“Should I be concerned about dairy?”

Dairy can be a pretty controversial issue out “there”. You know…the media, FB, your circles of friends… It’s one of those things I kind of feel that people either LOVE or HATE. And if they are on one of those sides, they of course think you should be too!

Well, I’m in the middle.

Here’s the thing: dairy can be great, and it can be not so great. It really just depends on who is having the dairy. On the other end, some people find their values tell you whether it’s wrong or right. You guys…we are NOT going to get into the values thing here. What you THINK about dairy is your biz. Seriously. I don’t need to know {because I don’t like getting into debates about this stuff}. I am here to chat about what our bodies think about dairy.

So, science. If we’re not looking at the science, we’re looking in the wrong place {again…strictly talking about our bodies!}. Before I ever went keto I was following a paleo protocol. HOWEVER, I included dairy in my daily menu. Some hardcore paleo people would get pretty red in the face over that one. I wasn’t a hardcore paleo person I guess. I was looking at it from the perspective of what my body does and doesn’t do okay with. I have done a lot of research leading up to my relationship with paleo that brought it to my attention that FULL FAT dairy can be extremely beneficial. {If you’d like to read a little science behind this I recommend you check out Chris Kresser’s article on the matter. And really…go read it regardless. I’m tellin’ you…it’s worth the 5 or 10 minutes it will take out of your day. I always say it’s good to get info from different perspectives, especially the really sciency ones. You’re not being honest with yourself if you aren’t looking at good research.}

So, for me, it was big letting go of the fat-free/low-fat dairy products and going full-fat. That was what happened in my diet as I went from standard American faire {albeit FAR more healthy than the typical American diet} to paleo as far as dairy goes. My body does fine with dairy. That is not the case with everyone.

Let’s dive in a little:

Dairy, is it a good choice or bad choice for YOU in particular? How do you know? Honestly, most people who have big reactions to it know. From what I have read and heard, it can be fairly uncomfortable. We’re talking gastrointestinal distress of varying degrees. No fun at all.

So that’s the obvious stuff. But what about a less obvious issue?

Why are some people sensitive and some not and why the varying degrees? Well way back when {I’m talking WAY back when} humans did not produce the enzyme lactase needed in order to be able to consume and digest the lactose in milk. Raw milk naturally contains lactase. However, most of us drink pasteurized milk which does not contain lactase. See the problem? Nowadays certain percentages of people in different cultures DO produce lactase, and some don’t. And that’s why some are sensitive and others aren’t. So, some people turn to raw milk and that’s totally a personal decision.

But, there’s more…

If you have issues in your gut that need healing, you will very likely still be sensitive regardless of lactase. In addition, dairy could add to any inflammation in your body, because your gut is not able to process things correctly. In fact, if you have leaky gut going on, your body is not doing the job it needs to do in terms of keeping certain things out of your blood stream and letting the right things in. Even seemingly good things in the wrong places will cause issues.

What does this look like in terms of symptoms? Joint issues and acne are two of the main signs that there could be a problem. However, don’t be too quick to blame everything on the dairy in your diet. If you heal underlying issues with your but biome and/or leaky gut, you could very well be able to handle dairy just fine. If your gut is sick, essentially, and not able to do the job it should, your body will have far less tolerance for any number of foods.

What do you do? It can help to get rid of the allergen for the time being to give your system a break while you take appropriate measure to heal it. Often times when there is one allergen, there are many others because the body is just in crisis mode in general. It is a matter of getting the gut biome back to a healthy level as well as healing leaky gut. Some quick tips without going to deep into this issue…but some things to start with:

Look at your environmental toxins: if you are using products with chemicals, stop. There are far too many alternatives these days to keep doing this to yourself. This alone does an awesome job of causing leaky gut and killing your microbiome. Look for natural, chemical, dye and fragrance free products. You can also do A LOT with essential oils in replacing these things.

If you have chronic stress in your life, you need to make some serious changes. Way too busy, relationship issues, financial stress, job stress…these things break our bodies down and will lead to leaky gut easily and a whole bunch of inflammation in the body.

If you are gluten intolerant but keep gluten in your diet, you are wrecking your gut! Do yourself a favor and stop!! It can be hard, but once you start experiencing the benefits of NOT abusing your body like that, it will be much easier!

If you regularly eat processed foods with artificial ingredients and oils such as canola & soy…again: STOP! Your gut does NOT like this!

So there are a few tips. This is a HUGE subject. In the end, if you know your body does not react poorly to dairy, having it or not having it is entirely up to you! And if you aren’t sure if it does anything negative to your body and yet you are suspicious: remove it for 4 weeks and take note of those symptoms. You can try adding it back in later and you will notice right away if those symptoms return. A little advice: if there are other things you are wanting to test by taking them out of your diet: WAIT! Do one thing at a time, otherwise you won’t know what was causing the problem and what you can actually tolerate.

Here’s to good health!






I want to hear what YOU think!

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