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?

Prefer listening to reading? Get an audio recording of this blog post, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast on iTunes for instant access to all past, present and future episodes here.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

425 thoughts on “The Definitive Guide to Dairy”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  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?

    1. 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.

      1. They would if they had thumbs 😉

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

        1. 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!

        2. 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.

        3. 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).

        4. 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.

        5. 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.

        6. 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.

        7. 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*

      2. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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….

        3. 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.

        1. @ 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.

      3. 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 🙂

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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!

        2. 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!

        3. 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.

        4. 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 😀

    5. 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.

      1. 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.

    6. Quite simply it is an issue of modern manners and availability. Good question.

    7. 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.

    8. 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.

    9. 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. 🙂

    10. 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.

    11. 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

    12. 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.

  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…

    1. 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

      1. 6. … and 85% of soy harvest is GMO 🙂

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

        1. 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.

      2. 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.

        1. 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. 🙂

    2. 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.

  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.

  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.

      1. 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.

        1. What’s so great about being the tallest….so we all get taller…then what? What’s the advantage in that, really?

        2. 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

        3. 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.

        4. 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?).

        5. 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.

  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.

    1. I’ve had fermented Mare’s milk sold out of a yurt in Kyrgyzstan. It tastes TERRIBLE.

      1. Dude! Sorry, but this statement (despite how crappy the milk tasted) is awesome. I dream about visiting former Soviet states.

    2. 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.

  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.

    1. 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).


  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!

  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.

    1. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

    1. 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?

      1. 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.

    2. 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

  12. 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.

    1. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. “…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.

    1. 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.

  15. 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?

  16. 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?

    1. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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.

  17. 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.

    1. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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!

    2. 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.

      1. 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?

        1. Nalgene polyethylene bottles or their new Tritan resin BPA-free bottles, very nice.

        2. You can find stainless steel water bottles pretty much anywhere: REI, sports store, health stores.

    3. How about a home brewed lemonade, made with the tap water possibly filtered in a plastic container ;-).

  21. 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.

    1. 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??????

      1. Where can I get unsalted grassfed raw gorgonzola? What type of animal is that from? Sheep?

      2. 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.

  22. 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.’

  23. 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?

    1. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

      2. 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.

    2. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

    1. Great! So if my instincts tell me to eat sugar all day, that’ll be primal too?

      1. 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!

        1. 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 🙂

      2. My hamsters and cats love A2 fermented raw grass grazed fresh dairy and don’t like sweets.

      3. 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!

        1. yeah I had a sip of my boyfriends coffee that had been sweetened and it made my mouth taste sour for hours.

      4. you have some shitty instincts if they tell you to eat sugar all day

    2. 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!

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

    1. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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!

  34. I would be interested in knowing exactly what is wrong with pasteurized, homogenized milk.

    1. Do you have several years to learn, Joseph? There’s just so many negative details about it. Do you drink that stuff a lot?

    2. 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.

  35. 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 🙁


    1. Okay as for your Q about when milk is fermented…

      Its just the lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus spp.) changing the milk sugar (lactose) into lactic acid. SO fermented milk products have a tang (yogurt, sour cream, cheese, buttermilk) from the acid.

      That was a lot of parentheses. Sorry, lol.

  36. 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!

    1. Cold processed whey from grass fed cows can be a good protein supplement, especially for athletes and weight training individuals.

      1. Or you could just drink whey instead of rehydrating processed whey powders. It’s stable at room temp for up to 3 months.

    1. Mark,

      Thanks! I should have known you already adressed this in a previous post…

  37. I take in a lot of Dairy daily (primarily whole, organic milk, heavy cream, cheese, and greek yogurt)

    I have difficulty getting in enough calories as it is – I’d hate to see where I was without dairy in my diet.

  38. “In the murky, milky world of dairy…” Tee hee… Thanks for this Mark. Great post. I use raw cream, cultured butter, raw butter, and raw cheese. I also make my own creme fraise and sometimes yogurt.

  39. I function really well on raw, full-fat dairy from pastured animals.

    And I’m a particular fan of fermented dairy: sour cream, yogurt, kefir, cheese!

    Those are definitely safer for the average person to eat.

    A TIP: When I can’t get my hands on raw milk, I don’t buy organic pastuerized milk at the store. I buy organic CREAM and water it down. Tastes like milk, but digests a WHOLE lot easier than pasteurized organic milk does.

    (Maybe that’ll help some of your readers out.)

    All the best,
    (AKA FoodRenegade)

    1. Watered-down cream tastes nothing like milk. It tastes like…. watered-down cream.

      The sugar and protein in milk definitely impart a flavor that is lost by simply drinking the milkfat. (Not that I have a problem with drinking watered-down cream, mind you.)

  40. I’ve been completely off milk (raw or otherwise) for years now, and don’t miss it. On rare occasion, I’ll have some cream in my coffee (although I hear coconut milk is so much tastier). I also eat some full fat Fage about once or twice month.

    The only dairy I get quite a bit of is cheese… and when I say quite a bit, I mean, I eat it every day, and always have (even pre-Primal). I’ve been meaning to experiment with a cheese-free existence, but a world without cheese might be a world I don’t want to live in. Of course, I think I said that about sourdough bread at one point as well… 😉

    1. Oh… and butter! I cook with butter nightly. Man, I love me some butter. I also love the faces my friends make when they see how much I use in the dinners I make them.

      Silly non-Groks!

      1. Please keep in mind that it’s important to buy organic butter. It can be one of the most chemical laden food if it’s not organic.

    2. I hear you sister! My 10 year old asked me if I would give up cheese for life if I never had to clean the house or do laundry again. I choose cheese!

  41. My history with dairy has been a weird adventure. At about age 40, for some unknown reason, I noticed my hips felt creaky when I walked, but only periodically. This went on for about 10 years until I decided to include a lot of yogurt in my diet.

    Soon I could hardly walk because of the pain and tightness in my hips. After some intensive research and experimentation I figured out it was the yogurt causing the problem.

    7 years later I started having the hip problems again so cut out all dairy and it cleared up for the most part.

    Enter MarksDailyApple. After about a year of no grains my hip pain totally cleared up. Recently, I cautiously ate some raw organic chedder cheese. No problem. I have since eaten other cheeses and still no problem. Haven’t tried yogurt yet.

    A few other things….while on my no dairy phase, I learned that most people do not understand that cheese and butter is dairy. I found that surprising.

    Also, a number of years ago I bought an African wood bowl that was used for storing some sort of fermented milk product. This bowl really stinks and no matter what I have tried, the smell just won’t go away. I don’t know why I have included this last bit of info…maybe it is a warning of some sort.

    1. Rice milk is highly processed rice.

      Since rice is a grain, it’s not very primal. White rice is a highly starchy grain and seems to lack most of the antinutrients of other grains and so may be the least offensive of grains.

      But, it’s a grain. And highly processed.

      1. Is there a Rice Milk that is made of Brown Rice, or is that not very primal either? (I am Brand New to this site via ChuckyZ 🙂 Need to amp up my game…and so here I am.)

        Amazing how much of this Primal Plan is similar to things I have done in the past.
        For me I have tended to take a few various plans and blend them into my own. Thanks CZ & to this site… I am sure to be on a Grand New Adventure!!!

    2. I used to drink rice milk some time ago when I gave up dairy experimentally. To presume to answer your question: Rice is a grain, so definitely NOT acceptable in the Primal/paleo scheme of things

  42. I dig dairy. The cavefamily goes through 4-5 gallons of non homogenized cream-top milk a week. I’ve been trying to cut back, and convince the fam too as well but it’s been a slow process because we love it… a lot.

    I drank skim milk for years growing up (thanks Mom) and until this last summer I had been drinking 1 or 2% for about 10 years. I’ve never noticed any problems but like Mark said, I’ve never not had a large amount of dairy in my diet so I need to do some testing. That’s a good idea for some future blog posts I think.

  43. Fage yogurt, lots of goat cheese, grass fed cream for my coffee. I no longer drink milk- not ready for raw yet. But goat cheese and how its made fits the bill for me.

  44. The consumption of dairy is one of the most subjective eating experiences partly because it is a pure representation of the water and earth body constitution (Kapha) as explained in Ayurveda. If anybody consumes dairy and already has an aggravated Kapha then milk will surely cause discomfort and other GI problems.

  45. I drink a glass of whole milk a day or with my protein shakes for the natural fat and protein.

  46. Well before I discovered the Primal diet, I had horrific colitis from eating the usual glop, and in my blind experimentation I discovered that cow’s-milk kefir was almost a total cure for the many symptoms. Some nights I had nothing but a bottle of kefir for dinner. I suspect my intestinal microbiome was thoroughly rebalanced for the better. Immediately I started losing fat and gaining energy, kicking off a chain reaction that ultimately led me to the Primal Blueprint.

    So I would especially recommend kefir to milk-tolerant people who are taking their first steps toward Primal health. These days I prefer coconut-milk kefir (with nuts and meat for protein), but the flavored cow’s-milk kefir was a crucial initial bridge to health for a carb junkie on his last legs like me.

  47. This might sound silly, but does anyone else here think there might be a relationship between those who are allergic to other animals (cats dogs, etc) and animal milk (goat/sheep/cow)?

    1. I have never heard of a correlation between the two before, but I have to live with it everyday. I have non-IgE mediated cow milk allergy and I am allergic to dogs, cats, horses and rabbits.

    1. I def do! I get raw milk and cream. I make yogurt and kefir most of the time but sometimes I buy it. I get raw cheese as well, most of the time. I would say I am on a 80/20 with dairy as well… 🙂

      Looking into making my own sour cream on a regular basis. I sued to but not of late.

  48. Solid! I’ve been looking for a thorough guide to dairy and the way it fits in Paleo / Primal diets for quite some time now.

    My understanding is that dairy is a more recent addition to our diets than grains or legumes (although not by much), and presumably, we have had less time for our bodies to acclimate to it. That being said, the consensus around these parts is that our diets are better off with dairy than with the others.

    Perhaps it’s true. Northern Europeans became tolerant of lactose in rather short order. Why couldn’t dairy be one of those foods that we may not be optimally evolved to consume, yet still by pure dumb luck offer a net benefit to our health?

    I am 100% Scandinavian and doubt that I am lactose intolerant. That being said, I rarely drink a glass of milk. I am quite a cheese fiend though, and will eat yogurt with fruit on occasion.

  49. I love, love, love milk and have always drank a lot of it. I have it on my cereal in the morning, as well as a glass with dinner and likely a glass with a snack as well.

    Problem is, I’ve begun to think recently that it does give me gas. I notice that I tend to burp a lot more when I have ice cream especially.

    But since milk is one of the three beverages I drink (I only ever drink water, milk and coffee) – I’m a little scared to give it up! Plus – doesn’t this put me in danger of not getting enough calcium?

    1. Lactose intolerance is dose-dependent, so if you cut back your milk consumption a bit the gas problem may improve. Most people get enough calcium but have low vitamin D levels, which impairs the body’s ability to utilize calcium. A normal 25-OH vitamin D level is 30ng/ml, but an optimal level may be 50 or more. 2000-8000IU of vitamin D3 supplements per day may be needed to optimize vitamin D levels.


      1. I believe DR Hollick suggests vitamin D levels should be 80-120 to be normal so the high end supplementation is preferred. A 25 OH level above 65 eliminates cancer and most auto immune diseases. There are lectures on UCTV on the subject of vitamin D. I personally believe 5-10K is minimal and take 10K IUs per day and believe up to 30K is safe.

  50. All the folks who love milk may not realize it but they are probably addicted to the opioids in the casein. They are likely a significant factor in the increased cancer risk associated with milk consumption. Please see:

    Brantl V, Teschemacher H. A material with opioid activity in bovine milk and milk products. Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 1979 Apr 30;306(3):301-4.

    and for a description of the factors in opioids that may increase cancer risk see:

    Hoggan, R. (1997). Considering wheat, rye, and barley proteins as aids to
    carcinogens. Medical Hypotheses. 49, 285-288.

    best wishes,
    Ron Hoggan, Ed. D.

