Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Best Paleo Granola Ever

The Best Paleo Granola Ever
Granola can be healthy. Mostly. The granola I made and am posting about here falls somewhere in between healthy and dessert-like. I wouldn't eat it every day, but in moderation I think it's fine. Or when you're hiking.

This granola came in two parts. The first batch I made according to a wonderful recipe from Nom Nom Paleo, you can find it here. Michelle Tam rocks some seriously good food -- like that Tropical Paleo Granola. It rocks. I didn't have any macadamia nuts and so I ended up using the same volume or so of any mix of what I had on hand: (soaked/dehydrated) almonds, cashews, walnuts, hulled sunflower seeds, and pecans.

Step one is make Nom Nom Paleo's Tropical Paleo Granola. If you want to make it just like I did, make sure you soak/dehydrate your nuts/seeds overnight (7-10 hours) and then dehydrate them for 10-14 hours or so. I could get more advanced but usually don't.
Nuts/seeds ready to soak overnight. I use 1-2 tbsp of sea salt and cover the nuts with filtered water. I usually let them soak overnight and then rinse them well and put them in the dehydrator in the morning. When I come home from my day in the evening I'm always happy to have a warm bowl of nuts/honey before I jar up my nuts and put them in the fridge.
Prepping for Nom Nom Paleo's Tropical Paleo Granola =).
The wet ingredients ready to process. This mix smelled and tasted delicious.
Nice and processed =). Thank you Michelle Tam and Nom Nom Paleo! This stuff rocks...
My dry ingredient mix. A bit different than Michelle's. Also, I unintentionally used a lot of whole nuts in this mix. It ended up working well because I mixed this granola with another batch I made of my own granola; If you are just making Nom Nom Paleo's, I would chop up the nuts a bit more.
Adding the wet mix onto the dry mix. The union of awesomeness!
Baking at 250 degrees F, turning/mixing every 20 minutes for almost 2 hours.
The final product of Nom Nom Paleo's Tropical Granola. I vote yes please =). The unlisted next step is to not eat all of it before you make the next part. This won't be easy.
Now that the first batch is done, get ready for round two. I decided to wing this one with my remaining ingredients and it worked wonderfully. My granola was on the sweeter side and thus complimented Nom Nom Paleo's well.

Note: Some ingredients aren't measured here. Use as much/little as you feel fit for these ingredients.
-Organic Heirloom Pumpkin Seeds
-Organic Raisins
-Soaked/Dehydrated Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews, Pecans, and Hulled Sunflower Seeds
-5 Pitted Medjool Dates, Chopped
-2-3 Tbsp Raw Honey
-1/3 Cup Maple Syrup
-1 Tbsp Orange Juice (as pure as possible)
-Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
-1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
-1 Tsp Cinnamon
-1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
-A Pinch of Salt

1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
2. Chop all the nuts/seeds and dates roughly using a food processor. You don't want to totally decimate them, but you don't want them whole either.
3. Pour the (mostly) dry mix into a large bowl.
4. Add everything else. Mix very well. You can use your hands if you feel like getting finger-lickin' tasty fingers ;).
5. On a large baking sheet, lay out some parchment paper and then evenly spread your granola onto the sheet.
My granola before baking.
6. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes turning the granola every twenty minutes. The only important note here is to try not to burn anything. If you think it's burning, it's done; Stop! =).
My granola done. Yum!
7. Mix the final product with Michelle's Tropical Granola from Nom Nom Paleo, let it all cool to room temperature, transfer it into a large glass tupperware container and refrigerate it. If you don't eat it all immediately it will last for a week or two in the fridge.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Kefir Adventures: Part #3

Kefir Adventures: Part #3
I've been learning more and more about kefir and how to make it happy through experimenting. My basic process is to let my kefir ferment for 24 hours, shaking the jars every so often to mix things up, and then finally giving them a good hard shake right before straining out the grains, transferring the grains to new clean jars, adding milk and starting the process over again.

