27th, 2011
        • We have thumbs! 😀
          (Maybe that’s why most of us drink milk.Natural or not)
          Monkey’s and such wouldn’t know what to do with a cow (or any other animal for that matter) if they saw one.

          MW wrote on September 9th, 2011
        • Just to play devil’s advocate here, the Mongolian people survived and still do survive off goats milk (and have been doing so for the better part of a millenium or so).

          Jason B. wrote on January 26th, 2012
        • Funny my yearling calf, will do just about anything to get a teat in his mouth to get some milk…Our pigs love milk and can’t get enough of the stuff, the same goes for our chickens. Our goats will drink milk over water and they are well over 2 years old. A friend down the road had a horse well over a yearling that was still sucking off her mom! Good raw milk, I’ll never give it up.

          Sandy wrote on May 1st, 2012
        • I have to say this thread made me laugh. We have a free flying budgie in our home and we have to lock him out of the kitchen when milk is around because he will go crazy trying to get at it. Supposedly milk is not good for birds so we keep him away, but the few times he has alluded us, he has seemed as happy as could be and suffered no ill effects we could see.

          I searched out this thread because I am slowly leading the family towards primal and was concerned with all the negative comments about dairy. My kids and I adore milk and I do not want to have to take it away unless absolutely necessary. At this point, I’ll leave it in our diet and work on the more pressing concerns first.

          Jodie wrote on August 14th, 2012
        • You’re right, let’s murder it, and eat it’s corpse.

          Daniel wrote on July 24th, 2013
        • My guess — and, like all of this, it is merely a guess — is that cheese was the first non-human dairy consumed by humans, and that it was consumed before we ever went from following herds of ruminants to controlling them. Think of it: You’re a hunter-gatherer. You kill a young goat, or sheep, or buffalo. In its stomach, you are likely to find cheese curds. Do you throw them away? I very much doubt it.

          I’m guessing it was the consumption of cheese found in young ruminants that led to the realization that herds of ruminants would provide far more food if milked than if slaughtered.

          Dana Carpender wrote on June 30th, 2014
        • It’s also not natural to drive or use aircon or prescription drugs, but I’m doing those things.
          Anyway, my rabbit goes crazy when I have a cup of tea (which includes milk) and tries to get in the cup! I don’t allow him to eat anything that he shouldn’t eat, though.
          I think it’s simply a choice we make or that is made for us by our bodies and there’s no right and wrong with our personal choices (or at least, we’re the individuals who have to put up with the consequences). I can’t eat yoghurt, but can eat all other dairy, and I like dairy foods. *shrugs*

          Claire wrote on December 20th, 2014
      • My cat Lundi adores dairy cream. I won’t give her the regular milk because the lactose would bother her stomach, but cream does no harm and she typically gets a small amount for breakfast. It seems to benefit her coat, too. She has the least dandruff of any of the cats and we have dry winters here.

        But yeah… saying “no other animal does this” is hardly reason for us not to do it. There are indigenous traditional tribes who consume milk; the Maasai come immediately to mind. Have you seen a traditional Maasai warrior? Tall, slender, strong, with gorgeous teeth. Good skull development throughout childhood is a sign the person grew up well-nourished.

        Dana wrote on January 28th, 2010
        • It’s a good enough reason for me :)

          It just seems a bit unnatural and just my personal opinion/taste. It’s mine – don’t take that away from me.

          Don wrote on January 28th, 2010
        • you’ve seen many naked maasai with your own eyes and are qualified to report on their status? Or you’re re-gurgitating an old report?

          Those herdsmen might very well be the picture of health. I prefer to only listen to first hand accounts of them….

          Al wrote on January 27th, 2011
        • AL,
          I actually have seen the Massai people in person and they are an absolutely beautiful people. Actually they are one of the few groups of people on earth that are allowed to kill Lions with out punishment.

          Zach wrote on October 28th, 2011
      • LOLOL.. ’cause other animals can’t heard and milk cows or goats… But, we can!

        Malika Duke wrote on April 27th, 2010
        • @ Al.. I have seen the Masai people with my own eyes and they are how Dana describes them. Unless ofcourse they are not getting enough food in which case they will look malnourished but the ones that are getting enough to eat are strong, tall, slender and can jump REALLY high.

          Jennapher wrote on April 3rd, 2013
      • Haha! ;D AMEN! I get SO tired of the “this is natural”/ “this is unnatural” rhetoric. One of the reasons for the success of Homo sapiens, I think, is our innovativeness!
        Grains may not support us being optimally healthy, but they did lead to the rise of civilization! Please keep judgements of “good” and “bad” away from my food, and let’s just focus on consuming whatever makes our bodies work the best :)

        dr.maapkra wrote on July 7th, 2011
    • That is not true. Cats drink cow milk anytime they can get it. Ask any farmer who stopped doing dairy, they will tell you that the cats went from two litters of kittens a year to one when they were unable to sneak milk.

      Henry Miller wrote on January 28th, 2010
      • My dog and cat would not drink pasteurized milk and I suffered lactose intolerance, but now that I’m drinking raw A2 milk and raw butter I’m fine and my dog begs for raw milk.

        Lisa wrote on April 1st, 2016
    • What if a pack of wolves took down a cow or something that was laden with milk?

      My guess is they would easily lap up the milk just like theyd devour everything else.

      Magnus wrote on January 29th, 2010
    • That’s because they can’t. Put a bowl of milk in front of a dog or cat and watch them go at it like there’s no tomorrow.

      Brian wrote on January 29th, 2010
      • Or any animal, really. Why do rats and mice like cheese so much? My guess would be because dairy products have something of a universal appeal, at least to mammals.