    1. Why would opioids cause cancer? Antibiotics cause cancer and they are in commercial milk…grains cause cancer because they are full of mycotoxins and break down into sugars immediately and cancer eats sugar. I do not believe raw milk could cause cancer and I do not believe milk sugars are at all like grain sugars when they are metabolized. =And milk is not mycotoxic without antibiotics in it and I believe cancer is a candida overgrowth.

      1. Grain also has anti-nutrients and many other factors that count against them and towards cancer. Milk was used successfully to cure cancer before they started feeding them sour mash leftovers from corn whiskey. What do your cows eat?

  51. I gave up drinking my “pint of milk at supper” years ago when I noticed I felt a whole lot better without it. Still took full fat in cereal/porridge.
    Since going primal I’ve given up the porridge; with it the last stronghold for milk consumption… and the 4 slices of toast at supper… no need for supper now, I’m always satiated!

    I still eat a lot of butter, some cheese and always have organic double cream on hand for boosting calorie intake: adding half a tub to a shake is a quick 500cal 🙂

  52. I’ve been using, a couple of times a week, a yogurt cheese, organic, full fat. I seem to deal with it very well. I also mix almond milk and goat milk, 50-50, in my post work out shake.

  53. Opioids from casein would behave similarly to those from gluten grains. Since butter is mostly fat, there is little casein to worry about. The reason I posted a citation to my paper on how opioids increase cancer risk is that it is a complex issue. Send me a private email asking for my paper and I’d be happy to send it along.
    Best Wishes,

    1. Ghee or clarified butter are even better choices for those concerned about casein, because the process of making it removes most/all of the remaining milk protein. Ghee can be purchased pre-made, or you can make it yourself at home (Google for instructions).

  54. Mark

    Your post today reminded me of a recent NY Times article about new research that explores the link between the consumption of acid producing foods like dairy and osteoporosis; that the acid in dairy actually leaches more calcium from bones than it provides. I would love your thoughts on the article, Exploring a Low-Acid Diet for Bone Health. Here’s the link:


    1. That acidic/basic nonsense has been around for a long time, although it is usually used to implicate meat or coffee in osteoporosis rather than dairy. Also, it’s probably a good idea to never ever take Jane Brody seriously – she’s a scion for Conventional Wisdom on nutrition.

      Also, make note of this quote, as it’s very important to the subject which is not so simple as the acidic/basic proponents make it out to be:

      “By contrast, Dr. Insogna said that although eating more protein raised the loss of calcium in urine, it also improved intestinal absorption of calcium and thus might not result in bone loss.”

      1. Yes, don’t combine too many foods that have incompatible digestion with each other, and you won’t get that acid/osteoporosis problem. Thank you for the Insognia link!

  55. I use dairy. Grassfed butter, yogurt, ghee, and I love goat milk butter, raw milk feta and kefir.

    I’ve had a hard time finding anything past raw milk cheese for any animal, so I don’t drink milk. I try to limit the cheese save for feta which I have some on my salad everyday.

    I’d probably drink some whole raw milk if I could get my hands on some. But I can’t, so I have to pass. Even the cream and butter I can get is still pasteurised.

  56. I don’t drink milk, however sometimes have cream in my coffee – rarely – but cook with butter, and have cheese with wine. I have noticed lately though, after eating a meal cooked in butter it sits on my chest. I don’t get this when I have cream in my coffee or eat cheese. So I guess I will just stop cooking with butter.

  57. I gave up dairy for a while as an experiment a couple of years ago. For years (~15) I’ve not been able to smell or taste anything and I had hoped giving up dairy would resolve that. It didn’t. However, going Primal did! I don’t have 100% smell/taste back, but what I do have is a vast improvement! It may improve even more if I try to give up dairy again – but I’m not looking to do that right now.

    During the dairy-free experiment, which lasted a few months, I can’t say that I felt really any different at all, and based on that I’m happy to continue eating dairy for the time being 🙂

    1. Do you have white flecks in your fingernails? If so, you may have a zinc deficiency. The white flecks + not being able to taste/smell + going primal(red meat=zinc) makes me think this could be the case.

  58. Mark – My take here is that you don’t really need to analyze its constituents and effects to say whether milk is a primal food or not. It is NOT in my opinion because it is specifically produced for the offspring of the animal that produces it. It will have all the ingredients that is necessary for the growth of the offspring. Now human beings have taken advantage of one aspect of the production of milk from cows and created a multi billion diary industry – it is produced based only on demand. We are in effect interrupting the basic life cycle of the cow for our selfish needs, though killing and eating a cow is a natural thing because we have let the complete cycle of life for them before we kill(which is also a natural phenomenon). And they are also the only species that drink milk after they have grown up! So in my view this is indeed a very unnatural thing to do – here is my take in a bit detail,

    1. So you must avoid eggs and seeds also? They serve the same function – to provide nourishment for young, developing members of their species. I am more of a mammal than a seed or a bird, so milk is probably more closely suited to my nourishment than eggs or seeds, right?

      1. Not really, as long as you ensure that eggs and seeds are not completely exhausted, the cycle is not disrupted. It is also before the lifecycle of the plant or animal begins. The point is, milk is produced exclusively for the offspring, not for anyone else and it is disrupting the cycle in between. Hope you get the point.

  59. Hi Mark,
    Like a few others here I would also like to know more about the whey protein issue. I have found a supplier in Australia that apparently sell WPI and WPC from hormone free pasture fed cows in New Zealand but as I have had lactose intolerance and mucous problems from factory dairy I am hesitant to try it. I would be interested to know if there is any records of whey protein causing the same problems as casein. Also, does whey protein powder still contain lactose?

    1. Whey concentrate contains some lactose, whey isolate has almost no lactose and fat. There is some study suggesting that concentrate is better than isolate, since concentrate has all the nutritional co-factors. You can find top quality whey concentrate sold by Ori Hofmekler at warriordiet dot com.

  60. I like this video: he says he is lactose intolerant but raw milk has lactase, which counteracts the lactose and doesn’t give him problems. I also like two posts at titled “a taste of dairy” and “insulinogenic does not mean hyperglycemic.” And Peter at Hyperlipid had this to say about dairy in a personal email:
    This is quite simple. Grains are designed to damage your gut, speed the throughput of non damaged ceral seeds, so helping the grain spread itself. As with most plants, they’re not on your side. Dairy is a gift from a mammal directly to it’s own offspring, 50% of the genome of which is common to its own genes. It is looking to maximise survival, not kill. The main problems might come from using a growth promoter type food in an adult. This I would accept as a potential problem but, if it was a reality, the various milk based societies should have stood out as highly disease prone, not a syndrome I recognise. I also tend to avoid the lactose but it’s not something I worry a great deal about.

    I suspect a lot of lactose intolerance is merely occult gluten intolerance… No brush border means no lactase. Gluten trashes your brush border. I’ve got a paper somewhere but I’m replying from work…


    Just my thoughts on the topic! Great post btw. I love dairy. I have drastically reduced milk, but the flavor of cheese, cream, sour cream, creme fraiche, and butter is something I don’t think I could give up.. I just need to work on pastured products (can’t really afford that kind of eating on 9.50 an hour).

  61. Very nice summary, Mark.

    It’s an individual issue with no clear general answers if we are to be scientifically rigorous.

    For those with casein concerns, I give a worry gradient with the most acceptable dairy products listed first:

    ghee> butter>cream>half and half>hard cheeses>non-aged soft cheeses>whole>skim

    something like that

    It’s pretty easy to just stick to ghee or butter and then sub coconut milk for cream – gives you the same fat content and ability to wean from carbs with zero lactose and casein.

    I think pastured is the most important modifier – raw may also be a help -and “organic” is just meaningless marketing

  62. Here is my take on dairy: I ate dairy for years, consumed milk, yogurt, cheese, and butter every day of my life. As a mountain climber i would do everything to improve performance, so experimenting with diet was inevitable. To give a little more background, when climbing more than 8 or so hours I would begin to develop bronchospasm, this would also occur on bike rides, and runs that were of similar duration. I adjusted my diet tending toward strict paleo, but never gave up dairy. About 3 months ago I gave it up to see the results. To be honest I don’t notice much of a difference in my day to day life, but the moment I get in those high endurance situations my lung function has improved drastically. I dont get that damn bronchospasm that I have been battling with for years. 2 weeks ago I brought dairy back into my diet, and 3 days ago I went on another long climb. There it was, the bronchospasm was back. I almost hate to say it because I love the stuff, but dairy is off my menu for good, or at least until i retire from long endurance efforts.

    My next experiment will be to see if I can get away with Raw, Organic, and Grass Fed cheeses, milk, yogurt, butter, or some combination of them. It sure would be nice…

  63. OK, I tried some raw cream the other day and I had bowel issues like nobody’s business. I tried some pasteurized (non-homo)cream and was fine. Is it the bugs in the raw that I wasn’t accustomed to? I don’t know if I can put myself through that again! Anyone have this experience?

    1. It is possible that the raw milk you had was infected with some sort of bad bacteria. I drink raw milk all the time and have never gotten sick from it–that is NOT normal! But, any raw food can have bad bugs in it and its possible yours did. It is also possible that your body wasn’t used to the good bacteria in it, but I can’t imagine that good bacteria would make you that sick. If anything it would just dramatically improve digestion, not make you sick.

  64. I’m English and like my traditional strong cuppa with milk. Thing is, my parents switched to completely skimmed milk (this *was* the 80s – the height of the anti-fat crusade) when I was 16 and I’m unable to tolerate even semi-skimmed in my tea now. It’s not a fat thing (I’ll happily down a big dollop of mascarpone with blueberries or a hunk of cheese) – it’s a taste/texture thing. The smell and texture of fattier milk in my tea is totally repellant to me. I do drink plain green tea at work but I’m miserable without my traditional cuppas at home, much as I’ve tried other alternatives. Fortunately I don’t seem to have a problem with milk and in the EU, the regulations are stricter on what they can put into it (ie, no hormones).
    I guess I now have to think of my cuppas as a sensible vice!

  65. Lots of comments on this post. I’m not a huge fan of dairy and only drink it with tea or coffee which I do not drink often. It tastes horrible and fatty after a while. Plus the person I live with has lactose intolerance.

  66. Seems dairy’s a huge issue in this community – I for one really would miss my full fat FAGE Greek yoghurt with a few berries, and – touch wood – I have no problems with it.

    I never really drank milk as a child, we did have it at school daily until Mrs Thatcher [Milk Snatcher – non-UK folk might like to Bing that] put a stop to it. Wonder if she was secretly primal back in the early 80s… 🙂

  67. Read “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell. Then you will understand the science about animal products. This is new scientific information about dairy. Casein, the protein in dairy is a carcinogen.

  68. I don’t really drink milk much but I do put it in coffee, and I was an ice-cream eater until a month ago when I got serious about the Primal Diet.

    When I did drink milk, though, it never bothered me. But I am wondering now if I am have leaky gut symptoms from the small bit I put in my 2 cups of morning coffee.

    I’m hitting 30 days Primal, and just a few days ago, after eating a little roast beef and turkey wrapped around a couple of cheese sticks, I felt a little nauseaus. Then I began feeling a little nauseaus each time I ate. I was having what appeared to be leaky gut symptoms because I felt slightly allergic to anything I ate, especially fruit- there are some that I cannot eat like apples, pears, apricots, peaches- but now bananas and blueberries seemed to be affecting me. I had a tingling feeling on my face like little hairs and also had some hive-like bumps popping up near my eyes/cheekbones.

    Will eating a really clean, pure Primal diet make things I could be sensitive to stand out more than when I was eating all kinds of junk lopped in together? Also I notice my bathroom habits are suddenly whacked- I couldn’t go for 2 days, and then when I did, it was not normal- it was loose. This is me on a month of the Primal diet. I’ve never lived on such a restricted diet before so I’m wondering if it’s adversely affecting me. I already avoided gluten because my son is Celiac and I believe I am, although he was diagnosed and I was not formally diagnosed. I already avoided yeast, soy, hoppes, tomato (allergy) and those other tree fruits. I also tested postive to carrot and onion although I still eat those cooked in small quantities. So will someone like me with lots of allergies be worse off from a smaller selection of foods to choose from?