Sometimes I'm not home at the 24 hour mark. I try to plan ahead for this and if I know I'm not going to be home, I'll put the kefir/milk into the fridge. Putting your kefir grains and milk in the fridge seriously slows the fermentation process. I haven't perfected the timing when I refrigerate kefir quite yet. In other words, I'm a bit unsure how much time it takes to ferment while leaving the grains in the fridge. I usually end up taking them out of the fridge and letting them sit again on my counter (again, I'm unsure of optimal time frames at this point).

Kefir really is plain simple to make...but you can definitely get a bit lost in perfecting your ratios/timings/temperatures.

Note: Never tighten the lids of fermenting jars. Ever.

Taking a break in the fridge.
On the left, just about perfect. Ready to be shaken up and strained. On the right, a bit too long or maybe a bit too many grains. That separation isn't the end of the world. I just shook it up and strained it like normal. It still tasted great.
Two fresh jars with grains at the bottom, ready for some milk. Finished kefir on the right.

Easy Paleo Cast Iron Seared/Oven Baked Chicken Breast

Easy Cast Iron Seared and Oven Baked Chicken Breast
This is a great way to prepare chicken. It took me a total of 30 minutes including prep time to make two delicious chicken breasts to bring as an easy lunch/dinner for later. I used a cast iron skillet. You can put your cast iron skillet right in the oven or use it on the stove-top; One of many reasons I love cast iron. If you don't have a cast iron skillet on hand, look into getting one, but you can use anything oven-safe.

-Free range chicken breast(s)
-Olive oil, coconut oil, or ghee (your preffered cooking fat)
-Pepper, thyme, rosemary, basil, and sage

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Pre-heat your cast iron skillet on medium heat.
3. Season your chicken breasts with a generous portion of cooking oil and all the spices on both sides. Rub 'em down good.
Season the bird. Rub it down good ;).
4. Pour a tablespoon or two of oil into your skillet so the breasts don't stick. You don't need much because you already rubbed down your bird ;).
5. Place your chicken into the cast iron skillet and sear it for 3-4 minutes a side over medium heat.
Place 'em in the skillet. Wait 3-4 minutes.
Flip 'em. Tongs help.
After another 4 minutes, they are ready for the oven. I flipped them back first.
6. Place your entire cast iron skillet in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees F.
Put the whole skillet right in the oven.
7. Take the skillet out of the oven, the breasts out of the skillet, and let them rest for 5-10 minutes or so on a cold plate/cutting board.
Let 'em rest. Be proud that you just cooked a great, healthy, easy Paleo meal.
8. Enjoy!
I brought one breast to work/school for lunch. I just added some carrots, grass fed sharp cheddar, baby kale, baby spinach, and arugula =).

Thanks for reading!
-Perry, The Simple Paleo Cook

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sunnyside Up Eggs and Pork Sausage

Sunnyside Up Eggs and Pork Sausage
I just recently learned how to cook sunnyside up eggs. I know, I know...It's not rocket science. Actually, cooking sunnyside up eggs ended up being easier than cooking scrambled eggs. Even the clean up has been easier. The basic golden rule is...wait for it...butter. Lots of grass fed butter. Or ghee. I like using ghee when I can (ghee is clarified grass fed butter). Using lots of butter makes for super easy cleanup because the eggs slide right out of the skillet and onto whatever delicious food you may (or may not -- who needs anything else!) have on your plate.

2-4 Pastured Eggs
2-3 Tablespoons of Grass Fed Butter or Ghee
1lb of Pork Sausage
Salt/Pepper to taste
2-3 Handfuls of Baby Kale

1. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium/high heat and drop in your pork sausage. Stir it occasionally so it doesn't burn while you're cooking the eggs.
My pork sausage from Blue Valley Meats. Nice and local.
2. Heat another small/medium cast iron skillet over medium heat and add the grass fed butter/ghee.
Lots. Of. Butter.
3. Once the butter is shimmery and melted (but not burning), crack your eggs gently into the skillet.
Eggs in the skillet, ready to be covered.
4. Cover the eggs and let them cook for 2-5 minutes depending on how well you like everything cooked (and how solid you want the yokes to be).
Cover the eggies ;).
5. Plate some baby kale and pork sausage for a bed and then add your sunnyside up eggs on top! They should slide easily out of the skillet if you used enough butter.
Breakfast is served.
6. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!
-Perry, The Simple Paleo Cook

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sweet Potato Hash / Bacon and Paleo Blueberry Pancakes

Sweet Potato Hash
I used my Cuisinart and it's shredding disc to shred up the sweet potato and then basically fried it up in some grass fed butter and a couple spices.