        Icarus wrote on January 30th, 2010
        • Some cats cannot drink milk because it would kill them – Siamese I believe. Paleolithic man didn’t drink milk because animals weren’t domesticated and would have eaten him before he had a chance to steal their milk! As for animals not eating other animals – they may not rustle up a burger in front of the football game, but just watch those lions tear their prey apart. That’s what our ancestors would have done, and savoured the best bit ’til last – the bone marrow. Happy PB eating! it’s done me the power of good!

          PJT13 wrote on July 15th, 2010
        • This isn’t a slam but it made me laugh. You must be from the city. I grew up on the farm with rats and mice all over the barns. I used to get paid to kill the rats. Dairy is not the primary or favorite food of these rodents. They’ll eat more grain than anything else, and big rats like chicken eggs. Mice will actually go after peanut butter before they will cheese. I set lots of traps for them too!

          DH wrote on January 27th, 2011
        • Rats, like humans, cannot produce their own calcium, and they must get it from food sources. All rats love dairy, for just that reason. If they have no external source of calcium, their bones get so weak that they can break their legs just trying to walk. I have had pet rats for decades, and a couple of rescues came to me with broken back legs for just that reason. How did rats evolve to need calcium in their diets? Probably because of their long history of living with and around humans, who also need external sources of calcium.

          Angela wrote on February 11th, 2013
        • I too had a pet rat. Her name was BB and shes was the sweetest fat rat ever. However if approached with cheese she would react out of character and lunge for the cheese as if she was starving. She liked cheese more than peanut butter or actual store bought rat treats. Just my experiance with my rat 😀

          Jake wrote on March 29th, 2013
    • Hi Friend,

      I have a Jersey cow and I can tell you that adult animals from other species LOVE to drink milk, if they can get it. We used a bull for breeding our cow. He loves to suckling on our cow! It’s a serious problem when you come to milk the cow and she is dry from a nursing bull! Our cat loves getting milk and will hang around during milking for a squirt. A by-product of butter making is buttermilk. Our hogs just love buttermilk. Our chickens love yoghurt. I could go on but animals do love milk. The issue is getting it.

      Caroline Cooper wrote on April 2nd, 2011
      • My experience too!
        I let my steer nurse until the day we sold his mom and he was more than happy too. Same goes for other cattle trying to sneak a drink. And my hens go nuts for milk products, especially after it sits in the sun a little and starts to sour.

        JBailey wrote on May 10th, 2012
    • Quite simply it is an issue of modern manners and availability. Good question.

      NickGumbi wrote on December 16th, 2011
    • No other animal on earth cooks its food or farms it, too. So what’s your point? Milk, from a macro-biotic point of view, is a liquid with fat, protein, and carbohydrates. If you put a bowl of milk before a dog or a cat, they will drink it. They just can’t milk the cow themselves.

      D.M. Mitchell wrote on June 11th, 2012
    • This is a common argument against milk consumption, that no other animals drink it. And it’s a good one.

      But this got me thinking. If a lion kills a lactating zebra, do you think it would consume the milk stored in the zebra? I think yes. But an even more interesting question is, do lions seek out the milk in the animal, like they seek out certain organs?

      Just a thought to ponder.

      Greyson wrote on July 21st, 2012
    • Not entirely true. And not a good reason nevertheless. The reason why animals don’t drink milk for very long is that it costs a lot for the animal to produce milk and thus stopping is beneficial. And if there is a function in the body that is not needed it will probably devolve.

      And also…
      Scandinavians for example have been proven to evolved a tolerance for lactose due to the fact that agriculture was much more difficult in the north and thus they kept animals and drank milk to have a steady source of food throughout winter. That habit pressured the evolution of lactose tolerance. The persons who managed to deal the best with milk functioned better and got more offspring simply put.

      Long rant, sorry. :)

      Robert wrote on October 22nd, 2012
    • A friend sent me a link to this blog, and at a glance I like it because its posts are clearly based on considered thought and research, even if I suspect I might disagree here and there.

      Perhaps I should respond in the context of what might have been “correct” many millennia ago, as this seems to be the focus of this blog. Instead, I’ll take the standpoint of a lactose-tolerant American living in the current century.

      “…if that same person were to complain about getting enough fat in his or her diet…”

      I know of no one who has this problem today unless he or she is starving in general.

      “I like to fast post-workout…”

      To each his own, but as a competitive marathoner who has trained up to 120 or more miles a week, doing this would have been a very ill-advised move, given what’s known about the increased rate of carb absorption in the aftermath of a hard exercise session.

      From a comment:

      “if you offer cows milk to dogs, cats, probably any animal they would drink it.”

      The can and do. I can’t buy the “it’s unnatural to consume another animal’s milk” argument because by extension it’s not natural to consume anything digestible that the animal can supply — including meat — and by further extension it’s not natural to eat plants, either, since they biologically differ from us far more than other mammals. So does that mean we’re left to be cannibals and nothing more? I don’t think I’ve overdone it with the slippery-slope stuff here.

      Anyway, thanks for the comprehensive and very-well-researched post.

      kemibe wrote on January 30th, 2013
    • Years ago when milk was delivered in glass bottles with foil tops here in the UK, wild birds would peck holes in the foil to drink milk

      Harj wrote on May 19th, 2013
    • Because it’s delicious?