    1. Hi Sharon, I suffer from certain food allergies but then I married into a family that severely suffer from them. My mother in law experiences very similar symptoms to yourself. So yes, once you do cut out foods that you are allergic to and then try them at a latter date, the allergy reactions may be greater. This is one of the reasons that this method is used to work out which foods you are allergic to. It was amazing the difference it made when I cut out grains and dairy. Now, as soon as I have dairy my sinuses clog up instantly and my abdominals start to swell. It is the same for grains. There was a stage when my mother-in-laws diet was actually restricted to two food items as she reacted to everything else for quite some time. Then she had to reintroduce other food items slowly and keep out those she reacted to.

  69. I know people who could not handle regular store bought milk but could digest raw milk just fine. The lactose in raw milk is already pre-digested.

  70. I fully understand that this blog is primarily a research-augmented presentation of your personal journey. Let me say that I generally find your rationales to be sound. I am not fully primal only because I exercise so much throughout the week (no chronic cardio, mind you). That’s all tangential to my point but I just wanted to let you know I am a fan.
    Something on the blog has been leaving me with a small bellyache (not the dairy), You throw a lot of facts out here. Additionally, you title your article “The Definitive Guide to:…” while implying you are an authority on dietary issues. You should cite your articles. It is the ethical thing to do if you consider that your influence may alter peoples’ (people’s?) livelihood. Like I said – I am a big fan. But, quite unfortunately, your arguments are adulterated by their lack of accountability.

    1. I’m glad you enjoy the blog, Rusty. I’m not sure what you mean by lack of accountability, though. I’ve linked to hundreds if not thousands of research articles from MDA. This post alone references 3 studies and 2 articles on the net. I don’t publish references as footnotes. You have to click the links to dig deeper and find the studies.

      1. I’m not sure what he means, either. Right fom the get-go Mark said:

        “I don’t know. I’m not sure anyone really does, in fact, which is why I place dairy firmly in Primal limbo.”

        He stated research that he learned in favor of and also against dairy. And said, “Experiment.” So, what more could you want?

  71. I’m sort of glad that I’m lactose intolerant, so I don’t even have to think about it!

    Never liked the stuff, anyway. The only way my mom could ever get me to drink milk was by pouring some of her coffee into it.

  72. There are some days where all I have is my full fat, raw, grass fed milk from my Jersey. I won’t touch store bought milk, it is not fit for human consumption and its taste and texture is disgusting. The SAD (wheat damage) and modern processing of milk is what make it allergenic, the evidence suggests. “A sensible vice”? Well, my family feels great, people comment on the radiance of our skin, and my blood work is perfect, and am never sick. It sounds like a great addition to a healthy lifestyle, and many cultures free of the diseases of civilization would agree.

  73. Sadly, in Canada the sale of raw milk is expressly forbidden by law – one farmer who thought he had a way around it by organizing a “co-op” of people who bought shares of his farm’s milk is now facing charges. About the only way we’re going to get raw milk (much less grass-fed raw milk) is to buy our own cow, and I think my landlord might complain about that…

    1. Did this co-op let the sharers milk their own cow or did they milk it for them? I know of a lady that sells shares in her goats and the people come to milk it themselves as there is no law against milking your own goat and drinking the milk, but there is against selling the milk itself.

    2. Yes, it is the same in Australia. We can only get unhomogenized if we search very hard in hidden stores around the countryside. The selling of unpasteurized milk is strictly forbidden.

  74. The funny thing about myself when it comes to dairy is I don’t drink whole, skim or 2% milk anymore because it doesn’t sit on my stomach well. However, I can eat ice cream with no problem. Does that mean I’m lactose intolerant or just half way?

    1. My mother-in-law cannot tolerate dairy except ice cream either. She thinks it is because the proteins are broken up in the freezing process. I’m a bit skeptical on this theory but it would certainly be interesting to find out why this is the case.

      1. Stranger still, it seems the more raw cream in raw milk, the longer it takes to spoil or change unrefrigerated and remain healthful. It works especially well to preserve it by also mixing a drop of unheated honey in, just leave it in a dark cabinet. Maybe the extra non-lactose sugar is a key too.

  75. Milk has never bothered me and I love my ice cream, also since adopting a more paleo diet, I rarely have a craving for it. *shrugs* I still eat cheese although not as much.

    What I can’t wait for is our goat to freshen so I can start milking her. At first I pasteurized because the family was a little hesitant about drinking raw milk. Then my teenager read up on benefits or raw milk so now we drink it raw. We’ve also made fresh cheese and kefir.

  76. As an acne sufferer I have cut down my dairy intake by 95%. It has done wonders for my skin and for my overall health.

    I use to drink about 6 cups of skim milk a day and now drink 0. I use to eat a decent amount of cheese and now eat cheese minimally.

    I now eat plain greek yogurt (well, about to try it) but will consume it sparingly.

    As far as ice cream goes… only during a birthday or special holiday! And I eat about 1/8 – 1/4 of a serving of dark chocolate (87%) a day.

    It is great to follow such a wonderful blog that is questioning milk as well.…. coming out this spring!

  77. Mark,
    Awesome article, well researched and informative.

    I’m new, here, just found your blog and enjoying going through it.

    While,as you pointed out, many have lactose issues, I often wonder if at least some of the seemingly higher incidence of milk issues in society is a product of the “processed food supply” of the last 60 years.

    At any rate, your suggestion of raw or organic choices is a good one…IF…you know the source. As a proponent of the small “ag” producer I advocate local (within 100 miles or so) purchases. Especially with milk. AND as one of the comments suggested…look for the pastured or grass based variety. A true grass fed dairy will not use hormones, anti-biotics, or force their “girls” to be constantly pregnant in order to produce a larger quantity…Sorry, I’m passionate about these things and tend to pontificate too much…Keep up the good work!

  78. As a child, I loved milk – preferred it to water. Until I gave it up in my late 40’s, I had little pimples all over the backs of my arms and legs, breakouts on my scalp and butt, and a big problem with chronic boils. I mentioned the boils to a woman patient at an alternative allergy doc’s office about the boils and she mentioned that whenever she ate dairy, she got boils. I had an epiphany right then and there – that’s what was causing my breakouts and boils, and my nursing daughter’s violent projectile vomiting. A few months after giving up ALL dairy (gotta watch those inert pill ingredients as well), I noticed my skin had cleared up and the chronic winter itchiness and dryness, and flakiness also went away. I also had less calcium buildup on my teeth when I had them cleaned. It wasn’t easy, though. Milk is highly addictive, and is added to lots of processed foods and pills. I lifted weights for a year or so and stayed away from any type of whey products. There is good egg protein supplements, thought. I just don’t think that humans are meant to drink cow milk any more than cows are meant to drink human milk.

  79. PS – I never get sick anymore, unless I eat too much corn (which I’m not eating any longer anyway). No more earaches, which are basically boils on the outside or inside the ear. I haven’t tried raw dairy, but I don’t think I want to. Not drinking milk, eating pizza or ice cream or cheese kinda makes one an outcast amoungst friends and at work, especially if you’re sharing or being treated to lunch. But we all have choices to make.

  80. For those who don’t do milk… Try an “egg milk”. In a blender crack an egg and add 2 tbsp coconut oil (or butter if you have no problem with dairy). Add 1 cup of boiling water while the blender is running and voila’… Dairy free milk.

    This recipe is remarkably versatile btw. Use coffee instead of water for a frothy latte. Add cocoa, vanilla or cinnamon. Some sweetener and nutmeg makes a yummy, warm egg nog. Can even be used as a base for soup. Can be chilled but you need to stir it up.

    1. WOW!! Thanks Gabi. I have never heard of this before and will definitely be giving it a go. I love my organic lattes and have been trying to work out how to have one without dairy or soy milk.

    2. Tried it this morning with organic plunger coffee and a dash of vanilla and it was great 😉 I did have to heat it up a bit further to get rid of the overpowering raw egg taste though. But after that it was just nice and creamy. Great recipe !

      1. Try melting the CO or butter in your liquid before pouring over egg in blender. Keeps it hotter. Also using room temperature eggs helps.

  81. I’m usually a substantial milk drinker (~1.5 a day), but for the last week I’ve had no milk. The difference to my sinuses has been noticeable.

  82. Mark, or anyone who knows…

    Since whey protein is the other protein in milk that is not casein and since it does not have the sugar lactose… is it ok for people who want to consume non-dairy?

    People don’t want to consume dairy for many reasons… but since whey protein has no casein or lactose (right?) then it should be ok… right?

    There are strong links to dairy and acne… STRONG links… many studies done. Just wondering if quality whey protein is ok.


  83. Hi Todd, Mark said above that he has a whey protein article coming for us next week. I look forward to reading it also.

  84. “Milk is highly insulinogenic” , what about the fermented forms? ie; yogurt,kefir and cheese.

  85. @Jim Purdy~
    Try herbal teas. Mt. Rose Herbs has a fantastic selection of blends. Usually a store that sells bulk herbs will have tea blends as well, if you have one locally.
    Best of luck!

    1. And now Kerrygold do a softer, spreadable. Still with no vegetable oil [just a little salt].

      Flax seed “bread” + Kerrygold = heaven. 🙂

  86. Seems logical, that a Grok would have learned that an animals milk would have been consumable as he would have noticed that humans milk is. In the spirit of consuming all parts of the animal to get the most form it, milk would be part of that.

  87. What about ranch dressing? Can it be primal? I love some creamy ranch on my salads!

  88. Mmmm…milk. You can have that sweet, sweet nectar when you pry it from my cold dead hands.

  89. This is a great guide. I have been lactose intolerant since I was born. I’ve never had a glass of milk. When I do eat small amounts of cooked cheese, I get bloated, constipated, and congested in my head, so I try to avoid it altogether. This has been getting worse as I age, which is weird.

  90. Goat’s Milk FTW. Love that stuff. Trader Joes carries a really tasty brand

  91. Has anyone read eat right for your type? Not that it is 100% correct but the Dr i work for does a lot of research with it and apparently B type blood types can tolerate it in moderation….i dont know about that though because I am B and it makes me very congested and muscousy. I do love the taste though….however; raw milk is difficult to come by and goats milk moreso. I would do goat milk if it was more readily available in raw form.

    1. Hi Kevink. Yes, I started out on the eat right for your blood type diet. I’m a type O and it helped me a great deal to start with and eventually lead me to the paleolithic diet, which is very similar to the type O diet and seems to be good for me. I am not supposed to have any dairy according to the blood type diet and I have found that I cannot tolerate it. I also get congested and mucousy, among other symptoms. I wish it were not the case because I love the taste of milk and cheese but the reactions I get are too severe and decrease my performance levels dramatically.

  92. I’m not sure of the exact stat but I think 60-70% of all milk drinkers around the world actually drink goats milk, not cows milk. It seems only in 1st world western countries is cows milk the preferred choice.

  93. I only drink Almond Breeze unsweetened almond milk — 40 calories for 8oz. with 1 gram of carbs — mix that with 1 TBL Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa (never Dutch cocoa!) and whey protein — yummy! yummy!

  94. Hi Mark,

    Kudos for being willing to address this issue, and more kudos for not coming down as opposed – especially where full-fat, raw milk from grassfed cows is concerned. One of the things a lot of people who like to bash “dairy” miss is that not all milk is created equal; low-fat, pasteurized, homogenized, “milk” from cows who are fed a primarily grain-based diet is an entirely different substance from the “real thing.”

    I’m glad you mentioned Weston Price; I ***STRONGLY*** recommend that anyone who may be wrestling with this question visit the Weston A. Price Foundation’s “Campaign for Real Milk” website (, and spend some time following the links. And while you’re at it, there’s a lot of a good stuff on the WAPF website ( in general… not strictly primal, but traditional, and vehemently focused on REAL foods.

    Keep up the good work,


    P.S. The “Agricultural Revolution,” e.g., switch to a largely grain-based diet, happened basically 10,000 years ago – as all Primal fans knew quite well. However, what many people may not know is that there is evidence for at least primitive forms of pastoralism – animal husbandry, and therefore almost certainly dairy consumption – as far back as 30,000 years ago. Make of that what you will…

  95. Raw and whole milk is the only way to go. My family enjoys raw butter from grass fed cows, raw cheese and raw milk. We all can enjoy this in moderation while we all can’t tolerate commercial dairy.