-As many sweet potatoes as you wish. I only had one to use this morning.
-2-3 Tbsp. Grass Fed Butter / Ghee
-1/2 Tsp. Garlic Powder
-1/2 Tsp. Onion Powder
-1/2 Tsp. Dried Rosemary
-1/2 Tsp. Black Pepper
-Food processor with a shredding disc

1. Cut your sweet potato(es) the long way (think hot dog, not hamburger).
2. Shred the "hot dog" slices of sweet potato using a food processor.
3. Add the seasonings to the shredded potato(es) and mix well.
Sweet potatoes shredded and spiced. Ready to fry 'em up.
4. Melt your butter in a cast iron skillet (or in my case, because all my cast iron was in use for the pancakes and bacon -- a large pan/skillet).
Grass fed butter! This is some Kerrygold (even available at stores like Safeway!).
5. Once the butter is...glistening (shimmering -- warmed up but not burning), add your shredded sweet potato.
6. Mix it around a little bit on medium/high heat and then LET IT SIT.
I was so excited as this point I can't even tell you. I love sweet potatoes. So. Much!
7. Let it cook for about 3-5 minutes.
8. Uncover and flip it around. You want to cook it until there are some brown bits and your hash
approaches crispy but not burnt. I didn't quite find the optimal balance this morning (it was my first time). I only used medium heat. Next time I'm going to use medium/high heat while watching it closely. 
9. Enjoy! I cooked some bacon as well as some paleo blueberry pancakes.

The bacon notes: I used a package of Bacon Ends and Pieces. At $5.59/lb it was a bargain for such high quality local bacon.
Cooked bacon placed on a plate lined with some paper towels. Note the saved bacon grease in the top left corner. Save that bacon fat! It's great for so many things...
I also cooked some bacon and paleo blueberry pancakes. Yum. Full on delicious breakfast.
I want to hear from you! Really! If you have any suggestions, comments, questions please feel free to comment here or find me on Facebook (simplepaleocook@gmail.com), Twitter, or by email.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Green Smoothie w/ Kefir, Baby Kale...

After making a post about banana bread coffee cake I figured it would balance things out to talk about green smoothies. I love a good green smoothie. You can put basically whatever you want in it. The theory is to use lots of green stuff =). It's amazing how little you can actually taste of the green stuff. Personally, I like green things. Kale, spinach, chard, celery, you name it, I like it. A lot of people don't; I get that. Throw in a banana and some coconut water, maybe some berries, and wham. You just ate a giant portion of green goodness and you won't even flinch.

For this smoothie I used:
Rainbow Chard (2-3 leaves)
Giant handful (or two) of Baby Kale
Organic Strawberries (Leave the tops on! Just wash 'em well.)
Coconut Water (about 1 cup)
Kefir (Optional...I've been making my own!)
Ice Cubes (I used about 5)

Instructions: Blend into submission.

In hindsight, I would make this smoothie a bit thicker. Maybe a little less coconut water. Maybe add a banana. In any case; It was delicious.

Get ready =).
Thanks for reading =). Comments? Questions? Suggestions? I want to hear from you!
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Chocolate and Honey Banana Bread Coffee Cake Muffins

Chocolate and Honey Banana Bread Coffee Cake Muffins
-3 Large Brown Bananas
-1/4 Cup Grade B Maple Syrup
-1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
-3 Eggs (Pastured is ideal, free-range is okay too)
-1/2 Cup Almond Butter
-1/4 Cup Coconut Flour
-1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
-1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
-1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
-1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
-Pinch of Salt

