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. Raw milk does a body good! Much more so than two teaspoons of sugar everyday in your coffee *tongue in cheek* jab at Mr Sisson’s not so sensible vice :-)

    josh wrote on February 3rd, 2010
  2. Dear Mark,

    It was refreshing to read your honest thoughts about dairy in your blog. I agree that the jury is still out on the detrimental effects of dairy and your advice not to consume it if it doesn’t agree with you is the common sense approach.

    In all issues (and especially where I do not have resolute scientific advice to support an argument one way or the other) I find the most useful filter to be nature and whether or not there is natural / evolutional / functional evidence to support a course of action. Applying this logic to consuming dairy, while lost in the science, I find myself dwelling on the fact that we are the only mammal to consume milk after we’ve been weaned and stranger still, the milk we consume is not even from our own species.

    I don’t believe I am lactose intolerant as I’ve never suffered any uncomfortable symptoms after drinking cow’s milk, but with nature as my guide I steer away from cow’s milk, occasionally using goat’s milk for some things.

    No doubt one day science will provide the definitive answer.

    All the best,

    Edward wrote on February 4th, 2010
    • Ed, Actually, we are not the only mammals to consume milk after we’ve been weaned, nor are we the only to consume milk to consume milk from another species. Spending time on a farm with animals — or reading about taking care of animals who have sick moms and have to be bottle fed — which show evidence of this. There are a number of examples of this in other places throughout the comments here. I’ve personally seen many “adult” mammals of various species consume milk of cows and goats (quite happily I might add) when given the opportunity. The milk and colostrum from other species has also been known to save the lives of animals who have not been able to nurse from their own mothers for whatever reason.

      I have no idea how that myth got into circulation, but it seems to be a popularly held misconception.

      Zoe wrote on February 4th, 2010
      • Hi Zoe,

        I was too absolute in my last comment. You are quite right, there are many examples of other mammals drinking another species’ milk after (or during) weaning and examples of mammals drinking their own species’ milk after weaning, but all of these examples (save a handful) are in regard to domesticated, farmed or human-reared animals, i.e. there’s a human influence.

        In nature, in the wild, the examples of other mammals drinking another species’ milk after (or during) weaning are few and far between. Yes, there’s that story of a wolf whose cubs were still born and who then weaned a baby dear which had lost its mother, but barring such extraordinary circumstances, mammals that in the wild do not drink milk after they’ve been weaned and certainly not milk from another species. Again, that’s not to say that they can’t or wouldn’t in extreme cases where survival depended upon it, but it is not a commonly occuring natural phenomenon.


        Edward wrote on February 4th, 2010
  3. Just because BABIES thrive on milk – MOTHER’s milk not cow’s milk, doesn’t mean milk is meant for human consumption. If the whole rationale for the primal diet and lifestyle is, What would a caveman eat, what would Grok do? Then dairy is absolutely, definitively OUT. There is no gray area.

    I think all the peeps who have TRULY embraced the primal lifestyle, but think milk should be “allowed” deep down don’t WANT milk to be out, because they like cheese, and butter, etc. But that doesn’t mean it’s meant for human consumption.

    This is the one area I flat out disagree with Mark on. (which I guess is good, at least now I know I’m not in a cult!) Grok absolutely would NOT have consumed dairy. I’m not saying I’ll never again have butter or cheese. But it’s in my 20% on the 80/20 rule, definitely not the 80. It’s not something I choose to LIVE off of like fruits, veggies, meat, seeds and nuts.

    Fixed gear wrote on February 4th, 2010
    • “What would a caveman eat, what would Grok do?”

      That is not the question that the Primal Blueprint asks. PB: what can we eat that maximizes gene expression?

      Now, we can best understand the factors that maximize gene expression through studying “Grok” and our ancestors. But do not confuse the two.

      Am I saying that dairy is great? No, but just because it is relatively young in our diet does not automatically disqualify it. It does have some beneficial aspects to it, such as being high in fat and vitamins/minerals (the natural kind, of course). On the other hand, as many people on here have said, it can cause irritations on an individual basis. YMMV.