  96. Neither my children nor I can tolerate pasteurized dairy in any form (milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.) and were dairy-free before finding raw dairy. I had raw milk until the age of 6 and only had access to pasteurized dairy after that, so avoided it. Our first experience with raw fluid dairy was raw milk and it happened to be from Holstein cows which produce A1 milk. I could tolerate the milk but my children could not. We then switched to the 100% jersey milk (which cost more) and we could all tolerate it with no problem. We now have jersey, jersey/guersney, goat, and buffalo milk that we rotate. We enjoy raw milk, but don’t consume vast quantities of it (my family drinks less than one gallon of milk a week). We use raw cream quite a bit, along with cultured butter, ghee, milk kefir, yogurt, and raw milk cheeses (much of which I make).

    What I’ve discovered along our own journey is that we have to have the full fat, 100% grass fed, and A2 in moderate quantities. When we go without it, we do fine and when we have it, we do fine. It’s a matter of personal enjoyment now that we know what works for us.

    As for the comment about humans being the only species that consume the milk of other species, that’s simply not true. Many animals consume the milk (both “full” milk and colostrum) of others. Goat kids that cannot get milk from their dams for whatever reason get cow’s colostrum and cow’s milk. Rabbits that are hand nursed get goat’s milk. Cats and dogs will drink cow’s or goat’s milk. Chickens will consume cow’s milk (ours love kefir in fact). … the list goes on and on.

  97. I drink about 5 oz. of heated whole milk (about coffee hot) 4-5 days a week before going to bed, helps me go to sleep, It’s the Melatonin it releases when heated from what i’ve heard, anyway. Milk has never bothered me in anyway, and I have been drinking it for 72 years.

  98. Just dropped milk 3 weeks ago ! I was crippled with arthritis (or was it arthrosis) in my fingers – could not move them without extreme pain. Well – no more pain I swear ! This is truly insane ! I feel like a new person. But how I miss my St-Augur and all those nice saints that have their names on my cheese ! And yogurt …..! bouhou but I’m dancing all the way to painless heaven.

  99. 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 🙂

  100. 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,

    1. 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.

      1. 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.


  101. 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.

    1. “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.

  102. 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).

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  103. 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

  104. 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.

  105. 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.

  106. 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?

  107. 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.

  108. 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

  109. 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.”



    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?



  111. 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!!

  112. 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 🙂

  113. 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.

  114. 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.

    1. 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…

      1. 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.

    2. 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.

      1. For my body, the fermented is worse. As I eat it, it feels better, but my blood tests reveal the opposite.

    3. 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.

      1. 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!

        1. 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!

        2. 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.

        3. 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.

  115. I agree RawZi. I was not going into the finer details but soy also destroyed my thyroid from functioning properly.

    1. Hi Angelina. I’m glad we’re both more onto our bodies’ truths, and not somewhere worse in health, you know.

      1. 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?

      2. 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?

        1. 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.

  116. 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?

  117. 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. .



    1. 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.

  118. 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.

  119. 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!

  120. 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?

  121. 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?

  122. Hi Erin, glad to help. Could not find where your post was in the maze so I have just added it to the bottom. Hope that you will get it 🙂

    I had exactly the same problem as you! My husband is also dairy intolerant and was drinking copious amounts of soy milk. I finally managed to change him to organic coconut milk. This may be a bit rich on it’s own but I water it down a little when I am going to use it for my protein shakes and my husband now loves it in his organic coffee and hot raw cocoa. Because it is thick and rich you do not need as much when using it this way. He is now almost addicted to it 🙂 and so am I. It took us a week or two to get used to it but now we feel absolutely decadent each time we sit down to our rich drinks containing coconut milk. They are so much more satisfying and delicious.
    Hope this helps. I have tried all sorts of other alternatives and this is the only one we were not only happy with in the end, but are now actually enjoying more than what we were having before.

    1. Ha, look at that, it added it under your post anyway 🙂
      Organic coconut cream is also good in a hot cuppa 🙂

      1. Oo, thanks Angelina! Coconut milk sounds like a great idea. I’ll definitely pick some up when I go to the store. Some for me too, probably!

  123. I use low fat cottage cheese and Faye Yogurt (a Greek brand very low in carbs and high in protein) as great sources of protein. I’ve read that it is probably better to consume them in the evening before sleeping because of the slow breakdown properties of the casein, but I often use them at breakfast. As for milk, I love it, but have to LIMIT it significantly because of the high sugar content. I’ve reached the point where I’ll only drink milk during my carb refeeding periods. Other times, I drink UNsweetened Organic Soy Milk. Not the same, I know, but it works for me.

  124. @ Icarus: hahahahahaha

    @ Angelina: can you tell me what brand of coconut milk and coconut cream you use? I have been using the “So Delicious” brand (unsweetened). It’s sold in the refrigerated case but only in select stores and only in half gallon size, which I sometimes can’t use before it goes south. It is also pricey. I wonder if I can use canned coconut milk (I like the smaller size) or if there are other brands. I know there are some asceptic coconut milks but every one I’ve seen has other ingredients. I only want pure coconut milk, with maybe just a little water in it.

  125. I’ve been drinking homemade kefir for months now, and I plan on sticking with it indefinitely. The kefir grains are cute little things; I haven’t named them yet, but I’m definitely attached to them X)

    I make 1 cup of raw milk kefir every day. When I don’t feel like paying for raw milk, or driving out to get it, I get store-bought pasteurized and homogenized milk, and usually get some heavy cream to add to the culturing process. I actually prefer the texture and possibly even the taste of pasteurized-homogenized milk kefir; I’m aware of the many possible health consequences, with the lack of enzymes to help digest the milk, and the xanthine oxidase and arterial scarring issue, but I’m obsessing a lot less about it lately. And I think that kefir-grain cultured store-bought milk is infinitely superior to fresh store-bought milk — maybe it isn’t a cure-all, but I absolutely believe that the kefir grains make the milk much more digestible and probably compensate for a lot of the problems with store-bought milk.

    *Note: I went down to 1 cup of kefir daily from 2 cups, because 2 cups a day of raw milk kefir is too expensive for me. In a lot of ways I think this works out: less carbs, keeping any potential issues with dairy consumption to a minimum, and also REALLY enjoying that daily glass of kefir — having less makes it feel a lot more special, very much like a delicacy.

    As for other dairy products: I occasionally have butter, cheese, and yogurt. I always get plain yogurt, and one benefit of eating plain yogurt that I’ve found is really finding an appreciation for the sour flavor. Sweetening it takes away from the refreshing, cooling sour flavor, and since I’ve been eating plain yogurt on an occasional basis, I’ve really come to appreciate its flavor. Kind of like how I eat unsweetened baking chocolate squares, and no longer have any urges to eat sweetened chocolate. The bitter, earthy flavor is just amazing to me, and the sweetened stuff doesn’t even compare since I’ve stopped going for sugared stuff.

    I’ll have two or four pieces of dried fruit, e.g. two prunes and two figs, or just two prunes, and some berries in plain yogurt. That allows the natural, refreshing sour flavor of yogurt to come through, and the natural sweet flavor of fruit to kind of mesh with it without running over or diminishing it.

    And I LOVE it!

    I also make “kefir cream” by culturing pasteurized heavy cream (1 cup) with spare kefir grains for 24-36 hours, then removing the grains (I usually eat them after that) and refrigerating it. It’s got an amazing texture, and I also love mashing it up with canned tuna and mixing in some kelp or dulse granules. It’s fantastic. I also love having hard cheese with that tuna mash; throw in a salad or some cooked spinach and it’s one of my favorite meals.

    I also enjoy, for an occasional higher-carb dessert, sweet potato mashed with 1/2 to 1 banana, 1 to 2 teaspoons of raw honey, and 2 – 3 tablespoons of hot, melted butter with a generous helping of cinnamon, all mashed up. Coconut oil is very good with this, but I prefer the butter.

    And every once in a while I just have a banana with butter. Bananas are fantastic with a heaping spoonful of coconut oil, but the butter has a unique flavor too that’s worth trying out.

    So really, I love dairy. I think it’s best appreciated in smaller doses, like many other things in life — I appreciate it more, and it’s much easier to keep a balance going. Barring every other aspect of dairy, fresh milk does have a pretty good amount of carbohydrates, and downing a quart a day would make it incredibly difficult to eat a primal diet that stayed within the low-carb boundaries. 1 cup of kefir does it for me, or a bowl of yogurt with fruit — I’d be more willing to use butter and cheese more liberally if I was just looking at carbs, but they’re very unique flavors and textures that I think work best in moderation.

    As a last note, the price for quality dairy is also pretty prohibitive, whether it’s grass-fed butter or cheese or yogurt, or raw Jersey or goat milk. For me, 1 cup daily of raw milk is about my limit for what I can afford. I think it works out best for my health as well as my wallet, and I’m all for that ;D (that’s saying nothing of my mood and tastebuds, too…)

  126. I eat dairy because I’m on welfare (I’m disabled) and it’s cheap. Meat isn’t, so I’ve got to get my fats and protein somehow, and dairy’s the only way. Shame I’m in the UK and raw/unpasturised’s difficult to come by, but there you go. Nowt I can do about that!

    1. I get whole chicken at the local farm, $5/lb, and whole milk there $10/gal. I get a carton of unrefrigerated eggs there, $5/doz. There are various fruit or veges too, $3/bag. I’m not sure how that works out for price as to protein/fat comparison, one food to the other. I don’t know the dole in the UK. Do they give you cash, check, stamps, coupons, tokens or a card? I doubt the farm I go to could accept anything but cash, they’re always busy working with the animals and land, I can’t imagine them at a bank. What’s your diet like?

  127. What about lactose free milk? Sorry if it was covered, but way too many posts before bedtime! thanks!

  128. what your opinion about lactose free milk? sorry if it was already covered…looked over, but couldn’t find anything. thanks!

  129. My wife is purebred Norwegian and absolutely loves milk, she drinks an organic lightly pasteurized un-homogenized glass bottled milk; about half a liter+ a day especially at dinner time.

    I think being un-homogenized is most important besides being organic. Before I married I dated several black women from Haiti and Kenya and all of them boiled their milk before they drank it, both in preparing it with tea and at night mixed with wild honey. They thought it was strange to drink “cold” milk.

    I myself prefer Kefir. My wife and I have been living in Europe since 2006, I don’t really drink “cold” milk but when I lived in the States I couldn’t tolerate the milk there at all, over here dairy is a different story as far as quality and while the lactose doesn’t bother me the least bit I can always feel the insulin spike which is why I usually only drink organic Kefir and warm milk w/ no problems.

    I would like to clear one thing up though, there is a rumor that EU countries have great access to raw milk, that’s not the case it’s just like in the States; you have to goto a certified farmer or the private store the farmer owns. You can definitely get un-homogenized milk though and also cheeses and butters made from raw unpasteurized milk but not actual milk. Every single person I’ve asked about unpasteurized milk here has given me your an idiot look.

    My great grandmother from Okinawa is 104 and her daughter (my grandma) is 81 or 2 and they drink warm milk.

  130. I’ve been drawn to Paleo and reading health info since my celiac dx in 2006 (Hashimoto’s dx 1996 & fibro self-dx 2006). I read something new (well, lots is new to me) I want to share, and Mark has an intelligent blog entry soon after, scooping my gem of a find. Now when I want to share info with the family (or anyone who’ll listen), I share blog links from here instead of bothering to write something up. Keep up the great work, Mark (I first “met” you on Doug Kauffman’s show).

    My experience with dairy:

    I went 100% gluten free but using gf substitute processed products for my old mainstream diet (heavy on the grains & legumes, not-so-much on the protein. I don’t “like” meat, plus daily salads and fruit). Gained 22 lbs because I had to learn about blood glucose.

    Went to pretty-much Paleo, but with dairy, sometimes legumes because when I’m doing errands in town I need quick food, and I’d eat Wendy’s chili – it always hit the spot. Yes, I carry gf bars, apples, and nuts, but wanted something warm.

    Have had heart palpitations for 20+ yrs. Kept thinking it was the calcium in my daily Greek or organic plain full-fat yogurt- ask the cardiologist, who said, “Nope.” It feels like my heart’s doing summersaults when I go to bed. (Wore the holter monitor, etc.) – doc only wanted to put me on beta-blockers. I said, “Nope.”

