By Diana Hsieh
For the whole month of September, I ate no dairy whatsoever. No milk, no kefir, no cream, no butter, no cheese, no yogurt. I only slipped up once with some cheese, very early in the month.
My purpose was to test a more strict paleo diet. I know that many people have problems with dairy, and those problems only become apparent after removing it from the diet for some weeks, then re-introducing it.
I didn't notice any difference during my dairy-free September, so I began eating dairy again in early October. I started when I was visiting my parents' last weekend. For those few days, I didn't just eat a bit of dairy: I chowed down on it. I had cream in my tea. I ate a tub of greek yogurt. I had butter on my vegetables. And I ate more cheese than reasonable.
Can you guess what happened?
NOTHING! I experienced zero ill effects. I didn't even feel any different. Heck, I even came back from the four-day trip a pound lighter.
Loren Cordain might be right that dairy has pernicious effects on the human body. Moreover, clearly many people don't tolerate dairy and they ought to eliminate it from their diet. Yet I've seen no evidence of that in my own case -- in contrast to the major benefits that I've experienced from eliminating grains, sugars, and modern vegetable oils from my diet. Hence, I plan to continue eating dairy in limited quantities.
My dairy consumption will largely consist of cream in various forms -- particularly cream in my tea and in my scrambled eggs. (That's what I missed most in my experiment. Coconut milk works surprisingly well in scrambled eggs, but it's not quite the same.) I'll cook with butter on occasion too, in addition to bacon grease and coconut oil. And I'll eat some cheese, but I won't make it a staple.
I've given up my remaining 1/2 gallon per week cowshare, as I'm just not consuming enough milk (or rather, kefir) to make the hassle worthwhile. Right now, I have four gallons of kefir in the frige to drink at my leisure. After that's gone, I can make more from a local source of minimally pasteurized goat milk, if I want to do that.
Overall, I'm glad that I did the experiment, but I'm even more glad to be able to eat dairy again!