      Chad wrote on March 6th, 2010
  4. Fixed Gear,

    I’m not sure how you’re defining “babies” here… my 3.5yo is still breast feeding and my now 8yo nursed until she self-weaned at the age of 4yo. It’s not unusual in parts of the world for children to nurse at their mother’s breast until they’re past the age of 5yo. It’s an issue we have here in the United States that’s related to our issue with women’s breasts that results in children being not nursed at all and forced to wean prematurely — but perhaps that’s another issue all together. However, studies have shown that human children do continue to derive nutritional benefits from breast milk at the age of 7yo even because the nutrient content of human breast milk changes as the child grows. Perhaps it’s even longer than that, but the studies haven’t been done yet?

    Also, if left alone, animals can and will continue to nurse from their mother’s teats beyond what we see in your typical domesticated situations. Most farmers force their animals to wean so that they either use the milk for human consumption or dry the animals off for whatever reason (e.g., lactating animals cost more to feed).

    Zoe wrote on February 4th, 2010
    • I also nursed my children as long as they wanted to. My son weaned at almost 5 years, my daughter at about 4. I let them have all the real butter they wanted to. My daughter craved it, once time we caughter her with a whole stick in her hand, munching away. She has never had a weight problem, allergies, or major health issues. She is 5’11” tall, a swimmer, and straight A student. (will compete in the Miss California pageant in July, as our area’s Outstanding Teen.) I believe in the benefits of breastfeeding, and a high (good) fat diet for children.

      Betty wrote on June 15th, 2010
    • I also nursed my children as long as they wanted to. My son weaned at almost 5 years, my daughter at about 4. I let them have all the real butter they wanted to. My daughter craved it, one time we caughter her with a whole stick in her hand, munching away. She has never had a weight problem, allergies, or major health issues. She is 5’11” tall, a swimmer, and straight A student. (will compete in the Miss California pageant in July, as our area’s Outstanding Teen.) My son is 6’3″ tall, and played football and wrestled in High School. I believe in the benefits of breastfeeding, and a high (good) fat diet for children.
      What really makes me cringe is when I see parents who are limiting the (good) fat intake in their children’s diet, feeding them only non-fat milk, diet margarine, etc.

      Betty wrote on June 15th, 2010
  5. I was thinking about making my own almond milk to cut down on dairy, would anyone know how to work out the nutritional value of this? Since you do not use all of the almonds but strain them out once the milk is made.

    Thank you

    Tatiana wrote on February 7th, 2010
  6. I really enjoyed your post, Mark. Thank you for your honesty. I feel the same way, sometimes I’m a little more convinced one way over the other. We didn’t drink milk for years because we couldn’t get raw, pastured dairy. Now, we can and we’ve been drinking it again.

    Most of our dairy has been fermented, kefir or different types of homemade yoghurts. I’m not a huge fan of drinking straight milk because I find it’s hard for my body to digest. Still, I tried for a very long time to heal my leaky gut, but I didn’t see significant healing until I started consuming my homemade kefir.

    Regardless, it’s an individual’s right and choice to consume raw dairy and I firmly believe in everyone’s right to make that choice.

    Tara wrote on February 8th, 2010
  7. Great post! This has been a debate for me for a while, and it’s kinda nice to know that other folks who have been living Primal for much longer than I have have the same questions I do.

    My solution was to consider myself HGH (Hunter-Gatherer-Herder). Both sides of my genetics come from peoples who domesticated sheep and goats -very- early in their history (well before any written history). However, I have horrific reactions to cow’s milk — and, surprisingly, an addiction to it as well. So I stick to small-animal milks with great success. I don’t drink any milk in its base state. All of my milk is fermented or turned into butter/cheese, and I stick to goat and sheep dairy. I only allow myself dairy one day out of three, and a lot of times, I find I don’t even want it that often… but just in case, I keep a boundary, so I don’t slip, unknowingly, into addictive patterns like I can with cow’s milk (like eating an entire block of cheese in a single day, just because I couldn’t make myself stop — even knowing it was going to make me sick!). I use coconut “milk”, almond milk and sprouted hempseed milk if I have to have something “milky” on the other days (like in cooking).