    I eat butter (sometimes organic, sometimes not) – never had opportunity for raw. Sometimes I’ll have organic coconut oil. No milk for years, gave up pasteurized half & half in coffee around April (difficult!). Gave up coffee because w/out half & half it’s too acidic/gross. Coconut milk doesn’t cut it for me. It’s a morning ritual I miss.

    All this time I’m reading on how to help my fibro pain. GF diet and vitamin supplements (Bs and D, omega-3s for sure) helped 80%. I still can’t sleep well (though better), which produces more pain. I keep reading, and what I keep seeing is to give up dairy. I read Campbell’s The China Study in 2007 and tried asking him about gluten and gut health in Jimmy Moore’s Amazon thread, but he conveniently ignored my questions. I chose to not believe him about his dairy studies. I LOVE my yogurt and butter. Oh, and parmesan – hmm.

    I went to a naturopathic doc’s seminar about gluten, and he said for gut health: no gluten, dairy, caffeine, sugars .. and more. That dairy thing is nagging me.

    I took a Genova leaky gut test after 4 yrs gluten-free and I’m STILL a bit leaky! Dang.

    I took a urinary neurotransmitter test this summer, and what stuck out is that I have high glutamates (low serotonin & a mixture of other stuff). The naturopathic doc told me to not have MSG. I don’t usually (‘cept on some salad dressing at Panera once in a blue moon). So, I starting reading. We know of glutamates because of people with MSG sensitivity. However, there are “free glutamates” in our favorite foods: hello dairy (esp parmesan)! hello wheat! hello tomatoes (my second name – lol).

    I had a heart attack in May. I researched like crazy why this’d be. I caught a podcast interview (J. Moore) w/Ron Rosedale. He said saturated fat prevents energy from getting into the cell (my interpretation). I’d been omega-3 free for 6 weeks cause I’d done a serum allergy test (was in the middle of ‘challenging’ that I was allergic to “sardines.” I was not allergic to gluten or caseine, btw. I should have tried krill, but I was depressed and never got around to it).

    The day before my heart attack I’d eaten double my usual 1400 calories. I ate a stick of butter (on popcorn) – being honest here. 😛 I’d kept reading how fat was used for energy or something, and I’m trying to lose weight. I ran a 5K with little or no energy and next day had classic symptoms: chest pressure and left arm band pain. Btw, no heart damage and clean heart cath. $26k billed, ins pd $13k, I pd $650 and got a big wake-up for my food errors. My TC: 206, HDL 49, LDL 142, Tri’s 75, fwiw.

    Interestingly, my CK level was up (creatinine kinase is a muscle breakdown marker – my interpretation. I had it tested when my legs were not worked out and in recovery/pain in the past, and it was in range). I knew it would be elevated because my “fibro” legs were killing me (that’s the other 20% of my fibro pain: in my hams and quads after heavier exercise).

    So, I read ANOTHER fibro article telling me to give up gluten (& yeast which I don’t have anyway), DAIRY, additives, caffeine!, yada.

    In four days after giving up dairy (HARD!), my depression lifted (didn’t realize it was that bad, I wasn’t moping), I had more energy, my HEART palpitations were MUCH MUCH better (still have a niggle once in a while, but I’m a bit hyper w/my thyroid meds right now), and I’m sleeping better.

    I think I’m a canary of some sort. No dairy for me, but I still miss yogurt like crazy. Addict?! Likely yes. High glutamates and opioids are addictive and neurotoxic. My father has Alzheimer’s and is a big bread and milk man (also alcoholic). He won’t listen, but I am. I’m not going down his road without a fight.

    Also, I was osteopenic in 2006. With Paleo, yogurt & butter dairy, and walking I gained almost 9% in bone back in 4 yrs. I think the walking did it, as the gain was in my spine (which didn’t hurt). My other bones remained the same. My hips would hurt me (so I expected my results to indicate something, which they didn’t), and when I gave up dairy, they don’t anymore.

    I read “The Vitamin D Cure” in 2008 I think, he suggests a more alkaline diet, too. Dairy is acidic. Just eat more alkaline than acid foods (meat, dairy, legumes, grains).

    I just retested my neurotransmitters and will get results in a few weeks. I will retest leaky gut soon. I will start working out my other muscles now that my fibro pain is better, too (now only my quads hurt after jogging, not hams AND quads – and that pain has lessened). I have lost 75 lbs and have another 60 to go. I lost 25 after the heart attack and giving up dairy.

    SOrrY this is so long. I always appreciate reading other people’s experiences.

    1. Hi dotslady
      Please do not apologize for the long post. I found it very interesting. I have had very similar experiences (especially with the heart attack) and I am also very interested in hearing how those test results turn out in a few weeks time.
      Please continue your story 🙂

      1. Followup on my progress:
        The neurotransmitter test after giving up dairy: increased seretonin (still “just” under normal range) – encouraging, as serotonin will help my fibro pain.

        Lactulose-mannitol urine Leaky Gut retest after giving up all dairy except butter: better, but still leaky.

        Months later I took Cyrex Labs’ new intestinal permeability test while still on butter: LEAKY and getting GLUTEN somewhere *shock*.

        Did Cyrex Labs’ cross-reactive foods test: was positive for barley, quinoa (never eat it, so maybe it’s from cross-contamination w/other gf grains such as gf oats, buckwheat or corn – gf Bakery on Main granola has corn), buckwheat was equivocal (I eat it occasionally, again in granola), and “MILK BUTRYOPHILIN”. MILK BUTRYOPHILIN is a protein associated with dairy fat (ie my BUTTER!). If I’d eaten any other dairy my guess it’d have been positive, too.

        What’s “milk butryophilin?” It’s implicated in demyelination of the myelin sheath in Multiple Sclerosis (you can google).

        The barley source was from a “gf” “20ppm” probiotic from Garden of Life (Primal Defense!). I’m off that probiotic, butter, buckwheat for sure. I hope w/out the buckwheat I can overcome the quinoa cause I don’t know where it’s coming from.

        I still have quad/ham pain, but am trying to increase alkaline foods and do an elimination diet to figure out other offending foods til my gut’s healed.

        I’ve only lost another 10 lbs so far, but my head’s still in the game.

  131. Two things that made giving up dairy much more tolerable for me were Hempmilk (but be sure to get the unsweetened kind) and almond cheese (again, read the label carefully, some brands include rice as a filler). Basically, I learned to always bring my reading glasses to the market.

  132. Ok, I HAVE to say this, because I keep reading people’s posts saying “I drink dairy all the time and never had an issue/I grew up on dairy/dairy is good”

    Honestly, so did I. I grew up on skim, big glass for lunch and dinner every day because mom didn’t want us to get fat and because we “want strong bones”! No one wants osteoporosis right? Especially women.

    Without a huge post, here’s what I can tell you. I’ve always been pretty sick, and two years ago, found out I had celiac disease (gluten free diet needed). After taking out gluten, I started feeling much better, but progressively fell ill again. I started looking at other foods and after I battled it out one night with a little cup of chocolate pudding, I realized it was worse. Tried lactose free diet with the pills in questionable foods, and still sick. Found out it was a reaction to casein.

    Since then, I’ve learned an extensive amount about how BAD dairy is for you. For all above who say “it’s good because I like it”/don’t have problems with it/”because I can”/ or better yet, my favorite “I drink it because I don’t care what you say” who told you it was good? Milk commercials? Who funded those? “because you can”? Who said that was good? Our bodies can (well, mine can’t… anymore… but bodies without gi stress can) TOLERATE dairy. Doesn’t mean they should. [ex. our bodies can tolerate smoking.. doesn’t mean we should be doing it!] You’re still putting substances into your body it would rather not have. All of the “good” things found in milk/dairy can be found in other products. I take a calcium pill daily. Vuala! Strong bones, no milk!

    Since I am no scientist though, it’s just my word, so here’s another general overview on milk:

    a website with MANY articles on specific points and arguments against milk (the ones I’ve read are all from creditable sources as well)

    And there are a TON of books on the dangers of milk/dairy. Please, I really ask that everyone who even believes milk to be “great” to really look into the topic more.
    Ps. Soy milk should generally be avoided, as there is soy in SO much we already eat, that adding too much to your diet can have negative consequences and also could lead to an intolerance… which would cut out a LOT of foods you’d be able to eat. Try Coconut milk for a fattier option, or rice or almond milks, depending on your diet.

    1. Hi Christie, totally agree with you. I had the same problems. Giving up milk also got rid of my constant migraines. Soy was also bad for me. I wish I had known sooner about soy because it caused my thyroid to become sluggish and now I have been battling with hypothyroidism for the last two years. It’s a lot harder to recover from. I now drink coconut milk and cream.

  133. oops forgot that second link.

    Here’s the one with many articles on specific points on milk, arguing that milk is in fact bad.

    I should also mention, this is not the ONLY sources I used to come to this conclusion, that milk is bad… but just ones with broad sources and types of information

  134. I’m lactose intolerant to a certain extent but I’ve found it depends on what kind of milk products I eat, and how much of it.

    I’ve found I can eat 3/4 of a pound of low fat cottage cheese per day with no problem but if I eat 1 1/2 pounds of it, whoa nelly …

    Sensitivity varies greatly among individuals, you just have to figure out where to draw the line. Some milk products effect me much more than others. If I cross the line it’s like Hiroshima in my intestines.

    Greek yogurt seems like the new tofu to me, I remember when tofu became popular I used to make sandwiches out of it, tofu was the new hotness, now it’s old and busted and Greek yogurt is the new hotness .. with the benefit of hindsight I should have given tofu a pass and I’m giving Greek yogurt a pass now, in a couple of years people will have moved on to something else, maybe Yak’s milk.

  135. Hmmmn… as to the casein in breast milk, if the mother does not have casein in her diet, the breast milk will not contain casein.

    1. This is not actually true. Mothers’ milk always contains some casein, but not the specific casein in cows’ milk unless she’s drinking it. Human milk is also lower in casein and higher in whey protein than cows’ milk.

  136. Nice post. Last Month I found this site and wanted to let you know that I have been gratified, going through your site’s pages. I shall be signing up to your RSS feed and will wait for your next post. Cheers, Carol

  137. When you mean “scrutinize” it’s “pore,” not “pour.”

    This is one of the articles of yours that I agree with the most.

    On the subject of milk substitutes, I enjoy the taste of soy milk, but learned several months ago that consuming a large amount of soy that has NOT been fermented inhibits the body’s ability to digest certain proteins.

    Coconut milk I can see as being available and utilized, but I wonder if almond or rice milk can be considered paleo?

  138. Calcium is a potent down-regulator of Vitamin D production in the human body. This is one of the reasons to be carefull with raw milk from the cow. You will hurt yourself drinking it in the long run.

  139. I see the ‘dairy causes a disproportionate insulin response’ argument pretty frequently, but have never seen a citation. Does anybody have a link to the study(s) showing this? I’m very curious about the procedures used and dairy items tested. I don’t see how the Masai could be the shining examples of health that they are purported to be since they should all be hyperinsulemic given the amount of milk they consume.

  140. Thanks for doing the research on this tricky topic.

    I’m of the same mind to use myself as a guinea pig when it comes to food, and have been doing so for decades.

    When it comes to dairy, it does give me some congestion in big doses, but far less than when I consuming grain.

    I have been imbibing in moderation up til a recent discovery of a peanut allergy, which was giving me heart palpitations and shortness of breath,usually kicked off by workouts.

    Eating cheese, cottage cheese, and some yogurt has replaced some of my nut consumption, since all nuts are suspect now. I plan to re-introduce seeds in their place.

    I am concerned about the potential cancer causing aspect, and raw milk is not readily available. I may have to do some extra legwork to source out raw dairy products.

    They are a bit of a comfort in a dietary world where I don’t eat half of what everyone around me eats, and I sometimes feel deprived. 😉

    1. 1. peanuts are legumes; not nuts. Perhaps it is your dairy intake that caused your peanut allergy through inducing a leaky gut.
      2. cancer risk may be tied to the opioids found in dairy products
      3. if most humans are lactose intolerant after age 5, then maybe we should be weaned before that time

  141. Interesting approach! I have been 100% gluten free for 3+ years and I am still completely casein intolerant. If the “floodgates” are opened with gluten, do you think there is a way to “close” them?