Topping Ingredients
-4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) grass fed butter, ideally slighly warm, but it's not a neccesity
-2 Tbsp Coconut Sugar
-2 Tbsp Almond Flour
-1 Tbsp Organic Raw Honey
-1 Bar 100% Cacao Baking Chocolate (sub some Life's Good GF/DF chocolate if you want to keep this recipe GF)
-1 Tsp Cinnamon

-1/4 Cup Pecans/Almonds/Walnuts, whatever you have around works

1. I start by mashing up some bananas in a large bowl. Then add the maple syrup, vanilla extract, eggs, and almond butter and mix it all up well.
2. Add the coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to the mix and again mix everything up well.
Batter and topping all set and ready to go. Chocolate on the side for chunkyness.
3. Pour the batter into your muffin tins, leaving some room on top for each muffin to expand. They will expand. I learned this the hard way ;).
Some of these tins are probably a bit over-filled. It worked out.
4. Once you have your batter in the tins mix up the topping. Just get everything in a bowl, wash your hands, and go to town. I like to mix everything up and squeeze it together over and over to get all the goodies evenly distributed. You could add the chocolate in tiny pieces here or leave it in chunks and place them in the center of each muffin.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them and do the fork test, if the fork comes out clean after sticking it in a muffin, they're done =).
Keep an eye on them. Do some yoga while you wait =).
Done. Yay =).
6. Don't eat 7 of them. Or at least try not to. If you do (like I did), don't do it again, and forgive yourself. Give them away to friends/family or freeze 'em/put 'em in the fridge for enjoyment in moderation.

Perry, The Simple Paleo Cook

Thanks for reading =). Comments? Questions? Suggestions? I want to hear from you!
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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Kefir, Episode Two: My First Batch

Quick Kefir Recap
To quote kefir.net, "Kefir’s tart and refreshing flavor is similar to a drinking-style yogurt, but it contains beneficial yeast as well as friendly ‘probiotic’ bacteria found in yogurt. The naturally occurring bacteria and yeast in kefir combine symbiotically to give superior health benefits when consumed regularly. It is loaded with valuable vitamins and minerals and contains easily digestible complete proteins."

Kefir is a fermented milk product. It's a strong natural remedy against any allergy, it helps control acid reflex and heartburn, reduces sugar cravings, can correct high blood pressure, promote faster wound healing, help sleep disorders, depression, and ADHD, it's easily digestible, rich in B12, B1, vitamin K, and biotin. (Source: Milk Kefir Unleashed | Fusion Teas).

It's good stuff. It's also not Paleo as dairy isn't Paleo. I do eat mostly a Paleo diet (95% or so..). Recently I have been experimenting with reintroducing some dairy into my diet. I haven't had any dairy in my diet for a couple months. I felt fine. I also feel no need to deny myself something that my body can handle well and that has major health benefits. Kefir seems up there on the list of great-for-you dairy. The kefir grains also eat the vast majority of the milk-sugars and lactose during the fermentation process.

Paleo is different for everyone; For me it mostly means just eating "healthy" whole foods. There is a lot of conflicting opinions out there on eating dairy, not eating dairy, etc. while on a Paleo diet. I'm seeing what works with my body and my health. Thus far I feel great.

My Journey Thus Far Into Kefir Land
-I received my first kefir grains about a week ago. I ordered 2 tablespoons of kefir grains from Fusion Teas on Amazon.
-For my first batch I used 1 cup of store bought, homogenized, pasteurized (NOT ultra pasteurized) whole milk.
-I simply put the kefir grains in a quart sized, wide-mouthed ball jar, added the cup of whole milk, and placed (without tightening at all) a plastic lid on top of the jar.
Quart-sized ball jar w/ 2 tbsp of kefir grains, a plastic lid, and some whole milk.
-I left the jar out on my kitchen countertop out of direct sunlight for about 12 hours. I stirred it up once during the 12 hours by swirling the contents of the jar around.
-After 12 hours, I poured out the contents of the jar through a clean, nylon-mesh strainer. I discarded the first batch as per instructions (the kefir is still rebuilding strength from shipment, thus the first batch probably wouldn't be the best).
-I broke out a clean quart ball jar, a clean lid, and repeated the process. I poured the grains from the strainer into the new jar. This time I used 1 and 1/2 cups of whole milk. Again, I put a plastic lid on top, without tightening it at all.
-I let this jar ferment for about 18-19 hours or so. I then strained it into a large, pourable, glass-container w/ a lid. I ate half mixed with a tbsp of organic raw honey =). Yum! Welcome bacteria...
Basic kefir setup.
Running the jar through the strainer.
My first batch of kefir, ready to consume =). Oh yeah!
-I poured the kefir grains into another clean quart ball jar, and this time added two cups of store-bought whole milk. I placed a plastic lid on top, again not tightening it.
-I put the remaining kefir in my fridge with a lid on the glass container. I ate the rest this morning with a tbsp of maple syrup. Mmmm...probiotic bacteria round two. I feel great thus far. At 10pm tonight I will restart the process once again.

