Whether or not you can include dairy as part of your Paleo lifestyle depends on one thing above all: your tolerance for dairy. Obviously, if you can’t digest lactose or casein, then you should probably avoid those things. Even if you don’t notice any stomach issues, many people have realized that dairy causes other problems for them, whether that means mood swings, acne, or rheumatoid arthritis. So, before deciding whether you can have dairy, we recommend eliminating it from your diet for at least a month or two, then slowly reintroducing to note how it makes you feel.
Good, Better, Best
Not all dairy is created equal. Butter is pretty universally recognized as being Paleo-friendly because it’s a healthy source of animal fat. Milk is on the other end of the spectrum, consisting of mostly carbs. Even full-fat milk can give some people a bit of a sugar rush, so just be aware of how you feel after consuming it. Cheese and yogurt tend to fall in the middle, although fermented dairy provides beneficial probiotics.
Health Benefits of Dairy
If you do choose to include dairy in your diet, you’re always better of with raw, organic, grass-fed dairy than the conventional stuff. If you can’t always get your hands on it, don’t sweat it. Dairy is still a great source of many micronutrients, so if you can handle it without a problem, go for it. When you get right down to it, it’s a whole food and Paleo is all about including as many whole foods in your diet as possible.
Mark Sisson tackles 10 common arguments against dairy in this post.