    1. Larazotide is currently an experimental drug that should be on the market sometime soon. It might do the trick. Otherwise, I suspect that your reaction to casein is here to stay. In addition to the increased intestinal permeability it causes, casein contains 8 separate opioid sequences that are both comforting and addictive. Only 5 opioid sequences have been found in gluten proteins. Unlike Mark’s depiction of Dr. Cordain, I suspect that the opioids in dairy are what aid the development of cancers. Opioids and opiates down-regulate natural killer cells which are the body’s first line of defense against most cancer cell lines.

  142. What is the connection between leaky gut and an allergic reaction that includes heart racing, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and being hot?

    I’m having it this morning after laying off nuts for a week or two, then having some almonds this morning.

    The woman @ Whole Foods said that the almonds were not processed in a facility that precesses peanuts. Blue Diamond she said. Isn’t that a big company?

  143. Please help is A2 good for you? I read somewhere it is good for those who have loads of mucous and sinus issues but is it better than raw milk? Does anyone have an answer?

  144. You know, if I was a paleolithic person, I’m pretty sure I’d be curious about trying out the milk that other creatures produced. It seems like they would try anything that appeared to be edible.

  145. Let me add my 2 cents. First, I was never a fan of milk since childhood. I went to school in an African country (I’m not Maasai) where milk was simply not available because of the country was going through wars, economic depressions, and what not.

    After college, now living in the US, I didn’t really care for milk, per se. Only drank it in coffee/tea, etc.

    But this year, I rediscovered this wonderful superfood and have been devouring it like no man’s business. I drink raw milk, I buy it from a farmer, in a state where it’s legal, and I’ve never tasted anything this great in my entire life.

    I drink milk all the time: in the morning, at work, in the evening, but I drink strictly A2 milk or goat’s milk. In fact today I mixed the goat’s milk with the A2 milk in roughly a 50/50 ratio and it was the most pleasant taste of milk that I’ve encountered.

    I think Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures said it best when he said that we don’t need to drink milk, but we need to consume the nutrients that are found in milk, notably phosphorus, calcium, the essential enzymes, conjugated linoleic acid, vitamin K, etc. All these nutrients are not present in pasteurized milk.

    Again, those who choose not to drink milk clearly have other options, but let us milk drinkers enjoy to our heart’s content.

  146. Pasteurized milk should be warned about, if one is going to drink milk it should be only raw or fermented raw or nothing. Pasteurized is dangerous and is common knowledge among those that truly research a topic until it is well understood. Animals don’t pasteurize milk neither do humans. I would rewrite the opening to this topic so that others may be properly informed do the right thing please lets keep this site honest.
    This should also be mentioned milk even raw is not for everyone, but fermented may work for some of those that cannot do unfermented. A good book is the untold story of milk.

  147. First off pasteurized milk should be banned, its proven to cause cancer cataracts and is unnatural. I am surprised to see this has not been mentioned in the intro. Your website is good but it needs some polishing. Most educated health scholars are aware of this and also that milk is not for everyone, but fermented milk may help some that cannot tolerate milk.
    All species drink milk raw including humans. Get the right message out, but you’ll be up against the PTB. You have gone this far why not go the full length.

  148. I don’t really drink milk, except, on very rare occasions when I want a treat, I have a glass of Laverstoke Farm full fat buffalo milk, it’s creamy and heavenly. Otherwise I stick to butter, cream, cheese, and the occasional greek yoghurt and cottage cheese (though it’s so annoying how 99 percent of all cottage cheese on the market is low fat. WHY oh WHY?!)

    I don’t get how people can drink reduced fat milk. It tastes like stale water and smells like a camel farm. Literally. >.<

  149. I want milk and yogurt. Haha thankfully I am Dutch and tall and therefor one of the few people who can handle diary. Thank God!

  150. I survived on goat’s milk from three to five years old because I could not have any other food. I could not tolerate whatever my mother ate (which affected breast milk) when I was a baby and was fed special formula that was “free-of” almost everything! Then onto unpasteurized goat’s milk because I outgrew the nutritional profile of the formula, it saved my life.

  151. you’re in reality a excellent webmaster. The site loading velocity is incredible. It sort of feels that you’re doing any unique trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterpiece. you’ve performed a excellent process in this subject!

  152. I like to drink/eat organic whole fermented milk (yoghurt).

    4 cups of yoghurt has:
    28 g fat
    48 g protein
    56 g carbohydrates (!)
    24% of daily vitamin A requirements
    140% of daily calcium requirements
    8% of daily iron requirements

    And like Mark said, fermented dairy increases its digestibility and introduces pro-biotics to the digestive system.

  153. First, the dairy you’re consuming needs to be whole, full-fat.

    Second, it needs to be non-pasteurized. Pasteurization kills all the pro-biotics which is the “good” bacteria.

    Third, it needs to be organic and from grass-fed animals, not grain-fed.

    Fourth, if you’re drinking pure milk, you need to be careful because the carbohydrates in milk are very insulinogenic, which can raise insulin levels which makes you fat and unable to burn fat.

    The only types of dairy I eat are raw yoghurt, raw whipped cream or raw sour cream. No carbohydrates added. If I drink un-fermented milk or eat cheese, my intestines suffer. Butter just makes me feel sick after eating it.

  154. Excellent discussion, as always.

    Mark, you can pour milk, but your pore over every comment.

  155. I was looking at this article and thought it would be interesting to share…I had no idea that milk could be so bad!

  156. I was curious to see what Hildegard Von Bingen had to say about dairy, and this is what I came up with on the net:

    Health and Nutrition from the Middle Ages by Hildegard von Bingen
    Germany’s First Nutritionist

    Saint Hildegard von Bingen lived from 1098 to 1179 in Germany. She joined a Benedictine convent in Disibodenberg and became the Abbess at the age of 35. St. Hildegard had visions all her life, which helped her see God’s wisdom and be seen as a prophet. She wrote down what God told and showed her through these visions and published many volumes on science, medicine and theology.

    Healthy Drinks – beer, spelt coffee, fruit juice thinned with mountain spring water, fennel, rose hip or sage teas, wine, goat milk.

  157. Oh, and I forgot to include this from Von Bingen’s recommendations:

    Butter and cream from the cow are good, but milk and cheese are better from the goat.

  158. DR Earth Store; King St; newtown sydney.australia….

    sell unhomogenised-unpastuised bottled in good old glass milk……

    and it is devine!!!!

    its also organic grass fed jersey a2..

    thankyou jesus!

  159. I don’t see any information about lactose or casein on my dairy products. Should there be?

  160. Great article. Don’t know if anyone still looks at this, but I notice that when I drink heavy cream, I can feel my heart pounding very strongly in my chest, and I feel tired. And no, this is not a psychological issue. When I drink whole milk, this doesn’t happen. I always drink milk from grass fed cows. I agree that Jerseys probably have a better nutrient profile than Holsteins, and that raw beats pasteurized as long as it’s from a trusted source. When I eat fatty fish such as salmon, or pastured eggs, I do not get the same sensation. I think the extremely high fat content in cream taxes my digestive system unnecessarily. Also, cream is not technically a “whole food,” it’s just the fatty portion of the milk. I’ll drink probably 500-600 calories worth at one time. All that fat at once is probably not such a good thing. In small amounts, it’s probably a great source of energy, but as a staple…not so good.

  161. I gave up dairy because of Sinusitus and Asthma problems except for occasionally using Bulgarian yogurt. I recently used double thick Greek yogurt and first of all got a headache (very rare for me) and secondly my one knee was aching so badly like arthritis that apart from an anti-inflammitory tablet I had to take pain tablets to relieve the pain. I also took Arthro Guard and MSM. Do you think it was from the Yogurt?

  162. Hi Paleo and non paleo people. Can somebody please recommend a suggestion on where or how to purchase A2 dairy products in the USA? I’m in southern CA, but online would also be great

    Thank you!!

  163. We mostly use A2 milk, in coffee, on cereal etc. Whereupon, of course, the cat wheedles for some. Is A2 milk better for cats than A1, or is the specialised cats’ milk quite different?

  164. I’m new to this. I’m just wondering if cottage cheese is ok

  165. I’m in the process of doing a minor self-study on the affects of bovine milk. My son is 12 months old and exclusively breast-feeding. When I drink milk, he gets minor diarrhoea for a short while. However, the same doesn’t seem to apply to when I eat cheeses. On a personal note, I do feel better with no milk in my diet, and it wasn’t particularly hard to get rid of either. I’m of the mind-set that milk is fine to drink under these circumstances : 1.) It is raw, and from grass-fed, hormone-free animals and 2.) If you have the “urge” to drink it, your body is trying to tell you you need it.

  166. Everybody seems to be arguing about dairy – I think it is something that you have to figure out by trial and error. I went completely grain & dairy free a month ago when I started eating based off the primal blueprint. I’ve had problems with acne that I always assumed would clear up as I’ve gotten older, and it just hasn’t.

    Everything was going great until a few days ago. My skin cleared up really well, and I felt great. I figured the acne must have been from eating the grains, so I started eating sour cream and organic milk. Within 2 days my skin broke out horribly, and I felt like I was getting sick (sore throat & sinus pain).

    No dairy is worth that to me. I dumped that stuff down the drain.

    Also, mirroring what others have said about soy milk – it is horrible. I was a vegetarian for 2 years and ate a lot of soy, and as a male, it was a huge mistake. I’m lucky I didn’t sterilize myself. My testosterone levels bottomed out, and I was put on a testosterone topical ointment as well injections once or twice a month for about a year.

  167. Anecdotal report: I had been drinking raw milk and cream from a local farmer on a daily basis for some time and I have noticed, on ocassion, digestion issues and excessive mucous. I had a recent bout of cold/hay fever and sinus problems, with severe congestion that I dealt with by taking Mucostop (natural enzymes that break down mucous). My sickness knocked me out for several days. It made me more perceptive about what affected my congestion, and I felt that milk made it worse.

    I have stopped drinking milk but continue to take whey protein for post-workout recovery as well as a meal substitute. I feel like it’s less mucous-forming than whole milk. My suspicion is that the fat and the casein are the sources of my issues with milk.

    Also, perhaps I over-consumed it, using it as a meal (breakfast) every day. Since milk is somewhat inflammatory, it needs to be balanced by other inflammation-reducing foods in the diet.

    I have not entirely eliminated dairy but I’ve stopped my daily milk consumption. Ocassionally, if I eat out I will have a dish that contains cheese. Eliminating dairy completely (including whey) is something I would like to try for a few weeks and see if I notice any difference.

  168. Lactose intolerant here. I’m happy to see both sides of the issue discussed though! My husband lived in Kenya, and had some contact with the Maasai. Yes, all the hype is true! They consider plants to be “animal food” and subsist on lean, semi-nomadic beef (and blood), hunting, and milk. Unfortunately, we are taught that “milk does a body good” , and the majority of us(70-80% worldwide) can’t digest it. So even though I *look* like any other European,those hidden Cherokee genes ended my whipped cream eating!

  169. After I got laid off after working away from home and was at home all the time, one of the first things we did was get a dairy goat (nubian, higher fat breed). I already had meat goats and chickens.

    I had been using organic cream only and some cheese as part of my diet, not paleo, mind you, but my living arrangements didn’t allow for it.

    Removing the cow’s dairy from my diet and drinking a lot of goat’s milk and eating a ton of chevre, I lost 25 lbs in less then 3 months, by eating mostly food from my home…chicken, grass fed water buffalo we get locally and vegetables from the garden.

    The milk was/absolutely raw, and I had none of the intestinal problems I would have with cow’s dairy…

    Not all dairy is created equal. I wouldn’t trade my dairy goats for anything in the world right now…they are without a doubt the key to our surviving a long period of unemployment while improving our health dramatically….They are on a diet of whole oats, flaked barley, peanut hsy and my yard. They produce milk at around $2.50/gallon

  170. I love cappuccino’s & Latte’s & I drink 4 or 5 a week. I would love to find a replacement for the half & half so I can continue having them without the guilt. I love the
    paleo way of life. But it would be great to fine a healthier replacement for the half & half . Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated

    1. @June,

      why guilt? if you have no problem with dairy.

      are your coffee drinks home-made?

      maybe you can use heavy (whipping) cream.

      in a coffee shop, i just ask for “heavy whipping cream” with NO sugar.


