CHEESE - Yes or No?

by 153 · September 25, 2013 at 4:56 AM

I'm confused. There is so much conflicting information on this one. Recently gone Paleo and missing cheese more than anything. A good percentage of sites say you can actually include it on your diet yet there are more that say it's a no go zone. If someone can clear this one up for me once and for all I'd be eternally grateful. More so if the answer is Yes!

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23 Replies

18619 · May 19, 2011 at 3:01 AM

The awesome thing about Paleo eating is that you can set many of the guidelines yourself based on what works best for your body.

Dairy is entirely up to you. Butter and heavy cream are pretty routinely accepted as Paleo. In regards to cheese, harder cheese and raw milk cheese are your best options, but it's all subject to how your body reacts to them.

Your best bet is to elimiate dairy for 30 days, then reintroduce and see if you notice any changes.

851 · May 19, 2011 at 3:11 AM

there is such a wide spectrum of cheese, that in my opinion you cant make a black or white decision. Grass fed raw milk cheese and the processed crap on your mcdonalds cheeseburger are so completely unrelated. If you do well with dairy, I don't see why a good quality raw milk cheese isn't acceptable.

For me, I find that cheese provides a texture and taste that is unlike any other substitute. So its better for me to eat cheese and stay strict paleo with everything else, than to deprive myself of cheese and end up binging. Particularly when its grass fed and raw, I love cheese.. especially in my omellettes. Not to mention, cheese can be a good source of vitamin k2

2979 · May 19, 2011 at 5:10 AM

I'm mixed on it. I'm not intolerant but for me it's a binge food (though still better than the old foods). I'm drawn to the 'fresh' cheeses but probably because those have the most sugar (lactose) still - if I buy a pound it's usually gone in a day or less!

My advice is, if it's an addictive 'trigger' food, find another option (eggs?) but if it's something you're just concerned about health-wise and don't have problems with limits, then I'd say go ahead assuming no other adverse reactions.

By the way, an excellent alternative is kefir - almost all the lactose is consumed in the fermentation, and if it's fresh it can be very healthy. I've been making my own (VERY easy - ask if you want to try) - it's noticeably 'alive' and I have no problems with limits or reactions.

18236 · June 28, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Mmmmmm. Cheese! I eat it all the time.

Kerrygold Dubliner

Coastal Aged Cheddar

Trader Joes Grass Fed Extra Sharp Cheddar

Parmigiano-Reggiano (my absolute favorite)

Barber Aged Cheddar

Jalapeno or "Pepperjack"

Monterey Jack

Cheese is one of the most delicious foods ever, and I consider it a whole, nutritious food.

3978 · May 19, 2011 at 3:30 AM

There is no "once and for all" yet, and there may never be. People who have issues with lactose (like me) often do just fine with harder cheeses. Remember, despite what some might preach, this isn't about a dogma which preaches some magic formula for everyone (which isn't realistic, and you only need to take a look at evolution and where us h. sapiens have been - nearly all over the globe, with different seasons - to see that we can thrive under many conditions and seasonalities) but about what works for each individual and how well they feel. I include cheeses in my meals, as well as fermented/cultured dairy products like strained yogurt. I tend to avoid whey, which, while is high protein, is also high in lactose in many forms. Whey aggravates my fibromyalgia more than almost anything I have so far identified, but others love it for muscle building, so again, I go back to my belief that every person needs to figure out what is right for their own self.

No magic bullets.

15261 · June 28, 2011 at 1:43 PM

A diet that forces me to give up cheese and red wine would be very, vary hard for me to keep. Call it a cheat if you want, but these are two of my dearest culinary pleasures, and I can't really be convinced that they're that bad for me.

From a nutrition perspective, cheese is usually about 60-80% fat and most of the rest is protein, and doesn't have much of the things in it that causes people problems with dairy such as lactose. I guess the biggest issue is casein, which I think some people are sensitive to, but many aren't.

Some people trying to lose weight report better results when giving up all cheese. Cheese is my go-to snack when I'm hungry and want to have just a little something, a couple of bites of cheese is very satisfying to me and can keep my hunger away for hours.

1776 · May 19, 2011 at 5:51 AM

in addition, i would question the cheese craving and be specific: do you crave cheese at certain times of the month? during stressful episodes of work? do you crave the saltiness or the creaminess? are you lacking fat and cheese fills that void? are you lacking protein and does cheese fill that void?

i find cheese to be a strange substance that i don't need but i WANT, and that want limits my free will and that's bad imo. cravings are signals about something.

514 · May 19, 2011 at 5:44 AM

And don't forget that you might react differently to goat or sheep cheese/yoghurt than cheese from cows - experiment a bit.