    For me, it works. I continue to move towards improved health, my MS stays in remission, and my mobility and mental clarity are rewardingly agile and crisp. For me, this works, so I suspect I’ll keep on doing it.

    Firestorm wrote on February 17th, 2010
  8. After this article I thought that I would try milk again. I tried goat’s milk and an unhomogenized organic cow’s milk. It was the best I could get in Australia because selling unpasteurized milk is illegal. Unfortunately, within a week I had scalp psoriasis that bad it was bleeding. I guess milk is just not for me :(

    I am finding coconut cream and milk has a slightly bitter taste. Is anyone else experiencing this?

    Angelina wrote on March 6th, 2010
  9. If I am trying to get really lean for summer I will skip the dairy. The rest of the year, however, I drink quite a bit of whole milk- up to a third gallon a day. I find the extra calories really help me recover from heavy lifting. My Crossfit WOD times improve as well, even if I am a bit heavier. Plus I’m a broke college student and along with eggs, milk is just about the cheapest food calorie for calorie. My dog lives on oats, eggs, and whole milk as well. She is the happiest, most lively, 16-year-old lab I’ve seen.

    Kevin Simons wrote on March 15th, 2010
  10. Mark, I really like that you put dairy in the gray zone and let it be up to people to experiment and try for themselves. The easy way would just be saying no to dairy – but I like that you don’t take the easy way out

    Nick wrote on March 18th, 2010
  11. Here’s some good info on goat’s milk:

    Interesting to note: “Goat’s milk alkalinizes the digestive system. It actually contains an alkaline ash, and it does not produce acid in the intestinal system. Goat’s milk helps to increase the pH of the blood stream because it is the dairy product highest in the amino acid L-glutamine. L-glutamine is an alkalinizing amino acid, often recommended by nutritionists.”

    Lee Edwards wrote on March 30th, 2010


    Given the additives contained in even the Natural version, what are the recommendations here on it in accordance with the principles recommended on this site?

    Or are you just better off grinding almonds and adding to water, perhaps with a good protein powder for a bit of sweetner?



    Roy wrote on April 12th, 2010
  13. I first learned about raw milk from the Weston A. Price site! I also stumbled upon a video by Rami Nagel the author of Cure Tooth Decay who says that raw milk/high vitamin butter oil/cod liver oil is great at reversing tooth decay! Anyways I found a local farmer in my area who sells Organic Grass-Fed Raw Milk. I could never drink the store milk without getting upset stomach and stuff. Anyways I started to drink the raw milk and I also bought eggs from the farm too. I blend my milk with raw egg yolks as many as I want a day. I use to be a raw vegan and I went totally to a traditional diet as described by Weston A. Price. Anyways my skin has cleared up alot! My hair grows faster. I have actually lost weight and I feel alot more satisfied and everything. I also eat lots of butter! This is a good article on health benefits of butter! Alot of people will say that milk causes acne and all this other stuff.. but in my case its actually improved my skin! My hair is softer and my skin. I also notice after I drink the raw milk and eat the egg yolks that I have way more strength! Especially in my hand like when I squeeze things. Alot more energy as well. My teeth feel better too! I don’t use any toothpaste. I just use Dr Bronners soap and put a little on my toothbrush and brush my teeth a little and then wash it out with water and it does a fantastic job. Toothpaste is bad for the enamel. I really have noticed a great improvement in my health and even Dr. Mercola recommends raw milk although he cant drink it because he has some type of condition that doesnt allow him too! NEW VIDEO and

    Hope everyone will give raw dairy a chance! :-) I am 23 by the way and I look like im 16 or 17!!

    Samuel wrote on April 21st, 2010
  14. I started drinking raw milk a few months ago after finding the Weston Price site. Which has eventually led me to this site :) I’m going to cut out all dairy for two weeks to note any differences. I eat only raw milk cheese when I have a cheese craving. I haven’t noticed a difference either way with dairy, save for the taste of raw is so much better. Like you, Mark, I can’t truly make up my mind as to whether it is a good choice or a bad one. I love fresh butter I get from the local farmers market (where I also get the cheese and milk)and plan to continue that for sure. Perhaps I should report back when I start and end my ‘experiment’. I would highly recommend if someone chooses dairy they at least choose raw. So much better than the pasturized/homonogized alternative!