  171. It would seem that raw milk from organically fed, pastured cows would be an excellent food for those that can handle it–and find it and afford it. My mother told me that when I was first born (and she was of that time and type that did not breast fee) that regular milk made me break out in hives. The doctor told her to give me boiled skim milk. She told me that for the first 18 months of my life I only had boiled skim milk. I am a very healthy 65-year-old. I was six feet tall at age 13, and six feet three inches, my full height, at age 17. Everyone is different. Like Mark says, experiment and find out what works for you.

  172. I’ve been on vacation in Maine and they have a lot of raw milk available. Every time I go to the coop I purchase a jar of heavy raw cream. It’s from grass fed Jersey cows and I LOVE the stuff. I can’t get enough. I’ll make steel cut oats and dump cream all over them. Before I came on vacation here I was lactose intolerant. I couldn’t drink even the slightest milk or else I’d be on the toilet for days. This is pasteurized store purchased milk of course. My ancestors were Nordic and consumed milk on a regular basis from what I’m told. My grandma and her grandma and her grandma etc etc all drank milk (raw) regularly. I’m perfectly fine with consuming it in raw form. Ever think the cancer stuff is linked to the pasteurization?

  173. hello all, im still fairly new to the primal way. I had a question that didnt seem to get answered with this blog and maybe im just reading this wrong. From what mark was saying pasteurized milk is no good, but pasteurized cream and butter are ok? Is that what this is saying? “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.” Little confused here.

  174. I am a fair-haired, light-skinned female. That puts me at risk for developing some sort of osteoporosis in my later years. The only reason my doctor isn’t having me take a calcium supplement is because I typically have an 8 ounce glass of raw whole milk, along with whatever dairy product I might consume during the day. I mean, how did primal woman get her calcium? Or did she face brittle, breaking bones in her old age if she survived that long? I dislike taking supplements, and I shouldn’t have to. My diet should provide everything my body needs. I’ve never been bothered by lactose intolerance, therefore I will probably continue to drink this simple, ready form of protein and fat and more importantly, calcium.

  175. my allergy got a lot better after i switched my diet. but it is still there (mild).

    so i tried dairy free for the 3rd time in my life. & just like the previous two times. i saw no difference my health. i did notice my teeth complained a little more & stained more easily while dairy free.

    also where i live, high quality dairy from local farms are much easier to get than high quality coconut products (which are all imported).

    so i’ll stay with dairy.


  176. I read an interesting report on raw milk from the 1930s showing the effect of pasteurized milk on people who previously had perfect skull and teeth formation that within just a few generations had smaller skulls and very crooked teeth. (I’m sorry, I could not find the article at this moment.)
    Nonetheless, in researching and discovering that pasteurizing destroys the naturally occuring vitamin C in milk astounded me. Another article pointed out that one of the reasons the government restricts drinking raw milk was the poorly done study regarding tuberculosis ( thinking that tuberculosis was caused by drinking raw milk.
    At the time I had my daughters, I did not have all this information. I never even considered raw milk.
    I do not drink milk and have not since I was in elementary school for the most part because any time at school I decided to try plain milk over chocolate, it was invariably spoiled. On the other hand, when I was pregnant with my older daughter, every morning I had to have chocolate milk. (I was teased that she was going to come out asking where the chocolate milk was. )
    I struggled with nursing alone, so I supplemented only to find that she really had a lot of stomach upset, particularly with one brand of formula. I wish I had known about goats’ milk at the time. I would have tried that. As it was, when she was weaned, I tried regular milk, but it upset her stomach terribly. I found out she was allergic to milk, wheat, corn, potatoes, and white fish. All our grocery store had as an option was lactose free or soy milk at that time, so we used soy milk.
    With my youngest daughter, I was able to nurse her exclusively for a year with no other milk source. She was also allergic to milk, we found – and I found that I was also allergic to milk. People tended to ask if I was lactose intolerant, no, I am simply allergic to milk. I also found out I was highly allergic to soy products. By the time the little one was ready for milk, we had almond milk at our local grocery store, so that is what she got until she tested free of allergies to milk. My husband and girls all enjoy milk. The girls are allowed a cup per day.
    For me, I found that I can tolerate cheese and butter just fine with no complications, thankfully, because with all my other food allergies, I would be miserable if I could not enjoy those little things somewhat.
    Reading this article regarding A2 cow’s milk is truly enlightening. As we live on a small farm on which we could have a milk cow and steer, that is something to consider.
    I also appreciate the information on the beneficial or at least non-harmful case for raw milk insofar as cancer is concerned as cancer runs in my husband’s family on both sides. As much as he enjoys milk, this helps make the case for acquiring a milk cow. I do not know of anyone around our area selling A2, grass-fed, raw milk.
    Thanks for the insight from the article, as well as from those who have commented.

  177. I should mention that I am both of Norwegian and Sami(Laplander) descent. Drinking pastured raw Guernsey milk was a game changer for me. Its like no cow milk I’ve ever had before the fats seem to stay emulsified longer creating a much richer and silkier texture. I smell and taste things for a living and have always been able to tell when milk is about to turn before the rest of my family. This doesn’t happen with our Guernsey milk. My wife and I haven’t had a cold or flu now in three years since we started drinking it. My whole company, and most of the people I know in our small town last year got a nasty stomach flu putting every one out for at least 3 days. Not the wife and I we were fine ,and had to interact with people daily who had it. For years I have eczema and since we switched milk it has since disappeared. I can’t say enough great things about the switch. I have a good friend who is very lactose intolerant who came to stay with us recently. After talking with me he decided to try a glass. The next morning I asked him how it had been on his system. He said there was no ill effect and to corroborate that morning he had two glasses with still no ill effect. So I really believe its different for each person.

  178. How in the world do you find the time to make your own yogurt/kefir, etc?? I work full time and have a zillion other things going on. I do good to just cut out grains and sugar. I do buy organic, and I eat a lot of venison that my hubby and son shot. I do Greek yogurt and come cottage cheese both full fat. Have not really been drinking milk but truth be told, I was never crazy about milk anyway, except in cereal. And…since I don’t eat cereal it’s not biggie. I do miss a piping hot bowl of oatmeal once in awhile though, esp. on a cold winter morning!

  179. My family drinks lots of milk, all strong.and farming hard work into 80s andeven 90s.

  180. the casein in human milk is a different molecule than bovine casein, and inmunoreactive peptides in bovine casein NOT present in human milk, can, through the mechanism of molecular mimicry, incite all manner of autoimmune diseases in those —genetically susceptible — One peptide in bovine casein is bioidentical to a peptides in the islet cells of the pancreas, and in the genetically susceptible individual an antibody to the protein will attack the pancreas and cause Type I diabetes.

  181. You can be optimally healthy without or with milk and that’s the bottom line. I don’t feel right drinking milk because of all it’s natural hormones though i do love butter, cheese, cream and yogurt.

  182. We are just embarking on a dairy free diet. My 11 year old daughter is dairy intolerant (the protein not the lactose) so we have taken it out of her diet completely. It’s hard going, but her digestive system (which has been odd since weaning) is now functioning perfectly.

  183. What are your thoughts on eliminating dairy to help a child with multiple ear infections? I have been told do cut out all dairy for my kids since my daughter was going to have her third set of tubes and her adenoids removed before she turned 3 yrs old…

  184. I did my first Whole30 last October and have migrated to Paleo over the past 6 wonderful months. I’ve lost 12 lbs and feel 100% better than I did before I changed my diet. I tried to reintroduce dairy this week and my weight is the same but my gut is protruding. The battle going on in my abdomen is obviously producing lots of gas and bloat. I obviously can’t do dairy. But I never would have been able to identify the issue prior to going primal.

  185. I have been doing paleo for a month and a half now. I used to be the biggest pizza/cheese in all forms addict. Giving up cheese was very hard for me. But now i notice when i even eat the tiniest amount during a cheat meal like on a salad or a taco i feel sick the next day and have digestive tract issues. I even naturally find myself trying to pick out even the smallest amounts and have no problem avoiding pizza like i did at the beginning of my diet. I believe we are all just a little intolerant of dairy but our bodies can adapt to whatever we make it succumb to.

  186. I know it’s an old post but. It’s a darn good topic, very long story ( ending in me being a scientist, very frustrated with doctors, just doing the absolute opposite I was told to see if I could be well again…resulting in primal eating, wellness & 2 babies : ) ) I had a parasite, gut wall got destroyed paleo eating kept parasite. At bay, grains were a no go, but dairy was fine, but as the damage increased….there was a point if I ate a piece of cheese my heart would beat faster, I would get a red rash around my mouth and usual gut misery. There is a univariable point of data for the damaged intestine opening the door theory….

  187. Milk is designed to taste good, as it needs to appeal to infants- a big ask of any whole food. There’s no reason why adults would stop liking milk, and the same goes for any other animal.
    I’m not sold on the benefits of dairy. Or the large amounts of meat that are encouraged on the paleo diet, for that matter. Our ancestors rarely caught animals, but had to survive mainly on seeds, vegetables and fruits. Diets varied from place to place but in general, the “gatherers” provided much more than the “hunters”. These large quantities of seeds and vegetables provided the calcium, along with most of our other essential micronutrients. Adults are not designed to consume milk of any species, this is why most people have somewhat of a reaction, whether they are aware of it or not.

  188. Drinking raw, unpasturized milk is a great way to get bovine tuberculosis. Not everything natural is better. Please be careful, and remember that pasteurization isn’t a plot by evil Big Government to ruin your health, it is a vital public service which prevents disease transmission. I wish you all good health, but please be safe.

  189. Drinking raw, unpasturized milk is a great way to get bovine tuberculosis. Not everything natural is better or even safe. Please be careful, and remember that pasteurization isn’t a plot by Big Government to ruin your health, it is a vital public service which prevents disease transmission.


    I don’t eat any form of dairy due to allergy, so this article didn’t really pertain to me. However, my younger son drank some raw milk while working on a dairy farm a few years back. He got campylobacter and lost 30 pounds in 3 weeks and it could have been worse (see link above). For me, I wonder, why risk it?

  191. A1 Casein appears to be a huge problem for me. My autoimmune system would attack this protein as a foreign invader and I would get the same bloating and gas problems as I would get from gluten. As a result, my exhausted autoimmune system would not take care of other secondary low level infections such as sinus infections, bronchitis, athlete’s foot, jock itch, and dandruff. And to add to the misery, it occasional triggers migraine headaches as well; possibly from my body manufacturing caseomorphin from A1 casein (similar to gluteomorphin being manufactured from wheat gluten).

    1. My eye caught your post….I have the same reactions to protein and casein. I am too scared to try A2 milk..have you tried?
      I have more to tell you – warn you about these auto-immune reactions but I have to do something else right now. keep posting so remember to get back to you.

      1. I have tried goat milk (Meyenberg brand) for the last few months and the various autoimmune related infections such as sinus infections, bronchitis, dandruff, etc. are continuing to lessen as long as I avoid A1 casein (Holstein Cow Milk) as best as possible (i.e. no Holstein yogurt, cheese, milk, buttermilk, and cream products). However, I seem to be ok with grass-fed butter (like Kerrygold). Goat/Sheep (A2 casein?) milk cheese, such as Pecorino Romano, seems to be ok in moderation. I am experimenting with goat milk Kefir, to see how I do with that. The good news is that I have been able to avoid catching the flu that wiped out the office a week ago, which tells me that my immune system is strengthening in the absence of A1 casein. I am eating sardines packed in water (or tomato sauce) and drinking pressure-cooked bone broths for my primary sources of calcium.