      Jenell wrote on January 27th, 2015
    • Animals don’t have the ability or intelligence to go up and milk another mammal. Most of them wouldn’t allow it. Animals instinct would be to take down/kill the animal first. Anyways, some others have mentioned this, so I won’t continue. Like Mark said at the end of the article “you have to decide for yourself.” Thats exactly what I have done. I have had every limb on my body give me issues, externally and internally. I have had bad inflammation, auto-immune disorders/symptoms, crohns disease, IBS, food allergies to all fruits and vegetables. Basically what it boiled down to was my body was having a histamine reaction to everything I ate, including animal products like meat and dairy. But then I went on a raw milk fast/diet exclusively and the first two days sucked. I had headaches, fogginess, bloating, irritability – the list goes on. I was miserable. But I read stuff online from people that said “stick it out” so thats what I did. Day 4 and 5 came and most symptoms disappeared. I felt stronger than I have in a few years and those symptoms went away, they came back off and on for another week, but i think just the end of die-off symptoms. I could not stomach dairy at all for years prior to this. I didn’t take any lactase enzymes or anything. Just pure raw milk and raw milk kefir, home made. I was having hard stools, my only bad symptom, which made me almost stop. Then I realized “this isn’t natural, the milk comes out of a cow warm.” So I started drinking the raw milk and kefir at room temp. I didn’t refrigerate anything. I was worried about getting contamination from leaving on the counter but found some stuff online saying if should never go bad, don’t worry. I took this with a grain of salt, hoping I wouldn’t come down with E.coli or something, but have not, ever. I don’t refrigerate anything after I get it from the store now. There are three things I consume, nothing else: room temp/warm purified water, raw room temp milk/kefir and raw meat. Thats it. You can cure yourself of diseases with raw milk products. I don’t eat cheese because most store bought raw cheese has salt – salt is a chemical, even in the smallest amount (which was giving me negative side effects when I first started raw milk fast/diet). I am not paid by anyone to share this. I was/am/can be a huge skeptic, as I was before raw milk/meat, but this stuff is legit. You keep your counters clean and buy grass-fed raw milk and grass-fed meat, you shouldn’t have any contamination problems and your health should get better.

      .info wrote on July 12th, 2016
  2. What about yoghurt? I adore FAGE’s 10% fat Greek style [it’s strained].

    Then I could move on to Alpro soy yoghurt, not dairy, not primal but just 2.8gm carbs per 100gm.

    Advice please! Yoghurt is my weakness…

    Harpo wrote on January 28th, 2010
    • Please keep in mind that soy products can be bad news.
      1.Soy is the most sprayed on crop, so you get a large pesticide load. Soy is processed in Aluminum vats, so that can add to toxicity.
      2. Soy milk contains large quantities of phyto-estrogens.
      3. Slows down thyroid
      4. Hemaglutinin is found in soybeans. This compound is known to make red blood cells aggregate, therefore increasing your cardiovascular load
      5. Soy based infant formulas are linked to ADD. They contain 80 times more manganese than breast milk. Too much manganese content is linked to neurotoxicity

      Kishore wrote on January 28th, 2010
      • 6. … and 85% of soy harvest is GMO :)

        Most soy is poison.. don’t do it to yourself

        Glenn wrote on January 29th, 2010
        • Soy has been implicated in producing hormonal problems. But there is a lot to be said for the overall benefits of soy. The best bet is to eat only organically-produced soy to avoid the predominantly nasty GMO soy that is out there. Fermented soy gets high marks for healthiness.

          Ed wrote on June 2nd, 2012
      • Soy is highly allergenic to children. If you are going to introduce it into a child’s diet, it must be the very last food you introduce. Soy has got to be one of the worst substitutes for breast milk.

        Renee wrote on January 29th, 2010
        • hey, i just want to say that i had really bad excezma as a child, and my parents moved me off cows milk and on to soy milk, and my excezma cleared up in a week, i had soy milk as a substitute for everything from 3 till 11, and it was fine for me, infact, i never had an excezma break out again, apart from when i was in a cast, but thats unrelated. :)

          Rowan wrote on May 2nd, 2011
      • Soy is sometimes called the abominable bean. So true!!!

        Mary wrote on August 22nd, 2014
    • Yogurt and Kefir are a part of the “Raw, fermented, full-fat dairy” that Mark advocates as the best. Fage is great, but go for the full-fat variety.

      musajen wrote on January 28th, 2010
  3. Mark, thanks for the detailed info.
    I recently experimented with RAW, organic, grass fed whole milk for 2 weeks (about 2 gallons a week)and it did not work for me. I could instantly feel abdominal bloating and I started looking ‘softer’ in the mirror.
    I used the the same milk to create some home made yogurt and that seems to work well. In fact, it tastes and smells so much better than pasturized milk yogurt.

    The glycemic load for whole milk seems low (around 3), why do you think it is insulinogenic?

    For anyone interested in pasture raised, organic, grass fed RAW milk products, ‘Organic Pastures’ in CA sells them.

    Kishore wrote on January 28th, 2010
  4. I’ve read anecdotal evidence that the Dutch population is the tallest among the nations and also consume the most milk. But, of course, correlation is not causation.

    Chuck wrote on January 28th, 2010
    • They’re Nordic, silly;]

      C2H5OH wrote on August 26th, 2010
      • The Netherlands isn’t Nordic. It’s in western Europe, and Dutch is a West Germanic language, like German and English.

        Americans often confuse the Netherlands with Denmark, which is Nordic (in northern Europe, with a North Germanic langauge), but they’re completely different countries. :)

        Anyway, the Netherlands is the tallest country in the world, and top for cheese consumption, but I think milk consumption is highest in the Nordic countries — and people there are pretty tall too.

        Willi wrote on February 21st, 2011
        • What’s so great about being the tallest….so we all get taller…then what? What’s the advantage in that, really?

          Candice wrote on April 23rd, 2011
        • Reaching stuff on the top shelf?

          Sarah wrote on September 26th, 2011
        • One of the most physically effective and efficient ancestors of modern day humans was homo erectus. Homo erectus was the largest of human ancestors….just saying

          pfchoirguy wrote on March 6th, 2012
        • The Netherlands is ethnically Germanic, which is what C2H5OH meant by Nordic.

          Germanic people are on average the tallest people in the world, which is why countries with large Germanic populations are the tallest.

          “There is no evidence that enriching a diet with (or avoiding) a particular food will alter the height one is otherwise destined to reach.[2]”

          It is genetic, and not due to dairy consumption.

