So is cheese paleo? Is there paleo cheese substitute?
Dairy is a very heavy grey area on the paleo diet; strict adherents forbid it completely whereas moderate followers make concessions for occasional allowances. If any, butter and aged cheeses may make an appearance on the paleo menu but in extreme moderation.
As far as true paleo goes, dairy has no place on the diet. This means no drinking milk, consuming milk products or indulging in the goodness of any dairy. However, even by paleo gurus, it has come to be understood that dairy can have beneficial effects too.
This is especially true when fermented dairy like yogurt, kefir and some cheeses can contribute to introducing friendly bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. These beneficial bacteria help in promoting a healthy internal environment inside the digestive tract and can be useful in combating other intrusive agents. Along with the bacteria, dairy that has been fermented helps in consuming most sugars.
At the same time, lactose, the primary sugar found in milk, is not always tolerated well by many people. Another component known as the milk protein casein, also presents problems as its intolerance can often lead to milk related allergies in people.
Dairy also offers a huge number of carbs with its consumption and is known to be highly insulin promoting.
Fermented dairy products like hard cheese along with yogurt and kefir are devoid of lactose due to the process of fermentation. As such, these options can be considered as better alternatives for those who cannot tolerate lactose well. In today’s market dairy has been subjected to many hormones and growth factors that have been shown to lead to a number of health complications.
In all fairness, if dairy must be consumed, then it is recommended that it is taken in its raw form. This option presents dairy with all its nutritional properties without any of the effects of additives and preservatives. If the product is derived from pasture raised, grass fed animals then the benefits multiply manifold.
Therefore, finding its place on the paleo menu, organic hard cheese can be used by some followers of the diet but keeping moderation in mind.