10 · June 28, 2011 at 1:05 PM

I think the absence of cream, cheese, and other low carb diary products are pretty large flaws in the Paleo diet. I would guess there will be a softening on the use of these foods in the future by the Paleo community.

24012 · May 19, 2011 at 3:52 AM

I recently went dairy free for about 6 weeks. It was painful. I do love cheese. I didn't realize how much until I didn't have it any more. Anyway, I saw no difference and felt no difference being off of it so as of today I am back on the cheese wagon. I'm gnawing on a big hunk of it right now. My belly is very happy. I am going to stay off cream and soft cheese but hard/aged cheese and I are back together again.

I agree with all the others that its your call to make. If you aren't achieving your goals then it's something to look at and maybe experiment with getting rid of in order to get to where you want to go. For now have it and enjoy.

1034 · May 19, 2011 at 3:06 AM

I eat cheese but I stick to either grass fed (Kerrygold) or raw milk. So, yes.

0 · September 24, 2013 at 2:24 PM

I spent a few fruitless months living low carb and paleo except for cheese and cream though nuts too, and it was only when I gave them up that the last few pounds have started dropping off, so I reckon it depends whether you are trying to lose weight or not, because I did not gain weight when I added cheese and cream to my paleo diet but I could not lose any weight at all! I definitely feel much better without them, never crave anything and if anything I have lost interest in food generally apart from two or three fresh paleo meals a day, this after many many years of constant eating, at my heaviest 308 lbs at 6 ft 1. Dairy is a funny one, if you're not allergic then it can be such a pleasure, but without it the pleasure is found elsewhere and food ceases to be anything other than functional. Leaving plenty of space in your life for other things!

0 · September 24, 2013 at 11:52 AM

The best choice of cheese is aged cheddar from everything I've read. I have recently decided to go paleo from atkins that I've been off and on since the 70's and never have had a problem with cheese. The reason I switched is I wanted a little more variety in my choices of fruit.

10439 · September 04, 2013 at 6:44 PM

In the words of the venerable Rick Astley, "We're no strangers to love... You know the rules and so do I." That rule is do not get between my cheese and I.

I particularly love Bellavitano these days, also love any nice spicy jack cheese (habanero/jalapeno, whatever pepper they want to put in there), soft oozy Brie and anything ultra-aged and sharp.

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15 · September 04, 2013 at 6:31 PM

Dairy is not a problem for me, but grains, legumes, and sugar are problematic. I am currently on 30 days of strict eating (Whole30), but other than those times, I do have high quality cheese from a local cheese shop once in a while. It's a good pairing with fruit. I eat a lot less cheese than I did before I realized what worked for my body food-wise.

0 · August 07, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Hi today is my first day on paleo I'm a college student live at home. WW didn't work for me. I bought the book and my mother said she would buy ingredients as long as I have a recipe. Should I give up cheese the book says to, but read conflicting responses for first timers?

1142 · August 06, 2013 at 8:09 PM

It really isn't good for me. Makes my breasts feel strange. I am sure if I have it a lot it would increase my breast cancer risk. It is pretty manufactured. Does not grow on trees etc so I now avoid it. The only dairy I have is some butter sometimes.

962 · August 06, 2013 at 7:23 PM

I eat parmesan, Kerrygold butter, and homemade yogurt. I have access some time to sheep cheese from someone who has a flock, but I note that hard sheep cheese stuffs my nose. Parmesan (it must be the expensive type with "Parmigiano Reggiano" etched on the rind) is an interesting case. It is a hard cheese, which helps. By italian law the cows can be fed only fresh grass, hay or silage (no grains), and the milk must be raw. The measured O6/O3 is about 4/1, not great but within range and a lot better than regular cheeses. I think good parmesan, and only good parmesan amongst supermarket cheeses, is paleo.

0 · August 06, 2013 at 6:27 PM

I have gone without cheese for several weeks (missed it a lot) and now that I am committed to paleo, I find I don't eat as much cheese as I did before, but it is still hard to give it up entirely. I agree with those who say stick to hard cheeses and raw milk products. With me, a little cheese goes a long way. Moderation is everything!

3608 · December 22, 2011 at 7:07 PM

Food Quality, and n=1 experimentation.

688 · May 19, 2011 at 4:14 AM

No cheese...at least for me. I love the taste but it just isn't worth the discomfort that comes along with lactose intolerance. Like someone else suggested - go dairy free for a month and reintroduce it back into you diet. It might not affect you :)

20 · May 19, 2011 at 3:54 AM

Make your chesse at home, from whole milk, that's all and you can make its taste however you want. http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_e/E-216.pdf

275 · May 19, 2011 at 3:31 AM

Cheese is my weakness through this paleo-journey... great question!! and thankful for the answers ;0)

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