          ScottyJ wrote on August 14th, 2012
        • If by any chance you are really meeting Americans who confuse the Netherlands with Denmark, you are meeting some of the Nation’s educationally disenfranchized. Most Americans recognize the Netherlands due to Amsterdam and Apartheid, and Scandinavians as simply Vikings.

          Being an American, and having actually lived in Scanland, they have high consumptions of meat, fish, especially dairy,sugar, and carbs. So although they may also be very tall, at an average being 6 feet, their skin also ages extremely fast, looking 10-15 years older than they are in comparison to the rest of Europeans/Caucasians in the world. Diet?

          Not to mention having some of the highest cases of breast cancer in Europe (diet/environment/genes?).

          Eabby wrote on August 19th, 2012
        • Depends what Nordic means. Dutch people are a mix of various germanic tribes (predominantly). Although the dutch are on everage one of the tallest people’s in the world, the tallest of the dutch are the Frisian peoples, who mostly live in central/northern Netherlands, Germany, and parts of Denmark. Frisians are taller and blonder (nordic) than the average dutch person, and eat a diet with lots of dairy products. So yes you could say that they are nordic, atleast partly, and at in any case are likely to respond better to dairy products than the average human being.

          Will2 wrote on January 26th, 2013
  5. 70% of the milk consumption in the world is goat milk. Mongolia is a milk based food country but they drink sheep and mare’s milk. These animals graze on grass , not grains. In my opinion thats the difference in healthy milk consumption. People experiencing difficulty with milk are experiencing difficulty with the grain products fed factory cows.

    Gordon wrote on January 28th, 2010
    • I’ve had fermented Mare’s milk sold out of a yurt in Kyrgyzstan. It tastes TERRIBLE.

      Chris wrote on January 28th, 2010
      • I’ve the the Finnish “squeaky cheese”… it tastes like a barn smells. Thumbs Down.

        barbara wrote on January 28th, 2010
      • Dude! Sorry, but this statement (despite how crappy the milk tasted) is awesome. I dream about visiting former Soviet states.

        Jen wrote on January 7th, 2013
    • The benefits of goat milk are that it is tasty but also isn’t the allegedly harmful A1 cow’s milk that predominates. Goat milk also doesn’t have the problems of non-organic milk that contains hormones, pesticides, and all the other toxins.

      Ed wrote on June 2nd, 2012
      • When my MD recommended me goat milk for eczema I thought she was crazy. Only later I learned about the immunomodulation properties of goat and camel milk.

        Martin @ Leaky gut research wrote on January 3rd, 2013
  6. I believe Kurt Harris from recommends full-fat dairy as a way of making low-carb more viable.

    If you drop the carbs, calories have to come from somewhere, and most of us can’t have 3 steaks a day.

    So another benefit of cream/butter, is that they are a cheap, easy way to fill the void that low-carb creates.

    Whatever theoretical harm full-fat dairy may have is probably negated — and then some — by the benefit of dropping carbs.

    eero wrote on January 28th, 2010
    • Dr. Harris makes much more sense to me than Dr. Cordian on the dairy issue that paleo diet is not an re-enactment. for those who are not allergic or intolerant, dairy is inexpensive, nutritious & add variety.

      Grok certainly had some access to animal milk (if he killed a lactating animal).


      PHK wrote on December 17th, 2010
  7. I add milk to my coffee. I was a big fan of cookies and milk, as well as a big bowl of cereal in the morning, but my conversion to the PB made that disappear!

    GadgetBoy wrote on January 28th, 2010
  8. I always had more sinus problems when I drank a lot of milk. When I went to a naturopathic doctor, she told me that I was allergic to milk. So I stopped using regular milk for cereal and used soy milk instead (I’m off the soy now, especially since I don’t eat cereal anymore) and my seasonal allergies definitely improved. I used to get a bad sinus infection when I had too much ice cream. So, I think it’s plausible to be allergic to milk, but I also know that milk is mucilaginous(produces mucus). More recently, I had some cheese that made me more stuffy where as before cheese usually didn’t do that to me. I just have to listen to my body.

    kongluirong wrote on January 28th, 2010
  9. I don’t drink milk very often, but if I do I only buy unprocessed milk from a local farmer.

    TomGreenwald wrote on January 28th, 2010
    • Same here, local A2 small family farmer, cows are outdoors all day every day all year. They’re the most beautiful healthy cows I’ve seen and this milk is the most delicious…of cow milk. I haven’t tried mare, yak etc. Oops, did I say that was for me? It’s pet milk. It’s not insta-chilled. My hamsters eat unsalted cheese and unsalted butter. My cats drink kefir, cream, eat butter and cheese.

      RawZi wrote on February 19th, 2010
  10. raw goat milk is ambrosia. but make sure the breed from which it comes is a fatty producer.

    …from personal experience though, drinking milk before a hike crashes my blood sugar to the point of seeing spots and experiencing sweaty shakes.

    some people have to be careful with dairy.

    shel wrote on January 28th, 2010
  11. I found one of the best ways to incorporate dairy into the primal lifestyle is to have a glass of kefir mixed with my favorite protein powder for a post Lift Heavy Things workout. Gives me a nice shot of protein but without the carbs from lactose and gives me some daily probiotic benefits. And if I understand it right the calories from the converted lactose are alcohols which don’t create the huge insulin response of carbs.

    Ben wrote on January 28th, 2010
  12. At one point in my food journey I really wondered why I didn’t feel better since I was not eating grains or sweets. Then I eliminated dairy and my sinus problems cleared up and I felt overall much better. I do miss the cheese, but even goat cheese causes sinus congestion for me. I had a hard time giving up half and half in my tea, but I’m happy now using almond milk for that purpose.

    Nancy wrote on January 28th, 2010
    • Watch out, every commercially produced almond milk I’ve seen has tapioca in it…a no-no for paleo diets. Maybe you make your own almond milk?

      Darc wrote on February 3rd, 2010
      • Why do you say tapioca is to be avoided? It’s made from the roots of the cassava, some south/Central American people survive on it as a mainstay in their diet.