    Also, THANK YOU for this blog and all your dedication! You’ve made a huge impact on my life, and I’m so grateful :)

    Jen wrote on May 18th, 2010
  15. It is possible that “dairy intolerance” is not related to the sugars in milk but to the presence of zearalenone, a mycotoxin produced in grains by fusarium mold and often in feed. It passes through the milk to the calf or human and is quite estrogenic. I believe it may be responsible for “grain intolerance” as well and this might not be related to gluten but the zearalenone in the grains.

    Gordon wrote on May 18th, 2010
  16. If soy was bad, all chinese will be dead. It’s all crap! The average western world person eats too much processed junk and drinks too much alcohol. That’s what our problem is and not soy.

    kwasi wrote on June 3rd, 2010
    • Perhaps it isn’t as simple as soy is bad OR soy is good?! Whilst you are correct that the chinese consume soy, they do NOT consume unfermented soy. They certainly don’t consume soy milk, at least not the rubbish that sits on western supermarket shelves.

      We should remember that milk consumption is a uniquely “western” tradition… Asian cultures do not consume milk in their diet (hence the high level lactose intolerance in their populations).

      Miso, fermented tofu and other fermented soys (which is what the Chinese and other asian cultures eat) are ok… Quoting from a site “Wellsphere” (there are others – just the quickest search on Google): “You may consume soy in miso or even tempeh. Miso and tempeh are good and safe to consume. Miso and tempeh are the forms that people in Asia have been consuming for years. These are the safe soy foods to consume because they are fermented.”

      Soy milk is not good for you – it is GREAT for the multinational food companies that have conned people into believing it is healthier than other forms of milk.

      As I said not as simple as soy is bad OR soy is good.

      Unfermented soy, including soy milk and unfermented tofu IS BAD. Fermented soy IS OK.

      Regarding the processed junk (which soy milk is) and too much alcohol, I’d agree…

      Luke wrote on June 3rd, 2010
      • Luke,
        Have you gone to China and seen how many people there drink milk? You should, before you start making these truly outrageous and (pardon the tone of my language) ignorant remarks.

        Rawmilk fan wrote on July 25th, 2011
    • Hi Kwasi

      I have also done quite a bit of research on soy and what Luke says is quite true. Fermented soy (what the Asian cultures eat) is fine. It is the unfermented soy products that westerners think are healthy that are bad for us.

      Angelina wrote on June 3rd, 2010
      • For my body, the fermented is worse. As I eat it, it feels better, but my blood tests reveal the opposite.

        RawZi wrote on June 4th, 2010
    • Whether soy is “good” or not, it doesn’t matter for me. I was eating all organic and not drinking alcohol etc yet soy made my thyroid non-functional.

      RawZi wrote on June 4th, 2010
      • I’d agree RawZi – as I said unfermented is BAD, fermented is OK… See the other issue is people have this view that asian cultures are eating massive amounts of soy (usually pushed by the vegetarian movement)… fact is traditional asian diets do not even consume that much fermented soy, especially when compared to the massive amounts that westerners that have adopted soy as a “health food” consume.

        From the site “”…

        “Another common fallacy is that soy foods couldn’t possibly have a downside because Asian cultures eat large quantities of soy every day and consequently remain free of most western diseases. In reality, the people of China, Japan and other Asian countries eat very little soy. The soy industry’s own figures show that soy consumption in China, Indonesia, Korea, Japan and Taiwan ranges from 10 to 90 grams per day. That is grams of soy food, not grams of soy protein alone. Compare this with a cup of tofu (250 grams) or soy milk (240 grams). Many Americans and Australians today would be consuming a cup of tofu and a couple of glasses of soy milk every day. They might also add veggie burgers to this, thinking they are getting their much needed protein intake. Infants on soy formula are probably the most disadvantaged, as that is their main source of nutrition and they ingest large amounts of soy relative to their body weight. Often the side effects are not noticed but, as they are growing up, runny noses, frequent colds, irritability, severe sugar cravings and food intolerance develop.”

