Just because something wasn’t eaten in the paleolithic era does not automatically make it unhealthy. Truth be told, a lot of us paleo peeps eat a lot of foods that were not eaten in the paleolithic era, though could have been reasonably obtained in smaller quantities, like almond flour, coconut milk, kelp noodles, etc. Just because it was not eaten during this time period is not a good enough reason to not consume dairy. Here are some common things I hear about dairy:
We are the only animal to consume the milk of another animal.
We are the only animal to consume milk after infancy.
We are also the only animal to drive and perform surgeries, should we stop doing that as well?
But Isn’t Dairy Hard To Digest?
Pasteurized dairy is indeed harder to digest. The pasteurization process destroys beneficial enzymes, bacteria and lactase. Lactase is the enzyme that is necessary to break down milk sugar. People who are lactose intolerant, have dairy allergies or are just sensitive to dairy, usually are unable to produce this enzyme. This is why people who are lactose intolerant are often able to digest raw dairy, because the lactase has not been destroyed by pasteurization.
Casein is the primary protein in milk and some opponents of dairy claim it’s hard to digest. Mind you, casein is the primary protein in breast milk as well. Casein is only hard to digest if you have gut dysbiosis. Let me reiterate that point: dairy (casein in particular) is not the problem, the problem is your gut. If a person cannot digest casein, that person should heal their gut. The gut can be healed by using the Gut and Psychology Syndrome. You can read about how Cara of Health, Home & Happiness healed her dairy allergy in just six weeks by implementing the GAPS protocol.
There are people who have a genuine lactose intolerance because they have not evolved to do so, their ancestors did not eat dairy. This is particularly common in Asian races, dairy is still not a staple in their diets.
Of course, raw dairy must come from healthy, happy, grass-fed cows. If the cows are unhealthy, the milk will be unhealthy, and it would be dangerous to drink. Raw dairy from grass-fed cows is a perfectly healthy food, full of vitamins, minerals, beneficial enzymes and friendly bacteria.
Why You Should Eat Dairy
Aside from the fact that cheese is one of the tastiest foods ever, dairy has a lot going for it. Grass-fed, raw, full-fat dairy is generally high in
- healthy saturated fats
- omega-3 fatty acids
- vitamins A, E and D
- vitamin K2 (particularly in gouda)
- an easily absorbable form of calcium
Dairy has also been proven to reduce allergies and asthma in children as well as provide a healthy dose of probiotics (again, only in raw dairy). From Mark McAfee, owner of CEO of Organic Pastures,
To study this issue further, Organic Pastures contracted with BSK labs in Fresno to perform multiple challenge and recovery tests on our raw milk and raw colostrum. When 7 logs (10 million counts) of pathogens were added to one-milliliter samples of organic raw milk they would not grow. In fact they died off. The salmonella was so badly out-competed that it could not be found less than 24 hours later. The listeria drop was less dramatic and was similiar to the E. Coli O157:H7 samples that were studied, but they also did not grow and declined substantially over time.
The lab concluded: “. . . organic raw milk and colostrum do not appear to support the growth of pathogens. . .”
This begs the bigger question. What is it that causes raw milk to kill pathogens? Just in the last 24 months, the FDA has approved lactoferrin as an approved method of treatment for pathogen reduction in beef slaughter plants. Raw milk naturally has levels of this enzyme-based pathogen killer. Pasteurization inactivates this and other enzymes that kill pathogens. These enzymes include lactoferrin, xanthine oxidase, lactoperoxidase, lysozyme and nisin. There are other interrelated enzymes and beneficial bacteria that also act on the pathogens to inhibit their growth. All of these systems are destroyed by pasteurization. It is no wonder that dairy plants that pasteurize must be kept absolutely spotless. There are no remaining safety systems in the processed milk.
Raw dairy from healthy animals is full of beneficial enzymes, bacteria, vitamins and minerals. So go eat some cheese.