        SarahK wrote on August 28th, 2014
    • My father had horrible mucus with milk and switched to A2 milk as it doesn’t induce mucus.
      Amazingly he is completely mucus free with A2

      julianne wrote on February 3rd, 2010
    • It was amazing how my sinuses cleared up as well. For years I thought it was an alergy to dust, or something else.

      Dr.Dairy Free wrote on March 21st, 2011
  13. As a huge fan of raw milk, I appreciate your willingness to see both sides of the issue, Mark. I love dairy, and I truly don’t believe it’s anything but healthy for me personally. But that’s just my experience. I do firmly believe that if you’re going to drink milk, choose milk products like you mention above: organic, raw, fermented, always full-fat etc.

    But I also understand some people just don’t have a high tolerance for dairy. Sometimes this is temporary, and if they remove dairy and take other action to heal their gut they may regain their lactose/casein tolerance. On the other hand, some people will never tolerate or even like dairy. Weston A. Price certainly studied groups with diets based almost entirely on dairy and those with diets that included little or no dairy. So health can most certainly be found with or without dairy.

    One point I have to give raw dairy is that it makes it easy to consume raw animal products in a society that isn’t so crazy about eating raw meat. This opens up a world of nutrients that may not be otherwise discovered.

    Elizabeth wrote on January 28th, 2010
    • I agree, i’m not a raw meat fan, i try to not overcook steaks and such. I think raw milk helps make up for alot of the good things we burn with fire.

      Rick wrote on January 28th, 2010
  14. It not accurate to suggest that bovine casein proteins are equivalent to human casein proteins. Less than half of the amino acids are conserved between the human and bovine caseins.

    Milk protein intolerant children may be bovine whey-intolerant, bovine casein-intolerant, or both. A cow’s milk free diet for mom will eliminate symptoms in these babies, but they continue to consume human caseins from breastmilk without discomfort.

    Pikaia wrote on January 28th, 2010
  15. “…especially raw, grass-fed milk, which is never included in any study”

    In which case, throw that study out. Grocery store milk and raw milk from pastured animals is not the same thing.

    Dave, RN wrote on January 28th, 2010
    • It seems like every single study done since the 1800’s only applies to pasteurized dairy and cooked meat. It drives me crazy. Raw milk has the enzymes in it naturally that break down the lactose. My mother is lactose intolerant and drinks it with no problem. Whenever someone says anything about the nutrition in dairy or meat it should be disregarded until it is proven to apply to raw.

      Colin wrote on February 4th, 2010
  16. What about GREEK YOGURT (Greek Gods-Plain Whole Milk)? I realize it is dairy, but in your opinion does the process of adding live cultures to yield yogurt make the dairy product more user friendly?

    Dozer wrote on January 28th, 2010
    • it falls under fermented which mark put on the top of the list

      Michael wrote on January 28th, 2010
  17. I apologise for wandering vaguely off-topic with regards to protein; but what’s the consensus on whey protein powders?

    As opposed to say pea protein which my vegan friend consumes?

    Harpo wrote on January 28th, 2010
    • Whey protein can be great if it is:
      1. COLD processed
      2. not ion excanged
      3. comes from pesticide free, grass fed cows milk

      1,2 ensures that the protein retains fragile immunoglobulins and retain it’s natural strucure.

      It’s mostly junk that you find in most stores.

      Kishore wrote on January 28th, 2010
      • Ive been looking into this a bit. Can you reccomend any brands/sources that meet these criteria??

        Tara tootie wrote on January 28th, 2010
        • The best price I’ve found on this type of protein is at Swanson Vitamins, called Ori Hofmekler’s Vanilla Whey Protein Powder. Cold-processed and from grass-fed cows, very few ingredients, no crazy sweeteners or anything.

          There are only a few brands out there like this, but that one’s the most economical. Whether or not it’s the best, I’m not sure.

          Elizabeth wrote on January 28th, 2010
        • You can buy Ori’s whey protien directly from his ‘warriordiet’ website. I personally use it post workout and love it, vanilla is the best.

          Kishore wrote on January 28th, 2010
      • what powder do you use that isnt cold pressed or ion exchanged?

        Roman wrote on January 28th, 2010
  18. I stopped drinking milk when I was very young, but have periodically included it (and yogurt) in varying quantities at times, including right now.

    Without fail, I have noticed my immune system is dramatically weaker during the times when I drink milk (note: I have been eating cheese forever with no effect). For me, there has to be a good reason to include milk because I end up having to deal with colds and flus that I wouldn’t get otherwise.

    Dave wrote on January 28th, 2010
    • I have also been drinking since childhood. And somehow I notice that if I eat yogurt early in the morning, I have a tendency to catch cold.

      I guess it does do something bad for me. I have stopped getting much milk after realizing it.

      anand srivastava wrote on February 1st, 2010
  19. Raw milk in some states is hard to come by. However, if you are interested in getting raw, untouched milk, ask the farmer if they will sell you some for your dog. I have a farmer near me that is organic, does not homogenize, but does pasteurize. To get around this he sells me the unpasteurized raw milk ‘for my dogs’ or basically not for human consumption. Saves him a step, covers his butt, and I get pure deliciousness.

    On another note, I do plan on going a month or more without milk soon to see how things change. So while I drink milk now, I may not in the future depending on the results.

    Ridgeback Runner wrote on January 28th, 2010
  20. I’ve been a heavy consumer of dairy my whole life until three weeks ago when I decided to test how I felt without it. So far–no different. I’m going to go six weeks without it for a proper test, but I am looking forward to adding heavy cream back into my coffee if I see no differences :-) All I’ve my ancestry traces back to herding cultures in northern europe, so perhaps (and hopefully for my coffee’s sake) I’m well adapted to it.

    gregandbeaker wrote on January 28th, 2010
  21. Mark, I just quit my zillion-cans-a-day Diet Coke habit, because of the aspartame.