        I wonder, were you consuming relatively large quantities of fermented soy?

        Also a lot of people think all tofu is fermented it isn’t. Again from the site referenced above:

        “The unfermented soy category includes soy products, such as tofu, bean curd, all soy milks, soy infant formulae, soy protein powders and soy meat alternatives, such as soy sausages/veggie burgers, made from hydrolysed soy powder.”

        “Fermented soy products included organic miso (mugi barley and genmai miso are the best), organic tempeh, soy sauce or tamari and natto”, as well as fermented tofu (also known as sufu) – my addition taken from wikipedia.

        Personally of those I can only stand miso and soy sauce, and only in small quantities every few months (if that).

        We need to dash this myth that asians eat heaps of soy products each day, and because they are healthy, so we should do the same. They do not consume soy milk, as their cuisine does not have milk as an ingredient (soy milk is an invention of the soy farming industry), and even the little soy they consume is mostly fermented. We should also note that a lot of Chinese farmers/peasants are undernourished, which is likely healthier than being over nourished as we are in the west – but lets not buy into the propaganda that the Chinese are a health ideal we should aim for (seen their smoking stats!?)

        Obviously everyone is different and should eat what provides them with their best vitality and energy for their body, however on researching this, my rule is: Unfermented soy is BAD and should NOT be consumed at all (it is a legume that is poisonous to our bodies). Fermented soy is OK in very small quantities as it turns up in your diet, but even fermented soy should not form the base of your diet, especially as a protein source instead of meat.

        Vegans/vegetarians have a lot to answer for with this soy issue! If you wish to malnourish yourself due to ethical reasons (i.e. you are against the taking of life – well at least life that doesn’t have a cell wall – I find this hypocritical personally), I will defend your right to damage yourself for your beliefs. You also have the right to share your beliefs with others, and let them decide if they agree with your (in my view stupid) ideas and join you. However the vegan/vegetarian movement needs to STOP repackaging and then promoting their choice as good for people’s physical health! It may do something for you spiritually, but it is not good for us physically!

        I recommend the article at the site I referenced above.

        Grok on!

        Luke wrote on June 4th, 2010
        • Apologies for the length of reply… And I should point out, I do not recommend the above site in general – I only found that article when searching for information on soy… When it comes to health and wellbeing… Mark’s Daily Apple is the best source of information!

          Luke wrote on June 4th, 2010
        • No. I didn’t eat it every day, and I didn’t eat a lot of it per portion. In the end I started taking it every day FOR MY HEALTH. Boy, that didn’t work. What I took every day was a small package, you must be familiar with them they’re light as a feather, of natto. Possibly some races cannot tolerate some items that others can. Also it could be that my body was more susceptible to it for whatever reasons. As soon as I quit the natto, my blood tests made a big jump into the right direction. Remember, natto has no salt. Miso does. I’m thinking, like I think AV says, cultures who eat grain need to eat salt with it. Possibly it harmed me more because I did not eat salt with it. Everything we take in normally does not work alone. It works synergistically. The Asians often also eat fish and seaweed in the same dishes, and may not keep a sterile kitchen. I was vegan and kept my food real clean. I’m sure there are other variables in everything. I had read many years before about combining soy with fish in the Orient, but that went out the window, I totally forgot.

          RawZi wrote on June 4th, 2010
        • Didn’t Buddhist monks start soy as a food to suppress passions and make things easier for monastic life? In Asia, until a few hundred years ago, how many Asian families ate soy?

          In the US I think soy became a food for humans because they used it to fatten the livestock. When becoming veg*n became trendy, something had to be done I think, so their soy was marketed for people.

          RawZi wrote on June 4th, 2010
  17. I agree RawZi. I was not going into the finer details but soy also destroyed my thyroid from functioning properly.