Thanks for reading =). Comments? Questions? Suggestions? I want to hear from you!
Twitter (@SimplePaleoCook) | Email | Pinterest

Sunday, August 3, 2014


I've had a beautiful weekend including a sunset at a local park, eating a sandwich at Paseo (Seattle) -- my one bit of bread for the next three months or so...I'm not perfect (this was a really, really good sandwich...people wait up to three-hours in line just to get one), exploring a foreign kitchen as a friend is dog-sitting for a family and they gave her free reign of the kitchen, I found my first side crow yoga pose, and my kefir grains came in the mail (so excited!). A couple pictures below and then onto the kefir journey.
That's me @ Gas Works Park in Seattle. What a beautiful day it was =).
Sunset at Gas Works Park, Seattle.
Yep, I break Paleo every now and then. I do sincerly try to avoid it, but I had heard some pretty rave reviews of this sandwich shop (Paseo). It was also *very* close to the house a friend was dog-sitting at. It happened and I don't regret it one bit! My special treat for the next couple of months.
Exploring a foreign kitchen was a blast! A friend is dog-sitting for this family as they are out-of-town. They gave her free reign of the kitchen/food. I had no idea where anything was. Their oven smoked at first; Freaked me out. In the end, I was able to find TONS of delicious things. I have to leave these kind folks a thank you card for allowing us free reign of their food. Pictured above is a medley of banana chips, bananas, pecans, dried peaches, pistachios, bound with sunflower seed butter. The eggs were cooked with butter, rainbow chard, avocado, salt and pepper. Delicious! And totally thrown together on a whim ;).
Back to kefir grains. Wait...did he just say grains? Grains aren't Paleo. Kefir "grains" aren't actually grains. They can't be made or manufactured. They come from a combination of yeasts and bacteria made up of a substrate of several dairy components. Kefir seems to be really amazing stuff. It's one of the most potent probiotic foods available. It's not Paleo as Paleo doesn't include any dairy. That said, I'm not 100% Paleo. Chris Kresser wrote a great article on kefir here.

In a nut-shell, kefir can/is:
-A strong natural remedy against any allergy.
-Help control acid reflex and heartburn.
-Reduce sugar cravings.
-Correct high blood pressure.
-Promote faster wound healing.
-Help sleep disorders, depression, and ADHD.
-Easily digestible.
-Rich in B12, B1, vitamin K, and Biotin.
(Source: Milk Kefir Unleashed | Fusion Teas)

I'm going to be including home-made kefir in my diet and my blog posts. Starting today, with my very first kefir experience, you can read my entire journey now and in the future.

My First Kefir Experience
My kefir grains came in the mail a couple days ago. I didn't have time to tend to them yet so I put them in the fridge. I got home this afternoon prepared with some store-bought homogenized whole milk to get the process started. I intend on using non-homogenized milk, raw milk, and maybe coconut milk with my kefir grains after they get going. The instructions recommended starting them with store bought whole milk, so I did.