    I replaced it with chocolate milk, but I think I do have sensitivity to casein, so I guess I’ll have to give up the milk.

    But coffee and tea give me chest pains and a rapid heartbeat, which at times have sent me to the emergency room.

    And I get bottled water delivered, but the company that delivers it says they don’t know if the bottles have BPA.

    I need a beer.

    But beer tastes disgusting.

    Dang it, Mark, what can I do?

    Jim Purdy wrote on January 28th, 2010
    • I gave up diet mountain dew and have been craving sweets like a maniac! I never used to crave sweets when i was drinking diet dew! I just drank a mountain dew throwback…real sugar. Now I dont want to get hooked on this crap! I need a beer …but then 1 will turn into 12…..guess I’ll stick to water! Maybe I can add a little sugar to my water.

      Aaron Curl wrote on January 28th, 2010
      • Have a beer or two. It isn’t going to kill you. And may even help to lower your stress levels a bit. Is wine better? Yes. Is whiskey a better alternative? Sure. But, if you like beer, have a beer or two every once in awhile. If you’re doing everything right 90%-95% of the time your indulgence is completely acceptable.

        Jim wrote on January 28th, 2010
      • Aaron, i used to be a major sugar fiend, couple of years ago i started drinking half a fresh lemon in a 750ml bottle couple of times a day, it has done wonders for my health… it even cured my hayfever… plus the sugary drinks crave only returns after a major night out where yes 1 beer does turn in a fair bit more… also on a side not i have a half a glass of luke of warm water with half a fresh lemon juice to kick start the system and it also does great for hangovers… the energy oh the energy dude!

        Nitsy wrote on February 5th, 2010
    • Wine? Bourbon? Buy a Brita, filter your tap water, and pour it into a glass that’s made out of . . . well glass. Need H2O on the go? Buy an aluminum water bottle.

      Jim wrote on January 28th, 2010
      • I have a problem with aluminum bottles. I find the water tastes “tinny” unless it is ice cold. Then I can still taste it ocationally. What else can on the H2O be carried in?

        Becky wrote on February 8th, 2012
        • Nalgene polyethylene bottles or their new Tritan resin BPA-free bottles, very nice.

          BillP wrote on June 23rd, 2012
        • You can find stainless steel water bottles pretty much anywhere: REI, sports store, health stores.

          Alain wrote on October 29th, 2012
    • How about a home brewed lemonade, made with the tap water possibly filtered in a plastic container ;-).

      anand srivastava wrote on February 1st, 2010
  22. I would love more information on Whey protein too. I’ve been using a goat whey protein powder for some time post workout. I’m moving into primal eating and I am conflicted on using it or not.

    Shantel wrote on January 28th, 2010
    • Where do you get your goat whey from?

      Roman wrote on January 28th, 2010
      • I get it from

        Shantel wrote on January 29th, 2010
  23. I don’t drink milk, but I love cheese.

    Organic Gabe wrote on January 28th, 2010
    • I’d love to know more about cheese. I can live without drinking milk, but I love gorgonzola cheese on my salads with walnuts and fruits, and I love really good cheddar cheese on my eggs with spinach. Is this legally primal??????

      Audrey wrote on January 28th, 2010
      • Where can I get unsalted grassfed raw gorgonzola? What type of animal is that from? Sheep?

        RawZi wrote on February 19th, 2010
      • My understanding is as long as you can find raw, 60 days old aged cheese, you will be fine. Google raw cheese and it will get you to a few cheese websites. Or check Whole Foods or your local farmers’ market.

        Alain wrote on October 29th, 2012
  24. Scandinavian girl here
    – and I just love my full fat jersey milk organic and grasfed- sadly it is hard to get raw milk that would be my first option.’

    Henriette wrote on January 28th, 2010
  25. Seriously, colostrum? As someone who grew up on a goat farm & drank quite a bit of the milk, I wouldn’t touch colostrum with a ten foot pole. It’s really quite important that the kids not get it after a week or so; are you sure it’s okay for human consumption?

    Sarah wrote on January 28th, 2010
    • It used to be sold fresh or frozen (fluid) grassfed unhomogenized up till about a year ago under FDA authorization as a medicine for children rare medical conditions. It became illegal, as I understand it; because people were getting it and using it in place of milk.

      RawZi wrote on February 19th, 2010
  26. Mark,
    I love milk in the morning. It fills me up and satisfies me so I’m not hungry soon after. I recently stopped drinking it and have found that I don’t feel as good and am always hungry. Note: when I did drink milk it was in the morning and post-workout and occasionally at night. All the other dairy products (yogurt, butter, cheese, cream) work fine with me…as long as their full fat and raw. I can’t stand the low fat products.

    Once I get my hands on some more raw milk I’m going to start drinking it again and see how it goes. Greek yogurt for breakfast instead of milk though, with some fruit :)

    Should I let you know how it goes? just for some more info and another experience.

    Joel M wrote on January 28th, 2010
  27. Of course, those traditional dairy societies that you mention? Raw milk clabbers fairly quickly; it hasn’t had the good bugs cooked out of it. So it must have been pretty uncommon for those traditional peoples to drink regular milk. It was probably almost always fermented. So, then, the presence or absence of lactose intolerance becomes pretty much a non-issue. The only groups I’ve heard of that have developed a gene for lactose tolerance are the Maasai and some Scandinavian group or another–but there are more traditionally dairy-consuming groups than those.