    2. Back to your allergies, I am guessing that you are referring to intollerances rather than allergies.
      I have been diagnosed with intollerance to mlk protein, gluten, and a slightly less severe intollerance to all the grains except for corn. In addition to that I react to gases released by mold of all forms so I am intollerant to that. I got hashimotos hypothyroidism when I lived in a moldy place and was told that I have it for life but when I moved to a dryer house it went and I felt great. However, when I moved to another place that had mold hidden under paint, the hashimotos came back and I got another autoimmune illness on top of that – systemic sclerosis. I was told by rheumatologist that there is no cure for the sclerosis but there is. Check out tetracycline therapy for arthritis. There is evidence that arthritis may also be auto-immune.
      Anyway, the point I am making is that if you don’t remove those foods from your diet, your body will have anti-bodies simply looking for something to kill and they are in a hyper alert state and can end up attacking your healthy tissues. Take action before it is too late

      1. I agree, and I am taking action to remove the offending toxic foods (gluten and A1 casein), as best as possible. I have been wheat free since last year, and now cow casein free since August, with the exception of grass-fed butter.

        For corn, I have found that I can handle masa harina (lime treated corn), but not cornmeal. Corn on the cob also appears to be ok if eaten as an occasional treat. Vegetable oils are pretty much off limits for me. Even olive oil can give me stomach upset from time to time. Almost all legumes are off limits for me; especially soy. The exceptions appear to be green beans and frozen peas; maybe Anasazi beans are ok. I haven’t tried them yet. Starchy tubers such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and parsnips are ok. Sprouted brown rice, sprouted brown rice flour, and sprouted oats are ok. For baked goods, I have found that Konjac Root powder is a good substitute for Xanthan gum. Both tapioca starch and corn starch are off limits for me. White rice is a problem; symptoms include plaque buildup between the teeth and blood-sugar spikes, along with an athlete’s foot flare up.

        The good news is that my teeth and gums have also improved, since removing A1 casein from the diet.

  192. Raw dairy products can be extremely dangerous. There’s a lot of nasty stuff that can be lurking inside even the healthiest of organically reared and grass fed livestock.

    This was only brought to my attention when a friend required heart surgery to repair damage caused by Q fever. The source of the initial illness was traced to a short period of unpasteurised milk consumption from a combination of blood work and detective work.

  193. Hello

    I have been consuming organic raw dairy now for over 5 months and I must say I have never felt better in my life. I believe too many people jump on the band wagon saying dairy is evil. Mind you the conventional commercial dairy is a whole other subject. I would not touch that stuff. I buy all my raw organic dairy includes: full fat milk full cottage cheese heavy cream butter strong kefir 1st colostrum
    from an Amish Farm. This is first rate of THE highest quality. I think if people were more open minded and put down the old school thinking of dairy and tried it from a local organic farm in its pure raw state they would firmly see and taste this goodness. The bigger the myth the easier it is to exploit and jump in. Please do your research on raw dairy and you will see why there is such an explosive movement for people getting into it. Now I must get to my fully loaded raw dairy shake : milk heavy cream home made raw coconut cream raw egg raw kefir 1st colostrum lime coconut flakes unheated honey a Lil fruit. Oh and the best thing about including raw dairy YOU LEAN OUT !! Yup that’s right- just eat clean and watch the magic happen

  194. I myself practice Intermitent fasting warrior diet style doing 20hr fast with 1 meal a day after i do movnat i like 1 glass of whole organic milk from grass fed cows 🙂

  195. Mark, you say that goat milk is structurally and nutritionally more like human milk… I don’t understand that at all. From my own research, trying to find some justification for my own love of goat milk, I found that both goat and cow milk have more protein than human milk, and that goat milk has more fat than cow milk, both of which have more fat than human milk.
    The happiest facts that I know about goat milk are:
    1) that it has less lactose than either cow’s milk or human. Human milk has the most lactose of the 3, and the least fat. This explains the thin appearance of human milk, and its incredible sweetness. I will attest to these both personally, as I expressed milk for both my babies for several months when I went back to work…
    2) that goat’s milk has smaller fat globules in its structure, which tends to make it more digestible.
    I think I have also seen information to the effect that humans have raised goats and sheep for longer than cattle… which would argue for better tolerance.

  196. dairy as a source of calcium is questionable also. I read somwhere that countries with the highest dairy consumption also have the highest arhritis rates.

  197. If you come from European (Caucasian) stock, you NEED dairy. Period.

  198. My Great Experiment Correlating Sharp Prostate Pains While Consuming Dairy.

    Just wanted to mention my grandfather died of prostate cancer and I believe I have the same genetic predisposition because when I consume a lb of pastured Holstein butter I get random sharp pains in my prostate area. I get these sharp pains when I eat much less quantitites of Holstein grain fed butter as well.
    And these sharp pains also happen on the days that I consume a lot of carbs (while eating high fat, med protein) particularly in the form of medjool dates, bananas and walmart brand almond butter. And when I give up dairy or keep my carbs down the random prostate sharp pains go away. This was a great discovery for me.

    I just want to add another main point Cordain is against the consumption of dairy is because it stimulates the endocrine system and promotes prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women. Just too many hormones in the milk.

    Here is an interesting article written by a Harvard Scientist on the relation of prostate and breast cancer with dairy consumption.

  199. As an ethical vegetarian (refuse to eat something I couldn’t kill myself), I count on dairy fat for much of my fat needs. Not a fan of drinking the liquid stuff, but butter, ghee, cheese, sour cream, yogurt… gimme.

  200. Just saw Mark Sisson of Dr Oz. I haven’t watched Dr Oz in a while & turned it on while cooking. I’ve def been doing the Paleo wrong. Veggies have not been the majority of my plate, but will be transitioning to that now! I also wonder about GOAT Yogurt & if it benefits people who were never breast fed, so they were never given those vital immune protection benefits. I’m trying to heal my Leaky Gut, so in addition to chicken broth, soup, i added Goat yogurt. It seems to agree with me and no digestive issues, but i cannot tolerate ANY cow dairy whatsoever. So i avoid cow dairy even organic. I haven’t had the nerve to try pasture grass-fed raised yet. I don’t plan on it, since Goat is doing fine. I will eliminate Goat yogurt eventually, to see if I notice any change. ~~Thanks for spreading word about Anti-inflammatory Paleo!

  201. The sale of raw milk is illegal in many states, including mine. Any suggestions? Can I order it from somewhere?

  202. I agree with all of this. Would you have links to any available studies you used for this articles?


  203. The comments were more intertaining then the article… Ha ha ha I just wanna say in my personal opinion it has more to do with genetics. My grandpa is Hungarian we eat sour cream, cheese and yogurt on everything. I went vegan for a while and was covered with eczema, the dermatologist felt very strongly that I needed to add dairy back into my diet, gave me à long speech about genetics and how certain cultures developed an ability to actually digest certain elements of dairy that others couldn’t and that we needed the dairy for that reason. I thought he was fun of bull, however I added the dairy back and my skin issues almost completely mwent away. I’ve been eating kinda paleo kinda primal, I’ve kept Greek yogurt as a big part of my diet in hopes of preventing anymore skin issues other then what’s normal for me. Hopefully getting rid of yeast, and grains will help my issues go away 100%.

  204. It’s funny that I found this article. My system absolutely cannot handle milk; however, I can tolerate Greek yogurt without any problems. 🙂

  205. Hi Mark,

    Your fair, practical perspective on human nutrition is quite refreshing. And your wealth of knowledge is evident in this post. Keep up the great work!

    I have a question regarding my own diet plan. After committing to a gluten-free lifestyle a little over a month ago, organic, pasteurized and homogenized whole milk that I consume twice a week at about 1/4-1/3 of a glass creates no digestion issues. However, when I consume unhomogenized, pasteurized milk or cream just once a week the leaky gut symptoms arise. Would you advise I avoid milk and cream products altogether? (I have no such issues with cultured dairy.)

    Thank you in advance for your time.


  206. So as stated above: “As Chris Masterjohn points out, milk proteins mostly appear harmful only when separated from their natural fat.” – wouldn’t this imply protein powders are cancerous?

    1. I would add a fat source when eating them and make sure my vitamin A status was good. I would not trust vegan sources of Vitamin A that is the non retinol ones which are supplement manufactures are allowed to call Vitamin A legally, which of course not necessarily moral.

      1. I typically use whole milk for the liquid portion of my protein shakes, add in some frozen fruit and coconut along with pure stevia, not the extract.

  207. And what about double and triple fat cheeses? Aren’t they “better” than full fat?

  208. I added plain greek yogurt to my breakfast in the morning, with a banana. I noticed after a few days that I would feel warm and sweaty (kinda like the hot flashes that women get), I feel more anxiety too, and my sex drive has been very low lately. While my stomach is fine, I’m wondering if the dairy is causing these issues?

    I love nuts, and used to eat a handful of roasted nuts with a banana for breakfast….but since I have IBS the nuts mess with my stomach after a few days. So I’m kinda stuck on breakfast foods, for now its just a banana.

  209. What about alpha beto globulin? I’ve read that it could bring some intolerance and allergies.

  210. To be clear, cashew milk, cottage cheese, cream cheese, Swiss cheese, are all out and only considered a once in awhile treat? Even on a grass fed burger, salad, etc?

  211. I consume a good amount of dairy, typically cultured (filmjolk, yogurt, cheese). I’m primarily of Scandinavian descent, and most of my research indicates that Scandinavian people not only have the highest rates of lactose tolerance in the world, but also consume the most dairy in the world per capita. These two go hand-in-hand I’m sure. I’ve read research that suggested that the high rate of Scandinavian lactose tolerance is at least partially responsible for the successful northward migration of (what later became) Scandinavian people. For these reasons, I’m reasonably confident that my body can successfully handle dairy, and I didn’t notice any changes when I cut it out for a while some years ago. I agree with the recommendations made here, though: full fat, organic, fermented.

  212. Very interesting reading……Well, I am now 72….always exercised hard…running, swimming laps, dancing, weights….lots of fruit and vegees…..never go to the doctor……have always consumed a lot of Organic grass fed whole milk, butter, ice-cream/yogurt/half/half for my coffee…it never seemed to bother me……but, the more I read about the animals I now have cut out dairy………even though the organic farms “supposedly” are very humane and cows are grass fed and pasture raised etc……even so, to be hooked up to a machine and milked every day its whole life …doesn’t sit well in my mind anymore……as far as not good for me well that is the secondary factor….I can get my nourishment for calcium and vitamin D and protein from other sources….I don’t eat beef or pork a little organic chicken/wild caught fish… and I take a lot of vitamins ……

  213. I have drank milk all my life. A few months ago I decided to try and substitute with coconut milk. I want a month or so with no whole cows milk, but unsweetened coconut instead and only a little butter here and there. I started noticing that my fingernails were starting to chip and peel apart when all my life I’ve had the strongest, thickest nails. So there must be something in whole cows milk that isn’t in coconut milk that makes my nails stronger. I didnt notice any other differences.

  214. caseine and calcium of dairy products , both inhibit iron absorption.

  215. Hi Mark! Thank you for all your quality work over the years. Is there a mystery 4th offending chemical in dairy? I have issues even with ghee….. so I’m assuming the culprit is neither lactose whey nor casein? I have delayed onset of muscle stiffness, bloating, and overall a very uncomfortable feeling in my gut that’s hard to put into words, that lasts a few days. Any idea what the issue could be? Thanks so much.

  216. Grey area indeed!
    I have drunk cow milk since i was a baby (im 38 now), i drink all types of milk: raw, pasteurizef or ultrapasteurized, but always full fat from cattle kept in pasture 365 days a year. I have drunk almost 1L of milk per day since i was 10yo. Plain or with cocoa when i was younger and with coffee or as homemade kefir these days. I have tried a month without milk 4 years ago when i turned full primal (i was never a regular carbs fan so it was easy), and i noticed no difference. I also eat cheese and butter everyday. I have never had a single complain except some bursitis when i run too much. Doubt that is dairy related… my only complain is yogurts. I can eat the greek type fine but the normal ones feel like acid bombs in my stomach, go figure…
    I also do some fasting now and then and run 9h ultra trails on a breakfast of whole milk alone. (I cant eat wile running and only drink black tea, no sugar). So i doubt i have any insulin issues… all in all, i believe dairy is really a genetic thing? I prob have some mongol or other herder people genes. My dad is 68 and also eats tons of butter, some cheese and milk with his coffee. Never heard him complain of gut nor joint pain…