Thus far all I've done is:
-Removed the kefir grains from their packaging. I ordered 2 tbsp's of grains from Fusion Teas and had them shipped from Amazon.
-Placed them in a clean glass mason jar.
-Covered them with one cup of homogenized store-bought whole milk.
-Placed (without tightening) a plastic lid on the jar. Apparently some people use a coffee filter and a rubber band. Ultimately, you just don't want the container exploding. That would be...bad ;).
-I've left the jar on my counter-top. My apartment is not cold, but it's also not extremely hot either. I'm keeping the grains out of direct sunlight.
My kefir grains at the bottom of a clean glass mason jar.
Adding one cup of whole milk and a plastic lid (not tightened on, just placed on top).
Setting my kefir and milk on the counter-top to ferment. The lid is not tightened on. Just placed on top.
In 12 hours or so I will strain the grains, discard the first cup of milk, and add a fresh cup of milk. I can't wait for my first kefir! I'm going to add some honey and try it more or less plain at first. Then I'll branch out ;).

Thanks for reading =). I want to hear from you! Comments? Questions? Suggestions? 
Twitter (@SimplePaleoCook) | Email | Pinterest

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cheese and Paleo

The cheese I bought last night @ Trader Joe's.
To cheese , or not to cheese…that is the question. Dairy, including cheese is not Paleo. Does that mean I shouldn’t eat it? Ever? I want to be healthy. I don’t want to hurt my body. Is eating cheese going to hurt me? Is drinking milk, putting butter in things, making and eating kefir, and enjoying the occasional other dairy product really bad?

The short answer: Maybe.

It depends on your body and the type of dairy. Where that dairy came from seems to be a huge factor. That cheese in a can? Bad, bad, bad. I don’t even want to know what’s in that stuff. I won’t go near it. Grass fed, raw, aged cheddar cheese? Welcome to the Paleo gray area. Personally, I haven’t had any cheese or dairy (aside from eggs and grass fed butter) for months. I don’t really miss it. It’s definitely not something I feel like I need in my diet. That said, I want to experiment with adding occasional dairy to my diet.

I recently ordered some whole milk, some raw milk, and some cream from Pure Eire Dairy. They are local to my state and are/have:
-100% Grass-Fed & Non-GMO Certified
-Hand-selected herd to be free of A1 positive cows
-Antibiotic and Hormone Free
-Free of chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides
-Not combined with any other dairy
-All jersey herd for better grazing and a rich, creamy milk
-Minimally processed milk utilizing vat pasteurization & no homogenization

I plan on making kefir at home along with including some of Pure Eire's dairy into my cooking. I don’t plan on drinking large glasses of milk with every meal, if at all. Maybe a very small glass (<8oz) every now and then. I bought some cream to put in coffee from them as well. I'll be sharing it with a co-worker and keeping it basically as a special treat. Again, moderation. I’m experimenting. Taking it slow.

As for cheese… I haven’t had cheese for almost 4 months. I honestly don’t miss it all that much, but am curious to see what happens if I start to eat some cheese in moderation. For example, I put a small slice of cheese on each of the frittatas I cooked this morning. I also packed a small slice with my lunch today as a special treat. I don’t plan on eating cheese every day. All things in moderation. Balance.

I did some brief digging on dairy, cheese, and being Paleo. Some of what I found is hopeful, some of what I found is disturbing, and ultimately it’s up to you what you want to put into your body, your temple. I try to be informed.

The Pros and Cons of Dairy/Cheese on a Paleo Diet
First off, I need to say that dairy/cheese is not Paleo. I’m not 100% strict Paleo. I try my best, but am willing to make some exceptions for things like grass fed butter and green beans. Now I’m adding exceptions, or experimenting with them at least for now, for certain, carefully selected milks, creams, and cheeses. Cheese itself is actually addicting (so I’ll be careful!).

I found the following four points about why cheese is addicting from Stupid Easy Paleo:
-Cheese is a concentrated source of casein.
-Casein breaks down into casomorphins in the gut.
-Casomorphins have opioid and histamine responses in the body.
-This opioid effect seems to explain why people cite cheese as one of those foods they just can’t give up when going Paleo.

Cheese really is addicting. I didn’t know!

Some good things about dairy/cheese are that, according to Paleo Leap, “dairy can introduce good bacteria with yogurt, kefirs, and possibly cheeses”. They go on to say, “In fact, fermented dairy is, in my opinion, one of the best choices you could make if you decide to consume it, mainly because of the good bacteria, but also because the fermentation process will consume most of the sugars.” Marks Daily Apple claims, “…much of what makes dairy so problematic for people is mostly absent from the best cheeses”.