    Coconut oil may not always be a relatively inexpensive form of good fat available to, say, northern-latitude primals and paleos. And if y’all are eating grass-fed meat then by definition you are eating lower-fat meat. But you still need fat in your diet. If you’re not big on organ meats, only some of which are high-fat to begin with, it becomes incumbent to find other animal sources. Lard is cool, I guess, but whether it’s paleo is questionable (I guess for some ethnic groups it is), and have you read the label on a can of lard lately? It’s mostly monounsaturated fat. I’ve seen estimates that we should be getting at least half our fat intake as saturated (this from Mary Enig and like-minded experts). I don’t know if the same is true for tallow, but if it is, they’re pretty much out of the running as anything but cooking fats. For an *eating* fat you’d want butter, which is almost all saturated. So there is a use for dairy in the average healthy, grass-fed/finished meat-based primal diet, at least as matters stand now.

    Of course if people ever get around to doing what people used to do when they hunted, favoring older animals with greater fat stores rather than younger animals for their alleged greater “tenderness”… then that may be another matter again.

    Dana wrote on January 28th, 2010
    • Tallow is quite high in saturated fats, as opposed to lard, which is quite soft at room temperatures and even when refrigerated.

      About buying lard in stores: don’t. Really, don’t buy lard unless you’re buying it direct from someone who raises pigs. Most lard in stores is supplemented with partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats)to firm it up and make it last longer. It’s a disaster from a health perspective.

      The right way to get lard: buy pork back fat from an ethnic grocery and render it yourself. Have a few glass jars or tupperware containers to store it in. In the freezer with an airtight seal, lard will keep for a year. If you find that lard is too soft for your cooking, you can mix it with tallow to make a fat that’s just as firm as you like. When buying cow fat for tallow, you want white kidney fat, instead of back fat. If the fat going into the tallow isn’t white, it will bring a flavor to the fat that will color all of your foods.

      I find that 1 part tallow to 2 parts lard makes a cooking fat with the exact same consistency as butter. I normally go 1:3 tallow:lard so that it’s a little softer right out of the fridge.

      Ross wrote on January 28th, 2010
      • Actually, the lard itself (or rather the polyunsaturated fats in lard) is hydrogenated. It’s quite a tragedy, really, ruining a great tasting, versatile, and nutritious fat like that. Of course, nobody really makes a fuss about it because in our society lard is considered so unhealthy that it’s practically a swear word, so who cares if you convert 10% of it to trans fats, right? Same thing happens to coconut and palm oil, too (although most upscale stores sell good quality tropical oils now.)

        Personally, I like the flavor of yellow tallow, but that may just be because most of what I cook are beef dishes. It’s also got more beta carotene (hence the coloring), which signifies greater fat-soluble vitamin content – a good thing, in my book.

        Icarus wrote on January 30th, 2010
        • I’ve read the yellow is only from older females. That maybe from birthing so many calves their livers stop converting the beta-carotene into Vitamin A.

          RawZi wrote on February 19th, 2010
      • Some Whole Foods Markets also sell the pork fat back, big slabs of it next to the meat couter. Kidney suet fat is dense and dry. Bovine back fat is moist and kind of softer like bacon or avocado.

        RawZi wrote on February 19th, 2010
    • Some Whole Foods Markets also sell the pork fat back, big slabs of it next to the meat counter. Kidney suet fat is dense and dry. Bovine back fat is moist and kind of softer like bacon or avocado.

      Tallow comes from suet (heart, kidney etc). It is so highly saturated, I don’t think there is a more saturated fat.

      From grassfed animals you need older animals for back fat. It is less saturated. Marrow is even less saturated.

      Marbelization by grain feeding occurs fast. I doubt the animals feel well or would live very long if they were allowed to. I like the say “you are what you eat”. I don’t recommend grainfed for health. Grain-feed the animals the last two weeks of their lives I read is a guarantee of incubating dangerous varieties of e-coli.

      RawZi wrote on February 19th, 2010
  28. Mark,

    The question you pose – “does Casein cause leaky gut or does a gluten-induced leacky gut just let casein through?” – reminds me of something I read, but cannot remember where, which was that improving gut health (cutting sugar etc) can increase the production of lactase in the gut and therefore improve lactose tolerance. Both of these points could support the notion that our intolerance of dairy is to a large extent self-inflicted by the composition of the rest of our diet.

    Methuselah wrote on January 28th, 2010
  29. I don’t have any glaring sensitivies to dairy so I gave it up as an experiemnt. When I gave it up last summer I was most shocked to see how my recovery times diminished after work outs. I have also had my healthiest winter ever so far (knock on wood) and have noticed that my skin looks and feels way better. I wouldn’t make a big deal out of being dairy-free if I was at someone’s home and they had made me a meal, but I am definitely loving it for my day-to-day sense of well-being.

    Cathy wrote on January 28th, 2010
  30. Taking milk out of my diet was practically miraculous. No more stomach cramps, no more eczema. I can’t believe I drank it all those years…of course, I was raised by a dr. dad totally sold on CW, so I had non-fat, pasteurized, industrial milk. So, the worst of the worst.

    I do sometimes give my own kids some raw whole fat milk. And pastured whole-milk yogurt is a pretty regular part of our diet, with no ill effect, as is ghee that I make.

    jojo wrote on January 28th, 2010
  31. All mammals will go bonkers for milk at any age. This is primal instinct, because milk is the ultimate source of mammalian sustenance. It’s got everything in it baby! What intelligent lifeform would turn up a nose to such a thing? THAT would make us an exception in comparison to all other mammals on the planet, not drinking it when it’s available. If you really want to be primal, then rely on your instincts, not some philisophical argument about whether or not it’s an appropriate food.

    Matt Stone wrote on January 28th, 2010
    • Great! So if my instincts tell me to eat sugar all day, that’ll be primal too?

      Pikaia wrote on January 28th, 2010
      • Good point. Just because we have access to something doesn’t mean it’s good for us. Antifreeze smells super yummy to a lot of mammals!

        Aaron Curl wrote on January 28th, 2010
        • Are you really comparing milk to antifreeze? Wow.