    Angelina wrote on June 4th, 2010
    • Hi Angelina. I’m glad we’re both more onto our bodies’ truths, and not somewhere worse in health, you know.

      RawZi wrote on June 4th, 2010
      • Hi RawZi, I am having some big problems now along the lines of your Buddhist comment. I fed my son soy when he was little because dairy have him diarrhea. He has now reached 13 and his paediatrician is very worried because he does not appear to be growing or going into puberty. Of course, because my son is also on medication for autism the paediatrician is talking about taking him off his new medication (which he is doing extremely well on academically) and totally disrupting his first year at junior high because he thinks it is the medication. I am certain it is the soy I used to give him (because this problem is quite well documented now) but of course mainstream doctors here in Australia do not believe that soy has any ill effects. So I cannot convince him. Instead he is planning on destroying my son’s future education instead of letting nature take it course as his body slowly gets rid of the effects of the soy. Without the meds my son is unable to concentrate on his school work. It is such a waste when my son is a maths genius. The doctor is just going to throw his future away. At the next appointment I have to go armed with as many papers on this situation as possible to aviod this from happening. If anyone reading this knows of any extra papers they can give me links to, please do so. Do you know of any papers on this specific subject Mark?

        Angelina wrote on June 4th, 2010
      • I’m not sure how much this will help you, but I remember in 2000 reading on the FDA site about soy. That’s what helped me give up natto, thank goodness. I showed it to my doctor, and he felt humbled. He said he didn’t have time to do research and was glad I did.

        File Format: Microsoft Word – View as HTML
        For instance, FDA scientists Dr D M Sheehan and Dr D Doerge have raised some of them in the … 1: Environ Health Perspect. 1997 Apr;105 Suppl 3:633-6. …. National Center for Toxicological Research, Jefferson, AR 72079, USA. … Effects of the dietary phytoestrogens daidzein and genistein on the incidence of ……/04Q-0151-emc0002-vol4.doc

        This should be the one. The “good” part of soy, the isoflavones, can lower the T3 hormone in humans. When a child’s thyroid hormones are low, they fail to grow. If he’s only just now starting junior high, I wouldn’t worry. People, especially boys grow a long time after that. Do you think measuring the growth potential at the ends of his bones would help at all? I’d hate to recommend that even if it does calm down the doctor, as it is radiation. Why don’t you find another doctor? Would another doctor possibly let your son stay on the medication he needs this school year?

        RawZi wrote on June 5th, 2010
        • Thanks RawZi, that should definitely help. In Australia we have to go to a pediatrician for these things. Our doctors have no power to prescribe medications for autism in children. Our usual pediatrician retired last year and this new one is the one we are stuck with because there are no others near our district (we live in an isolated rural community), and do not have the money to travel long distances. Unfortunately, even if we tried to travel they would just tell us to go back to our own area as we have a pediatrician there. The AMA considers all medical professionals to be equal and there should be no reason why we should want to travel to see anyone different. The universities also treat us the same way. If a degree is offered at our local university we are not allowed to enroll in a different university! This pediatrician has already demanded that my son have what he calls a ‘bone maturity test’ in August. He said that it will tell him if his bones are simply just not mature eno yet to grow. But it sounds similar to the test you describe. I will ask him if it is. In the mean time I will need to try and make sure that there is no soy in any of the foods he eats.
          Thanks again for this article.

          Angelina wrote on June 6th, 2010
  18. I grew up on cow milk, the bad kind of course.
    At the age of 37 i switched to goats milk…was so tasty I became addicted and slurped down at least 2 gallons per week for 2 years.
    Then found MDA and the PB and been dairy free for 8 weeks feeling better than ever!

    I finally found RAW goats milk at the local farmers market today and hurried home to get my ” Fix “.

    I then had a 20 minute cardio/strength session on my stair climber.
    This was 10 minutes ago as I am posting this my face is flushed red and I am sweating and can’t seem to be able to cool off as usual.
    And on top of it I’m getting a slight headache…gah.

    From the milk perhaps?

    Suvetar wrote on June 5th, 2010
  19. Hi Angelina, not sure who told you these things, but they’re not true.