You see, some bad things happen because lactose is not tolerated very well by a large portion of the population. The exception here, from Paleo Leap, is “Hard cheeses, yogurt and kefir that have been fermented long enough to eat up all sugars won’t have any lactose left, so it’s a good alternative for the lactose intolerant”. Marks Daily Apple points out, “the less lactose a cheese has, the less carbohydrates”. This is good news =). Unfortunately, “Even without lactose, dairy will still have this insulin promoting effect (Cheese: Why You Can’t)”.

Paleo Leap warns, “since dairy is growth promoting because of a multitude of growth factors like IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth factor 1), undesirable things like acne can become a problem and some people argue that cancer cells could also develop much faster with dairy (The Place of Dairy)”. Paleo Leap goes on to explain, “…we are not supposed to drink the milk from other animals. We are the only mammals who do it”.

Milk needs to be carefully selected. Paleo Leap explains, “regular grocery bought milk is still a very poor choice. The cows probably ate a diet of corn and soy while confined in a very tight environment. As if it wasn’t enough, we skim the milk to reduce the healthy saturated fat and we pasteurize-it, rendering some enzymes and beneficial bacteria infective”. Luckily, they continue to show the bright side saying, “Do not despair though because grass-fed, pasture-raised and organic cows will produce a milk of a much higher quality… it’s high in vitamin K2, omega-3 fatty acids, CLA (Conjugated linoleic acid), a powerful antioxidant and anti-cancer linoleic acid”.

The general advice seems to be to go raw and grass fed whenever possible. This does come with some risks, you need to choose your source carefully! If you can’t go raw, Marks Daily Apple suggests that, “Pasteurized grass-fed cheese isn’t chock full of the delicious bacteria common to raw dairy, but it does retain the higher levels of CLA. Grass-fed cheese, pasteurized or not, also contains the heat-resistant vitamin K2, which Weston Price asserted was the key (along with vitamin D3) to the excellent bone and dental health in the primitive (but supremely healthy) groups he studied” (Is All Cheese).

Then there is Betacellulin. Marks Daily Apple has a good paragraph on it:
“Betacellulin, a potentially dangerous epidermal growth factor that has been linked to cancer, is present in most cheeses. Paleo critics often point to the betacellulin present in dairy as a major deterrent to its inclusion in a healthy diet (rightfully so), but they tend to focus on pasteurized, homogenized non-organic dairy from grain-fed cows – the most common type of dairy consumed in the country. Raw, grass-fed dairy, on the other hand, contains high levels of conjugated lineolic acid (CLA), which has been shown to have anti-cancer properties. Raw dairy supporters suggest that the higher levels of CLA present in raw, grass-fed cheese may act as a counterbalance to the negative effects of betacellulin also present” (Is All Cheese).

So, ultimately, there are risks and benefits. Pros and cons. Ups and downs. I figure that I have been almost 100% free of dairy in my diet and I have been fine. I’ll be slowly reintroducing some dairy with moderation in mind and carefully monitoring how I feel. Of course I’ll be blogging about it along my journey! Kefir here I come...

Stay tuned and thanks for reading! Also thanks to Paleo Leap, Stupid Easy Paleo, and Marks Daily Apple. You should check them all out; They have great information.

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"The Place of Dairy on a Paleo Diet | Paleo Leap." Paleo Leap Paleo Diet Recipes Tips. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 July 2014. <http://paleoleap.com/place-of-dairy-on-paleo-diet/>.

"Cheese: Why You Can't Quit It Stupid Easy Paleo - Easy Paleo Recipes." Stupid Easy Paleo Easy Paleo Recipes. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 July 2014. <http://stupideasypaleo.com/2013/10/28/cheese-why-you-cant-quit-it/>.

"Is All Cheese Created Equal?" Marks Daily Apple RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 July 2014. <http://www.marksdailyapple.com/cheese-unhealthy/#axzz38shmv3FC>.