Posted by: fireandstone | March 10, 2010

Milk – She’s A Homewrecking Harlot

For my first for-realsies post, I’m tackling the divisive subject of the inclusion of dairy in the diets of people that otherwise claim to eat/live Paleo. There is a new class of Paleo offshoot movements that have given the green light to the substance that was so vigorously defamed by Loren Cordain. To be sure, these people aren’t claiming that the product of cow lactation should be the cornerstone of a well conceived diet (mammarianism?), but that in the end, it’s a nutritious food source for many well-adapted people and there just isn’t strong enough evidence to conclude that it has debilitating effects on people that don’t have dairy specific allergies. It’s a source of great humor in my life to see dairy treated like the bogeyman by the adherents of the old guard, considering the kinds of things that actually *have* ended up the authoritative list of blessed foods. Here are some of my observations about the whole sordid mess:

  • Is Dairy Paleo? – That depends on your perspective. On the one hand, milk has only been on the adult human menu for as long as the pastoral arts, so just a bit longer than agriculture, and that’s definitely not Paleo time baby. On the other hand, we’ve been guzzling mammary juice down our infant gullets for as long as we’ve been mammals (hey, it’s the definition), and that’s not just the Paleo era, but also all the ones that came before it, all the way back to the Triassic. That’s like milk made it all the way across other side of the Paleo checkers board and got kinged. So what’s my point? Dairy may not fit the simple and intuitive definition of Paleo to the T, but it’s definitely not some alien and unnatural foodstuff from beyond the gates of dietary doom.
  • Dairy proteins are known allergens, ergo it’s not natural – Eggs are allergens too. So are shellfish. And so is everything else. That doesn’t make milk evil, it’s just unfortunate for people that allergic to it.
  • Substituting coconut fat for dairy fat in every single damn thing you eat – I have a couple of points to make about this and it shouldn’t require too much argumentation to get across. 1) Just because some humans somewhere on Earth ate some coconuts sometime during some time within the Paleo time frame doesn’t mean that *your* ancestors did. Coconuts just aren’t present over much of the early human migration range. There’s a reason why coconuts are considered exotic tropical island treats. 2) Butterfat is just another form of animal fat, made directly inside of an actual animal’s body. If you think that the fat extract of 100 coconuts in a can or a squeeze tube is more natural for human consumption than some butter, then you’re paying too much attention to the letter of Paleo and missing entirely the giant elephant that is its spirit standing right next to it, stamping its feet and trumpeting it guts out.


  1. I eat dairy occasionally but I might eliminate it from my diet in the future because of its higher glycemic load. I think people who are eating the standard American diet could benefit more from eliminating grains and sugar. Nice post.

  2. I eat a super low carb, often very close to *no* carb, diet at all times, so I pretty much stick to the fat fraction of milk (butter, cream etc) or use cheese as a garnish.

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