    The AMAs policy most certainly allows for patients to see other specialists. It is a long standing medical tradition to get a so called ‘second opinion’ from another doctor. An individual doctor may not like this due to their ego, but the AMA recognises that this is good practice, as it increases the chances of a correct diagnosis being confirmed, or errors being picked up!

    I’m in a taxi at the moment, but happy to find the AMAs policy for you later if you can’t access it yourself on their site.

    Also not sure about the Uni thing either, I changed my Uni mud course no issues at all. Unis are a business, they will happily take a student from another Uni – unless of course you don’t have very good results, they also have to maintain education standards.

    They will of course only give you partial credit for the courses you have already done, but that is a business policy, as each subject you do is extra money for them, so no use giving you full credit and missing out in revenue!

    If you do have problems accessing another paediatrician for a second opinion, you should contact the AMA. .



    Luke wrote on June 6th, 2010
    • Thanks Luke. That would be handy as ammunition for next time either myself or my friends are told this by doctors. Of course, getting the second opinion is still difficult if we do not have another specialist in the vicinity. As for university I am a straight HD student, so I do not see as this being the reason for why I would be told to stay at my own local university. It appears to only be this way if your local university is offering the degree you want to do and also only for undergraduates. But as you say, I may be being lied to about this as well.

      Angelina wrote on June 6th, 2010
  20. For years I avoided milk, thinking I was lactose intolerant. I gradually began drinking milk products that were fermented (buttermilk, yogurt, kefir) with absolutely no problem. Now I can drink milk whenever I want to. I still hesitated to drink much, mainly because I couldn’t find raw milk anywhere. But recently,thanks to Mark’s book, I’ve found a local dairy where I can buy raw milk. I had read that homogenized and pasteurized milk was found the major factor in clogged arteries:

    “In examining the deathrate from atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) in 13 nations, Dr. Kurt Oster1 found it correlated directly to the drinking of homogen-ized milk in that nation.”

    I would be interested in finding out if anyone else has heard of this, and what they think.

    Betty wrote on June 15th, 2010
  21. I’ve stayed away from Dairy because I believed all those things, dairy causes osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, allergies…and turns your body acidic.

    I now know this was all about pasteurized / homogenized cow milk.

    Thousands of people discover RAW Goat’s Milk turns your body actually slightly alkaline and also the enzyme which carries lactose are connected and travel a completely different path in the body. (in both cow and goat)

    When lactose is by itself (pasteurized) is when its insulingenic and can contribute to diabetes because the pancreas have to produce the enzyme to carry lactose. This is also the only way to be allergic, when lactose is by itself, that is why many that are lactose intolerant find they can consume RAW milk just fine.

    When milk is heated (pasteurized)the dead bacteria (good and bad) trigger an immune response in your body that is similar to catching a virus. Your body recognizes the dead bacteria as a virus and starts producing massive amounts of mucus in an attempt to rid the virus from your body. The mucus build up starts in the throat and spreads out from there (sinusitis + bronchitis)without fever. People believe they’ve caught the cold when in fact it’s the pasteurized milk.

    Raw Goat milk is supposed to be completely digested within 20 minutes after ingesting it and causes none of the affects mentioned above. It is a whole food much like eggs and raw honey and carries lots of nutrients, including trace minerals.

    The only thing people could still be allergic to is lactoglobulin, which are minor reations such as a minimal slight headache.

    Raw Goat Milk is your friend!

    suvetar wrote on June 26th, 2010
  22. I drink Lactaid becuase I am lactose intollerant. I don’t have a negative reaction to this milk that I can notice, but it is ultra-pasturized. Should it be avoided?

    Mo wrote on July 6th, 2010
  23. Old post, I know. But I have a question maybe someone can help me with. I’m trying to get my husband to go Primal with me (I’ve been for about six months now), and he, like many people, is unable to tolerate dairy. He does, however, like his milk, and so he buys and drinks soy milk. I’ve been trying to get him to cut that out, but I think I need to find an alternative for him. Thoughts?

    Erin wrote on July 26th, 2010

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