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  1. #1
    Scandinavian's Avatar
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    Question Can I eat Dairy products?

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    Greetings from Stockholm!

    Started my paleo lifestyle a few weeks back. One word: Awesome!

    But I have been thinking about dairy products be or not be. Some adhering to the Paleo lifestyle eat dairy and some don't.

    Hunter-Gatherers stopped drinking breast milk at age of 3-4 years. But if applying an evolutionary perspective to nutrition, I as a ethnic Scandinavian, have absolutely no problem digesting lactose because my body has learned to produce large quantities of the enzyme lactase.

    My ancestors were among the last of Europeans to enter into the agricultural age and continued to depend on hunting for much of the protein needs until the industrial revolution and modern agriculture. In the north of Scandinavia there is still a semi-nomadic ethnic minority called Sami people. Just a 1000 year back they still used stone tools and depended on domesticated reindeer/caribou in a otherwise harsh polar climate. Domestication came long before agriculture and several peoples have come to rely on dairy products in different forms. A hunter and gatherer culture still remains among us Swedes, hunting the woods for game and picking of mushrooms in the fall. I can really recommend deer, moose and wild boar meat. Tasty! Especially roasted with full cream/Creme fraiche and mushrooms. Smoked sausages made out of intestinal organs with garlic is also great. My Finnish neighbours also eat bear on occasion, not to tasty, large predatory mammals are rarely well tasting if you ask me.

    Anyway, I only use organic dairy products to avoid unnecessary bad fatty acids. Thinking of the wide varieties of extremely taste European (organic) cheeses and the moose with full cream. What are you views/recommendations on dairy products as part of my otherwise paleolithic diet? Am I in line with an evolutionary approach to my food?

    What is your view/recommendation?
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  2. #2
    theholla's Avatar
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    There are a lot of different views of dairy in the Primal/Paleo community. I'm sure you can find a ton just by searching this board!

    I personally feel that it is fine for many people to include full-fat dairy products in your diet, especially if they are organic and/or cultured. But, it should not replace the meat and veggies that make up the core of a healthy diet! I like a little cheese in my eggs or on my salads, drink kefir for digestion, and occasionally treat myself to Greek yogurt with fruit. I use butter freely in my cooking.

    But, I would also recommend experimenting with eliminating dairy for a month or so. Some forum members have found that dairy can aggravate allergies, acne, and inflammation in general. Many people also have found it easier to lose weight by cutting down on or eliminating dairy. Some self-experimentation will help you make a more informed decision.
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  3. #3
    RednGreen's Avatar
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    I think the general consensus here is if it doesn't bother you, there's really no need to leave it out if you enjoy it. That's the beauty of eating primally
    "It may be normal darling, but I'd rather be natural." -Holly Golightly

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    Daemonized's Avatar
    Daemonized is online now Senior Member
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    I mostly cut out dairy and have since added it again and I don't seem to have any allergies at all. I do watch how much I eat on it though because it is very calorie dense. I think that a lot of people drop dairy and see some weight loss. The loss is not really so much from the dairy but by virtue of the fact that they didn't replace the calories and thereby reduced their intake.

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    iniQuity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daemonized View Post
    I mostly cut out dairy and have since added it again and I don't seem to have any allergies at all. I do watch how much I eat on it though because it is very calorie dense. I think that a lot of people drop dairy and see some weight loss. The loss is not really so much from the dairy but by virtue of the fact that they didn't replace the calories and thereby reduced their intake.
    Precisely. I think it’s irresponsible of people to state otherwise. Surely some dairy has growth promoting hormones, but it’s mostly the amount of calories it contains that makes people gain or stall.

    To the new poster, if you like dairy products and they don’t cause you any issues, go ahead and keep them around. The Paleo guidelines aren’t meant to be followed by all in the same fashion, and ultimately its your decision to include whatever you’d like.

    You could try to go a few weeks without, then add it back. I’d only cut dairy if I was trying to lose, but only because calories from dairy are hard to measure for me and I probably over-do them, so complete avoidance is sometimes easier than guess-work. Welcome.

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    aktres's Avatar
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    My ancestors were among the last of Europeans to enter into the agricultural age and continued to depend on hunting for much of the protein needs until the industrial revolution and modern agriculture.
    And people of Celtic and Scandinavian ancestry have the highest prevalence of celiac disease. It all makes sense, eventually. Thanks for the info on ancient Scandinavian culture. I am about 75% Scandinavian by ancestry and dairy has been a big question for me. Currently I'm eliminating it for 30 days to see if it's causing any issues for me. If you are just starting out with primal I would say to keep it in for now, then experiment later once you're comfortable with the rest.

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    Cut it out for a time period. Bring it back. See what happens. n=1 is the best way to go with respect to dairy, IMO.
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    Scandinavian's Avatar
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    Thanks guys!

    I will continue to eat milk and cheese for some more weeks since I went primal just 2,5 week back. Then I will try to cut it for some time and see if there has been any negative health effects that I've been unaware off.

    My friend went primal 4 months ago and continued with dairy products (in Sweden, most of them are cultured and no condiments) almost on a daily basis with cheese. Still, he has lost like 10 pounds fat and gained 5 pounds muscles. Milk also contains vitamin D which is awesome since we have 3 months of snow and darkness over here (then we have 3 months of light nights, you might imagine the schizophrenic behavior of people over here).

    What ever works! I'll try it out

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by aktres View Post
    And people of Celtic and Scandinavian ancestry have the highest prevalence of celiac disease. It all makes sense, eventually. Thanks for the info on ancient Scandinavian culture. I am about 75% Scandinavian by ancestry and dairy has been a big question for me. Currently I'm eliminating it for 30 days to see if it's causing any issues for me. If you are just starting out with primal I would say to keep it in for now, then experiment later once you're comfortable with the rest.
    For me the connection between celiac disease and lactose intolerance has been important for me. So for the OP, if you were concerned about how grains and gluten affect your digestive system (i.e, if you were having issues with it before and they go away after a few months while very strictly avoiding all sources of gluten), you could be gluten intolerant. Gluten intolerance affects about 30 percent of the population in the U.S., while full-on celiac disease affects about 1%. Considering Scandinavia's history, it might be higher there. Many people that are gluten intolerant have issues with lactose and casein until they can rebuild their small intestine, after anywhere from a couple of months to a year.

    A little off-topic but it might be relevant for you, considering it is so widespread!

  10. #10
    Scandinavian's Avatar
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    Good points about celiac disease! I will follow your advice. Time will tell if my genome truly evolved to digest lactose
    Last edited by Scandinavian; 01-05-2011 at 09:34 AM.

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