          Icarus wrote on January 30th, 2010
        • That reminds me of how my father-in-law was mixing some araldite (glue) one day and all of a sudden he had 4 anteaters at his feet. The smell of the araldite had attracted them. But I’m sure the araldite is not good for them :)

          Angelina wrote on January 30th, 2010
      • My hamsters and cats love A2 fermented raw grass grazed fresh dairy and don’t like sweets.

        RawZi wrote on February 19th, 2010
      • But, if you’ve been solidly primal for a while, do you really crave sugar? Not me. Grabbed a handful of jelly bellies instinctively at a restaurant the other day, ate two, felt a little nauseous, threw the rest in the trash. A minor miracle!

        Richard Malcolm wrote on December 13th, 2010
        • yeah I had a sip of my boyfriends coffee that had been sweetened and it made my mouth taste sour for hours.

          Liz wrote on August 16th, 2012
      • you have some shitty instincts if they tell you to eat sugar all day

        georgios wrote on October 21st, 2012
    • Like the article says, milk consumption is indeed a very individual issue. Both NAET testing and saliva testing indicate that I personally have no problem whatsoever with milk, despite the fact that both show a fairly major problem with gluten. In the past year, since I became highly sensitive to nearly all foods, milk and dairy has remained one of those few foods I can safely take. After doing a very careful analysis of the various dietary habits I have practiced over my life-time, I have come to the conclusion that I thrive best on a diet that is about 50% dairy. If I remove some cheese and milk and replace it with big fresh salads and a few almonds, my weight loss completely and utterly stalls, and my cholesterol will hardly budge. If I leave wheat, nuts and seeds and most fruits and vegetables (yes, them too, including leafy greens) out of my diet, my weight almost effortlessly drops close to ideal, and my cholesterol plummets more than 50 points within a few short months! I am half Nordic, which may explain much of this. Bottom line, do your own research, get tested for intolerance, and if all seems good, experiment to find what is right for you!

      Suzanne wrote on September 11th, 2011
  32. On average I have 250g of sheep’s milk yogurt, 1/2 a cup of goat’s milk and about 3oz of cheese every day. Takes care of my calcium requirements and, even with veggies and salad, I eat only about 50g of carbs per day. Dairy really is my favourite food and has no discernible ill-effects on me.

    Darren wrote on January 28th, 2010
  33. I gave up dairy almost 8 years ago. I immediately noticed how much better I felt without it and how much more quickly I recovered after workouts, not to mention not getting even a sniffle since. But, I also discovered about 5 years ago that I’m allergic to a protein in it, so that could be why.

    I’ve found it’s easy enough to substitute coconut products for most milk products anyways.

    Eric wrote on January 28th, 2010
  34. What about sheep’s dairy?

    Randy wrote on January 28th, 2010
    • Where are sheep dairy (beside yogurt) and mutton available? Why don’t I see these things more on these blogs etc? I know you are paleo and sheep are herded so they don’t count, but I want to know. They’re A2 too, which is good for many with allergies.

      RawZi wrote on February 19th, 2010
  35. Mark,

    What a great post! You have thought of everything, even the A1 vs A2 issue, that’s kind of obscure still.

    I love your grounded, real approach and I completely agree with you about this being an experiential issue.

    I get raw, pasture milk but virtually never drink it as such. I make yogurt and kefir and rarely use some in a recipe.

    I get raw heavy cream and creme fraiche from the same farmer and they have proved beneficial, especially for my husband, who never seems to intake enough calories.

    And I eat some cheese. Mostly raw. As I’ve slowly faced out of eating grains and beans, I’ve found cheese to be helpful… probably just a transition food.

    Andrea wrote on January 28th, 2010
  36. I thought I was lactose-intolerant for years. Then I gave up gluten grains and guess what, I had no trouble with dairy (or many other foods) any more. It would be hard for me to give up dairy because I don’t like meat very much and yogurt is a mainstay for getting protein.

    Have to say it’s a tough transition from vegetarian (which I was for years) to paleo! Worth it, but not easy!

    Robin wrote on January 28th, 2010
  37. I would be interested in knowing exactly what is wrong with pasteurized, homogenized milk.

    Joseph wrote on January 28th, 2010
    • Do you have several years to learn, Joseph? There’s just so many negative details about it. Do you drink that stuff a lot?

      RawZi wrote on February 19th, 2010
    • OUr digestive flora are made up of micro organisms. When using pasteurized, homogenized milk to make cheese or other dairy products, the clacium is not usable in the normal way and must be added back in. That is the most obvious effect structurally when making cheese, but on a micro level you can bet there are more. Homoenization changes the molecular structure, tot he point where bacteria cannot utilize it the same way – so neither can we.

      BSG wrote on November 12th, 2013
  38. Mark,

    Thanks for your honest blog on dairy. Maybe a question for another post, but what happens with the milk when it is fermented?

    Maybe just a little bit off topic, but does anybody know how to make your own full fat greed yoghurt (fage total style)? A recipe would be great. A google search only has ideas on the low fat kinds :-(


    pieter d wrote on January 28th, 2010
  39. With apologies to Harpo’s vegan friend, but “pea protein”??? Is there really such a thing? That’s hilarious! Which brings me to wonder, how on Earth, Harpo, did you manage to become friends with a vegan? Did you lie about your primal existence? : )
    Jokes aside, I think any whey or protein powders most likely do more harm than good. They are man-made foods which require advanced technology to produce, so the denaturization of proteins, fats and cholesterol are most likely destructive to the gut. Stick with real food. Milk is real food as long as all its fat is present. If you can’t tolerate it, eat more eggs and meat. Definitely skip the pea protein!

    Katie wrote on January 28th, 2010
    • Cold processed whey from grass fed cows can be a good protein supplement, especially for athletes and weight training individuals.

      Kishore wrote on January 28th, 2010
      • Or you could just drink whey instead of rehydrating processed whey powders. It’s stable at room temp for up to 3 months.

        Juan Moore wrote on November 6th, 2013

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